Dec 24, 2010

Merry and Happy

Christmas, New Year's, Holidays...whatever.

Seems like everyone else is taking some time off blogging for the holidays, so I figured I might as well join them.  You may see something here over the next week and a half.  Then again you may not.  But that's what makes it so exciting, right?

No?  Crap.

Go do it to it, people!

Bad Santa...bad!

I am I

I couldn't even stay away one day.  See what happens?

This is actually a post about a project I've become minimally attached to.  Simon Helberg, who plays Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory is married to a lovely woman named Jocelyn Towne.  She is trying to gather funds through a site called Kickstarter to make her movie called "I Am I".  You can read all about it here.

So I jumped in.  I'm also trying to get her to have her husband take a picture with a screen-shot of our boy Wolowitz for a little Wolowitz-on-Wolowtiz action.  Dunno if that is gonna happen, but they seem pretty cool about doing stuff for the cause.

Check out the video and decide if you want to back their project.  And Merry Christmas...again!

Dec 22, 2010

John Hawkes

This past weekend, Gia and I watched Winter's Bone.  And I would have to say that it was by far the best movie that I have seen in a long while, and probably the best movie I've seen in 2010.  Award season is coming up and it has already been nominated for a ton of awards, winning a few already.  Among them would be Best Supporting Actor for the feller up there, John Hawkes.

I'm sure you've seen him in films before.  He's been a character actor for a long time now.  From the liquor store clerk in From Dusk Till Dawn, to the funny Bugsy in The Perfect Storm, to his brief work on Lost as the bespectacled Lennon in the final season.  He's been around.  One of those "that guy" actors.  You've seen him, but you never really knew who he was.  I think that's all gonna change come Oscar time.  If he doesn't win, which would be a shame, he should at least get nominated.

Having seen him play degenerates and funny men over the year, I never thought I'd ever see him play dangerous.  Which is exactly what he is in Winter's Bone.  And yet that danger turns to compassion at one point...he's a very complex character.  Or maybe the character himself isn't complex, it's just Hawkes' portrayal that makes it so.  He is an absolute treasure in this film, and everyone needs to know about it.

The film is about a young woman living in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.  Taking care of her two younger siblings and her damaged mother while her father is on the run from the law stemming from a charge of cooking meth.  Eking out a bare existence, she depends on welfare and the kindness of her neighbors just to feed her family.  Circumstances arise where she needs to find her father or suffer the consequences of losing what little her family has left.  This bare and harsh film turns into a mystery at that point, as she struggles within her own particular extended familial society to find her father.

I don't really mean to single out Hawkes as the only breakthrough performance in the film. The young woman who largely carries the film is named Jennifer Lawrence, and she is amazing as well.  Her character is one of those rare celluloid heroes that come along every once in a while.  Someone who you will remember for a long time.  She deserves every accolade that she has or will receive for her acting in this film. 

As does the rest of the cast, including Garret Dillahunt, Shelley Waggener, Lauren Sweetser, Dale Dickey (she was the daytime whore on My Name is Earl!!!), Sheryl Lee and a whole bunch of largely unknown or first-time actors.  There is the small but important role played by a guy named William White.  I watched the extras on the Blu-Ray and I found out that this was his first movie, and he seemed genuinely touched that it was a life-changing experience for him. You have a feeling that a lot of actors in the smaller roles are just folks who are living on the edges of the life that this film portrays.

I loved this movie.  And John Hawkes was simply amazing in it every time he appeared on screen.  Check him and it out.

Dec 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

I'm thinking about staying up to see the lunar eclipse tonight.  First one on a solstice in just about forever.

It starts here on the East Coast around 1:32AM and will reach totality between 2:40AM and 3:50AM.  But it's real fucking cold out tonight.  And that's smack-dab in the middle of dream-time.  I dunno.

There probably will be some pretty good pictures of it on the Internet tomorrow, right?


Happy first day of Winter everyone!

Dec 20, 2010

Beer Review: Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

Last week, I had the opportunity to try one of the greatest American India Pale Ales on the market in three different formats.  Bottle, keg and cask.  I'll explain the difference on those last two in a moment.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company began in the mid-1990's on a vineyard in Santa Barbara, California before purchasing an old brewery in Paso Robles.  Their Union Jack is an India Pale Ale, which is basically a hopped-up version of a classic British Pale Ale.  Back in the day, those wacky Brits would add more hops to their beers to survive the trip to India and the Far East.  Because hops act as a type of preservative, ya see.  The resulting brew is bitter and has a complex fruit aroma that will remind you of pineapples, citrus and maybe banana.  Depends on the nose and the actual brew.

This particular IPA has a huge pineapple aroma from all those hops.  The best IPAs have all the bitterness and citrus character from the hops, but a delicate balance of malt in the background.  And Union Jack is one of those great IPAs.  Especially considering the somewhat high alcohol content of 7.50% ABV.  Surprisingly drinkable for all that alcohol.  Bordering on dangerous.

So I've tried it in the bottle (delicious) and on draft, but the other day we also got to try it in a cask.  That's old-school brewing.  No pasteurization or added carbonation.  It's all conditioned and fermented in a cask and served in that same vessel.  You pop a spigot in the front and let the active yeasts control the carbonation and gravity assist with the pour.  Read more about cask ale here, if you are interested.

I could definitely tell it was the same IPA that I loved in the bottle and on draft, but the lack of added carbonation made it seem sweeter to the tongue.  I don't think that it actually was, but the bitterness seemed to be a bit higher in the carbonated keg or bottle format.  It's all about mouth feel at that point, I guess.

Either way, this is a sold IPA and a must for anyone who truly loves hoppy brews.  It's mostly available on the West Coast, and I've heard rumors that they may want to slow their expansion East.  But if you can get your hands on it and you like IPAs, then go for it!

Dec 17, 2010

One last picture of Sammi

Seriously, I'm not trying to turn this into a deceased pet blog.  Really.

But I just love this picture, because it truly sums up what Sammi was all about.  I may have even posted this before, but fuck it.  Sometimes twice is just as nice.

That's what she like to do.  Lay on my chest and rub her face on my beard.  And she had this one fang on the right side of her mouth that, for some reason, was longer than it should have been. She would occasionally get you pretty good with it.  Not on purpose, ya see.  She just couldn't help it.

This kind of situation was usually pretty common after she ate, when she was just looking to settle down and be loved.  The resulting fish stank from her breath was merely a bonus.

By the way, it took just this side of forever for our relationship to get this way.  At first, I was the enemy.  OK, "enemy" was a strong word. But in the beginning, I wasn't one of the chosen few who was allowed to pick her up or even pet her.  She was all claws and nasty looks for a long while.  And when a cat has one long fang on one side of her face and one glassy eye on the me, you can get some nasty looks.

But I made her my pet project, and I gradually began to pick her up and give her some love.  I always tried to put her down right before she was ready to slice me up, and I think she understood that.  It took a while, but soon enough she was sleeping on my head at night.  The way cats do.

I don't know if I believe in the concept of Heaven, but if there is one then I sure as shit hope there is a place for cats and dogs there. And if there is, then I sure Sammi is there with her best buddy Syd, and she's giving the deity in charge the stink eye.  At least until she gets used to the joint.

Note: Partially inspired by Neil Gaiman's recent journal post about his cat Princess.  I think Princess and Sammi would've gotten along famously.  Or avoided each other like the plague.

Added Bonus:  A video of two cats getting the MST3K treatment while playing patty cake.  The one on the right looks a bit like Sammi in her younger, healthier days.  Enjoy!

