Sep 30, 2010

It's Martini Time!

The martini: the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.
H. L. Mencken

He knows just how I like my martini - full of alcohol.
Homer Simpson

One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.
James Thurber

Martinis are like tits. One is not enough and three are too many.
Anonymous booze-hound

Happiness is a dry martini and a good woman ... or a bad woman.
George Burns

I like to drink martinis. Two at the most. Three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host.
Dorothy Parker

He was white and shaken, like a dry martini.
P.G. Wodehouse

I am prepared to believe that a dry martini slightly impares the palate, but think what it does for the soul.
Alec Waugh

Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?
Robert Benchley

A medium vodka dry martini - with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.
Ian Fleming

The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?
Gerald Ford

And, of course...

I bet a nickel.
Martini - from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Just because.  Just for scuzz.

Sep 29, 2010

The Ike Special

There's a saying that goes a little something like "Sports don't build character, they reveal it."  I'm not sure I totally believe that.  Sports definitely has the possibility to bring out the best in some people.  It's also been known to bring out the worst in others.  But as a general rule of thumb, I think it works.  Especially when talking about kids and organized team sports.

Case in point. Ike Ditzenberger is a 17-year old high-school junior who loves football. Playing for his high school team like his older brothers before him. And despite his physical limitations, he practices with the junior varsity and varsity squads every day and he always finds a way to score. His coach has drawn up a play that guarantees it. Every time.

Did I mention that Ike has Down Syndrome?

For the last play of each practice, Ike gets to score a touchdown with the varsity team. As long as he keeps his pads on and his mouthpiece in, his coach will call his number for his very own offensive play. The Ike Special.

And this past week, with a little help from the defense on the opposing team, Ike scored a last second touchdown on a 51-yard ramble to the end zone. The other team was up 35-0 with 10 seconds left when Ike's play and number was called, so yeah...they let the guy have his moment.  And it was Ike's very first career varsity score.  A very big moment for him.  I say hurrah for the kids and coaches of that other team.  It showed a lot of sportsmanship.

Some critics believe that there is no place in sports for this kind of thing.  That no one should ever "allow" a play like this to happen.  I disagree.  It think it was wonderful.


Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. C'mon...that's awesome!

Sep 28, 2010


I was reading an article the other day (NSFW link there) about some words and phrases that have apparently been blacklisted from the new Google Instant Search function. I haven't read anything official from Google itself, but I've experienced it first-hand and I hadn't realized that it was intentional on Google's part. But I guess it is.

You know what I'm talking about, right? You type something in the Google Search box and a bunch of common searches pop up. Like this one:

I've already noticed that some words or phrases don't give you any suggestions. The article in question suggests that you test this out by first trying "puppy" and then "bitch". You'll see the difference in the results.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this. Is it censorship? I dunno. The searches on Google still work for anything that you might be fetishizing at any particular moment. It's just that they don't offer any Instant options, and they've obviously put some thought and action into making that the case.

I guess I tend to think of the Instant search results as a novelty. "Oh, look...Google knows exactly what I'm thinking!" That kind of thing. I would have hoped that, in this day and age, they would have just used some algorithm to do that without any interference, but I'm not really sure I care all that much. It's not stopping me from doing what I want to do, but I do find it interesting.

Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Just don't Google "hairy". You have been warned.

Sep 27, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin Ale, Charlie Brown!

Hey kids! It's my first Verdant Dude beer review. Well, the first one in a real long while that hasn't been posted to the old Beer-Eyed Blog. And since we are all about the new Autumn season this week, I thought I would take a moment to talk about a beer style rather than a specific brew. But we'll get to a few of those too.

Autumn in the Northeast means one thing for us beer lovers. Pumpkin Ales! Yeah, they are beers brewed with real pumpkins, pumpkin juice sometimes and always with pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg, vanilla or cinnamon. The spices are added because, well, pumpkins by themselves are fairly bland. Had to be said.

While the style has been around for hundreds of years (legend has it that George Washington brewed his own beer from pumpkins), it's only been a viable commercial entity recently. From what I've read, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale out of California is most likely the first pumpkin ale brewed commercially. I've never had it, but it gets some pretty bad reviews. Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is the first pumpkin beer I ever had. And my friends and I would look forward to Autumn every year for the newest batch.

