Friday, December 29, 2006

Auld Lang Syne

As '06 gives way to '07, I thought I'd give a summary of what events occurred in my life over these past 12 months. When the year started, I was working at Charter Communications (they're rubbish). I may elaborate on this in a future entry. But now I'm happier than a pig in slop working in the accounts payable department of a company that works with the developmentally disabled. When the year started, we had snow on the ground. As of today, we've had but one snowstorm this season (climate change). My dad had a stent put in a few months ago, but is recovering well. I now have a web journal that goes back several months. I went to a great concert (Vince) and had sex in my backyard for the first time (jk). I got a new winter jacket for the first time since 1992. I still have dial-up at home (and there's nothing you can do about it) and all 3 of my brothers still have big dongs.

Wishing you and yours all the best for '07.

I feel your pain...

A movie columnist whose website ( I regularly frequent got quite sick earlier this year. He had to spend a day or two in the hospital. The news happened to be on in his hospital room. Here was his priceless reaction when the President appeared:

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I went to 26 different movies in 2006. Since there were a couple movies that I saw multiple times, I had a total of 36 moviegoing experiences. In the early part of '06, I went to "Brokeback Mountain" with Shanon. He was a bit uncomfortable with the material (I'll elaborate on this in a future entry). I found the movie to be quite profound. We also went to (Hello, I'm Johnny Cash) "Walk the Line". Very good film. In the late winter, we saw "Final Destination 3", "Date Movie", and "V for Vendetta".

Spring came, as it is prone to do. Shanon and I went to "ATL" and "The Benchwarmers" (better than I expected). My 2nd favorite movie of the year was a sequel that I went to 5 times (including once with Shanon and once with my mom). The title: "Scary Movie 4".

These movies are totally my kind of humor, so it was no suprise that I was consistently laughing throughout the film. In the spring, I went to, "United 93". Very gripping and harrowing, undeniably powerful filmmaking (many critics' groups have named it the best movie of the year).

During the summer, I went to quite a few flicks. I elaborated on them in a prior entry, but just for the record, here are the ones that I saw: "The DaVinci Code", "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Over the Hedge", "Click" (Dori cried at the end of this one), "Superman Returns", "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (rubbish), "Monster House", "Little Miss Sunshine" (very enjoyable, great cast), and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (not as funny as I was hoping).

As the leaves fell, my moviegoing continued with Mark Wahlberg in "Invincible". I also saw "Jackass: Number Two" (OK), "The Illusionist" (fantastic, more details in a prior entry), "The Prestige" (nice! I took off work early to see this one), "Sweet Land" (a beautifully photographed movie that takes place in 1920's Minnesota), followed by two franchise movies with Shanon, "Casino Royale" (excellent) and "Rocky Balboa" (very good).

My favorite movie of the year will be no surprise to regular readers of this weblog. In September, I was invited to a special MySpace screening of a new movie based on one of Sacha Baron Cohen's characters from HBO's "Da Ali G Show" (I wrote quite extensively on this viewing experience in a prior entry). It opened nationally on November 3rd, but didn't come to Rochester, so I went to the Cities to see it that weekend. When it did open in Rochester on November 10th (my birthday), I went to it twice that weekend (once with Shanon). The following week, I went to it again. When I went out of town for Thanksgiving, I saw it with a couple friends. I went to it one more time (my 7th) just before it left town a couple weeks ago. I saw it in 5 different theatres. I am talking, of course, about

It's the funniest movie I (and many others) have seen in years. The reviews were almost universally positive.

Here is a transcript of one of my favorite scenes:

Borat: [while driving] Look, there is a woman in a car! Can we follow her and maybe make a sexy time with her?
Driving Instructor: No, no, no, no, no, no!
Borat: A-why not?
Driving Instructor: Because a woman has the right to choose who she has sex with.
Borat: [stunned] WHAT...? You joke?
Driving Instructor: It must be consensual. How 'bout that?
Borat: [turns to Instructor, pauses] Ahahahahaha!

Driving Instructor: That's good, huh?
Borat: [pause] Is not good for me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Oh my God. Christmas '06 just ended, but whadda you know. Here's the poster for a Vince Vaughn vehicle scheduled to open next November:

Who Doesn't Love Polar Bears?

"The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world's most recognizable animals out of existence."

The Day After Christmas

Yesterday I was able to catch up with my soul brother, Shanon. He came to town at around 3pm. We met at Best Buy. He had bought me 4 comedy CD's (Bill Cosby, 2 by Rodney Carrington, including this one,

and Harland Williams) for Christmas, but I wasn't really too interested in keeping any of them. So he brought the receipt along and said I could return one or two of them. While I waited in line to make the return, he went looking around in his favorite section of the store, DVD movies. After waiting 5-10 minutes, I got to the front of the line. The guy asked if I wanted to have the amount put on a gift card. I said I wanted, "cash money". I returned all 4 discs and got more than $50 cash back. Thanks, Shanon D. He assumed I just returned one or two. Oh well. I don't want to hurt his feelings by saying I returned everything. He was thinking of buying a few movies, but passed by the newest CD releases on his way to the checkout and found 3 discs he was interested in (the newest recording by Ludacris, by Chingy, and by a new guy called Akon).

Later, we went to eat at Famous Dave's. They were still playing some Christmas music as we ordered. Shanon said that hearing Xmas music is fine until the 1st of the year. Me, I'm Chrismased out. Shanon ordered the Devil's Spit burger (1/2 pound): Slathered with Devil's Spit BBQ sauce and topped with pepper-Jack cheese, jalapeƱo bacon and Hell-Fire Pickle Chips. Yummy...if you've got the stomach for it.

We then headed for the movie show. There was quite a line of people waiting to get tickets at Cinemagic. The movie I was most interested in seeing was

I went up to the cashier and said, "Yo, I wanna see Rocky" in my best Philly accent. I remember seeing Rocky IV during the Christmas season of 1985 (I was only 15 at the time, just a little shit). I missed Rock V, but heard it wasn't that great. I'm not a big fan of boxing, but I had read that this newest movie deals more with his life and the passing of his wife.

There is some fighting, but only near the end of the movie. It was quite a good film, definitely a fitting end to the saga.

Here is one of my favorite lines from the movie. In this scene, he is speaking to his son:

Rocky Balboa: Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Garth Part VII

I saw Garth in concert for the last (5th) time in October of 1998. I had seen him 4 times over the previous 8 days. Now my fantastic voyage was coming to an end. But I wouldn't be alone. My younger brother, Matt (4th from left)

had agreed to come along. He arrived in Rochester in the late afternoon. His mode of transport: a SHO.

After exchanging some pleasantries, we headed to the Twin Cities. Matt had been a fan of Enya in the early 90's, so he had a chuckle when we passed the town of Oronoco (one of Enya's most popular songs is called, "Orinoco Flow"). We caught up on things. He wasn't able to attend my wedding 2 months prior due to some issues he was experiencing. He was doing quite well now, though.

As we got closer to the Cities, I realized that I would need to stop for gas. So, I turned off at a truck stop and filled 'er up. I then went into the bathroom (Matt was buying a couple snacks). After the head, I went to my car and we headed out. I drove a few miles and looked at my fuel gauge, happy that I now had a full tank. I was about to tell Matt that it's good we stopped for gas when I realized that I hadn't paid for it. I had forgotten to pay at the checkout after getting out of the bathroom. Oops. I looked in my rearview mirror to be sure there were no police following us. There wasn't any time to return to the truck stop and make payment (showtime was getting closer).

We arrived in Minneapolis and parked the car. We found our seats (in the lower balcony) and the place began to fill up. Matt said that seeing a sellout crowd all fired up was worth coming for in and of itself. Trisha came out, GB performed. Garth's show (and his 9-night stand in the Cities) came to an end.

Garth posters had been put up all over the bathrooms. I decided I wanted to take one. No luck. They had all already been taken down by other Garth fanatics. On a related note, I should also mention that a couple times when I was in the men's bathroom over the 5 shows I attended, women came into the men's bathroom to "eliminate" (the lines to get into the women's bathrooms did get quite long). Suprisingly, none of the guys seemed to mind the women being there. Neither did I, though I did cover up my "equipment" pretty good when I saw that one (or more) of them were around.

Matt and I left Target Center and returned to southeastern Minnesota. He said he had a great time. About 6 months later, he was married and now has 2 sons. And with that, my Garth adventure was over. Perhaps one day he'll perform again, but if not, those 5 nights in October '98 will be a treasured memory of mine for many decades to come.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Today's the day!

