Sunday, February 25, 2007

So Far, I Am Not Impressed...

    There are certain perks that come with living along the lake.  Sure, we can get the dreaded lake-effect snow that, in the past, has dumped a foot and a half on my house while my brother, who lives around ten miles to the West, got maybe an inch.  But, the blizzard that rolled through last night did pretty much the exact opposite.  What fell here was mostly rain and sleet, and with a 30-60 mph wind off the lake, everything tumbling out of the sky was blown way off the the West, away from me and in my twin brother's yard.  I'm guessing, so far, he's got about a foot of snow over at his place, and I, on the other hand, only have about an inch or two of really heavy, wet slush.

    Ha!  I win again.

    On the other hand, this storm did wreak some serious havoc in other parts of the country, and I'm hoping everyone out there fared well and managed to survive. 

    So, considering I didn't sleep very well due to rattling windows and the incessant roar of an angry Lake Michigan, my brain's a little mushy at the moment and thinking is not something I'm all that interested in doing.  In fact, right now, I'm going to step outside to see if I can find my Sunday paper.  Hopefully, the person delivering it managed to play the wind and threw it straight at my neighbor's house to get it to land on my porch. 

    Anyway, feel free to write in and share your Sunday.  Did the storm effect you in any way?  I know Promise is pretty much buried in Minnesota (sorry about that, by the way).  Just don't try to make me think too hard.  I really am trying to save my last functional brain cell in my head.  


Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Have Odd Friends...

    A short time ago, my gun-toting, Republican buddy Maxi-Brad called me.  He's known as Maxi-Brad because I have two friends named Brad.  the other one is called Mini- Brad.  And, when we get together, things tend to get out of control, schemes tend to get created, and I generally like to think that humanity tends to tremble.   

     Anyway, Maxi-Brad called to tell me that Meatball the Midget Wrestler was wrestling tonight here at the local community center in town, and he wanted to know if I wanted to tag along. 

    Now, I'm not a big fan of wrestling, midget or otherwise.  But, I have to admit, it's kind of hard passing up since here in my little hamlet, the exhibition that is wrestling is very silly.  There's maybe fifty people standing around drinking in a room overwhelmed by an oversized ring.  And, there can be no crazy suicidal leaps of doom from the top rope since the ceiling tends to get in the way.  In fact, the last time Maxi-Brad and I went to one of these shows, the EMTs had to stop not one, but two, matches due to concussions on the noggins of a couple of over-zealous performers.  In fact, I think the tin ceiling is pretty much undefeated at this point.
  And, it's got the dents to prove it.

     The truly surreal thing about the wrestling (Gads!  I can't believe I just uttered that) is the fact that several local police officers are also amateur wrestlers.  So, imagine if you will, a world where people stand around watching cops and a midget named Meatball wrestle in a small room with a ceiling that's too low, and that's the world I live in.

    And people wonder why I am so weird... 


Stay in Minnesota!

One or two feet?!?   

    Don't get me wrong.  I like Minnesota for the most part.  They've got lots of lakes, ridiculously weak beer, and a propensity for electing professional wrestlers to public office.  It really can be a fun state. 

    The thing is, I really don't want to live there.  Minnesota weather sucks.  It's cold, snowy, and that makes people crazy.  I've seen the movie Fargo, after all.  A large part of that film is based in Minnesota.  And, after suffering the winter weather that washes over the Mississippi into Wisconsin, I can see why people in Minnesota rent woodchippers in the dead of winter. 

    Anyway, we're supposed to be getting a blizzard here over the weekend.  Apparently, it's pretty bad.  The Weather Channel people are even in town running around in their little blue jackets with Pat Metheny music playing on their iPods.  They never come here, and the only time you hear about the storms that dump on us here in Milwaukee is when the storm heads east and ultimately bothers someone in New York. 

    Right now, the blizzard is in the next state over to the left.  But, they're telling me that it's headed this way, and I can expect to be shoveling up to two-plus-feet of heavy, wet snow off my sidewalks when all is said and done.  I don't know about you, but that sounds like exercise to me.  Who do they think I am?  I'm not some burly Scandinavian strong man who gnaws on lutefisk while throwing Volvos around the yard.  I'm half-German, and though I may be quite fastidious, I'm also half-French and, well, part of me just wants to roll over and stay in bed.  
    I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if temperatures weren't in the fifties a couple of days ago and all the snow we'd gotten previously had melted and, believe it or not, I actually saw grass.  Yes.  Grass.  It was kind of green too. 

    Anyway, I'm hoping this just stays in Minnesota.  I think they're better at dealing with this nonsense.  But, if it heads here and unloads on us, I'm renting a woodchipper, pointing it toward the lake, and changing my name to Chum. 


(update)   So, it's snowing like crazy, and what's on TV?  Well, the good people at The History Channel are showing a program devoted to the history of ice cream.  Bastards!  They want war?  Well, by golly I am going to GIVE them a war they've not seen since the weekend of the Great World War II marathon last Memorial Day. 

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poor Conservatives.

    Now, I'm not sure if this is a farcical site or not, but apparently, some brainwashed, pseudo-Christian, imitation patriots out there were "fed up" with the supposed "anti-American, anti-Christian" bias in Wikipedia, so they rubbed their shiny heads together and came up with Conservapedia

    Unfortunately, the bulk of their entries look as though they were created by cobbling together the book reports of a Second Grade Remedial Reading class.  But, lucky for you, it's absolutely hilarious and ridiculously biased. 

    For example, here's what they have to say about Atheism:

Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of any supernatural deity. This disbelief can take a number of forms, such as the assertion that deities do not exist or the absence of any belief in any deity.

Stalin and Richard Dawkins are prominent atheists. Dawkins wrote a book, called "The God Delusion" which supposedly disproves Christianity. However, most critics did not like Dawkins' book, and Stalin is now dead, having killed millions of people in the name of atheism.