A lot of bars and restaurants will serve a pumpkin ale in a glass rimmed with sugar and pumpkin spices. That's okay, but I prefer to taste the flavor of the beer itself rather than that extra sweetness. A good pumpkin beer doesn't need it. But it can make a mediocre pumpkin ale drinkable. Just try not to drink mediocre pumpkin ale, all right?

Here are five of my favorite pumpkin ales:
  • PumKing (Southern Tier Brewing, NY) - This is the king, as the name suggests. An incredible imperial (high alcohol) pumpkin all that has it all. It tastes like a pumpkin pie with whipped cream in a glass. It can easily replace any dessert you might want to have...ever! The only problem is that it may be too delicious and filling. One (they come in big 22oz bottles) is definitely enough. There are pumpkin beers that are session beers (you can drink more than a few of them, if you want), but this isn't one of them. The one beer is more than worth it, though.
  • Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout (Cape Ann Brewery, MA) - This one is unique. The only pumpkin stout that I've ever tried. There may be another regional pumpkin stout out there, but I've never seen it in my area. Very surprisingly smooth with just a hint of pumpkin spice in there. A big-time malt experience, in my opinion. Like a lot of stouts, it maybe has a little coffee or chocolate flavor in there too. Extremely drinkable too, even though it's 6.75% ABV doesn't make it a lightweight beer. So tread carefully.
  • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (Smuttynose Brewing, NH) - This might be my favorite pumpkin beer if I'm going to be having more than one. A solid offering with a little more bitter hop flavor than most pumpkin ales. And at 6.0% ABV, it's not terribly strong nor noticeably weak. A nice brew that covers all the proper bases. I especially love it on draft.
  • Punkin Ale (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, DE) - Probably one of the more popular craft pumpkin ales nationally, and there is a reason for that. It's delicious! It smells like Autumn in a glass. A hint of cloves to go along with everything else in there, but the tastes is pure smoothness. A lot of pumpkin beers go overboard with the sweetness or the spices (or both), but not this one. It's just good beer.
  • Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (Elysian Brewing, WA) - I figured I should pick something from the West Coast, and for pumpkin beers I think you can't go wrong with this one. All the beers from Elysian are delicious, even though the labels are a little silly. Very smooth, Elysian does everything right with this one. A great spice aroma and initial taste. It also comes in a large 22oz bottle like the PumKing, but it is a bit more of a session beer than that one.
And I'll give you one to stay away from. I really, really dislike Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale out of Maine. Maybe because it's not brewed with real pumpkins and the pumpkin flavoring is added after the brewing process (what's up with that?), but it just tastes wrong. Flat, lifeless and just bad. Having one of these can ruin one's idea of what a real pumpkin ale should taste like. Bleh.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Get your gourd on!

Sep 24, 2010

Fatal Earworm

I got a doozy of an earworm, and it's killing me.

Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis". And I don't know why. I was completely meh about that tune when it came out around 20 years ago. Yeah...20 years ago. How old does that make you feel? Just me? Crap!

There are a bunch of things that bother me about it. Like:
  • He talks about touching down in the land of the Delta blues when arriving in Memphis. That's in Tennessee, right? Is that anywhere near the Mississippi Delta? I know Memphis is on the Mississippi, but I thought the Delta was further south. Criminy.
  • He gets really excited at weird times in the song. Asked if he is a Christian child and he firmly states that he is tonight. And that whole thing about the pretty little thing waiting for the King down in the Jungle Room. Dude...
  • I remember when it first came out, and folks who hadn't visited Memphis wondered about him walking ten feet off of Beale. Apparently it's a street that runs through the downtown of Memphis. But no one I knew at the time had ever been to Memphis or had heard of Beale Street. Doesn't anyone west of the Hudson River realize that those of use who grew up east of the Hudson River doesn't believe you exist?
  • Who the fuck is Marc Cohn anyway?
Have a nice weekend. I bet you this song is gonna be playing in your head at some point. You are most welcome.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Put on your blue suede shoes...

Sep 23, 2010

Get yer Jack on!

UPDATE:'s been brought to my attention that my deadline was a little early. Especially for those of you who live in warmer climates. So I've pushed it forward by three days to the 27th. That's as late as I can go. I'm going on vacation and leaving on that Friday afternoon, so I need to have it all done by Friday morning. Sorry if that timetable still leaves you out. Also, I would prefer to stick to new 2010 creations. So please, no photos of classic pumpkin carvings from prior years. Thanks! - Earl

OK, kiddies. Here it is. Due to overwhelming demand, I'm gonna go ahead with the Jack-o'-lantern contest that I mentioned last week. Aren't you all so excited you could puke?

