Monday, February 8, 2016

Busy as a Bachelor

I know I have it pretty good.  I mean, I complain and kvetch about being busy, like most people, but I know I don’t have nearly the kind of burden that others do.  All I have to do is look out for myself.

When I set something down, I know it will be there later.  When I put leftovers in the fridge (yeah, it happens every once in a while), I know it will be there when I want it later.  When I set the temperature on the thermostat, it stays that way.  And when I clean something, it stays pretty clean unless I mess it up. Or, gets dusty…

That really removes a lot of stress from my life.

So it’s funny when every so often, I think, “Wow, I was really busy this weekend,” or “I got so much done,” and then I have to add a colliery… “Well, yeah, for ME…”

I thought I had one of those busy Saturdays last week.  I had to go do some shopping to solve some household issues.

First of all, during a seasonal cleaning, (“seasonal” meaning I clean once during football season, and then again during baseball season,) I learned that the vacuum cleaner that Temporary Girlfriend left me in 2014 had stopped working.  There was still suction but the roller brush no longer spun.  I never liked that vac in the first place, so I figured I’d go pick up a new one.

I used to have an old classic metal Hoover; the kind with the bag that you have to replace (which I rarely did, until it was ready to burst).  But she made me toss it and use her multi-attachment suction hose thingy.  It was OK in principle, but I think it was on its last legs.  It was also deafeningly loud.

In addition, needed to replace the broken screw that secured the toilet seat to the toilet.  It had snapped clean off.  Someone, (who totally wasn’t me,) was standing on the toilet seat, to pour soapy water over the top of my shower stall, when the seat slid and snapped the screw.

Heaven forbid I’m ever using the toilet for its intended purpose (as opposed to a step stool… or would that be a stool step?), and slide off onto the floor.

And while I’m in the plumbing department, I thought I’d take a look at the shower heads.  A year or two back, my landlord had low-flow shower heads installed in all the units.  I can’t stand it.  Every morning my showers are totally uninspiring.  The shower stream is so feeble; it feels like I’m getting peed on, instead of getting my clean on.

I meant to pick up a new bathroom rug to go in front of the toilet, but I didn’t like the ones they had.  My current one is perfectly functional, but I had a bit of a laundering mishap.

They used to match.

I washed all the bathmats together, along with the dark blue ones I have in the other bathroom.  Oops.  Don't know why only the one turned.  First time in 30+ years of doing laundry that I ever had a color mishap.  Time to start a new streak.

Anyway, the shopping trip was successful.  And I was able to find just the screws, so I didn’t have to buy a whole new toilet seat.

So when I came home, I had some chores to do.

First, I replaced the toilet seat screw and tightened up the other one.  Good to go!

Tool use: pliers and screwdriver.  Ding! 2 bonus points.

I replaced the shower head, with a very simple 3-way spray number.  And when I fired it up, the water came out with a nice “woooosh!”  I may never have to clean the shower glass again.  Morning showers have been much more bracing, ever since.

Tool use: pliers.  Ding!  1 bonus point.

When I took off the old one, I could see a lot of grit collected in the in-flow screen.  I’m sure that’s what was killing the water flow.  I could have cleaned it out and put it back on, but: A) I had already opened the package for the new one, and B) even when it was new, the water flow was still pretty piddly.

Then it was time to get serious… I had to assemble my new vacuum cleaner.  It was easy, though, no thanks to the directions, which were conveniently printed on the box flap.  All I had to do was attach the handle to the base, using two screws.

This might have been a job for my power screwdriver, but alas, it was not charged.  (Damned thing loses its charge in no time.  I really have to plan for using it, so to charge it up the night before.)  But I had a ratchet screwdriver, and that did the trick.  I probably would have had to use it anyway, because the screws didn’t go in very easily.  I had to bear down on them.  (Yes, Rik, the ratchet was set on forward, not reverse!)

Five years ago, I would have spent the next couple days in misery, from the hives I’d get from putting that much pressure on the heel of my palm.  But my Delayed Pressure Urticaria seems to have cleared up and is no longer a factor. [knocks wood]  When I woke up in the middle of the night, I felt a little sting in my palm, but by the time I got up in the morning, it was gone. So if that kind of hard pressure on a concentrated area didn’t create hives, I don’t know what will.  Halle-freakin-luiah… only took 14 years.

Tool use: Ratchet screwdriver.  Ding!  1 bonus point.  (If I’d used my power screwdriver, I’d get 2 bonus points… it’s an extra point any time I use a power tool.  Ups the danger / fuckup factor.)

Anyway, after putting it together, I had to take the vacuum out for a spin, right?  This unit must have some serious suction… the canister was filled past the fill line with one vacuuming.  I wonder if there’s any fuzz even left in my carpet.

So that was my “busy day;” I changed a screw, put on a shower head, attached the handle to a vacuum, and swept the floor.  All told, it about 35 minutes of labor, about half of which was the vacuuming.  Whew, I was exhausted!  And that’s why I laugh…

To conserve energy, I waited until this past weekend to try out the attachments.  But they work.  I successfully used the suction brush attachment to clean the dust from my mini-blinds.  I also used the furniture attachment to suction off my couch and throw pillows.  I don’t think that’s ever been done.  (I guarantee it hadn’t been done by ME.)

Had a bit of a problem using the edging attachment to clean out the tracks on my sliding glass door… it kept sucking in the sheer curtains.  I felt like I was in a Lucy sketch or something.

In marginally related grown-up news, my Mom sent me a box of spices this week.  We were talking about seasoning roasted potatoes and I mentioned I’d picked up some rosemary to go on them.  Mom asked if I had any sage.  I didn’t.  Next thing I know, there’s a box of spices being delivered.

So now I have to figure out what to use them on. I emailed her right away.

Hey Mom, what goes best on frozen chicken fingers, tarragon or herbes de provence?

I took a shot at using some of them with swordfish, on Saturday.  I looked up on the internet to see what would go best and came away with oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  I also added black pepper, butter, and lemon juice.

Just to see how much of a difference there’d be, I did one piece with the new spices and the other like I always did before; with just lemon pepper and butter.  (I did add the lemon juice.)

Picture is before cooking.  Forgot to take one after cooking... I scarfed them up too quickly.

Both were good, but the newly spiced piece was much better.  Funny, though… it didn’t just taste better, it was tenderer and juicier.  I cooked them both together in the broiler and both were the same thickness; I don’t see how one could be drier than the other. But it was.  Maybe the spices have some insulating qualities I don’t know about.  I’ll just have to try again.

