Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, August 31, 2007

Adding Insult To Injury, Pt. 376

It's A Got-Damn Conspiracy By The Skinnies!

OK, I'm a big guy. I've never tried to conceal that fact. Mostly, 'cause it's gone way beyond the "wear baggy clothes, no horizontal stripes, hang out with fatter friends so you look thinner" stage. There's really no chance of concealment, at least until the Romulan cloaking device is perfected.

Buying clothes when you're fat is never a picnic. In addition to being more expensive and harder to find than regular-sized clothing, much of the time you have to throw out any remaining traces of fashion sense and just go with what's in front of you, because usually that's all that's available.

Not this time, though.

I'm needing to restock the underwear drawer, and I can usually find good deals on eBay. Last time I got some factory-imperfect skivvies for about a third of what I pay retail, assuming you don't mind that the waistband says "Hannes" or "Frut of the Looom", or there's an uneven seam or two.

Time's passed, and stretching the tighty-whiteys over my capacious posterior has taken its toll on the fabric. So, back to eBay to find some more.

And all I can find in my size looks like this:


The description says they're "men's briefs in stylish pastels for bringing out your feminine side". I don't think so, Scooter...

On the other hand, if I wore these at the next blogfest, I'd have the cabin to myself pretty darn quick!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Will Perk You Up

Juan Valdez Is Now Growing Coca Plants

I ran across these espresso-drink guides this morning over at BoingBoing. Apparently, people need a chart to remember how to make the super-poofter varieties of coffee.

Flat white? Cafe Macchiato? WTF?

Here's an idea for you, boho-boy.

Put that in your mug and drink it. We used to make cowboy coffee at Scout camp by tying a fistful of coffee grounds and a big pinch of salt into a sweaty old bandana, then tossing the bandana into a 2 gallon coffee pot. You'd then set the pot into the coals until it started boiling out the spout, then see which of the kids would be brave enough to finish a cup.

I like my coffee like I like my women! Strong & Hot! With a spoon in them!
(OK, that's an Eddie Izzard joke...)

I'll finish up with a coffee song. This was written by Alan Wooley, lead guitar and singer for Killbilly, the band I roadied for when I was in college.


Well, you think I'm unaware of what you're doin'
Believe me when I say there's trouble brewin'
I'm smart enough to know when I've been had
But the heat is on, and now I'm steamin' mad
My friends all say you're hangin' out with Joe (good ol' Joe!)
What you see in that slow drip, I'll never know.

I'm tired of all your runnin' round
Spreadin' lies all over town
I'm boilin' mad
And I think I've got the grounds
I'll take a lump or maybe two
but Sugar when it comes to you
I say these words, I hope you'll understand
Wake up and smell the coffee, if you can.

Now I know you'll never treat me like you should
and I'd leave you in instant if I could
But Honey, you're the sweetest thing in town
And though I try, I just can't put you down.
I've caused a stir, now there's no turning back,
For without you, my future would be black.

I'm tired of all your runnin' round
Spreadin' lies all over town
I'm boilin' mad
And I think I've got the grounds
I'll take a lump or maybe two
but Sugar when it comes to you
I say these words, I hope you'll understand
Wake up and smell the coffee, if you can.

Though in the past we two have disagreed
Just a spoonful of your love is all I need
How I long to hold you and let you know
While I whisper words of love so sweet'n'low
my love is hot and strong and will not stop;
you know it will be good to the last drop

I'm tired of all your runnin' round
Spreadin' lies all over town
I'm boilin' mad
And I think I've got the grounds
I'll take a lump or maybe two
but Sugar when it comes to you
I say these words, I hope you'll understand
Wake up and smell the coffee, if you can.

Wake up and smell the coffee,
Wake up and smell the coffee,
Wake up and smell the coffee, if you can.

Just A Reminder...

One Hippo, One Vote??

Just a quick reminder of why we live in a constitutional republic, not a pure democracy. Those trying to dissolve the Electoral College and go for a straight popular vote, take note...

Here's an example of a pure democracy voting on what's for dinner:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It's A Nice Round Number

This... is post # 1500!!!

Thankyew, thankyew...

Pookie Cat, on the other hand, couldn't give a damn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Hedgehog Hat

For Those With A Latex/Small Mammal Fetish...

OK, here's the Spiny Norman hat:

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Hate Min-Pins

Poodles Move Up From Last Place...

Are all dogs under knee-height destined to be annoying yappers?

My next-door neighbors have been on a dog acquisition spree. Three dogs in the last 10 months. First came Muttface, the mentally-deficient pit bull. Aside from her tendency to crap on my side of the property line, she's OK.

Next came Taco, the chihuahua. Taco's quiet, and mostly trembles a lot. I keep waiting for the big barn owl I've seen around the neighborhood to swoop in and carry him off.

This latest one, though... My neighbor's #2 kid came back from Jacksonville, FLA with a Cubano wife, a small brown chubby kid, and this got-damned miniature pinscher.

I haven't had the greatest of experiences with Min-Pins. I went camping with Jenni and her assorted crew of buccaneers several years back, and this couple brought along a Min-Pin named Saber.

This is how most of the weekend went:









I considered consigning Saber to the campfire more than once, but there's no way I could have avoided the fistfight immediately afterwards. I'm too old to go rolling in the dirt for anything not life-threatening.

So, there's this new Min-Pin in my life, and it's about as annoying as can be. It'll come right up to barking furiously, then slowly back off as you turn to face it. As soon as you move away, it's right at your ankles, growling and barking.

