Thursday, May 31, 2007


There's a young janitor that comes through our offices every few days to empty the trash and we sometimes shoot the shit. A big fan of Johnny Depp's "Pirates" movies, he has been super pumped to see "Pirates 3" for the last few months. Last Saturday evening, he went with 3 of his friends to see it. One of his friends was wearing pirate boots and snuck a liter of rum into them (talk about appropriate!). Needless to say, they had quite a good time watching the movie while partaking generously of the liquor. Later that night, he had straight vodka and said he will never do so again (it gave him a headache). Talk about living the pirate's life...

I would love to get my mitts on one of these!

From USA Today:

Select moviegoers get tattletale tool

NEW YORK — Movie theaters don't have vice principals or hall monitors to enforce the rules, but they seem headed that way as they step up their battle with a big and growing problem: rude customers.

Major chains are telling managers to monitor audiences more frequently and clamp down on disruptions, including cellphone use, talking and gross littering.

The largest theater owner even is enlisting moviegoers themselves. This week, Regal Entertainment Group will significantly expand a program to give selected patrons wireless devices to anonymously alert the manager of disruptions.

"We have noticed over the years that customer etiquette has become more and more of a problem," says Dick Westerling, Regal's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "We're doing what we can to provide a friendly environment for all moviegoers."

Summer is the peak time for complaints as kids pack theaters for the season's high-energy adventure and animation flicks.

"I don't believe that this generation of younger folk is as respectful of fellow audience members as previous generations" were, says National Association of Theater Owners President John Fithian. "Maybe that's because I'm getting older. But the sense among our members is that this is a growing issue."

Rudeness isn't limited to kids, though. "Parents who bring really small children into R-rated movies are an annoyance," Fithian says.

Theater owners must act. As HDTV and home theater sales grow, "They have to make it worth people's time to leave home and go to the movie theater," says Research Associates analyst Marla Backer.

The financial toll isn't obvious this year. Box office sales already are up 6%, with an unusually high number of potential blockbusters on tap. Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End have set a heady pace ahead of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Live Free or Die Hard, Ratatouille, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Simpsons Movie.

Owners still recall, though, the 2005 box office slump that led many to fear disturbances had done permanent damage.

"There's a subtle structural change going on," Backer says. "Certain people don't go to the movies anymore."

Regal will try to change that this week by introducing its Regal Guest Response System in 114 theaters, up from a test at 13 that began last year. Customers in Regal's loyalty points program will be invited to take a cellphone-size device into the theater. If something pushes their buttons — a disturbance, picture or sound glitch, someone recording the film — they can push one of four buttons to alert the manager.

"We've seen an improvement in the customer etiquette with the implementation of this program," Westerling says. "It addresses these problems on a more routine basis and in a faster manner."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shhh...don't tell

My job is relatively easy and stress free. I don't have to answer calls from peeved customers like I did when working at the Western Digital Rebate Center or Charter Communications. My hours are flexible. I don't have to be in at a specific time. I would take more time off here and there, but my beloved would inevitably give me crap saying I would be fired if I kept doing so (though I explained to her numerous times the flexibility of my job).

Though my job is laid back, from time to time, I REALLY want to relax (no, not like that, you dirty devils). Here's how it works: I go to the bathroom and once I've done my business, still want to stay in that quiet place (the office bathroom is self-contained, so you don't have to worry about anyone else being in the next stall or anything like that). So I'll take the time to breathe for a few minutes.

I usually like to think about where I want to eat that evening and such. Sometimes I'll text to a friend or two if the mood strikes me. I am usually quite refreshed when I return to my desk after a good bathroom sojourn.

MySpace Outage Leaves Millions Friendless

BEVERLY HILLS, CA—An estimated 150 million people continued to be without social lives Tuesday as a massive system failure at entered its third day.

"The problem is taking longer than we anticipated, but rest assured we're working around the clock to get MySpace back online," said David Gundy, a spokesman for the social networking site. "We're hoping to have friendship restored to our users as soon as possible."

The outage, which occurred late Saturday night, is believed to be the result of a complicated wallpaper upload for the page of a former VH1 I Love New York contestant, which triggered a chain reaction of web browser crashes and server shutdowns. Although MySpace's emergency-response team has so far been unable to reconnect any of the millions currently stranded without access to online companionship, Gundy said he remains hopeful that no profiles have been lost.