In the spice box, they also had some loose things… cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and a couple of nutmeg nuts.  I understand I have to use a cheese grater to shave the nutmeg nuts, which means I’ll have to go back to the store and buy a cheese grater.

Because they’re so small, I’ll have to be careful not to grate my knuckles.  I can totally see that happening.  Maybe I can use some pliers to hold the nutmeg when I grate it, the next time I make pasta.

Tool Use / Unconventional: pliers.  Ding!  3 bonus points.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Houston, We Have a Problem

I had to chuckle, last Monday, when I saw the results of the Planned Parenthood investigation in Houston, Texas, where not only did the grand jury not indict Planned Parenthood, but they chose to indict the con artists that created the video.

(I would have written about it then, but was already planning on writing about rest rooms.)

Last August, the Republican Lt Governor of Texas asked a Republican district attorney to investigate the well-publicized but woefully unconfirmed claims that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal remains.  And for the 8th time, (because 8 different GOP Governors have requested investigations), an anti-choice witch hunt yielded zero proof of wrongdoing, with this grand jury indicting the people who duplicitously produced, edited and distributed the political hit piece.

And still, they want more investigations.  Apparently they’re looking for a DA who will manufacture evidence, the way the videographers did so that they can look tough to social conservatives during an election year.

The one thing is undeniable; that filming people saying they “don’t sell baby parts” and editing it so that they are seen to be saying they “do sell baby parts,” isn’t proof of a crime; it’s proof of a lack of integrity on the part of the anti-choice lobby.

I’m just bummed that the videographers were only indicted on what I consider a technicality; that being the falsification of state driver’s licenses.  I’d much rather have seen an indictment calling them fucking liars and criminals.

As a testament to just how far removed from reality some of these people are, let’s look at the comments from Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX):

It’s deeply offensive and ridiculous that those who illegally sell aborted human body parts get a pass -- while these two pro-life defenders are indicted for using aliases to expose Planned Parenthood’s unlawful and disgusting practices of selling baby body parts.  This decision begs the question: how else could they get the truth?”

First of all, you can tell his statement is primarily for show, as he finds a way to jam “selling human parts” and “selling baby body parts” into a single sentence.  Subliminal messaging much?

Secondly, he is confusing what he wants the conclusion of the investigation to be, with what the evidence says. 

Those who sell aborted human body parts get a pass...

No, they don’t, because no one was selling body parts.  There was zero evidence found.  There is no pass needed.

“…while these pro-life defenders are indicted for using aliases.”

No, they weren’t.  You can say you’re anyone.  But when you falsify a state-issued ID card, that’s crime.  A ticky-tacky crime, but a crime none the less.

“…Planned Parenthood’s unlawful and disgusting practices of selling baby body parts.”

Still no unlawful practices of any kind.  No one sold baby body parts.  This is just more smear; another attempt to keep the illusion of some heinous wrongdoing alive.

This decision begs the question: how else could they get the truth?”

They DID get to the truth.  Rep. Babin just doesn’t like it.  And neither did the videographers, because they edited the truth of “no, no, no” into “yes, yes, yes,” and passed it around like it was the actual truth.

I’ll give the DA credit.  I’m sure she did go into the investigation looking for a trophy to bring home, but in the end, she respected the evidence (or lack thereof).  I’m sure her life would be much easier now if she’d been able to dig up something up, even if it didn’t stick.

What I think is happening now is that the Republicans are “Clintoning” Planned Parenthood; that is, conducting an endless series showpiece investigations, in an effort to keep up negative publicity, exert political pressure, curry favor with their base, and maybe somehow, some way, find an unseen wrong-doing during one of these fishing trips, upon which they can actually bring charges.

Granted, women’s health services spiral down the drain, but that’s not really a priority with these right-to-life types.  They’re only interested in their right to dictate the terms of other people’s lives.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Where's Art Vandelay When You Need Him?

I’m sure a lot of people will be posting about the killer snowstorm we had here in the Mid-Atlantic last weekend.  And I already see complaints on Facebook about “Oh God, it’s just snow…”  So I’ll cover something else today.

Do architects actually use public restrooms?  That’s what I want to know, because judging from the design of our men’s room at work, I have to wonder.

As you may recall, last summer our office moved into a state-of-the-art, glass-walled, eco-friendly office building, in the ritzy part of town.  And there is much about it that is quite beautiful...
...Like the view, for instance.

We also have an “open seating” style  floor plan, which I still hate, but am getting used to.  But at the moment, it’s the men’s room that’s the bane of my existence.  There’s just no room… no buffer.  Let me explain.

To start, let’s look at the men’s room layout I came from, at our old building.  It was sweet!  Not only were there tons of stations, both stalls and urinals, but there were hardly any dudes on our floor.  It was perfect.  It was laid out like this:
I don’t remember if there were 5 stalls or 7, but you had quite a choice.  I was always partial to Stall #2 because you had to figure, Stall #1 was the prime real estate.  That one definitely saw the most action, on account of it being the furthest away from traffic.  So I’d pick the next one, which was still pretty far away, but much less frequently used.  In other words, I was far less likely to encounter some other guy’s remnants there.

The handicapped stall (5H) is also in the perfect spot.  It’s right by the door, for easy access and most people are prone to use the furthest stalls away, which leaves the handicapped stall open for anyone who needs it.

And the urinals?  They were around the corner from the stalls, so usually you barely even noticed if anyone was in a stall.  There was also a time-release bathroom spray gizmo, which kept the funk at bay.

And there were plenty of urinals, so you didn’t necessarily have to rub elbows with a guy beside you.  There was room for an empty “buffer” urinal.  Call it the Movie Seat Strategy.  You know; you never go and sit directly beside some stranger; you leave at least one buffer seat unless the theater is packed.  I think a urinal buffer is even more important because you’ve got your dick in your hand.  A guy doesn’t want to be crowded when he’s in a vulnerable position like that.

So, on to our shiny new showcase of a building… with bathrooms that are a fraction of the size of our old one, on a floor with hundreds of people on it.
There are only 3 stalls and 2 urinals.  The biggest problem is the placement of the handicapped stall; they stuck it in the most distant place.  So when someone comes in to drop a deuce, if he’s to be a good corporate citizen and avoid the handicapped stall, he can either sit in Stall #2, which guarantees that the next visitor will have to nest right next door, or to go Stall #3 and be right beside a highly used urinal.

