Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weekly Assignment

What a fitting way to end the year than with Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment. She's got a doozy this week - Describe a New Year's where you would have been better off just staying home.

It was my senior year in high school, and a friend was having a New Year's Eve party (parents somehow trusted the house to him on New Year's Eve). I was REALLY excited about this one, because it involved more than just a handful of us drinking in somebody's basement ... this was hard-core!

I got to the house around 9 o'clock, and had a beer or two ... so far, so good. Unfortunately, the beer ran out ... and even more unfortunately, I had never, ever heard of the "beer before liquor" saying. I happily and ignorantly switched to some vodka and orange juice. Then, when the orange juice ran out, I once again switched to vodka and iced tea ... Then, the iced tea ran out, and I was about to switch to vodka and milk - thankfully somebody stopped me.

I remember the clock striking 12, and I also remember going downstairs to play pool ... but I don't remember playing pool. The rest of this blog is based on some "detective work" on my part (asking others what I did the rest of the night).

* I played one game of pool that lasted about 45 minutes (rumor has it that it was quite hysterical).
* I sat on the couch, and after about 10 minutes, proceeded to throw up all over myself and the couch.
* A bunch of people dragged me upstairs and threw me in the bath-tub.
* Word started circulating that I might be dead.
* A friend of mine turned on the shower to start hosing me off - I got up and tried to get out of the tub, saying I had to go home.
* Hit my head on the back of the tub and passed out again.
* Friends undressed me, cleaned me up, and washed my clothes.

An ugly night, folks ... but I did learn that important rule about beer and liquor ... and also pacing myself ... I've never let that happen to me again, thankfully.

It's probably an important time to remind everybody to have a safe and happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Song of the Week

Are you ready for another issue of my "Song of the Week?" No? Well, I don't care ... now, let me just say that my choices don't necessary have to be "new" songs - just songs that are getting a lot of play on my mp3 player (or cd player).

This week's selection is by a band called Hard Fi ... the song (in a Casey Casem voice) ... Hard to Beat. This song displays a nice melding (or merger) of classic guitar riffs and a dance beat (almost techno-ish). The song continuously rises to an imaginary apex ... teasing the listener (me), as it keeps the main chorus just at arms length.

Just a little background about the band - They are an English band, formed in 2003. They have received more success in Europe than the States (for some reason, we like country music, Emo, and bubble gum music a little too much).

Here's there website, in case you are interested:
http://www.hard-fi.com/discography.php

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fast Food Corner


This week, I tackle another food that is dear to my heart ... the chicken sandwich.

5. Arby's fried chicken sandwich - Not a bad sandwich to grab in a pinch ... works very well with some banana pepper rings.
4. Chick Fil-A grilled chicken sandwich - If I have to eat relatively healthy, I'll go with this one. It comes complete with a fresh leaf of lettuce, slice of tomato, and a whole-wheat bun ... of course, I have to balance the healthy with some waffle fries.
3. Wendy's Spicy chicken sandwich - This sandwich is by no means outrageously spicy, but provides just enough "action" to make it interesting.
2. Chick Fil-A chicken sandwich - It is pathetically simple, with really only a slice of pickle as a topping, but it works. McDonalds tried to copy it, but was unable to do so.
1. The Burger King Original chicken sandwich is my favorite chicken sandwich by far ... no, there is nothing outrageously different about this fried piece of heaven. Just the right amount of mayo, lettuce, and spices (not sure what those spices are, but it does have a bit of a kick).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Stuff

Wow ... Christmas came and went ... seems to be going faster by the year. It was great, though ... giving and receiving joy (and gifts), and spending valuable time wiht close family and friends. Just a quick recap of my "agenda."

* Christmas Eve - went to my parents house for our annual "pre-Christmas" dinner. Some of the highlights included bratwurst, opening presents, and of course doing shots (this year's selection was Berentzen Apfelkorn).

* Christmas Day - Had Schue's family over for Christmas dinner. The wife did a great job with the food, and everyone seemed to have a good time playing Nintendo Wii, as well as enjoying good old-fashioned Christmas cheer ... alcohol.

* December 27 - Holiday party at Babs' place - Great food, great drink, and great friends. What a way to bridge Christmas and New Years ... of course, with more beer and liquor (I see a trend!).

Still to come ...
* New Year's Eve party at my brother's house - This is always a great farewell to the previous year, as well as a great welcome to the new year, complete with Nintendo Wii tournaments, beer pong tournaments, and a rendtion of Bohemian Rhapsody.



I hope everyone had (and continues to have) a great holiday season!

Friday, December 26, 2008

2009 Predictions

For some reason, I didn't make any predictions for 2008 (or, at least I couldn't find the ones I made). I usually make these every year, so I figured I'd start them up again. So, without further pause (I couldn't spell adieu) ...

10. Andy Reid will start wearing a mumu on the sidelines, and will be accompanied by a bucket of "finger-lickin'" at all football games and press conferences. The man is a large, large man, and seems to be getting bigger by the minute. The universe thinks he's expanding at an accelerated rate.

9. Something extraordinary is going to happen to Michael Jackson ... I'm not sure if it's going to be a good thing, a bad thing, or both. I predict he'll either make a comeback (fueled by the MTV music awards ... much like they successfully did with Brittney), or he won't make it to 2010 (I'm not even sure if he's human anymore, to tell you the truth).

8. The Rolling Stones will announce another album and tour ... heck, they do this every 3-4 years, and by that count, they're due. This one will be sponsored by Geritol.

7. Something extraordinary is going to happen to one of the "Big 3" auto companies in the U.S. ... again, not sure if this will be good or bad ... One could close for good, two could merge, or one could decide to actually think outside the box and create cars that people want (here's to hoping it's the last one).

6. Our economy (and the world's economy) will make a recovery at some point in 2009 ... it will probably be towards the latter half of the year, but it's going to happen. Let's hope we see companies and CEO's that are more responsible and less greedy.

5. The Flyers will be the next Philly team to win a championship ... unfortunately, this may be the last NHL Stanley Cup handed out ... the league is in trouble (suggestion - let's move some of these teams out of Florida, Atlanta, and Nashville, and put them back in Canada, where they'll flourish).

4. A buddy flick featuring Emmanuel Lewis and Gary Coleman will be made ... OK, I actually don't think this is going to happen, but I wish that it would ... I'd even watch a reality show with these two guys at this point.

3. Roger Clemmens will be indicted for lying about steroid use ... again, this is probably more of a hope than a prediction ... the guy has thrown his friends and family under the bus ... he deserves this (Barry Bonds has no friends, so he was unable to throw any of them under the bus).

2. Michael Vick will be invited to some NFL team's training camp ... the hope is that Jerry Jones takes a chance on him, so that the Cowboys have a monopoly on all of the players with "questionable" characters in the league.

1. ESPN will stop discussing an NCAA Division 1 playoff for football, now that they have the rights to the BCS bowl games until 2014 ... it no longer is to their advantage to have one.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all



I just wanted to drop a quick post wishing all of you a Merry Christmas ... I hope you have a great holiday season, and hope that 2009 is a great year for all of you. Peace, love and chicken grease!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another "Survey"

Yep - got another e-mail from a friend ... and since I'm a lazy blogger (sometimes), this gives me another post! Keep in mind, that I did this on December 17

Two names you go by:
1. Los
2. Stupid German

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Eagles Sweatshirt
2. Blue sweatpants

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Watch sports
2. Play video games

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. Ice cream
2. Vacation

Two favorite pets you have had/have:
1. Stroopie (dog)
2. Charlie (Turtle)

Two things I did last night:
1. Watched the Flyers
2. Filled up my wife's car.

Two things you ate today:
1. Chicken Marsala
2. Shrimp

Two people you last talked to:
1. My wife
2. Steve (guy at work)

Two things you plan on doing tomorrow:
1. Working
2 Watching The Office

Trips taken in the last five years:
1. San Francisco
2. Las Vegas

Two favorite holidays:
1. Halloween
2. Christmas

Two favorite beverages:
1. Bier (German for beer)
2. Water (I drink a lot of it)
3. Wine (I'm becoming a fan)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I had to blog about this story ...


A local TV station had this story on it's website a few days ago about a couple that was upset that a local grocery store refused to make a personalized cake for their child ... seems like the grocery store is inconsiderate, right? Not until you realize the name of their child - Adolf Hitler ... yeah, that's right, the couple named their son after "Der Fuhrer."

