Monday, October 30, 2006


On Friday afternoon, I went to eat at Famous Dave's.

It wasn't bad, but truth be told, Dave's sucks. I ordered a hamburger done medium, but were told that the best they could do is medium well (I've actually heard this from them before). What a bunch of fucking pussies! You lose all the fuckin' nutrients by cooking it that god-damn much! What the fuck is with those pricks? I'm not going back there any time even remotely soon. Cocksuckers!

After Dave's, I got ready to go to St Paul to see sexy boy, Vince Gill, in concert. I'll give you the scoop on that later this week.
"Son, you're making the same mistake in Iraq that I made with your mother. I didn't pull out in time..."

Chicks Rule!

Check out this awesome poster for a new movie documenting the travails of the Dixie Chicks who were crucified by many for having sympathy for Iraqi civilians:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Borat II - The Revenge

From Reuters:

Borat star's next film sparks bidding war

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Bruno," English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to next week's release "Borat," triggered an intense bidding war in Hollywood on Thursday.

By early evening, sources said leading contender Universal Pictures had offered more than $42 million for worldwide rights to the film.

As in the case of "Borat," Jay Roach would produce with Baron Cohen. No director is on board, though it has been reported that Baron Cohen wants to shoot the movie in the summer.

In "Bruno," he will call upon another of his alter egos, a gay fashionista from Austria. Bruno fancies himself as "the voice of Austrian youth TV." In his appearances on Baron Cohen's "Da Ali G Show," the character sashayed from New York Fashion Week to Miami nightclubs.

Fox, one of the contenders for "Bruno," is releasing the Larry Charles-directed "Borat" on November 3.

Worst Movies: Number 1

The worst movie I've ever seen was released in August of 1998. The reviews said it was pretty bad, but I found that hard to believe with a cast that included Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery. I was wrong.

"The Avengers" was awful. Even Uma's kick-ass outfit couldn't save this one. It sucked more than any other movie that I have ever seen. Will I ever again see a movie as bad? Probably not, God willing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Garth Part III

I was set. Tickets to 5 of Garth Brooks' 9 shows at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The first show I would be attending was just gonna be me. The seats weren't the greatest, however. They were in the upper level and facing the back of the stage. I printed directions off our PC and made final preparations.

I left plenty early in my 2-door '95 emerald green Neon. I found a parking ramp located just a few blocks from the Center. I had plenty of time, so walked through a mall that was nearby. I ate at their food court, McDonald's if you can believe it (I don't eat there anymore). I had some chicken nuts as my dad once called them.

A little over an hour before showtime, I mosied over to the Center. There were lots of people outside, but no one selling tickets (scalping), which was a bit surprising to me. The atmosphere that early fall evening was electric. GB was in town, for perhaps the last time. I entered the facility, looked at some of the Garth trinkets up for sale, and then found my seat.

Garth wasn't the only one performing that night. Trisha Yearwood (his future wife) was his opening act. As showtime got closer, music started playing over the speakers, music from the Mavericks' new CD, "Trampoline" (Trisha was married to their guitarist at this time). The Center started to fill up. And then it was magic time. Trisha came out to much applause and did most all of her big hits. I had listened to her newest album on my way up to the show that afternoon.

I had actually already seen Trisha in concert 3 years prior in LaCrosse with Collin Raye. Her show ended and there was a short break. By this time, the place was totally packed. We were all ready for the big guy and he made quite an entrance. The stage opened up and we saw a man wearing a cowboy hat playing a baby grand piano. It looked just like Garth. Lots of screaming ensued. However, we then saw someone in a cowboy hat coming out of the piano itself!

This was the guy we had been waiting to see.

The picture above doesn't really represent what I saw. Remember, I was in the upper level facing the back of the stage. However, he did face us "back-side (ass) people" while he sang, "Callin' Baton Rouge". That was sweet of him. After the song, he headed back to the front of the stage. Many of the women in my area started whining. They wanted the sexy boy to continue facing them. Oh well. What can you do?

After the show ended, I could finally say that I had seen Garth in concert, but the view I had had left much to be desired plus I wasn't able to share the experience with another. I looked forward to going to the next show when the seats would be much better and I would be going with my best friend.

An autumnal afternoon at the movie show

I did, indeed, go to the number 1 movie last weekend, "The Prestige", yesterday afternoon.

Not quite as good as "The Illusionist", but I wasn't expecting it to be. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Christian Bale (Batman) were both solid as dueling magicians. Andy Serkis (Gollum) even made an appearance. And like any good magic trick, there were clever twists as well. But to truly get everything, you really have to pay attention. The first lines uttered in the movie (and the tagline on the movie's poster) are, "Are you watching closely?"

I have this thing now where I REALLY like to relax when going to a movie, especially by myself. It started when I went to see Nicolas Cage in "The Weather Man" last fall. I was sitting near the front of the theatre and was feeling really lazy. I lifted the arm rest to my right and put my head down on the next seat. I then lifted the arm rest to my left and stretched my legs out. In this position, I could see all but about 20% (the very bottom) of the screen. It was quite comfy. I like!

Worst Movies: Number 2

Number 2 is another movie that a "friend" suggested we go to, even though I had heard it was abysmal. From the summer of 1999, I give you

There was one very small bit in it where I kinda laughed. That was when Will Smith kicked some guy in the groin and then the guy had no reaction. Will shook his head realizing the guy was most likely a robot. Beyond that, it was 1 hour and 47 minutes of agony.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I am thinking of going to a movie today. I'm leaning towards a matinee, most likely "The Prestige".

It takes place at the turn-of-the-century and deals with magic. The last movie I went to was "The Illusionist" which also takes place at the turn-of-the-century and involves magic (I did a write-up on it a couple weeks ago). If it's 3/4 as good as "The Illusionist", it'll be worth the trip.