    See?  Madness, huh?   That's the entire entry.  The ending really just cracks me up.  I am impressed by their complete and total lack of attention to detail.  With just a quick spin over to the "godless bastards" at Wikipedia, you can see a much more unbiased and informative article on atheism

    However, since stumbling upon this site via P.Z. Myers' Pharyngula, I've spent a bunch of time just hitting the Random Page link on the Conservapedia main page.  It's a hell of a lot of fun and a really wild ride on the short bus into Silly Town. 

    I mean, let's look at what they have to say about Paganism:

A pagan is someone who beleives in false gods. The First Commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Most pagans are ancient, like the Greeks and Romans, but there are also modern pagans like witches and Muslims, who do not beleive in Jesus.

    Nope.  Not much bias there, huh?

    Nonetheless, if this is a legitimate attempt to create an "unbiased" Conservative encyclopedia, I truly feel sorry for some of these folks.  The promotion of such blatant stupidity and ignorance is not a good thing for a culture.  How are we supposed to advance as a species so long as we cling to such a stone-headed, myopic ideology? 

(update)   I just looked up their entry on Patriotism and found this:
Patriotism, or love of country, is the highest American virtue. Patriotism means unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the Leader of the country. The opposite of patriotism, treason, is the act of questioning, criticizing or voting against the Leader.
    These people are nuttier than a box of squirrel turds.  No wonder our nation is so bloody screwed.  This is a complete embarrassment.

(update II)    It just gets sillier and sillier.  Under the entry for Homeschooling, they list Jesus Christ as a famous homeschooled Christian. 


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just Shoot Me!

    Oh my freaking goodness!  My paws are in utter, screaming, brain-shredding pain right now.  It's like a little, fat bastard in tap shoes decided to dance upon my knuckles. 

    The thing is, it was an absolutely gorgeous day here today.  The temperature jumped up to fifty-ish degrees, the sun was shining, and the wind was calm.  For all intents and purposes, it was a perfect reminder that spring was not only in the air, but it's definitely something worth hanging around waiting for. 

    Spring in Wisconsin is unlike any place I've ever been.  It's fun.  Taverns open their doors, people crawl out of their dank houses to taste the air, and I laugh at the melting snow (sometimes I even unzip the trousers and help it along a little).

    Unfortunately, during the day, all that snow melts to my delight.  Then, as the sun starts to descend into the West, that melted snow turns into a very chilly dampness that settles into my bones and makes me think that if I had an axe, a hell of a lot of band-aids, and the weird ability to type 80-90 words per minute with my nose, I'd bid farewell to these painful little digits.  But, I'm afraid I'm stuck with the squawking things.  Arrrgh!
    Anyway, right now I am debating whether or not to slam down a pain killer or a big, happy glass of whiskey.  The pain killer works wonders, but considering I have to be somewhere tonight where I will most likely be having bunches of wine, if I am to make it home in one reasonable piece, it's probably best not to mix alcohol and opiates. 

    As for the whiskey, well, considering the only thing I've eaten today is almost half a dozen jelly-donuts and a handful of bacon, I think the whiskey would just tear through that and send me into some sort of odd, drunken, twitchy sugar rush.  By the way, you'd think it would be bad, but my god!  If you're riding the big, shiny bus into glutton town, I strongly suggest you mix your pastry and bacon.  Outstanding! 

    Oh well.  I do have my hot-wax thing.  But, unfortunately, I turned it off, and it has since seized into a rock-solid glacier of chilled paraffin, and if I turned it on now, I'll probably be home and in bed by the time it's melted enough to use.  So, yes.  I am dumb.  I should really plan ahead.

    Okay...  I figure I've whined enough, huh? 

    Personally, as nice as my plans are for tonight, there is still a big part of me that would just like to curl up and gawk at the TV (speaking of which, did anyone catch Stan Lee on Heroes last night?  That was teh awesomez!!!1!).  Is there anything good on tonight?  And, am I the only one who's just a little geeked out about the fact that my favorite nouveau-hippie Dave Matthews is going to be on an episode of House

    Well, I'm off to grumble and complain to DogCat who's grumbling and complaining to me about the distinct lack of variety in his cat food buffet. 

A Travel Meme!

    Here's a swift, little meme I swiped from Dawn.  It's about one of my favorite things to do: travel.  So, obviously, I had to jump on the meme bandwagon and fill this puppy out!

1. What is the one place take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like)
This pretty much depends on the time of year.  In summer, here in Milwaukee, there are more festivals than you can shake a stick at, and I tend to subject out-of-towners and sundry tourists to the raucous, beer-swilling, sausage eating festival madness. 

    If, for some strange reason, they visit in the dead of winter, I just lock the doors and tell them to stay the hell away from me until the thermometer reads at least sixty degrees. 

2. When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram as much in as possible, or take it slow and easy?
Do I strike you as the type of person who would have a frantic sort of vacation?  The last time a friend and I went to Vegas, we spent an entire day just running up a $300 bar-tab reading books at the poolside. 

3. When traveling, where are you most likely to be; strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or doing something else?
I figure the easiest way to get to know a town and its people is to hang out in its museums and bars and restaurants.     

4. Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather 'wing it' and just see what happens?
I'm definitely one to wing it.  I hate organized tours.  I just don't like people telling me what to do, where to go, when to eat and all that other nonsense.  Seriously, just drop me in a town, and let me get to know the locals and figure my own way out. 

5. After a trip, what do you find yourself craving most about home?
There really are so many things, I think.  There's my shower, my bed, my yard, my kitchen, my TV, etc..  All those little things I use on a daily basis that make it so hard to leave in the first place, are the things I miss the most.

    Well, there you have it.  Feel free to take part in Dawn's travel-based meme, and be sure to leave a link at her blog letting her know. 