However, because the sudden lack of friends has deprived MySpace users of comments, bulletin posts, and searches for elementary school crushes, it is feared that the ordeal could inflict long-term psychological damage. In Chicago alone, an estimated 50,000 people remain trapped in their apartments, with no way of contacting the outside world about new bands, Adult Swim cartoons, or the latest video games.

"I've just been wandering in and out of my cubicle in a daze, not knowing what to say and who to talk to," said Upper Darby, PA data-entry technician Patrick "Smiley457" Mancuso, 31. "I thought about asking someone at work or in my apartment building if they'd join my friend group. But how am I supposed to tell which ones I will like and which ones I won't? It's too overwhelming."

Corey "Aqualad" Friesen, 18, of Danville, IL appeared to share Mancuso's fears about manual and analog socializing. "I vaguely remember trying to make friends pre-MySpace, but in 16 years, I only made three real friends," Friesen said. "If I have to revert back to face-to-face friend gathering, I would be middle-aged before I built that number into the double digits. I'd definitely never get back into the hundreds again."

On Monday, MySpace co-creator Tom Anderson issued an apologetic press release on the website of MySpace's parent company, News Corporation.

"So I know alot [sic] of you couldn't check out your profiles and I just want to say sorry for all the lameness on our end," Anderson wrote. "Rock on. :)"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


"They say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999"
"1999" - Prince

If the world was gonna end in 1999, it was gonna go with a shitload of awesome movies. If, for the rest of my life, I could only watch movies from one specific year, it would most certainly be 1999. Why? Let me take you back...

In January, I went with a couple friends to see Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino in "At First Sight". He played a blind man who undergoes surgery to get some of his sight back. It was good. Some other movies I saw in the early part of the year included Mel in "Payback", Bill Murray in "Rushmore", the cult classic "Office Space"

"The Other Sister", Nicolas in "8MM", "Analyze This", "Cruel Intentions", a sneak preview of "EdTV", David Spade in "Lost & Found", Connery in "Entrapment", "A Bug's Life" (meh), "Go" (an awesome flick), Drew in "Never Been Kissed", Reese in "Election" (fantastic satire), and two movies that dealt with the nature of reality, "Existenz" (great movie) and "The Matrix" (I was impressed, but definitely not blown away as some people were).

Summertime came and the movies came fast and hard. Did you read what I just wrote? Anyway, the big kahuna for the summer of '99 was "Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace"

but first came "The Mummy" and Julia in "Notting Hill". There was a special midnight screening of "Ep I" at the Barclay Square 6, but I would've had to wait in line for hours to see it. So I waited until the following day and went to a late afternoon matinee. Quite a few people there, I have to say. I had to settle for an aisle seat rather than sitting in the middle as usual. I did enjoy the movie. It didn't blow me away like "Empire" did as a child, but I applauded over the credits like everyone else, happy that Star Wars was back again. An older guy in front of me said it was the 3rd time he had seen the movie that day (what a freak!). I went to the movie 3 more times that summer. It ended up being the top-grossing movie of 1999. "Star Wars" was done, but there was plenty more fun to be had.

Next came "Austin Powervich 2". I loved the sequel and went to it 3 times. But an even funnier movie came along a few weeks later, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" (a sexual euphemism, innit). I loved the TV show and went to the "SP" movie 3 days in a row. "SP", for me, was the funniest movie of the year.

Adam Sandler was good (not great) in "Big Daddy", and "American Pie" was jolly good fun, lewd and crude. I found Cruise and Kidman to be quite solid in "Eyes Wide Shut" while Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones were crap in "The Haunting".

During this time (July of '99), "The Blair Witch Project" was generating a lot of buzz. It was being rolled out very slowly. I noticed on the internet that it was playing in Inver Grove Heights (a suburb of the Twin Cities). It wouldn't be coming to Rochester for two more weeks. I couldn't resist, so drove up there that weekend. I ate at McDonalds in Inver Grove before heading over to the theatre. When I went up to the lady to get my ticket, I said, "I'll take one to the "Blair Bitch Project". Like "Star Wars" earlier in the summer, the screening was super packed. Now I knew what I was getting into (I had a subscription to Entertainment Weekly). I knew that the movie was a faux documentary shot very low budget, definitely not a conventional scary movie. I was quite satisfied with it, while some others actually booed as the credits rolled (they must have been expecting something more "Hollywood"). I headed home, happy to have seen it. A few months later, a friend said she had seen the movie with a couple of her friends. She said it was sad that the 3 college students had disappeared (she was actually under the impression that the movie was totally genuine). Holy shit! I couldn't believe that she bought it! I told her that the kids in the movie were alive and well. I'm sure it was much more scary, though, watching it believing that what you were seeing was totally real.

