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:

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:

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


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 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.