Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Ray of Hope

Every morning as I get dressed I listed to either Sirius 23, Hair Nation (Long live the Hair Band!!!) or Sirius 19, Buzz saw (harder 70s and 80s rock) on my TV courtesy of my friends at Dish. It sets my mood for the day, get me centered and gets this Old Fart's blood a pumping.

My daughter, 7, my oldest child has been an Ozzy fan since she had the hand coordination to make the rock and roll sign with her fingers. God love her.

My oldest son, 4, has rocked out since he gained enough strength in his neck to head bang of his own volition. Life is good.

But this little ray of joy came to me courtesy of my youngest, 15 mos old. I have noticed that lately he has begun to stand in my bedroom and bounce to the music coming from the TV. I thought, nice, he's gonna have rhythm like his old man. Then, this morning, I realized I have reared one more devotee to the power chord.

I forgot to turn on the TV. It was quiet in my room. Quiet that is until the little sprog found the power button for the TV and turned it on himself and commenced a-bouncin' and laughing.

Ah. Life is good.

Tole

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ummmm...dayum

Is it bad when your plumber looks into your sewer says "DAMN! That ain't right!" and then runs from the house.

I come home to my wife telling me that there is a tree growing out of the floor in my guest bath.

"Yeah right, " sez I.

I venture in to el bano and holy mother of pearl! There's a tree growing out of the floor.

This is NOT going to be cheap.




BAH!!

Tole

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And I Bought a House Why?

***sigh***

For the last couple of months I have been noticing a slowly developing problem with my sewers. We have 2 bathrooms in the house and they were taking turns stopping up. It all came to a head today when they both backed-up at the same time.

I ran a sewer snake down the clean out in the backyard. I ran a toilet auger down both toilets. I reamed out the vents pipes coming through the roof. All to no avail.

Dammit.

Call a plumber.

He does everything I did, just with better tools and pulls some roots out from under the house. I'm going to repeat that; because, it bears repeating. He pulled TREE ROOTS OUT FROM UNDER MY FRELLING HOUSE!!!

crap.

Then we move into the house and he comments that the sinking floor, cracked ceiling and leaking shower in the master bath are all most likely the result of how we got roots into the sewer pipes under the house. The cast-iron sewer main is cracked and leaking water under the house.

I turn to see the ($) ($) look in his eyes, but I am pleasantly surprised that he looks as forlorn about it as I am. Either this guy should be selling stuff for a living, giving his acceptance speech to the Academy, or he really feels my pain.

I'm going to go with the latter. My brother recommended this guy, and my brother brooks no bull from those he uses. If the guy was even the least bit crooked, my brother would have smelled it out and stomped on him hard at some point. I begin to feel better.

Then he comes out with the small ray of sunshine in this whole drama. He's seen this before and home owner's insurance should cover most of the repairs.

**dance a jig of joy***

So tomorrow, I'll give a call to the old insurance shiester...ummm...agent and see where I stand.

Tell me again why I thought giving up renting was a good idea?

Tole

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Called Satire

and that's all the explaination I'm goin' to give.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Exsqueeze Me? Baking Powder?

Late last week J.K. Rowling, who I had held out hope for staying as normal as possible, fell right off the face of the planet. Were sales lagging? Did she freak out about the possibility of losing all the press coverage with the end of the Potter series? She seemed so normal...

WHY?!?!? WHY?!?! WHY!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Dumbledore is gay?!?!? WTF?!?!? I bet he liked little boys too and hence his affection for Potter….wait did he touch him in an inappropriate manner?

YE GODS!!!!

Please retract it. Why can’t you just be happy with being the richest psycho on the planet and keep this crap to yourself? Why not just let the series fade into the annals of literary history?

Oh well. I would like to at this point state that I do not actually have a problem with the fact that she wants one of her pivotal characters to be gay. BUT if that was the intention all along, why not deal with it in the books? Why now after the end of it all drag this crap out into the open?

I will most likely continue to read the series (I’m only up to book three), but all copies purchased hence forth will be used so as to not put another nickel in the pocket of a press-whore who just couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go investigate a rumor that Frodo was Bilbo and Gollum's love child.

**groan

Tole

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

You Just might be from Podunk.

Last Christmas one of my co-workers gave me one of those joke-a-day calendars as a gift. This particular one happens to be just chocked full of "You might be a redneck if..." bits of comics genius. (Canst thou smellest te sarcasm?)

Some of them are really funny, others make my head spin in circles and feel like I should be spewing split-pea soup...sorry, sidetracked.

The particular thing that drove home to me exactly where I live went something like this...If you've ever bummed a dip of snuff from your mom, you just might be a redneck.

Now there are several people where I earn my daily bread who most definitely fit the redneck category, and even they found this one to be just plain gross. I share these daily gems with one lady in particular who responded with a story about a woman she works with in a gorcery store who always has a dip in her mouth and a spit cup close at hand. She asked, "Can you even imagine dating someone who did that?"

I thought about this for a minute and responded, "Do you have any idea where I grew up?" I not only dated girls with "snuff rings" on their hip pockets, since I worked in a grocery store in high school, I also supplied their habit with my employee discount.

I of course bought them gum as well.

Tole

Monday, September 17, 2007

and the Wheel of Time Turns

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."


I am more than a little bummed out. The world of fantasy literature lost one of its best the last Sunday. Robert Jordan lost his battle with cardiac amyloidosis, a build up of protien in the heart muscle that causes the heart to harden and lose the ability to pump blood. While his books frustrated me to no end, it was the kind of frustration that came from the fact that there never seemed to be enough time to read them with the kind of attention I felt they deserved.

It is odd to me that the death of someone I've never met should move me so much. Perhaps it is that I felt some familiarity to him through his writing, and a bit of grief over the story that will never be finished. He was also quite a remarkable individual. So it is with a saddness in my heart and a small lump in my throat that I say good bye.

Tole



Robert Jordan
Oct 17,1947 - Sept 16,2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Human Weapon

Over the last few weeks my close little group of cronies and I have begun to gather on Friday nights to watch The History Channel. Yep, you read that right...The History Channel.

Some programming genius found an idea for a show that touches some primal part of my hind brain and I can't stop watching it. It's called Human Weapon and runs at 8 and 9 pm Central on Friday nights.

Basically you have a former UFC fighter and a former pro football player/wrestler who are travelling the world learning a little bit about the hand-to-hand fighting styles native to whatever region they are in. They spend some time training with various teachers and then face a local champion (usually getting their butts handed to them in the process.)

Last week's show featured Krav Maga. Krav Maga isn't as much a self-defense as it is a way to put someone down as fast and as painfully as possible. (Did I just hear Tim Allen grunting? No? hmm...) What made the evening complete was when someone asked Lawdog how some technique to disarm a knife wielding baddie could possibly work. Lawdog, being the helpful and eager to educate others individual that he is offered a quick live demonstration.

