Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, February 28, 2005

A Special Message!

This is for JBR, the Frequent Flyer. I usually forget about these things, but this time I think I'm in under the wire!

Confused? Think about it.. it'll come to you. Flygirl's already wiping up snorted coffee off her monitor by now!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Long-Delayed Interview Is UP!!

I dunno if y'all remember the interview I had scheduled at Jennifer Larson's blog, since it got pushed back a few days while she recovered from Horrible Poisonous Toad envenomation.

Anyway, it's up! I know a few people from my past posted some questions, 'cause there's a few from Cap's Dark Ages!

Go take a look!

I'll post the interview here after a week or so, but go give her some traffic!

Friday, February 25, 2005

No Blogging Until Sunday!

Not being equipped with a laptop & wireless modem and lacking the chutzpah to do a liveblogging session from Grandma's funeral service and graveside memorial, I won't be posting anything until I return on Sunday evening.

There's a slight possibility that I'll have the time this morning to clean up the 4000 word tale I meant to leave you as a "tide you over" gift, but the version that was ready to post was also on the flash drive, and is now gone forever. I have a rough edit of the story, but I dunno how long that might take to get into postable shape. Between washing clothes, packing and doing the 120 things you need to do before leaving town, I might hit the time wall. I gotta be in Arlington by 5 pm, so a noon-thirty departure is my target.

I'll look into the guest-blogging thing next time I'm away for a couple of days. I'm amazed by the trust level you have to have to let someone tiptoe through your blog account. I know whoever I picked would be just as trustworthy as I'd like to think I am, given the keys to their house, but I still get the queasies thinking about handing over that password!

Check back in about noon-ish today. If the gigantimous post is there, enjoy! If not, I'll be back Sunday evening.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Well, This Seriously Bites Some Big Ol' Ballsack

My Lexar JumpDrive just cratered today. Got it as a stocking stuffer for Xmas, and was using it to shuttle data files back and forth between work & home. I was so pleased with this thing! Worked flawlessly on both an XP Pro machine and my OSX Mac. I used it this morning to get that horrible Batman tattoo pic uploaded to the blog, then I dismounted it as usual. My buddy BooBoo had some issues with his flash drive last year, and lost a lot of data, so I was always very careful to use the correct procedure when disconnecting it.

I went to plug it back in this afternoon, and it was as dead as fried chicken. No blinky lights, no cheery "dinkdonk" tones. Carried it home, and the song remained the same on the Mac. Nothing.

I went to Lexar's website, and got hooked up with their live webchat system. I strongly suspect that "Peter Williams" was a clever code for "Rajiv Gupta", since his vocabulary and sentence phrasing was sort of off-kilter, but he ponied up an RMA ticket in less than 4 minutes, so I can get a new drive sent to me.

And therein lies the rub... If I could be guaranteed the data was lost forever, I've got no problem sending it in. As it is, I've got probably 100,000 words of unpublished fiction, verse and blogfodder on that drive, and I damn sure don't need that getting loose.

I can just imagine how funny this must seem to their tech support department. No doubt they have lots of people sweating out the fact that they've got 100 MB of kiddie p()rn on their flash drive, and they don't want to get in trouble when the techies crack open the drive and sort through the data. I can honestly say that aside from the Batman pic, there's not a smidgen of nekkidness (in the pictoral sense, anyway) on my drive, but I'm sure I sound just like the mouth-breathing pervs with my concern for getting the data wiped before I send it in.

Sigh. I'm about ready to just go spend the $35-45 bucks for a new drive, and hit this one with a hammer.

What do y'all think I should do?

Eye Candy Report

New female employee on our floor this week! Different department, but her office is only three doors down from mine. She's a looker, which is always nice for brightening up the atmosphere around here. There's a problem, though.

She kinda reminds me of Celine Dion. And that's a bad thing. Nothing against tall, rail-thin women. A man needs a little variety in his cherchez la femme-ing. I like a bit more padding on the frame, but she's got a nice exotic "my fur-trader grandpére mated with an Assiniboine squaw and produced me" thing happening. This woman's actually from Quebec, too, or at least somewhere close by.

So what's the problem?

That damnable Quebecois accent! All I can think about every time she says a word is the old Saturday Night Live sketch by Ana Gasteyer where she spoofs Celine Dion...

"Hi am zee mos' wonnerful seengar in ze hentire whorld!!"

Heh. Totally blows the mood. Oh well, maybe I can ask her if she knows how to make poutine and doner kebab.

Aiii! My Eyes!

OK, I'm gonna go all Geek/Nerd on y'all here for a minute, and confess a social sin.

I used to collect comics. I'd probably still be doing it, but where Dallas had a comics shop around every corner, Houston's got a grand total of three, all located at the ass end of creation. So, I quit adding to my stash about 2 years ago. I had left most of the Spandex superhero crap behind long ago in favor of the more film-noir style stuff, and a smattering of fantasy and reality titles. There was one hero comic I never stopped collecting, though, and that was the Batman comics series.

Way back when, I received as a birthday gift a hardcover omnibus edition of Batman comics, reprinting a good overview of the Batman titles from the origin, to the murky pre-Comics Code tales from the '40s, the schlock of the 50's, the gritty "New Reality" of the '60s and '70s. I must have reread that thing 250 times. I was hooked on the mythos. I had also received a similar edition of the Superman comics, but that one gathered dust. There's only so much you can do with the overgrown Boy Scout, plot-wise. Batman could mine a wide swath of territory for story materials, ranging from psychological issues to moral issues in a way Superman never could.

But I'm not here to talk about Batman. Nope, the topic of today is... Robin. Y'see, I saw something the other day that really creeped me out. More on that in a minute.

OK, the Robin thing. There are several distinct points of view on the reason the character of Dick Grayson/Robin entered the Batman storyline. Conventional wisdom, and the one I find most logical is that Robin was added to give the primary consumer of the comic books (pre-teen & teen boys) a character to identify with. Comics are all about wish fulfillment and hero worship. What better way to suck a kid into the weekly buying cycle than to give them a character close to their own age they can relate to?

Along come the revisionist historians, though, and suddenly the simple explanation is just too pat to be believable. Nope, giving boys a role model and a hero to idolize is just too simple a solution. There's got to be something scurrilous underneath it all!

Lo, the theory of the Pedophile Batman begins. Dick Grayson/Robin's not some random boy beset by violence that a wealthy man takes under his wing to raise and train to fight evil! Oh, no! After all, can't you see that Bruce Wayne has deep psychological issues! He *attacks* people! He's acting as judge, jury and executioner! He hides behind a mask, fer goshsakes! What else is he hiding??

Well, to the revisionist, obviously he's hiding his homosexuality and taste for pederasty. Of course, they gloss over the 'millionaire playboy' aspect of the Wayne character. Their reasoning is that the women dating Bruce Wayne who pop in and out of the storylines are just "beards" put there to misdirect you from the real truth, the truth that Bruce & Dick (And their names are a dead giveaway, don't ya know!) are just having a decades-long sausage party at Wayne Mansion.

OK, it's another theory for Robin's inclusion in the comics. I don't buy it, but nevertheless, it's been out there for some time. Robin's not the only young sidekick to get added into an existing comic, though. Green Arrow had Speedy, Captain America had Bucky, Aquaman had Aqualad, and even Wonder Woman had the Holliday Girls. Hell, they all can't be pedophiles!

Anyway, what started all this was a pic I ran across the other day. I could have gone my whole life without seeing this:

I'll give the guy props for a well-inked tattoo, but the subject matter just creeped me out more than a little.

So, what theory holds the most water? Your comments are welcome!

If Ya Had To Be A Muppet...

Well, I should have seen this coming. It was bound to be these guys, or the Sveeedish Chef.

statler jpeg

You are Statler or Waldorf.

You have a high opinion of yourself, as do others.
But only because you are in the balcony seats.

Those two old guys in the box.

Heckling, complaining, being cantankerous

"Get off the stage, you bum!"

"The Art of Insult" and "How To Insult Art"

Their pacemakers.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What A Master Stroke!

Well, not only did Walrilla stroke my ego, he also picked just the right moment to do it! Seeing his post about my site was just the ego-boost I needed to turn a bad day into a pleasant evening.

I'm fresh out of cash and METRO bus passes for a reward, but I'll repay you in kind! Your brand new blog is now on my Texas blogroll, and here's to a long and successful blogging career!

Go hang with the Walrilla for a while!

How could I NOT blogroll him? He told people to go see my site, and 4 people did inside of 90 minutes, spending over an hour reading my scribbles! With Walrilla directing traffic, I'll leave this asshole in the dust before Labor Day! Of course, monkeys will likely fly out of my ass, too...

Le Cou Rouge

Hmmmph. Some "nuance"! For all their vaunted Gallic culture, Frogs are apparently just as much a pack of exophobic hillbillies as any clan of inbred rednecks from up in a Tennessee holler. The difference being, they don't brew moonshine or bathe. Even our rednecks wash occasionally.

Go see what I'm talking about.

Bah. To hell with the Frogs. The only time they're happy seeing foreigners in their country is when Le Boche have taken up residence, and the Parisians want their cafés back.

Via Kim du Toit's site.

A Public Service Message

For those of you in the Houston area who like exploring the local taquerias and assorted ethnic dives in search of weird and wonderful dishes, let me issue a warning.

Should you run across the Jarro Cafe on N. Gessner, by all means stop in and have a great meal. The tacos are good, as are the enchiladas con pollo in the poblano mole sauce.