Now, it hasn't bitten me yet, which is why it's still alive. I can stand a dog barking at me, but I'll be damned if it gets a free chomp while I'm standing on my property.

This new Min-Pin's name is Canyon, probably because that's what you want to toss it into.

It's a pretty long drive out to the nearest farm & ranch supply store, but I think I'll take the trip. I'm sure I can still pick up a cattle prod for less than 50 bones. They work quite well on evil little dogs...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

To Tell The Truth

In The Old Days, We'd Pull Out Your Tongue...

I was puttering around on one of the gun/shooter forums the other day. I wasn't looking to get into any discussions, I was just trolling the boards and seeing what the daily topics were.

On one of the threads, some guy posted a reply to a gun review, and included a personal anecdote that I knew at once to be untrue. It involved the mechanical capabilities of a certain handgun, and what the poster said occurred could simply never happen, barring divine intervention, and even then it's highly improbable.

The older I get, the less capacity I have to deal with bullshitters. I absolutely hate to see it on a web forum I frequent. It's like walking up your driveway and seeing a fresh steaming turd on the pavement. Really brings down the neighborhood...

I had most of my scathing expose mentally composed as I hit the "reply" button, but I thought I'd check to see if anyone else caught the lie. Yup, sure enough someone had pointed out (in a much more diplomatic manner than I would have) that the previous poster was A. Full of Shit, and B. Caught in the Act.

I wasn't going to start a donnybrook after someone else had spanked the offender, so I just let it go. However, it got me thinking about why someone would post such an obviously false story to a forum that's just chockablock with gun professionals and overeducated tyros like myself. Did he not think he'd be caught?

There's a lot of reasons why people choose to lie. To avoid getting into trouble, maybe to impress someone. Possibly because they feel that their lives aren't exciting enough without embellishment.

I like comedian Eddie Izzard's scale of measuring mendacity:

You have murder one, murder two; you realize that there can be a difference in the level of murder, so there must be a difference in the level of perjury. Perjury One is when you're saying there's no Holocaust when 10 million people have died in it, and Perjury Nine is when you said you shagged someone when you didn't.

I'll agree. Saying you caught an 18 lb. trout when you really only caught a scrofulous 5 oz. crappie won't shake the foundations of the earth.

Saying you're free of STD's when you've got a raging case of herpes, though... That's good for a thorough beatdown once the offended party gets back from the clinic.

What really bothers me about people lying is that after they're caught once, how can you really ever trust anything they say in the future?

Brrrr.... just caught a chill when I realized that with that above sentence, I've turned into my parents...

I'm happy to say that out of all the bloggers I've met in person, there's been no one that's just blatantly full of shit. OK, so maybe the fish got a little bit bigger once the liquor started flowing, but there's no one I'd hesistate to believe if they chose to confide in me.

Up and down my blogroll, the one thing most common is the ability to turn the everyday and ordinary into narratives full of wonder, humor, pathos and creativity. I think if you've got that skill, you don't feel the need to punch up your imaginary resume.

(Note: While I was born, I wasn't born yesterday... I'm keeping mah mouf shut about the folks that have a carefully constructed online persona...)

So, are you a mendacious prevaricator that's stumbled on this website and is looking to go straight? Here's some tips:

1) Distance = Bad - The farther your story happens from you, the more likely it's gonna be bullshit. That amazing thing that happened to your friend's brother's cousin's uncle in Timbuktu is highly suspect.

2) Do Your Research - If you claim to have held off the Egyptian hordes in the Sinai in 1973, it would help if your high school class ring didn't say 1983.

3) Do Your Research Pt. 2 - No, you didn't get laid for the first time in the balcony at a Steely Dan concert in 1978.

4) Stop Dropping Acid - Your military boarding school in Alaska did NOT get secretly deployed to help the Special Forces defend Prudhoe Bay against invading Soviet Spetznaz forces.

5) Big Brother Is Watching - You really have no idea of the interests and backgrounds of your audience. That little old lady is secretly a fan of Napoleonic wargaming and can rattle off regiments by heart. That wrinkled old coot wearing the grimy gimme cap knows everything there is to know about 1948-2002 MOPAR and GM engines. That quiet guy by the bar spent years in the Congo killing Communist tangoes.

Sooner or later, you're gonna start pulling stories out of your ass, and you'll get called on it in public. It won't be pretty. You'll try to bluff your way out, but you'll fail. People will laugh at you. You'll have to move away, change your name and hope to live it down. Plus, people might confuse you for a Democrat. Or a politician. Or (Horrorshow!) a Democratic politician.

So, take the easy road, and just be yourself. That's often quite sufficient to gather a group of friends. God knows, with all our assorted closeted skeletons and quirkish eccentricities, most bloggers won't be too terribly selective! It's a meritocracy based on how well you tell a story, not how well you make one up!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

100% Concentrated Batshit Crazy!

Why Don't The Voices In Their Heads Ever Tell Them To STFU???

Some days a blogpost just falls in my lap. Today, it's courtesy of some whackazoid goon that's been sucking on the crack pipe just a bit too long.

I got the following manifesto in my office email inbox, and reproduced it here verbatim for your afternoon amusement:
Dear Resident of Texas, especially in Houston, Crawford and Waco,

I deeply apologize for sending you the attached information on Bush-Cheney FBI for personal enrichments without any request of yours, but I have no other choice as to do so as the matter of my very survival. The enclosure is in the zipped format of Microsoft word and does not contain any virus. The opening of attachment will not expose the setup in your computer to any danger.