With only two urinals, the one on the left is standard size, and the one on the right is the handicapped urinal, which is much lower to the ground.  Because I’m tall, using the short urinal is a problem because it leaves me likely to pee on the top of the urinal.  But if there’s someone bombing out Stall #3, I have no choice.  I have no intention of standing two feet away from someone who’s blasting away in there.

All the architect had to do was put the handicapped stall in the #3 position.  That would make Stall #1 the most attractive option.  And if a second guy came in to pound one out, then he could leave a buffer in the middle.

For the first several months, there was not a bathroom spray mechanism in there, and I’ll tell you, in those closed quarters, it smelled like hot death in there.  All it took was one guy and the whole room was destroyed.

They fixed that, though, although it kind of smells like someone took a dump in a fruit smoothie shop.  But it was a step in the right direction.

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but last week I was in there and all three stalls were occupied at once.  It almost looked like the starting gate of a horse race.  I wanted to set off an alarm clock bell in there and see if the doors slammed open all at once.  “And they’re off!

Anyway, all this strife is what made me change my own bathroom schedule, to ensure I rarely have to pinch a loaf at work.  (And that’s what makes that whole “fan” thing from the last post, so aggravating.)

So now don’t you wish I just wrote about the snow?

For what it’s worth, yes, we got just shy of 30” of snow here in Baltimore.  It started coming down Friday afternoon.  I had a full fridge, pantry, and liquor cabinet, so I was able to just stay home and ride it out.  Luckily I never lost power… that would have sucked.

This is from about 11:30 Saturday morning, when I went out to do an intermediate cleaning.  It continued snowing for the rest of the day.

This is what it looked like out my window, Sunday morning.  My car is that lump in the middle.

I worked from home today and am hoping that they got the sidewalks cleaned off enough downtown so that I can make my way from the subway stop to the office.  I’m not holding my breath, though.  They probably just pushed the snow from the roads, onto the sidewalks.  I ought to pack some snow shoes.

But if I have to work from home again, at least I know I won’t have to share the bathroom.

Director’s DVD Commentary: I know I shouldn't have to explain this, but if you’re puzzled about the reference in this post’s title, it comes from Seinfeld.  Whenever George Costanza needed an alter-ego or fake identity, he said he was architect Art Vandelay.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Odd Bits - The Dropping Like Flies Edition

Sorry I didn’t post last night… I was thrown off by a bathroom fan.  I probably should explain.

My apartment complex posted a sign on the door last week, saying that they would be sending over electricians on Thursday or Monday, to fiddle around with our outlets.  I wasn’t sure if they were here Thursday or not, but I realized they weren’t when they showed up about 5 minutes after I got out of bed on Monday.  (My office was closed for MLK Day.)

So, they had to shut the power down and get to their fiddling.  It was fine with me; I had my paper to read and the crossword puzzles to do, so I would be occupied.

About 45 minutes later, they packed up and left, presumably to another apartment in my building.  I looked around and didn’t see anything awry until I went into the bathroom.  When I flipped the light on, both the light and the fan came on.  There is a separate on/off switch for each… or at least there used to be.

At first, I thought maybe the made a mistake, but when I checked my other bathroom, it was the same way.  No way could that be a mistake.

It pissed me off because I don’t want the freakin’ fan going every time I go in the bathroom. There are only two activities in which I require the fan: using the can and taking a shower.  When I go to take a leak, or clip a fingernail, or take some medicine, or brush my teeth or get myself ready to leave the house, I don’t need the damned fan.

In the mornings, I’m trying to listen to the radio or TV while I’m in there.  The fan is essentially a big white noise generator, so I can’t hear anything else until I turn it off.

So I kept an eye out for when the electricians were done with the other apartments, and stopped them on their way out the door.  They told me they were instructed by apartment management to make that bathroom fan switch and there was nothing they could do about it.  They said, “Even though nobody likes it, we have to do it.”

I let them go because I know it wasn’t their call, but now I was seriously pissed, because before they left my place, I asked them what they were doing.  All they told me was that they had to “check the outlets that hadn’t been checked the last time,” whatever that means.  So that told me they purposefully omitted the whole bathroom fan switcheroo, no doubt hoping they could make a break for it before anyone noticed.

I’ve now been spending time considering what to do about it.  I’m pretty sure complaining to the landlord won’t do any good; they’ve already made a call and already know it’s unpopular with their tenants.  I do wonder why, though.  Is it a safety thing?  Are they trying to eliminate a growing mold problem?

Anyway, judging from how quickly they had it done, I’m betting it’s a really simple thing to undo.  I figure one could just take the wire off of one switch and attach it to the other.  Not that I’d try it myself, mind you.  But I have a friend whose husband is an electrician.  Maybe we can work something out.

Anyway, the whole thing kind of put me out of the writing mood yesterday, hence the Tuesday post.

The Dropping Like Flies Department
What the hell is going on with 2016 celebrity deaths?  Geez, they’re dropping like the temperature did last weekend.  I know these things are supposed to go in threes, but where do you start?  I’m counting five in the last two weeks.

First was Lemmy Kilmister, from Motorhead.  I was never a big Motorhead guy, but I understand that Lemmy was a hero to a certain generation of metalheads.  I like a song or two that he does, so I was mildly bummed.

(By the way, the name “Lemmy” comes from his penchant for saying, “Lemme a fiver, will ya?”  Or “Lemme a cigarette.”  The more you know…

Then David Bowie passed and Facebook went nuts.

I never cared for Bowie at all.  As you know, I’ve always liked my music with a little more crunch to it.  Wasn’t into the glam thing at all.  And I never understood why he had to have all these personas.  I was like, “For fuck’s sake, pick a personality and stick to it, will ya?

I remember when I was in college, his big comeback album “Let’s Dance” was inescapable.  I found it mildly tolerable but was still not a fan.  At least he gave Stevie Ray Vaughan a chance.  (I just didn’t know that at the time, of course.)

So I was pretty “Meh…” over Bowie.

But then we got word about Alan Rickman. 

Shit. Low blow, man. Hans freakin' Gruber?  Hans can't be killed unless he's dropped out a high-rise window!

Rickman created the first villain I ever saw who was as compelling as the hero.  He was so slick in “Die Hard,” you almost wanted him to get away with it.  Did you know it was Rickman’s idea for him to wear a suit, as opposed to a “terrorist uniform?”  He said Hans might need to blend in with the hostages, which led to his sequence with the American accent.

Professor Snape, from “Harry Potter?”  Rickman did more with dramatic pauses than most actors can do with an Oscar-winning script.