Hey everybody. Make sure you spill your seed sometime today.

Even if you don't have a significant other. That's no excuse...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vince Strikes Back!

"My 4th Vince Gill concert was my favorite of his yet and if he came back with the exact same show next year, I would buy tickets in a heartbeat."

The above quote is from a post I made last month after seeing Vince in concert in Saint Paul at the end of October.

I was listening to my new George Strait Christmas CD on the way into work yesterday and thought I'd read Strait's Wikipedia entry when I had some spare time. Shortly thereafter, I perused it and saw that he would be touring in '07. Curious, I went to Ticketmaster to see if he would be in our area. No luck. Oh well. Then I remembered that Vince was adding dates for his "These Days" tour.

So I went to his Ticketmaster page and saw that he would be playing at the LaCrosse Center in February. Wheels started turning. I remembered my comment from above. Holy crap. There were still seats on the main floor (I was in the balcony when I saw him in October). Tickets had just gone on sale on Monday. I ran it by Art. He wasn't too interested (he's trying to scrape together some money to get his car fixed). I called Mother Schofield. She said she'd think about it. I called her back a few hours later. She said she still wasn't sure. I said I'd like to know since if she didn't want to go, I'd ask Shanon. She said that was fine. So I called Banana boy who was very excited to go. He had seen Dierks Bentley (I'm not too familiar with his stuff) in LaCrosse a few weeks ago. I printed out the tickets through Ticketmasta. We're on the main floor in row number 9. Wicked! We'll probably eat at my favorite, Happy Joe's Pizza, before the show.

Happy Times!

Time magazine recently named Vince's new album the year's 9th best (of any genre).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Check this. Time magazine has named "Borat" the number 2 best movie of the year.,9171,1570838,00.html



I hate to come off as I know-it-all, but I was against this fiasco from the start. It just seemed so unprovoked and unnecessary. All those deaths, all that destruction, wasted lives.

For months afterward, most "Americans" still supported it, while the more enlightened (such as the Dixie Chicks) spoke up. Now, more than 3 and a half years after it all began, public sentiment has finally moved over to my side. My question is, "What the fuck took you so long?!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Tummy Trouble

I got in my car this morning and immediately got that "not so fresh" feeling, you know, when you feel like you have to, how you say, make a shit. Now do I go back in the house and hang around in the bathroom for a good 20 minutes or chance driving the 10 minutes to work hoping I can make it without "following through"? "Screw it, I'm going to work", I thought. If I can make it to work without going, then I can be on the clock while I'm in the can.

I realized what it is that made me feel like I had to go at that moment. It was the swig of water I took before leaving the house. I would just need to make the best of it on my ride into town. Having the heat on too high in my car would exacerbate it (I know that from past experience). About halfway to work, my tummy started to hurt a bit, but I kept going. At the stoplights, I was like, "Come on...come on". Thankfully, I was able to make it to work without incident. High-five!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fresh Cut Christmas

On Saturday, I went shopping with my friend, Shanon. While in the car, we listened to one of my favorite Christmas discs, "Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas" (I did a writeup on it a few weeks ago). We first mailed some bills at the post office, then proceeded to Hunt Drug to get some Christmas cards. I had to be sure to buy 3 Hallmark cards so that, for $7.95, I could get this new Christmas recording from one of my favorite country artists:

The CD is called, "Fresh Cut Christmas" and has 10 songs that he recorded especially for this holiday season (I have his two prior Christmas recordings).

After that, we headed to Shanon's big brother, Art-fart's, house to see the home that he and his girlfriend had recently moved into. When we pulled around to their street, we saw two people pushing a car in front of their house. It was them. I rolled down my window and yelled (to try to scare them), "What the fuck are you doin?!" They turned around and, seeing that it was us, smiled. Art's car has something wrong with the timing belt, so he's lookin' at being out about 500 bucks before this old year ends. They recently signed a contract with DirecTV. Not my bag, but to each his own.

Next we mosied to Shanon's favorite store, Best Buy. It was there that I bought a couple things for my mom and a couple for Banana (me and Shanon split up so we wouldn't see what we were buying for each other).

Our last stop before going out to eat was WalFart. I bought some chocolates for my colleagues here at the office. WalMart wasn't as busy as I thought it might be. Me and Shanon then headed out to Friday's and requested a booth. We ordered and chatted for a bit.

We enjoyed our meals, Shanon especially, since he got his entree' for no charge. Why? Well, the waiter either misunderstood what he ordered or (more likely) Shanon didn't say it properly.

Shanon wanted to go to a movie, but I just wasn't up for it. I had went on my own to see "Borat" for a 7th time (I'm not kidding) the night before. So we headed to the mighty Apache Mall for some more last-minute shopping. I didn't find anything, but Banana found a super-heavy-duty 5 in 1 winter jacket (normally 140 bucks, he got it for 56). I tried it on myself and, holy crap, I thought my old jacket was warm. His new one puts mine to shame. And thus ended the penultimate Saturday of 2006.

Let's Talk About...You-Know-What

Colette was blogging recently about wanting to "shake things up a bit" sexually with her man. Here is what I suggested she do:

Have you ever put a glazed donut around his knob when it is flaccid and then watched as it collapses when the size of his member enlarged?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's a beautful mornin'...

What was a typical morning like for me in grade school? Well, let me give you a taste. Dad would leave for work before we even woke up. Mom would wake the school-age children up first. If we didn't get up at the sound of her voice, she would shake us gently at the shoulder. I usually didn't have too much problem getting up since I would almost always go to bed at a decent time the night before. Mom would lay clothes out for us to wear. About 15 minutes later, our breakfast would be ready. The radio in the kitchen would be playing the soft rock sounds of KAGE-95 FM (stuff like Duran Duran's "New Moon on Monday"). Their motto was "Today's Hits and Yesterday's Favorites". I remember our kitchen being colored orange and white. Mom usually made pancakes, french toast, oatmeal (love that brown sugar!), or scrambled eggs (since I was lactose intolerant, I could only eat the scrambled eggs if they were smothered in ketchup). Of course, there was always cereal, too, but since I was lactose, I always drank it without milk. Two of the cereals I remembered us having in those days were

as well as Kaboom. I typically drank orange juice for breakfast since I couldn't handle milk. After eating, it was time to walk to school (I lived about 3 blocks from the elementary school).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas is comin'...

Tomorrow will be the day that I do the bulk of my Christmas shopping. My mom wants a Josh Groban CD as well as Alan Jackson's new one, "Like Red on a Rose". The girls want money and Shanon banana wants DVD's and/or CD's. I may go shoppin' with banana tomorrow. We'll see. I plan to go to the Island City tomorrow morning for a massage. I should be quite relaxed by the time I hit the stores in the afternoon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Ring

Where did the idea of a wedding ring come from? Why do people wear it on the left hand as opposed to the right? Why the third finger? The answers to these questions can be found here.

It is interesting to note that although the Bible makes no mention of wedding rings, they are used in virtually every Christian wedding ceremony.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nine Reasons I Have to Be Happy Right Now

1. Zoe Lyn, my Pomeranian
2. Mayo Lyn, my tabby cat
3. My job
4. My dong
5. My place
6. My extensive CD collection
7. "The Office" TV show
8. That I'm at a fairly healthy weight
9. That I get to live forever

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Sometime in the late 90's, I got a gift certificate for City Looks which could be used for a cut or for any of their spa services. Once I found out that they offered massages, I knew what I was gonna do. So I set up an appointment.

I had received my first massage in '93 in Winona. The lady who did it was pretty much the only one offering services of that kind in the island city. I found massages to be quite "choice". Not only was it relaxing during the massage, but my muscles continued to be relaxed for several days afterward. Needless to say, my stress levels went down, too. I was eager to continue the tradition in Rochester.

I headed out to the mall one evening and waited to be seen. I was introduced to my masseuse. She was just about the same age as me and was also from Winona. Our session went great. She was quite good. High-five!!! Every few months, I saw her and enjoyed every minute.

Some time later, I found out that she was no longer working at City Looks. She had moved back to Winona. I saw her replacement one evening, but she was nowhere near as good.

At least a year later, while browsing the paper, I saw an ad for a new spa that was opening in Rochester. The picture showed all of their employees and what do you know, she was in the pic. I made an appointment to get in as soon as possible and proceeded to see her several times at the new location. One embarassing time, I had forgotten to turn the headlights off on my car. By the time the appointment was over, the car was dead. She was able to help me jump it, though. Nice!!