The Searchers

I've been amused lately looking at some of the ways that people find my weblog. One guy found it by searching for "number 4 prostitute" (a reference to my "Borat" writeup) and another by searching for "frog legs Hy-Vee".

Worst Movies: Number 3

Going to see number 3 was not entirely my fault. A friend of mine wanted to see it at the cheap theatre. I thought, "What the hell? It might be good." I was wrong. This turd came out of someone's ass in 2002.

Not one interesting or redeeming thing to be found in it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The first 4 minutes of the funniest movie I've ever seen!

As discussed in a prior entry, I went to a special screening of "Borat" on September 20th.

Now the first 4 minutes of the film are available for all to see on You Tube.

I like!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Garth Part II

I continued to buy each of Garth's new albums as the 90's went by, usually on the day of release. In '96, when I was still living in Winona, he began a 3-year World Tour. Yes, 3 years.

Reports started surfacing in '98 that this might be his final tour (he wanted to be with his wife and daughters full-time, watch the kids grow up). And, indeed, he hasn't toured since 1998, 8 years ago.

I heard in the early fall of '98 that GB would be playing in Minneapolis at the Target Center. He hadn't played the Cities for several years. To get tickets, I would need to wait in line at Hy-Vee before their ticket counter opened on the morning that the tix first became available. I found out that in order to avoid long lines, people were asked to come to Hy-Vee to get a wristband put on. This would save our place in line. So I got a wristband the night before.

The next morning, I went to Perkins with three others. One of 'em asked me what was up with the wristband. I told them. Around about 9:30am, I headed over to Hy-Vee. Shortly before 10am, a number was announced. The person with that number would be first in line with every number that came after that behind him or her. For people that had a number below the first one called, they had to go behind the people with the higher numbers. Got that? I felt sorry for the people in the back. They might not be able to get a ticket. Tickets were only about $25.00 even with the service charge added.

I got to the front of the line and purchased a ticket. I stepped out into the sunshine, happy that I was finally going to see him live in concert. I headed back home. I was curious about the people who were at the back of the line, so walked over to Hy-Vee (they were located about 6 blocks from my townhouse apartment). I was suprised to just see a few stragglers left. Everyone who had wanted a ticket had gotten one. How, you may ask? Well, GB added a 2nd show and then another and then another.

My wheels started spinning. I couldn't wait to see him in concert, but wouldn't it be sweet to see the show twice? I might not be able to take it all in on just one viewing. The lady at the ticket counter said she still had quite a few single-seat tickets left. I had plenty of moolah, so started formulating a plan. I decided to purchase a ticket for his first show (the one I had tickets for was to be the 3rd or 4th night of his Mpls stand). I then recalled that my friend, Art, would also love to see Garth, so bought a ticket for him and I to go on another night. Now going to 3 shows shoulda been good enough, but the ticket lady informed me after one of my purchases that Garth would actually be playing 9 (!) nights in a row at Target Center. My sphincter muscle released and I had to make a shit.

I ended up buying tickets for 5 of the 9 shows. On 3 of the nights, I would have a companion. On the other 2, I would be flying solo. I put all the tickets in my dresser drawer. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and I couldn't wait to get it started.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Wal-Mart is releasing a 5-DVD set of Garth Brooks' concerts and videos on November 1st.

He is, indeed, a hell of an entertainer. I first became familiar with him when "Ropin' the Wind" (or as my brother Mike called it, "Ropin' in the Wind") was released in 1991. I saw him on Saturday Night Live sing "Rodeo" and "The River" and was impressed, so bought "Ropin" on tape. It was good, though not spectacular. Still, it did get me into country (previously, I was into oldies and movie soundtracks).

One of my first visits to a Wal-Mart was to the one in LaCrosse with Phil, my mom, and siblings where I bought Brooks' prior album, "No Fences". Again, not great, but decent. Everyone was crazy about the song, "Friends in Low Places", but I didn't think it was that big a deal. Still I listened to and enjoyed his music from time to time.

His next release was "The Chase" in 1992. I enjoyed it a bit more than his prior releases. He really was the hottest thing in music at that time. I would hear about him touring in the Cities, but didn't have a car or much extra money in which to see him. I was content to buy the music and see his concert specials on TV. I moved into an apartment my stepmom owned across the street from Goltz Pharmacy in late 1992.

In the spring of 1993, I was finally starting to come out of my shell and making friends. It was a whirlwind time for me. On a trip to Iowa that summer with Brock, riding in his car, I first heard the song, "Ain't Goin' Down 'til the Sun Comes Up". I was impressed. Quite an exhilarating song. I eagerly looked forward to the release of his next album. At the Valley View Mall in LaCrosse one weekend, I saw the following "coming soon" poster placed near the front of the Musicland store:

It was released in August and I felt it was his best yet. Some of the tracks on it besides "Ain't Goin' Down" included "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association", "The Red Strokes", "Standing Outside the Fire", and "Callin' Baton Rouge". That year, I bought a couple Garth Brooks posters and even bought a belt similar to the one he wore during his concerts. By this time, he was my favorite singer. But would I ever get to see him in concert?

I'll continue this discussion in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vince Part II

Next week, I am going to see Vince Gill in concert. The last concert I went to was Prince in the summer of '04. That was at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Vince's show will be at the O'Shaughnessy in St. Paul. Yeah, I hadn't heard of the place, either. Here are some of the details regarding the show:

To showcase the new songs on his tour—while still covering his most-requested standards—Gill and his musical director have designed a four-segment performance with a shifting cast of nearly 20 musicians and background singers. Gill will begin each segment with selections from his hits and then introduce, in turn, new material from the four CDs that make up the album. The show will run for approximately three and a half hours, including an intermission. In spite of the size and length of the show, Gill has insisted on keeping the ticket prices affordable. “Vince wants this to be a show that couples and families can enjoy,” says his manager. On the three-tier pricing system in place throughout the tour, tickets will top out at around $50. “It’s been like casting a movie,” Gill says of putting his musicians together. “All these guys are endlessly talented.”