So many ways to go with this story, but let me focus on the family first. I mean, seriously? Naming your kid after Hitler? Is it your intention to make your child's life as difficult as possible? Why not name him Feces, or Pig Vomit? Get this - the family has another child named Aryan Nation ... this alone is ridiculous ... but the family goes on to claim that they aren't racist ... really? Not racist? Why not name the third child KKK while you're at it? I am utterly repulsed by this family ... but my thought is that there are numerous people around the country who actually think that this is a cool idea. By the way, the picture of the husband is not shocking in the least ... I would expect him to look the way he does.

Onto the second point ... the fact that the local supermarket refused to make the cake for baby Adolf. I'm all for free speech, but I'm also ok for a Supermarket to refuse making a ridiculous cake that "promotes" a savage dictator responsible for the death of millions of people ... and who is a symbol for radical racisim. I'm sure more will be made of this, and at some point, this will go through the court system, and the local supermarket will be forced to spend lots of money defending their morals ... I find this preposterous ... Mr. and Mrs. "Hitler" should first of all get their heads checked ... and second of all, learn how to be pastry chefs if they really want this kind of cake.

Folks, I can't make this stuff up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas "Survey"

My friend e-mailed this to me - I figured this deserved a blog posting (I figured I'd save some energy and kill two birds with one stone). Feel free to play along.

1. Real tree or Artificial? Real (artificial doesn't equal Christmas in my book).
2. When do you put up the tree? 2nd week of December
3. When do you take the tree down? Mid January (sad weekend)
4. Do you like eggnog? Eh ... a little, I guess.
5. Favorite gift received as a child? Oscar the Grouch alarm clock.
6. Hardest person to buy for? Parents
7. Easiest person to buy for? My brother
8. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail this year ... but considering e-mail
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A fishing tool gift pack (I got the same thing a year earlier ... from the same person).
11. Favorite Christmas Movie? Without a doubt - A Christmas Story
12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Maybe a few times ...maybe.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies ... my mom's cookies.
15.Any special tradition? - Going to my parents' on Christmas Eve.
16. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby
17. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Stay home.
18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Probably ...
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither ... some kind of fancy ribbon.
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowded shopping malls or stores.
22. What theme or color are you using? All kinds of color, but mostly white.
23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Filet Mignon ... Nothing but class!
24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Some Wii games
25. Favorite drink during Christmas? Beer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sports Rant of the Week


Since I watch far too much sports, I figured I'd add a sports rant of the week (or every two weeks or something like that) to this blog ... what the heck ... I have a lot to say ... or blog.

The obvious choice for me to rant about this week is the T.O. situation in Dallas. I think nobody can dispute that from an athletic perspective, that the guy is a big play threat who makes your team better. However, his off-the-field antics, and his "me-first" attitude literally kills teams. He's left two carcasses in his path already in Philly and San Fran (San Fran is still trying to turn things around), and he's about ready to knock off the Dallas Cowboys.

I guess the real shocking thing for me is that the honeymoon has lasted this long. Maybe T.O. was kept in check by the strong personality of Bill Parcells, who instilled fear in all his players. Maybe, T.O. was happy with the 13-3 season last year. Maybe he was playing for a contract (which he got this year). But, at some point, his enormous ego (and his tiny self esteem) had to get in the way.

And you know what? It couldn't happen to a better team. Jerry Jones decided to eliminate a strong-willed coach who wouldn't be a puppet for him, and replaced him with the perfect puppet. Then, Jones decided to forego player character (he already brought T.O. in against the Big Tuna's wishes) by adding Tank Johnson and PacMan Jones to the Cowboys ... heck, even the Bengals were jealous.

Now, this team is struggling to stay together ... a team that had more than enough talent to compete for a Super Bowl ... now, they're competing (and fighting) just to make the playoffs. Here's to hoping this thing blows up in Jones's face.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rock Song of the Week

I've decided to add another "weekly blogging topic." Just like a "Fast Food Corner" weekly blog makes sense for me, blogging about music also makes sense (at least, to me). Maybe it'll help you find a song or a musical group you may want to follow ... maybe you'll find it totally worthless ... oh, and if you want to offer me suggestions (please, no country music and no Nickleback), I welcome it! So, without further adieu:

Song of the week:
The Virgins - Rich Girls

I can't get this song out of my head - I've had this song for about 4 months now, and it never leaves my most frequently played list. Rich Girls has a catchy disco sound to it, with a pronounced and addictive baseline. The lead singer's voice growls, sounding almost half-drunk ... but somehow, it works.

Here's some more information on the group from their Atlantic Records website:
The Virgins exemplify the sound and style of downtown New York City in 2008. The band came together in 2006, the brainchild of songwriter/performer Donald Cumming. Having lived on NYC’s streets since the age of 16, Cumming’s teen years were chronicled by artist/photographer Ryan McGinley in his now-legendary debut solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

With Cumming joined by bassist Nick Zarin-Ackerman, guitarist Wade Oates, and drummer Erik Ratensperger, The Virgins began playing at downtown parties at such spots as St. Marks Church and 205. For their third show ever, the Virgins took Paris by storm, performing at designer agn├Ęs b’s fashion week party alongside Patti Smith and Sonic Youth. The band’s connection to New York’s art scene is no more apparent than in their own album art, which features design and photography from Dan Colen and Terry Richardson.


And, here's a couple of websites in case you're interested:
http://www.atlanticrecords.com/thevirgins/bio

http://www.myspace.com/thevirginsnyc

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fast Food Corner


I consider myself a fast-food "connoisseur." I've probably tried just about every kind of fast food around (at least around Philly), so it's only natural that I eventually dedicate some blog postings to my "expert" opinions on everything fast food.

I decided to tackle a biggie for my first - the battle of the best french fry. Let me step back for a second and pre-qualify my "type" of french fry ... really, there's only one - I prefer shoestring fries over steak fries overwhelmingly ... you see, steak fries have to much actual "potato" taste ... I prefer the crunchy/fried taste of shoestring fries. With that said - here is my top 5 list of my favorite fast-food fries:

5. Burger King - These fries are not good at all ... my least favorite next to KFC's big-assed steak fries.
4. Wendy's - A little to big for my liking, and usually not cooked enough ... but still, not too shabby.
3. Arby's curly fries - Slightly overcooked usually, but that's a plus in my book, as I love crispy fries ... plus, they have a slightly spicy flavor to them.
2. Chick Fil-A - Considering my preference of shoe-string fries, this is a bit of a surprise. My guess is the surface area of these waffle fries, and their amazing ability to soak up large amounts of ketchup.
1. McDonalds - Ultimately, the perfect french fry. I think Ronald probably laces his fries with some kind of addictive drug that makes people come back for more ... either that, or McDonalds has some kind of contract with God on these "heavenly" fries ... I can't figure out any other way nobody else has copied these.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weekly Homework Assignment

Mama Kat got into the Christmas (holiday) spirit - and I loved this assignment! It's right in my wheel-house (at least I think it is)

Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas gift of all time is ... The Oscar the Grouch alarm clock ... "Wha?" you might be asking? Let me give you some background - For some reason, I remember seeing this alarm clock in some sort of catalogue as a child, and since I was a big fan of Sesame Street (and an even bigger fan of Oscar the Grouch), I REALLY, REALLY wanted this. My parents were excellent in hiding this from me, saying things like “Santa Claus probably won’t be able to get this present for you.” I was defeated – I figured there was no way I was going to get to wake up to Oscar’s grouchy voice every morning. My parents hid this gift from me and somehow snuck it into my pile of presents at the very end. I remember opening it, and being flushed with excitement and emotion so much that all I could do was hold my head and jump up and down repeatedly for about 5 minutes. For months, Oscar woke me up, and it was truly heaven. But, because I am a klutz, I ended up breaking it somehow. Recently, I searched for this clock on Ebay, and they run for about $200 now – geez!

Here are a couple of other favorites:
2. The Atari 2600 – At the time, it was called the Atari VCS … which gives you an idea of how old I am. I loved arcades and arcade machines … I’ve loved them for about as long as I can remember. For instance, I remember going into a department store called Two Guys. They had some sort of primitive racing machine that I was always fixated on. I think my mom allowed me to play it a few times, and I was hooked. You could imagine my excitement when I discovered the Atari 2600 in a Sears catalogue. My cousin Drew and I couldn’t stop talking about it. Again, my mom played one helluva poker hand, saying that the price was too much for a Christmas present (at the time, it was $129). But, Inga did end up buying it for me, and I must’ve played that thing about 10,000 hours (or more). The first game I got (besides Combat, which came with the Atari) was Space Invaders – I swore it was like I had an arcade in my basement (not entirely true, but close enough). It didn’t take me long to find those “secret games” within the games – you would have to flick the game on and off in a certain way to find these games – it was kind of like the first cheat code. I found one with Space Invaders in which I was able to shoot twice as fast (I’ve probably lost most of you with this one).

