Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Raccoons Are In Charge

Our backyard is basically a suburban wildlife preserve. I say suburban because we don't have flamingos or...hippos. We have lots of squirrels and birds and an oppossum and I enjoy them while congratulating myself for being nature's finest steward.

The oppossum comes out night - naturally - and walks along our stone wall, crosses the gate and goes up onto the roof, where he usually craps. Kindly, he craps close to the edge so it's not too hard for me to scrape it into the gutter with a rake. Unkindly, I will have to clean this natural dam out of the gutter at some point. Tip: Don't be walking underneath when this happens.

Last night, I saw some shadowy scurrying along the wall and got up as usual to look out the kitchen window so I could see the oppossum making his appointed rounds. His pattern is more regular than a Nintendo villain's.

But last night, the oppossum was bigger. His tail was bushier. And he was a raccoon. Two raccoons, in fact. And unlike the kindly oppossum, this raccoon was fairly pissed off that I was looking at him. He stopped on the ledge and stared back at me with a "What. The. Fuck. Are. Looking. At?" look. Even protected by glass and drywall and superior human intellect, I was terrified. It was like "Animal House" when the brothers ask if you mind if we dance with your dates.

In retrospect, I consider myself lucky to have a face that was not clawed off. Whatever the raccoons want, I will give them.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Yes!

I'm so glad Fred Thompson is finally in the race. What this country really needs to lift it up out of the doldrums right now is a man who's been notoriously lazy and directionless his entire life. Didn't think of being an actor until somebody offered him a job. Didn't think of running for president until he was basically crowbarred out of his chaise lounge.

Plus, his overnight transformation from Hollywood gladhandler to cornpone hick right off the farm means we'll all get to enjoy his acting skills for the next year.

No! I swear! I really am jus' a simple country boy. With millions and millions of dollars.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kudos!

Let's all stop what we're doing for a second today and offer some mental congratulations to the makers of Good Luck Chuck. Their trailer just set the record for Most Physical Comedy In One Trailer.

Way to go, guys! Only by making a movie without anything good in it whatsoever can you even dream of winning that prestigious title.

Seann William Scott, the ball is in your court!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tonight on AMC!

New episode of Mad Men on tonight. Man, I can't wait to see what happens! I wonder if that new secretary will be demure. And I bet there's a good chance the curvy office poke vamps it up!

No doubt Don chastises somebody for acting classless right before he sneaks off for another romp with his mistress. What a dichotomy! I love it!

And YOU KNOW somebody's gonna have a cocktail at some point! Maybe two! With a cigarette! Cause it was the '60s! And times were different!

Beyond that, nothing else will happen at all for the entire 50 minutes.

Mad Men. The show that can suck my dick for all I care.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fig Leaves Are Torture Devices

Touching a fig leaf with bare skin is possibly the worst botanical decision a person can make. Not only are the leaves themselves sandpapery, they also leave this residue on your skin that makes poison ivy seem like a soothing balm. Nothing on Earth can make you itch like a fig leaf. Reach a bare, sweaty arm into the interior of a fig tree for a tough-to-reach fruit and within five minutes you'll be looking for a hacksaw to lop off your arm with.

To reduce prison overcrowding, we should take petty offenders like marijuana holders and make them pick figs instead of serving time. Wait for a 90-degree day, strip them naked and make them pick the figs closest to the stump. They'll never touch drugs again. Except for aloe, which they'll need after furiously tearing their skin off.

Incidentally, if you told me two months ago this blog would be primarily about figs, perhaps I wouldn't have bothered.

The Fig Tree Is Like A Needy Woman

Desperate. Just...too much, you know? At first, I thought it would be something cool. Pick a few figs, roast them with goat cheese, congratulate myself on living an organic life. Going back to the soil, man! Had I known she was so clingy and needy, maybe I wouldn't have approached her that first night.

Ripe figs everywhere like daily phone calls just to see what's up. Way too eager to please, offering up really plump purple figs on a daily basis. It's like...just be yourself, baby. You don't need to impress me non-stop.

Then when I neglect her for a few days, she goes crazy. Makes some figs go overripe and attracts bugs. Big green beetles. Like not showering or something. Or threatening suicide. Then I feel bad and reward her with the attention she's seeking. Then I have 25 more figs in my fridge and that sticky white tree sap clumping my arm together. I'm not satisfied with such an all or nothing relationship.

This is not what I was envisioning when I first introduced myself. God forbid the orange tree gets jealous and starts dropping ten pounds of oranges on my head when I walk past. Fortunately, Orangina is around the corner of the house and can't see my constant canoolding with Figabeth.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ow

Short of cancer, the worst physical malady a person can be suffering from is a sore throat. It is running a strong 1B to cancer.

The worst three days of your year are sore throats days. Nothing is enjoyable. You yearn for days past when your throat was nice and lubed, not dry and scratchy. But you wonder, did I imagine those pain-free days? Did I imagine them? As far as I can recall right now, my throat has felt this bad now and forever.

It's so bad that, months later, when somebody else complains of a sore throat, you say, "Man, I had one of those a few months ago. Sucks."

My throat hurts.

Viva Viagra!

"Hey man, what are you doing? Cool, cool. Listen, we got a gig today. Well, practice gig really. Yeah, Jerry and the Jambones are getting together. You know that roadhouse off 285? About an hour north? Okay, we're all heading up there today. Yeah, Jerry just wrote this country jam about our boners.

No, seriously. It's a cornpone version of "Viva Las Vegas", but about our boners. Yeah, Viagra boners. Yeah, all ten of us will be there. What's it about? Um...how happy we are to have boners again, I guess.

Right, so we're gonna get up there, pop up a Viagra, do this number about our boners and that's pretty much it. Oh, when we get those boners, we're going to race out to our cars and peel out in the dirt so we can rush home to give our wives those boners. Yeah, it should stay up for the whole drive home.

Yeah, man, it's gonna be a lot of fun. See you around 3. Don't forget your upright bass."

And that is the phone call that preceeding the very natural and spontaneous jam session in the Viva Viagra commercial. Or so the MAN would have you BELIEVE!

Confusion on the 405

If you don't like something, have Calvin pee on it. Calvin peeing on things has become a completely acceptable form of discourse and it can make your point in a succinct manner. If Calvin is peeing on something on the back of your car, people will immediately know your stance on the matter. Sure, if you're driving a Chevy half-ton, people might figure you don't prefer Ford trucks, but it's the pee that really drives the point home. Pee smells bad.

But this morning, I saw a Calvin peeing decal that made basically less than no sense. Calvin was wearing a stetson hat with the Dodgers logo on it and he was peeing on a Yankees logo. Here's what I quickly gleaned from the sticker. This guy dislikes the Yankees and favors the Dodgers. And Calvin is a cowboy now.

But...but...where would Calvin - or anybody - get a cowboy hat with a baseball logo on it? And why the Dodgers and not the...Rangers or something? And why does Dodger Calvin even care about the Yankees? They're not in the same league and haven't faced off in a World Series since 1981. A good ten years before Calvin was peeing on anything!