His new 4-disc set, which I'm looking forward to purchasing this afternoon, is currently ranked number 2 on Amazon's music chart.

This will be the 4th time I've seen him in concert (1993 in Rochester with my mommy, 1995 in LaCrosse with my 1st girlfriend, and 1998, for his Christmas show, in Minneapolis).

Sexy Car

In the summer of '84, my dad often took us kids out to lunch, usually to McDonalds. He took us in a 4-door beige car. I'm not sure where he got it from, but let me tell you when he drove that thing, you wouldn't believe the commotion, the people with their mouths wide open looking upon us.

Feast your eyes on it: the Chevrolet Chevette.

I used to call it a piece of Chevette.

A couple years later, my dad bought a bad-ass black pickup truck. No one stared after that.

Monday, October 16, 2006


As mentioned in a prior entry, the first concert I ever went to was Vince Gill (and Pam Tillis) in the summer of 1993. It was the Gillis tour. :P Anyway, I read a couple months ago that Vince was going to be releasing a new CD in October, his first since '03. But I got even more pumped when I found out how much music he would be releasing:

"In an unmatched outpouring of virtuosity and energy, Vince Gill has created a 4-CD set of 43 new and original songs that MCA Records will release Oct. 17 under the title These Days. The collection is an artistic tour de force that displays Gill's mastery of lyrics and musical styles, ranging from traditional country and bluegrass to jazz and rock."

4 CD's! Do you know how long it's gonna take me to get through that? Whenever I get a new CD, I listen to ALL the tracks at least twice, sometimes more. Each of the discs represents a different musical genre. I look forward to purchasing it tomorrow. Some of the artists appearing on the album include Trisha Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant, Michael McDonald, Gretchen Wilson, Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Patty Loveless, John Anderson, and LeAnn Womack.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Three weeks ago today, I left work early and headed up to Edina, the site of a free myspace screening of the outrageous new comedy, "Borat".

It was a beautiful sunny day. On my way up there, I listened to New Edition and Sounds of the Eighties - 1983. It only took about 95 minutes to get from Rochester to the Southdale Mall in Edina. The screening was to take place at the AMC 16. Seating was to start at 9pm. There were just a few people waiting in line at 4:40pm, so I headed to the food court and had a bite at BK. I usually like to read while I eat, so I looked around for something to peruse. The best I could find was a newsletter that talked about how liberal the media is. I got a few chuckles out of it. I checked the line every 15 minutes or so for the next hour and a half to make sure it didn't get too long. I went to a few stores, most notably B. Dalton. The line was starting to grow by 6:30pm, so I headed over there. I had brought a portable CD player with me to listen to while waiting. I sat on the floor and pressed play. A group of 5 came up behind me, sat down, and proceeded to play a game of Monopoly. As the line grew longer, many people passing by asked what it was we were waiting to see. I'd say 90% of the people there were male and 95% of them were 25 or younger. At about 7:30, a theatre employee told everyone to stand up. A few minutes later, some ladies wearing myspace T-shirts started giving people in the line paper wristbands and told us that seating would start at 9pm. By this time, there were probably about 200 people in line. I strolled around a bit, returned my headphones to the car, and got back into the 2nd line (for people who already had the wristbands).

The excitement continued to build as 9pm grew closer. Some people who arrived too late were given a flyer for a future screening. I felt a little sorry for them, but it did say on the invitation to arrive early to "ensure success". At 9pm, we were given a survey to fill out and pointed in the direction of the screening room. No cell phones were allowed which was cool (no phones going off in the middle of the movie). A couple employees were wanding people (for metal devices). When I passed one, he said I was the first person he had seen that was over 25. No doubt. I found a good seat in the 3rd row, near the middle. The guy behind us was one of the managers of AMC, so had a lot of clout. He told one of the employees to turn the thermostat down 3 degrees since it was getting warm in there. He also said that AMC does not discourage people from bringing in their own food or beverage. He said it was alright if people brought in Chinese food and ate it while watching a film. How refreshing, I thought. A guy sitting two seats down from me drew a pencil sketch of Borat that was quite good. A guy in front of me was reading "Stuff" magazine.

At right around 10pm, a myspace lady came out and said that she really appreciated all of us coming out, that the movie doesn't open nationwide until November 3rd, and to return the surveys at the end of the movie if possible. The theatre went dark as a special introduction by Borat began. He thanked us for attending the "myspaces" screening and hoped we would enjoy his movie. People were already cracking up. And then it began. I don't think I've ever been at a movie where there is so much sustained laughter, so much so that you miss some of the dialogue following some scenes. This one guy nearby had a really weird laugh. One of the ushers sat and watched the entire movie off to the side (he was there to make sure things didn't get out of hand). He was probably in his 50's. I looked at him now and then to see what his reaction was to some of the outrageous things happening onscreen. What kinds of things? Well, how about 2 naked guys wrestling each other, up close, in a fight that spills out into an actual hotel convention (this scene had me crying from laughter for the first time in years). Or Borat at a real-life rodeo with hundreds of people in attendance saying, among other things, "May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq!" Or when Borat gives a long passionate kiss to a woman who he then states is his sister, "number 4 prostitute in all country!". Yes, for 85 minutes, we were all joined as one, reveling in this thing, loving every minute. The show concluded at about 11:30 and people started filing out. Many were exhausted from laughing so much, me included.

The below pic sums up how I felt after seeing the movie:

I got in my car and relaxed during the ride home, looking forward to seeing the movie again on November 3rd and many times thereafter. Isnice!!! High five!!!

Choose Your Afterlife

I read an interesting story yesterday about a guy who does not want to go to heaven after he dies. He actually "searched for a religion that specified that people would live on the earth" in the afterlife as opposed to heaven. This guy said he doesn't want to "go to heaven, no matter what heaven is".