Dec 16, 2010

The Spirit Arrives

I finally got into the Christmas Spirit today.

I think I looked at the calendar and realized that Christmas is only like a week or so away and I freaked.  Did some Christmas shopping, put up some Christmas lights, listened to some rock 'n roll Christmas tunes.  You know the drill.  Didn't go as far as putting up a tree.  We never put up a tree.  We have a fake one, but the cats will fuck it up too much.  And a real tree...well, I think they would die from the excitement.  Besides, we mostly spend Christmas Day with our family.  Somewheres.  And we are lazy.  So there's that.

Anyway, here's my favorite Christmas song.  "Father Christmas" by Greg Lake.  For anyone who gives a rat's ass.  Hoo hoo hoo!

Dec 15, 2010

A question for the MacHeads

What is the best way to transfer a phone mail message from Gia's iPhone to an audio file that I can post here on my blog?

She did some searching, but hasn't come up with an easy solution yet.  And asking this question here is about as far as I'm willing to go for an answer.  But, if it's easy, I guarantee y'all a gut-busting time when and if I get to post a message from Gia's father that I've listened to about a dozen times now.

He is an absolute piece of work, I tell you.

I, of course, am asking this question of y'all because I don't have an iPhone or an iPad or anything else that Steve Jobs is hawking.  But Gia, gahblesshersoul, is an absolute Apple Whore.  Speaking of Apple Whores, this gives me an opportunity to see where Dave2's Apple images are showing up when I do a Google image search for "Apple Whore".

Ah...he slipped to the 5th image.  Last time I checked he was 2nd.  Tsk tsk tsk.

Dec 14, 2010

Oh Hai!

Way before our little gal Sammi passed away, Gia had her heart set on another Ragamuffin kitten.  So we contacted the breeder in Georgia who  we've used before to get on her radar for upcoming litters.  And we've decided which little fella we are going to adopt.

Say hello to York.

That picture was taken a few weeks ago, he's now 12 weeks old and Gia will be picking him up over New Year's while she is down South.  Because of his coloring, he's called a "Chocolate Drop"...I really don't know what that means.  But he does have a cute white spot on his nose, doesn't he?

We aren't in love with the name, though.  We adopted Avery from the same breeder and kept his name, even though we mostly call him Bootsy these days.  So since were are going to call him something else anyway, we decided we need to rename him.  Here are our current favorite names:
  • Loki - a mischievous name for a mischievous-looking fella.  Gia's current favorite.
  • Levon - for Mr. Helm, but I'm thinking Levon is more of a dog name.
  • The Dude - here's the problem...we already kinda know someone who has a Ragamuffin named The Dude.  Second place suck.
  • Leo - not for the lion.  But because it sounds like the name of an old curmudgeon.  And for Leo McGarry, our favorite character from The West Wing.
  • Jack Burton - my current favorite.
  • The Humungus*! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla! - I dunno...maybe a little ponderous.
  • Michaleen Oge Flynn - "Impetuous! Homeric!"
  • Rails - because of the white mark on his nose.  Those who fondly (or otherwise) remember 70's/80's drug culture will get this.
  • Agador Spartacus - just in case he's gay.  You never know.
  • Dave Grohl - just kidding, Sybil.  Or am I?
  • Tom Waits - yeah.
  • Rudeboy/Rudie - it's a ska thing.  Maybe Bad Boy Rudie.  Yeah...I like that.
  • Lord Invader - there is a backstory.
Feel free to add your suggestion in the comments.  I promise not to crap all over them too badly.  Unless they really suck.

*That's how it's spelled in the credits for The Road Warrior.

    Dec 13, 2010

    One Paragraph Movie Reviews

    Saw a bunch of films over the weekend, so I thought I hit you with some quick reviews.  Because my opinion means oh so much to my adoring readers.  Humor me, okay?

    Sheitan (2006) - The French really are making some wonderful horror films these days.  And by wonderful, I mean disgusting and disturbing.  If you are into that kind of thing, and, of course, I am.  A group of young folks leave a disco after a brief brawl, and they head to the countryside with a new female friend for the Christmas holiday.  Things get weird when they encounter her family's oddball caretaker (Vincent Cassel) and some of the local crazies from the nearby village.  The caretaker has taken a particular fondness to one of the young men, and the tensions that ensue are not of the sexual nature.  Not between those two, at least.  Creepy dolls, creepy villagers, creepy cousins, creepy childbirths, creepy satanic's just creepy.  And the last 15 minutes turns into a complete nightmare.  Something right out of Rosemary's Baby or something.  Fun!

    My Netflix Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Centurion (2010) - I don't know how Neil Marshall keeps doing it, but this is the fourth film that he has written and directed (along with Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday), and they have all been tremendous fun.   Even when they wander far from the actual story like Doomsday did with the silly medieval stuff.  This one tells the tale of the fate of the legendary 9th Legion of Rome as they battled with the Picts of Britain in the early 2nd Century AD.  Sure, it's violent and often silly.  But I think Neil Marshall gets that films are meant to be fun.  I'm sure most it's riddled with historical inaccuracies as well.  Too bad.  It's not going to change your life, but it sure is a lot of fun.  All I know is that I want more genre movies from Neil Marshall.  Now!

    My Netflix Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Vengeance (2009) - Man, I loved this movie and I'm not really sure why.  It's often plodding and the English spoken by the mostly French and Chinese actors is effing ponderous.  But it grabbed me right away, and there were times I was literally on the edge of my seat when the action finally did arrive.  It's about a older French chef who comes to Macau after his daughter's family is brutally killed by a trio of assassins.  His daughter is still alive...barely, and he vows to avenge her and her family.  He stumbles upon another trio of assassins, and arranges to have them assist him with hunting down the killers.  Because he is no ordinary chef.  He is a former assassin himself.  But he also has a bullet in his brain from his previous life that is slowly killing him and affecting his memory.  The relationships he builds with his group of killers hardens almost immediately, and the film itself is about these relationships and the ideas of loyalty, friendship and sacrifice as much as it is an action flick about vengeance.  The lead is played by legendary (and hypnotically odd-looking) French singer Johnny Hallyday.  Not sure if he is a "good" actor or not, but I couldn't keep my eyes off of him.  It was slowly-paced, but beautifully filmed.  Filled with references and homages to classic Hong Kong and French cinema.  Check it out.

    My Netflix Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Dec 12, 2010


    OK, I kinda wimped out.  I didn't go as far as I wanted to with the haircut.  Just about 4-5 inches.  So it's still long enough for a ponytail if I want.  And I want.  Plus, my hair-cutting dude is gonna try to convince me against cutting it all off come Spring.  Maybe do something like Jeff Bridges latest layered style.  I dunno. 



    See?  Not so blonde after all.

    Dec 11, 2010


    Looking way more blonde than I feel like I am/was.  Then again, the longer stuff round back did get colored a bit from the summer sun and the chlorine of the pool.  But not that much.

    Tomorrow: After.  Aren't you excited?

    Dec 10, 2010

    Why should I care...

    ...if I had to cut my hair?  I've got to move with the fashions, or be outcast. - Pete Townshend from Quadrophenia

    So here's a picture of me that I posted here from about a year and half ago.  Ladies...try to keep it together, okay?