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Mmmm...  food...

    If gluttony is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, then I am a doomed man.  But, as far as sins go, I'm going to have to say that gluttony is definitely my favorite.  I mean, is there a better way to go than keeling over in the euphoric glow of extreme over-indulgence? 

    I think not.

    Today is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and I've got my pączki
(pronounced "poonch-key").  Yes.  I know.  It sounds wildly exotic in all its Polish glory, but the sad reality is that it's nothing but a simple jelly doughnut.  Still...  Jelly doughnuts are yummy, and in my part of the world, you can't swing a cat without hitting a pączki-toting polock.  In fact, on the local news today, they were showing the lines at the bakeries, and the chilly, little news-muppet interviewed one gent who recently purchased fifty-dozen of the starchy, jelly-filled pastry.  Yes.  Fifty!

    Obviously, that man's Tuesday is going to be a hell of a lot fatter than mine, and I'm guessing he's just going to go home and glut himself on jelly-doughnuts and porn.  And, when he rolls off the couch tomorrow morning, he'll wipe the powdered sugar from his face, and wobble his corpulence into the ritualistic starvation of Lent. 

    Me?  Well, I have six doughnuts.  I highly doubt I will eat them all, and, being the unwashed, godless, heathen atheist that I am, I pretty much plan to keep my eating habits in tact.  I will plow down a bacon-double cheeseburger in the face of a scowling Catholic as they condemn me to an eternity of suffering while I wipe mustard from the corners of my mouth. I'm just evil that way, I guess.

    When I was in high school, a friend's devoutly Catholic mother used to hate me at this time of year.  When we were growing up and Lent rolled around, she had an odd habit of throwing potatoes at me for corrupting her son with burrito supremes and nachos from Taco Bell.  We would sit in his basement, eating our greasy pseudo-Mexican munchies, andno sooner after loading up our food with hot sauce, we'd hear the hollow "thunk" of potatoes bouncing down the stairs. 
    "What are you doing?" My friend would holler up at her.
    "He's bringing the Devil into this house!"

    In her defense, she used to be a nun, and she's absolutely bonkers.  In her mind, everything from jock-straps to ear-wax remover were avenues by which the Devil could enter a human and corrupt them into nasty things. 

    However, once Easter had come and gone, all bets were off, and I was a perfect, little angel in her eyes --so long as I didn't openly advocate the use of ear-wax remover. 

    So, Lent is a pretty silly time for me.  Yes.  I plan to eat a lot.  I always plan to eat a lot, and it's nice to have an excuse to do so.  It really doesn't take much for me, as you can probably figure out.  I like to eat, and fortunately, my metabolism can keep up.  Tonight, I'll be heading to a friend's restaurant who needs a little help with his menu.  He'll be plopping plates and bowls in front of me all night and expecting nothing but a completely honest appraisal of the dishes I've devoured.  It should be a lot of fun with a lot of food. 

    Anyway, I suggest you all eat a jelly doughnut today.  If nothing else, it's good for the soul.  And, if you do take part in Lent, well...  I'll try not to gloat when I ask you to hand me a napkin. 


Monday, February 19, 2007

Back You Cursed Glaciers! Back!

It's the writing that matters, man.
    I don't know whether or not you will believe this; however, the temperature here in my little lakeshore hamlet is a balmy forty-two degrees.  Yes!  Forty-Two --the ultimate answer according to Deep Thought.  It's the temperature at which Wisconsin becomes different from Fargo, Saskatchewan, or freaking Nome, Alaska.  Forty-Two degrees is the point where I can see a cow and think of steak as opposed to seeing one in the arctic wasteland and think immediately of a soft-serve ice-cream machine.  I want to go outside and enjoy this weather by standing in my back yard listening to the dying screams of the back-breaking mountain of snow I've had to shovel over the past several months.  I want to help it along by spraying gasoline on the snow, and tossing a lit match. 

    Die snow!  Die...  die... die!  Buwahahahaa!
    Seriously.  I hope it hurts the snow when it melts.  I hope it just sits there weeping as fellow flake after miserable flake dissolves slowly into the tundra below.  

    Snow is evil.  It deserves to die a horrible death.  I should be allowed to enjoy its death.  I should be able to hear it wail as the sun burns it into a puddle.   But nature truly hates me.  The snow remains silent as it disappears, and the only sound is an occasional drip or a random crack of ice as its frozen lattice gives way to the intruding warmth of spring. 
    Unfortunately, the balmy forty-two degrees is tempered by a gentle twenty-two mile per hour breeze.  And the clouds are an opaque shade over the sun.  So, in spite of the warmth, it's still a sub-arctic hell. 

    Oh well...  Later in the week it's supposed to rain.  That's springlike weather, right?  What's better than a gentle drizzle to wash away the eye-frying whiteness of all this snow?  Of course, there's a pretty good chance that by the time the rainy season does roll around later in the week, the weather people will be telling me that the rain will most likely be bitter little pellets of ice, and I should expect to have every strip of paint blasted off the garage and layer after layer of exposed skin flayed from my bones.

    So, how's the weather by you? 


Well, This Explains a Lot...

Be Afraid!

    I figure since Editor Joe wrote a nifty piece about the new radiation warning symbol, and since I found a blurb about it recently on BoingBoing, I got to thinking that I should scribble a little blurb about my interpretation of this spankin' new symbol. 

    It's pretty simple, really.  When you fear death by radiation, you run to the Right.  In other words, if you fear all those "nuke-you-lar wepins" that our marble-mouthed president incessantly evokes anytime some poor sod is dumb enough to put a microphone in front of his beady-eyed little face, you will run screaming to his side of the aisle demanding to be kept safe. 