But all good things never last. A little over a year ago, she decided to return to Winona. But, thankfully, she opted to continue working with her magical fingers on the side. I've been to Winona to see her there at least 3 times. I look forward to returning sometime in the next few weeks. Through talking with her, I've found out that she actually lived in Rollingstone once, too (just as my family did all those years ago).

Though I haven't been seen at City Looks in years, while at the mall last night walking past that store, I could smell that same familiar aroma that I remembered from all those years ago when we were both in our 20's and happiness was only a massage away.

The movies of the summer of '06

With many of last summer's biggest movies now being released on DVD, I thought it would be a good time to give you my thoughts on many of them:

Things kicked off in early May with Cruise in "MI: III". I didn't get to it, but heard it had some pretty bitchin' action scenes. I also missed the disaster movie "Poseidon". May 19th gave us da "Da Vinci Code".

It was decent, but, man, did it drag and it would be hard for me to imagine ever seeing it again. The computer animated "Over the Hedge" also came out on 5-19. It was fairly pleasing. I liked Steve Carell as the screwy squirrel best. The following week saw the release of "X-Men: The Last Stand". It was a pretty worthy conclusion to the X-trilogy.

In early June, Vince Vaughn's somewhat downbeat "The Break Up" came out. I couldn't muster the strength to go to it. Sorry. June 9th brought the computer animated "Cars". After not being super impressed with Pixar's last movie "The Incredibles", I just couldn't get motivated enough to go see this one. Then there was Sandler's "Click". Pretty good, fairly funny. I got my money's worth. Then we had "Superman Returns". It was solid. No complaints. Looking forward to a sequel to it.

July saw the arrival of "Pirates 2". Nothing great, but it held my interest. I liked "Sups" better, though. July 21st saw the release of "Monster House" (great computer animated movie), "Clerks 2" (it didn't stay long enough for me to see it), "The Lady in the Water" (meh), and "My Super-Ex Girlfriend" (After "X3" and "Sups", I was already superheroed out).

The big one in August was "Talledega Nights" (good, but not as funny as I had hoped).

In sum, I'd have to say that this past summer's movies were quite unremarkable. Hopefully next year will be better. We're gonna get "Spidey 3", "Shrek 3", "Pirates 3", "Rush Hour 3", Oceans' 13 (Part 3), and "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Bourne 3). Actually, I'm only gonna go to movies next year that are part 3's. For more info on these upcoming titles, go to

Monday, December 11, 2006

Garth Part VI

3 Garth concerts down, 2 to go. My 4th show was just gonna be me. In some ways, I wasn't super jazzed about going. The whole point in going to several shows over a week and a half was to see him perform different songs over different shows, but his setlist had stayed mostly the same throughout. Nonetheless, I headed up to Minneapolis yet again.

Once I arrived at Target Center, I took a walk around outside the facility (as my brother, Mike, had once called it). I noticed a guy who looked familiar getting buzzed into the building. I realized that he was with the band (he was the keyboardist who played the grand piano while Garth came out of it at the beginning of each show). He had taken a bike ride and was now back at the Center getting ready for showtime.

I went through the turnstiles and thought about purchasing a GB jacket for over $100. Nah, I wouldn't wear it enough to justify the expense. I did buy two of his tour t-shirts, however (one which I've since worn out,

the other, I haven't ever worn).

Seats were pretty good. In the early going, something really cool happened. The lead guitarist came off the stage and went into the crowd. That was fit wicked. In the second half of the show, I started to smell smoke. Fire! No, there was this prick in back of me that had the itch. The mom and little girl next to him and his wife didn't have the nerve to tell him to put it out. He knew he wasn't supposed to smoke in the sacred arena. Well, I didn't give a shit. I was gonna report this sumbitch (it wasn't like I was gonna miss a song I hadn't seen GB perform earlier in the week). So I got an usher to come out. We made the fucka wipe his ass with the 'rette. he he

Next thing I wanted was to get some good pics of the king of country. I recalled that during the song, "Callin' Baton Rouge", Garth and his whole band faced the people behind the stage. So shortly before I knew the song was gonna start, I headed over there and prepared to get some shots. Click. Click. Click. I got quite a few good ones.

During "Friends in Low Places", paper (probably toilet) that said "g" on it was launched into the audience (they ate it all up). The show concluded with "Ain't Goin' Down" and "The Dance" blah blah blah... I headed home that night realizing that there was now just one more show to see. One more dance.


Shady employees like the ones who "bugged" Diana should be deported and forced to work in India for IBM's help desk and have to speak in an Indian accent on all their "monitored" calls. They aren't real Americans, anyway.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I was driving with a friend on Friday night when JT's new song, "My Love" came on the radio. I told her that the song was by Justin Timberlake. She then said in all seriousness, "Is he black?"

Friday, December 08, 2006


Check out the poster for this Jim Carrey movie coming out early next year:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Say what?

I don't like being aurally assaulted. That is why I always carry a pair of earplugs with me. If there's a group at Friday's who are getting out of hand, I put 'em on. Whenever I go to Cinemagic Theatres, I make sure they're in my pocket. You see, they have commercials that run for the half hour before the movie starts and they play them over and over again. With the earplugs, I can still hear the shit, but it's not as invasive (a tickle compared to a finger up the ass). Quite often when the trailers are on, I continue to wear the plugs, not only because most previews are shit, but also because they reveal too much. When I'm in for a really long wait (like the first midnight showing of the last "LOTR" movie in '3), I bring my headphones along and kick it while I'm waiting. Such is the life of a movie fan with sensitive ears.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

November 17, 1999 - Journal entry

My 29th birthday went very well. My mom picked me up at work at 4pm. She took me home to take the dogs out and then we went to Fridays. She said someone was waiting for me. It turned out to be my dad. We had a very good dinner. I got an Adam Sandler CD, a Tori Amos videotape, a cake, a ski mask,

the Friendship with God book as well as a framed picture of me and my parents when I was a toddler. My father, Steve, paid for the meal and gave me $100 cash. I spent 5 of those dollars on "A Country Christmas 1999" at Target. It is the 4th consecutive year that I have purchased Target's country Christmas collection. The CD's consist of mostly new Christmas songs performed by some of my favorite artists. I first bought it in 1996, a few weeks after I moved to Rochester. Then in 1997, shortly after I moved to my current residence at 1231 1st St SW, Apt. 5A and again in 1998.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I've eaten burgers for years, decades. It is one of my two favorite foods (pizza being the other). As of late, however, I am wondering if I wish to continue down this path. A movie opened in the bigger cities a few weeks ago called, "Fast Food Nation". It is loosely based on the book of the same name by Eric Schlosser. I haven't read the book, but below is a summary of its subject matter (click on the link and then click on the Salon article):

I just don't like the idea of cows dying for me. I'm wondering if it's really the meat that keeps me going back to Wendy's and Friday's. I despise steak, pork chops, and all that other stuff. All I'll eat is a hamburger, but it's not just the patty. I'm also eating the bread (bun), pickles, onions, mustard, and tons of ketchup. If meat is so good, why do I have to put ketchup on it before each bite I take?

I'm gonna try to eat a burger just once a week if I can swing it. Tonight I'll have pizza. Later this week, fish and chicken.

Wish me luck.

Christmas Music Part V

My favorite Christmas record is an all-instrumental one. I first found it on cassette at a pawn shop in LaCrosse in the late 90's. It was only a couple bucks, so I bought it and enjoyed it immensely. The 15 tracks really brought out the celebratory nature of Christmas, even more than most of the other Christmas music I had been exposed to. No surprise, then, that I sought to find it on CD. They did have it at Wal-Mart, but only as an abbreviated version (9 or 10 of the songs were on it). I would only accept the complete version, so went to Sam Goody at the mall and special-ordered it. A few days later, it arrived and I was happier than a pig in slop. Feast your eyes on it.

My friend, Art, liked the double meaning of the album's title.

If you wanna taste, go to and enter the disc's title (they have samples of each track).


1997 was a fantastic year for movie fans. The year really kicked off with the 20th anniversary rerelease of the original "Star Wars" on January 31st.

