Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music Worth Watching

A Trio Of Tune Films

I'm usually not much of a biography fan.  Don't read 'em much, and I almost never tune in to the Biography channel.

Despite that fact, I happened across a trio of documentaries that I really enjoyed, and I'd like to spread the word, so to speak.

The first I may have mentioned on FB already, or made a passing reference here a while back.  It's the biopic of the Canadian band Rush, called 'Beyond the Lighted Stage'.  It tracks the band through the garage days in suburban Toronto up to the present, and  even for those who aren't hard-core Rush fans, it's an entertaining look at life on the road and in the studio.

There's a boatload of interviews with musicians, and the list of those influenced by Rush might surprise you!
It's very entertaining and well worth watching, so grab a copy on eBay, or see if you can get it through Netflix.

The next one might not appeal to people named Lebowski, or The Dude, or His Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

I was flipping channels on cable the other night and stumbled on the Eagles biopic called 'The History of the Eagles, Pt.1' on Showtime.  There's apparently a Pt 2, but I haven't seen it yet.  Part One runs from the late 1960's up to the early 1980's, when the Eagles broke up after the album 'The Long Run'.

It covers a lot of ground, from the early careers of Glenn Frey and Don Henley to the LA music scene in the 70's.  I learned a lot I didn't know.  F'rinstance, I knew that the Eagles had links to Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt, but did you know that Frey sang with Bob Seger?

It's a brand new film, so I guess you're SOL if you don't have Showtime.  Still, it'll get released on DVD sooner or later.  It's a must for Eagles fans.

The last one I found on YouTube.  It's a BBC Scotland production on Gerry Rafferty. (Baker Street, Right Down the Line)

Split into 4 parts on YouTube, it's about an hour long and covers his partnership with comedian/singer Billy Connolly in the Humblebums, and Joe Egan in Stealers Wheel and on to his solo career.

I really enjoyed this one, and you can't beat the price!  Check it out!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Keys To The Kingdom

Genuflect Before The Porcelain Throne!

I've just about completed my collection of shitter keys.

One of the biggest hassles in public deuce-dropping is getting situated on the throne and then looking over and seeing that the last remaining roll of bogwipe has been shackled out of reach up in the vault-like dispenser on the wall.

Running a close second is having the dispenser out of adjustment, causing the roll to not rotate freely, resulting in the asspaper tearing into postage stamp-sized allotments.

Then, there's the inevitable paper jam, where for some reason, the paper is in there, just inaccessible due to some malfunction.

So, whaddya do??  If you're on top of your game, you grab your keyring, unlock that holder, and sort matters out.

I've got 5 keys on a mini-carabiner that'll open about 90% of the bathroom dispensers on the market.  I've got the Kimberly-Clark, GA Pacific, Bobrick, C-Fold (works on Merriam, Jamar and Ft. Howard), and the Tork waffle key.

There's a brand called SCA I don't have yet, and there's always the chance of an older lock that uses a unique key.

Still, for peace of mind in a foreign shithole, it's always best to have the key to comfort!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Revolting Recipes

Try One For Dinner Tonight!!

I don't know if I can come up with another recipe as foul as this one seems...

Who in their right mind would mix bananas and mustard?  The instant hollandaise sauce is just the icing on the crap cake...

Ham and Bananas Hollandaise

6 medium bananas
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 thin slices boiled ham (about 1/2 lb)
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 envelopes (1 1/4-oz size) hollandaise sauce mix
1/4 cup light cream

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter 2-quart, shallow baking dish.
2. Peel bananas; sprinkle each with 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, to prevent darkening.
3. Spread ham slices with mustard. Wrap each banana in slice of ham. Arrange in single layer in casserole. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make sauce: In small saucepan, combine sauce mix with 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and cream. Heat, stirring, to boiling; pour over bananas. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until slightly golden. Nice with a green salad for brunch or lunch.

This one looks pretty awful as well...

Slow Cooker Reuben Dip

1 (16 ounce) jar sauerkraut, drained
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
2 cups shredded cooked corned beef
1/4 cup thousand island dressing

In a slow cooker, combine the sauerkraut, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, corned beef and thousand island dressing. Cover, and cook on high for 45 minutes if you're in a hurry, low for longer if you're not, or just until hot and cheese is melted. Stir occasionally while cooking. Serve with cocktail rye or crackers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why I Drink - Part XXVII

More Bitching & Moaning

Man, what a kidneystone of a week...