Quick...yeah...it happened so fast that our unsuspecting inquisitive mind never saw it coming. He also had a tough time holding his drink in that hand for quite awhile afterwards.

Anyway, if you have an hour to kill on Friday, this one is worth buring a small bit of your life for.

Tole

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Man Code

A friend of mine forwarded this to me the other day. While it is meant as a joke, I found it kinda of amazing how many of these my friends and I put into pracice without ever having written them down.

Tole


1. Thou shall not rent the movie Chocolate.

2. If you’ve known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever! Unless you actually marry her.

3. When questioned by a buddy’s wife, girlfriend, mother, father, priest, shrink, dentist, accountant, or dog walker, you need not and should not provide any useful information as to his whereabouts. You are even permitted to deny his very existence.

4. Unless he murdered someone in your immediate family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 24 hours.

5. You may exaggerate any anecdote told in a bar by 50% without recrimination; beyond that, anyone within earshot is allowed to yell out “BULLSHIT!” (Exception: When trying to pick up a girl, the allowable exaggeration is 400%)

6. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.

7. The minimum amount of time you have to wait for another guy is 5 minutes. The maximum is 6 minutes. For a girl, you are required to wait 10 minutes for every point of hotness she scores on the classic 1-10 babe scale.

8. Complaining about the brand of free beverages in a buddy’s refrigerator is forbidden. But you may gripe if the temperature is unsuitable.

9. A friend must be permitted to borrow anything you own - grill, car, firstborn child - within 12 hr notice. Women or anything considered “lucky” are not applicable in this case.

10. Agreeing to distract the skanky friend of a hot babe that your buddy is trying to hook up with is your legal duty. Should you get carried away with your good deed and end up having sex with the beast, your pal is forbidden to ever speak of it.

11. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.

12. Before dating a buddy’s ex you are required to ask his permission and he in return is required to grant it. He is however allowed to say, “man, you’re gonna love the way she licks your balls”.

13. Women who claim they “love to watch sports” must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to pick a Buffalo wing clean.

14. If a man’s zipper is down, that’s his problem - You didn’t see nothin’.

15. No man is ever required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering a best friend’s birthday is strictly optional, and slightly gay.

16. You must offer heartfelt condolences over the death of a girlfriend’s cat, even if it was you who secretly set it on fire, and threw it into a ceiling fan.

17. While your girlfriend must bond with your buddy’s girlfriends within 30 minutes of meeting them, you are not required to make nice with her gal pal’s boyfriends - Low level sports bonding is all the law requires.

18. Unless you have a lucrative endorsement contract, never appear in public wearing more than one Nike swoosh.

19. When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may always ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who is playing.

20. When your girlfriend/wife expresses a desire to fix her ugly, whiny friend up with your pal, you must grant permission, but only if you have ample time to warn your friend to prepare his excuse about joining the priesthood.

21. Only in a situation of mortal danger or ass peril are you permitted to kick another member of the male species in the testicles.

22. Unless you’re in prison, never fight naked.

23. If your buddy is outnumbered outmanned, or too drunk to defend himself, you must jump into the fight. Exception: If within the past 24 hours his actions have caused you to think “What this guy needs is a good ass whuppin’, then you may sit back and enjoy.

24. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.

25. When picking players for sports teams it is permissible to skip over your buddy in favour of better athletes - as long as you don’t let him be the last sorry son of a bitch standing on the sideline.

26. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you better be referring to his beer.

27. Never join your girlfriend/wife in ragging on a buddy of yours, unless she is withholding sex, pending your response.

28. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while weight lifting:
“Yeah, baby, push it!”
“C’mon, give me one more! Harder!”
“Another set and we can hit the showers”
“Nice ass, are you a Sagittarius?”

29. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both. That’s just mean.

30. Never talk to another man in the bathroom unless you’re on equal footing: either both urinating or both waiting in line. In all other situations, a nod will do just fine.

31. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her.

32. You can not rat out a friend who show’s up to work or class with a massive hangover, however you may: hide the aspirin, smear his chair with limburger cheese, turn the brightness on his computer way up so he thinks its broken, or have him paged every seven minutes.

33. If your buddy is trying to hook up with a girl, you may sabotage him only in a manner that gives you no chances of getting any either.

34. Before allowing a drunken friend to cheat on his girl, you must attempt one intervention. If he can get up on his feet, look you in the eye, and deliver a “Fuck off!” then you are absolved from all responsibility. Later on it is ok that you have no idea what his girlfriend is talking about.

35. The morning after you and a babe, who was formerly “just a friend”, go at it, the fact that you’re feeling weird and guilty is no reason not to jump on her again before there is a discussion about what a big mistake it was.

36. When using a urinal in a public restroom, a buffer zone of at least one urinal will exist at all times. If the only empty urinal is directly next to an occupied on, then you are still required to wait.

37. When coming to a room which you know is occupied by your friend and possibly another girl, you must knock and wait for an adequate response. If no response occurs, and the door is locked, a 10 minute period is required before knocking again.

38. If you accidentally touch or brush against any part of another man below the waist, it is an understood accident, and NO apologies or any reference to the occurrence is necessary.

39. Any dispute lasting any longer than 3 minutes must be settled by rock, paper, scissors. There is no argument too important for this determining method.

40. Only acceptable time when a man is allowed to cry:
When a heroic dog dies to save his master.
After being struck in the testicles with anything moving faster than 7 mph.
When your date is using her teeth.
The day Anna Kornikova chooses a husband.

41. If a hot girl shall happen to pass by while you are in an arms reach of your buddy, you must, tap him on the shoulder to make him aware of the babe.

42. A man’s shoes may not intentionally match any other article of clothing on his body.

43. No man shall ever allow anyone to speak ill of The Simpsons or any Rocky movie. (Exception: Rocky V)

44. Any object thrown with reasonable speed and accuracy, MUST be caught.

45. No man shall ever keep track of, or count, the amount of beers he has drunk in a night.

46. It is permissible to consume a fruity chick drink only when you’re sunning on a tropical beach, and it’s delivered by a topless supermodel, and it’s free.

47. Under no circumstances may two non-related men share a bed or anything which could be perceived as a mattress.

48. If you jiggle more than twice, you’re playing with it.

49. A man shall never help another man apply sun tan oil.

50. It is the God given duty of every man to assist any other man that may be in need of assistance in obtaining a threesome with two girls.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

He Likes It, He Really Likes It!!

My middle child (ye gods I hate that term!)...my oldest son (better) started preschool this year. We weren't sure how he was gonna deal, but he seems to be doing great. Turns out, school sponsored pre-k is a lot like kindergarden was for old relics like me.

All of our fears were laid to rest today when the little nard got right cheesed off because he doesn't get to go on Saturday and Sunday. All is right with the world.