This "special edition" of the movie had a few "improvements" that were made to it by George Lucas, including "enhanced" special effects and an extra scene. I drove to the Barclay Square 6 to see it one wintry Saturday afternoon. My car at the time (a white Ford Escort) wasn't super reliable, but it was fine for driving around town. I got there kinda late, the biggest screen had been reserved for the movie. The place was packed, incredible for a movie that was 20 years old and there were tons of kids seeing the movie for the first time on the big screen. I had to sit off to the side. I was quickly into it and felt much as I did as a child viewing it for the first time 16 years prior. It was a great experience returning to that galaxy. The "Star Wars" reissue was actually the number 8 top-grossing movie of the year earning well over $100 million. The movie industry was shocked at how many showed up to see a movie that could be viewed at home. 3 weeks later, I returned to Barclay to view the movie that introduced me to the Star Wars saga, "The Empire Strikes Back". I went to see it in the evening (at the time, I had just started working for Premiere Video). And 3 weeks after that, it was "Return of the Jedi". Dori accompanied me to that one. She wasn't too impressed, though (she generally doesn't like scifi movies, anyway).

Other movies I went to in the spring of 1997 included Kurt Russell in a fabulous thriller called "Breakdown", Chris Farley in "Beverly Hills Ninja", Eddie Murphy in "Metro", Kevin Smith's "Chasing Amy", Chevy Chase's "Vegas Vacation", Jamie Foxx in "Booty Call" (shut up!), Howard Stern's "Private Parts" (heh heh), "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (I paid to see it this time), Robin Williams in the crappy "Fathers' Day", the original "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery", Val Kilmer as "The Saint", Bruce Willis in "The Fifth Element", and Jim Carrey in "Liar Liar".

The summer was even more rockin'. I saw Harrison Ford in "Air Force One", Will Smith in "Men in Black", Mel and Julia in "Conspiracy Theory", Julia in "My Best Friend's Wedding", Jodie in "Contact" (the opening sequence in it is awesome), Lemmon and Matthau in "Out to Sea", Tim Robbins in "Nothing to Lose", the Disney movie "Hercules", a remake of "Leave it to Beaver", Chris Tucker's breakthrough in "Money Talks", Nicolas in "ConAir", "Batman & Robin" (Dori actually enjoyed this one, in no small part because Clooney played the Dark Knight), and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park". What would most likely be my favorite movie of the year also came out in the summer. To this day, it is one of the best action movies I have ever seen. I was left breathless by it and went to it three times that summer (including once with my friend from high school, Brian, and at the cheap theatre with my cousin, Andy Dick (no relation to the notorious comedian). Starring Travolta and Cage, I'm talking about

John and Nicolas just give fantastic performances in a movie in which they actually trade "faces".

In the fall of '97, I went to Michael Douglas's "The Game" (another solid thriller), the first movie from Matt Damon, "The Rainmaker" (he played a lawyer in it), the scifi flick "Starship Troopers" (before the movie started, I actually heard a geek say to another guy that he only watches scifi movies), Gere and Willis in the blah "The Jackal", Travolta in the not-very-good "She's So Lovely", Penn in "U-Turn", "Fire Down Below" (the only Seagal movie I've ever seen), Hopkins in "The Edge", Clooney & Kidman in "The Peacemaker", Pacino and Keanu in "Devil's Advocate", Pitt in "Seven Years in Tibet", another Tibet movie called "Kundun", "Boogie Nights", DeNiro and Hoffman in "Wag the Dog", Duvall as "The Apostle", "FairyTale: A True Story" (I don't wanna talk about it), Ethan & Uma in the futuristic "Gattaca", Kevin Kline in "In & Out", "I Know What You Did Last Summer", "Scream 2", "Good Will Hunting", and Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets".

It was now Christmas time and two new movies had just opened, both 3-hour epics: Kevin Costner in "The Postman" and a James Cameron movie (he had directed my favorite of '91, "T2") called "Titanic". I know I'm gonna get a lot of crap, but I wasn't too big on seeing "Titanic". I was like, yeah, we all know what happens at the end, blah, blah, blah. So I went to "The Postman" one weekend afternoon and enjoyed it, actually. The movie takes place in a near-future post apocalyptic world.

I didn't think too much about "Titanic" after that. I remember it getting a very positive review (A-) from EW. At this time, I was working at Barnes & Noble as a holiday season bookseller (I wasn't getting enough hours at the video store). I recall one of the female employees, Ann, coming into the bookstore at around 10pm. She was crying a bit and we were asking her what was wrong. She said she had just seen "Titanic" and that it had really gotten to her. I was starting to get the idea that this movie might be more special than I had originally thought. The buzz was speading. So, one wintry evening, I headed out to the Galleria theaters downtown to see it. It was playing on 2 screens there (and did so for several months). There were a lot of people there, especially women, so I had to sit off to the side again. The lights dimmed and we witnessed "Titanic".

I was captivated. It really took one back to that time. The music in the movie was very Enya-esque (I was a fan of hers at the time). And I found myself really getting caught up in the romance between Jack and Rose, so much so that when the iceberg approached, I was like, "Oh yeah, the ship is gonna sink, innit..." The last hour had just fantastic special effects while still allowing the characters' to take center stage. As the credits rolled, I felt something that I'd never really felt before in a movie. Just a huge sigh and bliss and joy at having seen something so incredible (I felt it again in '99 for my fave movie of that year, but haven't since).

It goes without saying that that night my favorite movie of 1997 went from being "Face/Off" to "Titanic" (the top grossing movie of that year and the top-grossing movie of all time, both in the U.S. and worldwide). About a week later, I went to it again. I can remember hearing a lot of sniffling over the last half hour of the movie. It really got people in the gut.

Little did I know that my 2 half sisters, Erin and Sarah, were about to begin their own love affair with the movie. They were only 9 years old, but they fell really hard for Leonardo. They went to the movie at least 10(!) times with my mother and plastered their walls with clippings of Mr. DiCaprio.

Sometime in 1998, I was at the Winona cemetary with the girls and my mom. I walked a ways away and said, in all seriousness, that I was looking at a grave that said J. Dawson (a reference to Leo's character in the movie). They both looked at me and one of them said, "Are you serious?". I said it was a joke.

Inevitably, a Leonardo backlash started. In 1998, when I was working as a caregiver for 3 developmentally disabled guys, I picked up the guys' mail. One of them had a subscription to Cracked magazine and on the cover was a picture of Leo with his head about to be taken off on a tree stump and titled: Leonardo Decapitated. I have to say I did get a chuckle out of it.

In 2003, the Chateau theatres in Rochester had a special Valentine's Day presentation of "Titanic". They showed it several times that day. I went to it in the afternoon (I hadn't seen the movie since its original release 5 years prior). There weren't too many people there, but that didn't matter. The movie played just about as strong as I remember. Incidentally, it was very cold in that theatre, so cold in fact, that I complained to an employee about it and was able to get a couple free tickets.

My mom bought me the special deluxe DVD edition of "Titanic" last year. It has deleted scenes, commentaries, and lots of other goodies. I'm looking forward to viewing all these extras in the near future as the 10-year anniversary of the release of "Titanic" approaches.

What's also interesting is that the movie that kickstarted 1997 for me, "Star Wars", is the number 2 movie of all-time in the U.S. while the movie that ended the year, "Titanic", is number 1.

I told you it was a great year for movies...

Friday, December 01, 2006


Beverly Hills Cop 4: The Revenge

The first R-rated movie I ever went to was 1984's "Best Defense" starring Eddie Murphy and Dudley Moore. My mom took me to it along with her brother, Rick, who lived just across the street from the movie theatre. The movie started out with a pretty steamy sex scene. I was like, "Damn". The movie wasn't the greatest, though. For one thing, Eddie Murphy only had a very limited supporting role. But I did enjoy the cursing and nudity.

My mom took me to a much better R-rated movie at the end of '84. It was the top-grossing movie of the year, "Beverly Hills Cop".

I loved every minute of it. Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie:

Sergeant Taggart: We're more likely to believe an important local businessman than a foul-mouthed jerk from out of town.
Axel Foley: Foul-mouthed? Fuck you, man.

(To two hotel employees)
Axel Foley: Don't you think I realize what's going on here, miss? Who do you think I am, huh? Don't you think I know that if I was some hotshot from out of town that pulled inside here and you guys made a reservation mistake, I'd be the first one to get a room and I'd be upstairs relaxing right now. But I'm not some hotshot from out of town, I'm a small reporter from "RollingStone" magazine that's in town to do an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson that's gonna be picked up by every major magazine in the country. I was gonna call the article "Michael Jackson Is Sitting On Top of the World," but now I think I might as well just call it "Michael Jackson Can Sit On Top of the World Just As Long As He Doesn't Sit in the Beverly Palm Hotel 'Cause There's No Niggers Allowed in There!"