3. Mr. Quarterback – Sure, looking back on this gift, it was a piece of shite. But, the thought of having my very own “quarterback” throwing me 20 to 30 yard passes was enticing. I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Unfortunately, Mr. Quarterback (which was promoted by that jackass Roger Staubach) only “threw” the football about 5 yards or so … not even a perfect spiral. This is probably why Mr. Quarterback is no longer being sold.

4. The Green Machine – Now, I didn’t actually get this gift, but my two cousins did. I was PISSED! Man, did I want to have the Corvette of big wheels instead of the crappy orange one with yellow wheels that I currently possessed. I’m tellin’ ya, this big wheel was awesome – it reached incredible speeds and one could spin out like Dale Earnhardt with it. I was about as jealous with this one as I was when my cousin Drew got those Zips sneakers (the ones that “made” you run fast – or at least that’s what they said in the commercials).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tree-mendous!

We were supposed to go Christmas tree shopping last Thursday ... and, as luck would have it, it rained ... not just a little steady rain (if that were the case, we would've still gone out), but it was more like "God's plumbing broke" raining. We decided to wait until Friday to get our tree, and we noticed some "interesting" advertising ... "Trees $20 and up." However, the "and up" was so small, one couldn't even see it.

It seems as if every place selling trees pulls this. I feel like such a "sap" (sorry 'bout the pun) for even going to these places ... We ended up going to a local fire company to buy our tree, mainly because we feel that the money is better given to a place like this (even though we were basically getting raped).

The tree is ok ... actually, it looks great now, with all of the ornaments on it, but it didn't look very full. I think it plays to our advanctage that it isn't that full, because you can see all of the ornaments better ... and believe me, we have a ton of them ... from disco balls, to a bacon and eggs ornament, to mermaids, to the woman's leg ornament (from A Christmas Story) ... it looks like Santa Claus threw up on our tree ... but in a good way.

Actually, we probably have so many ornaments, that we could buy a second tree ... this one would be an artifical one, though ....

A quick shout out to Babs for helping to decorate the tree ... Thank you so much for keeping my wife company!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yule Light Up My Life ...


Whilst over my wife's brother's house last night, we got into a discussion about an interesting (or, at least I thought so) topic ... Christmas lights. The more we discussed it, the more it became obvious ... the women absolutely loved the white lights - they felt these lights give the Christmas tree, as well as the outside part of the house a bit of elegance.

Of course, the little kids like the multi-colored lights ... and, ironically, the men in the house also favored the multi-colored lights. Of course, one can draw the conclusion that the reason for this is because boys never really "grow up."

Personally, I'm ok with white lights (heck, I like lights), but yes, I do like multi-colored lights ... and, I'll take it a step further - I like the big, multicolored lights. My mom placed these on the bushes outside of the house annually when I was growing up, and I guess I've never outgrown that.

Of course, obnoxious snow globes might be going a little too far.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A memory


I'm going to try and supplement this blog with some "shorter" postings so that I can blog more frequently ... we'll see how it goes.

Mama Kat's homework assignment regarding a time at the dentist brought back a long-lost memory of mine from growing up. I remember when I was a little tyke that I thought I had ruined my teeth because I ate too much candy - I felt my molars and thought that the candy had led to them being flat. Of course, it never stopped me from eating my candy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't get many requests on stuff to blog about, but I certainly encourage them... as long as it is deemed blogworthy (by me). This morning a coworker of mine forwarded an "intersting" story to me, and asked that I dedicate a blog post to it. Here is the story.

Can this be true? I mean, I know that Dancing With the Stars has already invited a deaf person, and a person with one leg onto the program, and both did surprisingly well, considering the circumstances. But, seriously, Stevie Wonder? Not only is he blind, but he's grossly out of shape, AND he's never looked like somebody I would consider "fleet of foot." Is this what Dancing With the Stars will do in order to drum up excitement?

Now, what they should do is "play tricks" on Stevie ... like maybe having him dance with a broom stick, or strategically place banana peels on the dance floor. Just a thought ... I'd certainly tune in if that was the case. But seriously, what's next? I figure the least I could do is offer some suggestions.

* How about inviting Stephen Hawking, the famous professor/scientist who has the debilitating disease, ALS. Certainly, it would be worth tuning in for at least the first episode to see how he does, right?

* Maybe we could have a spinoff called "Dancing with the Pets." Why not? I've seen plenty of pets on the David Leterman show that can dance.

* Let's have a contest for scientists to build robots to dance on this show. Doing this would ensure lots and lots of geeks tuning in ... many of them with quite a few dollars to spend.

* I envision a public service episode, in which the stars dance, then do some shots, and continue to dance ... we could award a prize to the star who is able to continue dancing whilst drunk ... we could invite stars like Nick Nolte and Keith Richards in this.

* Why not add props and juggling to this. THe stars can maybe juggle bowling pins or flaming torches while they dance ... wouldn't this add a whole new dimension to the show?

That's all I got right now ... Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weekly Homework Assignment - It's Tooth-riffic!

I had trouble this week choosing Mama Kat's homework assignment. You see, I don't really have any allergies, I haven't really taken any new roads in a long while (plus with GPS, these aren't that "unexpected" anymore), my wife hates mice, and I trust that most (if not all) of my friends are good listeners (I talk too much).

so, with that said, I chose my worst dentist experience ever. Unlike most kids, I actually enjoyed going to the dentist ... probably because I was so proud of my pearly whites. My dentist often said that I had fantastic teeth, and that, with the exception of a small overbite, I had a perfect set of teeth. Why wouldn't I want to go back to this guy?

I never had a cavity ... ever ... until I turned 14. I remember sitting in the dentist's chair, and noticed him picking at one of my teeth repeatedly with that metallic tool that he used (sorry, I have no idea what the name of this is). Finally, he took note of it, and continued the cleaning. After he was finished, he gave me the worst news ever ... my perfect teeth were no longer perfect anymore ... one of them contracted a cavity.

How could this be? I brushed twice a day, and was a damn good brusher (if I do say so myself). He scheduled me to have the cavity filled ... the days leading up to this "event" were dark for me ... I lost my smile. I was sad. I was like everybody else ... flawed. The big day came ... did I mention I was afraid of needles?

The dentist sat me in the chair, basically went through what he was going to do, and then got the needle. "You'll feel a little prick at first," he said (yeah, but what about the needle? Hey-yo!). The initial pain was substantial, but it immediately disappeared. I actually thought it was kind of neat seeing the dentist work on my mouth, watching the smoke waft out of my mouth, and not feeling any pain. The actual process wasn't so bad ... maybe I was more fearful of the needle then actually having a cavity.

I've had one other cavity filled since, but I also had my wisdom teeth pulled, but the percoset (sp?) more than made up for the process.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

We finally got it!!!!!




Yep - we finally pulled the trigger! We got a flat-screen TV! I ordered the sucker two Saturdays ago from tvsdepot.com. Here's the tv I bought.

I think I got a fantastic deal (considering the TV is now more expensive on the site) - I paid $999 (no tax and free shipping) for this 46 inch LCD - 1080P, 7500-1 color ratio ... it is an obvious upgrade from the 37 inch CRT that we had (well, we still have it, but are giving it to a friend).

I was like a father-to-be, waiting for his baby to enter the world on Sunday morning - the delivery guy was set to arrive between 10 and 2. As luck would have it, he arrived at 11:30, which gave me plenty of time to get the tv hooked up prior to the Eagles game ... folks, I didn't get up from the couch once! What a beautiful tv - my god, I can't wait to watch hockey on it (that'll be tonight, by the way).

It goes really well with the basement modifications we've made (we still have some work to do, though). I doubt I'll ever be able to truly enjoy tv on a CRT ever again.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

They must be drunk ...

So, as many of you know, I live in the Philadelphia area - kind of a nice location - near the Poconos, the shore, New York, DC, Atlantic City ... kind of a cool central location. However, living in Pennsylvania has its head-scratching moments as well. One "issue" or "law" in general really confounds me (yeah, I used the word "confound").