I'm gonna have to continue this entry in the next few days. 1999 was just too memorable to write about in one sitting.

Summer Fun

In the summer of '05 and '06, I greatly enjoyed watching a Fox reality show...hey, where are you going? It's returning for a 3rd season next week. Entitled "Hell's Kitchen", it stars British master chef Gordon Ramsay.

He can swear up a storm, but it's only because he's so passionate about making sure that a bad meal is never served in one of his restaurants. Here are some of his comments from last season:

Chef Ramsay: Fuck the lot of you!

Ramsay: So where's the fuckin' Turbot!?

Ramsay: You're going to blow fire in your face, you fucking donkey!

Ramsay: Tom has a big heart, unfortunately he's a crap cook.

Ramsay: If that was the last thing to eat in this country, I'd fucking starve.

Ramsay: (to Garrett after he only cooked one portion of quail instead of two) You're one portion short, you fucking donut.

Ramsay: (to Garrett after serving the lamb sauce) Thank you very much. Now fuck off, you fat useless sack of fucking Yankee-Dankee-Doodle shit.

Virginia: Do you like this apron?
Chef Ramsay: What does it say on there?
Virginia: Kiss the cook.
Chef Ramsay: Oh, shit.

Ramsay: Why'd you have to be so fucking rude?
Keith: Cause you're rude to me all the time.
Ramsay: So?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rookie NASCAR Driver Gets Lost


I was a paperboy for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press from the summer of '85 until the spring of '87. It allowed me to have plenty of spending money at my disposal to buy cassettes and go to movies. But since I was living in Winona and delivering a Twin Cities paper, I had to cover a lot of ground to deliver 45 papers (most preferred the Winona paper). I walked close to 2 miles each morning, every morning. I would get up at about 5:30 or 6:00am, a time when I knew the papers would be on my porch. If the papers weren't there yet, I would watch TV while I waited for them to arrive. Two of the shows I watched while waiting included "What's Happening!"

and "The White Shadow".

Once the papers arrived, I put them in my official Pioneer Press bag. Since the route took about an hour, I made sure to dress warm during the winter. On the coldest days, I would wear 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, and 2 hats (one for over my head, another a ski mask to cover my face). The bag could be fairly heavy as I started the route, but as I delivered the papers, the bag gradually became lighter (Sunday papers were the worst. Due to their bulky size, I always needed to make a trip or two back home to get more papers. Sometimes my stepdad Phil would drive me around to deliver the last of 'em).

One of the places I delievered to was the Watkins retirement home. It was great to warm up in there on the coldest days. However, the Watkins home was near the beginning of the route, so I usually wasn't too cold yet. About 2/3rds into the route, there was a house that had a small porch and, on the most severe days, I would silently enter it, leave the paper there, and then warm up for a minute or two. One guy always liked having his paper wrapped in a rubber band and then put on the top of his car so that it would be there when he left for work. This one freakin' house on Franklin, I had to climb all the way to the 3rd floor to deliver his paper. Winter days were extra difficult because most people hadn't shoveled their walk yet after a snowfall the night before.

Another thing that came with the job was collecting. This is where I would go to subscribers' houses to collect their payment for 2 weeks or a month of service. I probably did this about twice a week usually in the early evening. This was a rare chance to meet the people I was delivering to each day. One of the people I collected from said she was one of my dad's teachers in school and to say hi to him. A young lady had just come out of the shower and put a robe on when I was out one night. One of my subscribers (an older gent) passed on, so obviously his subscription was stopped.

Since this was before the internet, being a paperboy, I was one of the first to get the latest news on what was going on in the world. I decided to quit the route in the spring of '87. I had grown tired of getting up early every day of the year (though there was one time in which I went out of town with my mom and had someone cover for me for a weekend). As far as spending money, my dad offered me a job working in the parts department of his RV business.