    Yes.  If you willingly swallow the daily spoon-feeding of fear, then I suppose this sign speaks to you.  After all, in our polemic little society, the rhetoric usually states that the Left is a straight route to death, and the Right is the path to safety and freedom. 

    Of course, I'm certainly reading too far into the subtext of this little glyph.  But, in my defense, I just woke up. 


Saturday, February 17, 2007

John Scalzi is Wrong (sorta)!

The diet soda will eat you, Mr. Scalzi.    Now, in his latest, sold-out  book (I have a feeling I'll be referring to a lot of his novels from here on out as "sold out," and that makes me oddly proud), John Scalzi points out that You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing.
    The thing is, John, you're wrong.  Now, I don't know if this is a major requirement or not, but I am sitting in a brewpub, drinking a bloody mary while watching the Milwaukee River do its best to try and freeze solid, rather than sucking lattes in a coffee shop, and, so far, two waitresses and one curious customer have come up to me to ask me what I'm doing. 

    "I'm writing a novel," I said, and they seemed oddly impressed and returned to what they were doing.  There's even a slight air of nervous intrigue coming from the crashing kitchen, punctuated by the random sizzle of something being seared.  It's an odd feeling that, perhaps, they think I'm some sort of enigmatic restaurant critic, and perhaps if I cast a skeptical glance around the place and admire some of the kitsch, I may get a free meal out of this to wash down my bloody mary.  After all, in the wise words of an old friend of mine, it's really never a good idea to eat on an empty stomach.  Unfortunately, there is a large, clear jug of colorful pepper-infused vodka that seems to have caught my eye at the moment, and as soon as I can look away, I'll try to slap a euphoric veneer on my face, gloss over the eyes, and twist my head randomly around the room to admire my cheesy surroundings.

    Now, perhaps if this were a coffee shop, things may be different.  I see a lot of trendy citizens with laptops when I pass by the windows, and though most are clicking happily on their mice or touchpad buttons rather than typing, there are some who are actually staring blankly at their screens with a sort of vacant, blank look upon their faces that tells me they are either looking at porn, or they could very well be writing the "great American novel."   The look, oddly enough, is not entirely all that different, and  if you watch me writing, a lot of my time is spent counting the cursor blinks, while, for all you know, depending on your vantage point, I could be watching a sexy Amish woman in a thong churn butter for a half an hour.

    The thing is, not only am I not in a coffee shop, I also seem to be the only person in this place with a laptop in front of him.  However, there's a girl sitting at the bar with a satchel that could contain a laptop, but she's wearing red shoes, and it's clear she's most likely waiting for a blind date.  She probably told her upcoming suitor that he'd be able to spot her because she'll be the dark-haired girl sitting at the bar with ruby-red heels that stick out like a sore thumb against her black pants.  In other words, "Look at my feet first, work your way up my attractive body and stop at my chest since I either have a pimple on my chin or I forgot to wax my unibrow."  But I digress...

    Where was I?

    Oh yes.  Though I may not fool someone by taking my laptop to a coffee shop,  but here in a brewpub, there's a pretty good chance that I can put one over on the kitchen staff to get some free appetizers while they suck up for a good review of their establishment. 

    I'll let you know how it all works out.  Right now, I've got to get back to "writing my novel." 

    Enjoy your Saturday, people.  After all, February 17th only comes once a year, so get out there and celebrate it.


It's the Weekend!

    So, is everyone having a good weekend?  Anything thrilling, wild and exciting going on?  Have any of my readers been jailed yet?  I know it's only Saturday morning, but you all strike me as an insane bunch, so let's just say that I wouldn't be surprised.

    Anyway, I meant to do a nice, big, happy anniversary entry yesterday, but AOL ate the first attempt, and then a rather insignificant family crisis arose, and suddenly, I found that life was just getting in the damn way.  But, it's all good. 

    Nonetheless, I really don't have much to say today.  I know.  I've suddenly fallen silent.  My guess is that it's the weather, and there just doesn't seem to be much going on in my world.   And, to make matters worse, I'm watching This Old House, and I'm getting an itchy brain and a rather disturbing desire to take a chainsaw to the kitchen.  I love to cook, but when I get in my kitchen, I feel like I'm in a very crowded bar, and I wind up elbowing the fridge since it just doesn't respect my valued and cherished personal space.  "Back off, man!"

    Anyway, since I'm babbling, here are some links to several galleries of some very scary home "improvement" projects courtesy of This Old House.  Some of these are just madness. 
    Gallery I
    Gallery II
    Gallery III
    Galley IV

    I mean, shirking building codes is one thing, and installing a light switch in your shower stall is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. 


Friday, February 16, 2007

It's the Proof!

Woohoo!  Bagged a Triceratops!

    Oh my God!  I'm going to church on Sunday!  I need to save my cursed soul.  This is concrete proof of the creationism.... 

    What's that?  It's not?

    Gaaaah!  Curse you people at Worth1000 for creating an antique photo contest.  Will your madness never end? 

    I don't know what to believe anymore...

(via BoingBoing)


Thursday, February 15, 2007

On the Record...

    Now, with all the controversy and growing number of potential fathers surrounding the pedigree of Danielynn, the daughter of the late Anna Nicole Smith, and considering that she and I were in the same town once twelve years ago, I feel I need to go on the record and say that I, most certainly, am not the father of Ms. Smith's daughter.

    I just feel I need to clear that up because this story is just getting too damn weird and who knows who the next person will be to throw their name into the ring?

    Personally, my money is on Carrot Top, but I think Michael Jackson might be a good sleeper pick. 


Weekend Assignment...

    This may be a record, but I am actually posting a Weekend Assignment on the Thursday before the weekend.  And, for this one, Blogfather John posted a picture for us to tinker with by adding some whacky captions.  So, here we go, and enjoy the madness of the Scalzi family pets:

    And then there's this one:

    And this:

    And finally, this:


Active? Me?!?