Christmas Music Part IV

No Christmas collection is complete without 1999's

Here are the lyrics to the first song:

We all know of Rudolph and his shining nose
We all know Frosty who's made out of snow
But all of those stories seem kind of... gay
Cause we all know who brightens up our holiday

Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
Small and brown he comes from you
Sit on the toilet here he comes
Squeeze him 'tween your festive buns

A present from down below
Spreading joy with a "Howdy-Ho!"
He's seen the love inside of you
Cause he's a piece of poo

Sometimes he's nutty
Sometimes he's corny
He can be brown or greenish brown (Mmmhmm!)
But if you eat fiber on Christmas eve
He might come to your town!

Cartman: Well Kyle where is he?
Kyle: Ehh .. He's coming!
Stan: Come on dude, push!
Kyle: Ehhhh... I'm Trying!
Cartman: Wait, wait I can see his head!
Kyle: Here he comes! [POP!]
Mr. Hankey: Howdy Ho!
I'm Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
Seasons Greetings to all of you!
Let's sing songs and dance and play
Now before I melt away.
Here's a game I like to play
Stick me in your mouth and try to say
Howdy ho ho yum yum yum
Christmas Time has come!

Singers: Sometimes He's runny
Sometimes he's firm
Sometimes he practically water
Sometimes he hangs off the end of your ass
And won't fall in the toilet
Cause he's just clinging to your sphincter
And he wont drop off...and so you shake your ass around
And try to get it to drop in the toilet and finally it does.

Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
When Christmas leaves he must leave too
Flush him down but he's never gone
His smell and his spirit linger on.

Howdy Ho!

August 16, 2006 - Journal entry

Last night, I woke up at about 3am and had a bite to eat. As I sat eating, my arse started to itch. I took a look in the bathroom mirror and saw about 10 red bite marks on it. They didn't look at all like mosquito bites. Then I remembered that there had been an article in the prior day's newspaper regarding bedbugs. I dug through the trash and found it. Yep, it appeared that I'd had a visit from them.

It goes without saying that I took the sheet I was sleeping on earlier in the night and put a new one on the bed. The next step will be to physically inspect the bedroom for the little buggers and also to put all beddings in the dryer on super high heat.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Christmas Music Part III

In late 1995, I was in my last year of college and still a big fan of country music. One group whose music I especially enjoyed was The Tractors (their only hit song was called "Baby Likes To Rock It"). I just loved their breezy combination of blues, swing, and country. When I went to ShopKo one afternoon and saw that they had a Christmas disc out, I did not hesitate to buy it.

And I was not disappointed. They did some oldies, but goodies (Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy, White Christmas), but also quite a few original numbers, one of my favorites being "The Santa Claus Boogie".

They also did a Christmas version of "Baby Likes to Rock It" called, "Santa Claus is Comin' (In a Boogie-Woogie Choo Choo Train)". I listened to the recording (front to back) on many occasions at my girlfriends' house that holiday season.

The Tractors released another Christmas album in 2002 called, "The Big Night". Though solid, I still prefer their first effort.

November 22, 1999 - Journal entry

My love of Christmas was brought to a zenith in late 1993. I had been diagnosed with major depression the previous summer. But I had some good friends that were able to help me through it. I was living at 273 E. 3rd St, Apt. C. This was in Winona, across the street from Goltz Pharmacy. I was feeling wonderful as Christmas approached. My depression appeared to be a thing of the past. I was so happy and blazingly optimistic. I wanted to share this love, so I sent out lots of Christmas cards. I mailed them to family, friends, and others who had touched my life. Some of those names included Dean Mustbechamp, Jim Panushla, Matt Wheel, Brian Chadborn, Beth Woman, Cathy Schofield, several members of Inter-Varsity, and many others. It was the first time in this life that I can recall sending Christmas cards to anyone. And it made me feel good. I bought a variety pack of cards so that I could mail each person the type that I thought they would prefer. I would go to the mailbox with six cards at a time. I knew that the cards would go out all over the city and that most people would be happy to receive them. And when people reciprocated and sent me a card, that gave me a good feeling as well. This was but one aspect of that Christmas.

I also had a little (or as the girls would say, "itty bitty") Christmas tree. I'm not sure if my mom brought it for me or if I bought it. But I did like it. I looked at the tree when I went to bed at night admiring the many colored lights as it sat on top of my bookshelf.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Music Part II

In the fall of 1992, I accompanied my brother, Brian, to LaCrosse. He had just graduated high school and was looking for a more high-tech (read: more bass-oriented) speaker system for his 'Stang. We spent the majority of our time at Best Buy and it was there that I got a taste of one of my all-time favorite Christmas records. Garth Brooks was huge at the time and I had already purchased his newest recording, "The Chase". I was aware that he had also released a Christmas disc as well, but I wasn't too interested in Xmas music at the time. The CD was actually released in August of '92. In this way, the title of it definitely made sense.

The album was playing throughout the store that afternoon. I listened to some of the tracks as I browsed. It was good stuff, but a little too heavy for me (Go Tell it on the Mountain, What Child is This). It didn't really seem to have any fun stuff on it. I decided to take a pass on it.

During the holiday season of '93, I was shopping at ShopKo with my mom and the girls. She said I could pick something out for myself. Since it was the season, I decided to give "Beyond the Season" another chance. I put the cassette of it in my mom's cart and continued to browse. Later that day, I listened to the recording at home and quite enjoyed it.

I had a friend named Dean who I liked to hang out with at this time. He was a proud member of CIA (Christians In Action).

We were at his place. He was basically doing dishes, cleaning, things like that. I asked if I could put on a christmas tape of mine. He said that was fine as long as it wasn't Garth Brooks (he felt that Brooks was too bawdy and rowdy, especially with the track, "Friends in Low Places"). I played the tape all the way through for him without saying who the artist was. He didn't seem to mind it too much. In fact after the last track, he said that it was quite good. Imagine his reaction when I told him that the singer of the songs he had just heard, many of which were quite spiritual, was none other than GB. Just goes to show that sometimes it pays to withhold judgment.

The War is Over, Dude...

A doozy of a true story here about a WWII-era soldier who continued to fight long after the war ended.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas 1983

My mom was always a big movie fan. On many weekends, she would take all us kids to a matinee. We usually went to Snyder Drug beforehand to get candy and then mosied over to the Cine 4 theatre in downtown Winona.

One afternoon in late 1983, she took us to a Christmas movie. This was unusual due to the fact that we all belonged to a religion in which we didn't celebrate Christmas. Nonetheless, what harm could there be in going to a movie about the most wonderful time of the year? The movie has gone on to be a favorite of millions of people, but most never saw it when it was originally released (it made less than $20 million). I consider myself lucky that I was able to see it way-back-when at the age of 13. It was such a warm account of what life was like a couple of generations before mine. The story took place in the Midwest and starred the late Darren McGavin as the father. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm referring to "A Christmas Story". Here is the original theatrical poster:

Ralphie was something else. He wanted "an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" But his mother wouldn't allow it telling him, "No, you'll shoot your eye out".

Internet Database readers rank it as one of the top 250 movies of all time.

And now the house where much of the movie was filmed has been "restored to its original glory".

I watched "A Christmas Story" again a few years ago. To my surprise, I didn't laugh much at all. Maybe it was because I had seen it so many times before. In any case, if you want to get in the mood for Christmas, you can't go wrong with this modern-day classic.


All right. Now I've heard everything.

Pamela Anderson is divorcing Kid Rock (Bob Richie) in large part because of his reaction to her role in "Borat".

What a tool!

Christmas Music

Today I will be starting a series in which I write about my favorite Christmas records (the term "CD" just doesn't do it for me). In late '93, I was just getting over my depression and had met quite a few people through Inter-Varsity at Winona State.

So it was that one afternoon I went with several of them to LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Their favorite store there was called the Shepherd's Voice. If you were a Christian, they pretty much had everything you could ever want. I perused a bit, but didn't buy anything. One of the items that caught my eye, however, was this huge book that had thousands of names in it. Each name was printed on a colorful card with the meaning of the name printed underneath. Obviously, I looked up my name (who wouldn't?) My name means "twin".

Next we went to Target (Winona didn't have a Target at this time). I looked in the music section and found a newly released Christmas cassette (I didn't have a CD player at this time) by Vince Gill. As a bonus, it included a cassingle of Vince and Trisha's duet together, "Another Angel Gets Its Wings" (a song I was familiar with and liked). I bought the tape and shortly after that, we headed back to Winona. Later that night, I showed my friends what I had purchased.