One of his often overlooked roles was The Metatron, (aka the Voice of God) in Kevin Smith's "Dogma." He was unexpectedly hilarious in that role. (Granted, it's unexpected if all you knew of him at the time was his part in "Die Hard.")

Happy trails, Hans. I hope you're somewhere "sitting on a beach, earning 20%.”

I saw a quick notice that Dan Haggerty, who played “Grizzly Adams” on a TV show in the 70s, also passed away last week.  Again… “meh.”  I liked the show at the time, but that was so long ago, I barely remember it.  Or him.

And now, this weekend, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, passed away. 

Now who would have ever thought Glenn Frey would fail to outlive Joe Walsh?

Yeah, it’s sad. The Eagles had a tremendous run of light rock classics.  They were a little light for my taste, but you couldn’t deny the talent and their harmonies were unreal.  My friend the Carpetbagger said that without Glenn Frey, there would not have been a “Beverly Hills Cop,” to which I added, “or Miami Vice.”

I saw Glenn Frey open for Tina Turner, back in the early 80s.  I had his first solo album, which was called:

That’s a close-up shot of a promotional button from the record company.  (What? Of course I still have it.)

He had this song on it I liked, called “Partytown,” which had kind of a Chuck Berry vibe to it.

I got sick of my job, sick of my life,
Sick of my future and sick of my wife.
I packed up the car and I got some gas.
Told everybody they could kiss my ass.

I’m going ta Partytown… (Yeah Yeah.)
They really party down.  (Yeah Yeah.)

So… Lemmy, Bowie, Hans Gruber, and Glenn Frey are gone, but Keith Richards lives on. 

There’s probably a lesson in there, somewhere.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Debunkery - The Loophole Leap of Logic

Saw another ridiculous meme on Facebook last week… actually, there were several; most were versions of this:

Easiest debunking ever, for the simple reason that no one ever said, “If we pass more gun laws, crime will go away.”  Obama didn’t say it, gun opponents don't say it, no one with a functioning brain would ever say it, but here it is on a conservative meme.

See, it’s the oldest debating trick in the book… reduce your opponent’s position into something preposterous and then attack it as if it’s what your opponent believes. 

You know what made Jon Stewart such an effective advocate?  He didn’t just tell you about some stupid shit people said, he’d show you them saying it.  And THEN he’d pull it apart like an Oreo Cookie, and roast the gooey center inside.

I look forward to the day when there can be a serious discussion about guns in this country.  But that time is not now… and probably not ever.  Because even the baby step of requiring background checks is being met with such ferocious opposition full of bluster and hyperbole, and precious little substance.

Can someone tell me what it is that’s so special about gun shows? Why do they get a pass on doing background checks and legitimate gun shops don’t?  It can certainly be done.

And for that matter, what possible reason could there be for just about every single Republican in the Senate vote against requiring background checks include the terrorist watch list and no-fly list?  I haven’t heard a single legitimate reason behind that.  Not one… probably because there aren’t any.  But it still got voted down, didn’t it?

Thus is the power of the NRA.

Did you see any of the footage of Congressmen and women getting up on the floor of the House and railing against gun show background checks?  My God, they sure made a sight, one after another, condemning the President for abusing authority, undermining freedom and coming to take their guns away! 

CSPAN should have had a graphics package under each speaker’s name, showing how much the NRA had contributed to their last campaigns.  Then we could see exactly who they were performing for.

Oh, and by the way… all this “Obama the Dictator, abusing his power” bullshit?

If you really think this president is some kind of self-governing despot who’s running around mad with power, you’re too stupid to have me take your opinion seriously.  The facts overwhelmingly show that you’re wrong.  Not that it ever stopped Fox “News” or any of the ninnies they whip into a frenzy.

It’s the same logic that allows Republicans to continue beating the Benghazi drum for years while completely ignoring the 11 Embassy attacks under GW Bush.

I’ve said my piece on assault weapons before, and on the general gun-mania in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, so I don’t really have much to add.  The President enacted a mild piece of executive action that might make it a little harder for criminals, terrorists and whack jobs to get their hands on rapid fire killing machines.  It won’t fix everything, not by a long shot.  And it will probably be reversed by the next GOP president.

I’d call it a good first step if I thought there were going to be any more steps.  But there won’t be.  If this country couldn’t be moved to come up with some common sense rules for gun ownership after a room full of 6-year olds was slaughtered, I’m afraid there’s nothing left to shock people out of their gun lust.

There’s only one Constitutional right that anyone cares about anymore, and that’s the 2nd Amendment.  All the others seem to be afterthoughts.

Director’s DVD Commentary: You might have noticed that I used a number of memes myself in this post.  Yes, I did, and I used them because they’re strong, on point and not loaded with logical fallacies.  See, it can be done.  Granted, it helps if you’re trying to make a valid point.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Life of Temporary Leisure

I always hate that first work day after the New Year; not because it’s the beginning of the work year, but that I’m coming off a long vacation.  (You may weep for me now.)

After I do whatever it is I’m going to do to use vacation time during the year, I use whatever I have left to take the week after Christmas off, and use any other remaining days to take Fridays off preceding Christmas.  Our company gave us Christmas Eve off, so I had a solid 11 days off to end the year.  Before that, I had five 4-day weeks.

Needless to say, dealing with a 5-day week now is jarring.  I think I should only work two days this week.  Then 3 the next week, and then 4 more 4-day weeks.  And THEN, I’ll be able to deal with a full week.  You can’t just go cold turkey… you should be able to build back up to it.

I mean, 3:00 today, I was dying for a nap.  Maybe I can sneak a sleeping bag into one of our “focus rooms.”

So; 11 days with no kids, no house projects, nowhere to be and nothing I had to do.  You probably wonder how I spent my time.

Yep, I did a lot of nothing.  Naps, watching sports and movies, enjoying some cocktails… that was my vacation.  Mostly.  I look at this year’s end vacation as the tasty dessert after a long year of eating crap sandwiches.  Last year, I was sick almost the entire time I was off.  At least this year, I got that out of the way a couple weeks ago.

My time off had a lot of nothing, but not ONLY nothing.  I did get a couple of things done.  I fact, I tried to accomplish at least one constructive thing each day.  No, it wasn’t anything you’d call “taxing,” but I got to clean out a lot of stuff that was cluttering up my mental To Do box.

