Saturday, May 25, 2002


The Blue French Fries are out of the oven and I'm munching some as we speak. First of all they are really blue, like Smurf-level blue. It looks vaguely like they were manufactured at the Play-Doh Fun Factory. Also, it was tough to tell when they were done as something blue does not turn golden brown.

But I did get them out of the oven and onto a plate. I sprinkled them with Lawry's Seasoned Salt as is my normal french fry routine, then since I hate ketchup, I got some Ranch dressing with bacon for dipping. Between the blue potatoes, bright orange salt and speckled white dressing, what I have on a paper plate before me looks like a bizarre collaboration between Dave Thomas and Jackson Pollock, but I'm happy to report that it tastes, french fries, and pretty decent ones, but with a spiffy twist.
Baked Goods! Bad Music! Woo-Hoo!


I hereby declare the "[insert noun here]-palooza" meme dead.

This is not to say that I have anything against strudel or any other pastry for that matter. Regular readers know me to be something of an aficionado of junk food of all stripes. It's gotten to the point that supermarket checkers upon looking at me and Lisa's purchases will say "Your kids are gonna love all this stuff.." after which we look sheepishly at eacother and mumble, "Um, we don't have kids...". Oh well, screw 'em if they don't understand.
So, of course I was delighted when I came across Ore-Ida Cool Blue Seasoned Funky Fries. I shall taste test them sometime this weekend, but I'm sure they rock. They're BLUE. FRENCH. FRIES. for Pete's sake. 'Tis a wonderful time to be alive.
In the midst of all the barbecues and partying, remember Memorial Day has a deeper meaning.Remember, All Gave Some, Some Gave All.

I do plan to have a good time with this evening and tommorrow(which is my time off this weekend). The local classic rock station is doing a top 500 countdown, and on the way home I'll get a case of beer and some wings and mozzarella sticks. The weathers been really nice around here in that breezy, pre-rainstorm kinda way, only without the rainstorm[knocks wood].

The only thing missing is fireworks. Here in the puritanical state, recreational explosives are illegal. On the move down to Miami, I stopped at this infamous tourist trap and bought a fuckload of cool stuff. Bottlerockets, Jumping Jacks, Black Cats, Roman Candles...the whole pyromaniac fun-pak. On the eve of the millennium, I started drinking around noon and at nightfall, along with the rest of the neighboorhood began setting them off. From all the explosions you woulda thought you were in Vietnam. The whole complex smelled like a battlefield for about two weeks. The only bad part was when my thumb breifly caught fire when I lit the 36 inch sparkler, but I poured beer on it and it went out.Good Times...

The American fondness for explosions on holidays is one of the best things about this country. One of the others is that there is always a game on somewhere.

BTW, the Jalapeno Cheddar Ritz Bits kick ass. Even without the cigarettes, RJR/Nabisco still has a hold on my soul...
A small jam-up during my work commute today made me think of some unpleasant road trips of my past.

Which begs the question: Is there any driving experience less pleasant than being stuck in a huge traffic jam behind a full garbage truck on a hot day with no exits in sight, all the while having to take a wicked piss? Huh?

Didn't think so.

Random Thought:

I had a customer named Laurel a few weeks ago. What an unbelievably pretty name. If I ever have a girl child, the name Laurel Ann will be my choice. Failing that I'll give the name to a character in a story or a book.

Just rambling. It's late.

Friday, May 24, 2002

At lunchtime, I made my usual run over to the convenience store for snacks and on the meat snack rack along with the Slim Jims, Tijuana Mama's, and the rest was a product simply called "Bison Sticks." Now I'm a sucker for any kind of game meat product (they make me feel all Davy Crockett)so I bought a couple. They were OK, basically gamier Slim Jims.

When I got back, I tried to find a link to the company that made the Bison Sticks, but sadly I was unsuccesful. A little Googling, however did reveal a thriving Exotic Meat presence on the web, Bison being a particular favorite. This idle Googlefoolery did eventually lead me to the next wonder of the carnivorous world, and it's name is.....


I *heart* Bisurkey. As a matter of fact, I'm berserky for Bisurkey!! It's a wonderful product that sprung from a love that dared not speak it's name. Warms the heart, really it does.

