A Twist Of Fate
March, 2009 Entries
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- Jose Flanders (The Simpsons™)

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(03/29/09 - 11:12 AM)
Welcome to freak ice and snowstorm Sunday!

What in the hell was THAT all about?

I knew it was coming, but the weather needs to make up its mind. Already we've had a string of years where spring begins to... well... spring, I suppose, only to have the buds and beginnings of flowers and plants die off and have to start all over. Translation: Spring takes alot longer, and the flora is to be enjoyed for a far shorter duration.

So, it's the end of March, and my deck is a skating rink, with a liberal coating of powdery snow.

(03/28/09 - 11:21 PM)
My brother called me today. Apparently, his sump pump has not been functioning - possibly for a few days. The reason? Why, it's on a G.F.I.! I assume this is code, but does anyone else see a problem with this?

For those of you out there who said, "What if the G.F.I. trips and there is a high amount of moisture in the outdoor or indoor environment." you hit the nail on the head. Here, have a Kewpie doll.

Why in the world code would dictate this is beyond me. Further, if it's not code, who's the moron who did this?

Suffice it to say, my brother has a half-inch of water in his basement. His carpet is saturated, there's wicking in the studding, and other things that ought not to be moist are soaked.

So, now he's got that to contend with. I tried to offer some suggestions, but he had already done all of them. One I offered was this: Put the sump pump on a heavy-duty extension cord and plug it into an outlet that is NOT on a G.F.I. circuit - code be damned.

(03/27/09 - 11:06 PM)
I had a bunch of good stories this week. Unfortunately, I didn't write any of them down either on a sticky note, or in my blog to prompt me later to elaborate. Suffice it to say that everyone will be missing out on the prior weeks antics in their entirety. Which sucks, because there were several good laughs, as well as a joke I made up that I can no longer remember.

This is why I write this stuff down. You ought to see my wallet. Most days, there's a sticky note on the inside flap. I also have one in my desk at work. This week, I kept thinking, "I'll get to it in a minute..." and then for some reason never managed.

Geez, I suck.

(03/26/09 - 11:09 PM)
I discovered two great new artists this week. Rachel Loy (who put out an album in 2005 and then disappeared from the face of the Earth) and Alice Peacock - who just put out what appears to be her fourth full-length album.

I am still astounded at all the music out there that I am unfamiliar with. Further, I am astounded how GOOD it is, specifically compared with what is played on top-40 radio. I fail to understand how THOSE artists get found, picked up, and subsequently played while brilliant artists who can not only sing, but also play and write commanding lyrics end up in the limbo of the unheard.

What gives?

I wish to heck I had a radio show. I would play nothing but songs that have never appeared on top-40 radio, and I can nearly guarantee that listenership would be far superior to what is being had today. I could blow minds left and right - over and over - with the stuff I've dug up in the twenty years that I've been collecting music.

Or, perhaps, the marketing giants understand something that I never will: Most of America is simple-minded, they fear variety, they enjoy being told what they will like, and are happy to accept it so that they do not have to think. This is probably a fairly accurate statement.

So to anyone reading this I say: Expand your horizons! Listen to artists that you've never heard of. Seek out new things. For every one you find that blows you away, there will probably be ten or twenty that don't do it for you - and that's OKAY. The fun is in the finding - and once you hit on a gem, it makes the whole search entirely worthwhile.

(03/25/09 - 11:12 PM)
Something funny probably should be here. I didn't write it down, though, so you get this instead. Enjoy!

(03/24/09 - 10:08 PM)
Every day, I get on Amazon.com to see what their special MP3 download deal of the day is. Today, featured the new Hannah Montana Soundtrack (they can't all be good CD's).

This new soundtrack boasted one review, which I would like to share with you. For your amusement, I have cut and pasted it here - as it appears online, and in its entirety. It read as follows:

***** "Coolest Soundtrack"
"every song is a inspiration of how the modern coming of age. packed with all-star singers of country music. a must hit"

Wow! Who wouldn't be swayed by such an introspective review! I myself could hardly stop from pressing the "Buy MP3 Album Now" button on my browser.