If, while waiting for your comida to be prepared, you avail yourself of the 6 assorted condiments and the big basket of tortilla chips, keep a couple of things in mind:

First, the minced pickled onions are anointed with a good amount of chili powder, accounting for their pink color. When the tiny onion particles adhere to the back wall of your esophagus, it's gonna sting just a bit.

Second, unlike the soupy green tomatillo-based sauce at Ninfa's restaurant, which is mild and tasty and good for dousing fires on your tongue, the soupy green sauce at El Jarro appears to be made from pureed serrano peppers and chiletepins, which are then mixed with concentrated sulfuric acid.

When you scoop up a big portion of the green sauce on a chip to calm the fires from the previous bite, pause just a second to call Blue Cross and have an ambulance on the way, 'cause you're just one bite away from a coronary infarction brought on by disastrous amounts of heat hitting your tongue.

I like hot stuff. My chili, when I get it spiced right, will result in the solid spoon being a perforated spoon by the end of the cooking process. Thai food doesn't scare me, nor Szechuan, nor any Indian vindaloo. I mock your habanero-spiked Jamaican Jerk Chicken sauce as only being fit for weaning babies. Wisconsin cheese farmer "don't-like-black-pepper-'cause-it's-too-spicy" babies, at that.

That green shit's just INSANE, though! The heat just kept increasing until I was dipping the tip of my tongue in my iced tea just to numb it enough to keep from having to cut it off to reduce the pain.

Avoid the green acid, folks. It makes you have a bad trip!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dr. Gene Scott - Dead at Age 75

Well, damn. Another media idol croaks. First Raoul Duke heads off into Bat Country forever, now Gene Scott's gone to the great horse ranch in the sky.

Who's next? With the way this trend is going, it's probably going to be Walter Cronkite followed by Billy Graham.

Gene Scott was an interesting guy. Head of the University Cathedral in Los Angeles (with the address of PO Box #1, L.A., CA. How cool is that?), he ran a TV preacher show for 30 years. I never really saw the appeal, but apparently he's gotten people to donate metric tons of cash for his various enterprises.

Often I'd be flipping channels and come across his TV show. He'd be lounging in a chair, smoking a cigar and not saying a word. Occasionally the pledge line phone # would scroll across the screen. Many times the picture would cut to a horse ranch, and you'd see 10 minutes of thoroughbred horses galloping in a paddock, watched over by Gene Scott. When he chose to preach, he would have on sunglasses, with an additional pair of reading glasses perched on the tip of his nose in front of the shades. The sermons were rarely interesting, unless you were into Biblical obscurities, and I could never manage to take in more than a half hour or so before boredom (or sobering up) forced a channel change.

He wasn't as hilarious as Robert Tilton, or as incomprehensible as Jack Van Impe, but Dr. Scott was truly memorable for shearing his flock, and making them love the experience.

Weekend Up North

Well, I got the hotel reservations made for the trip up to D/FW this weekend. I've got no lack of friends who always offer to shove their dog out of his Dogloo to give me a crashpad, but for some reason, they all seem to live on the other side of the Metroplex from where I need to be this go-round.
A & L live over in Garland, Zip's in Richardson, Kosher Red's all the way up in McKinney, and Rockhauler's way on the ass-end of creation over in Saginaw. People! Move in from the sticks!! ;-)

In the interest of keeping the commute times (and gas bills) down, I'm doing a covert trip this time, and sticking close to Arlington. I found a good hotel over by Six Flags. Pretty cheap, which means my room window is probably right next to the roller coasters. Well, at least there the late-night shrieking and rumbling won't be coming from the room next door, like in the cheaper hotels I've stayed at.

As much as I'd like to do the social whirl while I'm up there, I'm going to be kind of tied down to the family most of the weekend. This has its ups and downs. While I get along with most of the clan, there's one or two relatives that just grate on my nerves something fierce. So, once again, it's an exercise in diplomacy for 48 hours.

We ought to be done with the assorted services and the burial by midafternoon Saturday. Probably a late lunch after that, and the clan will disperse back to their assorted regions. I'm going to stay over an additional night, just to sightsee a while. They've made some huge changes to the UTA campus in the 10 years since I've gradjitated, and I'd like to see what's different.

Also, there's a couple of watering holes I'd like to revisit Saturday night. I spent many a dollar at JR Bentley's while at UTA. They used to pour a good drink, so I'll have to see if they still do. I doubt if I'll be able to get a buddy of mine to let his alter-ego "Al-vis" make an appearance, but if he's there that night, I'll do what I can. Trust me, seeing a 6'2" black man who regularly sings opera suddenly break into an Elvis impersonation is worth the money it takes to get him loaded!

I'm going to do my usual Sunday brunch at J Gilligans after I check out of the hotel, so probably noon-thirtyish. Anyone craving their Irish nachos and awesome burgers is more than welcome to drop by. They also make a world-class glass of iced tea, guaranteeing me a pit stop at every rest area on the way back to Houston after I've inhaled half a gallon. Just look for the guy in the "El Capitan" hat. (Thanks again, Zip!)

I imagine I'll also stop in at the Lone Star Comics store on Abram, right by J Gilligans. I worked for Buddy Saunders at the center of his Geek Empire as my first job out of college, running their shipping/receiving department. The nerd factor is high, especially if they're having in-store gaming that day, but they've got a better sci-fi book selection than anywhere else in the Metroplex. It's worth a visit!

More news as I dream it up...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Well, That Was Unexpected...

Before I left for the weekend, I dumped a fresh bag of LifeSavers Peppermint candies (to which I am addicted) in my desk drawer. You get a nice whiff of peppermint oil whenever you open your drawer for a week or so.

At lunch Friday I had wandered over to a local drugstore to get some dental wax (see earlier post concerning wisdom teeth) and took advantage of the post-Valentines Day sales to grab a bag or two (or three) of the 75% off chocolates. FWIW, the caramel-filled Hershey's Kisses are OK, but the dark chocolate Kisses are fantastic. The bag of dark chocolate gets dumped in the drawer as well.

So I come into work today, and when I hit that low-blood-sugar trough mid-morning, I grab a couple of chocolates, and make an amazing discovery. They're now mint chocolates.

Not quite as minty as say, a York peppermint patty, but there's enough mint to be noticeable. I suppose the volatile oils from the Lifesavers soaked into the chocolates. The mix of Hershey's Dark and peppermint is pretty darned good. I think I'm going to try this experiment again, only with unwrapped Kisses, and real peppermint oil in a sealed container.

I'll let you know how it turns out, but alas, I doubt there will be any remaining samples!

Muchas Gracias!

Thanks to everyone who sent emails or comments of condolence. They were greatly appreciated.

It looks like the memorial service is going to be 10:30 Saturday morning at 1st Christian Church in Arlington, Texas with interment following somewhere in Ft. Worth. I'm a bit ashamed to say this, but I've quite forgotten where one of my grandfathers is buried, but I assure you, we'll get it figured out, and get Grandma planted next to him.

I wonder... do you dig up the whole grave to bury the urn of ashes, or will a post-hole digger suffice? Hmm... these things you never have to think about until they become an issue.

For the record, I'm all for cremation and ash-scattering. No gloomy crypt or moldering headstone for me. Plant a tree, and come feed it a bottle of scotch and some cigar ashes for a few years. By the time I've faded in your memory, the tree will be doing fine on its own. Lots better than a 4' x 8' plot of ground.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Clock Strikes Twelve...

We just received word that my grandmother died this afternoon.

It wasn't unexpected, and given her advanced Alzheimer's and the resulting lowered quality of life, this is actually somewhat of a blessing that she passed on without a long & painful struggle.

We'll miss you, Grandma Annabel. Have a safe journey.

Me and my sister with Grandma, probably 1973-74

More Info Requested...

I thought I had generated information overload with the '100 Things' list, but there's been a call from DenimDoll, one of my regular commenters, for more information on a few items.

She was cool with me posting her questions and the replies here on the blog, so here we go. I'll boldface her questions, plaintext my answers, and leave the original 'Thing' in italics.

22. I have an extremely wide range of interests, so much so that I never stick with one long enough to be great at it. I'm not quite a dilettante, but I personify the phrase "Jack of All Trades, Master of None".
> That isn't necessarily a bad thing, you know.

No, I guess not, but it would be nice to be known as an expert in at least one field. I can fit in almost anywhere due to what knowledge I've squirreled away, but inevitably I run into someone who really knows his stuff on a topic, and I get pinned in a corner when I reach the end of my knowledge on that subject.

Still, I do OK most times. This next tidbit is bragging a little, but it's absolutely true. I have never lost at Trivial Pursuit. Not once. I've also been very careful not to play a sports-themed edition, so take that with a grain of salt! Taking a hint from the Duke of Wellington's playbook, I've learned how to pick the battlefield to my best advantage!

34. I would rather go to a museum than a ball game.
> Impressive! That makes you one very rare guy.

Well, don't get me wrong! When I was living in Dallas/Ft. Worth I loved being near the Texas Rangers team. At the old Arlington Stadium we used to get 1/2 price bleacher seats for $2, and hoot & holler from way up in the nosebleed section. After they built The Ballpark In Arlington (I will NOT call it by the corporate bought & paid-for name!), I truly felt I was entering a Cathedral to America's Pastime. It's a lovely place, and an All-American game. I feel very much a part of our great society when attending a baseball game, especially seeing all the kids with their dads and their gloves, hoping for a foul tip.

I like high school and college football, 'cause they're playing for something more than $$$. I couldn't give a rat's ass about the pro football leagues in more than just a general fashion. I have no use for basketball or hockey, and I get tired just watching tennis.