Man, I almost ran into the center divider trying to figure out this one. This decal took home the coveted Worst Knockoff award at the 2004 Bootleg Convention at the Sands Las Vegas June 4-6. The Chinese delegation was hoping their blue-skinned Bart Simpson doll would take home the prize, but Peeing Dodger Calvin pulled off the upset.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Count

A brief count from last night.

- 14 ripe figs plucked
- 6 overripe figs left for various creatures
- 12 giant green beetles, including 5 on one fig alone.

When the beetles fly, it sounds like a helicopter.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Gay Scale - Part 3

Part 3

99 - Receiving a bound album of Cher albums for a birthday gift and squealing in delight. Not just squealing, but actually saying "Squeal!"

98 - Receving a bound album of Cher albums for a birthday gift and breaking down in tears, sobbing that "You really know me!"

44 - Having your computer run slow because it's overladen with Annie Lennox mp3s.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fig Recipe #2

With ten more clipped figs in my possession (and softening rapidly) I looked up a recipe for fig sorbet. Found this Italian one. Quartered the figs, left the skins on and cooked them with a bit of water and the shaved rind of one lemon. When it was soft, I added sugar and cooked it down to a jelly-like state. Then added water, dumped it in the ice cream maker and cooled out while the mixture cooled down.

In the end, I was left with a fairly tasty fig sorbet that has an incredibly subtle flavor. I mean, the first bite tastes like Andean snowpack. All you taste is soft, cold nothingness. Then in about five minutes you start to detect the lightest hint of fresh fig. Like somebody just cut open a fig ten feet from you. Man, it's subtle.

The first bite leaves you thinking, okay, whatever. Then you sit for a while and that figgy perfume grows in your mouth. Pretty soon you're scarfing it down with your fingers.

Johnny loves it. He ate an entire container yesterday before anybody else could get to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Are You A Spider?

If so, perhaps you'd like to move into my garage. It's hot, it's dark and there are a thousand little crevices where you can hide and spin your webs. We have chairs, tables, boxes, canisters, everything you might need to live a spider kinda life. Tons of dark places to explore, bugs to eat...man, it's awesome.

Plus, you'll be living with about ninety of your spider buddies. Rent is only two moth carcasses a month. Leave them in your web and I'll pick them up by the 3rd.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Am A Dad And A Man And I Worked The Land

How'd you spend your Sunday? Putting your stamp on the land you own? Tilling the soil? Changing the very environment in which you live? Performing backbreaking manual labor? Probably not. You're soft. But I did!

I carved a 3-foot deep hole in the bone dry dirt. Chipping away bit by bit. Creating piles of dirt and pride everywhere. The sweat of my brow literally fell into the Earth, moistening it. Creating nourishment for the palm tree I transplanted from the backyard to the front.

Then I dug up a piece of bamboo from the east side of the yard and moved it to the west side. Tenderly put it where the palm used to be. Didn't want to traumatize Mother Earth any more than necessary. Not for my own needs. That's not what being a man is all about. That bamboo's life was literally in my hands. And I tended to it. It is fine. It will thrive, thanks to me.

I got blisters on both thumbs. I sweated a lot. I was the epitome of man at his finest. After I was done, I guzzled a bottle of porter. At that point, the ghost of George Washington appeared and said, "You lived this day exactly as I would. Tending the land, establishing your home, drinking porter. I love porter."

Washington and I share a toast to working the land and then just chilled the hell out for the rest of the afternoon. He asked me how the Constitution has been holding up and I was all, "Man, you don't even wanna know, Wash."

Dash Cam!

A standard feature on the Scion XB nowadays is a dashboard webcam that broadcasts your driving skillz to the internet in real time.

Awesome! The YouTube generation is driving! Let's see it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Very Special Anniversary

Three Sundays ago was Abby's first birthday. This weekend is perhaps an even more important date. The first anniversary of Abby's lower back tattoo. Since these are so automatic for girls these days, doctors like to do them shortly after birth. Plus, we wanted to be a part of this special moment in her life.

The hardest part was choosing the art itself. I mean, this is going to be a part of her life forever. Did we want Chinese lettering? Tribal wings? A daisy? In the end, we decided to go with the Aztec sun. Nothing too tacky. About three inches across and dead center in the small of her back. Six inches above the top of her crack so she can grow into it.

It was a great ceremony. Both sets of parents came out for it and we had a nice little reception afterwards. The cake - with Aztec sun icing, of course - was delicious. Abby cried a little bit - and Mommy cried a lot! - during the outlining, but mostly she was a little trouper. It was an incredibly touching and emotional day and I know I'll never forget it. I mean, we're talking about my first daughter and her first tattoo here!

An infant girl's first back tattoo truly is the christening of the 21st century.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fig Recipe #1

Quartered some figs, drizzled them with balsamic and put goat cheese on top. Popped it in the oven for eight minutes and it was pretty good. A lotta juice run off, so maybe I'll cut the time down next time.

Figs, by the way, are ridiculous. They go from almost ripe to pickable to go zone to overripe to mush in about half a day. They're spiteful, too. If you wonder aloud if a fig is ripe, it will overhear and turn itself to pudding just to shut you up.

I brought some into work today to give them away. Hopefully they don't see this post, get hoarked off and grow mold beards.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Figgy Pudding For 70

Seeing that this is Southern California, we have fruit trees in our yard. A young pear tree that isn't yet strong enough to hold the pears, for instance. And a fig tree that is more prolific than Tom Waits on meth. I clipped 20 ripe figs off of this thing last night and didn't even make a dent. Come fall, when the tree fully ripens, I'm going to have figs coming out of my ass and making a left.

I need to start collecting fig recipes in a hurry. Oh, that reminds me. Lemme enter the keywords to search this post.

fig jam, fig preserves, fig ice cream, fig sorbet, fig gelato, fig jelly, baked figs, dried figs, fig cookies, fig muffin, fig puree, fig cake, fig pudding, birds eat figs, spiced fig, christmas fig, giving figs away as a birthday gift, fig fights

If you have a simple recipe that requires 200 diced figs, I'd love to hear it.

Maybe I'll make some fig wine. Check back in three years to see how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Gay Scale - Part 2

Suggestions are pouring in from across the country, many from actual gays. Suggestions have been vetted by the team's chief researcher, me. Today's new entries follow.

Part 1

94 - Being Clay Aiken.

85 - Buying pump top lube in quantities over 12 ounces. If you're not a doctor, then you are gay.

80 - Whining about traffic while making the drive to Palm Springs in a Sebring convertible. Shut up, you whiny gay. I know your white linen pants are getting wrinkled. We're almost there.

77 - Participating in a heated debate about whether Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber is better. Man, they're both gay. Why split hairs?

74 - Tea and finger sandwiches with Truman Capote. (NOTE: This is no longer possible. But in 1974, this was the pinnacle of Mt. Gay. Not the rum, the metaphorical concept.)

68 - Watching parties for the Melrose Place box set. Whoever comes late has to make the second round of vodka cocktails.

42 - Knowing what ski poling is.

29 - Having a favorite kind of window treatment.

20 - Egg white omelettes.

13 - Smirnoff Ice.

8 - Forwarding to this list to all of your gay friends and declaring what number is them. Mmm...pretty gay.