I have no way of knowing precisely the following among others:

- whether former President George H. W. BUSH and President George W. BUSH are indifferent to obvious violations of basic human rights and civil liberties in response to information sent to the White House and delivered in to offices of Honorable Senators, especially Republican ones; and/or

- whether the present President George W. BUSH and the former President George H. W. BUSH conduct the policy of domestic terrors from within their FBI under their Patriot Act; and/or

- whether the former simply cannot cope with the governance and needs badly the help of the latter in dealing also with what his subordinates in FBI do.

If I may humbly suggest for your decision, you may consider providing the Texan assistance to your neighbors Bushes to comprehend and understand the very basics of democracy and the rights of American people under the U.S. Constitution that their subordinate in FBI will be directed to observe the same.

In fact, I could not collect enough email addresses in the neighborhood of the Bushes in Houston, Waco, Crawford and else in Texas. If you deem appropriate to help me, you may decide forwarding this information and its attachment there.

I hope you will forgive me the intrusion on your privacy by sending you this email in my self-defense and, if necessary, its follow-ups, but you may get the different grasps of what happened and has been going on during the tenures of senior and junior Presidents Bushes. I am sorry for any irregularity, but I experience FBI-managed difficulties in sending this email. This is self-explanatory.

Should you feel offended with my email in any way, please, accept my apology in advance and delete it at once.

Thanking you for your time and help in advance, I wish you all the best in your private and professional lives.


Slawomir J. Borowy, Ph.D. (Econ.)

Former Polish diplomat, UN officer and participant in sensitive FBI projects to uncover Russian and Eastern-Central European spies in FBI also.

...Waco?? Repeat after me, dude. K-E-N-N-E-B-U-N-K-P-O-R-T !!

Unfortunately his attachment was 86'ed by the IT department's spamblocker. I was kind of hoping to see how deep this guy's rabbit hole went.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not Much Of A Mystery

I'd Walk A Mile For A Tight, Firm Camel...

Seems our Saudi "allies" are experiencing a mysterious camel die-off.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (al-Reuters) -- Hundreds of camels have died in Saudi Arabia this week from a mystery ailment.

The Agriculture Ministry has said 232 camels died in the space of four days in the Dawasir Valley, 250 miles south of Riyadh.

King Abdullah has promised compensation for owners, who say the real number of deaths is far higher.

Agriculture ministry officials have denied an infectious disease caused the deaths and blamed them on animal feed supplied by food storage authorities.
At the risk of sounding less than gracious to the closeted Wahaabists turncoat ragheads oil-soaked pederasts our upstanding partners against terrorism, the fine Saudi people, I think there's an easy explanation.

See, a thorough CSI-style examination of the camel pens will likely reveal the tell-tale marks of stepladders and spilled lube at the rear of the camel stalls, and that the dead camels all have advanced-stage gonorrhea and/or syphilis.

Hey, the Arabian desert's a vast desolate wasteland. The camel herders are bound to get lonely. It happens...

Thanks A Lot, Professor Know-It-All...

Next, Internment Camps For The Obese

Oh, this news is just got-damn helpful...
Cold virus may spur weight gain: study

A common virus that causes colds can be a factor in obesity, according to a study released Monday offering further evidence that a weight problem may be contagious. The adenovirus-36 (Ad 36) has already been implicated as the cause of weight gain in animals, but with this study researchers showed for the first time that it can also cause humans to pile on the pounds.

The findings could accelerate the development of a vaccine or an antiviral medication to help fight the battle of the bulge alongside diet and exercise.

"We're not saying that a virus is the only cause of obesity, but this study provides stronger evidence that some obesity cases may involve viral infections," said Magdalena Pasarica, an obesity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

A previous study found that almost a third of obese people are infected with the virus compared to around one in 10 of their leaner counterparts

Y'know, it's effin' hard enough maintaining some semblance of a social life when you're fat without something like this coming up. All those friends that piss & moan about going from a waist size 32 to a 34 as they get older are now gonna avoid me like the plague lest they catch the Fat Bastard Virus.

Also, let's be realistic about things. Antiviral medications aren't likely to help me and other "wide load" types drop the pounds. Classifying chili dogs and double cheeseburgers as a Schedule 1 substance would be a much quicker fix...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Unfinished Bloggy Business

Like Playing Pickup Sticks With Your Buttcheeks

I doubt anyone keeps track of my open topics, but I get to feeling guilty about not completing things. So, here's a handful.

The Monty Python Party: This was where I asked for costume ideas back in June/July. I ended up building a hedgehog hat, complete with light-up blinking eyes and nose and went as Spiny Norman. It was well received, though hot as an oven to wear in July. Saw Jenni & Rockhauler, had a great time. The pictures didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, which is why I haven't posted about it sooner.

The Sooper-Secret DVD watching marathon: Now it can be told! I was working my way through three seasons of 'LOST'. I was under the assumption that the new season would start up in September. Wrong. Now I must wait until the spring for new episodes. In the meantime, if anyone wants to email me their theories on either "John Locke, Savior or Asshole" or "Arrogant Doctors that need a beatdown", go right ahead.

The CPAP saga: Got the nocturnal breathing machine hooked up and running, but I still can't sleep through the night with it. They say acclimation takes 3 weeks. Sigh.

Much Movie Watching: Saw the following flicks -

'Stardust' - Not the chick flick it's being labeled. A fun lightweight fantasy aimed at an adult audience. Well worth the $8 I paid to get in.