Da Rules:
  • Send me a photo of your favorite pumpkin creation this year. My email address is on my Blogger profile, lazybones! If there is anything else in the picture besides the pumpkin (like boobs), I will crop it out for the sake of the contest. But, ahem, don't let that stop you from sending me photos of your boobs. 
  • UPDATE: All entries need to be sent by 11PM EST on Sunday, October 24th Wednesday, October 27th
  • UPDATE: I'll post the photos on Monday the 25th Thursday the 28th along with a poll where you can vote for your favorite Jack-o'-lantern. Feel free to vote for you own, jerk.
  • On Friday, October 29th I will reveal the big weiner along with the names of the rest of the contestants alongside their evil creations.
I haven't exactly decided what the winner gets. Maybe it will be specific to the actual person. Something like a bottle of bacon-ized bourbon...I don't know. But don't you worry your pretty little heads about it. Somebody is getting something, and let's leave it at that.

Good luck, Fuck-o'-lanterns! And tell your friends!

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Fuck-o'-lantern made me laugh.

Sep 22, 2010

The Good Stuff

So Gia came home the other day with a surprise for me.

She scored some really good stuff. ::wink:: South of the border stuff, if ya know what I mean. ::nudge:: Real primo stuff...pure. From Mexico. ::nod::

Wow...I'm so damn square I can't even pull off an easy drug joke.

That's some Mexican Coke right there, as in the soda. And instead of that high fructose corn syrup that's used in the recipe here in the States, it's made with pure cane sugar. And it's becoming more and more popular north of the border because of it.

I don't know about you, but high fructose corn syrup kinda freaks me out. I've mentioned this to Gia in the past and she has kept her eye out for Mexican Coke. I'm not sure my taste buds are discerning enough to tell you that it is definitively better. It does taste different. But just knowing the ingredients, and lack thereof, makes me think it tastes better.

That's good enough for me.

You ever score some sweet Mexican Coke?
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Is it still hip to be square?

Sep 21, 2010

The Fall TV schedule

Because clearly my opinion is important to you all, I thought I would follow in other's footsteps and let you all know what I've tagged in our DVR to record as this Fall television season starts in earnest this week. Fascinating stuff, eh?