To begin with, here are the "All-Star Singers of Country Music" that the CD was "packed with":

  • Taylor Swift
  • Mylie Cyrus
  • Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Rascal Flatts

Wow! I couldn't hand-pick a better bunch of Country All-Stars if I threw a handful of darts at a live giraffe on the third Tuesday of Ramadan in the middle of the night backwards while standing on my head and... well, you get the point.

To be fair, I hope to God that this was written by a child (albeit one who has clearly been brainwashed by the pablum-factory known as The Walt Disney Corporation and has no notion of what a collection of 'Country Music all-star singers' truly looks like.)

I just have one question: Where the hell are The Jonas Brothers?

(03/23/09 - 10:32 PM)
A skeleton walks into a bar, and sits down.

The bartender comes over, and asks, "What'll you have pal?"

The skeleton answers, "Get me a beer, and a mop."

(03/22/09 - 9:47 AM)
Thank God I had most of these entries ready last night. My cat took a 2-megaton dump in the catbox down here, and now it smells like a paper mill. The smell is so overpowering that I am currently fanning my nose so as not to breathe in any of the residual solids that most assuredly are airborne at this very moment.

What I don't get is that he eats essentially the same thing all the time. How can he make something so simple so stinky?


(03/21/09 - 10:07 PM)
My wife and I finished "Full Metal Panic?: Fumoffu" tonight, and were pleasantly surprised. The series is a second installment in the "Full Metal Panic!" series, but is staged as a comedy revolving around the characters from the original series, rather than a continuation of the quasi-dramatic series with all the fighting and angst.

Unbelievably, this was a good thing. How in the world the same writers pulled off this transition is almost incomprehensible. Yet they did so, and it made for a series that was actually enjoyable. It wasn't too long, and it wasn't too campy. It was just well-written and funny.

If you enjoyed series such as "Excell Saga" or "Rune Soldier", then this one should be right up your alley (especially with the cuddly mouse-like Bunta-kun war suits.)

I would, however, recommend that you watch the original series first, so that you have some semblance of who the characters are. I would wager that it would be a lot less enjoyable (as well as a lot less comprehensible) to watch without having done so.

(03/20/09 - 4:32 PM)
I had thought that I had heard it all. From 'I slept for 54 hours after taking NyQuil' to 'My dog crawled up into my bed, and then threw up on my lap' to 'I can't find my car' (all true, by the way.)

Over the years, I have heard so many different and creative excuses for not coming to work that it would boggle your mind. Today I received what was - by far - the best one to date.

My lathe operator called in. He's a super nice, honest and easy-going guy who I like a great deal. He let me know the following:

"I went to pick my car up from my mechanic. He had left the keys under the floor mat, so I could get it first thing this morning. When I got there, my car was gone. I was then informed that it had been stolen, and then recovered. The problem is that it was used in a drive-by shooting, so the police are holding it as evidence in impound, and I have to meet with a detective for questioning at 11:30 this morning."

Dude. While I have to say that totally sucks, I also have to say that that is - without question - the single best and most acceptable excuse for not arriving for work that I have ever heard - bar none.

(03/19/09 - 11:15 PM)
Did anyone else hear something about a tiger's head found in a box on the side of the road in McHenry county? Apparently, the woman who found it put it in her car, went grocery shopping, and then called the cops.

Is this for real?

(03/18/09 - 11:12 PM)
One of my mill operators came in the door after lunch today. He clocked in, and as he was getting some coffee before heading back to his machine he said, "Welp. I just saw the first sign of spring. It's officially here."

Alright, I was curious, so I bit, "That being?" I inquired.

"I just saw three guys walking into a pawn shop with space heaters."

I actually thought he was serious, but it turns out he was just making a joke. Either way, I laughed pretty hard.

(03/17/09 - 11:23 PM)
Here's a true news story that I heard about today:

A mother was angry at her daughters' teachers for constantly mispronouncing her name. Her classmates as well, it seemed, had a tough time with it.

Eventually, she took it upon herself to write a letter to the school board asking for their help in making certain that the matter was cleared up.

Her daughters name? Le'a.