Like shredding.  I keep all my bills and utility statements for about 6 months, or as long as it takes my bill holder (re-purposed acrylic napkin holder) to fill up.  Once it fills up, I store the material and shred the previous 6-month wad of invoices.  I was afraid my bill holder was going to crack from the overstuffing, so I’d been meaning to get to the shredding.  Done… ding!

My kitchen faucet nozzle collects grit over time, which makes the water come out in different directions.  I used this opportunity to unscrew the nozzle, clean out the grit, and reassemble, to restore a nice, clean stream of water.  Done… ding!  Also, I had to use pliers.  Tool use… ding!  Extra credit.

I have a water-resistant windbreaker I wear to work frequently, but it’s starting to not resist the water quite so well.  So I bought a waterproofing spray online about 2 weeks back.  Last week, I treated 2 windbreakers, my winter coat, gloves, and my Penguins “rain hat.” (Meaning it was nylon and far less absorbent than my other cloth hats, so I wear it on rainy days.)  I don’t know how well it works yet, because naturally, it hasn’t rained since. 

I figure it’s the umbrella effect.  It never rains anytime I bring an umbrella or rain gear.  If you’re reading from the Mid-Atlantic area, you can thank me for the clear skies we’ll be having until at least April.  So, waterproofing… Done.  Ding! 

I installed a movie database app on my iPad a while back and I’ve been manually entering the data from my Excel list of DVDs.  Last week I was able to finish it.  Now it will be easy to keep up, just adding anything new.  I was hoping the data on the iPad would automatically load to the same app on my iPhone, but no such luck.  I originally wanted the data on my phone, so I could consult it in stores if I couldn’t remember if I already had a movie (or more likely, a particular season of a TV series).  Data entry… Done.  Ding!

I went out to see the movie “Sisters,” with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the weekend before last.  (I know it’s not exactly a chore; just an activity for the day.)  Anyway, I loved it.  As you know, I think Tina Fey is a goddess, and she and Amy together are gold.  I laughed my face off.  It was like a Judd Apatow/Seth Rogan movie, only with Tina and Amy in it instead, (plus everyone from SNL they ever worked with).  They must have loved not having network Standards and Practices lurking over their shoulders.

Even with Star Wars out, and Hunger Games and other highly publicized films out, the theater showing Sisters was crowded.  Whole middle section was densely populated… with women, mostly.  I only saw about 2-3 other dudes.  Movie I wanted to see… Done.  Ding!

And speaking of movies, I assembled and photographed my annual ticket stub collage.  (I did one last year, so doing another one now makes it annual.  In my family, anything you do more than once becomes a sacred tradition.)  Stub collage… Done.  Ding!

I mentioned the Orioles stats and other sports events attended this year in the last post, but I forgot to mention the ten movies. There was Sisters, plus:

Mockingjay Pt 1 (OK, that was from 2014. The stub must have jumped piles.)
Ted 2: Even more vulgar than the original; funnier too.
Terminator Genisys: Loved it.  A terminator movie with a happy ending?  Go figure.
Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation: Action packed and exciting.
Ant-Man: More light-hearted than the recent Marvel Comic fare.
The Martian: Also exciting and well done.
Mockingjay Pt 2: Loved it. Hits all the plot points from the book and puts a bow on the series.
Creed: Loved it. Rocky is more interesting as an old man.
Star Wars – The Force Awakens: Just wrote about that two posts ago, but loved it.

I had one kinda big project this week… not that it was strenuous or anything… it only strained my wallet.  Had to get a new set of tires.

As you may recall, I bought a 4 new tires last January, and then before a month went by, my car died and took the tires with it.  The 2013 Chrysler 200 I got in February still had its original tires.  I’d only taken them out in the snow once, and it scared the life out of me.  It was like I had no control at all.  (And I’m from the Midwest.  I know how to drive in the snow.)

So I wanted to replace the tires before we got any serious weather this winter. I thought it would be a simple in-and-out, but the tire shop didn’t have anything in my size.  He had to order them, to come in the next day.  Which they did.  So… Tires acquired.  Ding!

Usually, when I come home from work, I’m not in the mood to cook anything “involved.”  (Meaning: more steps than “microwave for 90 seconds.”)  But this week, I had time on my hands.  Early in the week, I made a roasted pork loin with red potatoes.  So that made two dinners.

You know, the fun thing about living alone is that you can stick a kitchen fork in the pork loin and eat it like corn on the cob.

“Fork Loin!”

Over New Year’s weekend, I got the hankering for pasta, and so cooked up the First Spags of the Year.  Because I like to cook in a clean kitchen, I Swiffered the floors twice; once dry, once wet.  Also ran a Clorox Wipe across all the counters and stovetop.  Luckily the will to clean passed before I could get too caught up in it.  But I did produce this:

FYI, it is much harder to keep a giant ball of spaghetti on a kitchen fork without it falling off.

It was awesome, although I had one small hiccup.  I’m not used to having very many spices on hand, so when I thought I was adding a half-teaspoon of nutmeg, it was actually turmeric.  I tried to counter it with a little extra of the spices I DID intend to put in and it seemed to work.  Had some for dinner tonight and will probably finish it up tomorrow.  Feasts... accomplished.  Ding!

I’m not usually a party animal on New Year’s Eve, but I didn’t feel like staying in this year.  Instead, I went out to my usual sports bar to watch the end of the Pens game, and the Michigan State/Alabama game.  At first, there were some regulars there whom I knew, but they didn’t stay long.  Once they took off, there wasn’t anyone left but couples.  Old couples.

I ended up leaving around 11:00.  The only thing worse than sitting home alone on New Year’s Eve is sitting out in public, alone, when the ball drops.  It also wasn’t a bad idea to get off the road and home before the cops start setting up checkpoints.  No need to get caught up with all the amateurs.

And aside from seeing my brother and his family on Christmas and New Year’s Day, that was basically that… How I spent 11 days just enough to not grow moss on my north side.

Next weekend: The tree comes down.


Monday, December 28, 2015

I Guess it Wasn't Such a Bad Year After All

I was sitting here this morning, wondering about how I would classify the year I just had.  My first thoughts were that it was kinda bleah… but then I realized that my view was being overly colored by recent events, like the Steelers losing to the Ratbirds and probably missing the playoffs, and the Penguins looking generally terrible all year.

I’ve also had kidney stones return and a rotten cold that’s just finishing up.  I’ve spent the year free from romantic entanglements (and action) and my internet service is down to about 1MB every two minutes.  (I think Verizon is trying to squeeze me out of my grandfathered Unlimited Data Plan.  But the only thing they’re going to force me to do is jump to another provider.)