  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS 8:00 PM) - I'm really considering dropping this one. I really hate the main character, but the talent of the supporting cast keeps me coming back. Oh how I would love it if Ted gets hit by a bus and spends this season in a coma.
  • The Event (NBC 9:00 PM) - The "it" show of the new year. The replacement for Lost for all of those who need a crazy mystery show. I have no idea if I'm going to like it, but I'm willing to give it a try for at least a few weeks.
  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS 10:00 PM) - I'm just taking a flyer on this one. I'm guessing that I drop it after a week or two.
  • NCIS (CBS 8:00 PM) - Yeah, that show that is consistently in the Top 5 in ratings even though no one you know watches it? It's me. I'm watching it. But I've got a man-crush on Mark Harmon and a real crush on Pauley Perrette, so fuck y'all.
  • Glee (FOX 8:00 PM) - This one is really for Gia. She seems to love it, even though we missed most of the first season. I dunno. Seems harmless enough, but if she watches it without me I think I'll live.
  • Survivor (CBS 8:00 PM) - Still the best reality show out there. And an absolute pleasure to watch in HD. Gorgeous locations always. This season, former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson is one of the contestants. Not sure how that's gonna work out, but I'm gonna say not very well for the coach.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC 9:00 PM) - Ah, a little rape, some incest, maybe sprinkled in with just plain-old domestic violence. What's not to love?
  • Modern Family (ABC 9:00 PM) - If Community isn't the funniest show on television, then this ensemble comedy might be. Plus you get to watch Sofia Vergara every week. Rowr!
  • Terriers (FX 10:00 PM) - I caught the first two episodes of this and I think I'm hooked. Donal Logue is always engaging and it's got a nice balance of drama and comedy. FX is really making some great shows these days.
Thursday - here we go...
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS 8:00 PM) - It's filled with awful nerd stereotypes, but it really makes us laugh. Especially Sheldon. I don't know if he deserved the Emmy that he just won, but it was nice to see someone other than Alec Baldwin get it.
  • Community (NBC 8:00 PM) - Perhaps the funniest show on television. And this season they are pushing the envelope even further. Look for a Christmas special that is done in stop-motion animation like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I can't wait.
  • 30 Rock (NBC 8:30 PM) - It's starting to wear a little thin with me, but the main stars of the show are just so damned funny that I can't say no.
  • Shit My Dad Says (CBS 8:30 PM) - No idea, but I'm willing to give it a try. I say that I dump it after after two weeks.
  • Fringe (FOX 9:00 PM) - Here's one that I used to watch, then stopped watching, then starting watching again at the end of last season and I think I'm back again. But, as you can see, Thursday night is pretty filled up it might get dropped again.
  • The Office (NBC 9:00 PM) - Still crazy after all these years. I think this is the last season for Steve Carell, right? I can't imagine that they will continue on.
  • Jersey Shore (MTV 10:00 PM) - Don't judge me.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX 10:00 PM) - Another one that has lost a little as the years have gone by, but I still love the gang and all their awful antics. True story...a certain reader of this blog personally knows some of the cats on this show.
  • Human Target (FOX 8:00 PM) - It's not starting until October, but I think this is gonna be the time slot. Doesn't matter. I'm sure this is the last season for this one. Shame, because it was/is a lot of fun. Definitely my favorite new show of last season.
  • Blue Bloods (CBS 10:00 PM) - Hey, it's got Tom Selleck, his mustache and Donnie Wahlberg. I'll give it one week. Impress me, Selleck.
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC 11:30 PM) - I don't know why. There is about 5 minutes each week that is worth watching. So I generally watch it in FF, hoping I don't miss anything. Ah...anything that is worth seeing is usually all over the Internet by Sunday night anyway.
  • The Amazing Race (CBS 8:00 PM) - Ah, having to adjust the DVR because football ALWAYS runs late on CBS on Sundays. But this show is too much fun to miss. Wouldn't you all love to see Slyde and I run The Amazing Race? He'd have to do all the manly challenges because I'm a delicate flower.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. That's an awful lot of TV. I'm gonna have to pare that down.

Sep 20, 2010

[REC] and Quarantine

source: PopMatters

Let me start by saying that I saw the American remake of [REC], Quarantine, prior to seeing the original. That's not the ideal situations when trying to compare and contrast the two films in terms of originality. I thought Quarantine was creepy as all hell, and by the time I saw [REC] some of that creepiness was muted.

Some of that creepiness. Not all. In at least one way, I found [REC] to be far scarier than Quarantine was. It went...places that the remake refused to go. Scary places.

In fact, I think (and a lot of folks agree with me) that [REC] is the superior film. I still love Quarantine, but now that I've seen the original I find myself wishing it were just a bit more like [REC].

The films are almost exactly the same. The American film is an almost shot-for-shot remake with just a few small changes. A news crew is spending an evening with a fire station and they accompany them on a call. Both movies are shot from in point-of-view style in found footage ala The Blair Witch Project. A disturbance is soon called in from an apartment building. Something to do with a woman stuck in her apartment. But the woman appears to be a bit disturbed. She's mumbling incoherently, screaming occasionally and biting indiscriminately. Yeah...she got da horror movie blues, my friends.

Soon, very soon, all Hell breaks loose. The government steps in and seals the building off. Something about a contagion loose in the building. Everyone is understandably panicked. More so when some of the other residents, police officers and firefighters begin displaying the same symptoms. Nom nom nom!

One of the things I admired in both films was the found footage plot device. In similar previous films (Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, etc...), I found myself wondering why they didn't just put down the camera and save themselves. These films found some unique ways to keep the camera rolling that actually made sense. Even the reporter's "we've got to show everyone the truth" mantra that she keeps repeating.

The biggest differences in the two films are the big reveals of the cause of the contagion toward the end of each film. Both are horror standbys, but I found the root of all evil in [REC] to be far, far scarier. I'm not gonna say what it was because you should see it for yourself. If you already have, already know what I'm talking about.

So if I had to rate each film on a 5 star Netflix scale, I would probably move Quarantine down to 4 stars (I had initially given it 5 stars) and bump [REC] up to 5. But both films were a lot of fun and creepy as they get. If you are dead-set against foreign subtitled films, then go with the American version. But if you want the better movie then go with [REC].

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. You don't want the government to come over and seal you into your building, do you?