Go ahead and give it a few rounds in the old oral cavity. Try it. I promise you that you still won't get it right, but exhaust your options to your hearts' content as you sit staring at your screen, wondering all the while where this story will end.

Had enough? Ready to go on? Let's continue then...

The mother wrote in the letter (and I'm quoting, here):

"Her name is Ledasha... the dash don't be silent."

I will personally volunteer funds to have this woman spayed.

(03/16/09 - 11:13 PM)
Today is a rare day. Today, I thought of something funny. But I was not finished. Oh no, no, no. No, I found a way to make the same joke funny TWO different ways.

Ladles and jellyspoons, I offer you my very first ambi-dextrous joke. It goes thus-wise:

An elderly gentleman with rather questionable taste in sexual preferences showed up at his auto mechanics' shop early one Monday morning. With him, he had a she-male. Said she-male was also getting on in years, and had a very large wet spot in his/her groin area.

As the elderly gentleman approached his mechanic, the mechanic asked, "When can I do for you today?" as he curiously eyed the incontinent she-male.

"Welp," said the gentleman, "I'm here to see you. My tranny has a leak, so naturally I thought you could fix it."

Alright, alright. It's awful. I know. But this one's much worse. Here's the second version:

An elderly gentleman with rather questionable taste in sexual preferences showed up at his auto mechanics' shop early one Monday morning. With him, he had a she-male. Said she-male was also getting on in years, and seemed a little out of sorts.

As the elderly gentleman approached his mechanic, the mechanic asked, "When can I do for you today?" as he curiously eyed the dazed she-male.

"Welp," said the gentleman, "I'm here to see you. I don't know anyone else who's handy, and everyone in my family doesn't approve of my particular appetites. This here's Kim, and I was wondering if you could take a look under the hood and figure out what's wrong with him or her."

The mechanic realized that the man was serious, and having nothing better to do at the moment agreed to help the gentleman.

He took the she-male in the back, and emerged twenty minutes later with a large vegetable in his hand, resembling an oversized onion.

"Yep. Here's your problem. I found a leek in your tranny."

Alright, I'm done now - I promise. =P

(03/15/09 - 10:09 AM)
I was outside having a second go round at the remaining items in the fire pit yesterday afternoon (man make fire - again), when my neighbor hollered my name, and proceeded to come on over to speak with me.

The reason? She wanted to let me know that in the very near term, she and her husband were going to take, "...that awful tree in their front yard down."

Normally, I wouldn't mind. But here's the rub:

It's a phenomenal tree, the likes of which I have never seen before (and having spent a goodly portion of my childhood weekends around trees and men with Pabst Blue Ribbon who take them apart for firewood, as well as having my first job in a woodworking shop, I know a little something about tree disassembly and identification). It's a weeping something-or-another - and it's gorgeous. It's just gotten to the point where it's a respectable size, and it's great for a little shade on my front lawn. I actually felt sick thinking about killing it.

Then it got worse, when she said, "I think we're going to put a nice blue spruce there. Won't that be better?"

Normally, I would not hesitate to tell the truth, and damn the consequences. With the public, I could usually care less what they think of me, and these neighbors aren't any friends of mine. But I don't DISLIKE the woman, either. Her husband is a total redneck who I wouldn't really miss (a-la Earl-who-had-to-die), but she's at least tolerable and friendly.

So, I lied. Actually, I told the whole truth about loving the tree. But then I also said that it would be a change, and as long as she was happy that that was all that counted.

I couldn't figure out why she was telling me this. Suddenly it clicked, and right then she said, "I'm not sure how we're going to take it down. I suppose we could fall it into the street..."

And... SCENE!


I realized a moment too late why she was telling me this, and what she was hoping I would have grasped only moments before - they needed to take the tree down - and there was only one easy place to do so: right-smack in my front yard.

Sure - why the hell not?

So, now I'm committed to helping destroy a perfectly amazing tree. I'm committed to burning brush, hauling wood and allowing the arboreal murder scene to play out on my property.

This is why people live in the country.