The next trend in meat snacks, I predict, will be the move beyond exotic game meats, into extinct meats. If experiments in the Arctic are succesful, you will soon be buying some Mastadon Jerky to go with that bag of Funyuns. Stay tuned...
Many of you are probably familiar with the slang term "fag hag" used to describe straight women who always get attracted to gay men. As a straight guy who keeps falling for lesbians,or at least bi-girls,(4 and counting) I wondered if there was an equivalent term for folks like me. There is. Apparently, I am a dyke tyke. Sounds vaguely like a cartoon character, but I like it.

I was at a barbecue at Lisa's brother's house last week and he didn't have any beer in his fridge. The only beverage he had was Coca-Cola in the old style glass bottles. Now I'm not a huge cola buff, but Coke always tastes better in the glass bottles; more fizz, less syrupy. Betcha there's some kinda chemical thing going on.

In other news, I put an application in over at Google Answers last night. I've only completed the first step of the application but it sounds cool. Basically you get a few bucks for answering questions for the great web unwashed using your Google Fu.

This will probably be a big hit, but somehow I keep picturing the whole Google Answers team as a bunch of grown up Encyclopedia Browns and Great Brains with broadband connections.

That's actually pretty neat, if you think on it. Both those books made me feel like it was incredibly cool to be intelligent, which is a message a lot of young people I know need to hear. Encyclopedia Brown made me wanna start a detective agency, but Mrs. Conovers second grade class in 1977 was not exactly a den of crime, so the idea floundered. Such a loss.

Some code chewing made me have to delete then republish the "Crab Chip" post from yesterday. Sadly the pithy and hilarious comments have been consigned to oblivion. I'm sorry but blame Blogger and Netscape, and feel free to make new ones.

I'm gnawing on some Crab-Flavored Potato Chips from Utz the company with the short, guttural name and the fetching, yet sadly noseless mascot. These probably taste fantastic after you've smoked a lot of pot, but as I recall, fried bowling pin tastes good then. Right now, there pretty decent and are excellently complemented by a sixpack of Sublime Hard Raspberry Lemonade, which tastes pretty good as well; although I'm a little perturbed by an alcoholic beverage named in memorial to a band who's singer OD'd. But such is life.

The back of the chip bag tells me that the fine folks at Utz are proud members of the Snack Food Association. I don't know whether it's any good for anyone in a business sense, but I'll bet the meetings have kick-ass buffets.

Just to add to the air of sweet bewilderment, I've got Dr. John's "Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya" playing. Mmmm, nice.
BTW, If anyone out there has a copy of Dr. John's "patriotic Flag-Waiver" make it into an .mp3 and send it my way and I shall shower you in praise and goodies.

Carry on, brothers and sisters.

ADDENDUM-This data(PDF) from the Snack Food Association is a graph of the top new chip flavors, among which are "Beer"(which sounds like a sweet dream) and even more disturbing,"Peanut Butter" "Chocolate" and "Fruit". No "Crab" though. Pheh.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

This article that Ico linked to last night, tells us all about the latest trends grooming. This article is even more detailed, even mentioning a few crotch salons that specialize in ever more byzantine variations on a theme, like This one(VERY NSFW)

It may seem a bit unfair that there is no male equivalent. Oh wait, there we go. Upon review of that, I think I speak for most men when I say, "not on your freakin' life." Another alternative would be to shave your ass, yes your ass. This, of course, conjures up that playground put-down, "If my dog had your face, I'd shave it's ass and teach it to walk backwards."Now is that something you want to evoke when cruising the beaches of Ibiza? Didn't think so.

I just think the worlds gone nuts, frankly.

Slack period at work. T1 connection. Vanity, thy name is Logitech.
Besides, I kinda like this picture for some reason. I'll blog some more tonight.
"He's a walkin' contradiction
Partly truth and partly fiction.."