Tole

Monday, August 27, 2007

Since When is the WWE Sci-Fi?

I'm done. I let them set me up again and just like Charlie Brown and that football, I am lying here on my back, looking at the clouds drift by and wondering where it all went wrong. Oh yeah, I screwed up and trusted them.

See, there used to be this little show on on the SciFi Channel called Farscape. I loved it. Then they got Stargate from Showtime and cut it after 4 years ending the series on a frelling season finale cliff-hanger. I cussed and screamed and stomped about my living room longing for a gnome to punt. They suckered me back in and bought a little forgiveness with a mini-series to sort of wrap things up.

So I gave them a second chance, but it took a couple of years.

I am a huge Jim Butcher fan. Well, I should say a Harry Dresden fan because I haven't read Butcher's second series yet. I highly recommend them. Any of the books stand alone, but they are best read in order.

The Dresden Files

Imagine my shock when I hear rumblings that they are going to translate them into a TV series. I was, to put it mildly, giddy. I think I might have even shuddered once or twice.

As with all book-tv or book-movie adaptations some changes had to be made, but the integrity of the series stuck around. It had good writing, good special effects, and even bore more than a passing resemblance to the stories I loved...for one season.

I see Lucy taunting me with that football and even though I know I'm gonna end up flat on my ass, I charge in anyway. I watch the whole first season...which I think was only 11 episodes or so.

At the end of season one, there ensues the controversy about whether it will be back. Two months of hemming and hawing and now the answer.

When I see that they can't afford it in a cost vs. ratings analysis and then I see that they've added WWE to the line up, I find my self once again looking for a puntable gnome.

So, with the exception of the occasional crappy horror/ "B" scifi flick, I am done with the SciFi Network. Not that they'll ever notice or even care, but at least I get to speak my peace.

Thanks for listening.

Tole

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rate My Life

Thanks Lawdog...I feel better about myself now.

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
7.2
Mind:
7.5
Body:
5.7
Spirit:
6
Friends/Family:
7.1
Love:
9.1
Finance:
6.1
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Ain't Skeered

A few weeks ago a recently punctured friend of mine brought by a couple of fishing poles for my 2 oldest kidlings.

Their Papaw had been wanting to take them fishing all summer, so this last weekend we took them down to the local fishing barge and let them wet their hooks.

We spent 4 great hours getting hooks caught in the brush, having sneaky little fishys swiping our bait, and we even reeled a few in. I think the final count put me and my dad's total equal to each of my kids alone. Apparently fish do have a soft spot for the young 'uns.

My son, who is 4 by the by, decided that he was going to handle his own fish. He took hold of the little slimy things and handled the throw back of any that were too small to keep. Promptly wiping his slimy hand on his shorts.

My little delicate flower of a daughter was not so eager. Fish detail was relegated to dad and me. I don't think either of us minded a bit.

By the end of the day the boy was even skilled at reaching into the minnow bucket and grabbing his own bait. However, he decided it was best for me or Dad to put them on the hooks, and after seeing the picture of his Unca' Lawdog I don't think he'll be playing in the tacklebox any time soon.

Dude...that was one coordinated maneuver.


My mommy sez I can't go fishin' with you at 4 am though. She wants you awake enough not to hook me in the honker.


Tole

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Isn't This Obstruction of Justice?

I may be a simple country boy. I might not be a law scholar, but it would seem to me that if I call ahead of our local LEOs to warn someone that they are coming, I get to go sit in the old vertical bar hotel right along with 'em.

I heard this mentioned on the radio today and had to go read it myself to believe it. I would suggest a liberal wrapping of duct tape around your head before you read it too. That way when your head explodes you can find all the pieces.

Here's the lead in.

SANTA ANA – Responding to a refusal by city leaders to declare the city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, more than a dozen people gathered outside City Hall on Monday night to denounce recent immigration raids, accusing federal officials of "terrorizing" immigrant communities and breaking up families.

A coalition of local immigrant rights groups, including the Orange County Alliance for Immigrants Rights and the Front Against the Raids, announced a planned program to create a hot line that will notify people where and when immigration raids will take place. The program would also coordinate a support system for the families of deportee targets.

"We want to have a more organized effort to counter these attacks," said Jaime Conteras, a 20-year-old Filipino immigrant who now lives in Santa Ana. "We cannot let people trample on our rights."


Read the whole story here.

I have to go lie down.

Tole

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Heart Swells

I knew early on that the volatile mixture of my wife's DNA with mine was going to give us an interesting life together...I could never have guessed it would be like this.

I can remember an instance when my daughter was 2, that made me laugh until I damned near peed myself. I was in the backyard putting a mean case of char on a hapless chicken when my wife sticks her head out the back door and summons our little angel for a fresh coating of anti-skeeter spritz.

The little darling stops mid-stride. Hoists a matched set of rock-n-roll hands into the air and announces, "Here I come and hell's coming with me!!"

That hurts. She's been a fan of Ozzy since she had the dexterity to make a rock-n-roll hand sign and bang her head in her car seat. Isn't that special?

My oldest son, well, you can see what kind of a challenge he is going to be. His personal mantra seems to be, "If I can't knock it down with a head-butt I will respect it. If I can knock it down, i will eat it." OY! But when he isn't knocking stuff over, he can jump around with the music with the best of them.

My most recent moment of pride though was this morning and it came from my baby boy. Kid #3. I had the old Sirius radio fired up and was belting out a slightly off key rendition of Stroke by Billy Squire. I turn around to see the baby throwing his hands in the air and bouncing in time to the music.

For someone who gave up a music career to live in the real world, (how the hell did I become an accountant?) it give me a small measure of comfort to see my kids enjoying music too.

Tole

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Inspiration

I just can’t take it anymore. I want so much to write about things that are important to me, but I find more and more that people who specialize in those areas are covering the things I want to discuss better. I, therefore, will defer discussions on politics and government to those with the expertise. I defer to Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the like.

Ok, now you know that I am relatively conservative.

I support the war in Iraq. I am in favor of smaller government and I throw up a little every time I think about the possibility of Hillary Clinton in the White House. I don’t own a gun, but I will stand by your side and fight for your right to do so. I should say that the primary reason I don’t own a gun is because I can’t afford one, not because I don’t want to. I DO however own several rather nasty pieces of cutlery not intended for kitchen use.

Now that I have that all off of my chest, I hope that this terminal case of block will clear up and I will be able to put something really worth reading on this place for you all to enjoy.

I think that for the near future I am going to look to my children for inspiration. They just about make me laugh myself to death every day. I should share some of that. They also scare the hell out of me, and I have a feeling I am not the only parent in the world to feel this particular sensation.

My oldest son, for instance, has shown his father’s ability to act without thinking his actions through as well as he could have. I should preface this little tale by saying that the boy is growing faster than his coordination can adapt to. He tends to fall quite a lot. My wife calls it being gawky. That works for me.

