Sunday, October 30, 2005

Camel Toads?

There really is nothing else to say. Somehow I think this is worksafe, although I won't guarantee it.

You're Gonna Have To Try Harder People!!

WTF? After almost a year of effort people my blog is worth just north of $9,000.00. Thats American by the way. Hey I"ve spent almost on average 8 hours a week on this thang. Times 48 weeks thats about 600 hours.......which means I'm pretty much making what a greeter at
Wallmart makes.'

Computer: 2000 American

Time Spent thinking about blog topics: Several hundy

Bloggy Love from you people: Priceless!

Via my pal, Annie

My blog is worth $9,032.64.
How much is your blog worth?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sun is out, it is an unseasonable warm 60 degrees today, but oh yes, I am ready for some football people.

And who wouldn't be with the type of season I am having so far? After last week's 9-5 performance against the spread, I stand at a cumulative 47 and 41 as we enter the midseason. Thats good enough to make me some money in Vegas folks, and I'm not even counting the $2.99 all you can buffet.

So here we go this week's Savant like wisdom, imparted to you via my eerily accurate football prognostications:

Detroit 3 over the Bears. Take the points and get out of town
Giants 2.5 over the Redskins. Baby Manning is the call here
Bengals 9 over the Pack: Stick a fork in Farve baby cuz he is way done
Panthers 7.5 over the Vikes; Go Vikes here
Raiders 1 over Titans: MIB, baby
Cowboys 9 Cards. No way the Boys should be favored by this much. Somebody knows something so take 'em anyway
Texans 2 Browns: Cleavburg all the way
Saints 2.5 Dolphins: Get those hanky waving fans outta here and take the Saints
Jags 3 Rams: Go Rams, help a coach's heart
Chargers 6 Chiefs: Sorry PDS, go Chargers
Bucs 11 49ers. 49ers suck, take 'em anyway
Broncs 3.5 Eagles: Broncs
Pats 9 Bills: The Bills? Hah! take the Pats give up to 12
Steelers 9 Ravens: I hate the Ravens, but bet that they can keep it within 9.

Thats it folks. Start mixing the taco dip, chilling the beer and while you're at it give a Packer fan a swirly.

Just to watch him cry.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Big Plans

Sorry folks, I know how you've come to look forward to my Thursday night wine blogging. Surely there isn't more scintillating reading anywhere in the blogosphere than my Thursday rambles where I crack a bottle, discuss at length it's many attributes and the proceed to get a bit toasted. I've often felt it would be much more enjoyable for you, the reader, if I would more obviously lose my sobriety and get a little goofy. Maybe end it all with long rants about the damn guvmn't, or paranoid screeds about the Trilateral Commission. But, then that's what lefty blogs are for. Speaking of which, did you read Tom's bit about Bush as Godzilla? Whew boy, there is a man who needs a cocktail!

Ah but I digress. No wine blogging tonight as I am out of town on business. In fact, if you happen to be in Boston put a light in the church steeple and I'll come have a drink with you. In person wine blogging with Pursuit, cool. Lets make it one if you want to drink white, two for red. I'll buy.
Alas, the steeple remains dark, not a huge surprise, and probably for the better I've got a day of meetings tomorrow and I hear it's considered bad form by the locals to grab a little shut eye in the middle of their presentations. So provincial, don't you think?

Anyway, this post is about my big plans and today we inched a little closer to the fruition of one of them: Having one of the Supreme Court Justices over for drinks on the front porch. There are a lot of things that I plan to do before I die; I've already written about my goal to be in a movie where I discover a murder scene and exclaim, "My God! They're all dead!" Drinkin with the justice is another.

Yup, you heard that right, I'm gonna be drinkin' with one of the judicial system's chosen few! At least that is the plan. Here's the deal. Ms. Mier's withdrew from consideration this morning which has left the door open for Bush to get the appointment right this time. The real key thing to know is that Bush cannot put up just anyone. This pick has got to be a lock. Dead solid perfect as they say.

To get it right, Bush must pick a judicial minimalist, a judge who is not just acceptable to the right, but really one who is revered by the right. Keeping this in mind, the judge must also be bullet proof when it comes to attacks from the left. Considering that Judge Roberts was probably one of the few who are universally recognized as brilliant by both sides while maintaining a stealth record from an attack target point of view, this nominee must be unassailable even if his record is public.

There is only one man with this stature. Ted Olsen.

Respected by the right, and recognized as a man who has given more than most to this country, Mr. Olsen will be approved and will ascend to the bench. That's where my big plan #2 gets traction.

I happen to own a little piece of land, not far from where Mr. Olsen maintains a residence. We've never met, and he wouldn't know me from Adam, but it's a small town and I will eventually ingratiate myself to the limited social scene. And really, lets face it, the judge will be unable to resist making friends with a sophisticated urbane country gentlemen such as me. I'll regale him with my tales from the goose pit, he'll share inside jokes about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and together we'll while away the summer recess hours on my front porch. We'll posthumously mock Earl Warren, go fishing, and the return home to share a plate of nachos where I'll advise him on how the court has overreached with it's discovery of the right to privacy.