(03/14/09 - 11:36 AM)
Fired up the PC to rip DVD's to iTunes yet again, drank some iced coffee and went outside to clean up the land-loving flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated in my yard over the past few winter months (Thanks asshole neighbors! No problem! I'll just clean your shit up for you!)

Then, I cut back all the plants and flowers from last year to allow the new crop to see the light of day, except for the vampire lillies - we don't talk about those. Don't think about them either - they can hear your thoughts!

I started a fire (man make fire, ugh) and burned the whole mess, along with some newspaper and cardboard I had lying around. The firepit is getting precariously close to needing another cleaning out (now would be a good time, actually, but it's too wet just yet), so there's another weekend project waiting.

I was glad the sun was out, and the wind was down - for a while. About twenty minutes in, however, I was sweating bullets and wishing it were just a tad colder. Walking up and down the berm in the back was more tedious than I remembered, although that could be the result of several months of lethargy, coupled with the weight gain that I experienced from my hypertension medication. That's it in a nutshell, actually.

Nevertheless, I persevered until the project was finished, and the fire had dwindled to but a mere slip of its former glory.

Now, I just need a nap.

(03/13/09 - 11:02 PM)
Went and bought groceries at the Woodman's in Wisconsin. Turns out that it's not all that far from my house IF you know the proper way to go. After consulting with two of my co-workers, I learned this secret way and I was off.

I was out of work just before 1:30 today, so I had ample time to get things done. The beauty of shopping at the location in Wisconsin versus the one in Illinois is that one has sales tax on groceries (Illinois) and one does not (Wisconsin). Guess where I'm going from now on?

Then, I came home and took my other lawnmower in to be maintained for the year, and picked up the one I had dropped off the week prior.

While I was gearing up for the next thing, my brother called. We talked for a half-hour and just caught up.

A few minutes after I hung up with him, my wifes' cousin called to let us know that he had successfully completed his procreation cycle, and that the new familial spawn was mostly healthy.

He then went on to tell me the story of his newborn son's first moments in this world. Apparently, as soon as he got off the waterslide, he began his very first fecal emission. And it was a deusy. He sprayed poop all over his Mom and the Doctor just before he could hand him over to her.

Mike (Wanda's cousin) even went on to say that his Mother had taken a picture of him laughing himself silly, next to his girlfriend who was covered in poo and effecting a poop-defensive posture with her hands.

I could see it in my head - and it was funny, so long as you weren't the Mom. Then, not so much.

Apparently, the baby liked the first stool ejection so much that he decided to go for round two as they were weighing him on the scale - with similar results. Only this time, Mom was spared the stinky assault.

How can you not love a story like that?

After that, I went on with my day. I cleaned weird things (or 'Project Cleaning' as I like to call it) until Wanda got home. Then we hung out, had dinner, and watched "Superbad". The movie reminded me very much of "Clerks", but written from a perspective about four years prior to that of the protagonists in that film (it dawned on me why the film felt familiar about fifteen minutes in - the dialogue was eerily similar, as were the character sets.)

Believe it or not, I actually liked the movie, and would probably watch it again. Like "Clerks", I could have done without all the gratuitous profanity, but once you get by that, it's a solid film.

(03/12/09 - 11:12 PM)
We were watching television tonight, and something hilarious happened - by accident.

One of those CapitalOne commercials came on. At the end, there was a little kid in a high-chair with spaghetti on his head (I don't recall why, exactly). He went on to say the inevitable line: "What's in your wallet".

He had no sooner gotten out the last syllable of his statement when the commercial transitioned a few seconds prematurely into - and I cannot make this up - a Trojan commercial.

I almost peed myself laughing, and my wife didn't breathe for a full minute.

How friggin' hilarious is that? Thank God it was in the DVR, so we could rewind it a few times.

(03/11/09 - 11:21 PM)
I was listening to the song "Tough Enough" by The Fabulous Thunderbirds the other day, when this lyric struck me:

"I would work 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, just so I could come on home and kiss your cheek."

Which, in my mind, begs the question: 'When the hell do you plan on being at home, moron?'

