Monday, March 27, 2006

Dirty Words! Dirty Words! Dirty Words!

I had to work on T's car this weekend.

I have come to the conclusion that the Japanese design their cars strictly for the amusment they elicit from watching an average American male try to stick his hands down into the engine compartment.

They get their pleasure from my pain.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Why I Should Never Cook Without Supervision

Saturday, as I was blipping around the channels, I happened upon some woman on the Food Network making chili. I said to myself "That looks good, & easy to boot!" So, last night I attempted to repeat the recipe from memory.

What I remembered:

Ground turkey, browned

Canned tomatoes, squished by hand

Tomato paste (had to use tomato sauce instead)

Black beans

Flour, to thicken the sauce (we didn't have any maza)

What I added to the mix:




Red pepper

What I thought was chili powder

Raise your hand if you can tell me where this is going.

As I browned the meat, I added the spices. After I added the tomatoes, I added some more of the spices. At about this time, The Boy came up to me & asked why the chili smelled like cinnamon. I figured it was just that I had the spice cabinet open & he was smelling what was in there. It was then that the startling realization hit me like a fastball to the groin - the bottle that I had thought contained California chili powder instead was filled with - yes - cinnamon.

In an attempt to make the chili taste less like French toast (& determined not to waste a pound of ground turkey), I added more red pepper. This only served to make the chili taste like French toast made with Red Hots. More garlic worked about as well. About the only thing that helped at all was adding cheese to the concoction after I dished some up (Cheese! Is there nothing you can't make taste better?). All in all, it wasn't unedible, but, I strongly suspect that "French chili" won't be found on many dinner (or breakfast) menus anytime soon.

The lesson learned: Label your plain glass spice jars. Barring that, taste the spice before adding copious amounts of it to your dish.
Mini Review - What Lies Beneath

When this movie came on TV Saturday night & T asked if I wanted to watch it, my initial response was "Wha?". I could not for the life of me remember this move ever coming out. And while I missed a fair chunk of the middle of it (I'm a bad reviewer, I know), I can say with perfect confidence that, if the middle of the movie was anything like the end of it, I didn't miss a thing.

The gist of the movie is that Michelle Pfeiffer's character becomes sort of possessed by the spirit of a local college girl that was murdered a few years before & whose body was never found. She finds out that her husband, Harrison Ford, was having an affair with the girl at the time she disappeared. He tells her that the girl committed suicide in their house to set him up & that he took her body & dumped it (& her car) in a lake. Pfeiffer is drawn to the area near the girl's final resting place & finds a box with her necklace in it. Ford 'fesses up to the fact that he killed her to keep her from going to the dean at the college he's a professor at. Now, because Pfeiffer wouldn't just let things go, he has to off her. Several *yawn* tense scenes of him drugging her & trying to drown her in the bathtub (he was going to make it look like she did herself in by electrocuting herself in the tub) result in one of the most paint-by-numbers final confrontations seen since the equally mind numbing Sandra Bullock, er, 'thriller', "Murder By Numbers" (He's dead! No he's not! Now he is! Nope, he's alive again! Sheesh! The guy popped up more times than the lovechild of Freddy Krueger & Jason Vorhees!).

The only real draw for me was seeing Ford play a bad guy. Unfortunately, it was like watching "Temple of Doom," when Indy is temporarily possessed by Mola Ram. I kept waiting for Short Round to try to snap him out of his trance ("Docta Jones! I luf yeeew!"). I mean, I always equate him with being a hero. I guess, in a way, he's been type-cast. There are worse things to be type-cast as, but still, I can imagine that even Ford wants to expand his repetoire now & then. It just didn't work here.

The acting wasn't bad, but the lazy scripting killed off any chance of an enjoyable suspense movie.

2 out of 5 meh's
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

During one of my frequent stretches that I perform during the day, I noticed that we still have a candy cane from last Christmas hanging up. It's a white candy cane, called a Snow Cane.

If it fell & fractured, would that make it a cracked snow cane?

Drug humor - it never goes out of style.
You've Got Some 'splainin' To Do!

This showed up in my email today:

Colloquium This Week

Abstract: Fred Mertz, Photon Research Associates, a Raytheon Company

Looks like Fred got out of the landlord business & hooked up with Raytheon.

Hope Raytheon's higher up's like having grouchy old guys barging into their offices without knocking first.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Do Something Great

I've tried to start this post about 3 times now, trying to avoid sounding like a kvetching old man, but, really, there's no 'nice' way to say it - I'm sick of hearing, seeing & reading about spoiled celebrities & there expolits (no way! Me? Wow - whodauthunkit?).