I'll personally take heaven myself, though I may return one day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


In the early 90's, my brothers and I were into sports cards. We all had albums with several pages of players in them. We traded cards with each other, but would often go to the card shops in town to obtain new ones.

One of the two stores in town was on east 3rd Street next to Goltz Pharmacy. The owner's name was Rusty. He was a pretty poor guy. For one thing, he would usually eat canned goods (such as beans) out of the can while working at the store. For another, he didn't always have the heat on during the wintertime (many of the sports cards would start to "fold up" under these conditions). There were rumors that he would open packs of cards, take out the valuable ones, and then reseal and sell them. Overall, though, he was a nice guy and you could usually find a bargain there. He passed on a couple years ago of cancer at the tender age of 48.

The other shop we frequented was the Dugout, also located on east 3rd Street near Merchants National Bank. It was much more upscale than Rusty's. The owner, Dick Drury, always had dozens of different types of boxes in which one could buy cards from. He had his son, James (who was about 13 at the time), work for him at the store. On the wall of the store was an framed autographed picture of James with Twins great Bert Blyleven. Dick Drury passed on a couple years ago as well. He was 65.

Dick's old store as well as several other vacant storefronts are heading for the demolition block. The six buildings below will be destroyed in the next few weeks to make room for more parking spaces for Merchants Bank (pictured on the far left).

I guess all I can say now is thanks for the memories, Rusty Dick, I mean, Rusty and Dick.


Do it...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Almighty, then...

One of my favorite movies from '3 was the Jim Carrey blockbuster, "Bruce Almighty". One of his last big movies, Carrey was at the top of his game. When a sequel was announced, Carrey said he didn't want to be involved. So the lead role went to a supporting player in the first movie, Evan (the anchorman who was compelled by Bruce to say the most unusual things while he was live on-the-air). Evan was played by a guy whose stock has gone up big-time since '3, Steve Carell. Carell starred in "The 40 Year Old Virgin", the funniest movie I saw last year. Next summer he will be back at multiplexes in "Evan Almighty". The sequel again stars Morgan Freeman as God. Below is a pic from the eagerly awaited flick:

I like you. Do you like me?

Check this. I was invited to a myspace screening of "Borat" on September 20th in the Cities. It doesn't open nationwide until November 3rd.

I'd been hearing awesome things about the pic and always loved Borat on "Da Ali G Show" (Borat and Ali G are actually the same person, innit).

The day before, I didn't think I would go. I was concerned about having to drive an hour and a half to get there, getting there early enough to make sure I got a seat, blah, blah, blah. But I did decide to go and join in the festivities.

I'll give you my review later this week.

To give you a taste of what you're missing, here's an excerpt from one of Borat's interviews:

Borat chats to a Vietnam Vet in the street:

Borat: "We say in Kazakhstan that a man who never killed a man is like man without any..." (Borat indicated to his groin.) "Is true? Is true?"

Man: "It's a strange feeling"

Borat: "You have a big..." (Borat indicates to the man's groin.) "You have a big 'hram'?"

Man: "Errrrrr, fairly... Not... Pretty good."

Borat: "I can touch?"

Man: "In America, you don't, it's not... It's not one of our customs."

Borat: "I can touch?"

Man: (The man looks around) "Well sure, why not"

Borat: "This is OK with you?"

Man: "Sure" (Borat reaches between the man's legs and touches him, they both then laugh)

Borat: "It's nice... It's good, but I have seen bigger!"


Some of the pics I saw in 1996 included "Phenomenon" starring John Travolta, Robin Williams in "Jack", Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore", Chris Farley's "Black Sheep", Barbra Streisand in "The Mirror Has Two Faces", "Sleepers", "The Cable Guy", Schwarzenegger in "Eraser" and "Jingle All the Way", "Beavis & Butthead Do America", "The English Patient" (winner of Best Picture for 1996), Travolta as "Michael", "Scream", Matthew McConaughey's first big movie "A Time to Kill", Robin Williams in "The Birdcage", and "Twister".

The top moneymaker of the year was Will Smith's "Independence Day" (I didn't catch that one at the theatre).

My favorite movie of 1996 was one that I went to at the very end of the year. I had just moved to Rochester a few weeks before and was just about to hired as a video store clerk. :P As mentioned in a previous post, I went to the early show of "Beavis" and then went to the late show of

It was the number 4 top grossing movie of the year and was also nominated for Best Pic. It had something for both men and women. The girls liked Tom Cruise and the "relationship" stuff while the guys dug the sports angle of it. It was the movie that spawned a million catchphrases:

Cruise: "Help me help you..."

Renee: "You complete me" and "You had me at hello"

Cuba: "Show me the money!"

This was the first of 5 consecutive years in which my favorite movie of the year was viewed at the Galleria theatres in the Galleria Mall. Therefore, the Galleria became synonymous with high quality movies for me over the next half decade.

Mikey & Dani

An autumn night at the movies

Ever since it opened in Rochester about 5 weeks ago, I've promised myself that I would go to the following movie:

Time and again, I just didn't get around to it. On Saturday evening, I went shopping with a friend and bought a new winter jacket, my first since 1992! We ate at the Macaroni Grill and then decided to go to a movie. He is a horror nut, so I told him "Texas Chainsaw 22" had just opened. He was interested, so went to the late show of that while I finally saw Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel in "The Illusionist". For plot details, go here:

It was a fantastic movie, a great period drama with lots of twists and turns along the way. It's a cliche', but it's movies like this that make going out to the theatre so worthwhile. Watching the film on a small screen at home just wouldn't be as grand an experience.

My bud had a great time at the "Leatherface" show. He's eagerly the release of "Saw III".