I'd start at the beginning, except the beginning was not this past Monday, it was sometime in December when I got a call from one of The Man's legal beagles and some wonk from the IT department.

It seems they were in the process of negotiating the acquisition of some shiny new technology, but there was a wrinkle or two to the requirements of the contract that needed my attention.

What I'd hoped was a quick consultation has snowballed into a gigantimous project that has sucked up most of my time for the past two months, culminating in the whole thing going live this past Wednesday.

Adding to the enjoyment level is the presence of the vendor onsite this week, requiring a certain amount of gladhanding and schmoozing.  Or, as I see it, handholding and babysitting.

Where's the Legal beagles who are the instigators of all this mess?  Nowhere to be found.  The IT folks came out of their wiring closets long enough to have a meeting on Thursday, then disappeared again.

What the venture lacked from the get-go was a Project Manager with enough "swing" to get over the numerous hurdles that are part of every bureacracy.  I don't mind doing PM work, but I'd sure as hell want the pay to go with it.  I feel like I've been playing Whack-A-Mole with the mallet tied to my schlong.

I can't explain what a mess this has been.  Not a single Gantt chart or punch list in sight, but somehow we flipped the switch and the lights came on.

Now, the fine tuning and documenting will go on for another month or so...

Damn, that case of Maker's Mark was a good idea, after all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stuff From Long Ago

An Artsy-Craftsy Post

Let's talk about leather.   LEATHERRRRR!!!

Ooops.  {Exit Zappa mode}

OK, let's start over.

For some reason, I was thinking about the leather keyring lanyard I had many years back.  I kind of miss the thing.

Remember those horrible plastic lanyards you learned to braid when you were a kid?  The plastic lace always got tangled and kinked, and by the time it was finished, it was either 6 feet long and quickly got stretched or broken, or it never got beyond 5 inches of lanyard and 12 feet of loose lace, and got used for a cat-o-4-tails?

During one of my summers working at Scout camp, I managed to land a gig where I had a good bit of time during the day to pretty much do nothing.  I took the Boy Sprouts out on overnight hikes, and since that generally involved chasing them out of the trees and yanking them out of snake-ridden gulches until the wee hours of the morning, I was supposed to be sleeping during the day to recharge for the next night out.

Heh.  You try sleeping in a 105 degree canvas wall tent...

Anyway, I'd end up pestering the Doc down in the Quack Shack, or hang out in the commissary or the rifle range and kill time.  Eventually I'd get bored and wander over to Handicrafts and see if I could annoy the staff there.

After futzing around with the standard plastic lanyard lace, I relearned how to do the square braid, round braid, alternating "squound" hybrid, the barrel braid doubled back outside a round braid, the crown knot and so on.  The problem was the damned plastic lace just never lasted very long.  It would crack or break, and the garish colors just didn't suit me.

One of the HandiCraptors suggested I use leather instead.  It wasn't free like the plastic lace, in fact, it was kind of pricy.  I seem to recall it was $15-20 for 30 foot of the stuff.

Well, WTF else are you going to spend your $$ on out in West Bumfuck, Texas?

It turned out rather well, IMHO.  Used most of a spool of black leather and another of white for a zebra effect.  All that lace braided up into a nice thong about as big around as a Sharpie marker, and just over a foot long.  Good for hanging your keys off of.

Even better for smacking the shit out of people...

As that thing aged and seasoned, it turned into one vicious mofo of a slapper.  Even without the wad of keys on the end, that thing would raise welts.

I guess I had it for 4-5 years before the end that held the key ring finally wore through and it started unraveling.  It's probably moldering in a box in garage.

Hmmm...  Y'know, I bet I could get some more lace pretty cheap on eBay.  Wonder if I can figure out how to braid while holding a cigar and a glass of scotch?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Looking For Space


I certainly didn't intend to go almost a week without posting, but my cunning scheme to post a couple of things over the weekend was scotched by a recalcitrant keyboard.

For the 2nd time in 2 months, my keyboard had an essential key go tits-up, making the job of posting to be more trouble than it was worth.

I'm kind of peeved.  I will freely admit to killing the first keyboard.  Years of eating dinner whilst websurfing had led to something akin to the contents of your toaster's crumb pan smooshed under the keys.  Add in the occasional drink spill, and it's no surprise that something gummed up the works, rendering the gizmo hors de combat.

The second keyboard was still in the protective plastic.  I'd kept a spare handy, and this one was brand-spankin' new.  Didn't stop the space bar from suddenly ceasing to issue spaces.