If things really go well, perhaps I'll even invite him to the premier of my movie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blastin' Varmints

So I had a new experience this Sunday when I went goose hunting for the first time. My oddessy began about five years ago when I first went out to shoot sporting clays. At first I wasn't very good hitting only about 24 out of 100 targets. Inspite of my less than expert marksmanship, it was a hellofa good time!

In sporting clays the shooter walks through the woods to 10 different stations. Each station is set up with a different sort of shooting challenge. Some targets are thrown out one at time in front of the shooter, while others are thrown out in doubles. Still other targets are thrown out to resemble a rabbit running on the ground with the second in the pair thrown immediately thereafter into the air. The possibilities are endless, and the challenge can be quite great.

Obviously it is just good fun to go out and shoot at stuff. Maybe the little boy never fully retreats in the man, but just going through the challenge of aiming at the target, pulling the trigger and feeling the recoil of the gun against your shoulder is a great thrill. Of course, the smell of gun powder in the morning ain't half bad either.

So it was a natural progression to go from renting guns to buying our own. My first shotgun was a Browning Citori 525. A beautiful gun, it's an over under which refers to the arrangement of the barrels, with a walnut stock it also has a marvelous woodgrain stock. Happiness, indeed, is a warm gun.

The next step in the journey was to go out pheasant hunting which we did about two years ago.

It may sound crazy, but hunting is a terrific way to enjoy nature. When we hunt pheasants most of our time is spent walking through fields and woods waiting for the hound to roust the birds. When they do, we usually hit them, but this isn't always the case. So the thrill is definately in the moment of taking the shot, but the beauty, as with most things, is in the process.

Goose hunting this weekend only served to emphasize this fact. Last spring we leased two fields for hunting from local farmers, and then this summer we dug our pits and put in a reinforced wood shelter. In the pit we're about 7 feet in the ground, with a plywood partial roof over our heads that is camoflaged with corn stalks from the surrounding field.

The challenge with Goose hunting is calling the birds into your field, and I'll tell you up front, we were unsuccessful this Sunday. Having arrived at the field before sunrise we set up our decoys and got into the pit to begin our vigil. This is when I began to learn a little about nature.

Did you know Geese are the late risers of the avian world? I didn't, but this is one of the things you realize when you have nothing better to do than scan the skys and take time to learn about the world around you. We first saw song birds, then smaller waterfowl, and finally around 8a.m. the geese appeared. Flock after flock, perhaps 1,000 birds in all took to the sky to fly to the river near our sight.

The weird thing was they all came from different directions, but at some point seemed to navigate to the same spot and then take a final glide path to the river. This didn't happen all at once, but over the course of a couple of hours, so it wasn't that they were following each other, something was guiding them. The really weird thing is that the previous week the same thing happened, but they followed a different route to the same river. Maybe some big Goose boss decides these things and sends out a decree.

Sadly, both days we were unable to get any Geese close enough to really have a reasonable shot at; although I did at some point take some shots just to be able to shoot my gun! The problem right now, I'm told, is that we haven't had any real cold weather so there is still "green stuff" for them to eat. After we have some frosts, they'll come to our field to scavenge for corn. Heh, that's when we'll get them in our sights.

Still, until then, I'm learning things about the outdoors that are new and fascinating to me. Watching the skies, observing the birds, these are things that I never would have otherwise done.

Hunting: It really brings out an appreciation of the natural world, and of course, a desire to kill it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Book You Should Read

I like to go into book stores without any idea in mind about what I want to read. Book stores are the ultimate browsing stores.....whether it's the smell, the titles, or the quiet something other worldly exists there for me. I've found that if I go in without any preconceived notions, I usually end up coming out with a book that I didn't expect which teaches me something new. Kind of like life, I suppose.

I've "discovered" some great authors this way. Robertson Davies, Paul Fussel ("Class" a must read), Nelson Algren to name just a few. My whole Russian jag of two years ago was the result of seeing Anna Karenina on the shelf (before Oprah by the way) and thinking, gosh I always meant to read that. AK now stands as my favorite read of all time.

So when I picked up "Father Joe" by Tony Hendra the other day, I just thought it sounded like an interesting read. Lets face it, sub titled "The Man Who Saved My Soul" it tends to suggest that you might be able to learn a thing or two. Happily, I didn't notice the jacket blurb by the excruciatingly emotional Andrew Sullivan:

"Extraordinary, luminescent, profound....I beg you to read this book"

Poor Andy, so talented, and yet so unwilling to trust his talent to just few well chosen words.

Which is a contrast to Mr. Hendra. A veteran of National Lampoon, Lemmings, This is Spinal Tap, Spy Magazine, and no doubt a dozen other legendary comedic troupes, I would have hardly expected him to be such a skilled writer. Of course this is the curse of the comedian in general. One of the most difficult art forms, comedic writing requires an exacting and economic use of the language where every word has a purpose, providing context and moving the reader on to the punch line. Yet few comedians are ever accorded the title of serious artist, and most must move to other "more serious" genres to get the credit that they observe. The same can probably be said about Tony Hendra. How did HE write this book.

With a copious amount of talent would be my response. Hendra's writing is good. Very good. I often found myself stopping to admire his use of language and his skill at communicating some very complex thoughts without writing down to his reader. Instead Hendra uses his talent with language to lucidly relate his story of an incredible man, Father Joe.