Still, an afternoon at the Kimbell or the DMA or the MFA is always preferable. Sports is good for fun, but art feeds the soul.

40. I've spent more money on books in the last decade than I have on vacations or dating women.
> This one makes you a very wise person. :-)

I dunno about that! ;-) Books give you paper cuts when you go to lay a goodnight kiss on them! Each book is a kind of mini-vacation, though.

53. My personal library has over 3000 books. Unfortunately, most reside in boxes instead of shelves.
> What kind of books are in your library?

It's easier to say what kind of books AREN'T in my library. I don't do romance novels, technical manuals, or faith-based fiction. I don't read as many biographies as I ought to.
Everything else is fair game. I've got everything from astronomy to zoology, cookbooks to codebooks, poetry to plays, space operas to whodunits. If you've got Excel, I've got the collection on a spreadsheet, but I haven't updated it in almost 2 years, so it's short 500+ books. I need to cull the collection, just for space reasons, but find the winnowing process harder than pulling my own teeth.

62. I was contacted by my biological brother through the adoption agency 10 years ago, but chose not to respond. I have a family already.
> I agree with you on this one. Biology has nothing to do with parenting.

Well, there's more to it than that. Mom's always had a bit of an inferiority complex about being a "good parent" that tends to erupt every so often. I dunno whether it stems from her not hatching her own children, or my lack of interest in producing grandkids for her to spoil. Part of the refusal to meet my biological family is keeping her from thinking I'm dissatisfied with her as a parent, and looking for something more. I know it's silly, and I wish she were more secure about herself, but as they say, you need to pick your battles. Time enough to catch up with them after she's gone. I won't sneak around behind her back just to scratch an itch that's not all that pressing to me. She deserves better, even if she makes me crazy sometimes.

65. The idea of involuntary indoctrination of children bothers me so much, I question the wisdom of ever becoming a parent.
> Ditto (agreement w/#62)

Seeing 4 year olds forced to march around holding up the bloody fetus anti-abortion signs pretty much jelled this belief for me. We would shriek bloody murder if kids were indoctrinated with Marxism in schools, but as a society we're strangely OK with putting them in deadly fear for their souls at a tender age. Let 'em grow up first, before you hit 'em with your accumulated "isms". The flip side is that if you wait until they can make an informed decision, they might not follow your beliefs! A lot of people can't stand that.

66. I have learned that is possible to have sex on a motor scooter.
> Okay, I'm impressed. Oh, and I want details. :-)

That was the night neither roommate (hers or mine) would clear out of the dorm rooms. We were both committed to doing the deed, but being broke college students, we didn't have the coin for a motel room. A moonlight ride to the scenic overlook and a careful balancing act with the scooter on the center stand (no, we weren't riding at the time!) gave a unique perspective on al fresco romancing.

72. I cannot stand ice cream with bits or chunks of stuff in it. Putting almonds or other nuts in ice cream should be punishable by death. Just plain ol' ice cream, please.
> You're kidding! Try some Cold Stone banana ice cream with Reeces Peanut Butter Cups in it and I bet you'd change your mind.

Well, soft squishy stuff like a fudge/marshmallow/caramel swirl or a strawberry puree I can deal with. Even a Reese's chunk wouldn't be all that bad, as long as it wasn't frozen rock hard. I dunno about the banana ice cream, though... I'm kind of particular about my 'nanners. I want 'em either in the original wrapper, or in 'nanner pudding. Frozen ones or artificial banana flavoring oooks me out.

77. I have never set foot in a Hooter's. If you must ogle women, go to a strip club and pay for the privilege, not a low-rent, soft-core chicken-wing shack.
> I have no moral objections to Hooter's - I just think their wings suck.

El Capitan Secret #84357 - I'm addicted to Chili's Boneless Buffalo Wings. I never did care for wings still on the bone.

83. I can throw a tomahawk well enough to split playing cards at 10 paces. Once I get warmed up and in the groove, I rarely miss.
> How in the world did you gain this skill, and more importantly, why?

I grew up reading about Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Jedediah Smith and other pioneer heroes. As a result, I was keenly interested in muzzle-loading firearms, tomahawks and other period weapons. There used to be a store called Bigfoot Primitive Weapons near my house as a youngster, and I'd spend a lot of cash there on assorted paraphernalia until I was old enough to buy the sharp pointy things. I built my own knives & 'hawks from kits, learned to tan hides and sew leather, and just soaked up anything that I could about that era.

As a Scout Camp staffer in the late '80s, I put that knowledge to use. My job for 2 years was to lead kids on mule-packing expeditions where we'd pan for gold, shoot black powder pistols and rifles, throw 'hawks and knives, and generally plant the seeds of adventure in the kids. When you hone your skills all day, every day for weeks at a time, you get pretty darned good.

The thing is, there's not much call for those skills in this day & age unless the shit hits the fan in huge bucketloads. It's not a particularly photogenic style of fighting, either. Forget Daniel Day Lewis's 'Last Of The Mohicans' choreographed dancing. Fighting with tomahawks would be really, really messy. Imagine getting into a boxing match with framing hammers, only with sharp edges.

87. I have two tattoos I love, and one that I probably shouldn't have gotten.
> What are the tattoos of?

My first one (upper right arm) is the state of Texas in the TX flag colors, with a buffalo skull and a pair of crossed tomahawks. I've got a pic somewhere, if I find it I'll scan it in and post it. I can't seem to get a good pic of my own arm right now!

Second one (left ankle) is a howling wolf inside a crescent moon. It's the logo of Warp Graphics. They publish ElfQuest comics, which I've been addicted to and collecting since the early 80's. Take a look, but be careful, Wendy & Richard Pini's art and stories tend to suck you in!

Third one (right calf) continues the silly trend of permanently branding myself with corporate logos. I was working with a bunch of PC geeks who constantly gave me grief for using a Mac. In a fit of insanity, I had the old rainbow Apple logo tattooed on. Two years later, Apple changed to the solid color logo. Needless to say, that's the one I didn't put enough thought into.

Sad News

I learned this morning via Kim du Toit's site that Sgt. Adam Plumondore was killed last week in Iraq.

Sgt. Adam Plumondore was the second half of the Walter-Adam Fund that Kim & Connie du Toit had created as a way to support our soldiers in Iraq. The fund provides needed equipment and some home comforts to boys a long way from home.

I never knew Adam personally, only through the Nation of Riflemen website. By all accounts that I read there, Adam loved what he did, and was quite good at it. His skills will surely be missed.

The poem below was originally written for Cecil Rhodes, a man who almost singlehandedly carved out a new country from the frontier. I think it works just as well to honor a man who helped set a country on the path to free will and self determination.

The Burial - Rudyard Kipling

When that great Kings return to clay,
Or Emperors in their pride,
Grief of a day shall fill a day,
Because its creature died.
But we -- we reckon not with those
Whom the mere Fates ordain,
This Power that wrought on us and goes
Back to the Power again.

Dreamer devout, by vision led
Beyond our guess or reach,
The travail of his spirit bred
Cities in place of speech.
So huge the all-mastering thought that drove --
So brief the term allowed --
Nations, not words, he linked to prove
His faith before the crowd.

It is his will that he look forth
Across the world he won --
The granite of the ancient North --
Great spaces washed with sun.

There shall he patient take his seat
(As when the Death he dared),
And there await a people's feet
In the paths that he prepared.

There, till the vision he foresaw
Splendid and whole arise,
And unimagined Empires draw
To council 'neath his skies,
The immense and brooding Spirit still
Shall quicken and control.
Living he was the land, and dead,
His soul shall be her soul!

Adios, Sgt. Plumondore, y Vaya con Dios. We honor you and thank you for your service.

100 Things Deluxe Edition

The entire 100 is here. I also put a link in the sidebar.

I'm full of Scotch and painkillers for this damned wisdom tooth. Off to bed.

Friday, February 18, 2005

100 Things About Me - The Final Chapter

Here's the tail end of the personal trivia. I may do a few more in the future.
Hope you enjoyed reading them or at least weren't bored to tears!

81. "Casablanca" is my favorite movie, but the Lord Of The Rings trilogy is a very close second.

82. If I still smoked cigarettes, I'd be smoking Camel Filters, and lighting them with my brass Zippo. (Not to be confused with the Grey-Plumed Parrotheaded Zippo)

83. I can throw a tomahawk well enough to split playing cards at 10 paces. Once I get warmed up and in the groove, I rarely miss.

84. I've had my head hair gradually disappearing starting back in my early 20's. I just can't bring myself to go the chrome-dome route, but you won't catch me in a combover, either.

85. My eyesight used to be extraordinary, but the years are taking their toll. This bugs me worse than losing my hair.

86. I'll keep my opinions about your religion to myself unless you try and proselytize. Then, the gloves come off and you will not be happy with me.

87. I have two tattoos I love, and one that I probably shouldn't have gotten.

88. I've eaten fried grasshoppers. They do not taste like chicken.

89. I switched majors 7 times in college, and eventually got a BA in Advertising and a 2nd BA in Sociology. I use neither in my current occupation.

90. I would like to beat the record for driving through all 48 contiguous states. I would use a bus or motor home towing a diesel-tank trailer, and never stop except for red lights. And not many of those!

91. I wish I could draw and paint with some degree of skill.

92. My favorite sculptor is Jean-Antoine Houdon, my favorite painter is Claude Monet. My 2nd favorite painter is Earl Scheib.

93. I think RC Cola tastes better than Coke or Pepsi. Dr Pepper beats all three.

94. My guitar wants to kill yo' mama! (Sorry, running out of steam here...)

95. I'm pretty good at tying cherry stems into a knot using only my tongue.

96. I learned that the signal cannon at one of my old summer camps has a bore exactly the size of C-cell batteries, and a filmcan-sized charge of powder will send a battery halfway across the lake. Do not ask me how I discovered this.