I've been reading my posts here and elsewhere on the internet, and observed myself out in the world and I've come to the conclusion that I make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I love pretty women more than any man alive, yet it drives me nuts when guys treat women like a peice of meat. I love technology, but my tastes in just about everything is incredibly retro and a lot of the modern world drives me batty. I'm a tenth degree horn-dog but nothing makes me angrier than innocence defiled. I'm often alienated from people by my tastes and opinions, but I constantly defend "the common man." I have all kinds of grandiose ideas, but when I get close to possibly realizing them my mind fogs with a mixture of apprehension and noncomprehension and suddenly I'm content to be a thud again.

And of course, I have crappy self-esteem, but I can't seem to stop talking about myself today. :)

Such a welter of contradictions.

*Extra points to anyone who can identify the quote above, both the song and the artist and the movie it's featured in

Been listening to some old Replacements stuff and early solo work to go along with the new Paul Westerberg album, i just bought. No other writer creates women so detailed as to be very real and evocative, yet somehow universal enough for anyone to relate ."Achin' to Be" from the 'Mats days and "Someone I Once Knew" from 14 Songs both evoke memories of specific people in my head and both have me reaching for a beer to weep into.

Mr. Westerberg, I salute you, brother.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Had a very Middle American afternoon. First me and Lisa went to the local Sears to buy an air conditioner. We got a nice one, but the salesman kept pummeling away at us about the extended service plan, which can mean only one thing, big bonus item, not worth it, so we declined. Then I went and bought my customary pair of black Chuck Taylors for the summer.

After that we decided to hit Friendly's for an early supper. If you've never been, Freindly's is what you'd call your basic "family restaurant," no booze on the menu, heavy on the cheese and potatoes comfort food, Naugahyde booths,ice cream sundaes, kinda like a slightly higher quality Denny's.

Call me crazy(or perhaps merely a product of my upbringing) I find places like this incredibly comforting. Whenever I've lived in a city like Miami or New York, where such a premium is put on youth and hipness, place like these can be incredibly refreshing. Actually, I've met several, hip, club-hopper types who I'd love to see struggling with a booster seat and ordering a Fribble.

So anyway there we were. It was around 6pm so the joint was jumpin' actually. It was a pretty even mix of groups of sporty seniors on an outing, young families with small children...and of course us.
As we sat chowing on our(very tasty) sandwiches on both sides of our booth sat blond boy-children of about a year old sitting in booster seats. I made goofy faces at one of them, as per usual. He just stared back at me, while industriously gumming away at a very slobbery french fry. Lisa saw me goofing at the kid and said,
"All small boys, especially blond ones remind me of Eisenhower for some reason."

I looked at the two toddlers again. "I see what you mean..." at just that moment one of the kids began shaking his head vigoroulsy at the napkin his parents proffered, making his cheeks jiggle, "Actually, that one reminds me more of Nixon."


Afterwards, we thought about going to Smile's Amusement Center up the road to play Air Hockey, but we were beat and decided to come home instead.

But I'm here with a stash of beer,BBQ peanuts, Vanilla Cokes and my blog, so I'm happy as a clam.

Rumors seem to seem to flying about one of my favorite baseball players off-hours pursuits. Tsk. Tsk. People, what does it matter if Mike pitches or catches as long as he can play ball?

link via layne who has a spiffy site.

Let's talk about Tiny Tim. As a kid in the 1970's I remember Tiny Tim being almost omnipresent in the media, to the point that young jonmc found him weirdly fascinating.

I musta been on to something because Tiny was a interesting fella. Born, fittingly enough of a Lebanese father and a Jewish mother, Tiny was obsessed with old 78s from the 1920's and 1930's. Musicians who he later worke with say that Tiny's recall of obscure old ditties was nothing short of phenomenal. He took up that most ignominous of musical instruments, the Ukelele(Tiny may be the most famous uke man, ever, at this point) and spent much of his early youth playing divess between the flea circus and the burlesque girls. Somehow, all the work and perseverence paid off and for a while Tiny was a bona fide star. He made it work somehow.

Now, you could call Tim a novelty act, and to a degree you'd be correct, goofiness is part of his appeal. But he was serious about what he did, and he exudes an odd, guileless charm that tough to resist. Not to mention, the world is full of artists and musicians who nurture their eccentricities and try to cultivate a weird image. Tiny Tim didn't need to do that. Tiny Tim simply was.