3 - Keeping a bottle of vodka in your freezer at all time.

2 - Turning everything into a homoerotic double entendre. Gays simply cannot resist pounding this into the ground. However, homophobes can't either, hence the low rating. If you made a double entendre out of this, you're well on your way to gay!

76 more traits to go!


Monday, August 6, 2007

Something I Accomplished Yesterday

I tried kicking a vinyl ball over my daughter's head as we were playing in the backyard. Instead, I drilled her square in the face with a low liner, knocking her on her ass.

She will now mistrust men forever and end up marrying a drug addict who empties her bank account for her.

The Gay Scale

Nick at the office - who's gay - did something super gay recently. It was so gay, in fact, that I proclaimed it to be the gayest thing ever. I spent a good twenty minutes trying to come up with something gayer and failed. Failed miserably.

But then I got to thinking. What this country needs right now is an official Gay Scale. Something to scientifically quantify all of the gayness swirling around us and put it order. This project, which I've secured a government research grant for, has many benefits to our society. Intellectually-challenged frat dudes will be able to stop expressing displeasure with the pat phrase "That's so gay!" when one of their bros does something that falls outside of Greek social norms. Now they'll be able to say, "Dude! That was a total 42 right there, bro. No, seriously!" That's just one plus.

Nick's thing heads up the list. (By the way, making a homoerotic pun out of "Nick's thing" only scores a 2. This list is hardcore.)

Please note, this entire list applies to male gayness. Although some entries would be at home on the Isle of Lesbos, research and creating a lesbian list would require additional federal funding, something which I am ineligible to apply for until 2008.

100 - Going on eBay to buy old Cher albums and then making a bound album of Cher albums for your boyfriend. The ne plus ultra de homo. It hits all of the gay hotpoints. Creativity, fastidiousness, art projects, glitter, hot glue, Cher and resourcefulness. Do this and you are a Level 5 Wizard of gay. +150 gay points.

88 - A twelve-inch chocolate double headed dildo with a rainbow flag painted in the middle. Holy hell. This is nuclear-level gayness. Owning this could get you a 10-year jail sentence in the South.


63 - Using a glory hole. Either end.

62 - Knowing where the best glory hole in your town is.

61 - Knowing there's a glory hole in your town.

50 - Allowing another man to roger you in the anus. Even though it's in the middle of the list, this is really a baseline measure. Once you cross this point, there's no going back, bub. You. Are. Gay.

41 - Knowing what a particular techno song is called.


33 - A pool party at Elton John's place with a vegetarian buffet.

21 - Having a chubby chick as your best friend in the whole wide world.

15 - Drinking alcohol and taking your shirt off.

8 - Skimming through a magazine like Details, then going back a page to look at a shirtless dude again.

7 - Details magazine.


Entries will continue in the future. I am committed to this project for the sake of America.

The Parent Ladder

Put the parents of kids under the age of two together and a contest will immediately break out. This contest is popularly known as My Kid Can Do This And Is Therefore Better Than Yours. Even parents who like each other engage in it. I think it's instinctual, like a woman throwing her arm across you when slamming on the brakes. It's also about that effective.

"She can say Elmo now about her Elmo doll."

"Oh great! I fried up some pork chops last night and he turned the crispy bits into a pan sauce."

"Oh. Um...well, she's not really into cooking yet. But her top tooth is coming in."

We need to find somebody who has a kid younger than Abby so we can finally win this ladder game for once. We're getting killed!

Post A la Wingdings

Why is wingdings a font option? Is it so you can post in a secret code? That's a pretty breakable cipher. Why? Why is this an option?

(Translation: Why is wingdings a font option?. Is it so you can post in a secret code? That's a pretty breakable cipher. Why? Why is this an option?)

Ingles

Bush had Hamid Karzai over Camp David for a little talk about...actually, I have no idea. Fishing and hunting and poppy cultivation and bin Laden, I imagine.

They gave a join press conference and it was a little disheartening to learn that Karzai is so much more eloquent than Bush is...in English!

Ugh.

In fairness, maybe Bush's Farsi is awesome.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I Wanna Be One Less!

The HPV vaccine is on the market. The one that religious conservatives fear will usher in a new Age of Love. Because, you know, nobody had sex outside of marriage before 1968.

The market name is Gardasil. Which is hilarious in itself. I guess the name consultant group decided to pass on Cureadol, Medicisal and HPVVaccinasol.

As with any medicine, Gardasil has potential side effects. Such as "Redness in the injection area."

But...how...how would you tell?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Waking Up Hungover, Next To A Republican

This country is going through an endless relationship cycle. Has been for the past 35 years. Basically, we can't rip ourselves away from Republicans even though we know they're so bad for us. They're selfish, they're unemotional, they're not into art or music or movies, they only care about making money, they're never there for us. They don't like any of the things we like. They're too controlling, they don't like us having fun with our friends. When we try to tell them what we want, they just shut us down. They seem to be ashamed of us at times. Embarrassed to introduce us to their friends. They don't care about anybody but themselves.

But we keep leaving the Democrats and going back to the GOP. Putting them in the White House every decade. Why? Why do we do it? When Democrats are in the White House, we're usually so happy. We get back into our art. Our jobs are good, we have a great time hanging out. Everybody's in such a good mood and the country is just like one big party. Jimmy Carter doesn't count. The Republicans screwed us up so emotionally before him that he was just a rebound. But then the Republicans start in with that sweet talk about tax cuts and national defense and we fall for it every time.

We know by now they're lying. They've burned us so many times before. They're not looking out for us at all. We know the things they say about the economy and domestic threats aren't actually true. But we keep going back. And whenever we do, we're immediately miserable again. Crime goes up, drug use goes up, education goes down, our money disappears. Everybody is tense and unhappy all of the time and we just sit on pins and needles waiting for something terrible to happen. The national mood just plummets.

Yeah, we try to hide it by wearing fun, colorful clothes. But on the inside? We're dying.

Well, you know what? This is it! We won't be fooled again! In 2008, we're going back to the Democrats! They encourage us! Tell us we're good! Massage our temples when we have a headache. When we tell our old Republican partners we have a headache, they say it's our fault and yell at us to stop whining about it. The Democrats are so much sweeter. They really care about who we are.

We're leaving the Republicans for good this time! I don't care what they say in 2012 and 2016. We're not going to let them ruin our lives again! I SWEAR!

You Have To Calm Down

I know you're excited about me getting the fourth overall draft pick in the 2007 West View Football League. Heck, I'm excited. Steven Jackson, Willie Parker and Frank Gore are all excited about maybe suiting up for me.

But you're way too excited about it. You have to calm down, bub.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hey you! In the 3 Series!

No. Don't. Do not flash your high beams at me.

I see you back there. I know the car pool lane just ended. I know there's open freeway in front of me. Stop...stop flashing your high beams at me.

Look, this isn't the Autobahn. We don't do that stuff here. You're not late for a kaffeeklatsch in Dusseldorf. You're not having veal, spaetzle and a liter of beer for lunch today. You don't have any loose Deutschmarks in your ashtrays. And if you did, they'd be worthless since Germany's on the Euro now. You would know that, of course, if this was Germany and we were on the Autobahn right now. But it isn't and we're not, so stop flashing your high beams at me. You're not planning a weekend beach getaway to Calais. You're not a Bayern partisan.