But really, all those things are pretty minor.  I actually had a pretty good year.  I mean, despite some emergency practice and a false start, I got to throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game!  Holy shit; that was a dream come true.  (Almost as good as that Tina Fey dream I keep having, but I don’t like the odds of realizing that one.)

Speaking of Tina Fey, if you like her and Amy Poehler, go see “Sisters.”  Never mind what the critics say, the movie is just plain funny.  I especially liked getting to watch these two cut loose in an R-rated environment, without the heavy hand of network Standards and Practices interfering.  The ballerina music box scene is worth the price of admission by itself.  But I digress…

Early in the year, I got to Pittsburgh twice… once with my brother and nephew for Pens and Steelers games, (right after the Buckeyes won the National Championship!) and once with Sitcom Kelly and her Sitcom Sister, for a March Penguins game.

After watching my brother do all kinds of things with his smartphone, I finally joined this decade by purchasing my own iPhone and creating the iPhone Pledge.  And I’ve been boring you on social media with my comings and goings ever since.

This summer, I went to 21 Orioles games (O’s were 13-8 when I was there).  Eight of those, Sitcom Kelly went with me. (O’s were 6-2 when she went.  The Orioles ought to comp her some season tickets, to guarantee a playoff run.)  I went to a Social Media Event featuring Q and A from closer Zach Britton and acquired yet another orange tee shirt.  (I’m up to 10 so far, not including BGSU shirts.)

I also saw baseball games in Pittsburgh (at my Mom’s family reunion), Philly (with my buddy the CFO and his son, and a minor league game in Toledo

I got to play host to the CFO and his giant son in August.  They came out for a couple of Tigers games and the aforementioned one in Philly.  But we did a bunch more stuff too, like visiting the CFO’s old Navy post (in dry dock), the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, and stuffed ourselves with meat at Fogo de Chao.

A month before that, they were the hosts as I went out for my annual visit to Northwest Ohio, where I took a campus tour with my muse, the CFO’s daughter, saw a Mudhens game, ate a pile of grilled stuff, AND chowed on the best pizza in the world.

Try not to drool on your smartphone.

I had to get a new car in February, but that could go either way.  I mean, “New car… Yay!” or “Aw crap; four years of car payments I wasn’t expecting.”  At least I didn’t smash into anything when my old car suddenly quit workingwhile I was driving it.

It was a good year in music, even if only for Joan Jett getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and seeing Billy Joel again.

OK, it wasn’t all fun and games in 2015.  First of all, Baltimore went straight to hell in a handbasket.  Later that year, someone stole the side mirror from my car.  And we lost my Grandpa, the Patriarch.  But still wasn’t all that bad, considering he was 99 and died in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones, with nothing sticking into him.  Grandpa won big, at the game of life.

There was some work stuff as well.  In June, my company relocated its office building, down to the ritzy part of town, on the waterfront.  The trade up is a beautiful, modern building.  The trade down is an open seating format.  My kingdom for a cube wall!

Also, the long-awaited sale of my company to its largest competitor was finalized in November. Now, we can begin to consolidate operations.  At the moment, I’m cautiously optimistic, but I should have a clearer look at my future by this time next year.

This is the first full year that I’ve done the “one post per week” schedule.  Somehow, I’m ending up with 53 posts.  I’m not sure how that happened… maybe it has something to do with it almost being leap year.

Let me thank you for coming along for the ride.  I may well still write if no one was reading, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.  I appreciate your encouraging my behavior.

Best wishes to you and your family for a rockin’ 2016. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Odd Bits - The Morning Surprise Edition

So, it’s Saturday morning and I’ve just had a lovely sleep.  I had a few beers Friday evening, so after hauling my tired body out of bed, taking a leak was my first priority. 

There’s nothing like that first morning pee!  It’s such a sweet release, especially if you’ve been lying in bed awhile, too warm and cozy to get up.  So I’m standing there and suddenly it was like the fountain turned off.

You know how sometimes when you’re draining the water in the sink, and the stopper falls in and goes right to the drain and seals it up tight? That’s what it was like, for a moment or two.

And in those moments, all I could think was “WTF?” and gave a little extra push.  Immediately, the logjam broke free and I was able to finish my mission.  But I was puzzled… I had no idea what just happened, nor could I determine the nature of the blockage.

I hadn’t put my contacts in yet, so I was blind as a bat and flying without the sonar.  All I could see was a big mass of bubbles. 

It took me a couple of minutes to put my “eyes” in, which gave the bubbles enough time to dissipate.  Once I could see, I went and took a peek, and sonofabitch, there it was.

A kidney stone.  I’d finally passed one of those goddamned kidney stones and lo and behold, it was completely painless, albeit a bit unnerving. 

I had been laid up with kidney stone pain during Thanksgiving week, and again about 2 months before that.  And I went to the hospital for my first stone, as you may remember, way back in 2013.  But I’d never actually passed anything, as far as I could tell.  (And believe me, I could tell.)

Obviously, I needed to retrieve the stone, a process to which I was NOT looking forward.  Luckily, I had some rubber cleaning gloves in the kitchen, which proved to be just the thing.  No muss, no fuss.  (Well, maybe a little fuss, which sounded like a lot like “Ew ew ew ew.”)

So now, I am able to bring to you, in full Technicolor glory:

Tada!  A 5-mm kidney stone.  (What?  Of course I measured it.)

If my 2013 x-rays were correct, this means I still have a 7-mm stone and another 5-mm one rattling around in the bladder.  I guess I’ll have to remain vigilant and be careful where I point this thing, lest I put somebody’s eye out.

The Marketing Awakens
Did anybody notice this new movie that came out Thursday night?  Something about some kind of astral skirmish?

Yeah, even the Amish were going, “OK, we get it.  The new Star Wars is coming out.”

I’ve never seen such a pervasive marketing campaign.  Every other commercial had a Star Wars tie-in, even if neither the product nor the theme of the commercial was applicable.

It made me wonder how necessary all of that really is.  I mean, this is one of the most highly anticipated movies I can ever recall.  They probably could have saved a truckload of money and just ran a few trailers.

Or maybe the advertisers were paying Lucasfilm for the rights to use Star Wars in their commercials.  Advertising all the way to the bank.

I also wonder if the toys are going to be as popular as they used to be.  Remember, in the 70s and 80s, kids still played with molded plastic toys that didn’t light up, beep or interact with other toys.  (Of course, maybe the new toys do that now, I don’t know.)  Or, maybe all the Star Wars fans from the originals will buy up all the toys just to save for another 30 years and sell to a new generation of nerds.