Judging by the web, I'm not alone in admitting my weak spot for Mr. Herbert Khaury(Tiny's real name). This Floridian musician has a treasured tape of the night Tiny sat in with his bar band back in the 1980's. There's a nice essay here that mentions Tiny foray's into hard rock. There's also some interesting video on this page and a terrific photo here. Some enterprising programmer even named some Unix software after him, appropriately enough.

It's an odd footprint Tiny Tim left on our world, but it's a footprint nonetheless.

The Hip Surgery Music Guide is a fantastic look at some of the odder members of our pop-culture universe, and was a great resource putting this post together. It led me to this something infinitely more disturbing than anything Tiny Tim could come up with.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Les Toil known to his mom as Brian Clarke, is an artist with a truly cool hot rod/comic book inspired visual style and a twisted imagination. His illustration work may be familiar to music fans, among others. His fine art oriented work often displays a caustic wit as do his visual reworkings of fairy tales.

The piece de resistance of Les' work is this pin-up gallery(no pr0n, mild cheesecake), that shows he understands what a truly sexy woman looks like, and draws them lovingly and with great style and humor.These three pics are my personal faves(This one is really cute too). This proves that not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but that the right beholder can show that beauty to the rest of us.

First, a few observations.

There is a certain type of person, who not only dosen't mind extra paperwork, but likes to strip naked and roll around in it apparently.

Someone once said that 20% of the population is either too poor or too stupid to own a PC. The "too poor" contingent may still be out of the picture, but the "too stupid" crowd appears to be shopping in droves.

But enough negativity. Earlier I sold a desktop to a nice lady who sells cooking lessons online. About a year ago I sold a machine to her daughter who's a special effects makeup artist living in NYC. Man, there are some interesting families out there.
This makes me wonder, though, what's more compelling-an ordinary person doing interesting things or an interesting person doing ordinary things? As a big fan of perspective being all, I'd probably say the latter.

This may be why I dig Ain't too Proud to Blog so much. The couple that runs it seems like your typical regular folks, but they have a nice goofy skewed way of approaching things that makes you wish you could hang out with them. The site design in interesting and busy without being garish, plus it's pretty techno-hep, while still being explicitly newbie-freindly. Plus they are supporters of the Rack browser, which of course warms my soul. I dunno if they're MeFite's, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Monday, May 20, 2002

One of great underlying principles of the web is that the low cost of entry can make publicizing an obscure passion or enthusiasm very easy and effective. Nowhere has this worked better than in the music arena. Sites for what some call "cult" acts, tend to multiply in captivity spreading the word even further and creating scads of new believers. For instance, there is a wealth of resources on the legendary Captain Beefheart(above left). The Captain Beefheart Radar Station is a terrific introduction to this truly unique artist.

As noted in this biography, the Captain was Frank Zappa's best freind in high school and Zappa was the "normal one" so to speak. Blesses with a booming, assured blues voice the captain did some amazing things with blues and R&B in his early days and combined them with Sun Ra-style free jazz and hard rock as the bands sound matured. Beefheart partisans often tout Trout Mask Replica as the classic Beefheart record. Great though it is, it's extremely bent and kind of an acquired taste. Safe as Milk is more accessible for the beginner whil still retaining all of Beefheart's unique charms. Some more obscure audio is here and here. Sadly, after repeatedly being screwed over by record companies, the Captain has left the music business and now supports himself though his paintings and scultures. His influence lives on in artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Primus and Superchunk, just to name a few.

Another act that languished in obscurity for far too long, and is only now getting their due is the legendary Lubbock, Texas outfit the Flatlanders. Formed in the early seventies as country music was entering it's sequins and orchestras phase, these gentlemen preserved all that was great about traditional country music while adding new musical ingredients from rock and roll, and taking all kinds of chances with lyrics and musical ideas that usually paid off in spades. Sadly their first album was available only on (no joke) 8-track until the early nineties.The three main members of the group, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock have all gone on to succesful careers, but only rarely have they acheived the greatness they do on this buried treasure. The influence of this band ranges far and wide-One track, "Tonight, I think I'm Gonna Go Downtown" has been covered by Mudhoney of all people. Anyone who says, "I listen to all music except country..." this is the place to begin changing their mind.