    Since then, I've gone for about 3 or 4 haircuts.  Once every 4-6 months.  Just a trim each time to keep things a little neater.  The last one was in September when I had about 4 inches of hair cut off all around. Currently, my hair is about 8-9 inches longer than it appears in the above picture.  I haven't been able to do the old top-knot hairdo in quite a while because it leaves too much hair falling past my shoulders to the top of my back for my comfort.  My everyday hairdo lately has been a ponytail.  I don't think I've worn my hair down in about 6 months now.  For more than an hour or so, anyway.

    So I'm contemplating a change.  I think that I'm gonna hit my rock n' roll barber shop down the road for a quick fix to get my hair back to the length it was in that picture.  But after that?  I'm thinking about going for the Full Monty come Spring.  The only thing holding me back is that Gia prefers me with longer hair.  She will still love me as much (she says), but she prefers the longer hair.  Honestly, I feel the same way about her.  She wants to do a real short pixie cut, but I keep talking her out of it.

    And some baldness is starting to creep in around back.  It's completely hidden by the ponytail, but it's there and I know it's there.  And I've always said that I would cut it all off if it ever became an issue.  Not that it would be an issue for anyone else but me, ya understand?  It's just something that I've always said I would do.

    Besides, I think it's good to totally change your image every few years.  Slyde will tell you that I morph into a totally different person every half-decade or so.  He jokes that the next time he sees me, I will probably be a young Asian boy.

    I think he just secretly likes young Asian boys, if you ask me.

    Dec 9, 2010

    My favorite curmudgeon

    So get this.  There is this former baseball journalist named Murray Chass.  He has his own website, a blog if you will (although he won't call it that), where he posts occasional articles about baseball.  He's not paid to do this, mind you.  It's something that he does on his own.  Kind of like a...web log of his thoughts on baseball.  If you want to find what his baseball site is about, he will tell you:
    This is a site for baseball columns, not for baseball blogs. The proprietor of the site is not a fan of blogs. He made that abundantly clear on a radio show with Charley Steiner when Steiner asked him what he thought of blogs and he replied, “I hate blogs.” He later heartily applauded Buzz Bissinger when the best-selling author denounced bloggers on a Bob Costas HBO show.
    Kind of cute.  Especially since he writes this on  But you catch the drift.  He hates blogs and bloggers.  One of his main issues with bloggers in the past has been that there is no accountability for what they write.  No journalistic integrity, no fact-checking.  It's absolute anarchy, I tell ya!  But it really gets his goat when some blogger posts some "fact" from some "source" that turns out to be complete hogwash.  The blogger, he believes, doesn't care if it's true or not.  And the blogger is under no editorial thumb, so there is no need for a redaction when the truth does come out.

    Case in point, on Tuesday a noted blogger wrote about the great shame on baseball for not voting Marvin Miller into the Hall of Fame this past week.  I'm not going to go into any depths about what Miller meant to the game, except that he definitely belongs in as an Executive of the game.  Just Google him if you are interested and you will see that just about everyone agrees on this point.  Except for certain member of the special committee that was formed, some of whom might have personal beefs with the man since they were on the other side of every labor battle.

    But this noted blogger believes he knew who it was on the committee who hadn't voted "yes" for Miller's induction.  In fact, this came from Marvin Miller's mouth himself.  From people, as he says, that told him so either directly or from other sources.  One of those people who the noted blogger outed was the writer for Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci.  I'm sure a quick call to Verducci could have confirmed this, but (as Chass notes) "bloggers can say anything that they want".  So no confirmation was needed, and the noted blogger posted his story, along with some personal attacks against Verducci's reporting abilities. 

    Turns out it wasn't true.  Verducci did vote for Marvin Miller.  And Miller called Verducci to apologize because he was just repeating something he heard and he didn't think that the noted blogger was going to publish their conversation.  Goddamn bloggers!

    Man, that must have really gotten Murray Chass' goat! 

    Wait...whoa...except that the "noted blogger" in question IS Murray Chass.  Doing everything he claims that he hates about blogging, on his non-blog that really is a blog.  Maybe a bit more investigative reporting or editorial oversight might have helped you out on that one there, Murray.  Or just simply, ya know, dropping Verducci a quick line. 

    I tell you...I love this story so much I want to take it to Bermuda and get it pregnant!  My favorite thing about it is that Verducci calls Chass a blogger about a dozen times in his story about this that I linked to up there.  That must REALLY drive Chass crazy.  Except that it probably doesn't.  Because he is always right and we are always wrong, and he probably won't even read Verducci's column.  He certainly won't take himself to task for something he is constantly railing at windmills about.

    How's that glass house you're living in treating ya, Murray?

    Dec 8, 2010

    You ain't no nice guy

    More and more lately, I've been thinking about the Michael Vick situation.  Musician Nils Lofgren recently wrote an open letter to the sports reporting community about their abject praise for the man and his career turnaround as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  While his views on the subject might seem a bit one-sided against Vick, I tend to agree with him on most of his points.  He said to the press what most of us caring human beings feel about the situation.

    Basically his argument came down to this:
    In Vick's case, I believe his second chance should certainly allow him to be free and to love and raise his family. [break] However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential bounty it offers.
    I absolutely agree with that sentiment, and the fact that it has happened so successfully sickens me.

    Now, despite being a New Yorker all my life I've also been a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan.  Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I think it came from gifts from an aunt who lived in the Philadelphia are as a child.  Eagles hats, jerseys, sweatshirts and what not.  They became my favorite NFL team by default.  Like how Notre Dame became my favorite college football team.  I was raised Irish Catholic in Long Island and we have no good football schools for miles and miles.  Bam...Fighting Irish fan.  And believe me, we are legion in this area.

    But Michael Vick has soured my relationship with the Eagles.  I was upset when they signed him last year, but I was at least was happy to see him ride the bench for most of it.  Then they lose McNabb and presto...Michael Vick is the starting quarterback.  And he is a candidate for the league MVP.  And he is leading my formerly beloved Eagles to the playoffs.  Yeah...I said formerly.  I just can't watch them anymore.  And NFL football as a whole, actually.  He's ruined my enjoyment of the game.  You see, Michael Vick is a bad guy.  And I just can't get past that.

    I think about the Kobe Bryant rape trial a few years back.  He admitted to having sex with the woman who filed the complaint, but he denied any sexual assault.  The case was eventually dropped when the woman was paid, refused to testify at the trial.  Yeah, that's what I meant.  But there were these throngs of women outside the courthouse with "I love you, Kobe!" and "We believe you, Kobe!" signs.  I just didn't understand that.  At the very least, Kobe Bryant admitted to cheating on his wife with this woman AND he possibly got away with a sexual assault because of his money and cachet.  Why would women support him for any reason?  You see, Kobe Bryant is a bad guy.  And I just can't get past that.

    I could go on and on.  You've got Ben Roethlisberger who now has two sexual assault allegations to his name to go with his two Super Bowl rings.  The first one sounded like bullshit, but I don't know about the second one.  No charges were filed for lack of evidence, but it SEEMS like he keeps putting himself in these situations where he is a bad guy when women are involved.  Yet Steelers' fans, even the ladies, love him.  Must be those rings, eh?  Then there is Ray Lewis' involvement in a murder case, Adam "Pacman" Jones' off-field activities, all the MLB steroid gobblers, the NHL's Sean Avery and his misogynistic attitudes...all bad guys, in my opinion.  And I just can't get past that.