97. I haven't missed an Indy 500 since 1985. One of these years, I'll manage to go see it live.

98. I have visited Hippy Hollow and gone skinnydipping.

99. My favorite color used to be blue, but over the years, I came to prefer dark green.

100. My perfect Xmas list would be: A wad of cash large enough to pay for a custom-designed 10,000 sq. ft. house on 5000 acres of land; a mint condition Lamborghini Espada with Monica Bellucci in the passenger seat; A C-130 and free air-tanker privileges worldwide; a new M14 and a new Thompson SMG with a gunnysack full of 50-round drum mags, A new G5 Mac with the 30" Cinema Display, and maybe world peace.

Nah, screw world peace, I wanna try out the tommygun!

My Face Hurts

What a miserable day this is gonna be. Yesterday sucked too. Tomorrow ain't looking too good either.

So, what am I bitching about? I'm cutting a tooth, something I hoped would be all finished by the time I went to kindergarten.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those folks whose wisdom teeth chose to wait another 30 years to appear, rather than remain dormant below the gum line, or get chopped out of your jawbone when you're in your teens. There's enough room in my jaw to accommodate the new choppers, but that doesn't mean that my cheek and gums are eager to have a new tenant.

This is the last of the 4 to make its appearance. The previous one was about 2 years ago. That's just long enough a span to let you forget how much fun trying to eat solid food is when your mouth is all swollen up.

Once the sharp edges get worn down a bit, it won't be so bad, but HayZoos this is miserable right now. I've already sick of the Oragel/Anbesol stuff, which does tend to deaden the pain a bit, but also makes you drool like a St. Bernard.

Too bad I'm at work. A cotton ball loaded with 101 proof bourbon would do wonders here, but the resulting boozebreath would get me in hot water!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

100 Things About Me - Part 4

61. I'm tired of the PC vs. Mac argument. Use the platform you prefer, and shut up about it.

62. I was contacted by my biological brother through the adoption agency 10 years ago, but chose not to respond. I have a family already.

63. Something I was involved in was a factor in having a University President resign. I'll look into the statute of limitations, and blog about it later if I'm in the clear.

64. I have had numerous run-ins with Johnny Law, yet have managed to avoid the shiny silver bracelets each time.

65. The idea of involuntary indoctrination of children bothers me so much, I question the wisdom of ever becoming a parent.

66. I have learned that is possible to have sex on a motor scooter.

67. I don't get in touch with my friends as often as I should.

68. I'd like to distill, bottle and market a Texas whiskey. That stuff ought to sell like crazy overseas.

69. I have no moral objections to cloning or gene modifications. I see humanity more in biological terms than in spiritual terms. Grow me some gills, & I'll gladly be Homo Aquaticus.

70. Briefs. I go commando every so often just to give the boys a day out, though.

71. My first car was a hand-me-down. Dad gave me the old Family Truckster, a 1977 Dodge Aspen station wagon, along with a Chilton manual and a set of tools. It lasted 4 years before the engine blew.

72. I cannot stand ice cream with bits or chunks of stuff in it. Putting almonds or other nuts in ice cream should be punishable by death. Just plain ol' ice cream, please.

73. I have no real objection to gay marriage, but I think it would be accepted quicker if they pushed for "civil unions" instead of wanting the fairytale wedding. No pun intended.

74. I have blue eyes, and they're probably my best feature. I have people stop me in public to compliment me on them, which weirds me out more than a little.

75. In spite of the above statement, if they ever develop practical mirrorshade contact lenses, I'll be first in line to buy 'em.

76. I haven't had a hot cup of coffee since 1996. I was cutting back on caffeine, and I never saw the point of drinking unleaded coffee.

77. I have never set foot in a Hooter's. If you must ogle women, go to a strip club and pay for the privilege, not a low-rent, soft-core chicken-wing shack.

78. My favorite chain restaurant is Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse.

79. I have this persistent yet firmly repressed desire to pierce my cat's ears and put in little gold earrings. She'd look so great! I'd probably do it if she wouldn't tear them out while scratching with her back feet. Hey, no whining! People do this to babies all the time!

80. Yes, the above obsession came from reading C.J. Cherryh's 'Pride of Chanur' series...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Photoshop Phunnies

Unlike my friend Zippo, I am not a Photoshop whiz. I've got a copy from the Mac OS 7.6 era, but never took the time to learn it.

I used GraphicConverter wayyyy back in 95 or 96 to do this pic, though. I still get a chuckle when I see it.

Well, I'm off for a little of the old in-out in-out, my droogs. I've had my milk-plus, and I'm ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence!

Keep yer yarbles tucked in your sabogs, O my brothers!

100 Things About Me - Part 3

41. I spent months designing a wargame about the Waterloo battle, but never got past initial playtesting.

42. I have a real pottymouth at times. I probably let an F-bomb slip out in public more often than I realize.

43. I fully support legalization of marijuana. The health dangers have never been proven. The people with a vested interest in seeing it remain illegal (cops, politicians, the alcohol and paper trade) are doing the most to hold legalization back.

44. I'm down to one grandparent, and I fear Grandma Annabel has just about reached the end of her tether. ***UPDATE*** 2/21/05 - I'm now fresh out of grandparents.

45. My first computer bought with my own cash was an Atari 1040 ST in 1988.

46. "The Blues Brothers" and "Trading Places" are my all-time favorite comedy movies.

47. I love elaborate pranks, or those that send a message. Doing a great one without causing damage, injury or getting caught is one of my favorite things.

48. Call me cruel and heartless, but I think that $$$ used for developing for the long term outward expansion of the human race is infinitely better spent than using $$$ to stem the tide of impending Malthusian disaster.

49. I once played Capture The Flag on an empty cruise ship.

50. I used to get up at 6 am just to see Valerie Allain on the "French In Action" PBS language show. "Ah, Mireille, mon choux! Voulez vouz coucher avec moi ce soir?" See, I learned a lot!

51. I like sushi, but I can't bring myself to eat the big red salmon eggs.

52. I sometimes wish I had stuck with metalworking instead of going back to college. I bet I would have made a hell of a machinist. I miss making intricate things with my hands.

53. My personal library has over 3000 books. Unfortunately, most reside in boxes instead of shelves.

54. I like thin crust pizza with sausage, mushrooms and onions.

55. My house is a mess, but my weapons are spotless. At least I have my priorities straight.

56. I believe creating art without skilled technique is akin to cooking while blindfolded and without a recipe. Sure, you'll get lucky once in a while, but most of what you produce will be useless crap.

57. I think I would have been better off in life if I had joined one of the Armed Services right out of high school.

58. I'm partial to Maker's Mark bourbon, Glenmorangie scotch, Barbancourt rum, Gordon's gin and Centenario tequila. I appreciate beer & wine, and have consumed a lot of each, but liquor is my tipple of choice.

59. I'd love to live on a boat, but my indifference to regular maintenance would sink me pretty quick.

60. Given 2000 acres, I'd raise buffalo, longhorn cattle, goats, and a shitload of marijuana.

That Could've Been Ugly...

El Capitan dodges a bullet early this morning.

I get in to find a revised copy of the Official Dress Code authorized by The Man waiting in my mailbox. Apparently our new crop of interns have dared to bring denim and/or a sneakered foot in these hallowed halls, so instead of calling them all into one room and explaining the routine, someone kills three trees to reprint the employee manual section covering dress code, and place a copy in the entire division's mailboxes.

God, I love efficiency in action!

Anyway, I'm looking at some of the silly shite on this code... wait, lemme share some of this juicy goodness with you. I swear, this is almost as bad as the old EDS dress code.

From the Mens's Section:

*Nose/ear hair cut or trimmed. (well, thank Ghod for that tip. I used to just braid mine.)

*Suspenders or belt, not both. (Damn, I just wanted that extra insurance)

*Tie - Falls between middle of belt buckle to end of belt buckle.

*A knotted tie should just brush the top of your belt line. (printed several lines below the above rule)

*With a traditional or tab collar, always tie a four-in-hand knot. With a spread or button down collar, tie a half-windsor knot. (I challenge any of these rules geeks to be able to tell the difference between the two knots. Just to annoy them, I've started using the Pratt knot.)

*Do not wear button down collars with double breasted suits (The Fashion Police are here!)

*Bow ties are becoming more popular as a part of the business attire ('Swelp me God it says that...)

*Slacks - One break; pressed. (gotta throw out all my 4-break trousers...)

From the Womens's Section:

*Quality rather than quantity (WTF?)

*Too tight = Cheap; bit classy. (WTF? Pt. 2)

*Fingernails - manicured, clean, no peeling nail polish, watch the length (less is more); No fluorescent colors, no nail art or pierced nails. (Can I still have diamonds embedded?)

*Slacks - A jacket may be worn for a professional look. (Shouldn't that be in the jacket category?)

It's all silliness of the highest order. I'm reading through this, and I suddenly wonder about gorilla suits. I've had gorilla suits on the brain lately. A friend is getting married in April, and I contacted her to let her know I was going to wear a gorilla suit to the nuptials. She asked me to please refrain, as that was what she was planning to wear, and we all know you shouldn't outshine the bride on her special day. (Note: If you happen upon female friends with a sense of humor like this, treasure them!)

So, I'm giggling about this silly dress code gleaned from the 1964 edition of Redbook or McCalls, and I wonder about how a gorilla suit would go over. I start to lean into a co-worker's office and say "So, Kim, I guess you're gonna have to quit wearing that gorilla suit!"