This particular day he had fallen over and collided with things for most of the day giving himself a couple of really impressive goose-eggs on his boney little head. Me being older and more fragile would have taken that as a sign that perhaps I should park my considerable butt on the couch so as not to risk serious or permanent injury. I am not however 4 years old and immortal. He is.

Lawdog was over for a visit and I enlisted his help in unloading some stuff from the trunk of the car. We head outside and I hear this earth shaking WHUMP from behind LD and me issues forth with an, “Oh dayum.” That’s when the crying fires up from just inside the front door.

My boy had tried to time his exit from the house to be able to push the GLASS storm door open with his head…he missed…at a dead run. Once we got him calmed down, I took a few minutes to explain that trying to open a glass door with one’s head is a recipe for unpleasantness.

I like to think that he took that wisdom and applied it, but let’s be honest. He’s four. I do take some comfort in the knowledge that he already knows he can’t fly, but that, my friends is another story.

Tole

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thought you should know

I heard this story on Glenn Beck and thought it was worth sharing. Somehow this story didn't make any of the national new sources. If the roles were reversed I guaran-damn-ty you it would run on every national show for at least a month and we would get in-depth analysis from every psycho-babbling monkey that can grab 5 minutes of airtime.

Mainstream news media makes me wanna yark.

A story on Yahoo can be found here.

Let's keep this young man who was willing to put his life on the line defending our country, but was shot by a nutjob with an agenda at home, in our thoughts and if you do so prayers.

Tole

Thursday, June 28, 2007

W.S.S.R. Revisited

It has come to my attention that the plight of our civic minded gas station owner that was discussed here, has once again made the news.

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin gas station owner who claims state regulators forced him to stop giving discounts on fuel to senior citizens filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying a law requiring retailers to sell gas above cost is unconstitutional.

Raj Bhandari argues in the lawsuit that Wisconsin's minimum markup law violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution because retailers who sell gasoline — and few other products — are barred from selling any item below cost.

Bhandari, who owns Center City BP in Merrill, Wis., about 150 miles north of Madison, made headlines earlier this year after he stopped offering discounts of 2 cents per gallon to senior citizens and 3 cents per gallon for donors to a youth hockey league.

He did so after being warned by state regulators that such programs may violate the minimum markup law, formally known as the Unfair Sales Act.


The full text of the article is here.

The law firm representing him is doing it pro bono, (holy cow and bully for them). I sincerely hope he wins. From what I have read and heard in various interviews, this law was passed in the 1930s in an attempt to keep Standard Oil on top of the heap. I think it has outlived its usefulness.

I have found a new quote from Thomas Jefferson that I throw out as much as possible and I think I will include it here.

A government that is large enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have.

Tole

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Something I Love to Share


Mostly because it always gets me in trouble. You see, I'm a nerd. Have been all my life. Even when I played sports (and I wasn't half bad either) I was still a nerd because I was one of those kids who could be athletic and still carry A's. Problem with that is, the rest of the athletes were threatened by that so didn't like me. The rest of the brainiacs were threatened by the playing of sports and didn't really care for me either.


Luckily there came an epiphany. A light shone down on me (actually it was from the concussion I got in practice) and I realized it was better to be able bodied and smart than brain damaged and beat up all the time.


OK, I've rambled about that long enough. It was meant to give you all some insight as to why I find the attached funny. Math jokes crack me up.
I do have to give credit for this to the forums of my guild in Everquest. It shows up alot in there.
Tole


Monday, June 18, 2007

Good News From the Doctor

Well, I have spent too much time and money ( I even got to hold my breath for one of those new fangled CAT Scan machines) to find out that the root of all my problems is that I am a fat tub of goo.

DUH!

I could have told him that with just one cursory glance in a mirror. **grin**

Truth be told I am suffering from 2 completely unrelated problems that added together make me feel cruddy some days.

The first is that I have a fatty liver. No big deal yet, but left unattended it could cause cirrhosis later in life.

Cure? Lose weight you tub of goo.

The second is called Gilbert's Disease, which I find ironic in that my grandmother's maiden name was Gilbert. This condition is benign and the worst that can really happen is I turn orange from time to time. What it does is cause my liver (see a pattern here?) to not process bilirubin like it should. Again, no big deal.

Cure? None. It's genetic and you just have to live with it.

So, now that I know I am not going to be making my journey towards room temperature any time soon I am going to do my dead level best to get more time in on this little bit of blather. Sorry I bowed out for so long.

Tole

Monday, June 4, 2007

MSRs Don't Get Paid Enough...

Ok, this is a blatant rip-off from LawDog, but if you can't rip-off your friends, what good are they?

I have been trying for some time to figure out if anything I come across at work bears any value at all in sharing it with those of you who put up with my blather. Suddenly it dawns on me that there are plenty of folks who just don't get how it all really works, so the answer to my musings was a resounding YES!

Now, as it turns out, financial institutions have our own version of LawDog's poor downtrodden dispatchers. We call them MSRs, or Member Service Representatives. They get to deal with John Q. Public on a daily basis and some of the things they encounter will make blood run out of your eyes. I'll take it easy on you with the first story, because I fear that I could vapor lock your mind. I won't be responsible for causing that kind of damage...I won't. So I will ease you all in slowly...if that is possible.

John Q. Member says, "You all took my money and I want it back!"

(You'd be amazed how many of our encounters start just this way.)

"I'm sorry. We did what now?"

"You all took my money and I want it back. If you don't give it back, I'm gonna call the cops."

"Ok. First let's talk about what happened and see if we can figure out how to best handle your problem."

"I'll tell you what happened. You all took $1,500.00 out of my account at an ATM and you're gonna put it back."

"Ok, Sir. Someone took $1,500 out of your account at an ATM? Do you have your ATM card?"

"Damned straight! Never let it out of my sight, so you all must have stolen it and I want it back."

"Ok, I see on your account that you have 2 ATM cards. Is that right?"

"Yeah, my son has one."

"And I see by your account history that it was withdrawn in $500 chunks over 3 days at an ATM in Germany. Do you know anyone in Germany?"

At this point, our friends facial expression changes from one of indignant disbelief to one of "Oh really?"

"Why yes, my son is stationed in...Thank you very much for your time."

You'd probably also be amazed how many people don't realize that an ATM with drawl requires the use of an ATM card AND a PIN. Barring forgery, almost all of these situations end in the member realizing that they got taken by a family member, boy/girl friend or roommate.

I swear I keep a roll of grey duct tape in my desk to wrap around my head to keep it from exploding during one of these little conversations. Especially when I hear this...

"Well yeah I told 'em my PIN, but they were only supposed to use it that one time."

"Another little bit of info for your personal growth sir. If you give them your PIN, you have by default given them authorization to take as much as they want, unless you re-PIN after that time."