PA has a state run wine and spirits system - which basically means that no other store or company in Pennsylvania is allowed to sell wine or liquor. This state-runned lunacy means that wine and liquor prices are not really competitive with other states that allow private companies to sell alcohol. So, why should I care about this?

Outside of the fact that most state-run organizations are run poorly (and in the case of these wine and liquor stores, very poorly), there's another issue. Because I live so close to Delaware and New Jersey, it is very easy for me to drive 20 minutes and stock up on much cheaper wine and liqour ... sounds good, right? Unfortunately, the numbskulls in PA "don't allow PA residents to purchase alcohol legally in other states." Now, people certainly do this - I do. But, PA police officers have the right to pull you over and fine you for buying liqour in another state. It's mind-boggling. They usually don't do this, and if you are a PA resident, drive a little deeper into Delaware instead of purchasing alcohol at the border, and you should be fine. But just the fact that this is a law is ridiculous.

On top of this, you are not allowed to "import" wine or liqour to your house. What do I mean by this? Last year, we went to Napa Valley in California on a wine tour. We found a few wineries we really enjoyed. These wineries ship their wine directly to your house in almost every state ... except for 1 ... yep, you guessed it. PA won't allow this, because they are afraid that it would take money away from their awful state-run wine and spirit monopoly. These wineries have to go into special agreements with PA to be able to sell their wine in said wine and spirits stores. What kind of collusion is this? How is this still allowed?

PA is pretty bass-ackwards about quite a few things, probably thanks to the strong "Quaker" influence. Hopefully someday this will change ...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Weekly Homework Assignment

After a week off, Mama Kat is back and better than ever (yes, if I could, I'd even get her an apple) with her weekly homework assignment.

The topic I chose is "Are you still friends with you high school friends? Describe them." I guess in this sense, I'm lucky, as I still am friends with many of my high school friends. I decided to take it a step further - friends who were my childhood friends:

My first childhood friend who I am still very good friends with is Ray-Ray. I've known him since I was about 1 - you see, my mom babysat him back in the day. We were basically like brothers for the first 4-5 years of our lives. We stayed very close friends UNTIL high school, when we got into a fight over a girl. It took us about 4 years to begin talking again, but then slowly we rebuilt our friendship, and are now as close as ever. In fact, he got married just a little over a month ago, and I was in the wedding. Ray-Ray is funny, and sometimes abrasive, but if you know him like I know him, you would understand how good of a friend he really is - the man would do anything for me and my family, and I am also very willing to repay the favor. I am thankful that we were able to put a petty issue aside all those years ago.

A neighborhood buddy of mine, Davers, is another buddy I've managed to keep for oh so many years. He moved to my neighborhood when he was about 4 ... I was 6 at the time. The kid excelled so much at sports that he was always better than me, but he was always willing to teach and encourage me, and because of him, I became a decent athlete ... by no means a great one, but certainly a better one that I would've been if he wasn't in my life. He is also responsible for getting me into fishing and spicy foods (the man's family is Italian, and his mom made some of the greatest Italian food known to man on a weekly basis). Coincidentally, his wedding was this summer, and I was honored to be a part of it. We don't hang out nearly as much as we used to, but we do text each other quite a bit ... which, I guess is a good thing.

I've known my friend Johnnay since the third grade. We were friends, but not close friends for most of school until we were juniors or seniors in high school. He is now one of my closest friends (even though I tend to probably make fun of him too much). He's got a heart of gold, and my hope is that someday he'll find a woman who deserves him (that's a compliment, by the way. The man was married before, but unfortunately, things didn't work out). No, he's not good in sports, and no he's not the funniest guy in the world (at least, not on purpose), but he's a great guy in almost every way, and I am lucky to have him as a friend.

The last one I'll talk about is my friend Nick. Many months ago, I blogged about him, and how we were no longer friends, and how it bothered me (I probably said some other nasty things, but let's not talk about that). As luck would have it, he read my blog, started his own blog to respond to my blog, and ironically, it opened up communication between the two of us. I've known him and been friends with him ever since high school, and miscommunication (and unfortunate situations) caused us to drift apart. But, thanks to the wonderful world of blogs, we became friends again, and have picked up right where we left off.

I have left out many other friends I've made, from work friends (yes, I'm talking about my Lockheed buds), to other grade school, high school, and even college friends (and college related friends), not to mention the friends I've made through my wife Schue. You all are very important to me.

My dad made a great quote at his 50th anniversary party - he said something along the lines of, "You can tell how great a man is by his friends." Well, if that's the case, I'm one helluva guy, thanks to you guys and gals.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A few movie reviews ...

So, I got to see a few movies in the past week or so, and I figured that I would share my thoughts with you (translation - I have nothing else to blog about).

1. The Ex - This movie basically is a "remix" of The Cable Guy, with Jason Bateman playing the conniving "antagonist" (similar to Jim Carey's character, but not as annoying), and the guy from Scrubs playing the schizophrenic (or at least his friends think so) "protagonist." It was amusing, in that Jason Bateman did a great job with his character, however it is pretty unrealistic in that Bateman's character basically "faked" being handicapped for most of his life. Overall, it's probably worth seeing on cable, but I wouldn't spend any money on it.

2. Juno - Yes, I was late on this one ... very late. again, Jason Bateman was in it, as 1/2 of the couple wanting to adopt Juno's unborn child. His character intrigued me the most, mainly because he was portrayed as the "cool" guy in the beginning of the movie, and the portrayal gradually moved to that of someone who never wanted to grow up and take responsibility. Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner's character (the other 1/2) was portrayed as uptight and absolutely unfun, but her character's portrayal gradually moves to the responsible and sensible one .... ok, yes, the movie is more of a chick flick, but it is REALLY GOOD ... and I'm usually not one who likes movies that are hyped. Well worth watching.

3. Four Christmases - Yeah ... I actually went to the movies to see this one, as part of our annual Thanksgiving night movie-watching traditions. It certainly does a decent job of getting one excited for the Christmas season, and for 3/4 of the movie, it is quite funny. Vince Vaughan plays his normal wise-ass character, which is usually can't miss. Reece Witherspoon plays his hot, fun-loving girlfriend - she has no trouble playing in a comedic role. However, Seth Gordon (director) probably was influenced by recent Judd Apatow movies, as well as that other holiday "classic" Just Visiting of a few years ago, as he decides to throw out all humor in the last 20 minutes, also trying to rapidly tie up loose ends in the movie (how this couple can get back together in the final minutes was hard to follow). For a Christmas movie, it's ok ... certainly, nobody will be talking about this in the sentence as A Christmas story, but it'll get you in the mood for the holidays.

Well, that's all I have .... I know, I'm lame.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Here We Go ...

Well ... now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to focus on Christmas. "Thankfully," a couple of friends and family members already gave us a "head start" about a month ago ... let me explain.

Schue and I were coming back from Cape May/Atlantic City (anniversary) ... we turned onto our street, and Schue got this puzzled look on her face. "What the hell is that on our lawn," she shrieked. Because I'm the good driver that I am, I was more focused on the road than on this peculiar object that had taken up our entire front lawn.

As I parked the car, I peered to my right and noticed the "surprise." It was as if Santa Claus threw up all over our house ... what am I referring to? My brother, his wife, his wife's sister and her husband decided to put one of those big obnoxious Christmas blow-up snow globes on our property.

Now, all snow globes are obnoxious ... this one may take the cake ... it is 8 feet tall, and has some sort of candy-cane circular swing, with Santa Claus, a reindeer, a penguin, and a snow man swinging in circles (this is probably a topic for another blog post, but why was the penquin chosen over the elf? For some reason, this bothers me).

Anyway, here's a picture of this Christmas atrocity ... and by the way guys, your anniversaries are coming up ... payback will be a bitch.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These are trophies????

CNNSI posted a story about college football's unusual trophies a few days ago, and of course, since I'm a college football fan, I had to read it. Now, before I begin my "rant," let me assure everyone, I am a big fan of tradition. Thanksgiving day football games are a staple of my life. I'm also a big fan of the day after Thanksgiving football game that I participate in.

But, there is something to be said about updating traditions ... and by looking at some of these "trophies" that these college football rivals play for, I think this cements my argument. Seriously, playing for a big jug, or an old skillet may have been pretty cool in the 1930's, but at this point, it's kind of stupid (my opinion).

Why not "update" these trophies - make them really cool ... or better yet, why not do something totally outside the box - here are just a few ideas I have:

* How about playing for the right to hang your logo on the centrally designated monument of the opposing college? Talk about bragging rights!