Friday, October 06, 2006


I was doing my work a few minutes ago listening to AOL's all Prince station when I saw in a blog listing that AOL's newest station is an all-Tori Amos one.

Needless to say, I'm listening to it right now. Damn, these stations are sure getting specialized, innit.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Camptown Races

I'm a forest ranger.


When my brother found out he had high cholesterol, he decided to start exercising and eating better. After a few months, his pants size went down from 36" to 32" while his cholesterol dropped from 226 to 203. Word to your mother...

The Cat's Pajamas

My 10-year old cat, Mayo, has her own web page now at Catster.

She would appreciate any treats left for her there.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Me at work, innit...

Music Television

25 years ago, MTV was born. They had only a few thousand subscribers at the time, but that would soon change. My first time viewing the network was in 1984 (that was the summer I was living with my dad and siblings in a trailer). The house next door (the one owned by my dad's business partner) had cable TV, so we were over there quite a bit. For many an afternoon that summer, I enjoyed watching music videos on MTV. It was such a cool concept to me. Not only being able to hear your favorite songs, but also being able to "watch" them. I became familiar with all the original VJ's. Martha Quinn was probably my favorite followed by Mark Goodman.

I remember one afternoon watching Prince's video "When Doves Cry" with a couple of my siblings and another friend. My dad's BP walked into the house just as Prince was getting out of the bathtub naked.

She was not happy and told us all to go outside and do something constructive.

In the early 90's, MTV went away from showing all music videos in favor of broadcasting regular series. I came to enjoy a number of those as well, in particular "The Real World" and "Beavis & Butthead".

Thankfully, if I want to get my fill of 80's videos, I need only turn to VH1 Classic.

Ding Dongs

My favorite meal to eat at home is Healthy Choice's French Bread Supreme Pizza. It's been my favorite for the past 7 years (yes, since 1999). Nothing else comes close as far as being light on calories, but full of flavor. Right now, I have 4 of 'em in my refrigerator. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time Bush is out of office in early '09, this is still my numero uno thing to eat while at home.

My favorite thing to drink at home is Hi-C Fruit Punch, though I also like Gatorade and Ocean Spray Cran-Apple juice.

And finally, my favorite snack: Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. I have 2 boxes of the stuff in my basement right now. A few years ago, Little Debbie Nutty Bars were my faves. Now I can't stand 'em.


I didn't go to an awful lot of movies in 1995. Some of the ones I did see included Sandler's "Happy Gilmore", Farley's "Tommy Boy", "The Bridges of Madison County", "Father of the Bride Part II", "Grumpier Old Men", "Congo", Casper" and "Apollo 13", a fantastic movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.

The top moneymaker of the year was "Toy Story" (I saw bits and pieces of it during its theatrical run).

My favorite movie of the year, however, was a lowbrow comedy, real lowbrow. It was the number 5 moneymaker of the year.

Yes, indeed, the return of the pet dick. I had seen the original on video at my landlady Ruth Kuhlmann's house (I lived upstairs).

Some of my favorite lines from the sequel:

Ace: Friends, rodents, quadrupeds, lend me your rears!

Fulton: You must be very proud, Ace.
Ace: Pride is an abomination. One must forego the self to obtain total spiritual creaminess, and avoid the chewy chunks of degradation.

Ace: (chasing the villain with a monster truck) Nobody wants to play with me!

New York City Boy

In movie news, Adam Sandler has a film coming out in which he plays a man who lost his family in the September 11th attacks and is still grieving, unable to function, 5 years later.

You might say, "What's so funny about that?" Well, exactly. It will be a fairly downbeat drama. It's scheduled to come out sometime next year.

My Top 5 Favorite Restaurants

Number 5: For several years, the closest location was 70 miles away in LaCrosse. Thankfully, about 4 years ago, they finally opened a franchise in Rochester. The name of the place: the Olive Garden. Their salad is always good and the entrees are solid.

Number 4 is a joint I used to like more, but they've wussed out of late. Famous Dave's. They no longer serve burgers that are cooked medium, only medium-well or well. What a bunch of dumb-asses! Well-done just sucks off all the good nutrients.

At number 3 is a relatively new place: Romano's Macaroni Grill. Their lasagna is killa! Nuff said.

At number 2, you'll find some mighty tasty food though they get ridiculously busy on the weekend. I'm talkin' 'bout da Outback. One drawback is that they only have 3 soft drinks available: Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. That's a bit lame...

My favorite is only a few miles from my house and is a good time on any day. Good food, good salads, good apps, and good atmosphere can always be found at Friday's.

My First Concert

My mom was the biggest fan of country singer Vince Gill in the early 90's.

When she heard he was going to be performing at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, she had to go. She asked me if I would like to come along (her treat). I had never been to a concert before and liked him as well, so I readily agreed. Opening for him was going to be Pam Tillis. So one afternoon in May, mom picked me up and we headed out to Rochester. Once in town, we stopped at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Wendy's. We talked a bit. I was looking forward to summer break from Winona State. I was still working at Sammy's Pizza at this time and had made some new friends. My mom had left her husband and moved into her own apartment with the girls a few months before.

After supper, we headed down Broadway to the state-of-the-art civic center. I remember one of the songs playing as we got close to the center was Clint Black and Wynonna's, "A Bad Goodbye". We disembarked and headed in. There were a lot of people and you could tell they were real country fans. A radio station was playing music outside. We found our seats (they weren't the greatest, but who was I to complain?) Out came Pam wearing a groovy hat. She sang her hit song, "Cleopatra Queen of Denial" as well as other goodies like "Don't Tell Me What To Do" and "Let That Pony Run".