Sep 17, 2010

Rain series

Had a brilliant rainstorm blow through here yesterday afternoon. Brilliant because it blew in right as I was ready to sit down and enjoy a beer. So I grabbed one and headed out to our covered deck to watch Mama Nature for a little while. And, of course, I forgot to grab the camera or the Flip video camera. So instead, you get a bunch of out-of-focus pictures from my cell phone. Enjoy!

Rain is just about to start. Dark in the background, light coming from behind.

Rain coming down pretty hard now.

Hard to tell, but absolutely pouring now! The other side of the harbor is just a gray mass.

All clear. But the dark clouds that were in front of me in that first pic are now behind me, casting everything into shadow. Nice!

Gee...wasn't that fun?

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Remember, those aren't our boats. They belong to the neighbors.

Sep 16, 2010

Quick Question

With Autumn rapidly approaching, I find myself looking forward to the ghosts and goblins that will be running around come Halloween night.

I'm thinking about running a small contest here on The Verdant Dude for the Halloween season, but I'm not sure I have enough readers (::sniff::) to make it worthwhile. A good old-fashioned Jack-o'-Lantern carving contest.

Let me know in the comments if you are interested, and if I get a decent enough response I'll post the details sometime next week.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. 'Tis the season.

Sep 15, 2010

Lucky Number

I deal in coincidence all the time. Sometimes I even dabble in deja vu or "holy crap, did that just happen?" stuff.

Yesterday was one of those latter the nth degree. I usually work with Pandora radio going in the background, as I've mentioned before. And yesterday was no exception. I also take a bunch of mini-breaks during the day to catch up on the stuff in my feed reader. Yesterday was no exception there either.

I was doing that, reading White Rabbit's latest blog post about Bob Marley, This is England and ska. He even embedded a ska classic, 54-46 (That's My Number) by Toots & the Maytals. This one here:

Not a song that comes along in my life very often. If I wound up hearing it later this week or found myself reading an article about Toots Hibbert next month sometime, I would think to myself "Wow...that's weird. White Rabbit recently posted something about that song." I would find it odd because neither the song nor the artist come up that often in my life.

But as I was reading this particular blogpost, something was striking me as familiar. So I looked up at the TV (that's how I listen to Pandora) and I saw and heard "5446 That's My Number/Ball and Chain" by Sublime. A remake of the same song that White Rabbit posted on his blog.

Randomly playing on Pandora.


That, my friends, is some freaky cosmic shit.

I don't play the lottery all that often, besides the occasional Quick Pick when the jackpot reaches 9 digits. And I never play "the numbers". Pick 4 or whatever it is that it's called.

But I'm playing 5446 tomorrow. Oh yeah.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Right now, somebody else has that number.

Sep 14, 2010

Bizarro World

So this past weekend, Gia and I had about the craziest 20 minutes ever.

Get your mind out of the gutter people. Besides, you really think I can last that long? ;)

We were on our way from my brother's house to go see one of Gia's beer customers, when we passed by this house that looked like it was decorated for Halloween. But it wasn't Halloween. It was all political shit. Vote for this Conservative Republican or vote for this Conservative Republican. Semi-typical for the neighborhood we were in, but these gigantic signs were framing this even more gigantic and hideous poster of President Obama done up to look like Hitler. With the words "The Biggest Mistake Our Nation Has Ever Made" drawn underneath the photo.

Think about the ridiculousness of those two things for a moment. Regardless of how you feel about Obama or the fact that he was elected, to compare him to Hitler and to call his election the biggest mistake this country has ever made is just bad history. Hate him and hate his election. Howl at the moon about it. Go crazy, but read a fucking book, okay?

Anyway, this isn't really about the political views of this particular household. But Gia couldn't believe what we just saw, so she turned around to take another look. Well the folks in the house came out just as we were doing so. And they saw us looking and they saw us turn around again. They were going somewhere too, so they wound up behind us when we got to the red light at the end of the road.

As we were giggling about these lovely folks while stopped at the light, the guy gets out of the car and comes over to the passenger side where I was. He was smiling and wanted to know if we liked what we saw. I guess he was a proud peacock, and he thought we were birds of a feather. Luckily the light changed to green and Gia gunned it before I had a chance to tell him to flock off. Lucky for me...he looked dangerous.