It wasn't a Christian recording per se, but it did say, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and had a star on the cover and the bonus cassingle did mention angels, so it was pretty close (keep in mind that I had become quite spiritual, but preferred country music over straight up gospel). I listened to the recording that night and enjoyed it, especially "One Bright Star"

They saw the Light in the darkness
It shines on us in tenderness
It brings out the hope that's in all of us
May it shine its light on you this Christmas Night

and his rockin' instrumental of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". I remember driving around with my friend, Brian, one night while listening to the tape. My mom bought it on CD that holiday season. Though there are a few too many slow songs on it for my tastes, it always takes me back to the Christmas of 1993 when anything seemed possible.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Garth Part V

The third Garth show I would be seeing in the fall of 1998 was one I would be seeing with a guy named Mark Schocker who used to live in Winona (as I did) and who had since moved up to the Twin Cities area. He had some schizophrenia,

but nobody's perfect. He had married a woman originally from Russia (her name was Lyuda Bey. Mark used to call her Lyuda Babe). He was a pretty big country fan, so was more than willing to go see the big guy on a Saturday night. I picked Mark up in the late afternoon and we headed to Target Center. The seats were pretty damn good this time, the best yet. They weren't on the floor, but were on the lower level with an awesome view of the stage. Before too long, the couple I knew came and sat next to us. I introduced 'em to Schock boy and we chatted for a bit. They asked me about all the GB shows I was seeing. I said the main reason I had bought tickets to so many shows was because I thought his playlist might be different from night to night. But, generally, it had been the same.

Garth came out and would you believe he wasn't wearing a cowboy hat or a long-sleeved Western shirt?

He said that since it was Saturday night, he just wanted to cut loose, so thought the T-shirt and baseball cap would be a nice change. He asked the crowd if they minded. They roared with approval. Thankfully, there were a couple songs GB sang that night that he hadn't done earlier in the week (most notably "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association"). Near the end of the show, the rest of the band left the stage and it was just Garth and the crowd. He sang a few numbers, just him and his guitar. Again, a fun time was had by all.

After the show, I dropped Mark back off. He said he had had a great time. Regrettably, I haven't seen him since. We talked on the phone a bit in the weeks after the show, but then kind of lost track of each other. He no longer lives at the residence he did 8 years ago. I've looked for his name online without any luck. It's amazing how people can just drift out of your life and all of a sudden, it's been years since you last saw them.


A recent visitor to my weblog found it by using the following search terms, "webmd kidney stone tart drinks" and another did by searching for "6000s vehicles what did they look like back then". Anyone know what the hell that second guy was thinking?

I'm there, dude...

Friday, November 17, 2006


My dad was diagnosed with diabetes in the early 80's. I can remember how angry he was one evening talking to my mom wondering why he got it, how he got it. But he soon accepted it and did what he needed to (giving himself insulin shots, checking his blood sugar). I remember just before I moved in with my mom, when I was still living with my dad, driving in a motor home with my siblings, dad, and grandma to the VA hospital in St. Paul (my dad had served in the Air Force in Greece in the early 70's). This was in 1985. I remember the year because my favorite cassette to listen to on that trip was Prince's newly released recording "Around the World in a Day".

It featured the hit song, "Raspberry Beret". I recall telling my siblings that Prince lived quite close by (in one of the Twin Cities' suburbs). The plan was for my dad to be admitted to the hospital for tests while our grandma Ruth took care of us kids in the motor home which would be parked on VA grounds (my dad had custody of the kids with us seeing mom only on the weekends). One notable thing I remember from this trip was dad going on a walk with all of us one afternoon and then a couple of the boys misbehaving. He then "rapped" them and my grandma said, "Oh Steve, don't hurt the kids!". Dad said that sometimes it was the only way to make them understand. Grandma lasted a couple days, but she was not used to taking care of so many kids at once. Just taking care of Matt, I'm sure, was a handful (he once rode a tricycle down the main street of Rollingstone with only his underwear on). So she asked her other son, John, to come and pick her up. Dad had to cut his medical treatment short (he finished the tests at a later date). Until yesterday, that was the last time I had been at the VA. My dad has been there dozens of times in the last 20 years.

On Wednesday, he had a stent put in by his heart. It went great, but I thought it would be nice if I drove up to visit him on Thursday. I was able to take off work. I slept in a bit and left Rochester at about noon, arriving at about 1:30pm. I called my dad who said they were finishing some tests and that he should be in his room in about a half hour. I was a bit hungry, so had a bite at the cafeteria. I noticed quite a few guys in wheelchairs at the hospital. Pretty much all the patients were males as well (not surprising since VA patients are, by definition, veterans). I had a burger combo which wasn't too bad. I then went up to 4-E and saw my dad. He said my brother, Mike, and his family had visited earlier in the day. They were now at the Mall of America, but planned to return that afternoon. My dad was in good spirits. He looked forward to going home in a day or two. I mentioned that the last time I was up there was in '85. I was surprised. He actually remembered that trip as well. We were getting ready to leave when Mikey J and company entered the room.

They talked about selling their house in Caledonia and moving to Hokah or the Crescent city in order to be closer to the metropolis of the Crosse. The two kids they have are fantastic. Mike had his hair dyed which was pretty wicked. We all hung out together for about a half hour before taking off. Dad walked us out to the visitor entrance (without shoes on, I might add). We said our goodbyes and headed home.

On the way back, I thought about seeing "Borat" again. I went to the 5:25 show. I talked to my mom that evening who said that she had also seen "Borat" earlier in the week with a friend and that she was quite embarassed to have seen it (I guess it wasn't her cup of tea).

All in all, a nice day. As Borat would say, "Happy Times!!!"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New York City Boy Part II

Last month, I wrote about an upcoming movie starring Adam Sandler as a widower who is still grieving over the loss of his family on 9/11. The movie, titled "Reign Over Me", finally has a release date: March 9, 2007. Here is the poster:


Hey, everybody. Please give it up for my main man, Scott, in Utah who's goin' through some tough times, but is on the way back up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Garth Part IV

My second trip to see Garth Brooks in the fall of '98 was my favorite. I had to drive to Winona to pick up my best friend (at the time) Arthur Davis. He did not have a license, so if I wanted him to go with me, I would need to obtain him in the Island City. I left in the early afternoon and picked the native Floridian up.

The trunk of my car was a bit dirty. To salute our upcoming trip, I wrote "Garth" on it with my finger. From Winona, it was a 2 1/2 hour drive to Minneapolis. We took scenic Highway 61 to get there (the road basically hugs the Mississippi River so spectacular views are commonplace when driving on it).

We listened to Garth's newest CD, "Sevens", on the way up there. Something rather amusing happened on the ride up. There was an Oriental fellow in a van whose fuel tank door was ajar. On passing him, we gestured and pointed towards the back of his vehicle. I don't think he understood. However, he did pull over (he probably feared he had a flat tire or something like that). We just kept going and had a bit of a laugh.

Once in Minneapolis, I parked my Neon and we headed over to a small mall located just a few blocks from Target Center. Art wanted Sbarro while I was in the mood for Mickey's. So we went our separate ways for a short time. After I finished my nuggets, I went over to Sbarro. He had just gotten his food. He was quite excited about the concert. He had been a fan of Garth's for quite a number of years.

After some browsing in the stores, we headed to the concert venue. We entered and took a look at some of the souvenirs for sale. I ended up buying a GB keychain while Art bought a keychain and a cap.

We then headed to our seats which were quite good. They were on the lower level just a row or two off the main floor. Garth's speaker system which dangled from the ceiling had the words "Double Live" emblazoned on them. Some people didn't understand this reference, but I knew that his 2-CD live set was coming out in a few weeks (it went on to become the top-selling live album for any artist or group).

As showtime got closer, tracks from the Mavericks new CD were again played over the speakers. Trisha came out and sang her latest and greatest. Then there was a short break as we waited for the G-man. Upon Garth's arrival, everyone stood up. And they wouldn't sit down! Song after song, we were all on our feet. This wasn't something I had experienced before (at the prior show facing the back of the stage, no one had been standing up). But I dealt. Art didn't seem to mind. He was totally into it. When GB sang "Unanswered Prayers", Art was singing quite loudly along with him. Garth's big finale was the song, "Ain't Goin' Down" followed by "The Dance". Needless to say, we both got our money's worth that night.

Seeing GB 5 times in 9 days was turning into quite a trip.

Birthday Weekend Part II

Saturday was the day after my birthday, but that didn't mean the celebrating was over. My mom couldn't make it out to Rochester the night before because of the snowstorm, but had no problem driving up Saturday afternoon.