* Let's make it interesting - how about some sort of "financial" bet, in which maybe a computer room gets donated by the losing team to the winning college.

* How about intriguing bets by the college deans in which the winning team gets to somehow "embarrass" the opposing team's dean ... make him (her) dress like a baby, and take a picture with the opposing team, that can be displayed on the winning college team's website.

You get the idea, don't you? What are some of your suggestions?

On a side note - Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sorry ...


(Sorry, Charlie)

I'm probably going to bore some of you with this, but it's my blog ... yeah, I'm going to blog about college football ... specifically, the joke of a football program that is Notre Dame.

Long the bastion of pompousness, Notre Dame is a football program with fans across the country and the world. For years, I've had problems with this - how can you follow a college football team that you have no ties to, and is not located anywhere near where you live? Is it because of their "Irish" name? If so, you're an idiot. Is it because it's a Catholic school? If so, you do understand that there are many, many other Catholic colleges around, many of which are closer to you. Is it because of their successful past? Yeah, probably - but guess what ...

The Notre Dame "football machine" has fallen on some very tough times. Last season, they won a whopping 3 games. They lost to Navy for the first time in over 40 years (and, jokingly, did not win the "military" title for the first time in a while). People thought that the Irish would be back this year ... and for a while, they were - they started off pretty strong (albeit, they got extremely lucky against a very bad San Diego State team). Then, things went wrong again - culminating in an embarrassing loss against a Syracuse football team that is probably in the top 10 worst teams in college football this year.


(Possibly one of the greatest pictures ever taken)

Notre Dame just gave Charlie Weiss a 10-year contract extension a few years ago, and now they're scratching their heads at his inability to get his "star" players to actually play the game. NBC, who just signed Notre Dame to another contract extension, is probably swallowing very hard these days, considering Notre Dame home games are the only college football games they show ... and the only people currently tuning in our die-hard Irish fans, and people across the country who find joy in seeing "America's College Football Team" get beaten on a consistent basis. Seriously, that's really too bad.

You know, a few years ago, Notre Dame was ready to take the plunge into the Big 10 ... until their arrogant alumni "forced" their hands into staying independent. Good - I'm glad your team sucks, and I'm glad that all those "fans" around my neighborhood have already taken down the Notre Dame banners ... There was a time that Notre Dame got ranked highly because of their "reputation" and "history," but now, that lustre is no longer there ... that's what happens when you LOSE 9 STRAIGHT BOWL GAMES AGAINST TEAMS THAT ARE FAR SUPERIOR TO YOU. What a shame.

Now, if the Cowboys, Lakers and Yankees can follow suit ...


(Not quite the way you thought it would be, is it Jimmy?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mama Kat's Homework Assignment

It's that time of the week again ... it has become one of my favorites, because Mama Kat comes up with some really neat subjects to talk about. This week is no exception - I encourage you to give it a shot! This week, I chose to write about the subect "I remember when..." I think I'm going to do a list of things I remember ... hey, it may be boring, or it may be fun ... let's have a looksie.

I remember when:
* I was in college, and stamps had just gone up in price to 19 cents ... man, I'm old ... and this may not be as fun as I thought.
* The Atari 2600 was the "cutting edge" of home gaming entertainment. I remember thinking that I had probably seen the "apex" of gaming when I got Donkey Kong for the Atari ... I swore it wouldn't get any better.
* My biggest worry was the next day's quiz or exam ... ah, life was so simple once, wasn't it?
* We didn't have cable tv. My parents were one of the last to "embrace" this. One of my best friends down the street got cable, and he told me of a tv station that showed nothing but sports ... it had the initials ESPN. I thought this may have been the greatest invention since the wheel.
* Zips sneakers were cool. The commercials "hinted" that the sneakers would make you run faster. My cousin got those sneakers ... I got some kind of cheap Buster Brown knock-offs ... and because of that, I swore I was slow.
* Walking up to the Mac Dade Mall as a youngster - I was probably around 8 - and going to the movies with my cousins or with friends ... my parents never worried about it ... now, I would never allow my kids to do this by themselves - it's just a different world now. Oh, and movies were $2.50 ... sigh.
* My Super Friends lunch box ... I thought it was the coolest thing ... until, I got into middle school, and some 8th grader made fun of me ... I was devastated ... from that point on, I brought bagged lunch to school.
* Being frightened about high school. I thought there would be drug dealers and pushers at the end of every hallway who would force me to do drugs.
* Thinking I was going to be an NHL hockey goalie, because I was really good in gym class ... playing floor hockey.
* Middle school dances, drinking orange soda at those dances, and telling diarrhea jokes with some other friends the entire time (usually because we were afraid to dance).
* Winning a K-Tel "Hot Tracks" album at the middle school dance because I was the "best dressed" kid. I had this 3-piece suit ... it was tan ... it made me look like a giant pound cake ... but I won, dammit!
* Thinking that Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" was the greatest song every made ... until I heard my first "reggae" song - Lionel Richie's "All Night Long."
* Hearing the Rolling Stones for the first time, and realizing that this is without a doubt the greatest band ever ... and to this day I still know this.
* My first concert - The Who's "Kids Are Allright" concert at Veteran's Stadium in the summer of 1989 ... which was followed a few months later by The Rolling Stones "Steel Wheels" concert ... one helluva summer!
* My first job - which lasted about 10 minutes - it was at a local restaurant, and when I saw the "chef" drop a steak on the floor, pick it back up, and grill it, I quit ... ugh!
* Stealing tic-tacs at the age of 3 ... my mom caught me, because they made loud sounds as I was walking up the steps ... she made me take them back to the supermarket and apologize ... stealing was never an issue with me again ...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Big 5-0!


The happy couple!

Tomorrow, we are celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in style ... at a dance hall in a German club in Delaware, with an oompah band, German food, German drink, and most importantly, German friends. 50 years ... that is a long time, my friends ... and, of course, it must be celebrated. I want to take a few moments to thank (praise) my parents - I've put together a list:

* Thank you so much for teaching me the important fundamentals of being a good person. You were (and still are) very influential to me - and I always think of (and live) the lessons you taught me about right and wrong - and they have served me well throughout the years. You are great role models - I couldn't have asked for any better.

* Thank you for all the work (and finances) you provided to get me through college, and to get me on my feet after college. You went above and beyond, and your love and support for me was (and still is) endless.

* The work you have helped me with (or, done on your own) to my house has been amazing - I can't thank you enough. Obviously, you didn't have to do any of it, but you never said no, and in fact, most of the time, you did the work without ever asking me. I don't know what state our house would've been in without you.

* All of the vacations you took me (us) on as a kid, all those fishing trips, trips to the Phillies or Flyers games - they were awesome and memorable to me. I know we didn't always have a lot of money, but you always made it seem like we were millionaires (not in a bad way). I can't wait to spend those special moments with my kids.

* I wish Albert could be here to celebrate along with the rest of the family. For one reason or another, he didn't consider his life important enough, even though you thought it was one of the most precious things in this entire world ... and would've done anything and everything for him ... it was never your fault that he took his own life ... it took me a long time to accept it, and to get over my anger at him ... You did everything you could for him and more. He loved you - you know that.

* Most of all, I hope you enjoy the celebration ... you have a lot of close friends and family who are excited to share this extraordinary moment with you ... we look forward to 50 more.

Thanks for everything mom and dad!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekly Assignment

The assignment I chose this week from Mama Kat is beginning a story with "I thought I saw ..." So, without further delay:

I thought I saw the Phillies win the World Series a few weeks ago. Being a life-long Philadelphian, and having my heart ripped out repeatedly by all of my local sports team, it's still hard to believe the Phillies actually did it. I'm still waiting to wake up from this dream.

I've had my hopes dashed over and over again in the past. In 1980, when all 4 of the Philly teams made it to the finals, only one team was able to successfully capture the championship. I remember actually being so upset that the Flyers lost to the Islanders in 1980 that I actually threw up ... yeah, I'm a diehard.

The Eagles lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl that season, too. I thought there was no way my beloved Iggles could lose - after all, they had just disposed of the hated Cowboys a few weeks earlier, and had even beaten Oakland earlier in the year. Jaworski and company would surely not drop the ball (literally), would they? Of course, they did.

From that point on, there wasn't much to cheer for (with the exception of a Sixers championship in 1983). The few times one of our teams actually made it deep in the playoffs, they ended up playing a dynasty (Flyers - Oilers, Flyers - Red Wings, Flyers - Devils, Eagles - Patriots, Phillies - Blue Jays, Sixers - Lakers ... I could go on).