Something stopped me at the last minute, and a damn good thing, too.

Y'see, Kim is black. That could've been a shitstorm of the 14th degree. She might've seen the humor in the comment, but you never know. After hearing this story, anything can happen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

100 Things About Me - Part 2

The list continued...

21. I am probably the world's worst swimmer. How I passed Lifesaving merit badge as a kid is a mystery.

22. I have an extremely wide range of interests, so much so that I never stick with one long enough to be great at it. I'm not quite a dilettante, but I personify the phrase "Jack of All Trades, Master of None".

23. I hate the climate in the sub-tropical swamp that is Houston. I'd rather freeze than sweat. Since I don't want to leave Texas, I guess I ought to move to Amarillo.

24. I have only been outside of the U.S. a few times, either in Canada or in Mexican border towns.

25. I'd like to own a trio of long-haired miniature dachshunds and a pair of Siamese cats. The dogs would be named Andouille, Kielbasa and Chorizo. The cats would be called Shiwan Khan and Yeng Ko.

26. I've started writing dozens of novels. Only two are worth completing, in my opinion.

27. If I sing around you, I'm either drunk, or truly comfortable in your presence.

28. On both the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler, I missed "The Big G" by 4 points. This bothers me, though perhaps it shouldn't.

29. I'm not a fan of abortion as a method of birth control, but I do not believe that egg fertilization = human life. "If it were done when 't is done, then 't were well It were done quickly." Get it done early in the 1st trimester, or don't do it at all.

30. I've been hung up over various women many times, but the Love Bug has only seriously bitten twice.

31. I drive a Cadillac Fleetwood sedan, chocolate brown with tan leather interior. I call it the PimpSled.

32. I currently use a G4 flat panel iMac (the iLamp). I hope to upgrade to a G5 iMac this year.

33. I have a constant battle with entropy. My place can be perfectly clean, but it steadily devolves into squalor until guests are due to visit. The jungle is then hacked back and stuffed into closets, and the cycle repeats.

34. I would rather go to a museum than a ball game.

35. I have field-dressed a deer in less than 7 minutes. I was racing against a setting sun, and did not have a flashlight.

36. My younger sister and I were both adopted as infants.

37. I'm not a treehugger, but it would give me great pleasure to torpedo whaling ships and use a sledgehammer on people who club seal pups.

38. I own x pistols and x+1 rifles. Not nearly enough, and Hell No, I'm not stating the exact amount!

39. I think nothing tastes better than ice cold well water out of a metal dipper.

40. I've spent more money on books in the last decade than I have on vacations or dating women.

The Drumbeat Sound Of Time

Strange way to start off this entry, but apparently I've misheard that lyric since 1983. I always thought it was the best line of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time after Time', but according to all the lyrics compilations I've Googled up, the line apparently reads "The drum beats out of time", which is OK, I suppose, but doesn't carry the emotional weight of my interpretation. Guess ya had to be standing in my Adidas in 1983 for that to make any sense.

Time keeps on ticking, though. Just had an update on the grandmother front. There has been a long-standing DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order concerning her health, which she insisted upon prior to heading down the rocky Alzheimer's path 10 years ago. DNR's are pretty standard in geriatric care, they basically state that no heroic measures are to be taken to prolong life. If the patient codes, you make them comfortable as you can, and let nature take its course.

Well, the definition of DNR came under fire over the weekend. My grandmother has been refusing to eat or drink, and was heading downhill rapidly. She was admitted to the hospital and set up on an I.V., which she proceeded to remove. Eventually, the I.V. was replaced. I would consider an I.V. normal care, and not contrary to the DNR. The relatives on scene, however, got all atwitter about Grandma Annabel 'starving to death', and were pushing for a feeding tube. Aside from being an extremely uncomfortable procedure, IMHO a feeding tube crosses way over the DNR line. She's in no immediate danger, as she's carried an extra 50 pounds for the last 40 years, and the I.V. would take care of the fluids, mostly.

It was pretty dramatic for a while, but eventually reason won out, and she was discharged from the hospital into hospice care. All we can do now is just wait & see whether this is just a phase of the Alzheimer's, or whether her body is truly shutting down in preparation for death.

We're lucky to have had her this long. I can't help but wonder how long it'll be until I have to be the one making the tough decisions when my parents reach that point in life.

Monday, February 14, 2005

100 Things About Me - Part 1

1. I can play guitar, but not real well. I haven't really played in over 8 years. The neck on my beloved old Silvertone archtop needs reattaching, and I keep running into repair shops who harp on the fact that the repair cost is 3 times the value of the guitar. How can you let someone with that attitude work on your axe? It's not about the dollar value, ya idjits!

2. I started to develop arthritis in college, but hopefully I have 15-20 years to go before my knuckles look like walnuts.

3. I would love to hunt Cape Buffalo with a handgun, grizzly bear with a bow & arrow, and wild boar with a pigsticker. If you're gonna hunt, then might as well let the animal have a shot at you, too.

4. I once drank 2/3 of a 1.75L bottle of whiskey on New Years, yacked it up outside, then went in and polished off the bottle before midnight. Second worst hangover ever.

5. I think Mozart's Overture to The Marriage Of Figaro is the sum total of all that is grand and wonderful about classical music, distilled down into 4 minutes of sheer perfection.

6. Despite my appreciation of fine art, antiques & musicals as well as having a military-grade internal Gaydar, I'm straight. Yes, I'm sure! Thanks for asking!

7. I would love to see U2 kick REM's ass at a truckstop. Bonus points for making Michael Stipe cry.

8. My friends have called me generous and caring, but I have the capability of being a severe asshole.

9. I don't actively practice any religion, but I do like the concept of karma.

10. Every evaluation from my entire scholastic & work career can be summed up in 3 words... Bright, Talented, Lazy.

11. I own every Louis L'amour book in print. Ditto for the novels of Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwell, David Lindsey, Randy Wayne White, and I'm only lacking a few hard-to-find John D. MacDonalds!

12. I am completely mesmerized by precision craftsmanship. I can stare at the clockwork of a Breguet or Audemars Piguet for hours.

13. I probably consume my own volume in Diet Rite soda on a monthly basis. Ditto for iced tea.

14. Any spider with a legspan larger than a dime absolutely creeps me out. Never try to hand me a tarantula, I will kill it immediately, then kill you.

15. I am an Eagle Scout. I would like to get back into Scouting, but am having issues with some of their current policies.

16. I'm generally law-abiding. That being said, if I could make off with a Federal Reserve truck full of used $100 bills without getting caught or killing anyone, I'd probably do it.

17. I can't listen to John Philip Sousa's 'Stars And Stripes Forever' without getting goosebumps.

18. My capacity for tasteless humor knows no bounds. See "asshole" statement above.

19. It would greatly amuse me to see formal dueling used to settle disputes once again. People would be a lot more polite if they risked getting a yard of steel through their brisket for mouthing off.

20. Right now is always a good time for a nap.

100 Things About Me: The Prologue

I had hoped to not post these little tidbits about myself until after the interview by this blogger. Unfortunately, Jennifer's still being held hostage by Horrible Poisonous Toads, and my scheduled interview is on the back burner while she works on developing a remedy for the illness caused by contact with Horrible Poisonous Toad spittle.

So, to jump on yet another blog-meme, I present... 100 Things About Me. Feel free to use them for trivia contests (Hear that, Texas BlogFest attendees?) or, if you must, attempt blackmail. It won't work, but you can attempt it!

I give you fair warning... since I am a long-winded SOB, I can't just do a single line for each fact. I must pontificate quite frequently, so I'm gonna split these up into manageable chunks over the coming week.
Even at my blatherous best, I imagine y'all can ingest 20 a day. When I get all 100 posted, I'll do a compilation and bury it back in my archives, and put a link up on top of my blogroll.

Enjoy the list! If you like what you've seen so far on the blog, nothing here should come as a big surprise. If you've already determined that I'm just another loudmouthed egotistical Texas a$$h@le, well, you won't be dissuaded from that opinion, either.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

It's Valentine's Day Again!

Well, another Valentine's Day is upon us, and I feel the need to spread a little love.

First, I gaze out across the blogosphere, and locate the one person that needs a Valentine the most. Then, I go searching for just the right message to pass on the buckets of lovin' that person needs.

This year, the heartbreakometer pegged to the top of the scale on the grouchy yet tenderhearted curmudgeon Rob, otherwise know as Jawja's very own Acidman!

So here it is, Rob, some furry cuties with a Valentine's Day message just for YOU!!!!

Ain't it great to be loved so much!!

10 Minutes To Midnight

Light blogging this weekend... not much in the mood for levity and general snarkiness.

I got word last night that my grandmother was taking a sharp downward spiral, health-wise. She's refusing to eat or drink, and has been pulling out the IV lines once she was admitted to the hospital. She's been hitting her caregivers and being abusive verbally.

It's not that this is unexpected, as she's 90-something years old and Alzheimer's disease has had its nasty claws in her for the better part of 10 years. Still, we all were hoping she'd just peacefully fade out, but her behavior has gone from its usual sullen pout to increasing rancor and violence. She was never happy with getting old, and all those years of suppressed rage at her infirmity and loss of independence seem to be unleashed via the effect of a decaying brain.

She & I were never all that close, but I owe her a huge debt for making a return to college possible. It'll hurt a lot when she goes, but for mercy's sake, I hope it's sooner rather than later. No one deserves to die by inches every day over a long period of time.