One of my last days delivering was May 25, 1987 (exactly 20 years ago today). I was delivering one of my last papers on that morning and the date caught my attention. It was on May 25th, four years previously, that I had seen "Return of the Jedi" on opening day. It was exactly ten years to the day that the original "Star Wars" had come out (today is the 30-year anniversary of the release of "Star Wars"). I wondered if there would be any media coverage of this, so that evening I watched "Showbiz Today" on CNN with Bill Tush. Sure enough, they did mention it. I hadn't really been into "Star Wars" for a few years, but the anniversary renewed my interest. I went to Goltz Pharmacy and they had a special 10th anniversary salute to the Star Wars saga.

I wanted to see the movies again, so had my dad take me to the Best Buy in LaCrosse so I could buy my first VCR (a Symphonic!). I bought all 3 of the Star Wars movies (they each cost 29.99) and watched them constantly. I plastered my bedroom wall with Star Wars pictures and clippings (not unlike what the girls did after seeing "Titanic").

A few months later with mom expecting twin girls, Phil, mom, and I moved to a big house in Valley Oaks, a new subdivision on the southeast side of Winona.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I wasn't very social in high school. I had a friend or two, but generally didn't like (or know how) to "shoot the shit" with others, especially away from the classroom. That is why in all my years at Winona Senior High (pictured below), I never once ate lunch there.

While everyone else was eating, I chose to remain in the library and do some recreational reading. I was into the Beatles then, so read a lot of books about them. I also perused through the day's newspapers and the week's magazines. Oh, how I enjoyed this quiet time. To keep my appetite in check, I usually brought along some candy. On most days, Reese's Pieces could be found in my blue Members Only (hey, it was the 80's) jacket.

Besides avoiding the cafeteria, I also refused to go to pep rallies. Typically, an announcement would be made over the intercom that a "mandatory" pep rally was to take place at, say, 2:15pm in the gymnasium. Can you believe that? A mandatory pep rally? Talk about ridiculous. Sounds like something out of "A Clockwork Orange". Well, that just wasn't my bag. So 2:15 would come and my classmates would head to the gym. I would head for the exit doors. One time, a teacher asked where I was going, that there was a pep rally about to start. I had to think fast. I told him that I just had to go to the bathroom quick. I stayed in the can for a few minutes, then when the coast was clear, left the building and headed home.

I was a real rebel...

Gold Bond Spokesman Grudgingly Admits It Makes Your Balls Tingle

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why are the words Viagra and Vagina so similar?

The following is inspired by a post that Mags made this afternoon:

A couple years ago, I went out to eat with my friend, Art, and his girlfriend. It was Art's birthday and I managed to come up with a pretty good gag gift. Another friend had been prescribed some Viagra for a sexual dysfunction he had had. It passed and he no longer needed it, so I gift wrapped an unopened box and gave them to Art at Friday's. He saw the package labeled "Viagra" and thought it was empty, but was shocked when there were actually Viagra tablets inside that were still sealed. He was clueless as to how I could have obtained them unless I, well, you know.

The Boob Tube

I like watching telly. But I pretty much won't ever watch it during the day (I make a rare exception for some Sunday football games). It just seems almost sacrilegeous to watch TV when the sun is out and there are a million other things that one can do (like taking the dog for a walk, cleaning the house, doing yard work, running errands, going to movies). So I generally don't turn the TV on until after 7pm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gun Pays For Itself On First Day

4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend Trident Gum for their patients who chew gum

Going to the dentist. Not usually fun, but something you have to do. They usually give you a comfortable chair in which you are going to be quite uncomfortable. To make the time pass faster, I typically close my eyes when I'm in the dentists' chair. That's right. I open my mouth, but close my eyes. There's no reason for me to have my eyes wide open when it's my teeth that are the issue. If they didn't have that bright light, I might feel differently. I don't think dentists have a lot of patients who do this. After shutting my eyes for about 10 minutes, one tech asked if I was alright. Sorry. I'm not gonna open my eyes for you. Not only do I keep my eyes closed throughout the session, I also try to keep my muscles relaxed. I've noticed that they sometimes involuntarily tighten when I'm getting a cleaning. Every few minutes, I check my muscles to be sure that they are in a relatively relaxed state. These things make my appointment less of a pain. Now if only I could do something about the shitty music they play on the overhead speakers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Childhood

