Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, March 31, 2005

More Confessions

Ok, I just gotta know... Am I the only one who catches himself humming the old Spinners tune 'Rubberband Man' when I'm in the supply room at the office? Maybe a couple of dance steps and a little hippyhippyshake as you gather up your paper clips and highlighters? OK, maybe it's just me.

Those darn OfficeMax commercials! I'll never be able to listen to that song again without having expandable file folders and glue sticks immediately come to mind. I actually really like the commercials, though. If you haven't seen the Officemax Xmas commercial called "Santa's Helper" that spoofs the old Rankin-Bass Xmas specials, you must give it a watch! Just shut your office door or keep a hand clamped over your mouth, 'cause you're gonna be teary-eyed with laughter. The fruitcake solution is pure genius.

Now, if you're a video professional like my buddy Zippo, you really should invest a few minutes and watch the "Making Of" clips. They really make me smile. That shoot looks like it was a lot of fun, and the audition segment is absolutely priceless. The clip that really made me bust a gut was the "Jaws" parody done as a teaser. The "Santa's Helper" making-of clip has gag-reel stuff all throughout.

I oughta get a free office chair for this plug, now that I think about it...

Go check 'em out. They never fail to make my day! It's in Flash format, and if anyone knows how to capture the films, I'd love to know!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I Miss Ya, Tim!

The elevator smelled exactly like a Tim Horton's this morning.

No, it didn't smell like a guy named Tim, nor any particular part of his anatomy. For those of you who have never traveled up into the Frozen Wasteland north of the Mason-Dixon line, you are probably unaware of the overwhelming presence of Tim Horton's in those parts.

Tim Horton's is a donut/coffee shop. Sure, they sell muffins and soups and sandwiches, but those comprise maybe 15% of total sales. At the Timster's, coffee and donuts are king. Canucks go apeshit for Tim Horton's. In the mornings, there will be lines of cars circling the stores waiting to go through the drive-thru for the morning fix of caffeine and crullers. Those of us who didn't know any better would force open our sleet-covered car doors and slip & slide through the raging blizzard over the iced-over parking lot to go inside the store. Inside, you would find only Tim Horton's employees, Yanks, and recent immigrants. All native-born Canucks were going through the drive-thru.

So, how popular are Tim Horton's? Let me put it this way. On the drive from my downtown hotel to the client site, a distance of about 8 miles, I passed 5 of them. That's on normal city streets, mind you, not passing by large commercial areas. They are everywhere! I just wonder how long it will take them to start selling gasoline and Pampers, and drive all the convenience stores out of business.

Occasionally, you'd see a donut shop or a coffee shop that wasn't a Tim Horton's. They were rare occasions, involving old claptrap buldings, and usually entailed driving to the dodgy part of town. While I don't deny the existence of Starbuck's franchises in Canada, I surmise that the low ratio of Starbuck stores to Canuckistanians is due to denim & plaid-wearing yobs beating the crap out of prospective Starbuck's franchisees with hockey sticks, then retiring to Tim Horton's for coffee & Timbits.

I kinda wish we had a few Tim Horton's down here. I could give a damn about the coffee, but they had great donuts, and were always clean and well-run. (Canadians, your mileage may vary, but the TH's in Ontario were on top of their game.)

Down here, it's hard to get a decent donut. Krispy Kreme has invaded Texas, but while they're good, they're also pricy as hell, and not easy to find. There are no more Dunkin' Donuts within driving distance, or Winchell's inside of Texas, and Shipley's really sucks ass. I don't even bother with the hole-in-the-wall independents, as they usually only change their fry-o-later oil once a year, and the donuts end up tasting like rancid hockey pucks.

Sigh. The nearest Winchell's is in Oklahoma City, and the nearest Tim Horton's is in Ashland, Kentucky. Looks like another box of Entenmann's Pop-em's to quell my donut-hole jones...

2nd Annual April Fools COTV Is Up!!

It's actually the 132nd Carnival Of The Vanities, but Eric Berlin (who has a cool Joe Walsh-inspired tagline) takes advantage of the proximity to April Fools Day to create an inspired COTV!

Go check it out, and see if you can guess which posts are real, and which posts he made up! Given all the time the man spent cranking out Tiny URLs for the project, you owe him that much!

How Ironic Is This?

I can't wait to see what the more vocal bloggers of the Religious Right that have been howling over the Schiavo case make out of this story. As quite a few of them seem to dislike the Catholic Church, it should be quite... enlightening.
Vatican says pope given feeding tube

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II is getting nutrition from a feeding tube through the nose, the Vatican said today, shortly after the frail pontiff appeared at his window in St. Peter's Square and unsuccessfully tried to speak.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the tube was aimed at improving the pope's calorie intake. It was not visible when the pope made his appearance.

Coincidence, or serendipity? You make the call!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Fallen Angels

I've been reading an interesting book, one amusing enough to pass on to
the 3 or 4 folks who schlump by here on a daily basis.

It's called Fallen Angels, written by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Michael Flynn. The novel deals with a future where the Greens and the PC police have taken over the United States. It's a very different America than you and are used to. Nuclear physicists are lynched. Technology is frowned upon. Being able to build a computer or program code is seen as 'elitist'. Speculative fiction is taboo, since it "serves no useful purpose". Therefore, sci-fi buffs are treated as pariahs, and often forcibly "re-educated".

Oh, and the world is in the grip of a new Ice Age. Glaciers cover Cananda, and are moving down into the U.S. It seems that 'Global Warming' took off in a different direction than the tree-huggers expected. There's a small space colony barely ekeing out an existence, but they lose two of their pilots on a nitrogen-skimming mission to a U.S. missile.

The pilots survive the crash, and need rescuing. Who better for a rescue of spacemen than the local sci-fi fan club!

It's an interesting look into the world of the hardcore skiffy fans. What most people tend to forget is that underneath the nerdy and antisocial exteriors lie formidable brains and plenty of engineering talent.

It's a fun read, due to many many inside jokes and book references. You do have to endure a dose of filking (my personal pet peeve, and the reason I avoid sci-fi cons), but as farfetched as it gets, there's still a core of "this could happen" to the book.

I was greatly amused to learn that one of the fellow attendees at the Texas Blogfest, Susan from New York City, had read the book. I was too hammered on primo scotch to properly discuss it with her, but we both agreed it was a lot of fun.

Anyway, give it a try. You don't need to buy it, though you may want a copy later. It's online courtesy of Baen Books.

Bonfire Of The Vanities #91 Is Posted!

The 91st Bonfire of the Vanities is up over at American Princess.

Go check out the worst the blogosphere has to offer. I took the pole position this week due to my increased mastery of link-whoring! I may need a link-pimp soon to give 60% of my referral hits to...

Go give 'er a read! Suckage = Light Posting Today

I couldn't even get into my little cubbyhole this afternoon due to server issues, so all the wondrous ideas I was to share have now hit the mental circular file.

Instead, I'll post more bloggy notices and half-done dreckage.


(I can't wait to get Moveable Type up and running...)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tellin' About The Gellin'!

My feets, they be a-swellin'
'cause my body's like a melon,
But I hear an ad that's compellin'
'bout some insoles that are excellin'!

So I hit the pharmacist's dwellin',
To buy the insoles that they're sellin',
My wallet took a hit like Schmeling,
You need coin like Thornton Mellon!

The cushiony comfort was pain quellin',
But the heelpads see-saw like McLellan!
And the side-to-side propellin'
Got my stomach set for expellin'.

Still, the relief is upward wellin',
So to you I'm frankly tellin',
To your feets don't be a felon,
or they'll commence to smellin'!

So, like Rangers have their rappellin',
And globetrotting has Magellan,
And Wapner had Doug Llewellyn,
Your feets they want their Gellin'!

Camping Recipes: Nordic Stew

Ok, this barely qualifies as stew, and hails from nowhere near ScandiHoovania. So, why the moniker of 'Nordic Stew'? Like so many things, grasshopper, ya had to be there.

Back in the late '80s, I was hanging out with Little Bee Boy and a crew of Hanszen-ites from Rice U. I was in the School Of Hard Knocks, due to a miserable 1st year in college and subsequent ejection, and Little Bee Boy was attending Cougar High. We hooked up with the dipsomaniacal brainiacs from Rice through a mutual friend from high school attending Rice, though he was at Brown College.

Mass consumption of intoxicants was the standing order of the day, every day. After I'd get off of work, and they'd get out of class, we'd meet up somewhere in the city, and continue in our foolish endeavours. Every so often, we'd blow town and head out to a campground to drink our beer and smoke the marijohoonie out amongst the trees.

Prior to one trip out into the underbrush, we were already half-baked on Heineken and a fat minnow of ditchweed, and attempted to buy the provisions for the weekend at the local Fiesta Supermercado. After loading up on 12-packs and Twinkies, we couldn't agree on what to cook for the Saturday evening meal. We knew it had to be easy to prepare, as we would more than likely be hammered, and also compatible with various hallucinatory compounds that were likely to be coursing through our brains.

We finally decided to head our separate ways, and each come back to the cart with a unique ingredient. We vowed that whatever food items returned would all be put in the same pot, and all consumed for the meal. Therefore, choose your comestibles wisely, lest ye be eating Jellybean Primavera!