Hendra met Father Joe as he says it, "When I was 14 and having an affair with a married woman". A bit of an overstatement, reflecting Hendra's adolescent confusion and exhuberence at the time, although Hendra was indeed caught by the woman's husband with his hand down her skirt. Having been charged with Hendra's Christian education, the man does the only sensible thing; he takes Hendra to a priest.

There begins a life long relationship with a cloistered monk of incredible insight, patience and most remarkably, worldliness. Hendra's life careens from his teenage years when he becomes absolutely convinced that his mission in life is to join the priory as a monk himself, to his early to mid-adulthood when he is an active and angry atheist. Through it all, as life (God?) puts Hendra through a miriad of changes that almost seem divinely guided, Father Joe is his earthly guide who gentlely keeps him on track.

Father Joe spends much time suggesting that Hendra is a selfish man, and reminds him to take time to be "unselfish" and to "listen". The diagnosis really couldn't be more correct. Frankly, for much of the book Hendra is a loathsome character. As a teen he is pious beyond all belief. When he turns away from God, he is a self absorbed jerk who ignores his family, rejects the love of his wife and hates his co-workers. He views those with different political views as evil and is unrelenting (frankly even to this day) in his hatred for them. His anger is palpable, but it is unclear what it is from.

In my view, Hendra's anger, and by extension his loss of faith were due mostly to his disappointment in the short-comings of others. I've often thought that the atheists are in some ways our most pious people; God could only create perfect world, and since man is imperfect, God must not exist. As Hendra experiences his own fall from grace, and embraces his own imperfections he becomes angry that God didn't stop his fall and therefore loses faith.

Years later, through his talks with Father Joe, and after finally hitting a low point, Hendra begins to come back to the church and ultimately finds his true role in life. It is a moving, thoughtful and deeply spiritual story that has meaning for us all.

I should note, that subsequent to the publishing of the book, Hendra's daughter from his first marriage accused him of sexual abuse, an accusation which he has denied. I have no idea whether this is true or not. Regardless of the voracity of her claims, Father Joe is a moving, thoughtful account and I strongly recommend it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday Night Wine Blogging

Back, after a week's hiatus for a dinner last week, I'm wine blogging once again. Oooooh, and tonight we have a most curious entry in the wine blogging series.

A little Rioja!

Yup, but the curious thing is the history of this particular wine. I first purchased a bottle of this wine sometime around 2000. Upon opening, it was a tannic monster, good but a bit harsh. So I decided to lay the remaining bottle down and see how it aged.

Well, tonight's the night.

First the details. The wine is Marques de Arienzo Rioja Gran Reserva, 1991. Shall we pop the cork?

Ok, a little trouble getting the cork out, it broke in half and inspection reveals that it was nearing the end of it's useful life. Are we about to have a second week of disappointment?

Well, I can tell from the nose that the tannins have relaxed substantially. Happily, there are no off putting scents, a concern that I had seeing the cork. Lets have a sip.

A bit non descript. Fruit predominates, but it disapates somewhat quickly with only a little mouth. As usual, I'm going to let it breathe a bit.

Ok, its been about 20 minutes, a second try reveals that our little Rioja has opened up a bit. The nose is still fruity, some pepper and a little cedar, perhaps a small hint of port, which is not good, I think maybe the wine has passed its prime. The taste is fruit, without much else. Five years has mellowed this wine, mellowed it too much.

Still, the wine is enjoyable, I'd give it a "good" rating. Drinkable, but nothing special, definately should have cracked it a year or two ago.

Well, thats it for tonight. Next Thursday finds me in Boston so look forward to the next wine blog in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From The "What Were They Thinking Files"

It's times like these that I wonder exactly how the pitch went. No doubt, it was some lower level up and comer that wanted to really make his mark selling Budweiser as early in his career as possible. In fact, I'll bet that at some point this young go getter, we can call him Winthorp for example got to be kind of annoying at Bud global headquarters.

"Sir, we need somebody to run the collegiate , er....I mean young, but definately of legal age drinkers campaign. Miller is killing us with that slacker promo and we got nuthin!"

"Who's that young feller, just out of know the one thats always askin me to give him a break?"

"You mean Winthorp sir?"

"Yes! Thats the guy. Lot of energy, not much on the smarts side though. I bet he could relate to those college, er I mean young but definately legal drinkers!"

"Oh I don't know about Winthorp sir....."

"Well I do! Kid drives me nuts, give him a couple hundred thou, put him on the road and get him out of my hair!"

So Winthorp, who now has more money than he's ever seen in his entire life calls his frat pals to boast, and perhaps get some ideas:



"Dude, the old man gave me a couple hundy to spend on gettin you guys to drink bud!"

"Like thats excellent dude!"

"Yeah, but I don't know what to do with this cash, I spent some on lap dances and Zima, but I still have like 199 thousand left"

"Oh duuudddde I got an idea"


"Yeah! Go get a bunch of balls and glasses made and pass them out for like a drinking game"

"Oh yeah, like quarters!"

"Right dude, and then people will start chuggin Bud! The more they chug the more you sell!"