Okay, fine, fine. I'm getting over. Don't flash your high beams at me.

Don't look to the right when you pass me. You don't need to study my face to see what kind of person slows you down in the morning. I'm not looking back at you. I already know what kind of person flash their high beams when they want to pass.

Why don't you undo the top button of your pima cotton polo shirt and relax, Guy in a Black 3 Series?

Monday, July 30, 2007

That Certain Part of the Male Anatomy

The dong, I mean. Watch any cable TV after 11pm and you'll likely see an ad for Extenze, which promises to add to "that certain part of the male anatomy." That's what they call it in the spots. Take this pill regularly and you'll have more dong, so sayeth the ad copy. In different words. Those words being, again, "That certain part of the male anatomy." No, not biceps, silly. That's from the spot, too. It's all pretty great.

Okay, listen, I'm going to help you out here. Clue you in a bit. Extenze doesn't work. It's not that I tried it and failed, it's just that if a pill could actually add on to that certain part of the male anatomy, whoever invented it would be worth approximately $4.12 billion. Guys at Costco would be stuffing 800-count double packs into their carts. Newsweek would run its first ever cover that was nothing but a throbbing erection next to a headline asking, "But Does 'It' Work? (The Answer is Yes!)"

A male-dominated state legislature somewhere would vote to have the drug added to the state's water system like fluoride. Eventually, The View would have a on a guest named "Mark L." from Lakeland, Florida. Mark would explain, through flowing tears, that he got started on Extenze and just couldn't stop. It was never enough for him. He wanted more, bigger. Now he has a 22-inch bone and no woman wants to be with him cause he's too much to handle. Also, he can't fit pants that fit. He has to wear track pants everywhere, even his brother's wedding. And the super sad kicker? He's still taking it! He can't quit! He wants to hit 30. Although if he could go into the past, he just wishes he never took that first pill.

Until those specific pieces of evidence start cropping up, I refuse to believe such a pill does anything.

Friday, July 27, 2007

California barbecue

Had lunch with Nikos today and Johnny today. Johnny with the white maid. (Incidentally, the Krog Blog was his title) Nikos is a born and bred Californian and those types are always a different style. They're never...committed to anyything. There's nothing tethering them to a greater community. No...shared foods or childhood traditions or...anything beyond collective apathy and occasional annoyance. White wine could possibly be the throughline, but Californian families don't give chardonnay to their 6-year olds, so even that bond is broken. Tacos...MAYBE. If there's an earthquake or the Lakers win a title, people come together for about two weeks, but then those bubbles fizz out like an oldCoke.

When you grow up on the East Coast or in the Midwest, many, many things foster that sense of community. That idea that we're all in this together. Lenten fish frys, scraping your windshield on a December morning eating white corn in the summer, scratching mosquito bites, watermelon on sale for 19 cents a pound, that 66 degree day in March that makes you think spring is early followed by three more inches of snow the next week. It's getting a little too precious and poetic in here, so lemme just say...all that shit we all go through together. It brings us all closer.

California just doesn't have it. If you do something two years in a row, that's enough to qualify as tradition. Do something five years in a row out here and you have a lineage to rival the Vatican. Do something ten years in a row and you don't live in California.

That brings us - eventually - to Nikos' lunch. He ordered the barbecue brisket. The sandwich, like any piece of barbecue, comes with cole slaw. When Johnny and I asked why his slaw was sitting there so virginally, Nikos noted that he doesn't like cole slaw. He thinks. And this - THIS! - perfectly sums up Californians and their utter lack of honor for tradition.

How do you even attempt to eat barbecue without cole slaw? The cool, sweet crispiness walking down the aisle with smoky, soft meat? My GOD do those things go together. Only a native Californian would eat a barbecue sandwich and leave the slaw untouched. If you were from Atlanta, you would eat the slaw even if you were allergic to mayonnaise. Even if you KNEW eating slaw guaranteed a date with the epi pen. Why? A respect for tradition.

I explained to Nikos that eating barbecue this way is like listening to all of your music in mono. So he tried the cole slaw, liked it, loved how it went with the sandwich and chomped away.

I'm sure by next week, he'll be back to ignoring the shreds. So Cali!

The problem here

With former FBI Director Robert Mueller's testimony basically totally contradicting that of Alberto Gonzales, the Senate Judiciary panel smells blood in the water. Impeachment? Perjury? Secret rendition to Egypt? What terrible fate awaits Gonzales, people wonder?

I think he's gonna walk. Because at the heart of this case, the panel will have to try to prove whether Gonzales is lying...or just dumb.

And Stephen Hawking using an iPhone wouldn't be able to figure out that one.

"Is Gonzales lying or dumb? Jesus. I...I have no idea. Why don't you ask me if God can do anything, can he make a rock so heavy he can't lift it instead? I could probably work through that one easier. Hey, did you know you can Google a nearby Moroccan restaurant on this thing and then make a res through OpenTable?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wealth

My friend Johnny was so rich growing up that he had a white maid.

Branding

I have these smooth dark gray pants from Banana Republic that more or less rule. When I wear them, people are all like, "Damn. You look good." And I'm all like, "Cool, cool. It's the pants."

But there's one bit of weirdness about them. They have Banana Republic printed vertically on the inside zipper flap. Not on the outside where it would be weird but at least visible, but on the inside right next to the zipper teeth. When you zip up, you cover this bit of branding.

This is absolutely confounding me. Who is this branding for? Me? As a reminder when I'm throwing the pants in the washer? I already know where they're from and I can see the inside tag anyway.

The only thing I can think of is that it's for gay men about to give head. When they unzip the pants and see that logo, it's a signal that they've picked a knob attached to a man with impeccable taste and they can proceed to bob with peace of mind.

Oh no

Remember the screenplay I said I was working on earlier? The one about the retarded heroin addict going through rehab withdrawal? I finished it and was shopping it around and things were looking good, but now I think it's gone off the rails.

Samuel L. Jackson turned down the lead role and the the Rolling Stones refused to license a song for the big vomit scene.

I think those two rejections are the official sign your movie is dead.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Texas gold

Also in his big speech, Bush had the following illuminating quote: "There's a good reason they are called 'Al Qaeda in Iraq.' They are Al Qaeda. And they are in Iraq."

This reminds me of when Chinese President Hu Jintao came to the White House and Bush started off his press conference with something like, "China and America are two big countries separated by an ocean."

I know it got good publicity at the time as a kind gesture, but I still think it was a mistake for Bush to hire a 4th-grader as his chief speechwriter.
The man in charge of our country talks like a high school sophomore trying to give an oral book report when he didn't read the material. Ah, maybe he can just wing it!

Repetitive Repetition Is Repetitious

President Bush gave a speech yesterday on his favorite topic: how we're all going to die in a terrorist attack soon. In a desperate, flailing attempt to link bin Laden with the insurgency in Iraq, Bush said the words "al Qaeda" 95 times in a 29-minute speech. If you don't want to do the math, that means he said it just over three times a minute. THAT means he said it once every 20 seconds.