The shoppers dispersed, and returned in 10 minutes bearing some odd choices. From one person came a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of Lea & Perrins White Wine Worcestershire sauce. From another came a 2 lb. brick of Monterey Jack cheese. A package of jumbo hot dogs joined the pile. Finally, the pièce de résistance, a can of fava beans. See, at the time we didn't know they were fava beans, or for that matter, what the hell fava beans were. These were off the "international food" aisles of Fiesta, and all the writing was in Arabic, except for two words. "Foul Mudammas".

OK, we were pretty toasted, but we still couldn't stop giggling about a can of something 'Foul'. We had no clue as to the contents, but it was in the cart, it was edible, and by damn, it was going into the stew!

Fast forward to the evening meal: The Coleman Stove gets fired up. The hot dogs were sliced and put into the pot to sear, along with a little of the white wine worcestershire sauce. The can of "Foul Mudammas" (actually a mix of fava beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, & olive oil) gets cracked open, and we ooh and ahh at the huge beans in the thick liquid. Into the pot it goes. We start throwing in chunks of the cheese, and I'm pretty sure a bit of beer got splashed in. More worcestershire sauce to taste, and after a while, it melted down into a thick gooey mess.

It looked like the contents of a cirrhotic liver patient's bedpan, but it smelled wonderful. OK, were were stoned, and probably would have gnawed on a tree root to cure the munchies, but it really did smell good.

The bread was torn up and used to dipper out the gooey ooze, and the contrast between the meaty lumps and the beany lumps was quite unique. Every so often, someone would turn and spit out a bean hull (think of the skin on a lima bean, only much thicker). That pot got emptied in short order, and there was very little left for the raccoons to lick up that night.

Due to the chilly weather, it got dubbed 'Nordic Stew'. I've since made it two or three times in a non-brainfried state, and it's an interesting alternative to fondue. I can't recommend it to everybody, but if you want something out of left field, give it a try!

Nordic Stew

1/4 bottle white wine worcestershire sauce
1 lb jumbo all-beef hot dogs
2 lbs Monterey jack cheese
1 large can Foul Mudammas (fava beans, also spelled Fuul moudammas)
Splashes of beer and salt & pepper to taste
Large loaf of crusty bread

Directions: Dump it all in a large pot. Cook until melted through and creamy. Use chunks of bread to scoop out the goo & eat. Groove on the experience.

Serves 3-4 stoners or 5-6 law-abiding citizens.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

For The Feline Inclined

Over at the Music And Cats blog, the 53rd Carnival Of The Cats is up!

Go check it out!

Carnival Of Cordite #6 Is Up!!

Go head to Gullyborg's blog and check out the 6th Carnival of Cordite. Lots of great firearms-related tales!

Good Stuff, Maynard!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Have The Coolest Friends Ever!

Lookie what my friends Andy & Laura found for me! They even customized it with my nom de blog and a creepy glow-in-the-dark eye!

He now sits in a place of honor atop the MacTV. There's a slot in the top where you can put in your gold doubloons, or pieces of eight, but I'm a bit light on both at the moment. For now, I'll just let it grin at the room.

Oh, pay no attention to Chili Cat in the background. Mostly she stays in 2D mode, but after too much spicy food and tequila, I'm pretty sure she climbs down off the wall when I'm sleeping and plays around with my head.

Friday, March 25, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Frivolous!

'Cause It's Friday, And I Ain't Got Shit To Do!

I stumbled across a link to a website that brought back horrid memories of my past. A part of my life I thought I'd left behind me... a shameful, terrible time when I polluted myself with things best left alone.

Many years ago, I had an addiction. I had to have my daily fix. Life was not complete unless I could satisfy the monkey on my back.

What can I say? I was young, foolish, and had way too much time on my hands. I could have spent it looking for a better job. I could have learned another language. I could have gone to the library. But no!!!

Instead, I chose to hang out with this crowd as often as I could...

Anyone else share this addiction? Email me so your secret shame will remain entre nous.

Bonus points if you guess the year correctly!

10,000 Hits!

Congratulations to my mystery vistor at 3:02 pm CST from! You were # 10,000!

I've been watching the damn counter all afternoon. Finally, I can get something accomplished and not start watching it again until I get near 25,000.

I just wonder how many were Google hits for 'baboon'. Probably a good 20%!

Thanks for all the traffic, y'all!

Oh, How The Bloggers Squabble

What Rhymes With 'Squabble' Other Than "Gobble My Knobble"?

Well, the Schiavo drama has certainly gotten people's dander up. I noticed on Rob's blog that Spats had gotten PO'ed and de-linked him for this article.

In the usual Acidman manner, Rob expressed his opinions on the delinking, and Spats followed up. Judging from the comments left on both blogs, I'd say that Rob is ahead on points, but the vociferous attitude and firm stance of Lord Spatula has gained him some admirers.

I hate to see this kind of disagreement erupt into public poo-flinging. I've never met Rob face to face, but I've swapped a few emails with him, chatted with someone who has met him, and I read his blog daily. Seems like a nice enough guy, but he's got his opinions that will differ from mine.

Spats, on the other hand, I have met. Just this past weekend, in fact. He IS a nice enough guy! Cooks a mean pot of stew, and has more computers laying around than I do. His style of blogging is way different than mine, and he's definitely in the hard-core "Choose Life" corner of the Schiavo debate.

Now, Spats can take this however he likes, (he'd have to link me before he can de-link me!) but you tend to attract more flies with honey than with bile spews. Threatening to fight it out with a broken-down cancer survivor over the degrees of difference in your political beliefs is something more at home on a schoolyard, not a disagreement between adults, and it does your intellect a disservice. Still, it's your opinion and your blog. I just had to say it.

I have my own opinion on the Schiavo case, though I have been hesitant to say what so many others have already said. Bottom line, due to a pretty big pile of reasonable doubt, I think that she needs to stay eating, drinking & breathing, though I also think I would almost rather see a group of volunteers bum-rush the joint and pull her out to a secret location than to see the politicians try to weasel around the law of the land to find (or manufacture) a loophole.

This case has been in and out of the courts for years, and if the parents (who with the assistance of charities have outspent the husband, btw) cannot prove their case, it may be that the judge is not the Ultimate Evil Butthead. They may have needed to go the other direction and have the legislature pass laws to prevent this kind of event.

Gandhi, Martin Luther King and their followers marched into the face of guns, dogs, clubs and firehoses to see their beliefs realized. If the Right To Life side truly feels they're in the right, why have they not arrived en masse, and gotten arrested by the thousands to achieve their goal? To quote a guy on talk radio this morning, "sooner or later the cops will run out of handcuffs". Yeah, pepper spray in the eyes sucks, but if the life and death of Terri Schiavo is so crucial to the future of American jurisprudence, it's past time for the zealots to get zealous. I guarantee, 20,000 people marching arms locked on the hospice will sway a lot of political opinion. No way J or G Bush calls out the Natl. Guard troops on that kind of protest.

However this ends up, it's going to require a lot of constructive talk between all the people with their wide opinion ranges. We can't beat up everyone that disagrees with us, or calls us names.

Just my $0.02, anyway.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Chicks Dig Scars!

They Also Inflict Them...

I was reading Gramaugus's blog last week, and he had a tale of head wounds that was all too familiar.

In my case, I've got a divot in the middle of my forehead that annoys me to no end, both for aesthetic reasons, and because it was acquired through no fault of my own. It was the result of an unnecessary interaction between my head and a wire coat hanger back when I was in elementary school. It didn't hurt all that much, but I bled like a clumsy hemophiliac at a cactus grower's exhibition.

The perpetrator of the deed was one of the numerous Mertz kids. They had so many kids, I'm hesitant to say if it was the youngest girl that did it, but the little bint did a masterful job.

During my family's 3 year sojourn into the Frozen Wasteland north of the Mason-Dixon line, both of my parents were working, and needed to be at work long before my school day began. This was when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and Mom had not quite gotten to the point where she would let me stay home alone. So, my sister and I were packed off to the Mertz house each morning to wait 45 minutes to an hour before I could walk over to the elementary school. My sister hung out there all day.

The Mertz family was supremely weird. The kids had toys no one else had, like a weird go-cart you steered with your feet and propelled with a hand-driven lever arrangement. Also, each kid had a pair of the spring-loaded overshoes that let you hop around like a spaceman. These were always scattered all over their yard. The kid nearest my age, Jonathan, had a huge collection of Tintin comics, the reading of which was the one good thing I got out of the experience.

The house itself was a dead ringer for the house in the Amityville Horror, which was pretty creepy. They had the biggest sandbox I've ever seen in the backyard, but it was always full of cat turds, so you had to be careful digging in it. The patriarch was rarely seen, but their mom was always there, and made plenty of cash by kidsitting for the entire neighborhood. They pulled some shit that would get them in serious trouble these days. For example, one summer, they ran a "summer fun camp" in their spacious yard, with plenty of activities. Once the parents left, though, out came the bibles, and we were subjected to hours of prayer and pleas to accept Jesus. If there's one starting point to my eternal disdain for evangelists, that would be it. Their flavor of Christianity was a LOT different from my family's.

One snowy morning, my sister and I arrived as usual, and were hustled into the kitchen. Most of the Mertz kids were eating breakfast, so I was shooed down into the 'playroom', a dingy room in the basement cluttered with the assorted crap of 7 or 8 kids, and lit by what could have been no more than a 40 watt bulb. Sooner or later some of the kids drifted down, and somehow I got into an argument with one of them over something insignificant. Probably which bike was cooler, Huffy or Schwinn.