"Excellent! and the more I sell, the more lap dances and Zima I can buy!"

"Whoa dude, dont Bogart the lap dances and Zima!"

"No way! I'll buy you lap dances and Zima too cuz you rock dude"

And so it goes until one day, an article appears in the New York Times.......

"Morning Mr. Busch!"

"Winthorp! Is that you!"

"Yes Mr. Busch, good to see you"

"Winthorp, what are you doing here? I thought we fired you after that Bud Pong fiasco!"

"Well, you did Mr. Busch"


"So, I took that experience, got an MBA and now I'm a crisis management consultant."

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Poetry of Violence

You may not have noticed this, but I really like football. Something about this sport, more than any other thrills me to no end. I've titled this post "The Poetry of Violence" because I think more than anything else, this is what makes football great.

The picture above is of Packer great Jim Taylor. Look at that picture. The man is covered head to toe in mud. The 49er's want to bring him down with the maximum of violence. There is no question that the footing in all that mud is at best precarious, yet there is power in his stride and determination in his eyes. It's all a fine balance that in a single shot defines one of the greats. Do you have any doubt, that Mr. Taylor picked up some substantial yardage on this play? I don't. In fact my guess is that when the 49er's finally caught him, he gave as good as he got.

Its tempting to say that the game isn't what it used to be, hell I've said it myself. To some degree I suppose this is true. The trash talking combined with the Foxification of the production values have indeed played to a lower common denominator. When the ball is finally snapped though, the guys out there today are just as tough and determined as the players of our youth. In fact, the game is more demanding now that it has ever been and today's players continue to raise the bar every Sunday. I wonder if it ever occurs to them that the trash talking and loutish behavior stands as the greatest insult imaginable to their talent.

Ah, there I go, sounding like a geezer that glorifies yesteryear. For all the Randy Mosses and Romanowskis, we have many more Thomas Joneses, and Peyton Mannings. I found the above link earlier today and the pictures there stand as testimony to why we should just let the game be the game. Truly inspiring, go check them out.

I really like football.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football!!!

Getting the picks in a little late this week, you're just gonna have to trust me.

Chicago giving 3
Dallas giving 3.5
Detroit giving 1
NO getting 5.5
KC giving 6
Ten getting 3
Jax getting 3
Cleavburg getting 5.5
Dolphins getting 5.5
Broncs giving 3
Jets getting 3
Oakland getting 2
Seattle giving 9.5
Indy giving 13.5

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The White Sox and Their Sad, Sad Fans

Oh those poor long suffering White Sox fans. Fated to second class status in the country’s second city, their lot in life is not to be envied. You see, the White Sox never get anything right, certainly not winning. I’d say they are the Charlie Brown’s of the baseball world but that really wouldn’t be accurate. Charlie, despite his set backs, despite his absolute certainty that Lucy was going to pull the ball away at the last moment, never gave up hope.

White Sox fans are just the opposite. Bitter, curmudgeonly people, they are supremely aware of the joke that life has played on them. The last time their team made it to the World Series Shoeless Joe and the boys agreed to throw the games resulting in the notorious Black Sox Scandal. Not content though with screwing up the winning angle, the hapless Sox fans are doomed to support a team that can’t seem to get the losing thing right either. Although they haven’t won a World Series since 1917, even this milestone is less than impressive when compared to the feats of incompetence achieved by their cross town rivals, the Cubs, who haven’t won since 1908.

And of course we have the Cubs too don’t we? Oh the loathing that your average Sox fan feels for the Cubs and their fresh faced legions is unequaled in human history. The Cubs, the most hated of teams, out lose, out screw-up, out mismanage the Sox in every way possible. Still, Wrigley Field is filled day after day with screaming fans who support their “Cubbies” with the very last of their energy, and the Sox are a forgotten after thought in the city where all sports teams are forgotten after thoughts. So forgotten in fact, that most Cubs fans can’t even be moved to give a hoot about the south siders. Damned with the indifference of their greatest rival; is there any insult that cuts more?

I really feel sorry for these grimy, fist clenchers because nobody, not even Sox fans, deserve such a fate. In many ways their team is quite likeable. The White Sox throughout the years have bent over backwards to entertain their fans. Legendary owner, Bill Vech used to pull all sorts of stunts to ensure the crowd had fun at the ole ballpark. Whether he was putting a midget up to bat, installing a centerfield shower, igniting fireworks after homeruns, or blowing up disco records between games, fans could be sure that whether or not the team was any good, there still would be excitement of some sort on hand at each game.

Still, nobody except the most hapless of Chicago’s mopes ever really cared. So it was quite exciting to see the Sox have such an outstanding season this year, and I was as excited as anyone when they made the playoffs. As a Yankees fan, I was looking forward to seeing my guys crush the Sox in the ALCS. Although the Yanks didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, I didn’t mind too much since I was then at least able to root for the Sox without reservation.

I should have known better though. Last night I experienced a small taste of what Sox fans have felt for years. The cold hand of fate once again reached out and put a veneer of tarnish on whatever this team accomplishes this year. As I’m sure you all are aware by now, after dropping the first game to the Angels, the Sox won the second game only on the virtue of a highly questionable call by the Umpire. Even worse, while the Sox did win the game, they were one of only a very few teams to win an ALCS game without scoring a single earned run. In other words, either the Angels or the Umpires gave them the win.