(03/10/09 - 11:18 PM)
A guy at work told me a story today. A buddy of his had a young daughter. One day, she decided it might be fun to go through Daddy's wallet. She did so, and found something interesting to her. She took it, and went to find her Father. Dad was with Mom in the dining room. Daughter holds up a bright, shiny, foil-wrapped square about one and one-half inches square with a torus-shaped item vacuum sealed within.

"Look what I found, Daddy! What is it?"

Mom proceeds to retain her composure, as Dad waffles. The problem? Mom had had her tubes tied after the last pregnancy (the result of which was now standing before them with the condom that she had absconded with from Daddy's wallet in hand - bright-eyed and curious.)

Fate is a fickle thing sometimes.

(03/09/09 - 11:05 PM)

Tiny Monkeys!
Tiny Monkeys!

(03/08/09 - 10:03 AM - Er, Make That 11:03 AM)
Greetings, all! It is I - Plinky the House Elf!

Mistress Wanda awoke this morning, and as per usual took her time in booting up her physical systems. Did I say that right?

At any rate, she suddenly exploded from the bed in a panic. Master Heath was in the bathroom practicing what he calls 'Toilet Archery', so he failed to bear witness to the entire occurance.

I inquired with the Mistress what was the matter, and all she did was scream at me 'Daylight Savings! Daylight Savings!' Which puzzled me a great deal.

Within minutes, she was out the door like a Pyraflez from a Gormlat shrub. I went to inquire about what Mistress Wanda had screamed with Master Heath, but when I got close to the bathroom door and whiffed the malodorous emanations, I knew that I should probably just research the matter on my own.

So, I went downstairs to this contraption, and began my search.

This, dear readers, is what I discovered:

First, I learned in the right-hand column that I could shop for Daylight Savings Time now on e-Bay! When I clicked that link, however, I found that no one was selling it at the moment. Which makes me confused as to why they would tell me that I could buy something if no one is selling it. I will have to research commerce further in the near future.

After hitting this apparent dead-end, I went on, undeterred. As did Master Heath, who was now making grunting noises like a Hezfreb prior to mating.

Apparently, the hundred-dollar bill guy thought up the concept of Daylight Savings time after unsuccessfully petitioning for the Turkey to be the national bird. After this devestating rejection, he got back on his horse, as you humans say (though I could find no mention of the name of the horse, nor its breed) and decided to persue this new course of action.

Next, I learned that there is an entire crusade devoted to correcting the misnomer of 'Daylight SavingS Time' to its correct form of 'Daylight Saving Time', because apparently people in California need to feel that Participle justice has been duly served.

I came upon this interesting 'Museum Exhibit' without physical form - or a museum (good grief you humans have such strange ideas about things) that was somewhat helpful and informative.

Here is what I learned, in a compartmentalized form:

Some states follow daylight savings, while others do not. Some states elect to make their own rules. Countries do likewise. Alcaholics are worried about when, specifically, they have to stop drinking, because the time change apparently coincides with standard bar closing times. My supposition is that, when drinking, minutes are inherently critical to the end result.

Smoke detectors should be checked when changing your clocks. I guess this is because they're both round? I'm not entirely clear on this point, but if this were the case one would assume that individuals would also wish to check on certain brands of waffles, toilet seats, mirrors, and any other number of household items.

At this point, the rain turned into a mild thunderstorm, and the satellite dish that the InterWebNet-Kajiggie enters the house on stopped functioning properly. Perhaps, because it's round! Egads!

So, I will paraphrase the rest from what I recall of the article:

Jimmy Carter enacted daylight savings time because he liked peanuts, and wanted farmers to get their peanuts to the peanut distribution plant during the day so they could go home and watch Monday Night Football.

Some Swiss guys who make watches, as well as something called 'The Greenwich Mean-Time Committee' also decided to get involved. One because they like for people to be confused as to what time it is, so that they will purchase more timepieces, while the other one is just - as its name states - Mean.

In conclusion, I can only surmise that Mistress Wanda was concerned that she had missed her opportunity to check her smoke detectors, and was therefore so distrought that she felt the need to flee the potentially unsafe house in great haste to save her own life.