In 1980, a friend of my parents said they had seen, "The Empire Strikes Back" and that it was an excellent movie. I was 9 years old at the time and so one summer evening, they took me to see it. I was blown away, sitting in between my father and mother. I would look to the skies at night wondering about other worlds and if a real Luke and Leia existed somewhere. I collected the toys. The Kenner action figures, the Darth Vader collectors case, the Dagobah playset, the Tauntaun. I also bought some of the Hoth Micro Collection. I caught up with "Star Wars" for its rerelease in 1981. And I patiently waited for May 25, 1983. "Return of the Jedi" didn't come to my hometown on that day, so my mother drove me and my younger siblings to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to watch it at one of those big old theatres. The seating capacity was about 1000 people. Big theatre. My family sat near the back. I chose a seat closer to the front. In the lobby, they were selling the Official Collectors Guide for "Return of the Jedi" as well as buttons from the movie.

I remember how excited I was when I saw the first photos from "Jedi". Several months before the movie came out, there were pictures from it in "Starlog" magazine.

They whetted my appetite. What new adventures were to be had for my heroes? On that summer evening in 1983, I found out. I was then 12. I bought the soundtrack that same day before I saw the movie.

But most of my questions about "Jedi" had been answered before I went to see it on opening day. How was it that I knew all the major plot points of said pic before its release? Well, I had ordered the "Return of the Jedi" full-color storybook from my school a few weeks prior. I figured the book couldn't come out until the movie was released. Imagine my suprise when around May 20, my name was called by the teacher. He had the "Jedi" storybook for me. I was shocked. I looked at some of the pictures, but I didn't want to read much of the text. That would spoil things. Hours went by. Finally, I relented. So, sitting on my front porch, I read the children's storybook. It didn't reveal everything, just most of it. It was like talking to God. I was finally learning the answers to the questions I had been carrying around for years. Han was rescued. Yoda died. Vader was Luke's father. Vader died, but found redemption. I felt somewhat guilty for having read it, but to have the secrets of the universe ready to be revealed to you, that I could not resist. I just couldn't wait. I was still excited to see the movie, however, to see things actually transpire on screen and, thankfully, there were some scenes in the movie that weren't in that storybook, such as Anakin joining Yoda and Obi-Wan at the end of the movie. The next day was my last of elementary school and, needless to say, my childhood would soon be ending.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Early last year, I had heard a lot of good things about the movie "Brokeback Mountain". I had to find out what all the fuss was about. A friend of mine from Lewiston, Shanon, came to town one day and asked if I would be interested in seeing a movie. I told him I wouldn't mind seeing "Brokeback". He said he had heard a little bit about it and would be interested in going. So off to Cinemagic we went to catch a matinee. I knew that the film dealt with a homosexual relationship between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

I'm not sure what Shanon knew about the plot beforehand, but I wasn't gonna tell him the specifics and then have him refuse to go. We sat near the front of the theatre. The movie started and unfolded (as most movies do). The time came for Jake and Heath to have their batty boy scene and I noted Shanon's reaction. He basically couldn't watch the screen at that point, as if it was literally painful for him to watch. He looked away, off to the side. Once the scene ended, he was fine for the rest of the movie (other than the part where they passioniately kissed a little bit later on, oh, and the part where they jumped into the lake buck naked). Now I'm not homosexual, but I have nothing against it. Shanon, I think, might (though he doesn't have any problems with lesbians). In sum, though downbeat, I thought it was a great movie.

A week or two later, we went to the Macaroni Grill. It was me, Shanon, and my mom and dad. The MacGrill is an upscale Italian restaurant in which the waiter covers your table with a heavy duty type of paper as you are being seated. They also give you crayons so that if you want to write on the paper while waiting for your food, you can do so. When Shanon went to the bathroom, I wrote "Shanon loves Brokeback Mountain" right near his place setting. It took a while, but he noticed it and wanted it scribbled out as soon as possible. I wouldn't give him a crayon to do so, however. He got really P.O'd and demanded it (some of the other people observing wondered what the hell he was so bent out of shape about). I finally gave it to him and he crossed it out. He wasn't out of the woods yet, though.