The October air in Chicago is filled with more than it’s normal amount of bluster this morning. Sox fan’s everywhere insist the call was legit, while also admitting that even the most charitable viewing of the replay yields a perception that is “inconclusive”.

Such an adjective this word is; “inconclusive”. A four syllable indictment. Sports fans are accustomed to using so many other words to describe the actions of their champions. Outstanding, unbelievable, amazing, incredible, legendary………..


This then is the White Sox. Formerly the team of crooks now reduced to something less. My goodness, they couldn’t even get this right. I look on with a mixture of pity, anger, and yes amusement. Very much the same way I would watch a particularly stupid dog chew rocks thinking they were kibble. It’s enough to make you turn away and thank your lucky stars that this fate belongs to someone else.

Sox fans claim that they don’t care. Their manager said that he would “rather be lucky than good”. Fans this morning say that a “win is a win”. In their hearts though they know that this isn’t so. Champions, while lucky at times, would never willingly supplant talent and achievement with luck; and the rest of us know that all wins are not equal. Some come with asterisks behind them in the record book. Indelible reminders that somebody somewhere thought your accomplishment didn’t quite measure up.

The best the Sox can hope for now is that they win three games in row so that they don’t stretch the series to its maximum length. Perhaps then they won’t have to live with the dreaded asterisk. Perhaps then, when the Cubs finally win a World Series, Sox fans won’t have to live with the taunts of their asterisk free rivals.

UPDATE: Nevermind

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Turning Kids Against Parents One Ad At A Time

I’ve always been a kind of sensitive guy when it came to the great outdoors, and all of God’s creatures. As a boy it bothered me when my friends would want to roast an ant under a magnifying glass, and I could never fathom the entertainment value of pulling the leg off of a spider even if as my friends claimed “they grow ‘em back”. Life was life to me and in it’s lowest of forms I had a sort of built in morality telling me that needlessly hurting animals is wrong. The tough thing about all of this for me was not standing up to my friends and getting them to stop the carnage, on the contrary, I beat up my friends all the time – an issue that came up at my high school reunion. Nope, the tough thing for me was how in the world they could torture animals and not be driven to guilt.

Perhaps I was a little nutty that way, but even now I like to think that generations of spiders and ants owe their very existence to the great and noble Pursuit. Perhaps somewhere in their little holes they hold great feasts, and parades in my honor imbuing me with a degree of psychic good fortune as a tribute to my good deeds. Or, perhaps not.

Either way, I’ve always felt that animals, because they were not our equals and because they were our responsibility, were owed the respect that the subservient deserve as recognition that their lives, more or less, are spent in our service. I’ve carried this belief through to my adulthood, and as a hunter it has at times caused me a bit of embarrassment.

Ethically, morally or any other way I have absolutely no problem with hunting. Animals exist below us on the tree of life, and as a result of this unfortunate (for them) status they are there for our use. If this use involves the application of heat, spices and vegetables in the creation of a tasty meal, all the better! Yet, because these poor fellas are sacrificing their lives so that we have something to pair with an excellent cabernet, well we at least owe them the dignity of a quick if not completely painless death. So as a hunter, when the dog brings a still living, yet mortally wounded, pheasant back to me I have an ethical obligation to snap its neck just as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This sensitivity, as I said, has led me to a little embarrassment in the past. A few years ago, much against my better judgment, I agreed to go ice fishing with a good buddy of mine. We’ll call him Outdoors Man, to protect his identity. Outdoors Man, or OM to his pals, has spent many a patient time with me as I have great enthusiasm for learning things like fishing and hunting, but little or no experience. So I owe OM a great amount of credit for introducing me to these manly pursuits.

Anyway, OM wanted to go ice fishing when we were away up in Wisconsin one winter with our families. Foolish me, I thought we’d wake up, drive out on the ice, catch some fish and be home for a late breakfast. Not exactly.

Instead, we had to get up at 4:30 in the blessed a.m. to go meet the rest of our party at the Country Kitchen. It was never clear to me why this was important since, not being a “morning person” I was not completely lucid during this critical time of male bonding.

Skillet breakfasts finished we headed off to the Great Bay of Green and started driving out on to the ice. We drove for what must have been a half an hour, after which we found ourselves six miles out in the bay with nothing but an ice cooler, drill and fishing poles.

It was then that we heard the “craaaack”. I did some quick mental calculations and figured that we were suspended on the ice over 75 to 100 feet of water. Craaaack. It happened again. Now there was no question in my mind that the other guys had heard these ominous sounds but were doing nothing at all about them so I was presented with the option of sounding the alarm and possibly saving all of our lives, or remaining utterly silent in an attempt to maintain my cool as I prepared for what was undoubtedly my imminent doom. I choose cool.


Ah ha! A development which, of course, lessened the value of cool in my mind considerably. “Um guys what was that”, I said finally deciding that life was in fact worth living. “That? Oh, ha heh, that huh? Oh yeah, she’s makin ice, it’s gonna be a good day”, said one of the more experienced locals in a Fargoesque accent. Apparently, our friendly local explained, the Great Bay of Green continues to freeze throughout the winter and as ice is added to the pack, it squeezes the other ice up and towards shore, causing the groaning, cracking sounds that we heard. I found this explanation less than comforting.