I’ve never been a Star Wars fanatic, but I do like the films.  I wanted to make sure I saw it early on, just to avoid encountering spoilers, so I decided to see it last Friday as a matinee.  I was off from work, so I figured it would be the best time.  Most people were still at work and school was still in session.  I didn’t see the need to buy the tickets in advance. 

I began desperately rethinking that decision once I hit the movie theater parking lot.  It was jammed!  I had to park way back in the outskirts of the lot.  I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to hang around for two more hours for the next showing.

Fortunately, my fears were short-lived.  There was no one in line and there were still plenty of seats in the theater.  (I had to sit on the side, though, but that was no big deal.)  I figured all the cars in the lot were from holiday shoppers, not movie-goers.

(NO, I didn’t dress in costume and I didn’t see anyone else dressed up either.  Maybe they only come out at night.)

Anyway, I loved the movie.  There were a number of times I got chills, like the first time you see Han Solo and Chewie get onboard the Millennium Falcon, and then the first time Han and Leia see each other.

I saw it in 3D and I recommend you do so as well.  It seemed worth the extra couple bucks.  There was one incredible shot I remember, where one of those large, wedgie, triangular starships came onscreen, and the tip of the ship seemed to hang out halfway over the audience.

It’s no secret that there are two more movies to follow, in addition to three spinoffs, so I wasn’t surprised when the ending came with a giant cliffhanger.  (OK, maybe not literally, but you’re dying to see what comes next.)

So if you like the franchise, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this edition.  And if you don’t, then go see “Sisters,” with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (like I will next weekend.)

Saw this on Facebook and couldn’t decide how to debunk it… long version or short version. 

Short version: Just like a significant number of Christians.

But I still have some room here, so let me expand.

Who was it that campaigned tirelessly to continue bans on same-sex marriage, urge clerks to ignore Supreme Court rulings and maintain the marginalization of gays?  Evangelical Christians, Mormons, and Baptists.

Who would prefer a Muslim president over an atheist president?  The majority of Americans, (who happen to be 70% Christian), as per a recent poll.

Who is it that is fear-mongering right now over non-Christians and trying to institute a religious litmus test for immigrants, thus setting aside Article Six of the Constitution?  Christians.

Christians love to talk about religious freedom, as long as that religion is their own.  Anybody else?  Screw’em.

And who is it circulating memes like this to try to take a bite out of liberals?  Christians.  Or Republicans.  Whichever.

One can also make a secondary parry to this thrust by noting that it’s not mainstream Muslims (contrary to what Fox “News” so frequently reports) who are trying to wipe out anything that doesn’t conform to their standards.  It’s the radical terrorist wing-nuts who are doing that.

So, much like judging all musicians by looking at Ted Nugent, I can’t judge all Christians by the wing-nuts who are battling LGBT, Feminists, Atheists, Socialists, etc., nor can anyone else judge the billions of Muslims on the planet by the fanaticism of these ISIS bastards.

So the next time these meme-makers want to make a point about keeping out the Muslims, I suggest they just own their racism and xenophobia and stop trying to get cute with semantics in place of a coherent rationale.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gonna Take and Ornamental Journey...

Last week, I showed you a full-size picture of this year’s Christmas tree.  Today, I want to give you a closer look.

I’ve written before about my parent’s tradition for us kids, that every year since we were toddlers, they got us a special ornament.  Those were the ones we’d put on the tree ourselves, and pack up afterward.  And then when we grew up and moved out, we’d have ourselves our special ornaments for our new places and new lives.  And as it turns out, we’re still getting ornaments every year.  Never gets old, though.

That’s why I’ll never have a “theme” tree… I have too many disparate ornaments to support a unifying theme, and I have no intention of getting rid of any of them. (And no, I’m not putting up a second tree.)

So while I don’t have the theme tree, there are a couple of sub-themes, the most prominent of which are birds.  I have a LOT of bird ornaments.  I mean, what better than birds to display in trees?  And I tend to group them together.
 These are a couple with real feathers, which clip onto the branches.  Back when I was married, the tail feather on the red one drove the cat crazy.  We couldn’t keep in on the tree, or else he’d be up there going after it.

My parents send me a gold Danbury Mint ornament every year and they often save the birds for me.  So I have a couple of gold ones like this.  They’re very intricate.

They’ve also been sending me a porcelain bird each of the last 3 years.  This is the one from 2013.  They’ve very detailed and quite heavy, so I have to make sure they’re on a firm branch.

This one is made with real feathers and there’s a strip that you can pull out, which makes the bird chirp. (If I really wanted to provoke the cat.)  I love the look on his face, like, “You talkin’ to me?  Whadda YOU lookin' at?

These little chickies have the same attitude.  They’re made out of husks or something, so they’re very light.  I always sit them together on a branch.  The goldfinch on the right is porcelain, though, but he fits right in.

Another sub-theme is Steelers stuff, of course.  I addition to about a half-dozen bulbs, I have these two molded figures.

The detail is exquisite.  There’s Ben, The Bus, and Polamalu up top, and Troy again, by himself.

Back when my Grandma D passed, each of us kids got to pick one of her ornaments, to remember her at Christmas.  This was my pick.

I always loved this Rudolf ornament.  I always position it in a clearing, so it looks like he’s flying by.

I also ended up with these dapper elves, from Grandma’s collection.  They’re made of extremely thin glass and are quite fragile.  It’s a miracle I haven’t broken them yet.

This is another of my parent’s “specials,” a hand-blown glass star.  I always put it right in front of a light bulb, for extra twinkle.

This is another “special,” and comes with a story.

When I was in 9th grade, we had a class project to write a story, type it out, and bind it into a book.  Mom had told me a story before, which I’m now sure she lifted from a Mel Brooks bit but didn’t know it at the time, about the “real” story of the Three Kings.  In her version, they were named Balthasar, Melchior, and Murray.  I’ll spare you the details of the story, but Murray was apparently quite a card.  I took the main points of Mom’s story, fluffed it up with a beginning, middle and end, and presented the book to her for Christmas.  Or Mother’s Day… I don’t remember.

So that’s Murray, up above, (being photobombed by Suspicious Bird).

Obviously, I’m not much one for religious imagery, but I have room for this cherub.  This was a table favor at my late buddy Brill’s wedding, back in 1996.  I’ll always have this one on the tree.