Be Active.  B-E Active!
    Now, I don't know if I can get behind this product.  However, it does have my name on it, but obviously, it just doesn't speak to me.  The whole notion of an active Dan seems wildly foreign.  I am not an active Dan.  I'm a lazy Dan.  I'm a Dan who will make a pizza, crack open a beer, lie on the couch and watch TV for one, two, or thirty hours.  I am an Inactive Dan, and I am happy that way.

    Now, I know you're saying, "But, Inactive Dan?  How can you say that?  This stuff boosts your immune system by packing your digestive tract with blueberry, strawberry or vanilla flavored L. casei bacteria.  It's yummy!"

    Thanks, but no.  Inactive Dan already has a rather excited immune system and actually takes immune-suppressants to keep things from going nutty, crazy bonkers.  Drinking this bottle of madness would be like throwing gasoline on an already raging fire.   And, if Inactive Dan were a little ambitious, he'd probably see this product's website as a skeptic's shooting gallery for no other reason than the ubiquitous statement "Clinically proven to [insert desired event here]." 

    Nonetheless, I do wonder if this is at all effective, or if it's just another one of those wildly researched snake oils medical breakthroughs like Head-On (apply directly to the forehead).  I'll let you decide.  But, if you do try it and never get sick again, let me know.



    How hard-core am I, you're wondering?

    Well, it's three-freaking degrees outside with a wind-chill of ten-below, and I am watching a show on the history of ice.  Yes.  I'm watching cold, wet, miserable people demonstrate the myriad of uses for the magical product that is frozen water.  My coffee has grown cold, and I'm still not anywhere near offing myself out of sheer frustration that this world is turning into a glacier.  No, I won't do myself in simply because, from what I've been able to gather, I understand that a person gets cold when they die.  On TV and in the movies, a dying person's last words usually start with a shiver and the proclamation "I'm so cold."  Why would I want that in the dead of winter?  It's better to wait until summer when I'm happier and warmer.

    So far, the only really neat thing about this show is their mention of the fact that ice floats.  Fascinating.  And, if you think about it, if ice didn't float, the world would be one hell of a screwed up place.  It's the fish I worry about most.  Fish would suffer a horrible demise of being crushed, and when the spring thaw eventually rolled around, they'd start popping to the surface like bubbles in a bathtub.

    Now, in totally unrelated news, I suppose I should mention that tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the madness that is this journal.  For the last, umm, ten minutes, I've been trying think of a way of making the day special for this odd little collection of weirdly-written words and whatnots.  It's not been easy.  It's only a year old and hasn't even learned to walk yet.  In fact, in going over some of the past entries, it's clear that it's not even close to being potty trained yet.  There's crap everywhere.  The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind is not entirely unlike a cage filled with drunken poo-flinging chimpanzees, two very strange cats, and some guy sitting in the middle of it all trying to write a novel. 

    Anyway, getting back on track here, tomorrow, I was thinking of writing about those Journals Editors who, on those days like today where I can't think of a damn thing to write about, have made writing here possible.  They're largely unsung, and since there's really no Journals Editor Appreciation Day, I figured that this weekend should be a good time to write about a few of those folks who have given us tips, pointers and whatnots.  Then, I got to thinking that it would be a heck of a lot more fun if you all joined in and wrote an entry to rant, rave or roast your favorite Journal Editor.

    So, what do you all think?  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Has my brain finally frozen to a halt?  Care to take a little moment sometime this weekend to pick on these folks who do such a good job to keep this place running?  You can pick one, or you can pick them all. 

    The way I see this working is something akin to Scalzi's Weekend Assignments where you write a little something and leave a link here, and on Monday, February 19th, I'll post a little run down of all your rants, raves and whatnots on a day that I'll call Editor Appreciation Day (though, I normally don't appreciate editors, but these editors are different editors, so it's all good).  

    Does that sound like fun to you? 

    The only rule I can think of is just don't be TOO mean. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Alison Stewart
    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Hopefully, your day is filled with enough love, romance and passion to make this freaking winter just stop already.  I'm single, it's cold, I spent the morning shoveling (again), and I think it's about damn time you lovebirds out there start doing something to thaw this damn world before I wake up inside a glacier.  So, go have mad sex in a snow-drift, already.  Gads!

    Anyway, I'm not here today to write about Valentine's Day so much.  My Canadian doppleganger  Paul already did a great job on that.  Plus, I figure you already know what it's all about, and you've all got your own handy definitions and expectations.  Some of you will settle for a nice dinner.  Some will have chocolate.  And, for all I know, some of you might find yourselves covered in candle-wax and handcuffed to a hotel bed tomorrow morning. 

    Nope.  I'm here to scribble a bit about my latest madman's crush.  Earlier today, as my aching back was suggesting, as it usually does after a snowfall, that we should pack up and move to a warmer climate, I flipped on the TV and caught sight of The Most: With Alison Stewart on MSNBC, and, without warning, Cupid's little arrow drove it's way through my skull and buried itself deeply into my gray matter (most people get drilled in the heart.  Me?  It usually finds its way into my brain). 

    So, I watched, and I couldn't shake the thought that not only is Alison Stewart mind-bendingly beautiful, she's also got the smarts needed to shred my brain and leave me gaping like a landed fish whose only escape is to pick up a hammer and go fix something just because there's no way any reasonable human being could ever keep up in a conversation with someone who is so obviously well-informed.  The way I see it, I'd get a lot of projects done if I were in a relationship with someone like her.  It's not that I don't want to talk like couples do; it just that I am simply not qualified to talk.  I mean, I could say "Hey!  That cloud looks like a bunny," and all she'd have to say is, "I don't think so."  Then, rather than engage in an argument about bunny clouds, and subsequently be proven wrong by her saying "it looks like a toaster oven," I'd simply trundle off to put a new roof on the house, feed the starving children of the world and occupy my time by admiring small, shiny things.  