But this wasn’t the source of embarrassment that I was talking about. Nope, my embarrassment that day happened as we began to pull the fish out of the water. The lake perch were running, and soon we had 10 to 15 coming in on our lines. A good day, as our friend had predicted. When we took the fish off the lines I looked around and there was nothing to put them in. “Just throw them on the ice, they freeze up real good” I was told. On the ice? What was this? More needless torturing? Can’t we put them in a bucket or something I asked, you know, so they don’t have to suffer?

This got the biggest laugh of the day. “Suffer, you don’t want the fishy to suffer?” they laughed and laughed at that one. Finally, Outdoors Man explained the underlying logic which had escaped me that day, “it’s a fucking fish man, don’t worry about it”.

Well with no available alternative, I decided that I had no choice. So I dropped the fish with the others and tried to ignore the fact that they were slowly freezing to death and suffocating as well. It may have been a fucking fish, but it deserved better.

So I’m the kind of guy that might actually be open to the above linked PETA campaign, “Fishing Hurts”. The kind of guy that might be open to it that is, if the PETA people weren’t such lunatics. After all they really are only fucking fish and while that doesn’t mean that we can abuse these creatures in anyway that we’d like, it also doesn’t logically follow that we shouldn’t turn these little beasts into a tasty dinner either. And I have some news for the folks at PETA, turning things into tasty dinners is going to involve some unpleasantness for the future tasty dinner.

This is the problem with these people. They take one marginally good idea and then blow it so out of proportion that they go from trying to preserve a little dignity for the animal kingdom to telling children that their daddy’s a killer in seconds flat. This utter lack of proportional response to a completely ethical and moral pursuit removes any credibility to the PETA cause what-so-ever.

As my kids would say, “Fishing hurts? Duh”

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Howard Dean Call Your Therapist!!!

Well that simpleton George W. Bush has done it again and screwed up in reverse. Just when the Democrats were beginning to make appointments with Kaki Hockersmith again, the big Chimp outwits his meager competition and goes and gets agreement on an Iraqi consititution. Even worse, at least one Sunni group will be supporting the vote to approve, confirming my prediction here last week that Saturday's vote will be in the affirmative.

We have no confirmation yet, but it is quite possible the Howard Dean chocked on his Fruit Loops this morning.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The One Thing All Conservative Leaders Must Learn..... that the best defense is a good offense.

Lets face it, despite the fact that we always throw the best parties and without question have the best looking women, it is extremely hard if not impossible to be conservative and popular with anyone other than, well, other conservatives. Sure our liberal friends will feign friendship as long as the liquor is free and they can wash away the miserable realization that their political orientation has fated them to be paired with a make-upless, earth shoe wearing girlfriend who only becomes aroused when in mid rant about about spaying and neutering. When the real work of keeping the world safe for truth, justice and the American way begins these guys are AWOL, waking up with a hang over, and cursing the day they Al Gore talked the into riding a bike the 29 miles to work. God love 'em, our dear liberal friends really do want to help, they just can't escape the supremacy their feelings have over rational thought.

Somehow though, our liberal friends have managed to gain control of the major media in general, and the press in particular (I think it might have something to do with the free booze again, but I'm not sure). So I've had to read quite a few of their more prolific scribblers lately about how George Bush did such a good job when he was uniting the country atop the rubble of the World Trade Towers. "We can hear you and pretty soon the people that did this will hear you too!"

Really, though, who can't applaud that. Sounds great, and I'll admit it was wonderful to see a President declare what all of us wanted to say to the world, but without the force of action behind it, the words themselves are empty. Our lefty friends though ate it up, it made them feel good, the image was so strong! Similarly, when President Clinton attacked the night janitorial crew in Bahgdad, or the camels in Afghanistan, or the asprin factory in the Sudan, they loved those actions too. So forceful! So explosive! So thrilling!

And so completely empty.

George Bush and his administration understood this, and they promised that this time would be different. No longer would U.S. Threats not be backed up by U.S. actions and a plan was put in place to take revenge (yes, revenge) and roll back the terrorist advances that went unchallenged in the '90s. The left likes to think it was supportive in the beginning, and routinely tries to spin this message, but the facts argue otherwise. Bush's Axis of Evil speech, a term that couldn't have been less controversial, was widely donounced on the left. The invasion of Afghanistan did not recieve support by many liberals, and of course the invasion of Iraq was and is viewed as an outright crime.

This is not to say Bush ran perfect wars, readers here know that I have been frustrated with his reluctance to use the full force of our military and covert power, but instead to illustrate through a liberal president's inaction and the left's hatred our just action that many of our lefty friends just don't want to get tough. Worse, while our President is busy trying to do what is right, the left is actively working against him both domesticly and abroad.

After five years of this I think George has had enough, and it is hard to blame him........except for the fact that he ran for the job. So I am blaming him. He may be tired, but he has no right to let his supporters down because it just isn't as fun as it used to be. Our job as conservatives was never to be liked or respected. We are not in this for the praise of those who we believe are less than our equals. We are in this to win. Win in the war against the terrorists and win in the battle of ideas against our political foes.