So, with that said, please, PLEASE, do NOT wake me from this one, I beg you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Anniversary Weekend...

Wow, it's been 5 years already ... 5 years since my wife and I tied the knot ... somehow, the drugs didn't wear off yet (ba-da-bing!). We decided we would take an extra-long weekend "vacation" at the Jersey shore ... yes, it's no longer summer, and yes, we were not planning on spending much of it on the beach.

Our first destination was Cape May - a beautfiul shorespot, certainly much more elegant than places like Wildwood and Atlantic City ... the place is peppered with beautiful Victorian style homes that would make the Munsters jealous. We ended up staying at the Hotel Alcott, a quaint place not far from the Washington Street shopping area of the town ... maybe next time we'll stay at a bed and breakfast - the town is super-saturated with those, and many of my friends rave over them.



Hotel Alcott in its pink glory ...

We ended up staying two nights there, and basically, shopped, ate at restaurants, and "checked out" some of the bars. We especially liked this bread place (not sure what the name was, unfortunately) on Washington Street, at the far end of the shopping area - the atmosphere was slightly elegant, but not stuffy - and the food was fantastic - I had a cup of clam chowder that was probably in the top 5 best clam chowders I've ever had. My wife raved over her meal as well (I can't remember what it was, though).


The Upscale Peter Shields Inn ...

We also loved this place called the Peter Shields Inn - a VERY fancy restaurant, even by Cape May standards ... it's certainly a bit on the pricy side, but I figured the 5-year anniversary was more than a good enough excuse for this. The food was excellent - I highly recommend the Lobster Tail, which is also mixed with lump crab meat ... I'm usually just a steak and hot wings kind of guy, but this was truly worth the price - and yes, it is the signature dish of the restaurant. Schue raved over her seafood medley which included scallops, shrimp, and clam cooked in some sort of bacon rizzoto sauce ... hey, anything with bacon can't be bad, right?

Though the weather was overcast, and drizzly, we had a great time (with the exception of the awful performance by Penn State). We then ventured to Atlantic City, staying at Bally's. Once again, we had a great time - we had some dinner at Pickles Deli (great food at a good price, even for Atlantic City standards).


By the way, can you guess what Pickles serves instead of bread?

Just a few things that really got to me.
* All of the old people who ride around in carts ... most of them are (A) really, really fat, or (b) just too lazy, and don't really need the carts. Still, they clog up the entire casino with them.
* The different "levels" of cards offered by the Harrah's Casino chain - we are on the bottom rung with the "gold" card - which means, they tend to send us free room offers for off days of the week. We still have to pay for parking, and we have to stand in a long line, while the "elite" gamblers with silver and platinum cards, get to come and go as they please. This REALLY bothered me whilst we waited to be seated at any and every place we ate in Atlantic City. I hate these cards ... unless, someday, I receive a silver or platinum card ... then, I think I'd love these cards ... yes, it is all about me.
* People who stand in the middle of a high-traffic walking area and hold a conversation ... guys, seriously, there's plenty of room on the side to talk ... stop being so self-emersed, and think about others for once in your lives. Oh yeah, and all those people who walk out in front of you like they're in a hurry, and then stop walking with no warning ... again - think of the others around you ... sheesh!

Other than that, I had a wonderful time, and look forward to spending many more anniversaries with my cutie!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mama Kat's assignment for this week got to one of my favorite topics to blog about - my top 10 absolute worst pet peeves. So, without further pause, and in no particular order ...

10. People who don't use turn signals! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! I know I'm smart, but I haven't developed that 6th or 7th sense in which I can read your mind and know exactly where you're going to turn ... seriously, how hard is it? Am I asking for too much?

9. Politics ... I'm so sick of both parties at this point. I get this feeling that you're both in the pockets of big corporations, and are never really looking out for the people who voted you in. Plus, you are all more concerned of the "party line" than actually doing something constructive for the country.

8. Reality television ... ENOUGH ALREADY! My wife recently informed me that she watches a show about a tanning salon ... seriously? How did this even get on the air? I almost threw up in my mouth at this realization.

7. Philadelphia FM radio - You wonder why people are listening to their IPods, Sirrius Satellite, or other technologies (my choice is the Slacker - look it up!). You spend all this money on trying to figure out what the most people will like that you pretty much end up not appealing to anybody because (a) the songs are overplayed, (b) your playlists are so small, and (c) the sound of the bands that you play all sound exactly the same. I hate you ... except for Preston and Steve.

6. The national media portraying Philadelphia fans as neandrethals (not sure if I spelled that right). Sure, there are a few fans who are moronic ... these are the same ones who were tipping over cars in Center City when the Phils won ... or those Eagles fans who dress up like its Halloween every weekend and try to pick fights with opposing team's fans. You are idiots and your devotion is so misguided. But, back to the national media - seriously, enough already with the snowballing of Santa Claus - that happened in the 1950's when the team was beyond awful ... get over it! It happens in EVERY major sports city. Why is it "devotion to your team" when it happens in New York or Chicago, but it's "those idioitic Philly fans" when it happens here?

5. Drivers who go really slow in the passing lane, combined with those drivers that don't even know they have a brake ... it's a recipe for disaster, and this is why many accidents happen. Show some respect to other drivers.

4. Restaurants that are either the name of a color I never heard of or the name of a number ... I'm pretty sure I won't like your food or your "ambiance."

3. Country music - I can't figure it out. How come so many people are listening to this now? I liked it a lot better when it was a niche sound, but now its mainstream, and it makes my ears bleed. The guitar twang ... the country music accent (not sure how else to describe it), the songs about losing your job, your woman, or your dog ... enough already!

2. NASCAR - I'll never understand it ... ever. I hate the fact that ESPN has a whole section dedicated to it during Sportscenter and even has NASCAR shows ... I hate that I have to seen these commercials during NFL football games ... the only NASCAR thing I liked was a NASCAR racing game I had for one of my gaming systems years ago ... THAT'S IT!

1. I absolutely hate this whole "politically correct" atmosphere that is drowning our society. The fact that stores are afraid to put up any decorations that say "Christmas" irks me to no end. The fact that people are afraid to say anything for fear of somebody like Al Sharpton coming out and calling them racist makes my blood boil. The pendulum has swung so far to the one side that you might get sued if you sneeze nowadays.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Political Thoughts ...

With the political season just about over (thankfully), here are some of my quick thoughts ...

* The amount of mailings I received in the past 3+ months roughly equals the weight of our moon. Seriously, I didn't read a single item ... I'm interested in knowing how many people actually did read some of these. Truthfully, it turned me off, big time ... unfortunately, both parties did it, so I couldn't "penalize" one party ... but, let me say that this is a ridiculous way to spend money ... as are most political "election strategies."

* Speaking of annoying, how about all of those recorded phone messages? Again - pissed me off ... again, both parties. Is there anybody out there who actually thinks this call was recorded exclusively for them ... or worse yet, that the call was a real call? Who came up with this idea anyway? Don't most people hate telemarketers? Isn't this a lot like that?

* I'll be very "sad" to see all of those signs up and down the highway, and on people's lawns go away. This year was worse than any I can remember. Why is that? Does anybody think that I'll be more likely to vote for one guy over another because I saw his sign on my neighbor's lawn, or in front of the 7-Eleven? A tremendous waste ... what a way to show how "pro-environment" you are ...

* Is every commercial now either a beer commercial, car commercial, or Obama/McCain commercial? These commercials portray each candidate as the devil, and if you vote for "candidate a," the United States will sink into the pits of hell. It hurts my stomach (like a bad hot dog) to even try and sit through these commercials.

Let me say that I'm happy it's coming to an end!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's Good to be a Philadelphian ... for once!!!!!




25 years ... 25 years of futility ... 25 years of futility for the four major sports franchises in Philadelphia ... all of that washed away this past week.

The Phillies lifted whatever curse that had blanketed itself on top of Billy Penn back in 1983, and, in a way, saved the city ... at least the sports fans of this city. But, in a way, I think this covers more than just sports fans in Philly ... this city NEEDED something like this ... a positive experience. We've had an ego problem for far too long ... and this does wonders for the confidence of a city that always seems to find a way to bungle something up.

When game 5 of the World Series got rained out in the 6th inning, I got this awful feeling ... this was a game we should've won, but for some reason, the gods wouldn't let it happen. In the long and illustrious history of the World Series, a game was never, ever suspended due to bad weather. If the Phillies lost that game, and ended up losing the World Series, I probably would've been convinced that this city was never going to win a championship again. Thankfully, not even mother nature could stop this march.