After her set, there was a short break. Then it was time to hear the picker from Oklahoma. He came out and the crowd turned it up for him. One of the songs he played was "When I Call Your Name", a special song to me because my grandma who loved it, had just passed on a few months prior. He played "Oklahoma Swing", but tweaked it for the crowd to "Minnesota Swing". There were a lot of people who left their seats and were standing just off to the side of the stage so as to get a closer look at the sexy boy. Before the show was over, he had also played "I Still Believe In You", "One More Last Chance", and "Never Knew Lonely". I gotta tell ya that pedal steel player sure knew what he was doin'. He played it real pretty. Great show, overall.

Afterward, we headed back to little Winona to begin the summer of '93. I went to several other country shows over the next few years. I saw Vince again in '95 at the LaCrosse Center and once more for his Christmas show in '98 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. I had just got my Saint Bernard, Brandy, a few weeks before.

In the mid 90's, I saw Reba, Tracy Byrd, and Rhett Akins in LaCrosse as well as Trisha Yearwood and Collin Raye in Rochester.

In 1998, just a few weeks after going to Disney World, I went to see the Big Kahuna of country music. But I'm gonna have to save that story for another time.

I love movies!

I saw two movies earlier this summer that are coming soon to DVD. Here's my take on them:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I thought the first movie was OK, not as good as I was hoping for, though (I'd give the first movie a B). With the sequel breaking box-office records left and right, I thought it might be good to check it out. The reviews were pretty blah. And they were least as far as I'm concerned. I enjoyed the swordfights and some of Captain Jack's (Depp) schtick, but it did get a bit long (The movie is over 2 and a half hours and the supersized sea creature got to be a bit taxing). Overall, like the first, I give this one a B. If I gave it a B-, that would transfer to thumbs down. So this one just barely was passable for me. If you liked the first, however, you should enjoy this. Call me crazy, but I will probably go to the theatre next Memorial Day to view the final chapter in the "Jack Sparrow" saga.

Right after "Pirates", I went to the computer animated "Monster House". It was half as long as "Pirates", but actually more enjoyable. It takes place in the 80's and the main kid in it reminded me a bit of myself as a child.

It was exec-produced by 2 of my favorites: Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. I don't generally like CGI movies. I usually find them to be too childish (I rolled my eyes a number of times during "Finding Nemo", for instance). This one was more grown up, though (while still being fun), and held my interest throughout. I give it an A-.

Until next time, the balcony is closed.

Mikey J.

The first recording I ever bought that was by just one artist (not various artists like the K-Tel records or NOW records of today) was the following:

I bought it on cassette in early 1983. I remember listening to the first track, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" while I looked out the window of my bedroom. After 5 or 6 minutes, I was like, "Damn, this is a long song". Pretty much every track on it is solid. When I bought it, there had only been 2 hits off of it so far, "The Girl is Mine" with Paul McCartney and "Billie Jean". So I heard "Beat It", "Thriller", "Startin' Somethin", "Human Nature", and "P.Y.T." well before they were ever played on the radio. I thought it was pretty cool to hear hit songs before they were actually hits. My mom bought my brother, Brian, the recording on record album at the end of '83.

Some people don't care to admit that they ever liked Michael Jackson, but I was a fan of his for pretty much all of the 80's. And I still like to listen to those songs from time to time. I prefer to remember him as he was back then.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I had a lot of fun in 1994. I went to quite a few movies: I saw Schwarzenegger in "True Lies", Jim Carrey in "The Mask" and "Dumb and Dumber", Mel Gibson in a great summertime movie, "Maverick", and Jack Nicholson as "Wolf". I also went to "The Client, "Star Trek: Generations", and "Naked Gun 3".

My two favorite movies of the year came out in the summer and I went out of town to view both (At this time, I was living on 5th Street in Winona near Midtown Foods).

In late June, I went with my friend, Brian Chadbo, to LaCrosse. There was a movie that we both wanted to see that hadn't come to Winona yet. We had time before the movie, so we stopped at a used music store called Deaf Ear Records. We went in and browsed a bit. I found a used cassette by an artist I had heard of and was interested in hearing more from. It was only 4 or 5 bucks, so I purchased "Under the Pink" by Tori Amos. And thus began my fascination and love for Tori Amos. I now have all of her studio albums and have seen her twice in concert (once in '99 and again in '01).

While we sat in the theatre waiting for the movie to start, I put my headphones on and listened to the tape. After a short time, the movie began and it was a fantastic thriller. It starred Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock (in a breakthrough role). Yes, indeed, my 2nd favorite movie of 1994 was "Speed". After the movie ended, we were invited to stay seated to watch a sneak preview of a new movie. That movie was called "Airheads". It was a decent movie. Adam Sandler was a supporting actor in the movie and had some funny lines (This was before he was a leading man like he is nowadays). After spending 4 hours at the King theatre, we headed back home to Winona. All in all, a great day in LaCrosse.

I saw my favorite movie of 1994 in July. Mom took me and all my brothers to Valleyfair. We went on most of the coasters and also had a fun time at Challenge Park where we rode go-carts and also mini-golfed. After Valleyfair, we headed to our hotel in Bloomington. I had heard great things about a movie that had just opened. Our hotel was just a few blocks from the Mall of America, so I checked movie times and decided to go to it on my own at the Mall's 14-screen theatre. It was totally a crowd pleaser and I loved every minute of it. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis who had directed my favorite movie of 1985, "Back to the Future". The movie went on to be the top-grossing movie of the year and also won several Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Tom Hanks. If you haven't guessed already, it's "Forrest Gump". By the time it let out (at about 10pm), the mall was mostly closed. I took a moment to look out at Camp Snoopy (where all the rides are located). The rides were lit up, but no longer running. I headed back to the hotel, visited with the boys, and then went to bed, another great moviegoing experience to add to my collection.

There were numerous memorable lines in "Forrest Gump":

"Run, Forrest, Run!"