I remember turning away to look at something, then turning back to the center of the room, just in time to catch the blur of a spinning coathanger winging my direction in the dim light. SMACK! Caught me dead center in the forehead. The thrower, a 5 or 6 year old girl, giggled and dashed up the stairs. I feel the trickle of blood, and got seriously pissed off. After all, I can pound the shit out of Jonathan or my own sister for that, but not Little Miss Bint.

So, I can't see anything handy to catch the blood, so I just let it drip down my face into my hand, and head upstairs. The first one to catch sight of me was the high-school age daughter, who made gagging sounds and rushed out of the room. How was I to know she had a blood phobia? For my part, screwed-up sinuses and recurring nosebleeds cured me of any fear of blood long before.

So, I'm asking for a band-aid, and Mrs. Mertz is bitching me out for making the older girl nauseous. Yeah, right, lady. Let's talk about how hard you're gonna spank the coathanger flinger. Naturally, it all ended up being my fault. Funny how that worked out. Still, the very next week I became a 'latchkey' kid, and my sister started going to our church's day care. We never much spoke to the Mertz family after that.

So, 26 years later, and I've still got the scar. It's given my emerging forehead wrinkles an anchor point to start from, which pleases me to no end. I've always denounced violence towards women, but if I ever saw that minx again, I'd have a hard time not carving a deep X into her forehead...

More Blog Content Lifted From Sheila!

Another blogmeme from Sheila O'Malley, who got it from a blogger named Beth.

1. If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could only have one piece of music to listen to, what would it be?

Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

2. If you had to eat in only one restaurant for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?

I would resurrect the Key West Grill in Arlington, Texas. The place was fantastic before the chef/owner allegedly put all the operating capital up his nose. There were so many good things there. The little muffins with the strawberry butter, the mango/berry house salad dressing, the conch fritters with the fruity/peppery dipping sauce, the perfectly prepared fish...

3. If you could eliminate one thing you do in the bathroom each day, what would it be?

Shaving. Can't stand it.

4. If you could choose the way you will die, what would it be?

While getting shot by a jealous husband as I'm leaving a young wife's bedroom (when I'm in my 90's) has potential, I'd just as soon go out while helping other people survive. You know, holding off the Apaches while the homesteaders make their escape. That sort of thing.

5. If you could have a secret camera in any one room in the world, what room would it be in?

Probably the White House Situation Room.

6. If you had to choose the single biggest mistake you've made in your life, what would it be?

Not keeping my finances and credit in better order. I've had some legal issues in my youth, but the ramifications of the money screwups are having a much greater impact on my life.

7. If you had to pick the worst sexual experience of your life, what would it be?

There's just no delicate way to say this, so I'll just say it. When you're in your 'teens and still capable of performing the deed multiple times in a period of 3 to 4 hours, there's a good reason you might not want to.
Remember when your older siblings or cousins would grab your arm with both hands, twist them rapidly and give you an "Indian burn"? Let's just say that the effect can be replicated on other appendages as well. And, no, Solarcaine didn't help matters any.

UPDATE: OK, after receiving a couple of snarky emails, I apparently need to confirm that there was indeed another participant (a human female, ya pervs!) in the festivities, and this was NOT an act of self-abuse. Let the record further state that in subsequent marathons, usage of KY (aka Der Vienerschlieder) was mandated by the other party involved. That is all.

8. If you could solve one unsolved crime from history, which would it be?

The JFK assassination. Oswald acting alone is about as improbable as the journey of the "Magic Bullet".

9. If you had to name the most important invention in history, what would it be?

Beer. The need to ensure a permanent supply of beer jumpstarted agriculture, permanent settlements, pottery, division of labor, and so on. So, hoist a mug to the Sumerians and Mesopotamians!

10. If you were given a racehorse, what would you name it?

Dog Chow Destiny

11. If you were to become the sex slave of a person from history, who would you pick?

Hmmm... Tough call here. Most of the women from recorded history in a position to maintain a sex slave were either severely kinked, or hideous beyond imagination. So, I'll go for the absurd choice and say Jane Austen. After reading Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice and Mansfield Park, I think the lady definitely displays a need to be thoroughly rogered on a regular basis.

12. If you could eliminate one of your pet peeves, which would it be?

The severe annoyance that crops up when someone interrupts my reading to ask "Whatcha readin'?"

13. If you could have the world's largest collection of one thing, what would it be?

Real Estate, of both urban and rural types.

14. If you had to murder someone, how would you do it?

Suppressed rifle at 200-300 yards.

15. If you had to have been any dictator or tyrant in history, who would you have been?

Probably Julius Caesar. I'd wear a chain-mail vest under my toga, though, and have the Praetorians on constant alert this time of year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Extreme Damnation Potential !!!

I'm safe as long as it stays in the package...

Oh, my! Look what the Cap drug in!

Courtesy of Half Price Books. How could I pass up a $10 Pope JP2 12" action figure? The possibilities are endless!!

First, I'm gonna dig up all the old GI Joe gear out of the garage, and deck out ol' Karol in some serious web gear and belt-fed hardware.

Then, I'll see if I can find my sister's old Barbie collection, so the PopeDaddy will have some ho's to slap around.

Finally, I'll find my old Evel Knievel motorcycle so the Pope can motor around, Terminator-style!

Hehehe, I am SO going to hell for this....

Get thee hence to the nearest Half Price Books before they runneth out of stock!!

Ars Gratia Artis

I was digging through my "Blog about this" bookmark file, and cleaning out the older ones when I ran across one I'd saved about the re-opening of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC.

I'm generally a fan of museums, and of art museums in particular. When it comes to art museums and galleries, though, I am a bit picky about where I choose to spend my time and dollars. To quote a tired old phrase, " I may not know art, but I know what I like."

That's not entirely true in my case, though. While I'm not an art history major or anything remotely resembling a fine artist, I do know art, (well enough to differentiate a Man Ray from a Manet from a Monet, anyway) and I am enough of an historian to know how closely art reflects culture, and how an understanding of the creative process can give a person insight into the mind of the artist, even one living millenia in the past. Art is a powerful tool to help us trace our development as an individual, as a culture, as a nation, and as a species.

But not all art is fine art. Let me make that abundantly clear. While all art should make you think, if the primary message you receive is "This artist is a no-talent asshole", then perhaps the artist needs to rethink his medium, technique or his meaning.

I don't favor exclusive art. Art that needs interpretation from learned scholars, or art that was created to benefit too small of a segment of the population fails in its task, IMHO. If through your art you're making wry commentary on the relationship between the failures of the plebian class to embrace modern dance and the rise of grade-school prostitution, and you illustrate this concept via staple-gunning dead frogs dressed in gold lamé gowns to a rusty Frigidaire, you're making me work too damn hard.
No doubt your black-clad, beret-wearing, latte-sipping uptown bohos will slaver spittle upon your Birkenstocks upon seeing your genius unveiled, but in 40 years, you're not even gonna be a footnote in "Obscure Artists of Waco, Texas 1980-2030".

Now, I've heard the intelligentsia bloviate about how art should 'challenge the intellect'. These same intelligentsia reason that if you don't find a pile of purple-dyed goat poo sprinkled with carpet tacks and fresh couscous to be deeply meaningful, well, you obviously just don't "get it".

Oh, I "get it" all right. I get that the artist is probably incapable of creating a sculpture that reflects anything found in real life. I get that the artist couldn't draw the 'Cubby' character on the old matchbook cover ads. I get that the artist has BS'ed his way through art school, and is now attempting to put one over on the gallery crowd. I get that just like in the fashion industry, the drug enforcement industry and the publishing industry, there's too many people with a need to maintain the status quo for anyone to even casually mention that the Emperor's New Clothes are leaving little to the imagination.

To better illustrate where I'm coming from, it helps to know what I like, and what I respect.

As an artist, I need you to do something I'm not capable of doing. After all, if I can do what you just did, then what the hell do I need you for? Art should make me look up, no down.

I need you to show me something capable of stirring emotion, and to do it using all the skills at your disposal. To show mastery of your craft is to take pride in your gifts, and the years you've spent perfecting them.

I need you to respect your audience enough to not sprinkle us with urine and call it Holy Water, expecting us to believe you just because you're up on stage. The stairway to get up there goes down as well as up, Jackson. You're not THAT special.

Now, I will not say that all art I like is being created by the Rodins and the Rembrandts. I also have the highest respect and admiration for the folk artists. The ones with no formal training, but a sincere desire to make the world around them a little more pleasing to the eye. Sure, I realize that the quilt that Old Granny Watkins pieced together from scraps of material and backed with old flour sacks doesn't fall into the same realm as the Bayeux Tapestry, but her need to express herself I understand completely. Ditto for the folks that erect a bottle tree down in the Deep South. Yes, it looks kind of silly, but I respect the creative urge behind it, and the fact that for some people, art supplies are from objects at hand, not from the art supply house.

So, am I being inconsistent? Doesn't the Uptown Artiste have the same creative urge as the guy painting flowers on turtles? Sure. There's a big difference, though. There's no Eau de Poseur wafting around the turtle guy. He's not pretending to be more than he is. Most of the schlock art out there is perpetrated by the talentless on behalf of the self-deluded, with both sides pretending it's the Second Coming of Picasso.

Enough ranting for now. I'll do a list of favorite artists in a future post.

Wallowing In My Misery

As I understand it, the soreness caused after extended use of your muscles is a result of the buildup of lactic acid. In my case, after yesterday's romp on the stairs, I must have sufficent lactic acid in my legs to curdle an Olympic-size swimming pool full of milk.