And speaking of that, Master Heath has just finished his 'Archery Practice'. As such, I will now be exiting the house as... >cough cough<... well because the... >COUGH COUGH<... stench is... >GAG<... overwhelming... dear Readers... help... me... >THUD<...

(03/07/09 - 10:06 PM)
My Dad had mentioned to me recently that he had some bitchin' new caulk removal and application tools. He also mentioned that if I ever had a need for them, I was welcome to borrow them.

I was astonished to find that, three weeks later, I actually did need them. My wife noticed that the caulk between our bathtub and the linoleum was toast, and after taking a peek I more than agreed with her assessment.

So, I called up Dad, and took him up on his offer.

I gotta tell you - these tools worked amazingly well, and were elegant in their simplicity. So much so, that I actually plan to buy a set the next time that I'm out and about. They're that keen.

So, I caulked. With free caulk - also compliments of my Dad and his leftover stash from when he did his bathrooms.

Total cost for Saturday home renovations: $0.00. Woo-hoo!

(03/06/09 - 4:42 PM)
In what has become something of a lone, Friday ritual, I once more went to the local-est groceteria to pick up a few necessities for the upcoming week. Alright, and I might have been killing a little time in a somewhat more meaningful way as well. I just need to FEEL like I'm doing something constructive, so shopping for groceries seems a likely candidate.


So, I see that the lines today are far better than they were the week prior. Not only that, but my co-worker's wife's line is surprisingly short. I elect to get in her line to say a quick hello, and to also be assured of quality checking and bagging.

As I'm waiting in her line, the Queen of the Register Domain (a.k.a. - the Lead Cashier) walks up to me and states that I may use the Express Lane, as there is currently one open.

I'm a bit stunned. With 30 items, and the lines all 2+ people long, how can an Express Lane be open? Nevertheless, I make the lateral move, because she's not leaving (apparently) until I acknowledge her request/demand via personal ambulatory motion.

I hesitantly comply. As I make my way to the open register, I am struck by fear and concern all at once. For there, manning (can you say that if it's a woman?) the register is none other than my good friend from last week.

Oh joy!

I press on. I approach, and begin to un-cart my grocery selections. As I approached, the cashier's eyes were firmly locked across the aisle upon a little girl of no more than three, who was screaming because her mother would not let her have a candy bar immediately.

To be fair, she was adorable. But she was still screaming.

So, without a greeting from the cashier - without even a look to acknowledge my existance, I press on. The counter eventually fills up, so I begin manipulating my purchases to fit more - because the cashier has still not acknowledged me, nor has she taken her eyes off the angst-ridden child. All the while, in fact, the cashier has been muttering under her breath at the child - even though I can barely make out anything audibly identifiable. Things like, "No, no. Don't cry. Don't cry.", etc.

Alright. So I've now unloaded 30+ items on a non-belted, Express Lane, half-counter. I now begin waiting as the child finally gets her way and the candy bar quickly succumbs to the formerly wailing mouth.

This makes my cashier smile and mumble some more.

Alright. I'm done.

"Excuse me?" I reply to her muttering, knowing full-well that she's not even on the same planet as me and - therefore - is most certainly NOT speaking to me.

Without taking her eyes off the child, she says in reply, "I was talking to the little girl." Then, "That's better, isn't it honey?"

I resist the urge to grab her by the scruff of the shirt and bitch-slap her. Instead, I bite my tongue, and once more begin manipulating my groceries on the full counter, electing to move around the tallest, loudest thing in my repertoire of groceries - a pair of large bags of baked corn chips.

Slowly, she turns, and seems to snap out of a cuteness-induced, grandmotherly coma to momentarily acknowledge my presence in earnest. "How are you today?"

I'm friggin' pissed, is how I am. I could have rung up, bagged, and carted out my groceries in the time she spent agog at a wailing toddler. Instead, I simply mutter, "Fine."

But she's not done with the toddler, apparently. As she begins to ring me up with all the impetus of a hibernating bear on quaaludes, her gaze once more glances longingly across the aisle at the momentarily satiated toddler.

Suffice it to say that it's not impossible to check and bag while not really paying attention to what one is doing - it just takes exponentially longer.