There's a lot of keys you can learn to do without.  Alas,thespacebarisnotoneofthosekeys.  There's a way to go into the Mac version of KeyCaps and manually insert a space, but to riff on a current meme, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

So, onto eBay to find yet another replacement.  Fortunately, Apple keyboards are just about a dime a dozen these days, a far cry from 10 years back when they'd run you over $100 a pop.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Flotsam & Jetsam

All The Gnus That Shits In A Tent

Just some random thoughts and observations...

I stopped at a light next to a woman who was busily slapping on foundation, powder and assorted other makeup items.  Poor gal had eyebrows like woolybear caterpillars and a nose like Jimmy Durante.  I was sorely tempted to tap my horn, lean out and say "It's not helping!!", but I held my peace.

I did indeed purchase a case of Maker's Mark bourbon.  I alluded to it on Facebook, but I'll have to remember to snap a pic or two of the haul.  It's a stirring sight, 12 bottles of golden elixir lined up on the counter.  In truth, they're going back in the box and getting squirreled away in a deep dark closet.  Hopefully, Maker's Mark will discontinue the 84 proof experiment and go back to 90 proof in a year or so.  If not, I'm good for a while.  I may go get another case out of my next paycheck, too.

I did not watch the SCOAMF-in-chief deliver the SOTU speech last night, choosing instead to watch an episode or two of HBO's 'Deadwood'.  I figured the amount of times I heard "cocksucker" would be at least half of the number if times I'd say it if I had to watch The One read off the teleprompter for an hour.

I still have not shot the Mauser Broomhandle.  I keep meaning to order some powderpuff 9mm  loads online, but it keeps slipping my mind.

Wendy's has quite the tasty grilled chicken sandwich.  The only other fast food GCS that comes close is the Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken club, and that one has about 200 more calories per sammich.  I'm afeared to learn that the reason it's so moist and tender is that it's been injected with 30% salt water solution at the plant...

More truck troubles?  I sure hope not.  I keep smelling hot coolant, but the fluid levels all check out, and it's not running hot.  No leakage around any of the gaskets, hoses or on the pavement.  It had better not be the heater core behind the dash rotting out.  That's one expensive mofo to fix.

Friday, February 08, 2013

METRO's Accident

More Industrial-Strength Silliness

METRO's Accident
By El Capitan
With apologies to Arlo Guthrie

This blogpost is called METRO's Accident, and it's about METRO, and the Accident, but METRO's Accident is not the official name of the incident, that's just the name of the blogpost, and that's why I called the blogpost METRO's Accident.

You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
In the wind and the rain you'll have a ball,
Just a block and a half from City Hall!
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident

Now it all started a few days ago, was a coupla days ago on Groundhog Day, when my friend and I went out to catch the employee shuttle bus at the corner.  METRO doesn't own the corner, but they have a stop there and our shuttle uses it along with taxicabs and jitneys and the occasional red VW microbus.

Well, we got there at the corner and there was a big METRO bus that had turned in too sharply and a clipped a corner on our shuttle bus and knocked off a side mirror  They had a sign across the shuttle bus door saying, "Closed for accident investigation."  And we had never heard of a shuttle bus closed after work before, and with tears in our eyes we wandered around looking for another way to get out to remote parking.

We didn't find one. It was cold and wet and nasty and there was no way we were gonna walk all that way.
METRO had to get their act to gether and move their big ol' bus.  So, we were standing around grousing until we were told to move out of the way by Officer Scobie.  Officer Scobie is a METRO police officer, which means he works for the bus company.  They're kind of like a real police officer, except fatter and slower and not quite as bright.  He said, "Sir, your employee badge says you work here, and I just want to know if you had any information about what happened." And I said, "No, sir, Officer Scobie, I cannot tell a lie, I didn't see shit."

After speaking to Officer Scobie for about four or five minutes we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and he said that we had to wait until the METRO Accident Investigation Team arrived and did their thing.
So we stood around in the cold rain and waited and waited and waited.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done for us, and the first was he could have given us a medal for being so brave and honest about not seeing shit, which wasn't very likely, and
we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have driven us out to remote parking himself and saved us a wait which *really* wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it.

There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both told to go sit on the granite wall with all the folks they'd evacuated from the METRO bus.  We'll call 'em Group W.