I was at a bar on Mac Dade Blvd to watch the final three innings of the game. Unlike most baseball games that go 9 innings, every pitch in this game counted ... every pitch in this game stressed me out ... And the best part was that I could get to sleep at a decent hour ... or so I thought. When Brad Lidge (Mr. Lights Out) threw that final pitch, he celebration spilled onto MacDade Blvd ... fans from all over the area either rushed out to the street, or drove up and down the street high fiving the fans. It seemed like everybody was there ... with the exception of that 800 pound gorilla that took the first train out of the area.

Hugging strangers ... watching streakers ... drinking beer on the side of a busy street next to a police officer ... not getting to sleep until well after midnight ... it was all worth it. Unfortunately, I never was able to make it to the parade ... which had an estimated 2 million frenzied fans in attendance ... I taped it, and I watched it, and yes, I had tears in my eyes ... but for once they weren't tears of misery. Congratulations, Phillies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekly Assignment

Mama Kat, you've probably opened up a pandora's box with your latest list of questions. The one that intrigued me most is - Describe a typical day during your Jr. High years. Some of my greatest stories (at least funniest) come from my high school years, fromthe trials and tribulations I had with my girlfriend freshman year to the New Years Eve party where I threw up all over myself ... there's a ton of outrageous stories ... but a normal day for me? Hmmmm...

Every morning, I would wake up to the smell of coffee and eggs ... that's right, most normal kids probably ate cereal or pop tarts before going to school ... for some reason, my mom would cook me eggs and make me coffee EVERY ... SINGLE ... DAY! I guess there's something to be said about breakfast (isn't it the most important meal of the day?), but eggs every morning is kind of ridiculous, isn't it?

I would then get ready "hygenically" ... you know, showering, brushing teeth, deoderant ... pretending to shave, put on some of my "cool" school clothes ... Well, as cool as I could get at least ... remember, my mom would somehow find sneakers for me at the grocery store ... BROWN SNEAKERS! Even with this seeming disadvantage, I would find cool clothes to wear ... or at least semi-cool.

Remember, at this point I was trying to impress the ladies ... the truth of the matter is that going through adolescence, it was hard (no pun intended) to concentrate on school work ... I would sit through class after class trying to pay attention to the teacher ... when in all reality, I was more interested in the girl 3 rows over playing with her gum ... or the girl 5 rows up brushing her hair ... you get the idea.

Lunch time couldn't get here quick enough ... I was long past the age of packing my own lunch ... which meant I was stuck with cafeteria food ... Junior year, our school came up with a wonderful (not healthy) idea - a cafeteria line that served nothing but cheeseburgers, cheese-steaks, and french fries ... a dream come true for me. No longer did I have to settle with school pizza, or hot dogs and baked beans, or god forbid, meatloaf!

The afternoon went by much like the morning did - let's see if I can impress the ladies with my awful humor ... Of course, in the afternoon, I had one eye on the clock ... couldn't wait for class to end ... in the fall, I was playing soccer, which was a good stress relief for me. When I wasn't playing sports for my high school, I was probably playing sports at home with my goofy friends - whether it was street hockey, bounce ball, or tackle football, we were always outside.

After dinner, I would spend about 30-45 seconds doing homework, so that I could focus on more important tasks, like playing video games ... at the time, it was Commodore 64 ... god, I miss trading copy disks and games with the other nerds in high school ... I probably had about 3,000 games for my Commodore ... I couldn't get enough ... I swore that this was the apex of gaming ... of course I was wrong.

After all this was over, I'd lay down, watch some tv, and then fall asleep ... preparing myself to do it all over again the next day ... why do I miss those days?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hollow-ween

As many of you know, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays ... from the time I was a little tyke dressed in a cheap Fred Flinstone smock soliciting neighbors/strangers for candy, I've had a "connection." Unfortunately, last year, I was unable to attend a Halloween party - I was busy watching Penn State get crushed by Ohio State in State College.

I was hoping to make up for it this year - my idea was to dress and act like Dwight Schrute (of Office fame). I had the short sleeves shirts ready - my mom ended up trying to salvage some of my work shirts (they had holes in them at the elbows - apparently I either have sharp elbows or skin like sandpaper).

At one point, we were considering having the Halloween party, but because we wanted to redo our basement, we couldn't host. A couple of other friends considered having said party, but for one reason or other, those plans fell through ... so for the second straight year, I won't be going to a Halloween party ... sigh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Odds and Ends

A little quiz for you:

1. Los has been far too busy doing which of the following this weekend?
A. Cleaning and priming his basement.
B. Cheering on his sports teams (Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, and Penn State).
C. Drinking too much whilst cheering on his sports teams.
D. All of the above.

If you guessed D, well, consider yourself (a) lucky, or (b) familiar with the man they call Los. Schue and I primed the basement Saturday, and after two coats of primer, it looks pretty darn good. We still have a little ways to go, but it's starting to come together. Next, up - painting, then framing - drywalling - spackling - sanding - priming - and painting the back area ... then, getting woodwork for the floors and ceiling, then building a bench/storage unit/entertainment "center" for the flatscreen (that we still haven't purchased) ... then, probably working on the ceiling and getting new lighting ... ugh - that's still a lot of work ... my head's starting to hurt again.

So, we Philadelphians usually don't have too much to cheer about when it comes to our sports teams, but that "could" possibly change ... well, maybe. The Phils have jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the World Series against the Rays, even though they really haven't played all that well. The last time the Phils were in the World Series, I was a senior in college ... and the last time they won a World Series, I was in 2nd grade ... yeah, it's been a while. I really have no idea how I'd react if they somehow found a way to win - I mean, I'm so used to sulking after watching my team(s) choke in a playoff or championship game ...

How 'bout them Nittany Lions? Big win last night against a really good Ohio State team in the big horseshoe ... JoePa's boys didn't quite show the offensive firepower that they displayed all seaons, but they did demonstrate a grittiness to overcome tremendous odds ... now, they're squarely in the title picture, and have to root for teams playing Texas and Alabama from week to week. I think if JoePa wins a national championship, he'll finally retire ... even if that "good-ol' boy" down in Florida State keeps coaching those Criminals ... er, I mean Seminoles.

Hey, even the Eagles won today ... sure, they looked as sloppy as they always do, but a win is a win ... and with all the other NFC East teams showing weaknesses, who knows what will happen.

The only downer at this point is that tomorrow is Monday ... sigh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weekly Assignment

Mama Kat got our assignment to us early ... isn't she great? Interesting set of choices this week - I decided to go with this one: 1.) Complete the sentence "I'd walk a mile for a ________." and continue writing about it.

I'd walk a mile for a $300 million dollar lottery ticket ... actually, I'd probably walk 100 miles for that one. It would seemingly make life so much easier, ESPECIALLY if no announcement was made that I actually won it. There are a lot of low lifes out there who prey on lottery winners ... it's sad, but true. Sure, they'll do some obvious and blatant things like stealing from you, or threatening your family for money ... but there are others who try to "sell" you on can't miss opportunities ... all of them missing like a Philadelphia team in a championship game (hey-yo). If I can avoid all of that, that would be sweet.

Obviously, I'd give some money to charity - probably the Leukemia Society (I worked there before), and maybe to Penn State (my alma mater), and of course my church ... I'd also share some of the money with friends and family ... after all, it wouldn't be much fun if those guys and gals weren't there to help me enjoy it.

I'd also make sure I'd invest the money so I could continue living the "extravagent" lifestyle ... you know, lots of video games and big screen tv's, maybe a virtual golf system ... you know, typical guy stuff! Again, I'd have to make sure the investment advice was smart.

One thing I'd make sure of - I would NOT spend uncontrollably like some of these other lottery winners you hear do - you know, the ones that find themselves broke 5 years after winning a big jackpot. Or, like those athletes who insist on having 7 Bentleys, and a Posse bigger than an NBA team ... ridiculous. I think I'm much more grounded than that.

Anyway, there I go daydreaming again ... sigh.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Fangled Thingy

In March 2006, the Associated Press reported that the plumbers union in Philadelphia had become upset because the developer of the city's newest skyscraper, Liberty Property Trust, has decided to use waterless urinals. Many in the union decided that because of the decision that this would lead to less work for them. The developer cited saving the city 1.6 million gallons (approx 6.06 million liters) of water per year as its deciding factor


Just this past week, my department moved into a new “green” building. This said building is supposed to save money on electricity, heat/air conditioning, waste, and water … a pretty nifty thing, methinks. Most of the structure (or at least the office cubes) was made out of recycled material … bigger windows are used to add more natural light in the building, and the roof has some sort of new insulation in it.