But, hey - she's got nowhere else to be. So what does it matter to her?

I am still dumbfounded at the ways people seem to be able to find to be rude. This is so unprofessional, so inexcusable, that I cannot but wonder how in the world she cannot know that what she's doing is actually WRONG.

I just don't get it. Thank God she's not a pizza delivery driver - or a triage nurse.

After the grocery store, I decided to take in my lawnmower for its' annual servicing, followed by a trip to the oil change hut.

There, I met a man who was about sixty. He walked in, and said to no one in particular (it was just he and I in the waiting area), "Oh. They got rid of the television."

I chose to respond, "Yes. I think it's probably for the best. Usually it was too loud, scrambled and fuzzy, and was playing an infomercial. That's why I brought my own."

At this, I held up the iPod that I was listening to.

"That thing's got TV on it too?" he inquired.

"Well, no. But it does have movies, television shows, podcasts, music, etc. So it's a failry solid equivalent, if not more so."

He asked about the music, and I let him know that it held a ton - that, in fact, I currently had 23,000 songs in there, along with some movies and television - and there was still room for more.

He went on to marvel at how far technology has come. Then he asked if I had any Jazz - good Jazz - in there.

I think he expected me to say no. "Well," I said, "I've got some Charlie Parker, some Holly Cole, Etta James, Maxine Sullivan, and the like."

I could see he wasn't quite ready for this answer. This prompted another question, "Any good saxaphone jazz?"

I had apparently gone from Metallica-slut middle-ager to reference material for good Jazz Sax albums. I had apparently passed the first test.

"No," I responded, "I'm not particularly fond of the saxaphone, truth be told."

He seemed to revert to his previously guarded state, and as we got to talking, the subject of genres came up. This got his attention.

"Oh yeah?" he asked, in a manner that said, "Okay kid, I'll call your bluff."

"Yep", I pressed on, "I've got alot of Big Bands, as well as vocalists." At this, I rattled off a few names.

His face brightened. "What about the Dorsey's?"

I could field this one as well, "Well, I do have some Tommy, but no Jimmy. He was the lesser of the two orchestra leaders, as I recall, and didn't make the same impact as his brother. I do have some Kay Kaiser, though. I like him quite a bit, actually."

"I never cared for him," was his reply.

"Well," I said, "I don't care for him singing, but Ginny Simms has a great voice. The other fellow who sings with him - I can't recall his name - he's okay, but I could do without him. The only other band member whose name I remember is Ish Kabibble. And I only remember that because his name is insane."

I had clearly hit a synapse on that one. "Man, I haven't heard that name in over thirty years. And I think it was Dick Haymes who sang with him."

"I'm not sure," I said, "But I do have one duet with He and Helen Forrest."

All in all, it was an interesting conversation. I think he was surprised to find someone who could discuss the topic with him, and it helped to pass the time for both of us.

As I went to leave, I said goodbye, and using his first name (the clerk had said it just after I arrive) I told him it was nice meeting him.

"You too. God bless you, young man."

I can honestly say that I have never been more happy to hold a conversation with a stranger.

(03/05/09 - 11:12 PM)
I've been watching my share of police chase shows lately (I'll get bored with them in a week or so, but my appetite for knowledge on most levels is insatiable, and covers every topic sooner or later), and I kind of get pissed - alot, actually.

The reason? Criminals who run from the cops or, worse, assault - physically or with a weapon - the officer in question.

Why am I pissed? I'm so glad that you asked!

I'm pissed because these knuckleheads get sentences that I just cannot fathom.

I watched a guy shoot a cop - twice - after a high-speed chase. He then ran, and left the cop for dead. The cop shouldn't have survived, but - miraculously - he pulled through (good for you dude.)

So, is this guy in prison for life? After committing his initial crime, the high-speed chase, the failure to respond accordingly to the officers' commands followed by the shooting of the officer?

Why, no! Instead, he's got fifteen years with the possibility of parole, and will be out for certain when he's forty-two, so long as he minds his p's and q's while in the joint.

What the hell is wrong with the world we live in? No wonder criminals aren't deterred.