"Stupid is as stupid does", and, of course,

"Life is like a box of Ex-Lax, You never know what you're gonna shit"

Matt's movies

In 1987, my brother, Matt, enrolled in a video club (It works the same as a music club where you get a few tapes for a low price and then have to pay regular price for a couple sometime in the next year or two). I've always been intrigued by the choices he made (He was 10 at the time). The 3 videos he requested were "Howard the Duck", "Phantom of the Opera", and "Dorf on Golf".

Christmas Comes Early

In late 1981, my grandma Ruth (having some extra money) agreed to give each of us kids $20.

That was a lot of money back then (probably like having $30 - $35 today). So, on one autumn evening, Mom took us all to grandma's house to visit for a bit and then to the Winona JCPenney's located just a few blocks from her house. I was 11 at the time and had no problem finding what I wanted: the Empire Strikes Back Dagobah playset, an ESB Tauntaun, and Star Wars Marvel comic #56. Brian (7 at the time) was tremendously excited when he bought the General Lee remote-controlled car. Matt (4) and Mike (3) used their money to buy a crapload of Smurf figurines. Carrie (9) couldn't find anything she wanted at the store, so Mom took her to the layaway department where she ordered a doll from the JCPenney catalog. Yep, Grandma made us all mighty happy that night. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go smurf.


The summer of 1993 is the one in which the Schofield girls grew up. At the tender age of 5, they went to 2 PG-13 (!) rated movies which also happened to be the top 2 grossing movies of the year: "Jurassic Park" and "Mrs. Doubtfire" (Sarah did put her fingers over her eyes when the T. Rex first showed up in "Park"). I did like both movies, but neither could compare to the power of my favorite.

Some other ones I went to that year included: Schwarzenegger in "Last Action Hero", "Wayne's World 2", Mel Brooks' "Robin Hood: Men in Tights", "Hot Shots: Part Deux", Macauley Culkin as "The Good Son" (he was a real bad-ass in that movie), and "Addams Family Values".

Over the holiday season of 1993, I saw my favorite movie of the year. A very highly-acclaimed movie had just opened in LaCrosse. I asked my mom if we could go to it. So on a wintry evening, we drove out to LaCrosse. First we went to eat at the Pizza Hut located right next to the theatre. I had gone through a depression earlier in the year (one of the factors being the passing of my grandmother) and my mom had been extremely supportive during this time. I was doing much better by the end of '93 which my mom was happy to see. After eating, we went to the theatre. Now for 1993, this was a real state-of-the-art theatre (something we weren't used to in Winona). There were hundreds of seats (all very comfortable) and each of them rocked. It was bitchin'. The theatre steadily filled up and then the picture started. It was mostly in black and white which made it all the more striking when color images were used every now and again.

It really was a perfect moviegoing experience. The crowd was quiet, but obviously moved by what they were seeing. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie I'm talking about is "Schindler's List". The movie finally gave him the Best Director and Best Picture awards that he should've gotten a decade earlier for "E.T." or "Raiders".

I've only seen this movie once, but it did leave an indelible impression on me. The disturbing content is probably the reason why I haven't revisited it. But someday I do plan to view it again.

The movie introduced the world to two fantastic actors, Liam Neeson and an actor that my mom pines for to this day: Ralph Fiennes.

The summer of 1993 also saw the release of another very strong motion picture (my 2nd favorite movie of the year). It was the number 3 top money maker of the year and starred one of my all-time favorite actors (Harrison Ford). I went to it with several friends in August. Tommy Lee Jones won Best Supporting Actor for his fantastic performance in "The Fugitive".

The Good Sheppard

In the early 80's, my mom and her sister, Ellie, couldn't get enough of the man pictured above, country singer T.G. Sheppard. I remember listening to the above cassette in our station wagon on many occasions. It's actually not too bad (It is country, but had several pop elements added in order to make it more palatable to people who might not usually listen to country).

Imagine the excitement and commotion when my mom and Ellie found out T.G. would be coming to LaCrosse to perform in concert. The former Vogel girls got 4 tickets, one for each of them and one for each of their husbands. Needless to say, they loved the concert and were able to get autographed pictures of T.G.

Ellie loved the autographed pic. She said she was gonna put it over her husband's face the next time they "had relations". Now, this was almost certainly a joke, but you wouldn't believe how riled up her husband got when he heard this comment. I'm not sure if their marriage ever recovered after that.


Some of my wife's favorite movies were released in 1992 ("Sister Act", "A League of Their Own", "A Few Good Men").

The top money maker of the year was one of the twins' favorite movies, "Aladdin".

I did go to the number 2 and 3 top grossing movies of the year ("Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" and "Batman Returns"), but found both to be a bit draggy, though "H2" did have a few laughs (I remember going to Home 2 with my brother, Mike, on the first night it opened. My mom, Phil, and the twins were also there. They sat a bit closer to the screen than we were).

I also went to "The Bodyguard" with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston (don't be hatin') and "Alien 3".

My favorite movie of 1992, however, was a comedy, a comedy that originated as a Saturday Night Live skit. Yes, indeed, the movie I'm talking about is "Wayne's World". I enjoyed the characters and humor.

The movie spawned a crapload of catchphrases. Check it:

"Party on, Wayne." "Party on, Garth.", "Excellent", "Schwing!", "We're not worthy!", "...NOT!!", "Shyeah, right. As if.", "No way." "Way.", "I think I'm gonna hurl", and who can forget, "Wayne's World, Wayne's World, party time, excellent!"

The movie also made use of the 70's Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody" and caused it to chart two decades after it was originally released.

Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000 in "T2" the year before, spoofed his own appearance in that movie in "Wayne's World".

Wayne and Garth also had a real kick ass car: A 1976 AMC Pacer!

For all these reasons and more, my favorite movie of 1992 has to be "Wayne's World".

Now, let's party!!


My favorite movie of 1991 was a sequel (The original was one of the first movies I ever saw on a VCR back in 1985). It was the best movie I had seen in at least 5 years and was the top grossing movie of 1991. It had groundbreaking special effects (one of the earliest uses of computer graphics in a movie), a cool score, and only the future of the world at stake.