Frequently, while channel surfing, I'll hear a blurb stating something like "Coming up next, we find out who the new stud is in Mary-Kate's dogs' life!" or "TomKat - Together Town or Splitsville?". I mean, honestly - do we care about these vapid, self absorbed brats? And if so, then who are you? We need to have a talk. My favorite, though (not), is the "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous"-type show on VH-1, hosted by some Robin Leach knock-off. Why do we idolize these people?

Now, please don't get me wrong - I don't believe that all celebrities are like this, nor do I begrudge anyone who's made it big or has amassed great wealth & fame. It's what they do with it & how they carry themselves in public that bugs me. When I hear about Lindsay Lohan partying all night or the goodie bags that stars get for showing up at a screening or awards show, with crap that's worth more than most families make in a year, I want to throw something at the TV. I mean, does Paris Hilton really need Motorola to give her a $25,000 diamond encrusted cell phone? Cripes, she'll just end up taking some compromising pictures with it & losing it, anyway.

Why do I bring all this up (again)? And what does all of this have to do with the post's title? Well, I'm glad you asked. It's depressing me that these people who, other than being able to consume copious amounts of liquor, breath the air in clubs that makes the atmosphere on Venus seem absolutely pristine & go for days without sleep, really have zero talents or skills that could be of some use to someone are the people that the public looks up to like some golden calf. I've decided that, while I'm not one of the 'beautiful people' of Hollyweird, I can still make a difference in the world. Well, my world, at least.

I want to do something great.

What might that be, you ask? Well, the beauty of this is that it can be anything - it's all relative. Think about it - if you had a $1,000,000 & gave it to a local cause, yes, that would be a great thing for them. If you brought a sandwich for & talked to the homeless guy that you pass every day on the street, he would probably see that as the highpoint of his day. Paying attention to a child who just wants to be acknowledged. Picking up some extra socks & underwear or toiletries for the local shelter. Joining up with a Habitat For Humanity outfit. Something as simple as smiling at someone who looks like they need cheering up (I know, I know..."You? Smiling at someone? Are you being medicated?" To which I reply - bite me.) Even just making even more of an effort to let those around you know that you love them. Are you catching on, yet? The thing that makes whatever one chooses to do great, though, is not that they think it's great, but that it be great for the person (or people, or charities, etc.) on the receiving end.

Now, I don't know yet what great thing I want to do. This is all just starting to formulate in my bean. T has been picking up clothes & backpaks for our youth group to distribute to homeless people in the area, but since she drops the items off at church while I'm at work, I don't really have much of a hand in things. I want to be a little more directly involved in something. I need to put some thought into this.

So, what do you think, Loyal Readers? Does this sound like a worthy cause? Can you think of great things that you can do? Let me know your thoughts on this. My site's too far under the radar to get the idea out, so pass the word around on your sites or just tell someone you know. Just think about what could be done if we all decided to do something great.

We can't let Paris & her ilk have all the fun, can we?
A Note To Exhibitionist Celebrities

Dear Scott Stapp, Kid Rock, Pamela Anderson, Colin Farrell, Paris Hilton & any other of you brainiacs with opposable thumbs & a video recorder -


Yeesh! Use a little common sense, people. And if you don't have any common sense, then buy some. Or pay someone to think for you. Just do something. Anything!



Happy Holidays, Australia & New Zealand!

As I turned my calendar to March this morning, I noticed that Australia & New Zealand have, between the two of them, 10 holidays or days of note this month. They have the following:

3/1/06 - First Day of Autumn (AUS & NZ)

3/6/06 - Labour Day (AUS-WA)

3/13/06 - Commonwealth Day (AUS & NZ)

Labour Day (AUS-Vic)

Eight Hours Day (AUS-Tas)

Taranaki Anniversary (NZ)

3/19/06 - Daylight Saving Time ends (NZ)

3/20/06 - Canberra Day (AUS-ACT)

Otago Anniversary (NZ)

3/26/06 - Daylight Saving Time ends (AUS)

We have the following:

3/17/06 - St. Patrick's Day

So, in the month of March, Australia & New Zealand observe the changing of seasons, historical (I'm assuming) anniversaries, the working man, their countries & manmade time changes.

On the other side of the planet, we celebrate public drunkenness with green beer.

Way to go, America.