    Then you have the guys who have outwardly done nothing wrong, but who seem to be in it for the money alone.  I wouldn't have put Derek Jeter in that category before this off-season, and I'm sure he's going to say all the right things about accepting "only" $18 million a year from the Yankees.  And the pragmatist in me knows that if Jeter doesn't get that extra money from the Yankees, it's only going to go into the pockets of the Steinbrenners.  The fans certainly aren't going to get a break either way.  So the guy who has said and done all the right things in his career, seemed to hold out for more money even after his worst season ever at an age when ballplayer's skills begin a rapid decline.  His agent will say that he is still taking a pay cut from what he had been making, and that's true.  Jeter has already made a huge pile of money with the Yankees, and he earned just about every penny of it.  Except he feels he deserves more.  Or his agent feels that way.  It's just so sickening.

    I don't think there will ever be a time when I will NOT be a huge baseball fan.  It's my favorite sport. I even somehow managed to get past the Steroid Era, and I'm still a huge fan.  And I'm not just a Yankee fan.  I love the game itself.  I only root for the Yankees, but if nothing is on and I find a Royals/Indians game on somewhere?  I'm happier than a pig in shit just watching the game. 

    I wonder if that would change if the Yankees had signed a guy like Michael Vick to play center field.

    Dec 7, 2010

    Earl's Kitchen - Gaeng Massaman

    Over the weekend, my sister had us over along with some friends of ours for another round of karaoke madness and drinking.  A wake, of sorts, for our kitty Sammi who passed away last week.  A night that both Gia and I really needed.

    I made a batch of Bacon Bourbon for after-dinner cocktails that helped fuel the karaoke fire, but we started the night off with a bunch of home-made Thai food prepared by yours truly.  My sister and her husband have never had Laab/Larb, so I made two different batches of that (beef and pork).  And since we needed something else, I tried my hand at a simple version of Gaeng Masssaman that veered a little bit from the traditional recipe.

    Gaeng Massaman (kinda)

    not my Massaman...but it looks about the same

    • 2 pounds chicken breasts
    • 2 pounds small golden potatoes
    • 3 tsp massaman curry paste/red curry paste
    • 1-2 tbsp peanut oil
    • 3 14oz cans coconut milk
    • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • Unsalted peanuts for garnish (optional)
    • Salt and ground white pepper to taste (optional)
    I really veered a bit from the traditional recipes (which you can find elsewhere on the web) and focused on making it a simpler "meat and potatoes" kind of dish since I wasn't really sure if my sister and her husband were really going to like the Laab I made (see my recipe for that here).  And the sweetness of this dish goes wonderfully with the savory of the Laab. And it has enough savory to hold its own too.

     - Poach the chicken first in a covered saucepan with about 3/4 of a cup of water, just until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Poaching it this way will keep it moist before we slice it up and add it to the Massaman.

     - Clean and quarter the potatoes (or halve them if they are small enough), leaving the skin on because that's where all the good stuff is.  Steam them for about 5 minutes in a covered pot so that they cook a little bit but are still firm to the touch.  They will cook the rest of the way in the Massaman.  Drain and set aside.

     - In a deep, large saucepan heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat, and then add the curry paste.  (Sidenote: you should be able to find the curry paste, coconut milk, peanut oil and the fish sauce in your market's Asian food section, or you can visit a specialty food shop for those items).  Frying the curry paste will release the flavors and oils, and it just smells really good.  I used red curry paste because my local grocery didn't have any Massaman curry paste, and it came out tasting fine. 

     - After about a minute, whisk in the coconut milk one can at a time.  After it starts a low boil while you are whisking away, add in the brown sugar until it is dissolved and mixed in really well.  Add the fish sauce to give the Massaman a little salt flavor or just some salt to taste if you can't find any fish sauce.  You can also add some ground white pepper to the mix, if you so desire.  Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

     - After slicing up the cooked chicken into bite-sized chunks, add to the Massaman along with the semi-cooked potatoes.  Cover and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

     - Serve either on its own or over some cooked jasmine rice in a soup bowl.  It should look like a stew at this point. You can either add the peanuts right at the end or you can simply sprinkle some on top.  Or leave them out altogether, like I did.

    That's it!  Extremely simple and extremely tasty.  You can find some more traditional recipes that call for other meats and ingredients, but like I mentioned earlier...I wanted to keep this real simple for it to have a broad appeal.  For a first-time recipe where that I was mostly making up quantities as I went along, it came our really well.   Enjoy!

    Dec 6, 2010

    Still Only 25¢: Captain America #193

    Disclaimer: Part of an on-going series of blog posts about comic-books, the mid-70's and a wee boy named Earl. Or not really. You know my name isn't really Earl, right? - Earl

    The 70's were are weird time for Captain America. He had to deal with the supposed death of his sidekick, Bucky. He fought against our own government in Marvel's version of Watergate. He took on another young man as a sidekick (Rick Jones), but hesitated to let him don the Bucky uniform. He rejected the Captain America persona for a little while...becoming Nomad before ultimately deciding that America was worth fighting for. And he spent most of the decade in a partnership with a man whose only apparent super-power was a psychic link with a bird.

    The Falcon was the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics. As a black superhero, he was preceded by the Black Panther by a few years, but the man behind the mask for that character was actually from a fictional country in Africa. Sam "Snap" Wilson was the very first black superhero from the United States. And his (controversially ret-conned) origins were straight out of that particular period's depiction of African-Americans. He was born in Harlem (of course), the son of a minister (naturally), a former social worker (solid!) and a former criminal, gang member and...pimp (there it is!). His "super-power", if you could call it that, is an extremely close and paranormal bond with his bird friend; a falcon named Redwing. He wasn't super-strong nor could he fly. He just was really good friends with a bird. Sure, his abilities later grew so that he could establish psychic links with any bird or any number of birds at the same time, but in the 1970's all he could do was be really good friends with this one bird. And wear a snazzy outfit.

    OK, so Cap trained him in martial arts and gymnastics (hehe), but really...this is about the lamest super-power ever invented. Another clear case of the Man keeping a proud black man down.

    I don't have any lasting particular memories about this issue of Captain America. I know that it was the first time that Jack Kirby returned to the series as the main artist since his Silver Age work on the character in the 1960's. It was a nice throwback touch, and Kirby tried to get Cap into his iconic fist/shield pose as often as he could. With the Falcon lurking somewhere in the background, of course. But as for what's inside? Nah..I don't really recall.

    I do have one distinct memory of Cap and the Falcon from this time period though. Like the geeky kid that I was, I had several cheesy comic-book related t-shirts. One of them was a crusty yellow thing with a terrible silk screening of the good Captain and his buddy. And it clearly said "Captain America and the Falcon" right above the picture of the two heroes. But, for some reason, there was a family friend of ours who couldn't wrap her brain around which one was which. Even though the Falcon was dressed in a bird costume and Captain America looked...well, like Captain America!

    So every time she saw me for around a year or so after I first wore the shirt, she would tuck her hands into her armpits, mimicking a flying bird and she would yell "Captain America....CAW, CAW!!!" I never quite understood why she did that, and it took me a long time to finally ask her exactly why she did. She told me that it was because of that dumb shirt I wore where Captain America wore an even dumber bird costume. So she saw the words "Captain America" and the guy dressed like the bird, and somehow that's all that got processed in her teen-aged brain. I told her she was confusing the Falcon's costume with the star-spangled hero's name, yet she insisted that it was just one guy on the shirt...and he was dressed like a fucking bird.

    The butt of a misinformed joke from a family friend. Probably serves me right for wearing a truly awful t-shirt like that.

    Dec 3, 2010

    Dirty Legs

    I've been noticing something more and more lately after I shower each day. I don't seem to pay as much attention to my legs as the rest of my body when scrubbing down. Weird, right?