'Harry Potter #5' - Excellent addition to the Potter films. Liked this one better than the last 3 entries.

'Bourne Supremacy' - Weakest of the trio, and almost gave me motion sickness due to the non-stop WiggleCam. Worst movie trend of the last 10 years... when you have no plot to speak of, shake the camera wildly, and have non-stop action scenes with no cut longer than 3 seconds, and pray no one notices the lack of a coherent story.

Seen on DVD:

'Snatch' - Fun gangster romp by Guy Ritchie. Not as much fun as 'Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels'.

'Pathfinder' - Murky, almost unwatchable Vikings vs. Indians gorefest.

'300' - Suffers on the small screen. Didn't enjoy it as much as in the theater. Except for the nekkid wimmens. DVDs got that pause button goin' on...

'Hot Fuzz' - Have you watched 'Shaun of the Dead'? If you liked that one, this one's harvested right off the same BritCom tree. I'll never look at swans the same way again...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rating My Life

More Silly IntarWeb Quizzicles

Found this at various websites. Let's see how my life stacks up...

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Yay me!!! Woohooo!!! Er.. waitaminnit...
Oops, dropped a decimal place. Here's the real results:

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hail To The King!

Elvis Isn't Dead, He Just Went Home!

It was thirty years ago today...

I was sitting in the living room of my Uncle Ray & Aunt Anita's house in south Fort Worth, not too far from TCU. Actually, they were Mom's aunt & uncle, but 9 year old kids don't worry about those small distinctions.

We were there for a quick visit, just passing through on our way over to Arlington to see Dad's kin.

My sister and I were a bit young to appreciate sitting around a kitchen table sharing stories of days gone by, and were starting to get squirmy and rambunctious. Aunt Anita turned on the TV for us, and I started cranking the heavy dial on that big ol' console TV.

There were no cartoons to be had. I finally got something that interested me, and I remember going back to sit on the couch.

At some point, whatever we were watching got interrupted, and a special news report flashed on. I could swear it was Roger Mudd, I just hear his voice when I think about the report.

I knew who Elvis was, but hearing that he died didn't make much of an impression on me. My 5 year old sister asked "Who's Elvis?" Naturally I ignored her.

So, she hops up, goes over to the kitchen and asks "Mom, who's Elvis?" I don't remember what Mom said to my sister, but I do remember her asking "Why do you want to know?", and my sister replied "He died!"

Mom comes rushing in, sees the TV report with the "Elvis Dead" caption and just loses it completely. I mean, I'd seen her cry many times, but this was a full-bore breakdown. She just collapsed on the couch and commenced to bawling.
I was completely freaked out.

It was years later before I finally understood how important Elvis was to a teenage girl growing up in a tiny west Texas town. When your main source of entertainment is watching the cotton grow or the cattle fart, a loose-hipped southern boy singing that newfangled rock & roll must have been a sight to behold.

My grandmother told me about Mom having a huge argument with her father about going to see Elvis at a show in Abilene. Mom lost the debate, as teenagers are wont to do, and as a result never saw Elvis in person.

I don't know where she wrangled them from, but Mom comes up with a stack of 8-Track tapes for the car not too long afterwards. The next year was a solid dose of Elvis tunes, which kinda hooked me into the scene. Hell, I knew what a Jordanaire was when most kids were figuring out Kum Ba Yah.

30 years later, I'm still a fan. My favorite Elvis song is probably his cover of Bill Monroe's 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', followed by 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Suspicious Minds'.

We miss ya, Elvis! Next time there's a ship heading this way from Arcturus-3, drop in and say hello!

And remember... ELVIS IS EVERYWHERE!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Today, I Got Nothin'...

Mmmm... Our Filler Material Is Delicious!

Here's some amusing signs. Some are dedicated to fellow bloggers!

This one's for the BlownEyed crew:

Here's one for Graumagus:

This one fits Alan at Blogonomicon:

Here's one for Denny:

Any schoolteachers out there?

No explanation for this one...

This one gave me a case of the giggles:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This Mayo Be Nauseating...


Ok, you wacky Japaneezers...

I'm on board with sushi. Love the udon noodles and the tempura. I'm not a huge fan of sake, but I can choke it down.

This, on the other hand...
Mayo margarita anyone?

When Koji Nakamura mixes up a margarita cocktail, he adds a special ingredient - mayonnaise.
"Mayogarita", a white drink with a hint of the creamy dressing, is one of several cocktails Nakamura serves in his "Mayonnaise Kitchen" restaurant in suburban Tokyo, which features mayonnaise on everything from toast and spaghetti to fondue.
Despite its Western heritage, mayonnaise has become the condiment of choice for many young Japanese, who add it to everything from sushi, noodles and tempura.

'Scuse me while I go dry-heave for a while...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tres $h!ttay Weekend Update

Five Days Of Misery Packed Into 72 Hours

OK, it wasn't all THAT bad...

Still, I got some bones to pick with a few people.

When you set an appointment, and you tell the other party that you will be taking a vacation day from work to keep said appointment, and the other party tells you to expect them at your domicile between 12-2 pm, do they honestly have a right to get upset when you lambaste their manager when they fail to keep up their end of the bargain?

Check out this genius... After setting up this appointment to fit my horizontal jet-fighter sleeping mask a week ago, he calls to confirm the appointment on Friday morning. Man has possession of all my contact numbers, including cell. Einstein calls my WORK PHONE twice, fails to reach me, and cancels my appointment since I am not there to confirm.