    Fortunately, for me, not only is Alison Stewart married to Bill Wolff, the Vice President of Programming at MSNBC, I'm a pretty fickle person, and I'll most likely have a new crush by the end of the week.  It may even be Lindsay Lohan because, not only is rehab the new black, but I have a propensity for crushing people's spirits to the point of making them dive head-first off the wagon into a big, happy bottle of vodka. 

    In other news, I am watching the tail-end of the Westminster Dog Show (HA!  Get it?  Tail-end?  Damn...  Comedy gold!), and I have absolutely no reason why.  Yesterday, I saw the bulldogs, dustmops and one trembling platinum-colored
Bichon Frisé that looked more like a feminine hygiene product than any sort of canine. 

    And, Best-in-Show goes to..... 
    Wait for it....

    A Springer Spaniel named James.

    Well, happy Valentine's Day, James.  Now, find a bitch and settle down for a long winter's nap.

    Okay...  I'm pretty much just typing out loud at this point.  I do hope you all have a Valentine's Day that will make you feel as special as James, the English Springer Spaniel.  May you all be Best in the hearts of those around you.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

P-Funk is My New Hero...

    How this guy manages to keep his cool is beyond me.  I wouldn't have lasted very long with the relentless hectoring of the silly, fundamental, pseudo-Christians.  That level of badgering would drive me to just slap someone. 

    However, it's really amazing to see the unstoppable force of rational free-thought collide with immovable object that is blind, stubborn faith.  It's fascinating to see the open-mind meet the closed.  And, I imagine had P-funk not had somewhere better to be (like getting his tooth pulled or whatnots), he'd have seriously burned their minds with a cool, reserved seminar on humanity that is not based solely upon an archaic, unprovable mythology. 

    Aside from that, I think P-Funk seriously needs to drive from now on to save him from having to undergo this level of sheer madness again and again. 

     Reason wins again.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Give a Man a Camera...

    When I first saw this story about a guy who gave a homeless kid a camera, I thought, "well, those pictures are going to suck."

    As it stands, I was not just wrong, I was happily wrong.  Not only are some of these pictures amazing, the story behind how they came to be is equally impressive.

"A few years ago, I gave a camera and some film to a homeless kid I had befriended while visiting some family in San Luis Obispo CA. He had been thrown out of his parents house for drugs a month ago, and been crashing with friends, generally bumming around the central coast since then. After giving him a brief lesson in the use of a manual camera (it was this beat up old Fujica 35mm), I asked him to shoot all the film, then mail it back to me. In exchange, I'd let him keep the camera. I didn't expect to hear from him again, but the kid seemed interested in photography, and he didn't have much else going for him, so I gave him the camera and the film.

A few months ago, I received a large envelope filled with photos in the mail from the kid, along with a brief letter describing what he had been doing since I last saw him. There were about a hundred photos, mostly horribly under or over exposed pictures of people sitting around, but here are the more interesting ones."
    There is just something so remarkably human about this story.  And, there's really not much I can say since the pictures not only tell a story, but they show considerable promise and talent. 

    I hope you enjoy.

(via Metafilter)


Is it Real?

    So, a group of guys from the British television show Top Gear, come to America, buy some old clunkers of cars, paint some catchy slogans on them and drive them through the deep South where people aren't exactly famous for their tolerance.  Hilarity ensues:

    Now, I don't know how much of this is staged, manipulated, or whatnots, but it is certainly a funny episode. 

    Of course, now I want to go to England, buy a heap, and drive around with the phrase "High tea and spotted dick is teh gay" painted on the sides.  Of course, knowing the British, I'd probably wind up making more friends than enemies. 

(via Metafilter)


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentine's Day...

    Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean much to me, but that doesn't mean I don't have something to say on the matter.

    Throughout my life, I’ve had the good fortune of dating very strange women who, by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, were either headed out of my life, or long gone.    And, I chalk this up to the fact that I’m a very difficult person to shop for, and I think the sublime torture of buying me gifts between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is far more insanity than any person should ever willingly endure.   Eventually, out of sheer frustration, they will just dump me and move onto some other guy with much more clearly defined needs and wants.

    My favorite girlfriend in this case would have to be Marie, the sweet gal I dated for a while in college.  It was a blast of a relationship, and she really was a pretty decent woman.  We had a lot of fun, and as Christmas started approaching, she grew frantic asking me what I wanted. 

    “I don’t know,” I said.  “I don’t need anything.”
    “It’s not about what you need,” she said, “it’s about what you want.”
    “Well,” I responded after a little thought.  “I skipped breakfast today.  I’m a little hungry, and I think I want a cheeseburger.”
    “For Christmas?”
    “I don’t think I can wait that long.  How about lunch?”
    “You’re an idiot,” she said. 
    “Hey,” I said.  “You’re the one who loves me.”
    “You’re a dumb, stupid idiot.” She would rant in her adorable way.  “You dumb idiot.  Dumb… dumb… dumb…  Idiot…  idiot… idiot.”
    “Does that mean I’m not getting lunch?”  I asked.
    “We need a break,” she would always say.  It was her way of ending any argument –win or lose.  “We need a break because you are making me hate you.”

    Then she would leave, and I would grab lunch on my own.  A few days later, our break was over, the holiday had passed, and love was once again in the air by the time New Year’s rolled around.  We were good so long as I didn’t ask about gifts. 

    However, Valentine’s Day would inevitably roll around, and though I would go out and buy her nice things and plan nice dates and really do everything I could to woo her straight out of her knickers, when the calendar read February 14th, there were two things that were a certainty:  Marie and I would argue over gifts, and I would end up spending the night on my recently-divorced buddy’s couch. 