    I'm a fanatic about scrubbing. I use one of these to really go at my skin. And I really do go to town. Face, shoulders, arms, torso, back, naughty bits...and feet. But for some reason as I make my way down from my upper thigh area to my feet, I seem to give my legs on the most cursory of scrubs. And I don't know why.

    More to the point, I know that I'm doing this and I'm doing nothing about it. Isn't there a clinical term for that kind of inaction?  I mean, if I actually think about it before I start scrubbing, I will take some extra time with my legs.  But I normally don't think in the shower.  Or at least I don't think about showering when I'm in the shower.  I think about everything else.

    It's not laziness. It takes far more effort to scrub my back or my feet (there will never be a fungus among us). Maybe I subconsciously believe that my legs from my upper thighs to my high ankles don't get as dirty as the rest of my body. It's a mystery to me.

    Fascinating stuff, eh?

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. And I couldn't even find a way to make this interesting.  Move along...

    Dec 2, 2010


    I think I might have a new favorite TV show.

    It's called Torchwood and it's a BBC production and a spin-off of the latest reboot of Doctor Who. Now, I was never a Doctor Who fan. In fact...I just didn't get the appeal at all. Cheesy special effects, cheesy storylines, cheesy scarves. Just a whole mess of cheese. But I also never really gave it a chance.

    When the reboot started back in 2005, I did give it another try. And I did find that I kinda liked it. Not enough to keep watching, but enough to earn some begrudging respect for it. I think I stopped watching after about 6 episodes.  Right before the main character from Torchwood was introduced.

    But Torchwood (an anagram for Doctor Who) is an entirely different beast. Made to be shown later in the evening, it has higher production values and more adult content. The makers of the show wanted to do something similar to those early episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but ya know...with British accents, cursing and some partial nudity.  And you know how I love me some Buffy.

    So I jumped in the other night with the first episode of Season 1. And I loved it. It's a great idea and far enough away from Doctor Who that my past prejudices haven't come to light.  Now I have all three seasons queued up on my Netflix Instant account and ready to rock and roll.

    And I kinda dig Eve Myles who plays Cardiff policewoman Gwen Cooper.  She's got these great freckles and a goofy sexy space between her two front teeth.  Ah...I can't explain it.

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. The space is sexy, right?  No?  Just me?  Crap.

    Dec 1, 2010

    Sunny Side of the Street

    Thanks for the kind words yesterday. It really meant a lot.

    Hopefully, today, Sammi is walking on the sunny side of the street.

    Don't you just love that photo of Shane?

    Nov 30, 2010

    RIP Sammi

    So we finally bit the bullet and put Sammi down yesterday.

    She was so done. I stayed up with her all of Saturday and Sunday nights. Giving her little bits of water and cream...anything to get her to eat or drink something. Then on Sunday she pretty much stopped eating and drinking altogether. On Sunday night she started crawling herself around, maybe looking for a way out. Or a quiet place to lay down and die. Of course our other cats were having none of that. "Where you going? Can I come? Hey, that looks like a fun nook to hide in!"  Yeah...our cats often will leave a preposition at the end of a sentence.

    So she feel asleep at the bottom of the landing of the staircase. I stayed with her until she fell asleep, but it was already 5:30AM on Monday by that point. I went to bed to catch a couple of hours of sleep, figuring that she would be gone by the time I got up.

    But she wasn't. She wasn't really moving either. Just laying there...breathing. Barely recognizing us. It was time. So we called the Vet and said our goodbyes.

    Here's my favorite picture of her with her best friend Syd...who passed away 2 years ago.

    Syd cleaning Sammi

    So long, little girl.  We miss you already.

    Nov 29, 2010

    Last Thanksgiving Post

    I swear.

    So I showered you all with some recipes over the weekend, but I failed to mention the most important thing that almost didn't happen on Thanksgiving.

    As in Thanksgiving itself. almost didn't happen. For us, I mean.

    Here's the dirt.

    Gia and I showed up about an hour earlier than everyone else was due to arrive. Because we had Sammi, our sick cat, with us. She's still hanging in there, by the way. We have no idea how, but she's hanging in there. Anyway, we got there early because we wanted to get her used to the spare bedroom, feed her and make sure she got some rest before the madness started.

    Because our Thanksgiving? It's madness. 28 adults and 11 children this year. That's down from last year because my brother and his family couldn't make it. And everyone was due to show up around 2ish. Dinner usually goes down around 5:30PM with appetizers and cocktails and lots of running around by the kids beforehand. The big turkey was in the oven, and everyone was bringing the rest of the side dishes. Mashers (me), stuffing, turnips, green bean casserole, creamed onions, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, etc...

    That's when it happened. The oven just...broke. A big old double oven that just wouldn't work. Something to do with the electric control panel. It just stopped working. And we had the big turkey only half-cooked, three more smaller birds (lotta mouths to feed) totally un-cooked, and a houseful of side dishes to heat up. Yikes!

    We had some not-so-wonderful alternatives. We do this every year at my sister's house because she's got the biggest place. My brother-in-law actually builds a huge dining room table every year just for the occasion. So that we can all sit at the same place. My mother lived pretty does one of my other sister's. But at either of those homes we would be really tight. And everyone would be eating standing up or something. Like I said, some not-so-wonderful alternatives.

    So here's what we did. We rallied.

    My brother-in-law lit the barbecue in the back yard and on went the three smaller birds in a large broiling pan. My other brother-in-law grabbed the large bird and off he went to his home to throw it in the oven for the remainder of its cooking time. And I ran out to the store for pans and sterno for the chafing dish stations that they had in the garage. Then someone grabbed another bbq from their house, and between all this; 2 bbqs, a microwave oven, a stove top and three chafing dishes...well, we actually managed to get it all done. And not too much later than when we would normally eat. My brother-in-law even got the blowtorch out for those dishes that needed a little crisping on the top.

    And you know what?


    Everything tasted delicious and everyone was super-appreciative of the job that was done on all parts to get the job done. It was really a wonderful dinner.

    And then we followed it up with some awesome dessert (I tried minced meat pie for the very first time), some more cocktails and then some friends showed up for the best night of karaoke ever!

    I'm already looking forward to next year.

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Good times...

    Nov 28, 2010

    Thanksgiving Day Recipes - Fall Spice Cocktail

    I wish this one had a better name, but it was just listed as a Fall Spice Cocktail in the cocktail book we have. Or you could accidentally mispronounce it after having a few of them and call it a Fall Taco. That happened a few times on Thursday, actually. goes:

    The Fall Spice Cocktail

    1oz Navan vanilla cognac
    1oz bourbon
    1/2 oz chipotle orange simple syrup (see below)
    2 dashes orange bitters
    orange peel for garnish

    OK, let's talk about that simple syrup. For those of you not in the know, simple syrup is usually just a mixture (in some ratio) of water and sugar. You heat the water up, add the sugar, stir until it melts and then store it in the fridge for your cocktails. Sugar doesn't dissolve properly in cold cocktails, so bartenders use simple syrup instead to sweeten the recipe.

    This one is pretty straightforward and easy. Take 2 cups of water and get it boiling. Then add 3 or 4 orange peels roughly 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide each. The heat comes from also adding a dried chipotle pepper to the mix. A chipotle pepper is just a roasted jalepeno, so you can roast your own or do what I did and look to your grocer to see what kind of dried spicy peppers they stock. Mine didn't have chipotles, but they had another kind of dried Southwestern chili. Not as big as a chipotle, so I used 3 of them. Snipped them up with a pair of shears and put them right in the boiling water.