I call his office at 3 pm, noting at the time that my plans to go places and do things after the fitting are now properly scuttled. He calls back, tells me that it's my fault since I didn't confirm that morning.

Oh, no, sirrah! I confirmed last week. This is *your* error. Get your medtech ass over here forthwith!

He disagreed, said "he'd be by when he could, I have to go to Dickinson first". This entails him driving at least 80 miles, putting his arrival somewhere around dark:30, given Friday evening traffic.

El Capitan calls the main office once more. The words "incompetent", "bush league", and "extremely irate" are used, along with the phrase "someone owes me 8 hours of vacation time".

Medtech calls back 10 minutes later, says he's on his way, will be there within 15 minutes.

Heh. I'm gonna have to be a hard-ass more often...

That was Friday.

On Saturday, I must go downtown in 100 degree heat to mail my auto insurance renewal & AAA Auto Club renewal. I decide to redeem the gift cards to Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores that have been cluttering my wallet since Xmas.

El Capitan has a list of 8 books he'd like to get. All by reasonably well-known authors, each with a published catalog averaging 15 books apiece.

Borders has exactly what I need. I pick up two books off the list. I pay, I go.

Barnes & Noble has dick. Bupkis. Nada. See, Barnes & Noble is a bookstore for the casual reader. If you want the latest Oprah rec, or whatever's on the NYT bestseller list, they'll have it.

If, on the other hand, you're a seriously addicted bibliophile that reads more than 3 books a year, a trip to Barnes & Noble is an exercise in frustration. I look for other books not on my list. I am again disappointed.

I ask at the service desk. Do you have XXXX?

"Nope, but we can order it!"

Do you have YYYY?

"Nope, but we can order it!"

Do you have ZZZZ?

"Nope, but we can order it!"

OK, listen to me, you boho hipster, and I'll do my best not to grab you by your overlong goatee and yank your weak chin and pierced lip repeatedly onto the countertop... If you do not have the book inside these four walls, you and your establishment are worthless to me.

"But but but but... we can order it!"

I give him the basilisk stare. He does not turn into a column of feldspar, much to my dismay.

I explain to him in short and easy-to-understand words that this is not 1985. I can go home, order it from faster & cheaper, and not have to come back here to pick it up. So, once again, what good is your establishment? Verstehe?

Jah, Ich verstehen sie, says he.

Barnes & Noble makes two last swipes at my patience on the way out. I've managed to find one book that looks interesting, a sequel of sorts to a book I enjoyed, and I'm going to use the gift card to buy it. As I'm waiting in an overlong line, I am seriously peeved by a previously unread blurb on the book's cover. "The book Robert A. Heinlein would have written if he lived in George Bush's America" - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing.

Doctorow, you BCG-wearing hack... You're unworthy to utter Heinlein's name. Get off my book cover! Go play Katamari Damacy or something.

I'd ditch the book, but the author probably had no control over the blurbs, and I can always rip off the cover.

I reach the register. The drone behind the counter starts into his sales pitch for the B&N Happy Friends Club membership card. Again, the basilisk stare does not produce fossilization. I've got to work on that...

Though I am tempted to tell Mr. Drone to fold the membership card until it's all sharp corners and insert it in the fundamental orifice, I do not. I explain I am there to redeem a gift card, and do not expect to return in this lifetime. I get a bovine stare in return. Gamma Boy's been hitting the Soma, it seems.

Following the B&N fiasco, I go looking for a pub I've heard about called the Firkin & Phoenix. They're supposed to have firkin good pub grub, and firkin huge schooners of India Pale Ale. Alas, they are on Westheimer Rd. and I am searching for them on Richmond Ave. I eventually give up and head home.

I stop at a place called Ragin' Cajun. The local Houston blogging crew had a meet there once, so it can't be all bad, right?

Oh, yes it can. The crab cake appetizer consisted of 4 allegedly crabby patties each about the size of a Vegas poker chip. The crawfish etouffee had more cornstarch thickener than crawfish, and the rice was so overcooked it brought to mind Rice Krispies left to soak in milk for several hours. The food, she was pricy, and the portions, they was small.

I will say this, though... Their bread pudding was outstanding. Not enough to redeem the entree, but damned good.

The weekend improved after that. I'll cover the movies I saw tomorrow, time permitting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another Quiz. Sort Of...

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Outright Theft

By now you've doubtless seen Elisson's spin-doctored version of the "What sort of wine are you" webquiz.

I giggled quite a bit at the unexpected flavor of Prune Juice Elisson claimed to be. I was less amused at my result taking the quiz. Pinot Noir? I think not, compadres. Malbec, maybe. Barbera, possibly. Beaujolais, almost certainly. But Pinot Noir? Pshaw. California Koolade, IMHO. Besides, I didn't even see 'Sideways'. Turned it off halfway through. Thought both of the main characters were irredeemable assholes.

Anyway, I had to find another flavor of beverage that truly fit my personality. It took some thought, but I think I've nailed it.

You Are Clamato

You go beyond eclectic, and approach the realm of the bizarre.
Everyone's seen you at some point, but no one knows quite what to make of you.
99 out of 100 will pass you by in favor of the traditional beverage.
Truth be told, you don't really mix with much of anything, and really, who in their right mind wants to drink clam juice mixed with squooshed tomatos?

Deep down you are: Afraid cats will find you irresistable.

Your partying style: Sit on a shelf and watch the world pass in front of you.