Anyway, while cracking up and wondering what rabbit hole we just fell through (seriously, what kind of nut gets out of their car to talk to the people in front of them these days?), we were waiting at another light and we wanted to make a left. Except there was a no turn on left sign, which I pointed out. Gia saw it and said it was okay because it said "Except For Sundays". Fine. So we waited for the oncoming traffic to pass and she made the left.

Cue the police.

Bang. We get pulled over right away, and the Gia asks the cop what the problem was. He told us she made a left when she wasn't supposed to. She told him that she saw the sign, but since it said "Except for Sundays" she thought we were fine. He laughed at that because it was Saturday. Turns out it was Saturday all that day.

The officer was actually a pretty good guy. He laughed, we laughed and he let her off with a warning. So it all turned out okay. No harm, no foul.

But the whole 20 minutes leading up to that moment? Crazy train, my friends.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Hitler had a few folks killed, didn't he?

Sep 13, 2010

Still Only 25¢: Iron Man #85

Disclaimer: Part of an on-going (okay this is the first one) 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

Iron Man #85 hit the stores in early 1976. The cover said April 1976, but I think they usually were published a month or two early. So it was probably February or so. It was during that first six months of 1976 that Marvel prepared us all for the price hike that was coming later in the year. Hence the "Still Only 25¢" price you see there on the upper left. Hard to believe that there was a time in my life that I could walk into the candy store (that's where I bought my comic-books) and walk away with four comic-books for a dollar. There may be someone reading this who remembers when they were even cheaper. 10 cents or 12 cents through most of the 1960's. Nowadays comic-books are printed on glossy premium paper and usually carry a price-tag of $2.99 or more. That's a shame. I guess that the price is fair, but it still seems like kids should be able to walk into a candy store with a few quarters and walk out with a handful of fantasy.

Anyway, I had read and enjoyed comic-books for a few years before Iron Man #85. I probably in late 1973 or early 1974. Somewhere around there. But until this particular issue, I had never heard of anyone "collecting" comic-books. That is, until I made a new friend at school who happened to spy this issue peeking out from inside a notebook or binder I was carrying.

He hadn't picked it up yet, and it was the second part and conclusion of a story that had started in the previous issue. Tony Stark's good buddy, Happy Hogan, had mutated into The Freak after trying an experimental cobalt ray machine to cure his illness. Whatever that was. He would revert to his normal self after a while, but any contact with cobalt would set him off again. Like a walking bomb. No...I don't remember if he was actually going to explode, but that's what they called him. A walking bomb.

So my new friend asked if he could read it quickly and asked me if I had read the previous issue. At the time, I was buying comic-books in a willy-nilly fashion. I didn't really follow any title religiously, so it was common for me to pick up an Iron Man when I hadn't read it in a few months because I was busy reading The Hulk or The X-Men or Thor or Daredevil or Luke Cage, Power Man. I hadn't read the previous issue. So he invited me over to his house after school to check it out. Cool. I didn't really know anyone else who liked comic-books at that time, and he seemed harmless.

I couldn't believe the boxes and boxes of comic-books this kid had when I got there. Holy crap! I can't really recall now, but I know he had some stuff going all the way back to the 40's, 50's and 60's. Stuff his father had "collected" and handed down to him. Thinking about it now, that's some trusting man right there. Giving your valued comic-book collection to a nine-year-old. Then again, comic-books weren't anywhere near as valuable back then as they have become since.

He also had this book published by Marvel called Origins or something like that. It was a real book about comic-books. I had never seen anything like that before. Told the tale of every single character in the Marvel Universe from way back in the Golden Age up until that time. I had no idea that there was so much background involved. The Silver Surfer was considered a villain when he first appeared? The Hulk was originally gray? The Human Torch was an android? What the hell?

But I was hooked. I didn't actually become a "collector" until I was an adult. A couple of years after I graduated from college and I had some spending money in my pocket. But I did try to follow a few titles a little more closely back then. Iron Man was one of them. In the next year he would do battle with villains like The Blizzard (guess what his power was?), The Blood Brothers, The Controller, the mysterious Melter (he melted things...think about it), a peg-legged pirate named Kraken and Ultimo...just to name a few. The covers were always awesome, including a few by the King...Jack Kirby. Same theme over and over again, though. The villains always seemed to have the upper hand on him, but he usually came through unscathed.