    Simmer that concoction on lower heat for about 20 minutes, then strain it through a fine mesh or coffee filter so that all of the seeds and skin from the peppers are captured. You should be left with an orange-colored liquid that smells sweet and spicy. Now mix in 3/4 cup of sugar and watch it dissolve. Cover and refrigerate.

    From there, making the drink is easy. Add the vanilla cognac, bourbon, bitters and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir or shake until it's nice and cold. Pour into a small snifter and add another orange peel for garnish. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. Maybe it is appropriately named, because the vanilla cognac, orange, spices and the smoke from the bourbon fit together perfectly.

    I used Angostura Orange Bitters for the recipe, but I there are some other companies like Fee Brothers or Regan's make them as well. Or you can make your own bitters...I know some folks who do that. Not me. Look up that recipe yourself.

    The Navan vanilla cognac shouldn't be hard to find. It's made by the same kids who make Grand Marnier and it should be near it in your local liquor/package store. But I believe that there are other vanilla brandies/cognacs out there as well. Ask around.

    And I used Wild Turkey 101 Proof for the bourbon. I thought the sweetness from the cognac and the simple syrup might be a little over-powering, so I wanted a higher proof bourbon to ensure that the flavor came through. I don't normally drink anything with that high of an alcohol content, but I thought it would work well in this cocktail. And it did.

    Now it's a chilly Sunday afternoon and I want another!

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. I've been told this one creeps up on you.

    Nov 27, 2010

    Thanksgiving Day Recipes - Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

    Since you all ( of you) wanted the recipes for the mashers and cocktails I mentioned I was making for Thanksgiving. Here we go yo!

    Wasabi Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    • 9 lbs new golden potatoes
    • 4 large cloves garlic
    • Wasabi powder or paste (I'll discuss the amount down below)
    • 8 oz or so of softened butter
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cups half and half 
    • Salt and pepper to taste
     - Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
     - Strip the outer papery layer off the garlic cloves, and then toss in a small bowl with some olive oil until they are fully coated.
     - Roast the garlic in the oven for 40 minutes until the outer layer is fully browned/starting to blacken.  Then set aside for a few moments to allow them to cool.  Once they do, squeeze the garlic paste out of the cloves.  Should be the consistency of...paste.  Ya know.  Set this paste aside for a bit.  We are going to add some wasabi to it now.
      - You should be able to find wasabi powder or wasabi paste in a tube at your local market.  If you buy the powder, mix it with a little water until a nice paste is formed.  Make it a little thin, because we are going to add the garlic paste to it.  Use as much or as little wasabi as you like.  I like the finished potatoes to have a bit of a green shade and a distinct garlic/wasabi aroma.  So experiment a little.  Just like you did in college, ladies.
     - Mix the wasabi paste and the garlic paste until they are fully integrated.  Set bowl in the fridge so the flavors can mature.

    - Clean and quarter your potatoes.  I clean the skins with a vegetable brush thouroghly and leave the cleaned skins on the potatoes. But if you feel the need peel the skins, then go for it.
     - Cook the potatoes according to how you cook your potatoes.  I put them in a large pot and cover them with cold water with about another inch or so of water on top.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer on reduced heat for around 20-30 minutes.  I don't like them to get too soft.  So I'm constantly testing to make sure they come out how I like them.
     - Drain but reserve about 1/2 cup of the water to add to the masher while mashing.
     - I use a manual potato masher, but use whatever you have.  Add the softened butter and the water from the potatoes early on to make the process a little easier.
     - Add the garlic/wasabi paste and keep on mashing.
     - Then add your half and half (or milk or heavy cream) a little at a time and keep mashing.  Stop when you've reached the desired consistency.  I don't know how much milk I used.  I put 2 cups in the recipe, but it was probably less. I like mine thick and a little lumpy. Insert sex joke here.
     - Add salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste.

     - Yum, 'em up!

    Tomorrow: The Fall Cocktail!

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Don't blame me if it sucks.

    Nov 25, 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys!

    Gobble, gobble, hey!

    So what are you kids doing this Thursday/today?

    I'm heading over to my sister's house with my sick cat (and Gia) to have a hella good time. I made wasabi garlic mashed potatoes and some regular old sour cream and chive mashers for the big event. That's the way we roll. Everyone brings a dish. My sister provides the bird, we provide the rest of the dishes. Beat that with a dead bird!

    And I'm making this special after-dinner cocktail with vanilla brandy, bourbon and a simple syrup made from orange peel and chipotle peppers. Spicy!!!

    I pretty much fucking rule.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. My favorite holiday.

    Nov 24, 2010

    Nic Cage Releases the Pigs

    This is the laziest post ever, because I'm basically just gonna regurgitate what the kids over at Film Drunk said about this compilation clip of Nic Cage absolutely losing his shit in just about every film he's ever made.

    Seems that Warner Herzog tried to keep Cage subdued until crucial moments when filming The Bad Lietenant: Port of Call - New Orleans. Then he would ask Cage to "release the pigs". Aw...that's so sweet.

    This man, this actor...he's a National Treasure.  Get it?  Ur-hur-hur.  Check it out!

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. I'm a vampire. I'm a vampire. I'm a vampire. I'm a vampire. I'm a vampire.

    Nov 23, 2010

    The Unbeliever

    I've mentioned this before, but even though I'm a huge fan of science-fiction I'm probably an even bigger fan of the fantasy genre. Or at least I was in the past. I haven't read a good fantasy/sword and sorcery book in ages. I don't know why I stopped. Maybe it was just a matter of growing past them. But some of my favorite literary memories have to do with the fantasy genre. Stuff like Robert E. Howard's Conan work, Terry Brooks' early Shannara books, Fritz Lieber writing about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Michael Moorcock's tales of his albino hero Elric of Melniboné, and (of course) Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

    I guess Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke was the last great fantasy novel that I've read.  But it was also a bit ponderous.  I don't see myself re-reading that one for a long, long time.  The Harry Potter books were good, but not life-altering great.  Not for me, at least. I read them to find out where the tale was going to end.  Once it did, I moved on.  Although, I have to say that the films have all been excellent.  Well, not so much with the last one, but ya know... 

    If pressed, I would say that Stephen R. Donaldson's first two Thomas Covenant trilogies (he's currently writing a third series...a planned tetralogy) are hands-down my favorite fantasy novels of all-time. I've probably read each trilogy about a half-dozen times, and I'm due for another reading. Which is what got me thinking about them today.

    Thomas Covenant is a writer and outcast dealing with the his recent divorce from his wife, Joan who took their infant son with her.  This all happened because Covenant unexpectedly was diagnosed with leprosy, even losing two fingers on his right hand from the disease.  The leprosy also causes impotence, either physically or mentally fueled.  Joan couldn't deal with living with a leper, so she leaves him during a period of time he spent in a leprosarium.  Covenant deals with this by diving into the meticulous details of living the careful life of a leper.  Shaving becomes a deadly ritual each day as the leprosy affects his nerve endings and he might not realize he had cut himself.  So instead of using a safety razor, he insists on a painstakingly slow ritual with a straight razor.  To keep himself grounded.  These small details become his life.

    Until he is transported into The Land after being knocked unconscious.  The Land is your garden-variety fantasy world.  Giants, magic, demon-like creatures and a big bad named Lord Foul the Despiser.  In The Land, Covenant's leprosy is healed and he is mistaken for the reincarnation of a long-dead hero named Berek Halfhand.  Along with the missing fingers, the white gold from his wedding band was the talisman for this former Lord and hero.  Covenant doesn't believe any of this.  He thinks he is suffering delusions or that he is in a coma and dreaming.  So he gives himself a title: The Unbeliever.