Friday, February 11, 2005

A Public Service Message

Just so everyone is aware, if you possess a Swingline 444 Desk Stapler, and the stapler jams up, you should definitely not try to clear the jam. Just throw it in the garbage and get a new one.

See, if you try to clear the jam, you might be tempted to open it up and remove all the staples. If you did that, you'd have a false sense of security, since you assume you have an unloaded weapon.

If, in your effort to clear the jam, you feel the need for extra leverage, just bang the damn thing on your desk. Do not attempt to just squeeze harder. If you did that, you might be tempted to use two hands, and one stray index finger might accidentally move in front of the staple ejection port.

If you ignore the above warnings, and try squeezing your stapler as hard as you can, two-handed with one stray index finger accidentally in front of the staple ejection port, be sure you have small skinny fingers, so that when the jammed staple lets loose, the sharp points of the staple neatly bypass your finger on either side, instead of burying itself all the way to the crossbar in your flesh.

If, however, you are the possessor of big ol' meaty fingers, be sure your tetanus booster shots are up to date. Also, do not be tempted to reach for the fanged staple remover. It'll just make matters worse.

I'm going back to paper clips. This newfangled technology is a bit painful.

Any Road Builders Out There?

I've been watching a construction crew widen the road by the Park & Ride I commute from, and they did something recently that I've never seen before. Usually, they smooth and grade the road, lay down the steel rebar internal road framework, and then pour concrete. This time, they got finished grading, and ran a road roller over it. (Don't y'all prefer the word steamroller? Too bad they all run on diesel now!)

After the road was packed down, the crew sprayed something all over the roadbed. I dunno what it was, but it was blinding white in color, and was steaming hot when they laid it down. It looked like a slurry of quicklime or chalk and hot water, but I'm kinda clueless here.

I came back that afternoon, and they had laid down asphalt on top of it instead of concrete, so there was no rebar installed. I think it's a temporary section while they work on the other side later.

Anybody have a clue about why they'd whitewash a roadbed?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ritualistic Self-Abuse

I was at an offsite meeting on my job last night, and was within a stone's throw of Central Market, the best grocery store in Houston. Naturally, I had to drop in to see what looked tasty. I got a big crusty loaf of bread, some butter, 1/2 pound of Lebanon bologna, and a couple of small cheese wedges. It was the makings of a good dinner, but I really needed something green. Since they were out of bullfrogs, I settled for some pre-cooked veggies from their deli section.

I couldn't pass up the roasted brussels sprouts, and they were so cheap I bought an entire pound, thinking I would split them over a few meals. Hah. I love those little tiny cabbage-like things, and somehow managed to polish off all of them over the course of the evening. I'd feel guilty about it, except they're low in calories, and I'm always running a veggie deficit anyway.

Oh, my, what a poor decision that was. Right now, I feel like there's an army of Colon-Gnomes marching through my innards, pressure washing my intestines as they march along. Ugh. This is awful. I'm gonna really regret this in a few more hours, I think.

I have a meeting tonight in the same location. Hmmmm, wonder if the sprouts are still on sale?? They say fiber is good for you, after all.

I hope I don't explode.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Two Thumbs Up!!

I was prepared to really dislike Friday Night Lights, because a) Billy Bob Thornton's a skeezebag, and b) I really really dislike Odessa Permian and their goddamned Mojo football machine.

As it turns out, Friday Night Lights is probably one of the best sports drama movies I've ever seen. It's easily on par with Raging Bull, Hoosiers or Rocky. (I'm not gonna include Slap Shot or Bull Durham, those were great, but were sports comedies)

It just about perfectly captured the essence of the Official Texas State Religion (High School Football), from the cocky but flawed athletes, the dunderheaded popcorn munchers in the stands (and on talk radio), the endless (and pointless) yammering of the sportswriters, and the general insanity that occurs when your local team starts heading for a playoff.

It's not a perfect movie. Some liberties were taken with the story, as is to be expected when Hollywood invades your state. There's a bit more melodrama than absolutely necessary, and there were some characters that needed a bit more screen time. All in all, though, it's pretty damned good. There's one scene at the end between a father and his son that had me wiping tears out of my eyes.

Lucas Black is outstanding as the quarterback torn between his family responsibility and his dreams of escaping to a better life. Derek Luke brings swagger and attitude to his character Boobie Miles, the star of the team. Even ol' Billy Bob manages to do a pretty good job here.

Even if you're not a football fan, it's worth a look. Put it in your Netflix queue, or rent it next time you're at the video store. El Capitan says you won't be disappointed!

As for the flaws, here's the real scoop on the final game in the movie. First, it wasn't the final championship game. Odessa Permian actually played Dallas Carter in the semifinals. There were a lot of issues concerning eligibility of players on the Carter team, but they were allowed to play after a lot of backroom wheeling and dealing. Carter beat Permian 14-9, a much lower score than shown in the movie. In the finals, Carter went on to beat Converse Judson for the state title, but the player eligibility issue came to a head, and Carter forfeited all of their playoff wins, leaving Converse Judson as the 1988 Texas champions.

If you're confused by the naming conventions, it's because we have a lot of high schools in Texas named after famous historical figures, and many schools share the same name. To separate them, the city name comes first, (sometimes the school district name) followed by the high school name. So, Odessa Permian is really Permian High School in Odessa, Texas. You'll see Irving MacArthur playing San Antonio MacArthur, and Midland Lee playing Tyler Lee, and so forth. No, Permian is not a person's name, it's named for the Permian Basin, a geologic formation in that part of the state.

Now, I can't stand Odessa Permian just due to their asshole fans. I respect their football program, and their kids play their hearts out just like every other high school football team. No problems there. It's just that those no-account drilling-rig jockeys in Odessa got nothing going for them but oil and the Permian Panthers. They grasp wildly at the one thing they can excel at (screaming at football games) and morph into overbearing louts. This would not be so bad if they all stayed up in Odessa, but they tend to get laid off and drift into the big cities, where they burrow in like ticks and keep screaming about how good their hometown team is. It gets real old real quick.

I almost shot me a mess of Odessan oilfield trash after a game in 1995, I was so pissed off at their attitude. When I was living in Arlington, Texas, I was two blocks from the local football stadium. The high school down the street was Arlington High school, which happens to be my father's alma mater. It was easy for me to adopt Arlington as my surrogate home team, and I often wandered down to the stadium during my 5 years there to watch them play football.

In 1995 the Arlington Colts had a fantastic season, and advanced into the semifinals. They got lucky and managed to be the home team, but that meant that the Mojo crowd would soon be swarming into Arlington like a locust horde. I managed to get a ticket early, and a good thing, too. That stadium was packed. Odessa was heavily favored, but you never know how these things will turn out.

Those Arlington kids played one of the best games of football I have ever seen, be it high school, college or pro. They were pasted pretty hard, but they were a driven team, and didn't want a repeat of the last time they met Permian in the semifinals. Back in 1987, Arlington tied Permian 35-35, and the officials gave the game to Permian based on who had more 1st downs. Arlington wanted a win this time.

If there was someone sitting down during the entire 4th quarter, I didn't see it. Permian was wearing the Arlington team down, and they were starting a march down the field to score once more and break the 21-21 tie. All Permian needed was to get within field goal range, and the game as theirs.

The Colts stopped them cold. Time after time, they would manage to bring down the runner at the line of scrimmage, prevent the first down, or clothesline the Permian quarterback. They were still holding firm when the clock ran out.

Once again, though, a game that desperately needed to go into overtime was instead turned over to the UIL rulebook. It was ruled that Permian had 3 penetrations into Arlington's backfield, and Arlington had only two. Once again, the game was given to Odessa Permian.

From the jeering and taunting from the gathered oilfield trash, though, you'd have thought they whipped the Colts by 48 to nothing. The whole walk home I had to listen to that crap from the long line of cars waiting for the light on the way to I-20.
By the time I got home, a lifelong disgust of Odessa and its odious residents had settled in, and I was thinking about the nice big dark backyard I had, and how many Mojo assholes I could bury in it.

I settled for going out front, and directing lost Odessans east towards Dallas instead of west to their squalid trailer towns. A small revenge, but I felt lots better.

Tax Cuts?

Found at Bussorah's blog, Wicked Thoughts. There's a lot of funny stuff there!

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

* The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
* The fifth would pay $1.
* The sixth would pay $3.
* The seventh $7.
* The eighth $12.
* The ninth $18.
* The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So, the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal.

So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

* The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
* The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
* The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
* The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
* The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
* The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all.. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

(Attributed to David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Economics, 536 Brooks Hall, University of Georgia)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Just Damn!

While perusing my Sitemeter and Technorati logs this morning, I notice I have been blogrolled by the Bwana Makuba of Georgia, the notorious and highly esteemed Dax Montana!
Muchas Gracias, O Great White Hunter! I'll reciprocate as soon as I can.

In other news... someone please tell me why every day I get 8+ hits from people searching for baboons on Google? Surely there's not that many kiddies doing book reports on Geladas and Mandrills? I hope their little minds aren't too warped by the time they leave my site. OK, not really. I live to twist young minds. Hopefully I can bounce them off the automaton track that TV and sub-par public education has consigned most of them to. Well, that's my story, anyway, and I'm stickin' to it!

I'm starting to figure out how to interpret the Sitemeter data. In the morning, I get a bunch of "unknown" referrals. I'm thinking that's the various people that have me on their daily read list, and are hitting me from bookmarks. That number is growing, which I kinda groove on.

I also get a buttload of blogspot referrals, mostly from new blogs. I'm pretty sure that's just people OD'ing on the "Next Blog" button. Dunno why I get them in waves, though.