It's the little things that cause excruciating pain that annoys me the most. That last step up into the commuter bus. Getting up off the can. Putting on your socks. Sure, I expect it to hurt when I'm walking around, but not bending over to pick up something!

Well, at least I got lucky parking the car at the commuter lot today. Somebody in the first row of cars departed early, leaving me a spot right up front, so I only had to hobble half the distance I normally do.

I learned from the receptionist that 8 people in our department are in the same state I'm in. Well, misery loves company!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rethinking The High-Rise

Or, Why I Need New Knees

Well, that was exciting. We just emptied out a 25 story building via the stairwells because someone burned their lunch.

Unfortunately for me, the departmental relocation to the 7th floor doesn't occur until mid-April. 7 flights of stairs, I can handle. I thought, at least up until this afternoon, I could deal with 20 flights with no problems. I thought that right up until the 12th floor, when my knees started to wobble. By the 5th floor, I was prepared to apply BBQ sauce to myself and strap myself to the stair rail with my belt and carryall strap in lieu of a rotisserie. My left knee has been a trainwreck for a while now, and now both of them are gonna be creaky for weeks.

Hmmm. Who knew that going downhill could suck so hard? At least we got the elevator going back up.

I'm gonna be feeling this in the morning. I'm going to find the lunch-burner and rub a good dose of Ben-Gay or IcyHot into their skivvies, just so they'll share my olfactory joy tomorrow.

Range Report - Texas Blogfest 2005

Bloggers With Guns!

The main activity on the final day of the Texas Blogfest 2005 was a trip to the DFW Gun Range to expend a whole lot of ammo. Beth got us a great deal on the range, and we had a private session at reduced rates thanks to her planning and the über-coolness of the DFW Gun Range management.

Suprisingly, we only managed to get 7 shooters up to the firing line. Beth was keeping an eye on her two house-apes and didn't shoot, AJ wasn't shooting for some reason, so it was up to Mamamontezz, Delftsman, Random Numbers, Andy the Kilted Liberal, Brian and myself to do some damage to the paper targets. Spats got there a little late, and joined us on the line.

For my contribution, I brought my .45 cal Springfield Armory 1911A1, the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Mag, and a S&W 422 .22LR autoloader I borrowed from Little Bee Boy for the occasion. I had so much ammo, I think I threw out my shoulder carrying it in! 470 rounds of .45 ACP, 150 rounds of .357, and atleast a bushel basket full of .22LR rounds.

First order of the day was to sit down with Andy and talk gun safety. His first (and only) gun experience years ago involved much liquor and the perforation of his hand, so he's not exactly what you'd call a firearms enthusiast. The DFW Gun Range staff were nice enough to open up a classroom for us, so we could sit down and talk without interruption. Random Numbers and the Random Spouse joined us in the pre-shoot learning session.

We covered the "Big Three" gun rules first, i.e. It's Always Loaded, Finger Off The Trigger Until You're On Target & Ready To Shoot, and Don't Point That Barrel At Anything You're Not Willing To Destroy. We also talked about what to do in case of a failure to fire or a jam. That was followed by some basic gun operation & mechanics knowledge.

I was glad Random Numbers had his Taurus .357 with him to demonstrate a double action setup. All I had on hand were single action pistolas. We went through the loading/unloading procedure of each gun using snap-caps or empty mags, then talked about sighting and trigger squeeze. We only had 45 minutes or so, but Andy's brighter than most, and he picked it up quickly and asked the right sort of questions.

After getting the paperwork in order, we donned "eyes & ears" and went into the range. After hanging an "ethically neutral" 5-bullseye target, I got Andy squared away with the .S&W 422, and he commenced to sending rounds downrange. I gotta say, for a first time shooter, he was pretty damned good. At 7 yards, his groupings were no more than 4 inches, and he just continued to improve the more he shot. He had one small episode of some horizontal stringing, but after I got him to work on the trigger squeeze, it mostly went away.

While he loaded mags, I got in some range time with the .45 ACP. Damn, but I love that heater! I burned through 4 mags in short order, and the resulting grouping increased my resolve to get some white dot or tritium sights installed. I like the Novak Lo-Mount design, but in the gloom of an indoor range, I need something more than a dull black finish to line up on.

Once Andy was comfortable with the .22, we moved on to the Ruger .357 Blackhawk. I'd already put a couple of cylinders through it, and Andy was standing close enough to me that he couldn't fail to feel the blast pressure. Still, when he got it up and ready to go, there was no hesitation, even after the recoil shook through his arms. He kept popping away until the cylinder emptied, and had about an 8-9 inch group at 10 yards. I really should have had some .38 Special rounds, but he's a pretty sturdy guy, and handled it well. Plus, I've got a big rubber Hogue Monogrip on it, and that soaks up 70% of the recoil.

Finally, we got him going on the .45 ACP. It took a couple of tries to get him comfortable with the slide release, and once one of the el-cheapo mags got jammed in the well, but he did OK. Once or twice, I'm pretty sure I caught him grooving on the experience, but as a diehard Blue-Stater, he'll deny it! He did very well with the .45, and had one exceptional grouping where he sent three rounds downrange to form one ragged hole, another two shared a "8"-shaped hole 3 inches above, and the remaining two rounds fell in between the larger holes.

When I was comfortable that Andy had his act together and could go it alone, I took the opportunity to try out Delftsman's little S&W popper. It's a little S&W Model 13 with fixed sights and a 3" barrel. He had a Pachmayr grip on it, but that little sixgun was a mite painful! Of course, after I've one-handed 12 rounds and got a hand cramp, then he lets me know I've been shooting 180 grain bullets, as opposed to the 125's I'm used to! He also was kind enough to let me run a mag full of rounds through his .410 Mossberg pump shotgun. This is the one that Mossberg advertised as a house-cleaner. The vertical foregrip was nice, but it shot really high. I was aiming at the crotch of a B27 target at 10 yards, and holes were appearing in the 10-ring. I think it might need a ghost ring rear sight to line things up correctly.

Brian (non-blogger, so no URL!) brought out a fine collection of vintage Colts, including a sho-'nuff 1911. He also had two 1911A1's, two Colt Mustangs, and an exceptionally nice Browning Hi-Power. He was having a bit of a problem with the 1911. It didn't like to feed either Winchester white-box FMJs or the FMJ reloads I had.

After I was just about shot out on the .357 and the .45, I decided it was time to take the Uzi for a spin. We had a special rate of a $10 rental fee, as opposed to the regular $30 fee. I got 50 rounds of 9mm, and the Range Officer accompanied me to the firing line. I stopped to get a fresh target, and chose the one with the photo picture that looks very similar to Billy Ray Cyrus. Boy, there's someone who would benefit from 9mm at 600 rpm!

I'd shot an MP5 and a Thompson before, and a friend owns an Uzi, so this was not really new. Just the little extra choice on the selector switch! I loaded the 1st mag, leaned into it, and let 'er rip! Damn, that's fun! I held it mostly to 4-5 round bursts, and shot both mags dry pretty darned quick. Ol' Billy Ray ended up with an Achy Breaky Heart, as well as an Icky Sticky Liver, a Jellied Smelly Belly, and a Holed & Stolen Colon!

Andy was up next, and he took to it like a fish to water. Or a liberal to NPR. One of the two, anyway. His control was a bit off, but he kept mostly on target. Here's a pic of Andy & the Uzi:

Behold! A Liberal/Green Pagan gets funky with an Uzi!
(Pic lifted from Andy 'cause he hasn't emailed me the others!)

Here's my favorite popper:

As they say, a good time was had by all, and we retired afterwards to a farewell luncheon before heading back home.

For Blogfest 2006, we gotta do an outdoor range, so we can get the heavy artillery into play! If Andy liked the Uzi, he's gonna LOVE an FN-49!

Monday, March 21, 2005

More Wisdom From The Manolo

From Manolo Helps The Mens

Sage advice, indeed!

Finally, the Manolo, he does have the one reservation about the Rochester. They have recently been featuring the sports clothes in the style of the Tommy Bahama, the heavily-patterned Florida-resort look that it is not good on the big mens.

Manolo says, the big mens, they should stay with the solids and the small patterns like the checks and the narrow stripes. The bold. colorful patterns they can make the big man look like the sofa of the parlor.
El Capitan, he is in the full agreement with The Manolo. El Capitan, he would very much like to be dressing in the Hawaiian flower-dy shirts and the sandals of the huarache. El Capitan, however, is not wishing to be looking like the walrus trying to sneak into the concert of the Jimmy Buffett, unless that is where he is really going!

El Capitan is also having the huge amusement by lapsing into the parlance of The Manolo. If this keeps up, The Manolo will be having the attorneys issuing the orders of the cease and the desist!

NCAA Hoops Update

Ok, I could give two damns about basketball, but in a fit of boredom last week I filled out the NCAA bracket. Total guessing on my part, since other than Duke & Kentucky, I don't know which teams are good.

Here are my picks for which teams I thought would make it to the Regionals:

Texas vs Boston College (Messed that pick up)
Arizona vs Oklahoma St. (got it right!)

Washington vs Louisville (got it right!)
Texas Tech vs Wake Forest (got it 1/2 right)

UNC vs Florida (got it 1/2 right)
Kansas vs Connecticut (Messed that pick up)

Duke vs Michigan State (got it right!)
UTEP vs Kentucky (got it 1/2 right)

So, out of the Sweet Sixteen, I got nine right just pulling names out of a hat. In other words, I might as well have been flipping a coin, statistically speaking.