Your company is enjoyed best with: A Shrimp Cocktail, just for the halibut.

(Full disclosure: I actually bought and consumed a bottle of Clamato, so I would know of what I was scribbling about. Turns out it's not so bad. Lighter than tomato juice, spicier than V8, and has a distinct briny aftertaste. Guess that's the "dried clam broth" in the ingredients...)

Late Night Weirdness

Nothing Good Happens Past 2 A.M.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Market Pricing

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

Check out this gizmo posted for sale at Collector's Firearms:

It's a winter trigger attachment for an M1 Garand. It lets you fire the rifle with heavy mittens on by pressing on a lever outside the triggerguard.

Collector's is selling one still in the wrapper for the low low price of $149.

I seem to recall buying one for my friend Rockhauler, still in the wrapper, for maybe $10-12 at a gunshow several years ago. Somehow, I doubt there was run on the market. Not much call for 'em these days.

I knew Collector's had a stiff markup, but DAMN!

Blogmeet-Ready Cellphone

Limited Minutes & Exorbitant Roaming Charges

Getting to be time for a blogmeet... Still trying to budget for Helen, GA Alas, no Frequent Flyer miles for those that travel by pavement solamente

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Best & Worst Movie Gunfights

This Post Took Way Too Long To Write...

George over at Mad Ogre has called for his readers to supply him with the top 10 list of best movie gunfights. Also, (possibly even more amusing...) the top 10 list of *worst* movie gunfights!

He's pretty flexible with the rules as to what constitutes a gunfight. I'll go by his rules, but I'm going to limit myself to gun fights where both sides actually have guns.

F'rinstance, I was greatly amused by Michael Gross and Reba McEntire shooting the shit out of the Graboid that tunneled into their "rec room" in the movie 'Tremors', but it was a trifle one-sided to be considered a gunfight. Ditto the Sharps Big Fifty-Fu in 'Legends of the Fall'. Nice to see half-inch holes blown in corrupt cops from 500 yards out, but again, a bit one-sided.

I'd blather on some more, but let's get on with it...

Here's my Top Ten Favorite Movie Gunfights!

#10 - A Tie!

'Master & Commander: Far Side Of The World' and
'Captain Horatio Hornblower' share the #10 spot. Naval cannon certainly count as guns, IMHO, and both of these films had them aplenty!

'Master & Commander' might be more realistic, but it was made 52 years after 'Capt. Horatio Hornblower', and has lots of CGI to spiff things up. The duels between the HMS Surprise & the Acheron, and HMS Lydia vs. the Natividad are very exciting to watch, and all that whirling chainshot reminds you why you are better off watching tall ships duel from shore!

#9 - 'Last Of The Mohicans'

The Battle of the Glade kind of broke down into a tomahawk and clubbed musket fight, but there at the beginning you had copious amounts of thumb-sized lead chunks flying in both directions. Add in some platoon volley fire and a wonderful display of .75 caliber smoothbore pistol ball to the enemy's face courtesy of Cora Munro, and you have a winnah!

#8 - 'Way Of The Gun'

Oh, Man.. what's not to like? You got your 1911-Fu, you got your 12 Gauge-Fu, you've got your .308 Galil-Fu... You even got Sarah Silverman getting bitchslapped. One of the best gunfights filmed, mostly due to the fact that when the guns ran dry, they got reloaded as opposed to the typical Hollywood use of perma-loaded guns. The flick needed a better ending, though...

#7 - 'Hard Boiled'

John Woo has made American shoot-em-up films, but he's at his best in Hong Kong. This is one of the bloodiest films I've ever seen, (Bodycount: 230) but for all the bullets and gore, it's a wonder to watch. The scenes between "Mad Dog" and "Tequila" in the warehouse and the hospital are my favorite, but the opening scene in the tea house almost defies description. I'll never look at a floured table the same way again...

#6 - 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly'

The three-way duel treul? between Blondie, Angel Eyes and Tuco is the stuff that legends and Hollywood cliches are built on. How many movies since have borrowed the fingers twitching on gun butts, the closeups on eyes shifting one way and the other, and the suspenseful music? Remember, "If you're going to shoot, shoot! Don't talk!"

#5 - 'Tombstone'

Probably the best cinematic representation of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Plus, you get one of Val Kilmer's best roles ever as Doc Holliday. "I'm your huckleberry!"

#4 - 'True Grit'

"Fill your hand, you sonofabitch!" Rooster Cogburn's invitation to the gunfight is unforgettable, as was his wild gallop through Ned Pepper's gang, Single Action Army in one hand, and Winchester in the other... Reins in his teeth and twirling that rifle to reload... Man, makes me misty just thinking about it!

#3 - 'The Wild Bunch'

I read somewhere that in filming 'The Wild Bunch', they shot off over 90,000 rounds of blank ammo, a significantly higher amount than was actually used in the Mexican Revolution. This is Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece, and it's an amazing example of filming a gun battle.

To see a reasonably decent homage to the grand finale in 'The Wild Bunch', check out a film called 'Extreme Prejudice', with Nick Nolte and Powers Boothe. They do a reasonable facsimile of the battle, only with modern weaponry.

#2 - 'The Outlaw Josey Wales'

"Well, you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?" Too many gunfight scenes in this magnificent film to pick a favorite... I lean towards the attack on the Yankee encampment with ensuing Gatling Gun-Fu, and also the righteous smackdown Wales laid on the Comancheros from horseback. I was told by a local gunshop owner that every time this movie gets aired, he sells half a dozen replica Colt Dragoon pistols!