I'm past the 90 day mark on this new blog, and that's the time I wanted to start taking a look at migrating off of Blogspot. I've already got registered, but I'm not entirely sure I see a reason to leave Blogspot just yet. I got Haloscan for comments and trackbacks, I can tweak the template, at least to the limit of my miniscule HTML ability. Other than the fact that Blogspot could close up shop overnight and all my stuff would disappear, I can't see a benefit to paying the $12 a month for hosting fees, as well as have to learn a new interface. There's also the spammers, which I haven't really had to deal with yet.

I'd need a blogging tool that's cross platform since I migrate between an XP Wintel box and my iMac running OSX. I like Blogspot's web-based interface. I can blog wherever I can get an online connection. I'm not planning on joining the Laptop Brigade anytime soon, so I can't really carry my BlogWare around with me.

I am running out of space for images in my allotted website bin from my ISP. Even in the days of 1 GB Google-Mail and 250MB Hotmail (FOR FREE!!!) I'm only allowed 10MB for hosting. Bleah. There's no bandwidth charges, at least, since it's non-commercial.

Any suggestions? Ideas? Comments? I'd love to hear from folks that have migrated off of Blogspot.

Monday, February 07, 2005

El Capitan Can Write Haiku!!!

Hahahahaaa!! Remember the KISS haiku contest at Annika's Journal?

Preliminary judging is in, and out of the top ten slots, I placed two of my haikus!!!

I'm just so pleased I'm gonna go pinch my nipples! OK, not really. Quit retching, dammit!

I am kinda tickled, though. I don't think I spent more than 10 or 15 minutes on the haikus. I threatened to do KISS sonnets next. Maybe some KISS in the form of Walt Whitman...

"Oh Simmons, My demon, Your tongue is mighty long!
You spit blood upon the stage, and growl upon ev'ry song!
The groupies squeal, the guitars wail, the crowd screams out your name,
While Ace and Peter and Paul and thou strive for immortal fame,
So let's Rock! Rock! Rock!
O'er the bleeding drops of red,
Up on the stage you cause the sound
To pound within my head!"

Something like that, anyway!

Go check it out! Leave a comment! Bribe the judge! Threaten to play "Lick It Up!" 24/7 until I win!

Alas, I did not win. The prize went to another haiku-scribbler named Cameron for his worthy entry.
It was fun, and my little Whitman-esque ode to KISS has inspired me... Now I must pen different versions of KISS verse according to the styles of most of the major American poets. I'll warn you ahead of time, the Longfellow-inspired "Song of Casablanca" might run on for a while... And it'll take a real KISS fan to know what that title refers to!

More Food That's Bad For You

Just 'cause I haven't put up a recipe in a while...

These cookies aren't for the faint of heart. They're not hard to make, nor do they contain 50% Hot pepper extract or anything, but I'm betting that 90% of the people who make these don't have the cojones to add the secret ingredient.

These were a favorite of mine as a kid. They're a traditional holiday cookie around our house, but there's no reason not to eat them anytime.

What makes them so "risky"? Raw eggs, baby! Only a couple of raw beaten eggs mixed into the 'batter' gives the cookies their proper taste and consistency. I've seen other recipes try to substitute corn syrup, or honey, or some other dodge, but they're all just whizzing into the fan blades.

Be brave. Get some fresh eggs, have yourself a Rocky Balboa morning pick-me-up, have a real Caesar salad for lunch, crack a raw egg over your steak tartare at dinner, then power down about a dozen of these beauties, and tell the nasssty Salmonella bug to kiss your posterior!*

Cathedral Window Cookies

1/2 cup butter
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, beaten well. (Insult them too! Atty. General Gonzales would insist!)
1 (10.5 ounce) package multicolored miniature marshmallows (Search long and hard for these. They MUST be the colored variety. Embrace Diversity! Caucasian marshmallows will NOT suffice!)
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Melt together the butter and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. If using microwave, set timer no longer than 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted.

Stir mixture to blend, then stir in the eggs. Pour out half the mixture into a bowl and reserve. Add colored marshmallows to the other half of the mixture and stir well. Set marshmallow mix in fridge to cool for a few minutes. When mix has lost a bit of its stickyness, pour out onto waxed paper, divide into quarters, and form into rolls. They should be about the size of a frozen juice can.

Place reserved chocolate mix in microwave for 20 seconds to reheat. If using double boiler, just keep it on the stove on low while the marshmallow mix is cooling. Lay out four large pieces of waxed paper. From the reserved chocolate bowl, pour out a dollar bill sized blob onto each one, and spread out slightly, Lay each roll onto the chocolate, and then use remaining chocolate to "paint" each roll until all the gaps are filled in, and each roll has a thick coating.

When finished, dust with powdered sugar, roll up in the waxed paper and refrigerate until completely firm.

Remove the waxed paper, and slice into 1/4 inch slices. They should look like little stained glass windows, unless you weenied out and used the white marshmallows, in which case it looks like slices from a diseased pancreas.

Gobble them up until you're comatose! Thumb your nose at the salmonella-fearing crowd.

*Be brave, but don't be stupid! If you're an old rickety geezer, have immuno-deficiency problems, are under 2 years old, or are allergic to eggs, skip the recipe or else substitute 1/2 golden corn syrup. It won't be the same, but at least you'll be alive to enjoy them.

Interview Postponed!!!

My scheduled interview with Jennifer Larson has been pushed back to an unspecified date. Apparently horrible poisonous toads have abducted her or something equally nasty.

I fear part of the reason for the delay is an abysmal lack of questions supplied by the blogosphere to her Inbox. I checked my logs, and there were very few referrals from her site to mine, meaning very few people followed the interview link from her site over to mine to take a look around. I'm not too shocked, mine is a new blog, and I can still count my regular readers on both hands and one foot.

Still, it's kind of a bummer, coming so close after last week's Carnival Of The Vanities non-starter. Oh well, can't be helped.

You might have time to submit a few more questions, though! Can't hurt to ask!

Tales From The Salt Mines

Sigh... Another week at work. I definitely need to win the lottery pretty soon. This regular commuting and office hours thing is for the birds. To rip off 'Clerks', I definitely need to be a member of the Ruling Class. Mostly because I rule! Thing is, I actually enjoy hobnobbing with the plebes, unlike some who roam our hallowed halls. Once you start trying to hang out with the Suits, then you're in that endless rat race to one-up the others, until you're all hooked on coke, laying off the mail room staff to kick up your quarterly margin by half a percent, and embezzling the pension fund. Just not too cool, in my way of thinking.

We've got a bunch of new interns running around the joint. Mostly they're University of Houston or Texas Southern U. kiddies come to get a taste of what working for The Man is like. They're mostly useless right now, it takes about 4 weeks to get them up to speed, and we're NOT a speedy shop. I pity these poor schmucks when they hit a real jobsite, and learn they are expected to produce results on a daily basis.

I think I've discovered the secret of working here. Most places, it's a combined mantra of "Turn a profit" and "Don't fuck up". Here, there's really no profit motive, so it all boils down to "Don't fuck up".

The result of this mindset is that nothing EVER happens on someone's initiative. Even the most minor little things seem to need a director's approval. Schedule adjustments that I used to make as a matter of course when I was a raw front-line supervisor at a previous job years ago are just not done here. It needs to be docketed and discussed and debated and all possible ramifications studied in depth before a ruling is handed down.

I'm gaining more respect for some of my co-workers. They're not as lazy & inefficient as I initially thought (for the most part), but have just been molded by The Man to be unthinking automatons over years of service. Great thing to look forward to! Just gotta keep my eyes on the prize, that big ol' pension that may or may not be there when I retire in 20 years.

I just passed my 6 months-in-service mark last Friday, which means I finally get vacation time. Another set of months past that, and I'll get my suit of Tenure Armor, and then I'm subject to dismissal only if I violate any of the 7 Deadly Sins. Or we see massive layoffs, whichever comes first.

I gotta say, the urge to schmoke some weed has been growing in the back of my mind. It would certainly make dealing with this job easier. It's one of those things that comes and goes, more of a whim than anything else. I went on the weed-wagon back in '95, not long after I quit cigarettes and gradjitated college, and stayed off the wacky tobacky for almost 8 years. The desire for a calorie-free intoxicant led me back to the world of ZigZags and bongwater, but it's just not the same as when I was a kid. Mostly too expensive, and the market place is feast or famine. Either nasty scraggly Mexican ditchweed sold as "hydro" at $40 a quarter, or serious one-puff-equals-4-hour-coma hybrid at $10 a gram.

Needless to say, drug use is the big #1 on the list of Deadly Sins. No counseling, no second chances on that one. They catch you in their random pee-tastings, and you're done. Kiss that pension goodbye and head off to Taco Bell for a burrito-wrapping gig. I ain't touched the feelthy stuff for over a year now, but I hear it calling to me! Mostly when I watch Dazed & Confused and Kevin Smith flicks!

So, I've been a good little boy, overall. Nothing but booze and Cheez-Its to relieve the stresses of the day. Boy, that's certainly healthier, eh?

Well, damn. I've gone and job-blogged again. I need to quit doing this!!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Superbowl Sunday

I'm heading over to Little Bee Boy's place in a couple of hours to watch the show. I doubt we'll see any loose breastesses floppin' about this time. We both managed to miss it last year. Bee Boy blames me for running my yap during the halftime show, but let's be honest, who the hell wanted to listen to Janet Jackson and Justin Whatsisface anyway? At least we won't have to put up with that nasty skank Ashlee Simpson for this show. I hate to be crude here, but I really wanna know how many linear yards of dick she had to ingest to get where she is. I assure you, she's not making it on talent or looks.