Next up: El Capitan handicaps the Kentucky Derby.

Texas Blogfest 2005 Linkage

Sharing The Linky-Love!

I'm gonna make a special section on my blogroll of all the Texas Blogfest 2005 attendees. So far, I've got the following bloggers:

His Imperial Rottieness Darth Misha I
Eric & Denita
Random Numbers & Random Spouse
Andy The Kilted Liberal
Lady Mac
AJ, The Soon-To-Be-Ex-Yankee
Tig & Moona
John Doe #1
John Doe #2

Deathknyte and NYC Susan! Start a blog! You'll like it!

Please help me fill in the blanks! I tried to get everyone, but excessive dosages of primo scotch and Cohibas have a way of fogging up the brain. There's at least two faces in my memory that I never matched to a name and/or blog.

Muchas Gracias!

Finishing Up The 2005 Texas Blogfest

And Planning For The Future.

Home again! I was way too wiped last night to churn out any posts about the final day of the Blogfest. I got all my gear out of the PimpSled, topped up the nearly empty food & water bowls for Betsy Cat and Pookie Cat, then collapsed on the daybed to watch Deadwood on HBO before limping off to bed. Now, I'm just barely conscious at work, and I still need to get the guns cleaned from yesterday's range session before I can crash tonight. Oh, the price we pay for our frivolities!

All in all, I'd say the Blogfest was a huge success. Spats & Beth are to be congratulated for a job very well done, and I make a motion for the pair to reprise their organizer roles for the 2006 Texas Blogfest! Do I hear a second? All in favor? (Thunderous acclamation!!) All opposed? (deathlike silence) OK! Looks like the Ayes have it!

We spent a bit of time after the range session and at the farewell lunch at Whataburger discussing the scope of the future Blogfests. Spats brought up the point that this blogging thing may well be a flash in the pan. He's got a point, but I think we'll hang on for a few more years before the development of implantable intra-cranial blogging gear makes face-to-face meets obsolete.

I for one would like to see the Blogfest expanded to include a wider variety of attendees. At this Blogfest, we had only token representation from the "Blue" side of the Blogosphere. Lots of the attendees this year were diehard "Reds", and that's OK. I just feel it's important that we keep in mind that while we can seriously disagree with the opposite side of the political spectrum, they are still human beings, and need to be seen as such. I worry about the possibility of the two wings separating so far that we start to dehumanize the other side. Usually when that happens, sooner or later people tend to get Zyklon'ed or machete-ized to "purify" the realm.

Andy showed a huge set of cojones to march into the midst of the Evil Right Wing Conspiracy, wearing naught but a kilt and a cloak of Moral Certainty. Sure, Spats & AJ disagreed with him, but by Sunday, there were at least grudging signs of respect. For his part, though he bitched about the habits of conservative troglodytes on his blog, Andy remained cordial and willing to look for common bonds. I think that's very important. To use a quote from the HBO movie 'Live from Baghdad', "As long as we're talking, we're not going to war".

Eric from Who Tends The Fires said it best (even while he was full of 15 year old scotch, which makes it that much more impressive!) when he said "We don't need to be the ones showing our ass in public." He's absolutely right. As long as we can maintain the high road, we can offer the other side as much rope as they want, 'cause sooner or later they'll either get their shit properly braided together, or they'll hang themselves by excessive public ass-waving.

OK, enough pontificating. Thanks to all who attended. It was great meeting all of you! I hope we can do it again very soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Closing Out Day #2 Of The 2005 Texas Blogfest

Wow. What a day!

Zippo and I parted ways with the rest of the Blogfest crew about 6 pm, to allow the ones going to Fort Worth time to get gussied up for a night of hoo-rawin' with the hordes of shitkickers and shitkicker wannabes over at Billybob's. Nothing against shitkickers, I've trod on enough cowflop in my day to cover a good sized county. I've just had my fill of redneck bars.

Anyway, Zip and I had an alternate arrangement tonight. We met Andy & Laura and my friend Kosher Red up at Maggiano's in Plano for dinner. After the controlled chaos of the previous 24 hours, it was good to just take it easy and have a small gathering for a while.

Zip and I got there early, and we availed ourselves of their selection of single malt scotch. To be honest, they didn't have nearly the selection I thought they should, but they did have the 25 year old Macallan, which absolves them of many sins. I had a bit of a shock when paying for those bad boys. I pulled out a pair of Jacksons to cover the tab for 2 (that's TWO) highball glasses of that ethereal liquor, but it took a third $20 added to the pile to clear the tab, and I couldn't have paid for a Happy Meal with the change. Holy shite! Still, it was a fantastic glass of hooch, and the company couldn't be beat.

Kosher Red showed up next, looking fetching in her new skirt. I was under the impression she'd had jeans permanently grafted on her legs, since that's all I've ever seen her in up to now, so I was quite touched that she'd gotten all girled up for the evening.

A&L showed up right as the clock hit our reservation time, and we had just gotten our introductions finished when the Head Honcho In Charge showed up to seat us. See, Zippo is people that KNOWS people, so we got some pretty posh service tonight.

Food was great, conversation was better, though I wished I had more face time with everyone individually. I felt bad that I couldn't concentrate fully on every conversation, and I felt I was about 2 steps behind the ball all evening. Part of it was the scotch buzz, to be sure, but I've exceeded my social quota for the year just this weekend, so I was a bit overwhelmed.

Now, the house is quiet. Zippo and his wife Stomps With Foot have crashed, and I'm having a last Tecate while blogging this as a wind-down activity. I think we're gonna try and do breakfast at Cafe Brazil in the morning. I surely do miss that Brazilian Scrambler sandwich with the rosemary potato hashbrowns! Add a little of the nuclear-green El Yucateco habanero sauce, and you're off to the races!

Shooting range session tomorrow! Gonna teach a liberal how to shoot a handgun! I can't wait!!! I hope he enjoys it, 'cause then it'll fall into the "If it feels good, DO IT" liberal mantra, and he'll have to start collecting firearms! Buwahahahahaaa!

Comatose in Dallas - Liveblogging Pt 3

Well, several hours later, we've killed two fifths of high-grade single malt, uncounted Cohibas, and several quarts of spicy stew.

His Imperial Rottiness, Darth Misha I is snoring in the Spatula's Comfy Chair #2, Eric of Two Dragons is right behind him in the sandman's bus, and I'm pretty sleepy myself,

Zip is kinda toasty, and making noises about blowing off Maggiano's tonight, We shall have to disabuse him of that notion! It's been a great afternoon, with conversations ranging all over the place. Some of the Blogfest crew are still heading over to Billy Bob's, and some are voting for just hanging out and killing off the remaining beer,

I should mention now that Spats's cat is about the size of a mountain lion, and aside from a tail that's apparently met up with a lawn mower and came in a distant 2nd, is a pretty cool feline.

I'm gonna go back on Sunday night and edit all these posts and put in some links so y'all can know where these people blog at.

Can't wait for the shooting range session tomorrow! I just hope the hangovers will allow for extended gunfire!

Liveblogging Part II

Here we go...

We're live at Casa del Spats, sucking on a Tecate with a masterful mix of lime & salt on top courtesy of Zippo, and getting ready to eat some form of dead animal bits floating in broth. Spats whipped up a cauldron of stew/soup big enough to float the Lusitania, and we'll do our best to keep him from eating it for the next twelve years.

The Holiday Inn crew has just arrived, so we're about to get loud & crazy. More later!

Friday, March 18, 2005

The One Where We Liveblog

Then We Get Flogged For Using 'Friends' Titles

OK, I'm sitting here at Humperdinks with Zippo and Andy and MamaMontezz & Denita &&&&&& the list just goes on and on!
Spats is here, Beth is here, and we're sorely missing Dash & Christina!

I'm hitting the backspace key 3 times on every word... damn laptop keyboard. If we were meant to type on narrow keyboards, we'd have hands where our nipples reside.

OK, passing the Powerbook along so someone else can log before the battery craters. More later.

Yes, I'm still sober! Must fix this!!!

Light Posting Alert

Oh, yeah... one more thing... (he says in his best Peter Falk voice)

I'll post when I can. I'm without laptop, and my access to a computer might be limited this weekend, so you all may get a long recap of the Blogfest on Sunday or Monday.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Overachieving Again

I'm packed and almost ready to leave Houston for the 2005 Texas Blogfest. Assorted errands and preparations last night kept me up until 1:30, then up at 6:15 to load car, lay out 2 days of kitty provisions and everything else you need to do to be gone for 3 days. I'm doing too damned many things today. I ought to cancel the Dr.'s appt. I have this morning, or the trip over to Fort Worth to see Rockhauler in favor of getting a few hours more sleep. Ghod knows I'll be up until 2 or 3 today after a 4.5 hour drive and jaunting all over the Metroplex, then repeat the sleep deprivation all through the weekend. I'm surprised I don't nod off at the wheel.

No, I'll do what I always do, try to cram too much in 'cause I hate telling people "no", and just go into zombie mode during the day. I swear I almost faded off into sleep the other day in my boss's office. It almost makes you want to get on the Elvis wagon of uppers & downers to keep you awake in the day and asleep at night. I have no wish to die while squatting on the can, though.

OK, I'm rambling, and I need to get the car loaded. See all y'all up at Humperdinck's in Addison tonight. I'll be the sleepy guy with the "El Capitan" hat on.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Some Decent Job News!