It's an effective techique. I now totally believe bin Laden has an apartment in Baghdad and has planned every single car bomb on his laptop. Sure, every terrorism expert in the country disagrees with Bush's claims and said he's either misinterpreting the data or outright lying - or, knowing him, both - but they probably didn't hear that last al Qaeda mention.

It's the 95th one that sealed the deal for me.

I just hate when he talks like we're dumb too.

The best part is...

In this ongoing U.S. attorney scandal, if you made a list of attorneys that actually deserve to be fired for incompetence, Alberto Gonzales would be at the top of the list in capital letters.

And he's the one guy Bush absolutely refuses to fire!

Ah...it's all so terrific sometimes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Graffito

About a mile from our house is a strip mall with two billboards looming over it. Early each month when the billboards are changed over must be like Christmas for the area taggers. The new ads are virginal for about two days until they're just totally tagged. I imagine if you went out there at the right time of night, you could watch about 20 teens in hooded sweatshirts and Dickies fighting and climbing over each other to scurry up the ladder first to get up there. Like ants covering a piece of cantaloupe. For all I know, they have their own cherry picker and set up cones to direct traffic around them.

If you live in a downtown loft, you see graffiti as the ultimate urban art. The last uncorrupted art form. A symbol of our constant struggle against the man. A rallying cry. A poor voice crying out for attention.

If you create lemon-lime soda ad campaigns for a living, you see graffiti as a great thing to co-opt in an attempt to make your brand street. When you work up a big thirst from tagging a building, dawg, keep it real and quench your thirst with a Sprite.

And if you own a home, you see graffiti as a terrifying sign that your house is now worth half what you paid for it and the bank will be taking it back soon.

Last week, somebody sprayed CMG in big black Arial on a residential wall around the corner from us. What it lacked in artistic flourish, it made up for with pure simplicity. I don't know if it was Carlton Michael Gaines or the Crazy Mallorca Gang responsible, but there it was. I immediately rushed out to Home Depot and bought the materials to build a moat and a 15-foot wall around our house to protect ourselves from the inevitable crime wave.

Happily, in only two days or so, the homeowner painted over the graffiti. This was probably one of the most ecstatic days of my life. I once again lived in a roomy house in a leafy suburb and not a shanty in the slum hills above Rio de Janiero.

Then, this morning, driving past the retaining wall that separates our yard from the street, I saw the scourge. Somebody had tagged our wall with the same black paint. I'm not sure what it says because I temporarily lost my vision in a panic. By this weekend, the farmer's market down the street will probably have converted into an open-air drug bazaar. I will sell you my house for $35,000 right now.

I...do not recall

U.S. Attorney General and famed intellectual Alberto Gonzales returned to Capitol Hill today for a second round of not testifying in any meaningful way. According to Mr. Gonzales' version of events, a group of rogue Justice employees got together and did something or other sometime in the past twenty years and he's learning about it at the same time we are. He really can't wait to see how this story wraps up. It's very exciting. Presumably, while the rogue were doing whatever it is they were doing, he was out personally investigating domestic terror cells, putting his ingenuity to use.

Congressional questions ranging from, "Did you ever discuss firing U.S. attorneys with your staff?" to "What did you have for lunch yesterday?" were met with various stammerings of "I...I don't recall at this time, but I'll be happy to look into it." and "I...I'm not...I'm not aware." It's all been quite enlightening, actually.

Seeing as how this administration has politicized everything else they've come in contact with, it's pretty obvious that they fired attorneys that weren't ideological enough. We have to stamp out porn, dammit! We CAN change human nature! The standard GOP defense of "U.S. Attorneys serve at the will of the President and besides, every President fires attorneys." is fairly weak, even by normal GOP false argument standards. I mean, they're so wrong here, they can't even invent a decent defense.

The only question remaining is does Gonzales know he's stuck and is pretending to be a stooge to avoid the hammer...or is he really an inept manager and idiot? I...would rather not ponder that one.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I am shopping at Costco!

This store is so big! Can you even believe how big this store is! Look at how big this shopping cart is! I'd better push it really slowly so it doesn't go out of control and knock over five gallons of mayonnaise. And it's so wide that I'd better push it right down the middle of the aisle to make sure I don't bump into the ends of the rows.

Whoa, whoa! I just took three steps in a row. I'd better stop here in the middle of the aisle and collect myself. Things are getting a little crazy! I almost walked at a normal pace!

Okay, now what do I want to buy today? I didn't come here with any specific plan, so let me stop outside of each aisle and scan it fully with my eyes before deciding to turn. Ooh! I want five pounds of Goldfish crackers. Let me leave my shopping cart right in the middle of the row so I can walk over and pick them up.

Oh hi, fellow shopper! I see you looking at the foodstuff that I'm standing directly in front of. I'll just be standing here for a few more moments and then you can grab it. Have a good day!

Okay, now I'm walking back down the main aisle. There are so many things to look at in this giant store! I really can't focus on it all. Thankfully I'm walking slowly enough to let it all sink in.

Oh! I just remembered that I want something at the total opposite end of the store. Well, lemme just whip my cart around as fast as I can without looking behind me! Whoa! There we go!

I am shopping at CostCo! I am the only person in the store! Whee!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Ravioli Levine

Maroon 5 : Music :: The Olive Garden : Italian food

***END TRANSMISSION***

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Loozeeanna

In the dental office, they have TVs over the chairs to distract people who are having pointed objects rammed into their gums at full speed. The TV above my chair was tuned to The View, perhaps to remind me that all pain was relative.

So Barbara mentioned Britney Spears' recent slapfight with her mama and now I'm blogging about Barbara Walters talking about Britney Spears and realizing that if this is all I have going for me, maybe it's time to run a hot bath and have a pill-eating contest. But I'll bravely press on!

Barbara was more or less flabbergasted that Britney has fallen so far, so fast. She used to be America's darling teenage slut and now she's this...this...MONSTROSITY! A celebrity! A rich person! Slapping her mother! It's all the talk of Barbara's brunch circles, one must imagine.

But, you see, becoming an incredibly wealthy celebrity doesn't somehow make one smarter. Britney is dumb and is staying dumb. That's certainly no revelation, but it seems to get lost in between the words celebrity and rich and Malibu and cigarettes. If Britney never became a pop tart, she'd be some hostess at a Chili's back in Louisiana, pregnant for the second time by one of the dishwashers.

She'd be a driving a red 1991 Honda Civic. The front right quarterpanel would be primer gray because she hit a lamppost one night and couldn't afford to have it fixed all the way. The radio would have a cassette player and cassette tapes would be strewn all over the backseat, hemming in the baby's carseat. She'd be late to work once a month because of car troubles. She would put Coca-Cola in her children's bottles. She would smoke Real brand cigarettes and buy them in CostCo in a convenient three-carton package. She would give out blowjobs like they were extra pieces of gum.

Picture that chick like that getting into a slapfight with her mother while both women are tipsy on Franzia and suddenly it's not so baffling to figure out how this happened.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Prisoner #7

Atlanta Falcons fans today are trying to wrap their heads around two incredible affronts to humanity. Michael Vick's indictment for a running a dog fighting ring and Joey Harrington being their starting quarterback. Both are unimaginably ugly spectacles best not discussed in mixed company.