Another pic from the job-cam. Yes, dear readers, he's beginning to crack...I'll do some music blogging later after I've had dinner and some beer.
Since quitting smoking, I have now gained 10 pounds. This is not a bad thing, as I could use some filling out, but one of my co-workers calculated that if I keep up at this rate, by Xmas, I should weigh half a ton.

One possible factor in my weight gain is the fact that I've been gobbling these excellent pickled sausages like they're going out of style. Superlative tubes of meat, truly. Frankly I'm amazed nobody's ever done an online guide to meat snacks, considering the wide variety that's out there these days. Plus a couple of them sausages, a bag of Funyuns, a coupla Twinkies, and a Dr. Pepper and you got yourself a kingly repast. This could be the yahoo of preserved meat, I tell ya.
Interesting discussion at the 'Filter last night about A&F's new line of skimpy undies for preteens. Everyone was pretty much universally against the idea, but I have a sinking feeling that they will sell briskly. I'm seeing the whole slutwear enchilada on younger and younger girls these days, which makes me wonder what the hell the parents are thinking. By the time they're eighteen these girls look like jaded groupies, although underneath they're as naive as any teenage girl ever.

Now I'm all for freedom of choice, and females expressing their sexuality and yadda-yadda-yadda, but let me let you in on a little secret. You may attract some men in those outfits, but you'll scare the hell out of most of us; we figure you're either dangerously naive or you have some agend of your own that you're filling. I've alway's preferred tomboy style a la Sara Gilbert or classy femininity a la Lauren Graham, so perhaps it's just a matter of taste, but I don't think so.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

As a gift to myself for surviving 72-plus nicotine-free hours, I went CD shopping today at the local Borders. I gabbed for a while with my old pal Heather, who works at the info desk in the Music department. I debated over Wilco, Paul Westerberg, Tom Waits and The Last Waltz box set. The two of us must of seemed a little out of time. Me, in my Replacements T, plaid flannel shirt and thrift store leather car coat, her in zippered sweatshirt, cords, granny glasses and Ramones pin. Please, don't anyone tell us that the '90's are over, dammit.

I finally decided on the Westerberg and Wilco and I was not disappointed. Stereo is Paul's best material since his initial post-'Mats effort 14 Songs. The familiar 3 AM with a hangover voice is still there but the voice is more mature and wise than on his other efforts. "Baby Learns to Crawl", "Dirt to Mud" and the goofy "Mr. Rabbit" are stand-outs. Also included is a bonus CD from Westerberg's Mat's-esque side project Grandpaboy to sate your appetite for raw, Stonesy rock and roll.

Wilco's new platter* Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a masterpiece on the level of their breakthrough record Being There. While Wilco hasn't forsaken it's roots, they've definitely expanded well past them. Actually, much like Born to Run and The Band, it's this tension between roots and ambition, past and future that gives this album it's power. Jeff Tweedy's vocals and songwriting have matured by leaps and bounds, as well. Tracks like "Jesus, etc" and "Ashes of American Flags" reflect the ambivalence, that Wilco(and by extension the aging 90's grungesters in their audience) must feel as they enter the brave new world of the third milennium.

Both highly recommended.

*new to retail. it's been online awhile as we know...
WARNING:Typical Maleness Ahead.NOT work safe.

Another from the "It's about time.." department, All in one place. This is a beautiful thing. Ladies, don't ask why we love this, we just do. Personal fave.

*Prepares for slaps in comments*
Last night I dreamed that Metafilter had come back up, someone had posted a front page thread about my quitting smoking linking here, and that someone else had dragged that person into MeTa. It was so plausible I immediately got up and turned on my computer, but the site is still down alas.

Also, this is probably old news, but I hadn't heard yet. Apparently Spy vs. Spy is now in the Sunday Funnies. Cool. Originally drawn by the late Antonio Prohias,a Cuban emigre who had drawn the wrath of Castro in his native land, was some of the best visual political satire I have ever seen. I'm such a fan that I have one of these guys. I was however unaware of the existence of this which would've been cool to own.