Here I go, job blogging again...

Well, I finally convinced the Powers-That-Be that I needed a bigger office when we get relocated to another floor. On the new floor I was assigned a 10x10 office (down from a 10x15 on the current floor) with big glass windows across the interior wall, making the office more like a fishbowl. That wasn't too conducive to productivity, IMHO. It also backed up onto Louisiana Street, so I would have had my ears assaulted the eternal traffic snarl outside.

It was either that one, or a 10x12 with a huge support beam running down one side, effectively making it an 8 x 12. With a 6' desk, that's a tight squeeze. However, an attempted land grab by another division manager backfired on her, and the Grand Poobah In Charge noticed the overzealous carpetbagger had exceeded her group's allotted area by a factor of 3. This led to a review of the department's square footage by comparing assigned offices and the allowable office square footage by the employee's pay grade.

Now, normally, I scoff at this sort of button sorting and hair-splitting, since it's endemic to the type of administrator that can barely manage to keep themselves breathing, much less manage a department. However, it's working out in my favor, so I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and roll with it. Apparently, since I accept walk-in business, and the carpetbagger's staff does not, it means I rate an office near the reception area. Since the carpetbagger has placed her flunkies in that area, we went down the list, booting out anyone below me in terms of pay grade, and let me have the pick of the litter.

So, instead of a noisy 10x10 fishbowl, I get a 12x15 on the back side of the building with a floor-to-ceiling window facing north. Sweet! It's got no windows facing the interior, and it's far from my boss and the chattering cube dwellers. I've always said that a door you can shut is worth at least 10k in salary. Now, I don't really believe it, 'cause I'd move into a cubicle for an extra 10k/year in a heartbeat, but I say it anyway!

So, since I have all this extra room, I feel honor-bound to help out with the ANWR situation. Since the liberals and Greens seem to think that oil drilling will completely destroy the entire earth's surface north of the Arctic Circle, I shall accept housing applications from a minimum of two caribou, 3 ptarmigan and no more than 4 seals. With community block grants and food stamp assistance, I think we can swing this.

No Polar Bears Need Apply!!

Because I Can

We Abuse The Hildebeest Just For Fun

Cat Training

Every time I decide that Betsy Cat is motivated solely by regular servings of cat food, ear skritchings and the occasional kitty treat, I find one more reason she hangs around the house. She likes to torment me.

In subtle revenge for the hours I spend making her chase a laser pointer beam, or for waving a catnip scented mouse-on-a-string just out of her reach, she apparently uses part of her endless hours of lazing around the house to dream up ways to amuse herself at my expense.

One of her favorites is to wait until I'm settled down in front of the computer before she decides she wants out of the room. I'll have the door wide open for hours, but as soon as I shut the door prior to turning up the volume for music or games, that's when she needs to go visit the litterbox. No, she doesn't try to get out as I'm shutting the door, she waits until I'm involved in something before she starts pawing at the door and wailing like I'm kicking her. If I ignore this, she starts scratching at the carpet in the spot where she peed long ago, which usually gets me out of the chair real quick.

Last night was a new shenanigan on her part. We had a chilly evening, which I quite enjoy, and I was lounging on the bed reading a book with the window cracked open to ice down the bedroom a bit. I love sleeping in a chilly room under a thick comforter. Betsy Cat is a Maine Coon Cat equipped with vast amounts of fur, and she likes the cold as much as I do. Or so I thought.

Now, most cat owners know about the Cat Crazies. Every so often, usually at night, your cat will start wildly racing through the house for no apparent reason. Betsy Cat's routine is to fling herself off my bed, race to the bedroom door, paw it open and race down the hall. Then, she returns at high speed, pushing open the door and leaping up on the bed, only to dig in her back claws, fold herself in half and do a quick 180, then race out the door just before it swings fully closed. She'll do this 3 or 4 times, then go eat or scratch on the dehumidifier before resuming her snoozing.

Last night she started into the Crazies, but stopped right in front of the door. It wasn't latched shut, so I ignored her back & forth pacing and kept reading. She chirruped a couple of times, pawed at the gap between the door and the doorjamb a bit, then scratched at the carpet, which she knows will bring me running. Finally she let out a yowl and started dashing back and forth between the bed and the door.

I'd had enough of listening to her, so I got up and went to prop the door open. Usually she gets in a crouch like a sprinter, and as the door opens, she's off in a cloud of fur. I looked down, but didn't see the expected grey streak making a beeline for the cat food. Where had she gotten to?

She'd snuck around my feet, and by the time I turned around, she was already up on the bed curled up in the warm spot I'd just vacated!

Hmmmm. I'd say she's got her training routine down pretty well!

Yeah, I'm recycling catpics from months ago. Sue me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Regarding The Rain Check...

And you know who you are!

Don't worry, it definitely caught my attention! I'm just not quite sure what type of response is warranted here. I mean, you could go for the humorous reply, and risk being seen as flippant. You could go for the incredulous response, and inadvertently question someone's integrity. You could overreact in the affirmative, and get seen as a nutjob Flake-N-Stein. You could just ignore it, and be seen as aloof.

Or, you could post a cryptic message on your blog, confusing most of your readers. And yourself. I have no idea where I was going with this.

Time to bail...

Return to your regularly scheduled activities. Move along! Nothing to see here!

Does Tube Steak Count?

I had one of my periodic moody evenings last night. Every so often my skivvies get twisted up in a wad, and I spend a couple of hours driving around aimlessly trying to decide what to do with the evening. Ever hear the joke about the burro that couldn't decide which pile of hay to take a bite out of, so it ended up starving to death? That's really about me.

Laurence from IFOC was hosting a shindig for the Anti-PETA Meat-O-Rama last night over at Rajun Cajun, but I got off work a little late, and I wouldn't have gotten there until everyone was half in the bag. Plus, with the Texas Blogfest this weekend, I'm beyond my comfort limit for social events. I've never been one for gathering up friends & acquaintances by the bushel basket, preferring instead to acquire them slowly over time. Jumping headfirst into the blogfest, and also coming out from behind my semi-anonymity is giving me a case of the screaming fan-tods. Hopefully, it'll end up with me doing a Sally Field moment, not getting run out of Dallas by an angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks.

At any rate, I ended up moseying around the 'hood looking for something that tweaked my appetite. The problem with extended bachelor-hood is that you inevitably get tired of your own cooking, and then get bored with all the local eateries. It was just one of those nights where nothing sounded good at all, and places I might have ventured into were all had their parking lots just stuffed to the gills. I'm not shy about dining alone, but I much prefer to do it in a spot that's not packed cheek-to-jowl. The local taqueria I hang out at just replaced the cute little chiquitas who waited tables with a couple of surly crones, so it's lost some allure. Plus,I just ate there the other day.

I finally ended up at James Coney Island, where my addiction to Chicago-style hot dogs leads me upon occasion. It was mercifully free of the soccer-moms and their hyperactive sprogs that usually infest the joint, and I indulged in a couple of New York style dogs with mustard & kraut, and a couple of chili dogs for dessert. OK, not exactly the big juicy steak I was hoping for, but eating ground up, pureed & stuffed-in-a-sausage-casing animal flesh still counts!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Camera Shopping

It looks like I won't manage a digital camera purchase before this weekend's trip. I usually borrow Mom's Minolta S414, but she's already laid claim to it this weekend. Apparently taking pictures of my 8-months-pregnant sister's bulging belly has precedence over the Texas Blogfest...

I've been shopping on the usual channels for a good all-around camera, but I'm torn between portability and functionality. My buddy Little Bee Boy has the Canon Digital Elph, and it seems to take OK pictures. I'd like a bit more optical zoom, though. Mom's does all right, but it has some issues I don't care for. I like the looks and features of this one, but it'd would be a PITA to carry around. This one might be good, but I don't know anyone who has one to ask about it. Hmmm.

Anyone got ideas for a decent 4.0 megapixel camera with decent zoom-age for under $300? This weekend looks destined to involve a cheapie disposable.

Getting Ready For Texas Blogfest 2005!

It's T minus 68 hours to when I plan to point the PimpSled north and head up to Dallas to take part in the Texas Blogfest 2005. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of bloggers and ingesting unsafe quantities of alcohol and cigar smoke for two days straight. Good thing I'm stopping by my physician's office for a checkup Friday morning and not after I return! I already see my cholesterol count tripling after this hoo-rah.

We'll sober up long enough to head to the shooting range on Saturday. Zippo wants to 'bust some caps' with my .45, and I'll drag along a couple of other pistolas as well. I have to go over to Little Bee Boy's shack and borrow his S&W .22 popgun tonight or tomorrow. It makes a good instructional tool for the inexperienced shooters, much more so than the hand-cannons I usually tote around.

I'm going to slide over to far west Fort Worth as soon as I reach the Metroplex, and before I head over to Casa de Zippo. I was scheduled to pick up some shootin' irons from Rockhauler last time I was in D/FW, but scheduling mishaps forced a delay. I'm not sure what he's got on the bill of lading, but I know for certain there's a Mauser 98k with my name on it, and he also mentioned something about an FN49 chambered in 7mm Mauser. If we end up going to the Collin County Gun range, I'll have to procure some ammo for that beast. I don't want to be uncorking that smokepole indoors if we go to the DFW Gun Range in Dallas.

I'll probably toss the SKS into the trunk, just to have it along. I haven't had a chance to sight in the red dot sight I mounted on it. Again, that one's better suited for outdoor sessions.