    I's all sounds kinda silly.  But it's one of those "buy the premise, buy the book" things.  It's actually a very adult-themed book.  And very dark.  One of the first things he does after being healed by The Land is to rape the young woman who saved and healed him.  Because his impotence was cured along with leprosy, ya see.  Thomas Covenant is not your typical hero...far from it.  Thus begins his long journey into redemption and salvation.  He becomes the unwilling adversary to Lord Foul over a series of adventures as he travels back and forth between the real world and The Land.  We soon find that he isn't even the only person from his world to have traveled into the The Land.  And in the second trilogy, his emotionally damaged doctor is included in his travels.

    It's tragic and gut-wrenching and exciting and everything that a series of fantasy novels should be.  And more!

    I remember when I first heard that The Lord of the Rings was going to made into a series of feature films.  I was excited, but it was tempered by the thought that there was no way that any film series could do the novels justice.  I was wrong on that last part.  Peter Jackson did an incredible job with adapting the books into film.  Here was one of my favorite fantasy works of all-time on the big screen.  I couldn't believe it.

    But it wasn't the set of books that I wanted to see adapted the most.  That would be these Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.  And, sad to say, this post isn't about me rejoicing over the news that they are finally going to be adapted.  That will probably never happen.  I mean, if I had "Bill Gates Fuck You" money, I would make sure that it got done.  But I'm a fan and Mr. Gates probably isn't.  Shame.  Honestly, I would prefer an on-going series on SyFy.  Maybe six years long.  One for each book in the two trilogies.  That would be awesome!  Sigh.

    I'm just thinking that, over time, these books have gotten a bit lost with the fan base.  Sure, Donaldson is writing another series of books about the character.  I haven't read any of them yet.  I'm waiting until he finishes the series and I will read them all in a row.  I'm too impatient nowadays to wait for each installment.  But neither the First nor the Second Chronicles are even available for the Kindle these days.  Not a good sign.  Frankly, I'm not sure they were ever as popular as I thought they were.  I had some friends back in high school and college who eagerly awaited each new installment.  But maybe I was just hanging with a very specific literary crowd.

    I probably didn't do a good job selling the books above.  A leper?  A fantasy world?  Rape?!?!  But if you are a fan of the genre or if you've ever been a fan in your youth, maybe you should track down these books and give them a chance. 

    I know I'm going to be giving them another read over the holiday season.  What better way to celebrate than with a leper rapist?

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. He's really not a very nice guy?

    Nov 22, 2010

    Putting them down

    Just wanted to give y'all a quick update on Sammi. She's still hanging in there. She's a tough old cat. She's still not getting around by herself, other than dragging herself this way and that way for about five feet. So we are taking her to her food, her water and to the litter box.  She sleeps most of the day and she seems comfortable.

    So we are going to take it day-to-day with her.  I don't know what kind of quality of life she is enjoying right now.  She pretty much slept all day before whatever it is that happened to her last Monday, and she's pretty much sleeping all day now.  So not much of a difference there.  And on Saturday night she was actually able to jump up on the couch to lay down with me while I watched Notre Dame whupp Army.  Well, she got about halfway up and I helped her the rest of the way.

    We've had the discussion, or many discussions, on whether or not we should just put her down. But she doesn't appear to be in pain right now.  She takes her medication like a champ.  Even if it doesn't appear to be correcting any issues that she's having.  The one med that we stopped giving her was a pain medication.  Like I said, she doesn't appear to be in pain and the drugs were making her even dopier.  She's been much more aware since we stopped those.

    I think the only reason we WOULD put her down at this point is for our own convenience, and that just doesn't sit well for either of us.  Sure, she's putting a cramp in our lifestyles right now.  We've pretty much been on Sammi watch for the past week, staying home to be with her instead of going out.  That might get old pretty soon, but again...a pretty weak reason to put a beloved pet down.

    I've already arranged with my sister to bring Sammi along with us to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  We'll put her in the extra bedroom with a litter box, a blanket and some food and water.  Visiting with her often, of course.  We always spend the night anyway, so as long as she isn't too freaked out by the change of scenery I think it will work out.  The alternatives are either me leaving Gia home alone to care for Sammi while I enjoy Thanksgiving with my family or both of us staying home.  Neither of those appeals to me.

    So we are in a holding pattern.  I don't know if she is going to get better.  She's an old girl.  But I just don't see putting her down so that our lives are made more convenient. 

    I think anyone who loves their pets would agree.

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Don't blame me if it sucks.

    Nov 19, 2010

    El Duderino Abides

    Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday!

    click it to watch him in action

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. H/T to Warming Glow for the image.

    Nov 18, 2010

    1,000 and 44

    So here it 1,000th post on The Verdant Dude. And, just like I planned, it has landed on my 44th birthday. It's like the two great tastes that taste great together. seems like just yesterday that I was celebrating my 300th post here.  Or my 40th birthday, for that matter.  Time flies when you throw a clock across the room, eh?

    So, what's the best way to celebrate? A blow-job and some whiskey would be nice. No, not from you Slyde. You do have nice lips, but you have terrible taste in booze.

    In lieu of that, how about 44 random and stupid things about moi?  Let's do it to it, shall we.

    1.  Prior to moving in with Gia, I was extremely allergic to cats. Now they sleep on my face.

    2.  My family never really did figure out exactly what my father did for a living.  I mean, we have an idea, but I'm going with international spy.

    3.  I was terrible at drinking in college.  I generally drank until I blacked out/passed out, and vomiting was usually on the menu.  Now, at 44, I'm just hitting my alcoholic stride.  Yay me!

    4.  I've got the cutest dimple on my...right shoulder.  What?  You were thinking someplace else?

    5.  Boxer briefs...all the way.

    6.  It's been five years since I got my one and only tattoo.  It's starting to feel pretty lonely down there on its own.

    7.  I've still never been to any of the West Coast states.  Las Vegas is the furthest west I've traveled in this country.  And that took a whole lot of convincing on someone's part.

    8.  I have been as far south as you can go in these here United States of America.  Many, many times.  But it's just about time to go back.

    9.  I know it's just two guys eventually giving each other brain damage, but damn...I love me a good boxing match.

    10. I find women with a kinda crooked face (like Ellen Barkin) to be incredibly sexy.  I find some women without crooked faces to be incredibly sexy also. I'm just saying I like a woman with a crooked face.

    11. Gia does not have a crooked face at all, and I find her incredibly sexy.  She does have two different color eyes though.  So there's that.

    12. If I had to have just one food for the rest of my life it would be tuna salad with pickles on sourdough bread.  But you gotta dice the pickle and mix it with the rest of the salad.  I'm not a barbarian, people!

    13. With what we are going through with Sammi, I'm so glad that I decided long ago never to be a parent.  I don't think I could handle a sick or dying child.

    14. Plus, having kids would just cut into my boozing time.  Priorities, people!

    15. I'd stay up until 4AM and sleep until noon everyday if I could.

    16. I love our Keurig one-brew coffee maker, but sometimes I think I'd like to sit down with a whole pot of delicious brewed coffee in the morning.  Just like the old days.  And not that drip shit either.  I'm talking percolator, baby!