Short of the long, it is your money. It is your responsibility to safeguard it. We do all we can to keep criminals out of your stuff, but you have to help us.

Tole

Friday, June 1, 2007

Absence

Let me start this with an apology. I realize that my posting has dropped to almost nil in the last month. I am going through some helath issues that make me hurt quite a bit and it takes the desire to write right out of me. My doctor and I are working on nailing down exactly what is going on. It all seems to revolve around my liver. Add all of that to the fact that I tend to get depressed easily and BANG..I withdraw. I will do my best to get more out here. But please bear with me if I take awhile to put thoughts to digital paper.

Tole

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So Much to Read...

so little time.

I have begun to build a list of daily reads. It started simple, just Lawdog, but I find that there is more and more for me to see. Here's the list:

http://ambulancedriverfiles.blogspot.com/

http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/

http://boobsinjuriesanddrpepper.blogspot.com/

http://hollys-hystrionics.blogspot.com/

I'm enjoying them all and hope to add a few more to the list. My only problem is that I tend to read kind of slowly, so I may run out of time in my day...or I might have to give up sleep. I can always sleep when I'm dead.

Tole

Monday, May 14, 2007

W.S.S.R.

MERRILL, Wis. (AP)- A service station that offered discounted gas to senior
citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to
raise its prices.

Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering
senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let
sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's
Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more
than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the
state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his
prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with
the fine determined by a judge.

Bhandari, who bought the station a year
ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he
wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the
discount cards.

Dale Van Camp said he bought a $50 card to support the
local youth hockey program. It would have saved him about $100 per year on gas,
he said.

http://www.wboc.com/Global/story.asp?S=6490175&nav=MXE0

I first saw this story on the net a few days ago and it has been bouncing around in my head for close to a week. I thin today the blood started to trickle out of my ears from the hemorrhage that the sheer “DO WHAT?!?!” has caused me to suffer. The last time I checked this was still a free market economy and retailers (unregulated ones of course) we free to charge whatever the hell their conscience will allow.

I am quoting here from the National Federation of Independent Business’s website:

According to Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act (also known as the minimum mark-up
law) it is illegal (with certain exceptions) to sell products at retail at less
than cost with the intent or effect of diverting trade from a competitor. Cost
(other than motor vehicle fuel) is determined as the lesser of the invoice cost
or replacement cost of the merchandise. Minimum mark-up requirements do not
apply to merchandise sold in clearance sales, damaged goods and merchandise at
risk of spoiling. The minimum mark-up requirements also do not apply if the
merchandise is priced in good faith to meet the existing price of a competitor.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the whole idea of running a business to divert business away from a competitor? And if I, as a business owner am willing to take a hickey on an item to get you in the door, who the hell is the government to tell me I can’t? This sounds an awful lot like the way an economy of a certain former Soviet Republic was running right before it collapsed in on itself.

The website goes on to say that the law was designed to keep small town America from losing local businesses to the “mega” retailers. But here’s the thing on that topic, those “mega stores” were once a local businesses that made their business model work. Why should they be punished for their success? If your town is truly upset about losing local businesses to the “mega stores” the answer is simple…don’t give them you patronage. That’s how a free economy works. Take your business to the local retailer. I do, whenever I can, but it is hard to pay 10-20% more at the local place over Wally World. I do not think that it is the state or federal government’s place or responsibility to make sure my business succeeds. That is my job.

Anything else is socialism at best and communism at worst.

Tole

Sunday, May 6, 2007

And Now for Something...

Completely Different.

I am an avid watcher of Food Network, and my physique has unfortunately suffered the consequences. I would like to point out that I am in shape...round is a shape. I am also very adventurous when it comes to food.

A few weeks ago I saw an episode of one of my favorite shows, Good Eats, that dealt with cornmeal. Growing up in Texas I have seen this stuff put to good use, and I have, unfortunately also seen many culinary tragedies come from it. Undaunted though, I keep on trying. Last night was one such foray into the unkown. I am happy to report that this one was a win.


Pineapple Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004

3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
4 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1 cup
6 slices canned pineapple in heavy syrup
6 maraschino cherries
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons juice from canned pineapple
3 whole eggs
4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a microwave-proof dish, bring the milk to a boil. Remove the milk from the microwave and add the cornmeal. Stir and let soak at room temperature for 30 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully place 1 slice of pineapple in the center of the pan. Place the other 5 slices around the center slice in a circle. Place the cherries in the centers of the pineapple slices and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the fruit. Drizzle pineapple juice over top.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and whisk. Add the cornmeal and milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add this to the flour and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the skillet. Set a platter on top of the skillet and carefully invert the cake. Serve.

Recipe SummaryDifficulty:
Easy Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 (10-inch) cake
Episode#: EA1H08

Monday, April 30, 2007

The ER...Late Night Edition

So it was a usual night. Kiddos drifted off to la la land in my room watching my TV while Lawdog, yours truly and one more were sitting in the main hall shooting the breeze. The wife comes in and asks me to put the little tricycle motors in their own beds and I jump right up to oblige her.

Here's where things go south...quick.

Put the boy in his bed without a hitch.

Pick up my daughter and she starts to cry telling me that her ear hurts...did I mention that it's nigh on 10pm? No? It was. I carry her on to her bed and send in Dr. Mom to assess the situation and get sent to Wally World for children's Tylen-something.

By the time I get back, my daughter is in tears and not showing any signs of letting up, so I do what any self-respecting man would. I grab my 15" Mag-Lite and look in her ear...ye gods. There was something the size of a pea in her ear.

Breathe Tole...It's not moving, Tole...Everything is gonna be ok, Tole.

See I have this overwhelming need to protect my kiddos, especially my little girl. I want to put mass quantities of hurt on anything that comes within miles of causing her any grief, but I'm at a loss here. So, I once again do what any red-blooded American man would do in this situation...

I call my mommy.

She calms me down and tells me she will go with us to the ER...by the by we're closing in on 11pm now. On the way to the hospital, I damned near killed myself when my little girl, with all the calmness of someone 8 times her age says to me, "Daddy, I can feel whatever is in my ear moving and going pop pop pop."

Oh bloody hell, she's got a bug in her ear. Eww Eww Eww!!!

Just to finish this, because I am still juiced on adrenaline. After being examined by first an EMT, then an RN and finally an NP, we determine that the temporary tube that the Ear, Nose and Throat doc put in almost a year ago is making its exit. No big deal.

My daughter's reaction? "COOL? Will I get to see it when it comes out?"

Youth.

Tole

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scary Stuff

I am going out to the local University to get the ball rolling on an MBA. It is a daunting thought. I am about to put myself through three years of hard work and hope it pays off in the end. I’ll be 40 by then…yuck. Wish I had started sooner, but hey if wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak.