There was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the wall there.
Mother rapers.  Father stabbers.  Father rapers!
Father rapers sitting right there on the wall next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the wall next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Hey, ya got any spare change?"
I said, "I don't got nothing.  How much are ya lookin' for?"
He said, "I need about Tree-Fiddy."
And I said, "Got-DAMN Loch Ness Monstah!!!."
And they all moved away from me on the wall there, and gave me the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "Fuck da Po-leece."  And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the wall, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the wall.  And everything was fine, we was smoking cigars and all kinds of things.

And that's what we did, sat on the granite wall and watched the investigation unfold.
There was five METRO police officers and three police cars, being the biggest event of the last few hours, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
cop equipment that they had hanging around the METRO police officer's station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against the bus driver.  Took pictures of the approach, the broken mirror, the northwest corner, the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.

After the investigation finally wound down, someone finally shook loose another shuttle bus, and the Group W folks got back on the METRO bus, and we got onto the shuttle, and hopefully we all got home that night.

The only reason I'm telling you this story now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk up to the METRO cop wherever you are ,just walk up say "Officer, You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident".  And walk away.
You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really weird and they won't hassle him.  And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both hipsters and they won't TASER either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking around quotin' a line of METRO's Accident? They may think it's an organization.  And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
fifty people a day walking around quotin' a line of METRO's Accident?
Friends, they may think it's a movement!

And that's what it is, the METRO's Accident Anti-Wall Sittin' Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

With feeling.  So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and sing it when it does.  Here it comes.

You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
In the wind and the rain you'll have a ball,
Just a block and a half from City Hall!
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident

All right now, one more time!

You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident
In the wind and the rain you'll have a ball,
Just a block and a half from City Hall!
You will sit and wait for an hour or so at METRO's Accident

Da da da da da da da dum
at METRO's Accident!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Eat *ALL* The Baby Sheeps!!!

Mary Had A Little Lamb, But I Cut Off Its Legs And Ate Them...

I'm feeling carnivorous.  I think I need to gnaw on the bones of something cute & cuddly.

Yup, it's time to braise some lamb shanks!!

Lamb Shanks With Red Wine


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups dry red wine, (Cab, Shiraz, etc.)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 to 3 sprigs thyme


Heat oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Add the lamb shanks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove to a slow cooker insert. Add onion, carrots, and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring, until onion is just tender. Add to the slow cooker, along with the garlic, wine, and chicken stock. Add the herb sprigs, cover, and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Turn to LOW and cook for about 7 to 9 hours longer, or until lamb shanks are very tender.

Friday, February 01, 2013

You Bought *WHAT*??

Load Sixteen Tons, And Whaddya Get?

OK, I definitely put the cart before the horse this time...

I just got a box of coal in the mail.  Yup, coal.

Lemme 'splain...

I've been wanting to get one of those model steam engines for a while now.  I haven't yet figured out if I want a walking-beam engine, or a hit & miss, or even go completely overboard and splurge on one of the triple-expansion stationary engines.

Is this all Greek to you?  Sorry.  Once I found out that you can get pre-machined kits and not just the rough castings for the more exotic engine types, I've been itchin' to get one.

It was a simple phrase that piqued my interest.  Jay Leno was demonstrating his antique steam engines for some cable show on steam power, and he said "This is where the term 'running balls-out' came from.

I had always assumed it came from some poor schmuck splitting his britches whilst running, and having his goolies swingin' in the breeze as he sprinted.

Nope.  It refers to the centrifugal governor on steam engines.  When you're revving it at max speeds, the heavy steel balls are swinging all the way out, hence, running balls-out!

Now, while I know a bit about steam engines, I know very little about coal.  Texas is an oil & gas state, and while we do have some draglines mining lignite (brown coal) around Buffalo & Fairfield, you can look far & wide hereabouts and never locate enough black coal to BBQ a mouse.

Enter eBay... I didn't need a lot of coal, just a few lbs. worth.   I just assumed you could order some anthracite, crush it up with a hammer, and use that instead of hexamine tablets to heat the boiler.

Ooops.  Wrong kind of coal.  While the chunks of anthracite I received are quite shiny and certainly flammable, getting them to ignite is somewhat akin to lighting those really cheap charcoal briquets using only paper matches and damp newsprint.

What I needed was some bituminous coal.  There's a kind called 'cannel coal' that lights with a match and burns with almost no ash.  It's still not what you really ought to use in a model steam engine, but what the hell.

So, I've got this box of coal...

The camera flash makes it looks a lot more silvery than it is.  It's glossy black, and fairly brittle.

One good chunk is reserved for my rock & mineral collection.  The rest?  I think some stockings will get filled next Xmas!!