I invited my friend Jeenyus to take in the spectacle with us today, but he's probably working. I hope he's working, anyway, and he's not dead in a ditch somewhere. Not that I'd know, he's become very casual about returning calls and emails, so who knows wtf is going on. My concern level is starting shift ever so slightly into annoyance. Dude, answer your emails, that way we know you're still alive!!!

I digress... back to the Superbowl.

This is one of my three annual sports events I go out of my way to watch. Normally I don't really give a crap about organized sports, but I do whatever's possible to be available to watch the Superbowl, the Kentucky Derby, and the Indy 500. I guess I'm like the multitudes that skip church, but manage to show up on Easter and Xmas. I don't feel self-righteous afterwards, though!

OK, got to get back to the laundry, otherwise I'll be wearing a bedsheet over there. Waitaminnit... Toga! TOGA! TOGA!!!

Have fun today, y'all! Don't drink or bet too much! My best guess? Patriots by 9. Not that I know crap about the spread, I just can't stand the Eagles.

Oh, The Torture Of Waiting...

Remember when you were a kid and it was the first week of December? You just KNEW you were gonna die of waiting before Christmas finally showed up. Every day looking at the calendar just made the time go by slower, it seemed.

I'm gonna get a taste of that waiting for the next season of Smallville to come out on DVD. I just now finished the last of my carefully rationed episodes of the 3rd season this afternoon, and I just learned that the earliest I can expect the 4th season to be released is late fall 2005.

Oh, the humanity!!

If anyone has a set of Smallville S4 on video, drop me a line. We might be able to help each other out!

Bet I'd make a fortune...

Sometimes, a new product idea just leaps up your leg.

I'm walking to the kitchen last night to get a drink of water before bed. Since I've trod that route thousands of times I don't bother with turning on the light. It's pretty dark but I know where all the furniture is. Betsy Cat is asleep on my bed, so she's not an obstacle. Pookie Cat is that whitish blob on the carpet in front of me, so she's easy to avoid. That's what I thought, anyway.

See, there's no real way to distinguish the front half and the back half of a mostly-white calico cat in the dark. Especially when her tail is black. So, the foot I put down right in front of her "nose" actually came down smack-dab on her invisible tail.

The ensuing shrieking yowl nearly gave me a seizure, and the cat tried to climb up my leg while simultaneously whirling around to sink needle-sharp teeth into my ankle. I'm hopping around trying not to fall over, wildly shaking my leg to dislodge an infuriated cat, and manage to impact a wall hard enough to knock a picture off its hook. The falling picture really freaked out the cat, and she departed for the Gamma Quadrant at Warp Factor 7, leaving a warptrail behind her.

There's no breaks or swelling in Pookie's tail, nor my ankle, thank goodness. She's still glaring at me whenever I wear my bathrobe. I suppose when I'm wearing pants she thinks its a different person.

As for the new product? Tail collars! Little tiny collars that fit on a cat's tail, and have a blinking LED light so you can see those dark tails in the dark. Think how useful that would be! You could spot your cat hiding under the bed, in the back of the closet, or up in the attic. It would give the cats something to chase, too. A permanently installed toy!

Of course, you'd probably have to use hose clamps to keep the darned things on. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board...

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Booze Reviews - #14 - Carta Blanca Beer

Well, I got tired of seeing the same old thing at the bottom of the Booze Reviews list, so I thought I ought to add a new one this evening.

I bought a 32 oz. bottle of Carta Blanca lager last summer since I needed a really cheap beer to pour out into saucers in my herb garden to drown the slugs. One thing led to another, and I never got around to my slug intoxication chores. The bottle just kicked around in the back of the fridge until tonight. I'm not sure how badly the extended stay in the Kenmore is gonna affect the taste, but I'm not sure it can get a lot worse.

There's a word on the label I don't recognize. Right underneath the Carta Blanca logo, it says 'Caguama'. I hope that's not Nahuatl for "iguana squeezings".

It's a pretty typical Mexican lager. Not much body, kind of a sour taste, almost non-existent hops. There's a sweetish-metallic aftertaste as well. You can just barely get a whiff of a yeasty bread-dough aroma off the glass. There's just not a lot of character here.

Hardly any carbonation to speak of. I poured 4 consecutive 8 oz glasses, and while there's still a trickle of bubbles, it could almost be considered flat less than 10 minutes after opening the bottle.

I'm not sure this beer is good for much except killing slugs, and the brain cells of those idiotic enough to buy it. It's certainly a bargain at $1.29 a quart. For a five-spot, you could get gloriously toasted, yet I fear the resultant hangover.

Can't really recommend this one, even for the poor and downtrodden. Not while you can get an oil-can of Foster's for 50 cents more.

Pass this one by, compadres.

4 pull tabs

Going Beyond The Close Shave

Acidman regaled us yesterday with a tale of butchering his face with a straight razor. Boy, he ain't just a-woofin'! Them things will do you some damage!

I got ahold of an old cutthroat razor about 10 years ago, and decided to give it a whirl just to see how it worked. Now, since the skin on my face is like the hide on a baseball, I usually just shave dry. Get out of the shower, approach the mirror and commence to scrapin'. No shaving cream to get in your mouth or stuck in your ears that way. Everyone warned me about ingrown whiskers doing it that way, but ever since I switched to those newfangled three-blade razors, that quit being an issue. So, I wasn't too worried about nicking myself. Other than decapitating the odd zit, I haven't cut myself shaving since I was a teenager.

Well, lemme tell, ya, a straight razor is a whole different sort of torture device! I knew better than to try it dry, so I got some Barbasol and gave myself a nice big Santa Claus beard with it after soaking in a nice hot shower. Then, on to the razor. I didn't have a razor strop, but the back of an old leather belt worked out OK. I tested the blade on my thumbnail, and it sliced a 5-molecule thickness off the top. I figured that was good enough.

Now, the whole key to this process is the angle of the blade on your skin. Too wide, and you just scrape off the foam, and leave the whiskers. Too narrow, and you start cutting grooves in your face. Also, the handle of the razor and the curved part on the end of the blade aren't there just for decoration. To keep that angle, you need to wrap the whole gizmo around your fingers, kinda like the way that spastic kid in grade school held his pencil. Once you got your control down, then it's on to the cutting.

I did OK on the cheeks. I got chipmunk cheeks as it is, so no sharp angles to worry about there. My chin ended up looking like Pork Chop Hill. Took nearly half a roll of TP and most of a styptic pencil to quit leaking blood on the sink. After the chin debacle , I took a couple of exploratory swipes down the neck, but gave up after the first nick. No use being found nekkid and bled out like a stuck hog on the floor of your bathroom.

Just once I'd like to find an old-fashioned barber that does shaves and get the proper treatment. I have a feeling the hot towel wrap is kinda key in making it work smoothly. Also, shaving with a straight razor looks to be something that would be easier to do on someone else than on yourself.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Houston Headbangs Again!!!


Via Banjo Jones, (from whom I also lifted the B&B.gif) I learn that Houston's now got a halfway decent rock & roll station again.

KLOL 101 FM, the rock & roll station of choice for over 34 years by discerning headbangers, was suddenly converted last year to a Latino Pop station by those collectivist pusbags at ClearChannel. I swear, you could give those manatee-molesters fresh lemons, clean water, and pure cane sugar and they would manage to make a pile of soggy dogshit out of it. I know, I know, radio's a money making business, but CC's the T. Boone Pickens of the media marketplace.

I was a bit bummed when KLOL went the conjunto route. I grew up listening to Dayna Steele and Brian 'Paraquat' Shannon on 101. Well, when I wasn't listening to 97 Rock, that is. KSRR-97 (actually, 96.5! In the days before digital tuners, you could get away with that!) had the better morning show with Moby & Matthews. Everyone in my high school lived and breathed by the daily astrology rating given by the Cosmic Muffin (Darryl Martinie). If the Muffin gave us a '3' on a test day, people were known to call in sick instead of going to school.
97 Rock in the mornings and early afternoons, 101 KLOL at night. I followed that recipe of radio listening for a loooong time.

For you Houstonians, here's a trip back in time... Here's the radio stations from my school years.

KPFT 90.1 - Pacifica - listened to by your friend's hippie parents for NPR

KTRU - Rice Radio - what the 'dress in black' crowd listened to. Played college-rock music.

KILT - Country radio. Better songs than the more popular country station

KKBQ - 93Q - Home of the Q Morning Zoo. Wacky radio comes to town. Popular with teenyboppers and flaming idiots. Played pop music, not rock & roll, therefore deemed unacceptable.

KIKK - The big C&W station, listeners were called KIKK'ers. So popular in early 80's that C&W dancing was called 'Kikker dancing' over most of SE Texas.

KSRR - 97 Rock - Good for a morning dose of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Everyone who was anyone had a 97 Rock bumper sticker on the back of their car. Hell, I even snuck one on the front bumper of the old biddy that taught world history. It stayed for a few weeks on the front of her otherwise immaculate '65 Caprice, causing us to get the giggles every time she left the faculty parking lot.

KLOL - 101.1 FM - Home to the "Rock & Roll Up Your Sleeve" blood drives, the "Wrap That Rascal" condom keychains, and lots of great music. Oh, yeah, the scary silver head logo, too.

KRBE - 104 - Mostly pop music. What your girlfriend listened to, once you griped about 93Q enough.

I'm sure I could dig up a few more, but you get the idea. I rarely listen to music on the radio anymore. Just too many commercials, and too few songs I like. We'll see how this new station works out.