I guess the biggest thing I will have to relearn is how to be a student again. It’s been over a decade since I received my BBA, and to be honest I wasn’t all that great of a student then. Of course I was young, dumb and full of…well you know how that old saying goes. I really wasn’t driven and had no reason to be. Now I do. I have 3 of them and they all depend their mother and me to give them what they need. IMHO, they need her at home with them and the only way that happens is if I am able to provide the income we need to see to it.

The next biggest obstacle will be from the kiddos themselves. They love to play and so do I. Not only that but they make enough noise for 12 kids their size. Studying will be an interesting prospect. I guess I will have to build that addition on the house so I can have a Fortress of Solitude.

So it is once more into the breach friends to do or die in the attempt. I begin classes in September and tremble a little at the thought.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

No More

After the terible ocurrence at Virginia Tech, I have been bombarded by the media with all the regular hoopla and fanfare. I'm sick of it.

Let the healing begin. Let the families of the victims and, yes, even the shooter start to move on. It's time to let this kid's name fade into the past without so much as a footnote in history.

The thing that scares me the most is that with our competative nature in America, there are already those thinking, "I can top 33 easy."

We need to quit glorifying and raising these evil acts up and to steal a phrase, "banish the name of the evildoers from our society." If we quit making the villians into heroes, some, mind you not all, of their incentive to gain notariety goes away.

Tole

Wally Wallington and Stonehenge "Reloaded"

I was sitting at my little pc checking my email when I get this link emailed to me from my Da'. When I read the accompanying blog link, my initial reaction was yeah right, but I watched the YouTube video anyway.

Bugger me, but I think this old boy might be on to something. Judge for yourselves and let me know what ya think. Personally, I think I may be building my own very soon.

Tole


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Big Trouble

Lawdog came by the other night and it didn't take long for us to decide it was movie time. I would like to point to item #3 in this post here that speaks to the quality of movie I enjoy. That being said I continue...

A couple of weeks ago I scored a major win at the $5.50 bin at Wally World. Big Trouble in Little China is up there on my list of all time favorites. Hell, all of the Kurt Russel/John Carpenter movies are great...The Thing, Escape from New York (and or LA), so on and so forth. Luckily Lawdog shares a similar affection for these films so we pulled out BTiLC and popped it in.

Here's where things got sideways.

We've both seen this flick 147,748 times so we thought, "Let's check out the Special Features first." Lo and behold the only choices were Language and Commentary On/Off. Having never watched a movie with the commentary on we decided to give it a shot, and we were well rewarded.

What we got for our intrepidity was a running dialogue between John Carpenter and Kurt Russel as they drank and reminisced about the film and their lives in general. At one point the discussion got so far off track that they even commented, "Oh, hey I guess we should talk about the movie since that is why you all turned this feature on."

I think that the "Escape" films are next in queue. Should be interesting.

Tole

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Patton By God

Got this in an email from my dad today. Now while I would never endorse the blanket bombing of the middle east **looks around and whistles innocently** I do find this as funny as hell. Kinda makes ya wonder how the War on Terror would be conducted by some of the old school military greats from our history. Lightbulbs and liquor bottles, heh heh.


Friday, April 6, 2007

To Joss

I miss Firefly.

That's it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Upgrade Schmupgrade

One of the duties that I have carefully wormed my way into, as I have said before is as a backup to our sole IT person at the credit union (poor bastard.) We have recently gone through a couple of conversions and some training on how to more effectively make the REALLY expensive processing software we use work.

However, as with any change there is resistance. The "I've always done it this way. Why should I change?" mentality is really difficult to overcome. Even in the face of how much easier the job will become, once someone becomes entrenched in a way of doing something, the new way is scary and frustrating.

That having been said, there is a certain joyous satisfaction in that moment that light dawns on marble head and you see the realization on their face that we are not trying to ruin their lives.

Then you see something like this and it makes all the frustration of convincing them seem somehow funny. It helps to keep the IT folks from coming to work with some sort of incendiary device or W.M.D.

Enjoy..


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This is NOT Why I Had Kids

I remember the day I saw my first child on a sonogram. I remember the joy in seeing that the baby was a little girl, the first in 2 generations on my father's side of the family. I remember holding that little bundle in the delivery room. The same can be said for both of my son's. The light they have shined on me cannot have a value placed on it nor could it ever be replaced.

That being said, I can't wait for the little buggers to get past childhood illnesses!

It seems, no not seems, it comes to pass that everytime any of them have a sniffle or the trots, it finds its way into my system as well. I hate being sick. It makes me feel like a weak old fart. That being said, I am sitting here debating whether I should drag my less than healthy butt into the office or spend another day on the couch. Yuck. I find that neither option really sounds like any fun.

On the one hand, I could go to work and sequester myself in my office and sit at my desk and stare at the walls until it's time to come home not really doing anything.

On the other, I could stay home and drive my wife crazy, risk the threat of physical violence and wait for the inevitable, "Why didn't you go to work" from her.

*sigh

It's a no win scenario...my own personal Kobiashi Maru. (for my Trekkie friends) Oh well, life is full of hard choices.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I Can Fix Social Security

Here it is and the solution is fun for everyone...get busy with the one you love and make some damned babies. When social security was founded there was something like 20 people paying in for every 1 taking out. Now it's 8 to 1 and by the time I retire that number will have inverted.

Why is this happening? Simple, the birth rate in the good old U.S. of A. is currently 1.6 children per couple. If we aren't even replacing ourselves we are faced with a declining population and the direct result of that will be less people paying into government programs and therefore fewer programs can be funded. In many countries in Europe it is closer to 1.1 per couple. We are literally breeding ourselves out of existence.

One other interesting stat I'd like to throw in there for your consideration is that the birth rate in the "terrorist prone" countries is in the neighborhood of 7-9 children per couple. President Tom in Iran and Colonel (I think his rank is still Col.) Qaddafi (Sp?) have both said that the Al Queda approach to bringing the world to Islam is outmoded. They simply have to keep having children and soon they will be welcomed to countries to take the place of the children that the populations there aren't having. Then they can re annex all of the land that they lost to the Christians back in the past not to mention even more area just by over-running them with their children.

Scary huh? While I have been saying that babies are the cure for SS for a long time. I think I started when I heard Australia's govt slogan for the tax incentives they were giving families for having 3 kids 'One for you, one for your spouse and one for your country' due to their declining population and low birthrate. The info on the Middle East came to me from a video on www.foxnews.com. If you'd like to see it just search for "save America" and click the link for videos, or you can check the book by his guest, Mark Steyn called America Alone.

Most who know me will say that this stand for more kids kinda flies in the face of one of my other philosophies, specifically that a lot of people shouldn't be allowed to have kids, just to stop the genes from spreading. I suppose in a way it does, but we can deal with screwed up kids after we are stable and funded. Besides, it'll give LD job security.