And since he was just a guy in a metal suit there was something comforting and, um, realistic about it all. Yeah...I know. "Realistic" probably isn't the right word to use there. Especially when he was fighting against a guy who became super-strong and invulnerable by his use of a "cobalt ray machine", but you know what I mean...right?

Within a year my family moved to another town. One that was a lot safer than where we had been living, but it also had a lot less personality. Not a single candy store in town that sold comic-books. Sure, I could still get them at the deli or the the supermarket or that weird hobby shop in the mall, but it wasn't the same. The secret formula of candy and comic-books was lost forever. I held on for a little while, but I was pretty much done with the world of superheroes by the time I had turned 12.

For about a decade, at least.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Tony Stark will make you feel, he's a cool exec with a heart of steel...

Sep 10, 2010

God said to Abraham "Kill me a son"

Highway 61 Revisited
by Bob Dylan

Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What ?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done ?"
God says. "Out on Highway 61".

Well Georgia Sam he had a bloody nose
Welfare Department they wouldn't give him no clothes
He asked poor Howard where can I go
Howard said there's only one place I know
Sam said tell me quick man I got to run
Ol' Howard just pointed with his gun
And said that way down on Highway 61.

Well Mack the finger said to Louie the King
I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get ride of these things
And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son
And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61.

Now the fift daughter on the twelfth night
Told the first father that things weren't right
My complexion she said is much too white
He said come here and step into the light he says hmmm you're right
Let me tell second mother this has been done
But the second mother was with the seventh son
And they were both out on Highway 61.

Now the rowin' gambler he was very bored
He was tryin' to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61.

You may have to login to Hulu to see that second clip. Some NSFW language

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. The next time you see comin' you'd better run.

Sep 9, 2010

Look at the bones!

I'm going to do my best to ignore the steaming pile of human shit that is the Pastor Terry Jones (no link provided/deserved) this coming weekend. As I said in a comment on Sybil's blog earlier today "This shit is going to end badly...for someone". Well, it was something like that. Excuse me for para-phrasing myself.

Instead, I'll focus on the comedic genius that is Terry Jones. Not the pastor, the Monty Python alum. Because he knows in his heart that it isn't the Qur'an, Islam or Muslims (or Moslems, as that other guy calls them) that we should fear. No sir, it's Killer Bunnies.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Anya would agree.

Sep 8, 2010

The Eye of Sauron

photo source: NASA/AFP/Getty

Looks like something out of Peter Jackson's concept art department for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, doesn't it?  Nope...this is a photo of a fading white dwarf star at the center of the Hourglass Nebula taken by the good folks manning the Hubble Space Telescope.  And it's looking directly at your soul, so you had better be good, for goodness sake.

I literally could spend days just gazing at the incredible pictures being taken by the Hubble.  Stuff like the Pillars of Creation, or Cosmic Dust Bunnies or the Cone Nebula.  These images are like the fantasy creation of some sci-fi geek/artist that might go into a wall calendar or something.  Or the cover of a sci-fi magazine.  No way they can be real.  Except they are.  There for those of us who are really into space porn.

The best thing about space porn?  You don't get embarrassed when your girlfriend catches you enjoying it.  Until she calls you a geek, and then you do.  Sigh.

EDIT: Seems as if Pearl Jam used this image or one similar to it for the cover of one of their albums back in 2000.  News to me.  I stopped listening to Pearl Jam after Ten. - Earl
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. My space suit pants are tight!

Sep 7, 2010


Note: I realize I already messed up my scheduled Monday posts that I committed to last week, but c'mon...yesterday was Labor Day. Gimme a break! The madness will begin starting next Monday. - Earl

Have you ever just suddenly and randomly changed one of your habits...a good habit...for no real reason whatsoever?

It's recently happened with me with seatbelts in the car.

I have no idea why, but recently I've been forgetting to secure my seatbelt before popping the car into Drive and vroom-vrooming. It doesn't last long. Usually by the time I get from our parking spot down by the harbor to the top of the hill where the street is, the car is yelling at me to fasten my belt. And I do. I'm not scooting around the Long Island Expressway without my seatbelt fastened or anything, so relax.

But it's just weird that I even need to be reminded. For well over 20 years now, my first action in the car after I start it is to fasten my belt. Always. It's one of those ingrained habits that I thought would never ever change. But here it is. I get in the car and I play with the radio and I drive away from the house, and THEN I need to be reminded by the car to be safe.

I just can't wrap my brain around why this has happened all of a sudden.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Is this what getting old is all about?