Additionally, the restrooms have controls on the faucets, as well, as some automatic controls on the toilets that help to conserve water. But, the thing that impressed/scared me the most was the waterless urinals that were installed in said restroom. I was amazed/concerned by this new (at least to me) technology, and how it works … after all, I really don’t want to smell somebody else’s urine while I’m releasing mine. Much to my surprise/relief, the urinal does do a terrific job of somehow eliminating/sucking down that pungent smell, and because I’m curious/nosey, I had to find out how this works … and where else can one find information on just about anything? You guessed it - I found it at Wikipedia.

So, here’s what I found out - these urinals (or advanced urinal technology) utilize a trap insert filled with a sealant liquid instead of water. The lighter-than-water sealant floats on top of the urine collected in the U-bend, preventing odors from being released into the air. Although the cartridge and sealant must be periodically replaced, the system saves anywhere between 15,000 and 45,000 gallons (approx. between 56,800 and 170,000 liters) of water per urinal per year.

Folks, that’s a lot of water … and if the technology works well (and is affordable), then I totally encourage it. This reminded me of a story about waterless urinals and the city of Philadelphia. And, of course, I have Wikipedia once again to back me up with this. According to Wikipedia, in March 2006, the Associated Press reported that the plumbers union in Philadelphia had become upset because the developer of the city's newest skyscraper, Liberty Property Trust, had decided to use waterless urinals. Many in the union decided that because of the decision that this would lead to less work for them. The developer cited saving the city 1.6 million gallons (approx 6.06 million liters) of water per year as its deciding factor.

Wikipedia stopped here, but from what I remember, the union required the building contractor to put in pipes, even though the building did not require them for the urinals … this is where unions step way beyond their intended purposes and cause problems … yes, I’m also speaking to you, Detroit. Seriously, if the owner of the building wants waterless urinals, AND it’s going to help with efficiency, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF PROGRESS!

But, I digress … hey, here’s the link to Wikipedia , and a picture of the urinal in case you are interested.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yep ... I'm sore.

Saturday was the day we began the excruciating process of putting drywall up in our basement.

* It is of vital importance to have friends who are handy.
* I am not one of those handy people.
* Drywall cutting creates a lot of dust.
* Putting drywall up is only one part of the project.
* I can't thank my friends enough for all their help this weekend.

When we complete the basement, I'll take some pictures - give you a before and after view of it.

Since I'm exhausted, I'll share this pic that my friend Yon sent me:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Homework ....

It's time for Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment ... I chose to blog about a time when I did something to get noticed ... this is actually a difficult one, because I'm always trying to do something to get noticed ... usually to no avail. With that said ...

This one time in high school (no, not band camp ... and no, not with a flute) ... actually, it was New Years Eve my senior year. I went to a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house ... well, more like an acquaintance ... but there were plenty of my friends there. I had drank on a couple of occasions previously, but never had a chance to drink on New Years Eve .... this was my opportunity ... and I wanted to make the most of it ... unfortunately, I got my wish.

I started off the night drinking some beer ... so far, so good ... but as luck would have it, the beer quickly ran out ... and we were stuck with vodka ... at this point in my life, I had pretty much stuck to beer ... and even more unfortunate ... I had never heard the "beer before liquor" phrase.

I started off by drinking vodka and orange juice ... heck, it's my mom's favorite drink ... then I switched to vodka and iced tea when the orange juice ran out ... and finally, I was tempted to drink vodka and milk, until some good samaritan stopped me.

I remember midnight, and I remember going downstairs to play pool ... I don't actually remember shooting pool ... which we apparently did for close to an hour ... and I certainly don't remember having a friend call my mom telling her I wouldn't be making it home that night ... and I REALLY don't remember throwing up all over myself, and the couch (probably a good thing).

Apparently, some people dragged me upstairs, threw me in the bathtub, and turned the water on ... some people at the party actually thought I might be dead ... thankfully, not the case. I learned a few valuable lessons that night ... first - beer before liquor, never sicker (check). Second, one must pace ones-self when one drinks liquor (check). Third, if you go out with the intention of getting drunk, you will succeed (oh hell yes).

Anyway, I guess I succeeded at getting noticed, as the stories spread through high school pretty quickly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

40?!?!?

Man, I'm getting old ... recently a couple of my closer friends turned 40.

First, Babs (check out her blog here) met her through my wife Schue, and even though she started off as Schue's close friend, she's now my close friend too. She's probably one of the funniest people I know, and can usually put me in a good move with one of her wild and wacky South Philly stories. She knows how to throw a great party, complete with fantastic food, and she's pretty darn good at walking on coals. She's also a rabid Philly sports fan (which of course will gtet you on my good side every time).

Second, Jeff, a good Penn State friend of mine recently turned the big 4-0 too. This guy has a good sports mind, and usually is able to help me see the glass as half full - especially with the Phillies and Penn State (I often have very critical things to say about both these franchises - he shows me the positive side). Of course, he's also been a very good drinking buddy - as was evidenced by the fantastic bus trip to the PSU vs. USC game in the Meadowlands a few years ago (let's just say we didn't make too many friends), or one of the many Penn State nights at the local bars (I'm so busy, I don't even have time to ...). Thanks inviting me to your get-together - I had a great time!

Thankfully, I still have "quite" a few years 'til I turn 40 ... well, at least a few years...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Commercial Campaigns that get on my Nerves

Some of you younger bloggers probably won't know what I'm blogging about in this post, so I apologize ahead of time. With that said, you should be able to get the gist.

In the 1980's, Bud Light had a series of commercials - basically, they all centered around somebody at a bar asking for a light beer. However, these people never specified on what kind of light beer. In fact, all they said was, "Gimme a light," which prompted the bartender to give the patron a variety of "lights." Here is an example of this (from Youtube).

Now, the first few commercials they did were rather amusing. Unfortunately, they went to the well far too often, and the commercials eventually became annoying. Budweiser has been guilty of squeezing these ad campaigns dry ever since - the annoying lizards is a great example.

Interestingly enough, other beer companies have been going to the well too often recently. Of course, they run these commercials during sporting events, so they grate at my nerves even more. Miller Lite is doing the "More Taste League" commercials for a second year, and every time I see them, I want to bang my head against a wall repeatedly to numb the pain. Seriously, when did beer drinking become part of a league? On second thought, don't answer that.

Coors Light is on board with this pain-inducing trend as well. However, those commercials with the NFL coaches in the press conferences weren't funny to begin with. They've done them so many times that I'm starting to wonder if they even want me to drink their beer.

Budweiser came up with a funny commercial right around the time of the Super Bowl in which a guy opens a beer bottle, and his dog all of the sudden talks ... but all he says is "sausages" over and over again, in a hysterical British accent. Of course, Budweiser got a lot of positive feedback on this, so they decided to overdo it (predictably), and unfortunately, the commercials have gotten progressively worse.

I'm not sure the point of this particular post - I guess it's just meant to diffuse my frustration with these commercials. The real question is, when do these companies decide on retiring these campaigns? Is there a way to speed this process up?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weekly Assignment

As many of you know, I've been doing Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment - this week, I chose to do a top 10 list of my biggest fears. So without further adieu ...

10. I'll be at a restaurant that only serves ham and split pea soup.
9. What life will be like when my parents die (sorry, had to throw a serious one in).
8. The drugs will wear off on my wife ...
7. TV sports will be fully replaced by reality television.
6. Country music will replace rock music on the radio.
5. My Philly sports teams will never win another championship in my lifetime.
4. Bees ... yes, bees.
3. That idiots (on both sides) will be running our countr ... oh wait, nevermind.
2. My local bar will run out of beer ...
1. Obviously, losing my job ... that would really suck.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What's the matter Colonel Sanders ... chicken?




I usually don't bother forwarding e-mails, because I've probably seen or heard of most of the "jokes" and "funny" topics going around. I hadn't seen this one before, so I figured I'd pass it along to you - thanks to my cousin, Drew, by the way for passing it along:

Why did the chicken cross the road?


BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN McCAIN: My friends - that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.


SARAH PALIN: The chicken had to cross the road because he was not able to find a bridge. Alaskans do not build bridges to nowhere. If he wanted a bridge, he'd have to build it himself.


HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.


DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.


BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.



NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.




DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.


ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.


JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?


COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?