    17. I just found out that the first "season" of AMC's The Walking Dead is only gong to be 6 episodes.  So just 3 episodes left this year.  WTF?  Am I living in the UK or something?  Pfft.

    18. I miss collecting comic-books.  Until I see a new issue of something and it's barely recognizable in format from what I read when I was younger.  I hate all that glossy paper.

    19. I've mentioned this before, but it's been a while.  I chew my fingernails.  But only two of them.  I call them my "bad fingers".  One on each hand.  I used to gnaw on all ten, but about 10 years ago I was able to make this little compromise.  Now all my fury and stress goes toward those two bad fingers.  They are a mess.

    20. I still have occasional issues with Restless Leg Syndrome at bedtime, but they seem to be happening less and less recently.  I have no idea why.

    21. When I turned 19, I was legally allowed to purchase and drink booze.  But only for 12 days.  Because on December 1st of that year, the drinking age in NY went up to 21.  Looking back, it seems unfair to have had it taken away from me for 2 years.  It probably seemed even more unfair at the time.  Especially since I was very sick during those 12 days and on medication so I couldn't drink even if I wanted to.  And I'm sure I wanted to.

    22. That semester at college was a bad one for me.  Because of the impending increase in drinking age and the rumors that the entire campus would go dry, it was all party all the time that semester.  I think I barely managed passing grades in everything .  I mean BARELY.

    23. I did, however, learn how to hacky-sack and juggle that semester.  Skills that keep paying dividends to this very day.  Or not.

    24. That Shake Weight advertisement on TV is disturbing.  Looks like an excuse for building up those jerking off muscles to me.

    25. Not there is anything wrong with that.  Those are important muscles to exercise.

    26. I'm becoming addicted to the Craig Ferguson show on late nights on CBS.  And it's one of those things that it feels right to watch it when it's on rather than DVR it to watch later.  The problem?  It doesn't go on until 12:35 or so in the AM.  See #15 above.

    27. I wish I spoke with a Scottish accent.

    28.Even though I love the weather in November (sweaters...yay!), I definitely start a 3-4 month mild depression around this time of year.  Probably because there is no baseball.

    29. There are these stupid commercials for 1800 tequila starring Michael Imperiole that I'm starting to hate.  Not because they make fun of Patron tequila - which I agree is overrated - but because he turns the bottle upside-down and watches the tequila pours into the empty cap.  Then he says, " 1800 bottle just poured me a shot", but they don't show how he gets the cap off with the liquid in it without spilling mediocre tequila all over the place.  Phew!  I think I'm over-thinking some of these.

    30. I only know that 1800 tequila thing doesn't work because we have a bottle at home and I tried it.  Oh, gullible me.

    31. I wouldn't recognize Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha or a bunch of other pop singers if they walked up to me and slapped me on the face.  Well, maybe if Gaga was wearing her meat suit...

    32. Nor would I know any of their music.  I'm not being an old, grumpy guy here.  I've probably heard some of their songs, but it's just not my bag, man.  And I wouldn't really know where to go to listen to music like that anyway.  OK, I guess that does make me an old, grumpy guy.

    33. I'd love to see last week's episode of Community win an Emmy this/next year.  If only because I now know what a "bottle episode" is.  Well done, kids.

    34. Speaking of Community, it's one of those shows right now whose theme song get stuck in my head.  The other one right now is Veronica Mars.  Especially the slower funky version from Season 3.

    35. Whenever I watch A Few Good Men, and I watch it a lot, there are about a half dozen times that I just wish Tom Cruise's character would punch Demi Moore's character right in her privates.  Lt. Cmd. JoAnne Galloway is easily the worst character Aaron Sorkin has ever written!

    36. Whenever someone asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas I always say the same thing. "I don't really need anything."  I mean, I guess I do need stuff.  But I can never think of anything in that particular moment.

    37. Speaking of gifts, I still have to figure out some kind of prize for Paticus for winning the first ever Verdant Dude Jack Contest a few weeks ago.  Sorry, dude...I've been busy.  I promise that I'll get 'er done.

    38. There's a new show on the Discovery Channel that premiering this weekend.  Brew Masters, a reality show following Sam Calagiano - owner of the Dogfish Head Brewery - as he travels around the world searching out new ingredients and styles of beer.  I'm checking it out, are you?

    39.A lot of people find it hard to believe, but at one point in my life I seriously considered joining the military.  I even was a part of the ROTC program at my college for a year before deciding it wasn't for me.  I often wonder how that one choice changed my life.

    40. I've never met someone who knows more about MS Excel than I know.  I'm sure they are out there, but I've never met them.  Back when I was a corporate stooge, our bosses in the head office sent an "expert" to train my staff on Excel and Access.  It took all of my willpower not to take over the class after 10 minutes of listening to what this so-called expert had to say.  Instead I just pretended that there was an emergency I had to work on and I excused myself.  Saved myself three days of correcting the fool.

    41. Besides the Dude, of course, one of my favorite all-time characters in a film is Wade Garrett from Roadhouse.  No way that Dalton was a tougher cooler than Wade Fucking Garrett.  Plus, Sam Elliot = awesome.  And he understands the Dude.

    42. I generally pick up at least one bag of potato chips every time I go to the food market.  For health reason only, of course.

    43. If you want to be my Facebook friend, click here.

    44. I sometimes dream of electric sheep.  Is that weird?

    Phew! Alright, now that we have that accomplished...done, done and I'm on to the next one. DONE I'M DONE AND I'M ON TO THE NEXT...

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. See you at 2,000!

    Nov 17, 2010

    Earl's Favorite Film Scenes: Volume VII

    Thanks for all your kind words and thoughts yesterday.  Sammi is hanging in there, but she's lost even more mobility. Not sure where this is going so let's go for something a little lighter today.
    The big fight scene from Grosse Point Blank.

    Three things I wanna mention about this particular clip:

    1. I remember seeing this in the theater with a group of friends.  When they started fighting, I immediately nudged my friend next to me and said " of the future" from Say Anything.  I think a lot of people in the audience were thinking the same thing.

    2. The man that Cusack is fighting is Benny "The Jet" Urquidez.  A real-life martial arts champion.  Maybe one of the most famous of all-time.  He won over 200 bouts with no losses in full contact karate, and he held six different world titles in five weight divisions for over 24 years!  So reality he would have kicked Johnny Boy's ass!

    3. I love me some 2 Tone ska, and The Beat, or The English Beat if you prefer, are one of my favorites.  I always loved the song "Mirror in the Bathroom", but now when I hear it I can't help but think of this scene. Amazing the things that a good soundtrack to a good movie can do with your head.

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. This is my 999th post.  Wow!

    Nov 16, 2010

    Good vibes needed

    Say a prayer (or whatever it is that you do when you need to do it) for our oldest kitty, Sammi.

    She's an older gal, and she's been having mobility issues for a while now.  Mostly just stiffness, it seemed.  Then yesterday she was really having a hard time walking.  Even to her food dish...her favorite place in the world. 

    We took her to the vet and he thinks it might be feline neuropathy related to hyperthyroidism.  That's usually something that comes with feline diabetes, something she definitely does NOT have.  But in rare cases, cats with hyperthyroidism can get it too.  Right now we are just waiting for the lab tests to tell us, hopefully, exactly what is wrong with her. 

    She is resting now, on a bit of pain medication.  So maybe it will be all okay.  We just don't know.  She is getting pretty old.

    There should be some kind of offset for those of us who don't have children, and who never wanted children.  Our animals should be allowed to live for twice or thrice as long as normal.  It's only fair.

    Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Fingers crossed...