Sep 3, 2010

Old Folks Boogie

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. You know that you're over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill.

Sep 2, 2010

(Sub)Urban Legends

I love a good urban legend. I really do.

Something that's meant to throw a good scare into us. Whether it's watching out for the guy with a hook instead of a hand terrorizing kids making out down by the lake, or being careful not to eat Pop-Rocks with any kind of carbonated drink. The best urban legends give our inner twelve-year-old the chills or the thrills. The cheapest kind.

Then there are the urban legends that make no sense to me whatsoever.

Case in point: Yesterday, Gia was telling me about one of those forwarded emails that we all get. I'm sure you've either heard of this one or received it yourself from your mother or someone equally gullible. It was about the actor Lee Marvin and his time spent in the military. The email claimed he was on The Tonight Show and he told a story about how he was injured at Iwa Jima in WWII. Carson called him a hero, but Marvin told the story about the bravest man he ever knew...a real hero. His sergeant, who saved him and his entire platoon by drawing the enemy fire to himself. The man's name was Bob Keeshan, or Captain Kangaroo as the older of us kids know him.

Nice little story, right? The email then went on to talk about how Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was, in fact, a former Marine sniper who had served in Vietnam and who had several dozen confirmed kills to his credit. His trademarked sweater was actually used to cover tattoos that he had gotten while in the service. Hard to believe, right?

That's because it's all bullshit.

Well, most of it. Lee Marvin did serve in WWII, but he was never at Iwa Jima having been hurt earlier in the war. And Bob Keeshan also served in the Army in WWII, but he joined up too late in 1945 to be deployed overseas. Everything else? Bullshit. Especially all that crap about Fred Rogers, who was pretty much the furthest thing on Earth from a tattooed Marine sniper with a couple of dozen confirmed kills.

Now, what's the purpose of a urban legend like these? It's just a lie or several lies about someone famous. Or someone who used to be famous. I heard these urban legends and I responded with a big fat "huh". Why would somebody even care to make something like this up? Is there some evil genius wannabe cackling away in his secret lair about sending that first email out? "It worked, worked!"

I have no fault with people believing this stuff. Gia believed it. Or she kinda believed it, but questioned it enough to tell me about it. And it took me all of 10 seconds to find out that it was all crap on Snopes. I just don't understand the purpose of making this shit up in the first place.

I hate a shitty urban legend. I really do.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Really...a guy with a hook instead of a hand. Look it up.

Sep 1, 2010

The Verdant Dude 3.0...a work in progress

So I've made some changes around here, as you can see. Or as you might see. Some of you are reading this from your feed readers. If you are, then head on over so you can see what I'm talking about.

Everybody here? Okay, let's continue.

It's not exactly done. I'm not thrilled with the header pic. I love the actual pic that I took it from (courtesy of Hank), but it's a low-res pic and it's a bit fuzzy and pixel-ated when expanded to 760x300. So I have some work to do there. Or you could do it for me! Hey, that's a great idea. If you have a great idea for The Verdant Dude header, send a 760x300 copy over to me ASAP. Thanks!

EDIT: Mucho thanks to Dave2 for cleaning up that header image for me.

Ahem...anyway. The background image is what whiskey looks like under a hi-powered microscope. Cool, huh? And crazy psychedelic. I'm not 100% on board yet, but I kinda dig.

Also, I changed some stuff on my sideboard. Got rid of the list of books that I should be reading that was taunting me. Also the Blogger Follower widget. Sorry if you were into that, but I don't follow 90% of the folks that were following me and I felt guilty just looking at it. Deleting it was easier than following 50 more blogs.

And I'm instituting a little order around here.
  • Every 1st Monday of the month will be for a new feature I wrote about a while back. An issue of a mid-70's Marvel comic-book, and my recollections about the time and place and whatever.
  • Every 2nd Monday of the month will be for movie reviews. Old movies, new movies, porn...whatever.
  • Every 3rd Monday of the month will be for beer reviews. I know I've been letting you all down with my lack of beer reviews (yeah, right!), and I promise to bring the goods.
You can find links to the archives for each category over there on the sideboard.

The rest of the time it will be business or crap as usual. I'm also thinking of changing my avatar to a real-live pic of yours truly. Then again, I've been thinking about that for about two years now.

So, still working on it, but it's a beginning.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. My recent comment widget isn't working either. Gotta fix that.