#1 - 'Heat'

If you've seen the movie, you know why the bank robbery scene gets the top slot. Hard core action, technically accurate, and when played on a surround-sound system, you'll wake the neighborhood. Director Michael Mann did a similarly good job filming gunfights with his 'Miami Vice' remake, but this one is the reigning champion!

Aaaand, the Top Ten WORST Gunfights Ever Filmed, in descending order from least suckulent to most suckulacious:

-1 'The Rocketeer'

I love this movie. When Cliff Secord straps on that rocket pack for the first time and goes soaring into the sky, it's as exciting as anything put on film. Unfortunately, he can't hold onto his gun to save his life. He gets equipped with a Mauser Broomhandle, one of my all-time favorites, and then keeps dropping the damn thing! I wanted to see him cap some Nazis with it! So, for lack of a gun in the hero's hand, this one makes the list.

-2 'Equilibrium'

I liked the idea behind this movie. Alas, the "martial art" used as a plot device just left me cold. Gunkata? More like scriptwriter with Beretta in one hand and his hoo-hah in the other. Silliest thing EVAR.

-3 'The Matrix'

.223 shell casings coming out of Czech Skorpion machine pistols? Don't think so, Scooter. This was so easy to get right, yet you didn't. FAIL.

-4 Grosse Pointe Blank

Sorry, just can't see Dan Ackroyd as an assassin, and the gunfight in the house was ridiculous. Good movie spoiled by bad gunhandling.

-5 'Hard Target'

This is one of the aforementioned John Woo flicks set in the USA. And, it has problems. It stars Jean Claude Van Damme, for one. Second, you do NOT bring a T/C Contender single shot target/hunting pistol to a gunfight, and have your hostage reload for you between shots. Even for the evil bad guy, that's just plain stupid.

-6 'The Quick and the Dead'

Sharon Stone as an Old West gunfighter. Add in Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Bad, bad, bad.

-7 'Bad Boys 2'

The first word of the title says it all. Now I must go relax to forget about it. Woosah.... Woosah....

-8 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back'

I hate to see gunfights played for laughs. You're either serious about shooting the other guy, or you might as well be in a pillowfight. Funny movie, terrible gunfight.

-9 'Lethal Weapon 3'

You know, when Richard Donner, (director of the Lethal Weapon films) was a baby, his mother must have jerked him off with one hand while spanking him viciously with the other. I just can't see any other way this man could be so conflicted. He makes a movie where the underlying message is that handguns are BadBadBad, so he gets his message across by having his protagonists shoot people with... handguns. Anyway, you could hardly hear the dialogue over the lefty political rhetoric scattered through the movie, and the climactic scene with "cop-killer" bullets blowing holes through a 'dozer blade puts this one firmly on the list.

-10 'Tougher Than Leather'

Run DMC and the Beastie Boys in a gangsta flick. This went WAY beyond bad. In fact, just remembering it is giving me hives. Trust me when I tell you that the gunfight was one of the worst ever filmed. Do not go near this flick, if you value your eyesight and sanity.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Attack Of The Ten Pound Novel!

When Your Hobby Becomes Destructive To Good Health

I can't do it. Not again.

I picked up 'Knife of Dreams', the eleventh book in Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series, thinking I might be able to sneak back into the fantasy novels after a two-year absence.

Rockhauler had loaned me the hardback version not long after it was released in October of 2005. It sat gathering dust until I felt guilty about it, so I bought the paperback version, meaning to ship the hardback to Rockhauler. Naturally, I hung onto the hardback for another several months, 'cause I'm just ignunt that way.

I had delayed getting into the book because it had been over a year (and probably closer to two years) since I'd read Volume 10. And of course, when I finally got to Volume 10 after a 2 year gap from when Volume 9 was published, I was unemployed with lots of time on my hands, so I went back and reread the entire effing series, from page 1 of Volume 1, to page 860-something of Volume 10. 10 books, each with an average of 800-odd pages.

So, I pick up Volume 11, and start to read. Almost immediately, I'm trying to remember who these people are. Which ones are good, which ones are bad, and which ones just want to suck your soul out through your bunghole.

I read the glossary in the back of the book. (How many of your favorite novels need a glossary??) It didn't help much. I need to either find a Cliff Notes for the series so far, or admit my error and start again at the beginning.

I don't have time for this. I just want to know how the damn thing ends, and Jordan STILL hasn't published Volume 12 yet...

On the plus side, I finished Steven Gould's book 'Jumper' as well as the sequel 'Reflex'. Both were good, but 'Reflex' was much better than its predecessor. So much better, in fact, that I'm tempted to tell you to skip 'Jumper' and go straight to Part Two.

It turns out that 'Jumper' is on the Top 100 list of most challenged library books. Can't say I'm surprised. There's some content that almost every teenager will read and say "Yup, that's how life is", but their parents will freak out upon reading and demand the book be pulled from circulation.

Trust me, they're a good read. Read 'em, then give 'em to your teenager. They'll thank you for it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Big Ol' Flat Toitles

Urban Safaris Our Specialty!

Check out this guy...

He (actually, it's probably a she) is a sizable beastie! You could set him down on a Buick hubcap, and not have a lot of chrome showing through.

I've seen bigger softshell turtles, but not very often. Most often they're about the size of an IHOP pancake. Usually they'll get snarfed up by a catfish or a snapping turtle before they get frisbee-sized.