Now, I'm no legal expert, but I think the biggest problem Vick will face in avoiding jail time is that he's exhausted any possible "But at least..." defenses. The progression from the first break of this story to today is basically...

"Okay, maybe there were a couple of loose dog fights on his property...but at least he wasn't living there most of the time."

"Okay, maybe he did live there most of the time...but at least it was mainly his cousins and friends running the fights."

"Okay, maybe he was highly involved in every aspect of the fights...but at least this wasn't some well-organized ring or anything."

"Okay, maybe it was a well-organized ring with its own name and company letterhead...but at least the dogs weren't illegally brought across state lines to fight."

"Okay, so maybe Michael Vick personally rented a U-Haul and picked up stray dogs across the country in the middle of the night to fight in his backyard...but at least the dogs were treated like valuable property."

"Okay, so maybe the police found about 30 dead dogs on the property...but at least it's a big piece of property."

"Okay, so maybe this big piece of property contains multiple buildings devoted solely to dog fighting and killing dogs...but at least Michael Vick didn't get his hands dirty."

"Okay, so maybe Vick personally executed dogs that lost fights...but at least he did it quickly and humanely."

"Okay, so maybe Michael Vick threw a dog in his above ground pool with a toaster and a high tension cable...but at least that was an isolated incident."

"Okay, so maybe Michael Vick grabbed a dog by its hind legs, lifted it high over his head and smashed it to the ground head first repeatedly until it was clobbered to death...but at least no probably illegal firearms were involved."

"Okay, so maybe Michael Vick took a pit bull that was too skinny, grabbed a gun, shoved it in a dog's mouth and blew its brains all over the lawn...but at least he didn't make a lot of money by fixing the fights."

Interestingly, mikevick.com doesn't have any news updates on the indictment. You'd think they'd have the inside scoop!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Congressman Vitter! Congressman Vitter!

It seems that the honorable David Vitter is admitting that he did indeed patronize some DC area prostitutes. Everybody else has already pointed out that Vitter is a fire-breathing anti-gay marriage ranter and that it seems that dipping your wick in a prostitute's cooch is a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage than Adam and Steve are. So I won't bother picking that low hanging fruit.

What I'm more interested in how Vitter can angrily deny claims that he also used New Orleans whores whenever he was back home polling the electorate. Poleing? Polling? Either way. It seems that Vitter finds this new allegation outrageously slanderous and ridiculous, which...seems to be swimming upstream a bit. How can he so adamantly deny this new claim, I'm wondering.

And then I remembered...for $75, Bayou pros will whip the shame right outta ya.

ESPN News

Sports journalism at its finest.

July 7
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2927560


July 17
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2940065

Beat 'Em Bucs!

Being from Pittsburgh, I like beer and Polacks and sports. That's...that's what we do. But unlike some complete masochists who love the burn of pain, I gave up on the Pirates long ago. They had one of the best pitchers in the NL in the '90s, Denny Neagle, and traded to him to Atlanta for prospects because they wouldn't be able to afford Neagle's next contract.

One of those prospects was Jason Schmidt, who grew up to be one of the best pitchers in the NL and then the Buccos had to trade him to San Francisco for prospects.

One of those prospects was Ryan Vogelsong, who grew up to suck at baseball.

As we all know, the Pirates last went to the playoffs and lost in 1992. Francisco Cabrera, Sid Bream and Barry Bonds know it well. Since then, their BEST season was the legendary 1997 campaign, when they went an impressive 79-83. They actually handed out rings to the team to celebrate. No diamonds. Big opals right in the center. Classy. Today, the folks at Bugs and Cranks made a video showing some of the things the world has seen since the last time the Pirates finished north of .500.

The most beautiful thing is realizing that 23 new professional sports franchises have been created since Stan Belinda let Bream take a lead halfway to third base...

...and seven of them have already won world championships.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gingies!

Nikki and I somehow managed to bring a pale redhead into the world, much to our surprise. Since we are American parents and homeowners, on most weekends you will find us inside some store with a 20,000 square foot footprint, as legally mandated by the U.S. Department of Consumerism. Saturday, we had our cards punched at IKEA and Costco.

On these trips, we often see other parents with redheaded children. Sometimes one, sometimes a whole family with a color palette ranging from red to orange. I always feel like we should stop and talk to the other parents since we have the ginger bond. I try to make eye contact and loudly whisper, "Look, Abby! She has red hair too!"

But the other parents never stop to talk. They don't even look our way. What kind of bond is that? We need to be in this thing together!

Fred Thompson Is A Sexy Beast And Other Outright Lies

I know the GOP echo chamber can take any invented trope and ping it around until it's more or less accepted as fact, but in what alternate universe is Fred Thompson a manly hunk of carnal dreams? Let's ignore the gleaming bald pate festooned with liver spots, the bags under his eyes that bulge like a princess' cruise luggage and the likeliness that his breath reeks of an unwithering combination of brandy, worcestershire sauce, cigar smoke and 43-year old Orange County pink.

Actually, let's not ignore any of that since it's the crux of this post. Ladies, can you really say that you greatly desire this pile of flesh thrusting away on top of you, sweating glistening on top of his head, neck wattle flinging back and forth in opposite rhythm of his masculine pounding? You're intrigued by the idea of hearing his joints crack as he sits up, his breasts flapping and then watching his concave ass shuffle over to the kitchen to grab some orange Gatorade, rapidly deflating windsock shining in the light of the refrigerator? I am not fooled, partyliners.

The only thing holding back Fred Thompson from officially entering the circus is his team's frantic backroom negotiations trying to ensure that the GOP debates aren't aired in hi-def. Fred Thompson's acting career rivals John Grisham's writing for breadth. He exclusively plays a politician, lawyer or cop. But you know what role Fred Thompson could never pull off? Attractive Man #1.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The GOP Dichotomy

Republicans seem to hate gay marriage.

They also seem to love voting for big masculine men with huge throbbing boners. Masculine sex idols like Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani that every woman desires. A real man's man! Someone who can bale hay and isn't afraid of a little nuclear fallout! Someone who only needs a rifle, one bullet and a good sightline to protect the house from a burglar in the middle of the night! "Protect us, Daddy! A bad man is scaring us!" Someone who will give you the best rogering of your life before filing your phone number in the garbage can.

Such a display of bravura testosterone was last seen in the Republican debate a month back when a simple question about Guantanamo received answers that built and built to a fevered man crescendo until Mitt Romney bravely declared that he would invade Cuba, make the whole island America's jail and personally start torturing ragheads his own damn self. This answer was met by a standing ovation from men in pleated khakis and women in polyester dresses. Why? Because it was a man's fucking answer! Quit runnin' yer damn yap!

Railing against gay marriage, raving about the President's bulge in a flight suit. A psychoanalysis is lurking somewhere under the surface.