    It happened the first year of our relationship.  After cracking open a bottle of wine and feeding her the delicious dinner I’d cooked for her, I gave her the little gift I bought in an attempt to contrive a nice, special moment. 
    “How did you know?” she squealed as she pulled a dainty little necklace from the box.  “I love it.  I love you.  But, how did you know I wanted this?”
    “You told me,” I said.  “Remember?”
    “When you clipped the ad out of the Sunday paper and stuck it on my fridge?”
    She was funny that way, I guess.  Normally, I would just shrug, guzzle wine and wait for the moment when she unleashed her white-hot fury upon me.  Somewhere during the course of the evening, her smile of joy and contentment would be transformed by little bits of white froth slowly growing at the corners of her smile.  The turning point came when she handed me a very small, quite non-descript, box. 

    “You know,” I said as I appraised the tiny box.  “You really didn’t have to get me anything, honey.”
    “I know,” she said flatly as if to remind me that I was stupid for not knowing the unparalleled amount of research she put into finding just the right gift for my happiness.  “Open it up.  I think you’ll love it.”
    I opened the box and peered inside expecting to see an amputated finger or even the collected teeth of all the women who’ve smiled at me since she and I began dating.  My face could not hide my confusion, however, and immediately, she spoke.
    “You hate it don’t you?”
    “No. It’s just…” I said.  “Umm…”
    “It’s okay,” she said.  “We can take it back.”
    “You hate it.”  She wailed. 
    “No.”  I said.  “It’sjust that…”
    “It’s just what?”  She asked.
    “Well, honey,” I said carefully.  “It’s just that you gave me an earring.” 
    “Yeah,” she said.  “Isn’t it cool?”
    “Sure,” I said as I watched the fire grow in her eyes.  “But, we’ve been together for six months now and well…”
    “You think it’s too personal?”
    “No,” I said.  “It’s just that, in six months, you probably noticed that I don’t have my ear pierced.”
    “Yes you do,” she said, as if I somehow managed to forget having a lobe punctured over the course of our relationship.  “You’re lying to me now.”
    “Nope,” I said.  “I’ve never had my ear pierced.  I think I’d know if I did.”
    “You’re a liar,” she wailed.  “You lying liar.  You just hate me.”
    “Is it time for us to take a break now?” I asked.

    She and I dated for three years, and I’m pretty certain that every year, she and I went through the same dialogue with only a few slight variations.  One year, on my birthday, she bought me a pair of boxer shorts.  They were nice, and I liked them; however, when I refused to wear them out in public, an unholy rage was unloaded upon me as a result of my daft idea that most people would probably laugh at me if I walked into a bar wearing my underwear. 

    For the record, I think she and I are still on a break.  Which is good.  Had I stuck around, I’m pretty sure I’d only be able to communicate via a series of controlled blinks and grunts. 


Friday, February 9, 2007

Hideous Crap...

    Sorry about that collection of pointless gibberish in my "About Me" section.  I've decided to leave that junk up for a bit in the hopes that some geek from StatCounter may be able to decipher why their service doesn't operate properly on my journal.

     I've had nothing but problems with them lately, but let's see if they are able to redeem their service.  I'm willing to bet they won't, but ya never know.  I've tried everything.

    Anyway, I'm off to the hospital for a (hopefully) quick infusion. 

(update)   Well, I have some of the glitch fixed, I think.  I definitely do not recommend using Firefox 2.0 to tinker around in the inner-workings of AOL Journals.  It's like trying to fix an American-made toaster with a handful of metric tools. 

    Other than that, I s'pose the infusion went well.  I kind of bled all over everything which was kind of cool.  Then, it was just sit and watch the big bag drip painfully slow.  Ugh!  Next time, I'm bringing scissors and a bottle of gin with me to just snip the top of the Remicade bag and use it as a damn mixer.  Olives optional, baby!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Sausage Oddity...

This puts the 'umm' in Yum.

    This picture arrived in my email from my chum Teefus a day or two ago.  It was a little blurry and difficult for me to read, so I enhanced it and sharpened it, and eventually I got to the point where I could make out the words "sausage, chicken, blueberry and maple syrup." 

    Apparently, some health-conscious, food-hippie at Al Fresco foods thought it might be a good idea to collide these things into a sausage, and seeing as how I'm from Wisconsin, the land of sausages, I think I am qualified to say that this is just freaking insane.  Yes, cheese in a sausage is very good.  Bacon in a sausage?  Not too bad.  A sausage wrapped in a pancake is borderline orgasmic.  But, a ground up hunk of chicken, mixed with blueberries and maple syrup and packed into a casing is quite possibly the first step toward man's inevitable extinction.  I mean, wars have been fought for a hell of a lot less than this, and I'm certain once the good people of Sheboygan, Wisconsin catch wind of this madness, people will be held accountable, laws will be passed, and those responsible will face the white-hot , greasy breath of justice. 
    Now, I did some research, and I poked around the Kayem Foods website.  The interesting thing is, in order to gather information about their products, I need to create an account with them and log-in with a password.  Oddly, this unnatural little meathouse doesn't say anything about how to go about creating an account. 

    Obviously, I am simply left to wonder just what it is that these sausage perverts at Kayem Foods have to hide?  Perhaps they should just get it out of the way and change the name of the place to Soylent Green Incorporated. 

    Anyway, I did find one poor, young blogger out there who not only has eaten these abominations, but actually endorses them by saying that they are (and I quote) "Fabulous." 

    Please, readers.  Fear for the children.  FEAR FOR THE CHILDREN!!!


Chef House?

Tony Bourdain   
    Now, I've mentioned before that I am a fan of Tony Bourdain.  His observations of cooking tend to resonate with eaters such as myself.  And, his pull-no-punches critiques and relentless --albeit justified-- hectoring of the Food Network sometimes leaves me gasping for air as a result of laughing until I weep.  Say whatever you will about the man; however, one thing is certain: he is damn serious about food and those who prepare it. 