This one's a resident of the Puddle of Perpetuity behind our local Walmart. It's a low spot in the turf that never drained really well, and after the huge flood in 2002, it's been a spot of marshland in our neighborhood. Occasionally, I'll park my truck back there and watch the herons go spearfishing for frogs.

To tell the truth, I'm kind of tempted to go frog gigging there some dark night. I'll get a mess of frog legs, then make a bunch of tiny wheelchairs for all the legless frogs!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I've Seen Too Many Chinese Chop-Socky Movies!

I wonder if there's weasel-style kung fu? That'd be fun to watch!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Funbits

Scraping The Bottom Of This Week's Barrel

Wow. What a week. Boss is still in the hospital, I got cockblocked by some unknown dude who probably wears a paper hat to work, and now I find out that my doc has set me up with some expensive effing CPAP gizmo to help me get better sleep.

Bear in mind that I had the sleep study almost three months ago, and suddenly they want a wad of cash in their claws Right Now. I don't think so, Scooter...

$97 for this gizmo is my co-pay, which is fair enough. However, I'm also getting tapped for an extra $250 for some fancy upgrade NOT covered by insurance that someone has deemed vital, and they want to charge me a $30 monthly maintenance fee on top of that. I dunno whose pair of pants they expect me to pull this cash out of, but they don't belong to me...

To be honest, for $97 at a pawnshop and surplus store, I could put together a credible CPAP that delivers a positive pressure humidified airflow, using a surplus gas mask, aquarium filter, garden hose, squirrel cage air blower and a shitload of duct tape. Heh. If your medical supply kit includes duct tape and baling wire, you might be a redneck!

Sigh. I think one reason these insurance people are so arrogant over the phone is that there's no fear of retribution. How fun would it be to go over to their office and scalp one or two of these bastards just for fun? I bet I could get 'em to pay for big shiny scalping knife as stress-relieving medical equipment...


Did y'all see that the gnomes that make the wondrous Gorilla Glue now make duct tape? Gotta have some!


Saw this on one of the T-shirt sites that pollute blog sidebars. Probably this one.

Dunno why, but I just giggle my ass off looking at it. I've lost my taste for cutesy T-shirts, but I just might have to acquire this one.


In other news... finished Harry Potter, Mk VII. Good read. Had I written it, I would have cleaned house a la Hamlet, but she did away with enough players to give it a finished feel.


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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sonofabitch Must Pay!

Got-Damn Intarweb Thieving Scumbags!

Well, I said I was gonna blog about this, so I might as well.

Eagle-eyed Brooklynite Erica spotted a familiar face on a blog recently and brought it to my attention.

See anything familiar?

Yup, that's my avatar. Been using it on iChat since before I had a blog. This person seems to have appropriated it for his own use. In fact, it's on more than one site.

I sent him a semi-polite email. Take a look:
Hello "Vifra",

Just wanted you to know that your unwelcome appropriation (aka 'theft') of my online avatar didn't go unnoticed.

I've been using the one you've got at the top of your page since before I started my blog, and as such have a bit of equity built up in it.

Now, if you're one of the innumerable insolent scumbags that pollute the Internet, now would be the time to get all huffy and roll your panties in a twist, and spew garbage about copyright, fair use and such. For good measure, a really insufferable insolent scumbag would take this opportunity to pack an extra measure of sand into his vagina, in order to remain extra abrasive and unable to relate to

Now, you've got at least 10 friends linked to your blog, so this puts you 8 friends up over the typical insolent scumbags that pollute the Internet, so I'm hoping there's a measure of common decency left in you.

Please, "Vifra", prove to all my readers ('cause I am *SO* blogging about this) that you can do the honorable thing by admitting your error, and finding another picture to represent yourself. It's the polite thing to do!

Best Wishes,

"El Capitan" of Baboon Pirates

So far he/she/it hasn't bothered to reply. Actually, it looks like a news aggregator, some 'bot that strips random items off the web for purposes of generating hits or modding search engine results. Still, someone had to set the ball rolling.

I might have let it pass, but the shitheel used the term "website monetization", which just annoys the piss out of me.

He/she/it has an email. Do what you will.

UPDATE: Let him go. After a laughable set of almost incoherent and illogical emails, I've decided he's a subliterate poseur, not worth wasting your time on. I munged his email addy, not out of any sense of impending retribution, but to consign him to oblivion.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bus Stop Stalker Update

Like Sands Through The Hourglass, These Are The Days Of My Lame-Ass Life

Well, I have news for you. I know several of you had requested that I update you on the status of my stalker project.

Well, I ran into her yesterday on the shuttle bus. I was running on autopilot, and almost skipped that bus rather than make everyone wait on me as I came out the front doors and schlepped to the corner.

Traffic was heavy, and the bus got delayed pulling into the main lanes, and gave me time to hurry to the shuttle. I didn't even pay attention to who was sitting where, and just blindly made my way to the rear of the bus.

It wasn't until we were halfway to the remote parking lot that I even noticed she was on the bus. I could've taken the empty seat across the aisle from her.

When the bus pulled into the parking lot, I caught her eye as we were preparing to "debus" ourselves. "Hey!" says I. "How are you? Haven't seen you in a while!"

She waited under the bus shelter for me to get off the shuttle, and we spent a few minutes catching up.

She's working one floor up. Her schedule got discombobulated, and she's now leaving at staggered times throughout the week. Mostly, she's out the door at least an hour before I am, though.

She's still got a beautiful smile.

Her name is Alejandra.

And... she's got a boyfriend. Had him for a while now, it seems.