Tole

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Comments are Life

OK, I don't want to sound like Needy Ned, but feedback drives my creativity. That being said, if something I say interests you, tickles you or just plain pisses you off, let me know. I feed on discussion. It's like sweet, sweet nectar.

Ok, done begging.

Tole

MFA, What Is It And What Does It Mean To Me?

MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication is a new layer of security being added to online banking by financial institutions. The federal government has determined that simple user id and password verification is too easily spoofed by a cyber-critter and has there fore required F.I. to add another layer.

There is a pretty good article on Wikipedia on this topic that you can read here.

As I type this I can hear protests about how inconvenient it will be to have to go through another step to get to your information. My feeling is this, it’s a lot more inconvenient to have to go through a fraud and lose all my money to some cyber-critter with too much time on his hands and who, in all likelihood, will never get caught. It is the same approach I have about the increased airport security. If my being troubled just a bit keeps my plane from being the one they talk about on the news, more power to ‘em.

MFA relies on a few things and the levels that your own FI will go to is largely up to them. Our credit union chose to go with a two-factor verification, and it goes a little something like this. You log into your account as usual. But one time and one time only, you have to choose a picture from a group of pictures that the FI has provided. Second you have to set up one or several (again, wholly up to your FI) challenge questions to which only you know the answer.

The idea behind this procedure is that when you log in using your id and password, it gives you access to the next layer of security. Then you will see the picture that you have chosen. Since only 2 people in the world know what you have chosen, you can be reasonably sure that you are on your FI’s servers. You must also answer your challenge questions. This lets the FI know that you are you; because, you are, theoretically the only one who knows those answers.

That’s it. You’re in and everything should act as normal from there.

Like I said earlier, this is how my credit union has chosen to do this. There are a lot of other possibilities out there. Some FI will allow you to download a certificate to your pc that will let you into your account taking the place of the challenge questions. This is great, as long as the certificate doesn’t get compromised, and it makes your pc the ONLY one you can do online banking from.

With the advent of the biometrics for pcs, like using your fingerprint to log into Windows or to unlock the pc from screensaver, you may one day see the ability to scan your fingerprint from your pc to access your account.

Ok, that’s two pretty dry write-ups in a row. Story from growing up with LD next time, I promise.

Tole

Monday, March 5, 2007

Gone Phishing

There are very few times when stories from what I do for a living are worth telling. Accountants have, by nature, very boring jobs. Put an accountant into a financial institution and stand back and let the naps ensue. However, I have wormed my way onto the e-Commerce committee at my FI and get to help fight the cyber-critters and the Nigerian scammers on a regular basis.

We do everything we can to educate our members (ok, now you know I work at a credit union) and I thought, why not share some of what I know with anyone willing to take the time to put their eyes on my humble little blather.

I recevied an email in my home email the other day that kicked off this little diatribe and it serves as a really good example of a phishing scam. It also gives some really good examples of things to look for in these type of things. I'm going to copy the text directly into my post here and then I'll tell you what tipped me off. I guess I'm lucky that part of my job is to bust up this stuff, because except for a few small things this isn't a bad attempt.



Your Online Banking is Blocked
Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on you account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on you account. So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security. Please click on sign in to online Banking to continue to the verification process and ensure your account security. It is all about your security. Thank you.and visit the customer service section.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender © 2007 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved


There were lots and lots of official looking logos and all kinds of BofA propganda attached as well. The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that I do not have an account with B of A. Pretty much a dead give-away. But let's suspend that trivial factor and move on to the body of this piece of linguistic mastery. Two major grammatical errors in the first sentence and the fact that the "click here" link (removed for safety reasons) leads to the web address below:

http://www.phatmass.com/gallery/albums/login_verify2&.src=ym/bankofamerica/bankofamerica/bankofamerica/onlineid.signin

Now what this link will lead you to is a site that in all probability looks JUST like the B of A sign in screen. So you sign in and bang right into online banking. What you didn't see happen was the hand off from the phisher's site to B of A where he, nice guy that he is, signed you in, leaving you none the wiser. BUT he now has a record of your user ID and password and as soon as you sign out, he signs in and sends himself a nice little gift. You go back to balance your check book and WTF?!?! you have no money. Neat huh?

This is just one way that they get you. And they have hundreds more. The best advice I can, and do give is:

1. always be suspicious, take every thing you get in an email as fiction unless YOU initiated the contact,
2. if you are concerned go to the website yourself, NEVER use the link provided in the email,
3. when in doubt call or go by your bank or credit union. They'd rather help you prevent this than have to help you recover from it.
4. use your brain. Most of these critters are banking on us being lemmings, and all to often they are, unfortuantely, right.

Hope this was worth the read and if it helps anyone avoid getting taken, then it was worth the write.

Tole

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The best brownies EVER

OK, there's no recipe for this. It's just a technique and wow is it good. It goes something like this:

1. Get a brownie mix or make your grandma's brownie recipe or whatever turns your crank.

2. Get your self a box of Andes mints. You know, the ones they give you at Olive Garden. You can get boxes of them at Wally World and other fine retailers.

3. Put half of the brownie mix in the pan you are going to bake them in.

4. Put a layer of the mints on top, and

5. Finish it off by putting the rest of the brownie mix on top of that.

6. Bake it per the recipe, let 'em cool a bit, grab a glass of cold milk and bliss out.

(You can substitute any melty candy you like that goes with chocolate for the mints. Peanut butter chips also work REALLY well.)

Enjoy.

Tole

Friday, February 23, 2007

Musical Memories

I have spent a good amount of my time converting my CD collection into mp3s. I don’t share them. I don’t upload them and I don’t download them from any of the various sites out there. I just got tired of swapping cds out whilst surfing, gaming, or whatever. As I type this I have gone through about 1/3 of my collection and have taken up about 10 gig of my hard drive and stored about 3300 tracks. Wow that’s a lot of music. Some of it is really good, some of it is crap, but all of it is from my life and it all has meaning to me.

As I listen I remember things that I was doing when I heard them for the first time, or when I was doing something that I really enjoyed (wink wink nudge nudge) while they played. Music is great that way.

I generally just put the old player on shuffle and drift off in thought. But what I love the most is when you stumble across some obscure artist from years gone by that had slipped to the back of your mind and comes rushing forward when one of their songs comes up in queue. Had that happen to me just the other day and it caused me to stop the player and narrow my play list to just his albums. This musician’s name is Joshua Kadison. He’s a piano player and storyteller. Not really too mainstream and really relaxing music. I sat there for almost 6 hours just soaking it up. I almost could see the time fall away and carry me back to my youth.

I should say at this point that I am a non-practicing musician. I spent a long time plying my art, but it never came to much and I find that life has taken away the time needed to be any good.

/Sigh.

Oh well, I guess it was this time in the company of artists that I developed an appreciation of musicians who play for music’s sake and not to make a buck. They are few and far between and even those who start out with this altruistic bent eventually cave to the greed (you hearing me Lars?)