I met her at the Olive Garden. I had OG's house salad and pizza. My mom had some type of pasta dish. My mom told the waiter that it was my birthday (though that wasn't technically true). He brought out a pretty tasty cake, the kind that mom used to slap together at home. For the second night in a row, I opened presents (this time from my mom). I got a card, a long-sleeve shirt, winter gloves, and a receipt to get a book at Barnes & Noble that was temporarily out of stock.

After supper, it was off to the movies once again. Mom had seen Borat on Jay Leno a couple nights before and didn't think he was that funny, so wasn't up to seeing his movie. She wanted to see Will Ferrell in "Stranger than Fiction". "Borat" was starting 10 minutes after "Fiction", so I snuck into their screening room to see where she was sitting. She was about 4 rows back.

For the second night in a row, I was going to see "Borat". I sat in pretty much the same seat as I had the night before with Shanon banana. Again, the theatre filled up as showtime got closer. I think there were even more people at Saturday's show than the one the night before. The movie started and the fun began. I mentioned that during the male-naked-fight on Friday, Shanon had averted his eyes. Well, on Sat, this lady in the row behind me was also uncomfortable seeing two naked male bodies up close, but instead of averting her eyes, she actually covered them. She kept her hands over her eyes for the whole fight and asked her boyfriend to let her know when it was over. When Borat served a former congressman cheese "made from his wife's tit", I saw her shake her head and say, "That's not right." Near the end of the movie, there was a part where they showed a few seconds of the fight again. When that came up, she again covered her eyes.

After the show was over, I waited in the lobby for mom to get out of their show. Mom said it was pretty good. And with that, my 36th birthday celebration was officially over.

Incidentally, "Borat" has been the number one movie in the country for the last two weeks.


Monday, November 13, 2006

They Might Be Giants

Man Describes What He Saw In Washington County Woods

After doing some reading on the subject and watching various specials on the telly, I have to say that I do believe there is such a thing as "Bigfoot". There are just too many sightings for me to dismiss it out of hand. If that's the case, then it's probably better that most people don't believe in it because if they did, they would just go into the woods and kill 'em all. This way, if they do exist, they are, for the most part, left alone.

Birthday Weekend

As I awoke on my birthday, I looked out the window and saw snow. I had expected this (the forecast had said the night before that there was a 90% chance of snow falling on Friday). I got ready for work. There wasn't much snow on the ground yet, so I didn't need to concern myself with shoveling the drive. I let the pup run around in the back for a while and then headed out to work. I drove slowly and cautiously. The roads weren't the greatest, but I easily made it to work. I walked in the offices and someone asked me if I had any problems getting up the hill. There are actually 2 different hills that one can take to our offices. I took the less steep one and didn't have any problems. A couple people couldn't make it all the way up the hill and either got stuck or had to park at the bottom of the hill (one lady got stuck near Bruegger's Bagels, so bought some bagels there and then got a ride to the offices).

It snowed for several hours. I put Christmas music on (through my computer) for all to enjoy. We then heard an alert that travel was not recommended for Olmsted County. Due to the inclement weather, for the first time in months, I was unable to take a walk outside during my breaks. The snow stopped falling at around 2pm.

My mom had planned to come out to Rochester to take me out for my birthday, but said that, due to the weather, she would have to postpone it until the next day (my dad couldn't come because he works evenings). My friend, Shanon, however, said that he could make it. I decided to leave work a little bit early so that I could get home before sunset. Once at home, I shoveled some of the driveway. There were quite a few others outside shoveling as well though most actually had snow blowers as opposed to doing it the old-fashioned way. Shanon arrived and helped me finish the drive.

Me and Shanon then headed to da Outback (we had called ahead for seating). As we entered the restaurant, Shanon said that he misplaced his cell phone. We looked in the car for it, but it was nowhere to be found. He said that it must have fallen out of his pocket either in our house or in the driveway when he was shoveling. We would look for it after supper.

I got the Outbacker burger while Shanon opted for the Cyclone (some type of pasta meal). While waiting for the food to arrive, I read an article in Newsweek magazine about "Borat". Shanon had agreed to go to it with me that evening. I had seen it twice before, once at a MySpace screening in September and then again in Inver Grove Heights just 5 days prior (I had missed the first few minutes of the movie when I went to it in Inver Grove. I had tickets for a later show, but felt that missing the first couple minutes was better than waiting 50 minutes for the next show to start, especially since I had seen those scenes previously anyhow). After eating and opening my presents (I got the Tori Amos piano box set,

some dress socks, the Chicks CD and a card), we headed back home to look for Shanon's precious cell phone.

Just before we got home, I heard Shanon say, "Please Lord, let me find my phone". We went inside. It wasn't in the house. I then took our home phone and called Shanon's cell number. He went outside by the driveway and said he could hear it. He found it. It was lying on a snow mound right next to the street. We then headed to Cinemagic to see "Borat".

As Borat says a couple times in the movie, "Happy Times!!". I had gotten tickets earlier in the day, so me and Shanon headed straight to the ticket taker and waited for "Borat" to start seating. About 10 minutes later, we got our seats and waited for the magic to begin. The theatre gradually started filling up. By showtime, there weren't too many empty seats left. Shanon didn't know too much about the movie. He had only seen a few funny highlights on HBO. He enjoyed it for the most part. However, when the fight between two naked men started, he averted his eyes a bit (he did this for some scenes during "Brokeback" as well). I can't say I blame him, though. I mean, who really wants to stare at a fat man's testes?

After the show, we headed home. I asked Shanon what he thought of the movie. He said that it was quite funny, but that a couple parts were sickening. A few minutes later, Shanon headed out. I watched Bill Maher and then went to bed. My birthday was over, but there was still more fun to be had on Saturday.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Snow Dog


Today is my 111th birthday.

Here are some of the gift ideas I gave to people:

Garth Brooks: The Entertainer (5-DVD set)

Tori Amos - A Piano: The Collection (Box set)

Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way (CD)

Adam Sandler - Shhh...Don't Tell (CD)

Long-sleeve button-down shirt

Winter gloves

Black cotton dress socks

4-inch vibrator

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I'm going out of town over the holidays this year. It's good to get out of town once in a while. I'm gonna try to go to Steak n Shake.

I love that place.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Some of you may be too young to remember, but when I was a child, we bought glass bottles of pop at the grocery store. That's right: glass (they came in packs of 8). Our family usually bought Pepsi. Of course, you had to use a bottle opener to get the things open. And if you couldn't finish the bottle, you had to put a plastic cap on it and put it in the fridge. I always hated it when my mom would ask me to bring the bottles into the grocery store so that we could get a credit for them. Why? Because they were so friggin' heavy (for a small kid, anyway).

I have a picture of my sister, Erin, sitting on a barstool next to a bottle of this stuff:

She was about 2 years old in that pic. I can still remember how the girls' eyes would get real big when drinking pop. They loved that stuff.

Erection Day

I'm not gonna vote today. Unlike most, I have a really good reason. My friend and I are at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Therefore, our votes would just cancel each other out. Rather than waste our own time, not to mention the time of the vote-counters, we've elected (pun intended) not to bother.

Ah, I'm just shittin' ya. We're of the same political persuasion. We can be found on the far left (Don't blame me. I'm left-handed). But isn't the above paragraph the perfect excuse to give to someone who asks why you didn't vote today?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Yet Another Autumnal Night at the Movies

I went out with Shanon this past weekend. He drove out from little Lewiston on Saturday afternoon. We stopped at his favorite place to buy DVD's (Pawn America) before going out to eat at Friday's. To avoid a wait, we ate at what's called a "high-top" table in their bar. He ordered something really wacky for an appetizer: Fried Mac & Cheese. Not my bag, but he seemed to enjoy it. We both ordered burgers.

Now, this guy is a huge horror fan. Last fall, he went to "Saw II" while I was tucked away watching Nicolas Cage in "The Weather Man". Just a few weeks ago, he went to the new "Texas Chainsaw" movie while I went to "The Illusionist". I kept bringing up the new "Saw" movie which he hadn't seen yet. We agreed yet again to disagree. He bought a ticket to "Saw III" while I went to a slow-as-molasses drama filmed in Minnesota called, "Sweet Land".

It mostly takes place in the 1920's (around the time my grandma was born). Just as Shanon looked forward to be taken to a place where he can see people be tortured by Jigsaw, so too, did I look forward to be taken back in time a few generations. While watching the movie, I pondered how it really wasn't that long ago that people lived off the land, that the towns by necessity were close-knit, that without TV or the movies, people still found things to do.