Both ranges are running $15-17 a head for non-member entry fees. It's not so bad at DFW Range, they've got a nice indoor facility. It irks to pay that much to shoot outdoors, though. I haven't heard yet which range is getting the nod for our blogger invasion. DFW is closer, but only has 14 shooting lanes. CC is all the way in McKinney, but has a lot more room. We shall see.

UPDATE: It looks like we might be going shooting on Sunday after breakfast. All good with me. That way I get to smell like burnt gunpowder the whole trip home. There are worse fates!

Lessons I'll Never Learn

I don't get home last night until really late. I had to go sit in on a civic association meeting to relate some business-related info, and naturally ended up being placed low on the agenda. Therefore a quick in & out info-dump turned into listening to a 90 minute squabbling session that I had to wait through. For those of you involved in your local neighborhood associations, I can assure you that the issues that are vitally important to you bore the everlasting shit out of me. Nothing personal, my local civic issues are of no account to you either. However, I know enough about running meetings to let guests speak their piece and then depart.

OK, I'm rambling about the job again... Sorry.

I go grab a bite at IHOP, the first time I've eaten there in ages. I just had a sudden urge for an omelette & pancakes. I get home, chat a bit with Kosher Red via iChat, then settle down for an evening of blogging. Nothing grabs my attention, so I say to myself "Just go lie down, read the latest Newsweek, and something will come up."

Yeah, the sun will come up, that's what'll happen. I wake up at 5:30 am, still dressed, with Betsy Cat frantically pawing me and chirruping in my face because I've left the bedroom door closed, and it's between her and the litterbox. To her credit there's no pile of cat poop that I can see. So, extra treats tonight!

I keep thinking I'll remember to stay vertical until I get everything done that needs to be done. Every so often, though, I break the rule, and wake up hours later. Most times that happens, it's no big deal. Just a bit of a hassle the next day, 'cause I didn't get a load of laundry done, or failed to answer some emails. It has cost me, though. I slept through not one but two final exams my first year in college. Those weren't the direct cause of my forced entry into the School of Hard Knocks, but they certainly contributed.

I quickly learned that if I had something important to do, I needed to stay far away from beds, couches and comfy chairs. In my second attempt at getting through college, I did most of my studying standing by my car under the carport, with all my books scattered over the car's roof. (It never ran that much, anyway)

Perversely, the times I desperately need to get to sleep, I spend tossing & turning until the wee hours of the morning. Go figure.

Oh, well. I'll just need to blog twice as much today!

Monday, March 14, 2005


At last we get a holiday just for men. No, Father's Day doesn't count. Not all men have spawned just yet! Labor Day invariably involves actual labor, namely yard work or garage cleaning, and St. Paddy's Day just involves drinking beer and making an ass out of yourself. I do that most days anyway.

I just wish I'd heard of this holiday earlier...

Here's a quote from the website:
March 14th is now officially "Steak and Blowjob Day". Simple, effective and self explanatory, this holiday has been created so you ladies finally have a day to show your man how much you care for him.

No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town; the name of the holiday explains it all, just a steak and a BJ. Thats it. Finally, this twin pair of Valentine's Day and Steak and Blowjob Day will usher in a new age of love as men everywhere try THAT much harder in February to ensure a memorable March 14th!

The word is already beginning to spread, but as with any new idea, it needs a little push to start the ball rolling. So spread the word, and help bring love and peace to this crazy world. And, of course, steak and BJ's.

Hell, I'd settle for Chili Dog & BJ day...

Via Denita's blog!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

You Must Know The Manolo!

The Capitan, he reads the Day by Day every morning with the juice and the muffins. He sees the Day by Day cartoon the morning of the February the 25, and the confusion, it is great!

It is sad, the Capitan he does not know of the Manolo, either!

But then, the humble knowledge of the Manolo, it drifts through the cable modem. The Manolo, he wishes only to spread the wisdom of the No-Poncho Pledge, and tell of the super fantastic shoes! And to make the fun of the Saluki Sisters.

The Manolo he eagerly awaits your visit to the Manolo Shoe Blog!

Do not be seduced by the poncho!

Blogroll Update

I finally got to the point where I could stop and update the blogroll!

It's taking longer and longer these days to re-publish the template, so I only get around to it every so often.

If you've blogrolled me recently, and just started to have steam spritz out from your ears 'cause it looks like I'm ignoring you, I promise that's not the case! It's not that I'm that insensitive, I'm just lazy as hell!

OK, here's the reciprocals... (PLEASE email me if I missed you!)

Crime Dog's Parrothead Ramblings
Kyle Maxwell
Yeah Right Whatever
Monkey Watch
Round The Fire

And the long overdues!

Eject Eject Eject


And the what-the-hell, they make me laugh, cry, think, spew fire, etc.

An Arizona Cheesehead
Not Exactly Rocket Science
The Puppy Smoothie, Penguin P()rn Guy
Bad News Hughes
Free Market Fairy Tales

And.... the ceremonial delinking!!!

Actually, this is no big deal. Connie du Toit's link came off because she shut down her blog and merged with her husband Kim's blog.

Serenity's blog came off because I ain't registering just to read a blog. Commenting, yes. Not for reading, though. I don't do it for news sites (not without BugMeNot, anyway), so doing it for a blog is right out. Sorry, Serenity! It's my loss!

Why Not A Pump Shotgun?

I knew someone would ask why I'm looking for a short-barreled double instead of the more usual choice of a pump-action scattergun. So, here's why...

First, the sound of a pump-action slide racking back and forth to chamber a round is extremely familiar. To quote Jules from Pulp Fiction, "If you ever heard it, it meant your ass."
I'm not in the business of scaring people, though. If things come to the point that I need to get the shotgun out, we've gotten past the preliminary rounds and moved right into the main event.

Second, I'm just tickled pink by the thought of having an old-fashioned double gun. Every time I see Rio Lobo, I get a laugh out of Jack Elam's character, carrying a double-barreled shotgun. I'll paraphrase his quote, as best I can remember:
"Now, I've got me a shotgun here with the triggers wired back, and my thumb holding back the hammers. It's pointed at your spine, so you take things nice & easy. It's be a shame if I hit a bump and we had us a little accident!"

Third, looking down the barrels is like gazing into the gates of hell. It's like seeing Satan's twin assholes ('cause you know he's gotta have two...) pointed at you, ready to spew fire and corruption.

Finally, if the shit ever really hits the fan, it's the work of a few minutes to turn this:

Into This!

Here endeth the lesson!

Oh, My Achin' Feet!

What is it about convention centers that require the floors to be paved in Soul-Sucking Stone? Add to that the GRBCC here in Houston is approximately the size of Manhattan, and the nearest parking is 3/4 mile away, and Genius Capitan here saw fit to wear topsiders instead of comfy sneakers equals some tender tootsies today.

So, went to the gun show yesterday, hoping to bring home a new toy. I had my mind set on two things, either a Steyr M40 or an exposed-hammer 12 gauge coach gun. Here's what I'm talking about, for you non-gun types.

Unfortunately, neither was to be had. Naturally, there were piles and piles of Tupperware guns, and lots of the hammerless shotguns, just not the models I was after.

The day wasn't a total loss. I got 300 rounds of assorted pistol ammo for next week's shooting range session up in Dallas, and my mandatory Sharp Pointy Thing I seem to acquire at every gun show.

Oh, well. Guess I'll just have to go to the next gun show. Damn the bad luck!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Favorite Fictional Characters

Man, how juicy an opportunity is this? (UPDATE: Apparently, it's just juicy enough to let it fester on the "polish this up" pile for almost two weeks...)

Via Sheila O'Malley's Blog, I ran across a post asking about your favorite fictional characters. She found it here.

I tried really hard not to peek at Sheila's picks, or those on the news article until I made my list. That way, my true choices will come out, and you'll get to see a bit of my personality shine through, or else see how dreadfully nyekulturniy I really am, depending on your perspective!

There are problems in the tabulating, though... Right away I started filling up the list with characters from Shakespeare and R.A. Heinlein. That way lies boredom for the reader, and it fills up the list. So, no more than 3 characters from any one source! (Believe me, this hurts me a lot worse than it hurts you!)

Also, I'm not gonna go the full 100, 'cause I just dumped 100 Things About Me on your collective pointy little heads not too long ago. I'll go 50 or so, and add any others that pop into my head later.

By "Fictional", I'm choosing the meaning "From Fiction", meaning the printed page. This'll let me get in characters from plays, but we'll leave movie & comic book characters out of it, despite the existence of screenplays and graphic novels.

Here we go. This'll be in random order. (UPDATE: Jeebus! Do I read that much in the whodunit genre? Guess so!)