George Tries To Put Together An Entertainment Center

One thing I've noticed about our fearless leader is that whenever people disagree with him, he has two reactions: completely ignoring them or simply assuming they don't understand what he's trying to say. With his approval rating now competing with Nixon and Truman for the illustrious banner of "Worst of All-Time" (Finally! A legacy!), Bush has resorted to explaining this things I believe over and over and over. And over. His frustration becoming more and more apparent as obvious facts (like bin Laden is organizing attacks in Baghdad) fail to embed themselves in our thick skulls.

He gives speeches now like a recent college graduate trying to get his girlfriend to help him put their new IKEA piece together. "Can you give me that hex wrench? No, the small one. The one...the one that's a hexagon. Not. The. Flathead. Screwdriver. The...the...what do you mean, which one? The only fucking hex wrench that came with this fucking thing. What are you not getting here? You put the baseboard into the thing and fucking put this thing in to hold it. This thing needs to be put together well so we can put it in front of the door and prevent them from attacking us at home!"

Then, when he doesn't get the reaction he wants, he repeats himself - slower this time - with a shrug and smirk that silently ask, "Why are you so fucking stupid?"

If only he wasn't reading the directions upside down and backwards.

WARNING to concerned parents!!!!

Dear Friends,

If your pre-teen or teen daughter asks you to see the upcoming movie Bratz, DO NOT LET THEM!!!! This movie is nothing more than a plot by liberal, Godless Hollywood to teach our innocent young daughters proper head technique.

The movie's opening scene is what kids today call a "rainbow party." In this disgusting, perverse scene, a group of teenage girls discusses the proper way to grip the base of a male penis with the thumb and forefinger. From there, the movie goes on to glorify dressing promiscuously, talking back to parents, bad popular music and giving oral sex to multiple partners.

PLEASE contact your Congressman today and ask them to BAN THIS MOVIE!!!! It is time we take this country back for traditional families! Together we can do it!!!!

PLEASE forward this email to everyone you know!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Gourmet Hamburger Was Made In Los Angeles Last Night

I had been going to Ralphs for our staples and Bristol Farms for our meats up until the move. (Jesus! Is there ANYTHING I have to say not related to the move!) The meat quality at Bristol Farms was much higher and the prices weren't that much more. As for burger meat, I would go to the Huntington Market in the 3rd and Fairfax Farmer's Market. They sold a Nancy Silverton ground meat blend that was 80/20 lean/fat. Maybe even up to 75/25 at times. It was, by far, the greatest burger meat I've ever purchased. Anybody you fed this meat to would rave about it to no end and I took tons of credit even though the extent of my involvement was simply pointing at the meat and asking for a pound or two. That, of course, has all changed.

There's a Gelson's on the way home now, but they don't have a meat counter. All they have behind glass is fish and a guy who seems depressed because he doesn't get to wrap steaks in butcher paper. Who ever heard of a supermarket without a glistening red meat counter? How am I supposed to get fired up while I shop?! Unreal, Gelson's, unreal. Whole Foods is also on the way, but although Bristol Farms would add fat to their meat to make 80/20 for you, Whole Foods won't for some reason. And none of these places carries 80/20 meat. The best I've seen is 85/15. Ralphs even has a 93/7. Well why I don't I just grill a damn shoe while I'm at it and we'll have a blind taste test? Shoe versus 93/7 meat. Ralphs does sell a prewrapped tube of 80/20 meat, but it only comes in a four-pound package. In a swirling sea of non-optimal choices, I've been buying a one-pound pre-wrapped package of ground buffalo meat from Ralphs, which is actually pretty tender, juicy and tasty.

That finally segues us into the eventual point of this point, which has been a long time coming. I made an awesome burger last night. Making a gourmet burger is about the easiest thing in the world because all you have to do is add fancy trappings to your normal burger plan. But you make one, and people start asking when your personal line of frozen pizzas and canned soups will be hitting the shelves. (March 08, incidentally)

I took the ground buffalo, added salt, pepper and chopped basil, made two patties and dropped them on the grill. When they were beautiful, I took the toasted buns, spread ricotta cheese on them (the basil/olive oil kind I used for new caprese Monday), spread some goat cheese on the patties and finished the whole thing off with leafy lettuce, red onion and vine-ripened tomato slices from my friend's garden. Finished it off with crispy fries from our countertop fryer and a Shiner Hefeweizen. Damn.

If we had company over last night, I could've charged them $12 for this meal and they would've been HAPPY to pay it. Would've felt like they were getting an amazing deal. Would've told me, "You should include cream of butternut squash in your canned soup line."

And yes, it's official. Basil is the flavor of Summer '07 in the Krogmann household. Peak basil will be reached when I try a lemon-basil sorbet in August.

St. Cyril's Magic Pen

Yet another byproduct of the move is that we have to switch daycares. The one we've been using since Abby was three months old is this really fantastic one where everybody is super nice. They don't feed the kids gruel, they don't make them stitch clothes or butcher chickens or anything. Really top notch. It's run by a Russian family and all of the daycare workers are Russian.

As a farewell, Nikki got cards for the women, particularly Vita, who has mainly been responsible for Abby for months. Abby and Vita both smile whenever they see each other and that's a really nice thing that assuages the guilt of daycare. But Vita doesn't speak that much English. "Wake up...bottle...caca..." and that's about it. Which, of course, is much more than I know in Russian.

So Nikki wanted to write Vita's card in her native tongue and found this English to Russian translator online. But writing the message entails a quick mastery of the Cyrillic alphabet and that thing is no joke, man. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Oh, come on. There's a backwards n and an upside down r. It's easy!" Listen, pal, there's a letter that at first looks like an asterisk, but upon closer inspection is more like two Ks lining up back to back. One letter looks like those beachfront houses that are on stilts to stay dry at high tide. And one letter looks like a slaughtered pleasant lying in a fallow field. I think that's their Q. And they have four differents Os. You don't just pick up Cyrillic on a rainy day.

Maybe it's not like the Chinese alphabet, where you can change the character for "happy, loving mother" into the character for "abused street whore who doesn't charge enough" by making one line three centimeters longer, but still. I have the feeling this Cyrillic card is either going to amusingly awkward and sweet, or just totally illegible.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You Hate Your Job

Of course you do. Get in line behind all of the other Americans who feel they deserve more money for more glamorous work. But friends, I'm here today to tell you how to start loving your job.

Have a kid and buy a house. You'll start loving your job immediately! It'll be the greatest job in the world and all you ever think about is how much you don't want to lose it!

It's just the shot in the arm you might need! Try it today!

I will grill your soul

There are a few things we have at the house that we didn't have at the apartment. A laundry room, a dishwasher, freedom from our neighbor's music, a possum that shows up every night around 10 to nibble from our orange and tangerine trees. But most importantly, a grill.

So far we've grilled more nights than not by about a 4:1 ratio. Two taco fests, steaks, whole fish, chicken, pork, kebabs, corn...I'm doing some serious scorching out there and I'm displaying a complete mastery of the medium. The time per side for nine different things is already instinctual to me. "Branzino? Mmm...I'd say seven minutes per side. You know what, though? Let's wrap them up with some twine to hold the leeks in first. You do that and I'll go get a third beer."