We have so much on our side. The intellectual underpinnings of our cause are greater, and our ability to put forth our ideas and the defend them in the public arena is vastly greater. It has to be, we've had to fight a guerilla war against the liberal establishment for years and as a result our abilities are sharper than those of our liberal foes. Presidential elections, and majorities in both houses prove that sort of thing.

There is also strength in the fact that we are not in this to become Prom King. The fact is, we don't care if we're liked which provides us with the freedom to come out shooting. Everyone, from the lovely Femka Jannsen above to the the New England Patriots knows that the best defense is a good offense. Keep your opponents on their heels and they never get the leverage to form a charge.

Bush new this at the start of his presidency and it gave him an unbeatable momentum both domestically and internationally. Sadly, time and the need to fight so many battles at one time have done what the liberal establishment couldn't accomplish. Bush, I think is beginning to give in.

Harriet Miers is just the latest indication of this change, and it must be the last. We have three more years in which we can win the war and press forward with conservative ideas that we all know are good for our country. We can't do it with a president who has decided to take a permanent powder though.

"Femka for the court" may not be the exact way to regain our momentum, although I would love to see her take a shot at cleaing up Bagdad, but W does need to get back in the game. If he doesn't I've got some news for him. Things will get worse, much worse.

We didn't ask him to play, but now that we've accepted his offer, we demand that he deliver the goods.

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Saturday, October 8, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh boy am I ready! Please welcome the lovely Adrianna (her real name) to our NFL picks spectacular the week. Adrianna is a cheerleader for one of the teams so I felt justified in posting her picture to lead off my picks.

And speaking of picks, last week's 8-6 performance has now catapulted me to the positive side of the ledger with a season to date record against the spread of 31-29. While not great, this is a good position to be in after 4 weeks, and now having passed the competition in the pool, with this week's picks we crush them.

I'm taking a lot of favorites this week which I never like to do because it means we're giving points on a net basis. Nothing can be done, the boys in the lab fed the stats into our proprietry model and this is what came out:

Browns 3 Bears: Take the Browns
Pack 3 Saints: Take the Saints
Bucs 3 Jets: Jets
Rams 3 Seahawks: Rams
Falcons 3 Pats: Falcons
Bills 2.5 Dolphins: Bills
Lions 1.5 Ravens: Lions
Texans 3 Titans: Titans
Colts 14.5 49ers: Colts
Panthers 3 Cards: Panthers
Eagles 3 Cowboys: Cowboys
Broncos 7 Redskins: Broncs
Jags 3 Bengals: Jags
Chargers 3 Steelers: Steelers

Some gutsy calls in there this week, but that is what it takes to separate the men from the boys folks. I really hate to bet against my Bears too....but you know, it is just awfully hard to get around the fact that they suck, and they've sucked for years! I also have a little theory about betting the Bears. Their fans are so pathetic that when their idles are favored the betting Bears fan is willing to pay too much in points, and when the Bears are the dogs, their fans are too willing to accept too few points. Check it out, I just gave away one small piece of our proprietary nfl model, but hey, for you guys? Anything.

As always, "Bear Down!"Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Thursday Night Wine Blogging

Oh what a week. The return to work brings with it early morning rising, reduced workouts and most alarmingly, no golf. It is times like these that we appreciate the consistency of life's simple pleasures. Your children's happy voices, the love of your wife, the loyalty of your dog.

Oh who are we kidding, I'm talking about Thursday Night Wine Blogging!

Tonight my fellow tipplers we're sampling Beaune, which I believe is a town in the Rhone region of France. Either that or Burgundy, to tell the truth, in all the excitement I clean forgot. Yet we should be able to tell from the taste of the wine itself. Burgundy, of course, will be made from the delightful, yet tempermental Pinot Noir grape, while Rhones as we previously discussed will be a blend of Syrah and Grenache and perhaps Mourvedre.

So hows about a little taste, eh?

After removing the foil we get quite a loud pop from the bottle....perhaps too loud. Is something not right here? Cork looks ok. How about the nose?

Very light, some fruit a little earth. Not much more. The taste? Again very light, I think it needs to open a bit. I have some fruit, a nice finish but little or no complexity. This is a pinot, quite clearly. None of the spice that one expects from a Syrah, none of the depth and dryness from a Grenache. I think I'm going to let this breath for about 15 minutes.

So lets discuss the wine.

Tonight's bottle is a 2002 Savigny-les-Beaune, "Aux Vergelesses". I'm not good on my French lableing, but it appears the vintner is one Simon Bize & Fils. I'm sure he is a marvelous gentleman, but thats not really a lot to go on. To be honest this is one of the delights of drinking French wine that I think I've alluded to before.

The French can be maddening because, unlike Americans, they don't spell everything out on the bottle for the consumer. Wines are named by region instead of varietal and worst of all, they say everything in French! Le Bastards!

Marvelous bastards though, cuz they do produce some lovely stuff and the beauty thing about it is that most of the world increasingly doesn't appreciate their magic. So, while the rabble consumes the fruit bomb in your face stuff that the loathsome Robert Parker claims is great, the rest of us get good French wine at reasonable prices. Magnifique!