KEY: Character name, short description including author, and book/play title in parentheses
1) Travis McGee - John D. MacDonald's greatest creation. (The Deep Blue Goodbye, et al)

2) Marion 'Doc' Ford - R.W. White's able successor to Travis McGee's throne. (Sanibel Flats, et al)

3) Tatton Chantry - My favorite Louis L'Amour novel. Great character with a mysterious past (Fair Blows The Wind)

4) Richard Sharpe - Bernard Cornwell's scarred soldier. Can't get enough of these books! (Sharpe's Eagle, et al)

5) Romeo & Juliet - Couldn't split these two up... Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. (Romeo & Juliet)

6) Friday Baldwin - So strong. So fragile. So... fictional, darn the luck! Heinlein's 2nd best female character. (Friday)

7) Maureen Johnson Long - Heinlein's best heroine. (To Sail Beyond The Sunset)

8) Charles 'Kip' Russell - My favorite of Heinlein's juvenile heroes. (Have Spacesuit, Will Travel)

9) Dirk Pitt - Clive Cussler's indestructible & amphibious hero. (Vixen 03, et al)

10) Echo Sackett - L'Amour's Sackett boys were tough, but this Sackett girl will kick your ass! (Ride The River)

11) Milo Talon - Most Louis L'Amour fans would pick one of the Sacketts. I must take another road! (The Man From The Broken Hills)

12) Hamlet - Shakespeare proved that nothing goes better with Danish than blood & poison. (The Tragedy Of Hamlet)

13) Aunt Pearl Burras - "Ohhhh, Ripper's eaten the bitter pill!" By the time that line rolls around, you're already falling out of your chair & gasping for breath you're laughing so hard. For me, Aunt Pearl is the best of the dozens of characters created by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams for their wonderful trilogy of stageplays about the citizens of Tuna, Texas, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. (Greater Tuna)

14) Arly Hanks - The Ozark region's favorite (and only) female police chief, written by Joan Hess. (Madness in Maggody)

15) Steve Carella - One of Ed McBain's many detectives, Carella still stands out. (87th Precinct novels)

16) Dave Robicheaux - Flawed Cajun detective learns to live again. (Heaven's Prisoners, et al)

17) Andrew Gainer - Gerald Browne's novels are formulaic, but his characters are unforgettable. (19 Purchase Street)

18) Eliza - Heroine of Neal Stephenson's novels Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System Of The World. (The Baroque Cycle)

19) Harry Crewe/Harimad-Sol - Robin McKinley's heroine of Damar. (The Blue Sword)

20) Paul Atreides - What happens when you become a god? Frank Herbert's masterpiece. (Dune)

21) Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - On the top 5 Nasty Villains Of All Time list! (Dune)

22) Stuart Haydon - David Lindsay's Houston, TX detective. (Spiral, et al)

23) Shasta - From my favorite Narnia Chronicle by C.S. Lewis. (The Horse & His Boy)

24) Henry Reed - Keith Robertson's books are still fun to read as an adult. (Henry Reed, Inc., et al)

25) Tabitha Ruth "Turtle" Wexler - Most of my love of detective fiction stems from this phenomenal children's mystery book by Ellen Raskin. (The Westing Game)

26) PJ Cooper - From William Hogan's novel of being a teenager in the '60s. (The Quartzite Trip)

27) Molly - William Gibson's flawed razorgirl of the near future. (Neuromancer)

28) Nick & Nora Charles - Believe it or not, Dashiell Hammett's book came before the movie! Best detective couple ever! (The Thin Man)

29) John Dortmunder & Parker - Two great characters, and two sides of the criminal coin by the same author, Donald Westlake aka Richard Stark. (The Hot Rock, Payback, et al)

30) Pyanfar Chanur - CJ Cherryh's leonine heroine. (The Pride of Chanur, et al)

31) Randall Flagg - He's pleased to meet you! Hope you got his name! Steven King knocks this one out of the park. (The Stand)

32) Xavier Quinn - A.H.Z. Carr's Bahamian detective. (Finding Maubee)

33) Marcus Didius Falco - Even Ancient Rome had detectives! Lindsey Davis's books are a treat! (The Iron Hand Of Mars, et al)

34) Atticus Kodiak - The name's a stretch to swallow, but the books by Greg Rucka you swallow right up! (Finder, et al)

35) Alan Lewrie - Dewey Lambdin's ne'er do well naval officer is more fun than Hornblower, less pompous than Jack Aubrey. (The King's Coat, et al)

36) The Hardy Boys - I read dozens of these as a kid. (The Tower Treasure, et al)

37) Sherlock Holmes - The game is afoot! Arthur Conan Doyle's immortal detective. (The Speckled Band, et al)

38) Skink - What Carl Hiaasen novel would be complete without a half-naked roadkill-eating Republican ex-governor of Florida? (Double Whammy, et al)

39) Kinsey Millhone - Sue Grafton's harried heroine. (A Is For Alibi, et al)

40) Kinky Friedman - What's real and what's fiction is kind of up in the air in these novels by the Kinkster. (The Love Song Of J. Edgar Hoover, et al)

41) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Can't have one without the other! Hamlet's hapless courtiers move from Shakespeare's Globe to Tom Stoppard's Broadway. (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead)

42) Santiago - Hemingway's most memorable character. (The Old Man And The Sea)

43) Taita - Wilbur Smith's best character is an Egyptian slave! (River God)

44) Horatio Hornblower - C.S. Forester's intrepid sailor. (Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, et al)

45) Athos - Alexandre Dumas' character pretty much defines the "man with a tragic past" genre. (The Three Musketeers)

46) John Bannerman - Rule #1 of John Maxim's character Bannerman: Don't fuck with his town! (The Bannerman Solution, et al)

47) Alvin Fernald - More juvenile fun from author Clifford B. Hicks. I wore my copy out in 4th grade. (Alvin Fernald, Superweasel)

48) Sam Gribley - Jean George's young Thoreau-in-training. Wonderful novel! (My Side Of The Mountain)

49) Mrs. Whatsit - Along with Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, she was an indespensible part of Madeleine L'Engle's novel for children. (A Wrinkle In Time)

50) Pieter Coetzee - Daniel Carney's hard-bitten Boer mercenary comes to grips with the future of Africa. (The Wild Geese)

OK, This Is Creepy!

I found this picture while browsing around on Wikipedia.

The pic is of England's Queen Anne. Now, normally I don't pay close attention to jpegs of long-dead royalty, but in this case, I had to stop and do a double take. See, it looks disturbingly like a friend of mine. OK, you'd have to remove the crown and replace the curly hair with straight hair. My friend is also not normally that puffy-looking, but as she's now in her final trimester, it just looks more and more similar.

I'm gonna keep mum about the name of my friend, and see if her husband or any of the UTA crew emails me to either agree or disagree. Either way, I'm going by a Burger King and see if I can get a paper crown to mail to her.

My Story Got Linked By BlogHouston!

BlogHouston picked up my tale of the blackened mustache that I noticed last week, and got to the bottom of the mystery. I don't know if they beat the Chronicle to the punch, or if it was a mutual effort, but we now know the vandal was the manager of the Lyric Centre property.

So, to Jason Davis, president of U.S. Property Management that perpetrated this travesty, I have the following to say:

"Sirrah! Thou art a tool! Return the Virtuoso to its pristine condition forthwith!"

More Gun Goodness!

Oh, be still my beating heart!! OK, not perfectly still...

After years of seeing those effete Ruger 10/22 snobs flouncing around with all their aftermarket accessories, I'm pleased to say that there's finally some goodies showing up for those of us that prefer the Marlin Model 60.

I love my Marlin .22s! Hell, I've got 3 or 4 of them hanging around, but two are just parts guns to keep the shooters in running order. I've got a vintage Model 60, made before the days of smaller tube mags, shorter barrels and the redesigned bolt. It's had literally thousands of rounds through it, and still shoots tighter groups that I can hold still for. I also have a Model 75, the carbine version with the 10-shot tube mag and the 18" barrel. Not quite as accurate, but it's pretty handy to have around. I use it with rat-shot rounds to blow up the carpenter bees that burrow into the eaves on the house.

I've been quite satisfied with their handling, and I do prefer a wood stock to synthetic, but I think I need to go from this:

to one of these:

Hell, maybe both. The Mod. 75 will also fit the Dragunov-style stock. I'm afraid if I put it in the bullpup version, it'll be too short overall, and get me busted for having an underlength rifle.

Well, the gun show is tomorrow downtown. Maybe someone will have some to take a look at! The Dragunov runs about $50-60, the bullpup a little over a C-note.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Albums To Listen To Before You Die

I found this at Kyle's Blog. He was nice enough to link to the Dixie/Yankee quiz I posted, and also snuck me on his blogroll without me noticing! Naturally, reciprocity is in order!

Since we're trading memes this week, I'll use this one from his site:
Via Small Values of Cool: "Copy the list on to your blog, put in bold the ones you have listened to (completely from begining to end) and then add three more albums that you think people should have heard."
OK, I'm hip to the scene...

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
London Calling - The Clash
Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Think Tank - Blur
This is Hardcore - Pulp
Moon Safari - Air
Elastica - Elastica
Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols
OK Computer - Radiohead
The Kiss of Morning - Graham Coxon
Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars - David Bowie
The Wall - Pink Floyd
Setting Sons - The Jam
America Beauty - The Grateful Dead
Toxicity - System of a Down
Train a Comin’ - Steve Earle
Folksinger - Phranc
Come From the Shadows - Joan Baez
Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf
The River - Bruce Springsteen
The Very Best of Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading
Copperhead Road - Steve Earle
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits
Outside - David Bowie
Passionoia - Black Box Recorder
Version 2.0 - Garbage
Too Young To Die (Greatest Hits) - St. Etienne
The Complete Recordings - Robert Johnson
Absolution - Muse
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
Gringo Honeymoon - Robert Earl Keen
Buena Vista Social Club - Ry Cooder, Buena Vista Social Club
Gipsy Kings - Cantos de Amor

And my three additions:

Passion: Music from The Last Temptation of Christ - Peter Gabriel
Medusa - Annie Lennox
The Road To Ensenada - Lyle Lovett