We used to make ornaments as kids, so I still have a couple of those monstrosities.

This was from a paint-by-numbers partridge and pears ornament kit.  I was probably in 3rd or 4th grade when I made these.

I love how just about anything can be an ornament, like this mini Gentleman Jack bottle

And this peach, from my old record store, Peaches.

That goes along with these.

I have no idea how I ended up with these… Must have been when we changed our name and had to get rid of everything that said “Peaches.”

Last year, I saw this cool Darth Vader ornament at Target but was put off by the price.  I went back the day after Christmas, hoping to pick it up on sale, but it was long gone by then.  So I got this instead.

All year long, I fussed at myself for not getting the Darth ornament, so this year, I corrected my previous inaction.

Little known fact: Darth Vader was an All-American linebacker at Empire U.

Anyway, that’s the highlights.  There are still about 40-50 more, either specials or ornaments made by various crafting-gene relatives. (I probably have a dozen from my Aunt Linda alone.)  Working at the craft store back in the 90s, I was able to pick up a number of cool ornaments, many of which were music-themed.  (I forgot, that’s another sub-section.)

So yeah, it’s a lot of work every year, pulling all this stuff out, but once I get started, I just get caught up in the memories and the next thing I know, I’m done.

Now tell me, is your tree up?  What kind of stories does it tell?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Odd Bits - The Bulking Up Edition

I saw an article in the paper last week about how there’s a shortage of Flu Mist shots; you know, the flu shots they spray up your nose?  It said they have plenty of regular flu injection-type shots, but very little of the spray.

What really caught my eye, and subsequently pissed me off was how the article went on to say how some parents were preferring to let their kids go without flu inoculation rather than subjecting their little angels to an actual shot.

I know that no one likes getting jabbed with needles, least of all kids, but to let them risk getting the flu just to avoid a few minutes of unpleasantness?  Talk about misplaced priorities.

Listen, I got my share of shots as a kid, and I wasn’t given a choice about it. And yes, the first time or two, when I was 5 or 6, I screamed my little head off, too.  But then my parents did a little “parenting,” and solved the problem.  My mom bribed me into taking the shot like a big boy. 

Mom promised me that if I didn’t cry, she would give me a little tchotchke I’d been wanting.  I think it was a little squeezy thing to keep coins in.  I’d had one but lost it. Mom offered me a new one if I didn’t scream and cry and carry on.

Mind you, I was still scared to death, but apparently greed held greater sway over me than fear.  So with my little lip quivering, I let the doctor give me my shot without making a peep.  And I found out that it really wasn’t that bad.  I mean, it didn’t tickle, but I’d had worse by just bumping into things, like the pointed-edged coffee table in our living room.  (Child-proofing hadn’t been invented yet, other than by yelling, “Hey, watch out for that table.”)

The important thing was that I learned that shots were doable, and I knew I could take them.  Being considered a Big Boy was important to me.  (Then.  Now, not so much.)  But this was a skill that I’d need because, in due time, I had to get an allergy shot every
Sunday, after church, administered by Dr. Dad.  (Who, believe me, tolerated zero crying or carrying on.)

Eventually, we went on to having a whole different kind of post-church shot, but that wasn’t until about 10 years later.

Anyway, I think it does a disservice to kids to keep them from getting actual shots.  They’re going to have to get some eventually.  The last thing you want is for your grown children to be terrified of needles.  The screaming and crying get much less understandable.  The earlier they learn to cope with a little discomfort in service of the greater good, the better off they’ll be.

Also, they won’t go around spreading infectious diseases to everyone else.

And yes, I know, you think I’d feel differently if I actually had kids of my own, which is why I always characterize this kind of opinion as, “Advice from Another Childless Douche.”

Oh Christmas Tree
Speaking of, this weekend I was really wishing I had kids of my own… or at least knew where I could rent some.  I put up my Christmas tree on Friday and I probably did about 7000 deep knee-bends to decorate the bottom third of the tree.  So on Saturday and Sunday, my legs felt like they’d been on a Stairmaster for a straight week.

The result came out pretty well, though…
I plan to say more about the tree decorating process in the next post… unless I think of something better.

Example #709 of Why I Hate Maryland Drivers
Pulling up to a red light at a T-shaped intersection this weekend, I saw this numb-nut demonstrating a painfully familiar dick move.
The guy in the SUV is making a left, but he’s planted smack-dab in the middle of the road.  There is plenty of room for two cars, side-by-side so that one can make a right if he wants.  But this asshole makes is making sure no one else can get by until he makes his left.

As you can see, I’m making a left as well, but I’m hugging the center line, so someone else can make a right if they need to.  If I was making the right, I probably would have given him the horn and maybe dramatic gesture.  (Think Carlton Fisk in Game 6 of the 1970-something World Series.)

I don’t know if it’s ignorance, indifference, or incompetence, but it’s all too common around here.

Bulking up
Last month, I got an offer for a free 90-day trial membership to BJ’s Wholesale and decided to give it a shot.

I’d always avoided wholesale clubs because really, I’m just a one-man operation.  I just don’t need that much of any one thing, and don’t have much room to put it.  But since it was free, I thought I’d check it out.

I’ve made two trips so far, and it’s pretty much what I thought.  Some good deals, others not so good… you really have to check.  But it’s been interesting.  But best of all, I saw something that made me crack up right in the giant aisle.

Some jokes just write themselves.

If you’re laughing, you’re probably a Monty Python fan and get the reference.  (If not, you might as well skip to the next segment.)

Right there in the store, I put the shot on Facebook, with the caption: #BloodyVikings.

I also had a thought that I should stick a can of baked beans in the middle, but then again, I was at BJ’s, so they only had them in cases.

And if you’re still wondering what I’m talking about, here’s the source material:

In Other News…
I saw this headline last month:

And I didn’t know they had any hoes in the first place, let alone need to reacquire them.  Guess it’s going to be an interesting season next year.  Can’t wait to see the new promotions.  The front office is going, “Maybe we can’t sign Chris Davis, but we can give them some hoes!

A Gift Idea Whose Time has Come
Remember when I wrote about the salami-warmer Christmas ornament my Dad puts on the tree every year?  Looks like the idea has caught on.  I saw this in one of the gift catalogs that come flooding in this time of year. 

It cracks me up that it’s placed right beside the Peanuts tumbler set.  It fits, though.

Also… “Non-returnable.”  LOL… Yeah, I’d say that’s a “given.”  If underwear is generally non-returnable, the Peter Heater definitely is.