This bottle tonight is not quite the $69 or whatever I paid for last week's wine, and I believe I paid a cool $29. More than I like to pay for a weeknight sampling but if we can always give the kids bread and water tomorrow.

Ok, it's been about 15-20 minutes lets give it a second go. I hate to say this folks, but not much here. I begin to despair. Mostly fruit, some mineral. Clearly a pinot, but not a very good one I'm afraid. I'm not saying this is a bad wine, its not. It just isn't very distinguished. I can't really distinguish any particular fruit, and the forward taste is pretty much what you get. A little mineral on the finish that lasts and thats it. I would be pleased if I paid $15 bucks for this wine.

Well, that is the beauty of the whole process, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it is always an adventure. Along the way, we learn a little bit the regions of the world that are producing wine, and the various grapes that go into it.

We've now done my three favorite French regions, so maybe next week we'll move on to another country, I'll give it some thought. Until then, bottoms up!

UPDATE: I just found this. I think he/she may have liked it more than me, but then again the rating wasn't all that great.

Sometimes The Jokes Just Write Themselves

So we have a new study that female teens who have sex often have their first experience with older teens, sometimes even adults. Fair enough, but can we say the main author of this report was completely unbiased?

"The lead author of the report, Jennifer Manlove....."


Tuesday, October 4, 2005

And So It Goes........

Sorry about the minimal posting over the past couple of days, but as you can imagine it has been a little hectic in the new job. I'd like to tell you about all that I'm doing and what a fabulous opportunity this is to have a real impact on a storied institution, but then well as they say, I'd have to kill you.

And that would make me sad.

So, enough with the talking about death, lets talk about Supreme Court picks! Harriot our little conservative chariot to judicial restraint Miers got the nod eh,? I can't say I'm real surprised, nor am I particularly disappointed as some of my conservative brethren seem to be. First off, we really can't complain about the president making a "stealth" selection can we? I mean, how rich was it to read the NYT editorial today? God knows they would have complained about any pick Bush made, and with the recent example of Bill Bennett to demonstrate how many on the left couldn't care less about meaning and instead regard only that which can be distorted in their favor, it is quite likely that all future conservative picks will be of the stealth variety.

Do I believe this is good for our democracy? Not particularly, but to complain about it is analogous to complaining about the fever that was caused by your flu. Stealth picks are a symptom of the illness of leftist irrationality when it comes to judicial nominations. Make no mistake, conservative have their rabid pack too, but with regard to supreme nominations over the past twenty years, it is impossible to credibly assert that liberals have behaved with anything approaching fair play in the Senate's advice and consent role.

Truthfully, this is a real opportunity for the Senate. Were our senators to behave properly and ask informed, well considered questions of the nominee both they and the American public would probably learn quite a bit. Certainly, this could have been the case with the Roberts nomination. However, with only a few exceptions (amazingly Senator Leahy comes to mind here) the queries from both parties were disappointingly shallow and only served to illuminate that the president had pick a man who was far superior to those on the committee.

No, my only concern with Miers is this crony issue. She certainly does seem to have a good record, and her lack of judicial experience doesn't particularly bother me. By all accounts she is an accomplished member of the bar who has the added benefit of being smart as a whip. (As an aside, she actually was kinda cute in the 80's did anyone else notice this?) Yet I have to wonder how in all the country there wasn't a female of similar qualifications who didn't also carry the appearance of cronyism.

So, we'll see. Is it to much to hope for some quality hearings for a change?

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Big Baby Update

It has been five and a half hours since I started smoking and the que seems to be doing fine. Perhaps a bit too much char on the ribs, but we'll see. My temps have averaged about 180 degrees, spiking at 242 for about ten minutes. I'm going to bring up the heat a little bit and try to aim for the 7 or 8 hour mark.

UPDATE: Sorry for no final post on this, I entered a bar be que induced coma at about 9pm last night. Overall, I'd rate the inaugural run of the Big Baby a success. The ribs? Simply the best ever. That black exterior protected a moist, tender meat on the inside and the char with the light sauces was fantastic.

Oddly, the chicken was a bit dry. Good flavor but the breast meat was clearly over cooked. Instead of using my own thermometer I relied on the built in jobby. An obvious, and predictable mistake. Otherwise, the smoke was excellent and I've been left with the challenge to improve!

Total smoking time was 7 hours exactly.Posted by Picasa

Taking The Big Baby For a Spin!

Today is the day! I'm venturing off on the inaugural firing of the Big Baby (click above for the background on this project). Pictured above are the raw materials for tonight's dinner. I've rubbed a slab of ribs and a whole chicken with different rubs, and put together separate mops for each as well. The chicken was brined for about 2 hours this morning. Over the past few days I have been practicing temperature regulation with dry run firings of the Big Baby, and while I still have a lot to learn, I can't wait any longer.

So, I don't have high hopes for outstanding product, but in truth I really don't care either. I'll be smoking with 100% hickory wood and mopping the meat every hour or so. I expect the whole process to take at least 7 hours, but that will be highly dependent on my temperature regulation. I'd like to smoke between 190 and 200 degrees.

I'll try to provide updates as we go along.
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