After the movie, I met up with Shanon. He said "Saw III" was even better than "II" and that he looked forward to continuing the adventure with "Saw IV" next Halloween.

Though we were in different screening rooms for the past two hours, we both went home happy.

Vince Gill - Concert Review: Part III

Yes, indeed. It was now time for Vince to rock out. He sang quite a few songs from his "Workin' On A Big Chill" (rockin') disc. Like the country portion of the show, there were about 15 musicians playing with Vince during this stretch.

Inspired by the proliferation of erectile dysfuntion ads that ran when he watched sporting events, Vince wrote the song, "Cowboy Up" (he sings it with Gretchen Wilson on the CD). The title character in the song is an African-American woman named Levitra.

It was during one of these rockin' songs that I experienced a feeling of transcendence. The band was totally rockin' and jammin' and a blissful feeling came over me. That's the power of music.

The last song Vince sang in the rockin' set was a jazzed-up version of "What the Cowgirls Do". Vince thanked everyone for coming. The audience stood up and he exited. From browsing the internet, I knew that an encore was coming. The crowd cheered and Vince came back out a couple minutes later. Some people who thought that the show was over or were too tired to stay any longer (the show started at 8 and it was now after 11) began to leave. I took this opportunity to move about 7 rows closer than our original seats. This offered a much better view of the Okie boy.

Vince launched into the title track of his '3 album, "Next Big Thing". Then came "Whenever You Come Around" followed by the barn burner "Liza Jane". I thought "Liza" would be it, but Vince had one more song to play from his new album(s) and it is a doozy. Check out these lyrics:

You read the business page
See how you did today
You live up on the hill
You've got a view that kills
Never wonder why

After you've counted everything you saved
Do you ever hit your knees and pray?
You know there's gonna be a judgment day
So what will you say?

(Chorus) No matter what you make
All that you can take
Is what you give away
What you give away

There's people on the street
Ain't got enough to eat
You just shake your head
The measure of a man is one who lends a hand
That's what my father said

No matter what you make
All that you can take
Is what you give away

You know it's not too late
It's all for Heaven's sake
What you give away

With the backup singers hitting all the right notes, the song became a spiritual hymn and we were all united knowing, without question, that helping one's fellow man was, indeed, the answer. A fantastic finish for a fantastic show. The crowd gave one more standing-o as Vince and the band exited for the last time.

I waited for the auditorium to empty before leaving. I walked to my car and headed out. I noticed a couple dozen people standing outside by Vince's bus. They apparently were waiting for a meet-and-greet with the sexy boy. It was late, so I passed on waiting as well. I had read that Vince's concert would go over 3, 3 and a half hours and, indeed, it did. I left St. Paul stopping only in Cannon Falls to get gas.

I arrived home, exhausted, but happy. My 4th Vince Gill concert was my favorite of his yet and if he came back with the exact same show next year, I would buy tickets in a heartbeat.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Holy Shit!

From hollywood-elsewhere:

As indicated by the sudden rise in tracking over the last 10 days, Borat's opening day was an explosion... it's a monster. The weekend's #1 film is expected to do $22,486,000 by Sunday night -- a mere 837 theatres, 26,000 per print.

Fox had cut back on theatres a couple of weeks ago because of weak tracking and exhibitor concern about same, but then the numbers started to shooot up more and more starting about a week and a half ago.

Obviously Fox will be expanding the shit out of this puppy next weekend. They've obviously got a major hit on their hands.

Opening in 3458 theatres (more than four times the # of theatres Borat is playing in), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Disney) should have made $30 million but it will wind up with about $18,792,000. The #2 film will come in with about 5700 a print...a definite disappointment. This once-lucrative Tim Allen franchise seems to be kaput.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Check out the poster for a forthcoming documentary called "Fuck":

Here's an overview of what the film is about courtesy of

A definitive look at the infamous expletive, "F*ck" explores how this oft-used word, still widely seen as obscene, somehow permeates every aspect of our culture - from Hollywood to the schoolyard to the Senate floor in Washington D.C., where it is at the very center of the ongoing debate on Free Speech. "F*ck" examines the word's impact through various interviews, film and television clips, and original animation by Oscar-nominee Bill Plympton.

Scholars and linguists examine its long and colorful history; comedians, actors, and writers who have charted and popularized the word defend their Constitutional right to use it. Even people who do "it" for a living are interviewed, all in an effort to discover what it is about this one syllable that both unites and polarizes people.


I like you! I like sex! Today is the day that "Borat" opens nationwide. It is being released in about 800 theatres today and is set to open wider in a week or two. It seems like forever since I saw the sneak preview of it in Edina on September 20th of this year. As you can see, the reviews are fantastic:

86 reviews of the movie with 82 being positive. That pretty much says it all.

It's not opening in Rochester until at least next week, so I plan to drive 70 miles tomorrow and see it in Inver Grove Heights (a suburb of the Twin Cities). The last time I was at that theatre was in the summer of 1999 when I saw "The Blair Witch Project" (another movie that opened on a limited basis to start out with). I plan to go to a early afternoon show. It's showing on 2 screens there. If I'm really pumped, I may see it 2 times in a row (something I don't believe I've ever done with the same movie). I would go up with my friend, Shanon, but he has to work tomorrow until 2pm. I'll probably see it with him when it comes to Rochester.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Jagshamesh!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vince Gill - Concert Review: Part II

During the intermission, I went to go to the bathroom. Whoever designed the O'Shaughnessy auditorium didn't have a frickin' clue. The only bathrooms in the building were in the bowels (how appropriate) of it. There was a heck of a line of guys waiting to get into the bathroom. I wasn't gonna wait, so went outside already know what's comin', doncha?

No, I actually headed for the college's main commons building. Luckily, it was still open. I entered and searched for a restroom. I passed the college's bookstore which was closed. It quickly brought to mind the days when I would go to Winona State's bookstore and pay well over a hundred dollars for the books I would need to buy for that quarter (They didn't start semesters at WSU until after I left). There was a guy studying in one of the lounges. I finally found the men's room. Afterward, I headed back to the auditorium.

As I headed to my seat, an announcement was made that the show would be resuming in 5 minutes. I knew that the next segment of the concert was gonna be "grass". I like grass.

Vince came out by himself and told several amusing stories about his late father. How his dad's favorite outfit to wear was a cap and overalls with no shirt. How he smoked several packs of cigarettes a day. We're talkin' a real redneck here. He mentioned how as a 15-year old, he was praying that his mom would teach him how to drive since his dad had such a short fuse. However, his dad came home one day and told him to get in the truck. After a few minutes on the quieter streets, his dad told him to pull out onto the busiest street in town. Vince was shaking (this was his first time driving, after all). His dad yells at him to go. So he pulls out in front of a GTO whose driver swerves to miss them and then flips them off. His dad then says, (and you're not gonna believe Vince said this, but he was simply repeating what his dad had said) "Follow that son of a bitch!" They did catch up to GTO boy. With both cars now stopped, the guy in the GTO comes out of his car with a tire iron. His dad asks, "Are you gonna use that tire iron in this fight?" GTO boy says, "Yes" and then Vince's dad said, "Then this fight is over." He must've talked about his old man for a good 10 minutes. Everyone was enraptured. His dad passed about 8 years ago and Vince wrote a song for him called "The Key to Life". He then sang it for all to enjoy (I remember seeing him perform it on the CMA's many years ago and breaking up near the end of it).

After that, a few of his band members (banjo player, fiddle player, etc.) came out to play selections from his acoustic (bluegrass) album. Vince sang about a lady named "Molly Brown" and about how he's "All Prayed Up". He also sang a song that he wrote for Amy called "Sweet Augusta Darlin". He said she loves that song. All enjoyable stuff, but I was looking forward to the last segment. Vince introduced it by saying in a British accent, "Now it's time for the Rockin' portion of our show".


Though the days are getting colder, I still like taking walks outside while at work. I would typically wear my winter coat, cap, and gloves. However, I bought a new winter jacket a couple months ago. Its colors are orange and gray. My gloves, on the other hand, are blue and black. What I mean by that is that one is blue and the other is black (I can't find the matches for either). Not wanting to look like a dork when my coworkers drive by, I've elected to leave my gloves in the car and just walk with the sleeves of my jacket covering my hands. I have to say that my hands actually stay warmer under my jacket than they do when wearing gloves (The fact that gloves separate each finger probably has a lot to do with this). If it's really cold out, then once I get a few blocks away from work (where none of my colleagues will see me), I put the stocking cap over my face in true ski-mask fashion.