I really went nuts for this one. I went to it at least a dozen times. I bought 3 different T-shirts from it at the Suncoast movie store, I bought the soundtrack, the trading cards, even the screenplay.

There is a lot of violence in the movie, but its theme is actually about the sanctity of life. These are the last few lines of the movie:

Sarah Connor: The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.

I also need to mention my second favorite movie of '91 since it was also a good one. It was the 2nd top grossing movie of the year, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". I went to it with my cousin, Drew, one Saturday afternoon in June ("T2" was released a few weeks later). Like "T2", this was a great action movie, perfect summer entertainment while I was on break from WSU and working at Sammy's Pizza.


My favorite movie of 1990 had a lot of laughs and was a real crowd pleaser. So it was no surprise when it wound up being the top money maker of the year.

Since 1980, my favorite movie of the year had always been released in the spring or summer. But not this time (November of '90). I went to it several times over the holidays. I can recall a couple evenings walking home from it while snow was falling on the ground (I was living in the upstairs of a house on west Broadway near Windom Park at this time).

I remember my stepdad took his twin girls to this movie in LaCrosse (they were 2 years old at the time) and when they saw their mother afterward, she asked if they liked the movie. They said they did, but that there were "two monsters" in the movie. My mom explained to the girls that bad guys aren't necessarily monsters.

A few months later, I was in the car with the girls and there was a radio ad that mentioned the movie. One of the girls then said, "Mommy, dey tay 'Home Alone'!"

Home Box Office

Sometime in 1981, my parents started subscribing to HBO. You know, new movies without the commercials. Well, since us kids were all still quite young, there were certain programs we weren't allowed to watch (at least initially).

One afternoon shortly after we started getting HBO, I saw that a PG-rated movie was going to be on that I had heard was quite funny. Now back in those days, a PG movie was much "harder" than it is today (There could be all kinds of swear words in a PG movie, something that is not the case today).

The movie I was interested in viewing was

I asked my mom if I could see it and she said, "maybe". I kept at her until she finally agreed. I couldn't wait to see it! And I was not disappointed. Here are some of the lines that had me rolling:

Junior: Daddy, I got to pee-pee.
Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason): Swallow it. I'm busy!

Buford T. Justice: Let me tell ya somethin', Junior. If you ever embarrass me like that again, I'm gonna get an ax, and you're never gonna have to open your fly again.

Junior: Daddy, look at that big, ugly alligator.
Buford T. Justice: That reminds me; I gotta call yo mama tonight.

And that was just the beginning. As time went by, we were allowed to watch more and more, even R-rated movies such as "The Blues Brothers" and "Caddyshack"!! :P


Just as my favorite movie from 1983, "Return of the Jedi", was released the same week that I finished up elementary school, so, too, did my favorite movie of 1989 come out the same week that I graduated from high school.

A lot of good films came out in the summer of 1989. I went to the top money maker of the year, "Batman", in June, but found it unsatisfying. I did like "Ghostbusters 2", though, as well as "Star Trek V: The Search for Geritol", "Lethal Weapon 2", and "The Abyss". But my favorite was directed by an old friend. The number 2 top-grossing movie of the year: "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". Yes, Indiana Jones, one last time. It was a return to form for the franchise after the darkness of "Temple of Doom".

My folks kicked me out of the house in the early summer. I lived on my own in an efficiency across from Lake Winona (during the summer of '89 and '90, I was able to see the Midway carnival going on just across the way).

My favorite foods to eat that summer were Nutty Bars and Totino's pizza.

Make Your Tummy Go Yummy...

In the early 90's while attending college, I often ate lunch at Godfather's Pizza. They had a buffet, but I would always order the mini pan pizza with pepperoni and green peppers along with a pop. If it was really busy, though, (and I was still hungry), I would often go up to the buffet and sneak a piece of dessert or taco pizza off of it.

One afternoon, when there was hardly anyone there, one of the employees saw me eyeing the buffet and said, "Brad's gonna kick you out if you take anything off the buffet". Ah, fudge it!

I usually brought something along to read (like Country Weekly) while I was eating and sometimes even played a videogame or two as well. I loved to play songs on their jukebox. I would enjoy seeing people's reactions when I played something really lame, like say, "Achy Breaky Heart".

The restaurant was right across from the movie theatre, so there'd be many a time where I would have lunch there and then go to a matinee.

Godfather's eventually moved to a location overlooking the Mississippi, but for a few years there, it was my favorite place to chow down.

Monday, October 02, 2006


By 1988, it had been three years since I had seen a film of "Spielbergian" proportions, something rousing like "Raiders" or "E.T." or "Star Wars", for that matter.

I wasn't quite old enough or ambitious enough to try to get into R-rated movies, so I missed out on the top moneymaker of the year, "Rain Man" as well as the Eddie Murphy comedy, "Coming to America".

I did see a fair amount of movies that year, however. I enjoyed Tom Hanks in "Big", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" which was the number 2 movie of the year, "The Naked Gun", Beetlejuice", Bill Murray in "Scrooged", "Dundee 2", and "Biloxi Blues".

My vote this year, however, goes to a movie that though nowhere near as good as "Raiders" or "Star Wars", did provide quite a few thrills. Written and produced by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, it's a Lord of the Rings-type fantasy movie. I went to it at least seven times that summer, including a couple at the good ol' Crossroads theatre in Waterloo, Iowa (where I had caught a sneak preview of "E.T." six summers prior).

I did eventually tire of the movie, though. One sunny afternoon, I was watching it yet again at the Cine 4 in Winona and partway through the screening, decided I'd had enough and left the theatre (something I almost never do). Still, it was the best thing I saw that year. My fave of 1988:

Note: My mom had her twin girls just a few months before this movie opened.