I think I'm going to start seriously challenging myself with some non-traditional, radical grill selections. Like...pasta. I think I could parboil it to soften it up a bit, then finish it off over the flames. Thick rigatonis could handle it, I bet. Or maybe some grilled beer. I'll freeze it into a block, place it on a rack above the burners, then have a basin underneath to catch the defrosting drippings. Get some nice smoky flavor into a hefeweizen and basically explode your head with the flavors.

Once I've nailed that down, I'm going totally off the reservation and grilling abstract concepts. Like...that feeling of dread you get when you see somebody you hate waiting for the same elevator you want. The Germans have a 17-letter word for that feeling, I'm sure. Grilled lifterzschweinmal, man!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Oh, how things turn out

Now in full-on blog mode, I went back today and looked at my comatose to see what it was about. It was mainly about indignation. But it also contained this little nugget:


We went back home to Pittsburgh last weekend for a wedding. Weddings are no longer fun for us because we're at that weird age where we don't dance at weddings because we're not 24 anymore and we're not 56 yet. So basically, we just sit there and watch other people have fun while trying to come up with a good answer to "So, what have you been up to?" Anyway, on Sunday we went to a barbecue and a few old acquaintances brought their babies. And baby carriers. And baby formula. And baby toys. And three changes of baby clothes. And a big canvas sack to carry it all. The parents of the youngest ones mainly held their squirmy offspring in their laps while answering, "Nah, I can't. The baby." to every question that came their way. "Want to play volleyball?" "Want to get a beer?" "Want to enjoy your life?" But the real gems were the 2-3 year olds who seemed to be fascinated by dirt and falling down. My favorite kid was eating this cookie topped with red icing. Maybe not eating. Mostly smearing it on his chin. It seriously looked like the kid got into a can of paint. Mom made no effort to wipe it off, leading me to believe this wasn't a unique event. On the drive back to the hotel I remarked, "Man, I don't know why anybody would go through that." This did not go over well with The Wife.
If you're looking for some resolution on that anecdote...you know, if you're wondering how things eventually turned out...may I suggest looking at that last post in which I mentioned my young daughter?

A sweet family moment gone awry

Last night when I got home, I looked out back and saw Nikki sitting on the porch with Abby, blowing bubbles. They were just sitting there, lost to the world. Abby crawling around looking for clumps of dirt to eat...bubbles flying everywhere. Mother. Daughter. Love. America. Rockwell.

When I went to join them, I noticed that the porch door was locked. And, thinking back, so was the front. It seems that in reality, Nikki wasn't teaching our young daughter that bubbles are a metaphor for the fleeting joyful moments in life and we should appreciate them before they pop. She forgot to take the house keys and locked herself out. Aww.

I invented a new summer cocktail

I know that goes against my last post in which I claimed I cooked like a cover band, but if you're looking for iron-strength rigidity out of a blog...well...buddy, it's time to re-examine where you're driving your life car.

It's a takeoff of the classic drink of a Greyhound. Go get some Italian grapefruit soda from Trader Joe's. It comes in a big bottle that looks like something Trader Joe's would stock. Put 2 ounces of gin in a highball loaded with ice, then fill with the soda and stir. I call it an Italian Greyhound. Add a little bit of sugar or simple syrup and you have a Neutered Italian Greyhound. Change the gin to vodka for a Female Italian Greyhound.

Find a porch, sit on it, sip your Italian Greyhound and think "I want to make love to this drink with my whole body."


(Other things I am drinking this summer: Negronis, gin mules, real daiquiris with fresh lime juice, Hoegaarden)

I mayde u sum meetballz but they falled a part

As a celebratory dinner to close our first week in the new house, the wife and I planned a big steak grill out. Ribeyes, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, this, that and some wine. Tantara pinot noir, good stuff, about $30. $40 for the organic version. Naturally, because we have a house and more kitchen space now, we made too much food. Who knew that we cooked based on available counter square footage? Half of each ribeye went completely untouched. Completely!

Knowing that the finest grandmothers around the world have created the finest meals from leftovers, I was determined to make shit happen here. Last night, I took the ribeyes and ground them up in the Cuisnart, added salt, pepper, oil and breadcrumbs in a grand plan to make meatballs for the pasta dinner. My initial fear was that they would be too lean because of the original grill session cooking off fat to have real meatball flavor. Nikki's initial fear was that I didn't use enough binding ingredients to hold the meatballs together. We were both right.

Question: Can you make meatballs from leftover ribeye? Answer: No.

We also made some tweaked caprese. Heirloom tomatoes, but instead of mozz and oil and basil, I used this ricotta I bought at the farmers' market that has oil and basil added already. It was okay. Still needs actual oil and the tomatoes weren't quite ready.

My cooking skills basically put me on par with somebody who's in a good cover band. I can make dishes that other people come up with, but I can never quite invent my own stuff or just look at a pile of ingredients and see something come together. I need to see the recipe first and then shop for the needed ingredients. A good cook would have a pork chop, a fennel bulb, red cabbage, carraway seeds and new potatoes on hand and do something good. This bothers me tremendously.

This first food post of mine is dedicated to Miles, who's chubby, gay, likes eating and has been asking me to blog about food and politics repeatedly. I love you, man!

Script To Screen

Like most people in Hollywood, I'm working on some screenplays with the ultimate goal of living in a house with a Spanish tile roof and an infinity pool.

The one I'm polishing up now is about a retarded heroin addict going through rehab. Pretty much guaranteed Oscar bait. All I need is a better title than Coming Down Syndrome.

Celebrity wisdom

For a while, the Los Angeles Times ran this Thursday Calendar feature asking celebs and close-to-celebs what they would do on an ideal weekend. The actual coffee houses, restaurants and beaches were variables, but it was all pretty stock in trade.

Anyway, a few weeks ago - back when I was a civilian, not a blogger! - they interviewed Bijou Phillips about her perfect weekend. Now, if there are two groups you shouldn't take advice from, one is celebrities and the other is the children of hippies. Bijou manages to meld both of these groups into a super strong alloy of ignorance.

She mentioned that she likes to let her chihuahua skitter free on some of the hiking trails that run through the canyons of Los Angeles. And she doesn't worry that a rogue coyote will snatch up her little dog, explaining that coyotes won't eat chihuahuas because "they respect them as fellow desert dwellers."

What...what does she think coyotes eat in the desert? Thistles? Organic mesclun? Non-native animals that get lost and mistakenly wander into the desert? Like a snowshoe rabbit? A coyote would eat a chihuahua like a chubby receptionist would eat a single M&M. Such a tiny morsel that it wouldn't even register in the food portion of the brain. The coyote would think, "Wait. Did I just eat something? I...I don't think so. Although that certainly would explain the rhinestone collar in my mouth."

I'd like to take Bijou and her hippie spirit of anthropomorthic animals and a literal creationist, put them in a room together and watch them both look down on the other one for being naive.

Technically, it's the second triannual...

But let's not parse it too tightly. It's taken me three years of complete inactivity, but I think I finally figured out what I want from a blog: total self-indulgence of my every passing thought. I'm now going to procastinate my innate laziness and put some effort into a writing routine.

Why? For you. You deserve it. You deserve to read my writing. This is the mission statement I developed at a one-man mountain retreat teamwork workshop this past weekend.