Here's where I'm at: If you run from the cops, endangering not only yourself but the officer, and any other member of the public that you blow by or run into or over, you go to jail for life.

If you assault a cop - physically or otherwise - you get a mandatory 20 years to start. If a weapon is involved, you get life without parole.

Now, I know some of you out there are immediately thinking, "But what about such and such circumstance!"

My answer is glib: If you cannot control yourself in public, to that degree, then you do not belong in public. If you run from the cops, you go to jail - for life. If you assault with a weapon - or worse, kill - a cop, you go for life. Because if your regard for social order has degraded to that point, then why in the hell should we bother with you?

Screw you - you're done.

Yes, it's oversimplified. But I'm tired of watching cops get shot, stabbed, beaten, run over, etc. only to have the perpatrators serve what I cannot consider a meaningful sentence for committing such a heinous crime.

Someday, God willing, I'll enter public office - and maybe then I can force my ideas (popular and otherwise) down some peoples' throats who can actually fix this situation. I'd be happy to run on a radical platform such as that. I probably wouldn't last long, but if I can't be myself, then it doesn't really matter anyway. And maybe - just maybe - the public would agree with me. How cool would that be?

(03/04/09 - 11:03 PM)
I was perusing the home valuation assessment that was provided to me by my banker at our recent re-financing closing (can I get a ya-hoo for 4.5%?) There was no real reason to read this nightmare, but for whatever reason I had a strong urge to at the very least skim it.

Most of it was obvious. Carpets suck. Flooring is standard. All the upgrades were mentioned, and my home was rated average by comparison to others in the neighborhood on most levels. Great. No surprises here.

Then, embedded in the summary paragraph, I found this little gem:

"Home is in average condition, with an immediate need for modernization."


Modernization HOW, exactly? We've painted everything, changed all the electrical fittings and fixtures (as well as adding a ton), changed the passage sets, added new doors, a deck, plumbing upgrades, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, a water softener, a humidifier and humidistat, and on and on and on.

So, I still ask - modernized HOW?


(03/03/09 - 11:16 PM)
My wife and I watched the third Ghost In The Shell movie, "Solid State Society", and were left wondering what it was that we had just viewed.

It was a disappointment, to say the least. And while the series was amazing, this just felt like a last-ditch effort to tack something on to the coat-tails of something already made amazing. Gone was the sense of action, vitality, and emotional sympathy/empathy with the characters. Instead, the plot was confusing; the characters seemed to be going through the motions; and there was no real sense of connection as was found in prior iterations of the series.

There was also a glaring lack of Tachikomas, being usurped by the less familiar Uchikomas until nearly the very end of the film.

On the whole, I almost wish they had not made this film. I would rather have remembered the series in a more perfect light, instead of having this shadow cast upon its' memory.

Oh well. It's too late now for me.

(03/02/09 - 11:22 PM)
I know this might sound difficult to believe, but I've been distracted of late from reading. You may have noted a complete lack of book reviews here in the past few months. This was unintentional, but as I was not reading anything, it made it hard to discuss my findings.

All of this is about to change. I have on order the newest books from Tim Dorsey, Lisa Lutz and Bob Morris. These will be followed by Barry Eisler, Lincoln Child and Carl Hiaasen.

So get ready for the next wave of book reviews, because I plan on reading again just as soon as one of these fellas arrives (I order signed first editions, and they take a little longer to get my hands on - otherwise, I would have been reading them upon release.)

I actually hope they arrive in a certain order, but I know they'll all be good.

(03/01/09 - 11:06 AM)
Finished the "Chrono Crusade" anime series, and was pleasantly surprised.

What I thought would be one sort of series, turned out to be an entirely different one. Japan's take on Christianity is at times humorous, and at other times prescient. What was unique about this series was the perfect blend of action, story, visuals, humor, and character balance.

While certainly not the best series I have seen, I will say that it was one of the most balanced. It's the sort of series that will become somewhat forgettable - but while you're watching it, you don't seem to notice the time slipping by. And I know I'll remember the bad-ass nuns. That was just cool.

I could probably recommend this one, if you've seen all the heavy-hitters already and are looking for something that's just beneath the a-list.

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