    This can be seen on Michael Ruhlman's blog where Bourdain sometimes pops in to rattle the place like Dr. House sauntering up to the bedside of a dying patient and calling him a pain in the ass.  And, as it turns out, the patient is, in fact, a legitimate pain in the ass. 
    Anyway, in the latest Bourdain entry, he gives an outstanding, honest rundown of some of the celebrity chefs on the Food Network who we've come to know and love and how the network itself is teetering on the brink of becoming pointless and irrelevant, and, as it turns out, I find myself agreeing with everything he says. 

    For example, of Sandra Lee, he says:
Pure evil. This frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker seems on a mission to kill her fans, one meal at a time. She Must Be Stopped. Her death-dealing can-opening ways will cut a swath of destruction through the world if not contained. I would likely be arrested if I suggested on television that any children watching should promptly go to a wooded area with a gun and harm themselves. What’s the difference between that and Sandra suggesting we fill our mouths with Ritz Crackers, jam a can of Cheez Wiz in after and press hard?
    Brilliant!  And, in response, I left the following comment:

Watching her show is not entirely unlike sticking one's head into a cotton-candy machine, followed by a quick dip in the Fryolator and having that deep-fried, pastel, sugary head-crust shattered by French kissing a speeding  cement-mixer during a gay-pride parade.

It's not only bad; it's noisy-pink bad.

    The rest of the piece, believe it or not, is surprisingly positive with what I think are some really spot-on appraisals of many celebrity chefs and some great insights into how to destroy a television network.  So, if you've got time to waste, do yourself a favor and drop by for a tremendous giggle. 


Anna Nicole Smith


    Anna Nicole Smith collapsed and died a short time ago.

    I'm sure a lot of people are going to have a lot to say on this.  I just think it's a tragedy if you consider how the past year has been a complete hell for her with the death of her son just after the birth of her daughter, her weight loss and the TrimSpa lawsuits.  It'll be interesting to learn more and more about this, I'm sure. 


Life in Limbo...

    Just one more day to go...

    Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I have to go for another infusion of the stuff which is supposed to make things not hurt so wickedly for the next eight weeks. 

    It's kind of weird how, without so much as even glancing at the calendar, I can tell when this Remicade stuff is leaving my system, and I am due for another dose.  And, well, with this annoyingly pointless cold weather we've been having lately, this past week has just been a painful, little dance through the lifeless, gray purgatory of a typical Wisconsin winter.  But, the beer is cheap here, and the furnace works, so it all works out, huh?
    Seriously, there just isn't a damn thing to do in Milwaukee around this time of year.  We've gotten to the point where we huddle around the fire in our respective caves and sacrifice our brain cells and sanity to the angry sun gods who always seem to abandon us when we need them most. 

    On the plus side, however, with nothing much going on, I can actually take advantage of this.  Yes.  There's nothing better to pass the time than sitting and watching a cheese age.   Hooray, cheese!

(update)    I just saw Cheddarvision "plugged" on Keith Olberman's show.  Of course, he was funnier about it than I, but, you know, I take my cheese damn seriously.  You hear me Olberman?  Don't screw with the wheel of cheese!  If you pick on the cheese, the terrorists win. 

Monday, February 5, 2007

Just Checking In...

    Now, this is an awesome picture.  In fact, I'm willing to say it's probably the coolest thing you'll see all week.   It's got fireworks, a comet, and lightning (who doesn't love at least one of those things?).  Trust me.  If you don't click on that link and read the explanation, you'll be sorry. 



Saturday, February 3, 2007

Oh! This is Funny!

    If you're a fan of Doctor Who, The Daleks, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, then this should have you weeping with laughter (I'm talking to you, Cinzano!).

    In other news, and just in case any of you are curious, the temperature here has dropped to a balmy one degree with a wind-chill of twenty-below.  It's snowing lightly and the sun is shining.  All I can say is, now I know why bears and John Scalzi tend to hibernate during this time of year. 

    Anyway, enjoy the show.



    Look at this:
What the hell is unknown precipitation?   
    Here's my weather.  Yes.  It's very cold here.  It's not quite Fargo-cold, but it's still damn frosty, and it's supposed to stay this way for the next several days.  Fortunately, we have the lake here to keep us warm.  Otherwise, it might be, umm, colder? 

    Anyway, one of the things I really love about this weather report is the line "Unknown precipitation." 

    Seriously.  How is that supposed to help? 

    Is it raining?  Is it snowing?  Do we have whiskey and battery acid tumbling from the sky?  What the hell, weather people?  Can't someone stick their head out the door and say, "Hmm...  I'm going to say it's snowing.  I'm a meteorologist, and we learned about this in school.  Yes.  This might be snow." 

    Sometimes, I think they just give up when it comes to Wisconsin weather.  And, it's probably only a matter of time before I see the forecast saying: "It's going to be light today with a very good chance of becoming dark later in the day.  Good luck." 


Friday, February 2, 2007

Wasn't He the Guy Who Punched Midgets?

    Here's a recent phone conversation which should enlighten you to the goings on in my life:

    "Hi, this is your mother."
    "Hi, Mom."
    "What do you want?"
    "I wanted to tell you [name withheld] died of a heart attack."
    "Thanks.  But, I have no idea who that is."
    "Yes you do."
    "No, mom.  I honestly don't remember him."
    "Sure you do.  You saw him once when you were five."
    "Wait.  Now that you mention it, wasn't he the guy who always wore the orange jumpsuit who went around town sucking on tail pipes and eating paint chips while punching midgets and children in the face?"
    "Oh nevermind."
    "He owes me ten bucks!"
     "I said nevermind."