He had one or two moderate hits off of his first album and none off of his second. His record label ditched him. Now he has his own label and records his own music and (Are you ready for this?) gives it away. You heard me right. He still puts out cds, but he also has all of his music since his label dropped him available for free on his website.

I respect that and recommend his stuff. If you have a penchant for the genre that is.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Not so GLAAD

Ok, there comes a point in my life...and it comes more and more frequently as I grow older, that I just want to take someone by the giggly bits and scream in their ear to grow the hell up already. The most recent moment occurred as I read a story about a Snickers ad from the Superbowl.

For any that missed the ad, it involves 2 mechanics involved in an accidental kiss. They then feel that they must do something manly to counteract the smooch, so they elect to rip out a handful of chest hair.

The ad made several Top 10 lists, including one published by another gay organization. GLAAD, however didn't find it funny and raised their collective voice at the company who manufactures Snickers accusing them of defamation of the gay lifestyle and promoting homophobia.

Give me a frelling break. It was a commercial, and a funny one at that.

I would like to give a nod and a thumbs up to Masterfoods, Inc. the maker of Snickers. They pulled the ad from their website and the airwaves, but that was it. No apology.

[Masterfoods spokeswoman Alice Nathanson issued a statement in which she said the company would stop running the ad on television and the Web site.

"Feedback from our target consumers has been positive. In addition, many media and Web site commentators of this year's Super Bowl commercial line-up ranked the commercial among this year's top ten best. USA Today ranked it 9 of its top ten picks," she said.]

When they were asked to apologize for putting the ad out in the first place, they responded with, "we have done all that we can do."

Frankly, if I were in charge I would have checked our demographics and told the pompous, self-absorbed gits that GLAAD's membership were not our target consumer and to take the proverbial long walk off of a short pier.

This morning, I was watching TV with my kids and an ad for strawberry frosted mini-wheats came on. In this ad, a regular f.m.w. accidentally hits on a male strawberry one because he is pink. The regular one gets really nervous and can't look the strawberry in the face and the strawberry one begins to question his pinkness. How long will it be before this falls in the cross-hairs for teaching homophobia to the kids.

For the love of all that is holy. If people could just back up and calm down and maybe, oh I don't know, lighten the hell up, our society would be a much happier place in which to live. Learn to laugh and you'll live longer. Oh wait, stay grumpy so I don't have to put up with your narcissistic ass.

Ok, time to go drink something potent and calm down all over again.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thump Thump...Thump Thump

Well, once again the passage of time has come along and kicked me right in the mommy/daddy maker. About a week ago I was feeling a little under the weather and after arguing with my wife about whether I should go to the doctor (guess which side I was on) , I gave in and popped in to see my local shaman.

He treated what ailed me and I was about to roll on out the door when I got hit with the "come hither" by his nurse. "Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?" she asks.

I told her no because I am after all young and immortal.

Well, apparently 140/100 is too high for my local witch doctor to be comfortable with so he asks that I monitor it for a week.

One week goes by and it hovers right around the 135/95 area plus or minus 5 on both numbers. I once again trek down to the hut in the center of town where lives my shaman and give him the news. He in turn gives me a 2 week supply of bp med and says that if they show no side effects that it will be my daily drug for the future.

Now, I've had to take pills before, but this will be my first long-term regimen. In my mind that is one of the mile markers that shows you've crossed over into "Old Fogey-ville". I weep for my lost youth.

Not all is as bleak as it might appear at first blush. If I can lose the weight I have gained in the 18 years since I graduated high school, I can most likely shuck this particular monkey from off my back. And here comes kick in the dangly bits #2. That totals out to about 100 lbs. Yes you read that right...I need to lose a 10 year old. Damn. Looks like I'm on these things for the foreseeable future.

bleh

Sunday, January 21, 2007

5 Things I Hate about Me

Thanks Lawdog...I am going to exact my vengeance someday...but then I still owe you for the "I'm so drunk" beating damned near 20 years ago. FYI folks, LD covers his butt very well.

"share five off the wall, strange, unusual or just little-known facts about yourself. Then you "tag" five other bloggers who are supposed to do the same thing."

So here we go...

1.) I am ADD and OCD which makes my life really interesting. I get fixated on something to the point of obsession for about 5 minutes at a whack.

2.) I sing...not well, but I do. It's a bad habit I developed at an early age and have yet to realize I shouldn't share with others.

3.) I love crappy science fiction movies...I don't mean the ones that everyone says are crappy. I mean the ones most folks won't even admit to having seen.. "Roger Corman Presents" anyone? (Oh, and by the way LD, I loved Hell Comes to Frogtown.)

4.) I still play D&D whenever I get the chance...which isn't often enough. (You hear that LD?)

5.) I don't have 5 people I can tag, so this branch of the chain ends here.

Now, let me take a minute and say I'll do better and post more often. I've just been finding it hard to find stuff worth writing down. Maybe I am too critical of my own stuff.

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Hell With Flying Cars

Ok, I am known to have a thing for sci-fi and have since I was old enough to say it. I seem to remember someone somewhere promising flying cars by the year 2000 when i was but a boy. Well, here we are at the start of 2007 still firmly treading along on Terra Firma.

Well a while back someone sent me a video of this nutjob base jumping in a hang gliding suit and i thought "Wow, that has to be alot of fun, but it's still gotta give to gravity eventually." I want to fly.

Then about a month ago I was sitting in a local greasy spoon and there on the TV was a really short story about this guy in Europe who had developed a personal flight device. I log into my Yahoo page today and there is the link.

So I say again, to hell with flying cars..I want one of these!!!



Enjoy.

Tole

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Signs You've Married Well

There are times, and they seem to be coming more frequently, when I realize that I have married the right woman. I think the first one I can recall was when she began referring to Lawdog as Uncle to my children all on her own. Well, that's not the first but it is definitely one that stands out in my mind.

The most recent came last night. However, before I tell you the story, I think I should share some background as to why it makes me beam with pride. A few years back I started play a little game called Everquest. Actually, it was my late brother-in-law who sucked me into that particular black hole of time. I would spend as many hours in the game as I spent at work. My wife constantly cursed "that game" to which I would respond, "I used to spend this time watching TV, no real difference."

Well, a couple years pass and Sony gives us Everquest 2. She bought it for me and I didn't really like it and went back to EQ1. Arryn (the wife) decides that we spent $90 on this damned game so she'll just see what all the hub-bub is about. Two years later and she's been playing it ever since. heh heh

Ok, here's that moment. Last night, long after I had gone to bed, Arryn was in here plugging away to finish a quest and was not about to go to bed until she was done...sigh. I am a lucky man.

So if you have a moment like that, cherish it and the one who gave it to you. Feel free to share your own.

Tole