Cut to a few months later. I had already seen "Scary Movie 4" 3 times, but wanted to see it again. Shanon hadn't yet seen it and was more than willing to go to an evening show. About 15 minutes into the movie was a scene that parodied "Brokeback". Shanon, knowing where the scene was going, said "Oh God..." and turned away his head as two black men undressed each other and then applied lotion to their bodies.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brett Favre Demands Trade To 1996 Packers

GREEN BAY—Three-time MVP and undisputed future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, disappointed with the Packers' refusal to aggressively pursue receiver Randy Moss and frustrated with his team's apparent indifference to making immediate improvements on offense, is demanding a trade to the team he feels will give him the best shot at winning a last Super Bowl ring before his retirement: the 1996 Green Bay Packers.

Early reports had indicated that Favre was so upset that his team failed to close a draft-day deal for Randy Moss with the Oakland Raiders that his agent called Packers GM Ted Thompson and requested a trade to a team with capable receivers.

"Nothing against Donald [Driver] and Greg [Jennings], but if I can't throw it to Randy Moss, then I want to throw it to Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, and Don Beebe," Favre said. "I bet with them, I'd have more of a chance of throwing for, say, 3,899 yards and 39 touchdowns, with maybe as few as 13 interceptions. Who knows? That kind of production could even get me another MVP award, although of course that's much less important than leading the '96 Pack to another Super Bowl victory."

"Mark Chmura, though, I don't know," Favre admitted. "Decent tight end, but something about him isn't quite right."

Although the Packers had no immediate comment, head coach Mike McCarthy said the team would be "heartbroken" to part with its greatest player, although in deference to Favre's long service, and for the good of the current team, they would be willing to consider a trade package including a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft and the 1996 Brett Favre.


One of my favorite records as a youngster was this beauty from 1978:

It's like those "Now" albums they have now where hit songs by different singers are put onto one disc. Some of the songs that I could listen to at any time by having this record included: "Dancing Queen" by ABBA, KC and the Sunshine Band's "I'm Your Boogie Man", Alan O'Day's controversial classic, "Undercover Angel", KISS's smokin' "Calling Dr. Love", Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It", and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love".

One afternoon when we got back home from a trip to Winona, I was singing a Donna Summer disco song. Here is a rough transcript of what happened:

Tom (singing) "Do you wanna get funky with me, do you wanna?"

Dad: "What did you say?"

Tom: "I said, do you wanna get funky?"

Dad: "Well, don't say that word".

Tom: "What word? Funky?"

Dad: "Yeah".

I then shrugged my shoulders and went into the house.

I now know that he was afraid if I said that word at school, people might think I was saying another that sounds awfully similar (check this out for someone who made that very mistake).

All I can say about it now is...

Funk it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Live to Eat

I's been tagged by da108 to tell all of you my 5 favorite places to eat grub. So here goes:

1. Friday's (for 2 reasons: the food is awesome and in there, it's ALWAYS Friday)

2. Wendy's (I just cannot get enough of they's chicken sandwich and if I'm not in the mood for fries, there's always the caesar side salad. I love bringing a mag (not mags :P) there and perusing it as I try to eat slowly. I'll proably go there after work today)

3. Da Outback (why? Because without fail, I can feel the aftertaste of their caesar salad in my mouth hours after I've ingested it plus their burgers are basically the best in town)

4. Olive Garden (their house salad kicks ass, no two ways about it, and I've enjoyed their pizza for the past decade)

5. Macaroni Grill (their meatball lasagna is the bomb plus they serve my favorite non-soda: Hi-C Fruit Punch)

I'm not gonna tag anybody (I'm so damn hungry after writing this, I can't bear to read anyone else's thoughts about food)

Lucky Fuzz Spider

After not going to a movie for about 3 weeks, I have resumed my trips to the picture show attending 3 films in the last 4 days. On Saturday afternoon, I went with my beloved to the Eric Bana-Drew Barrymore gambling drama, "Lucky You". It wasn't the greatest (you have to really like Texas Hold 'Em to get much out of it), but it was fine for an afternoon show (B-). I agree with this reviewer's take:

"To me, poker has never seemed compelling as a spectator sport, although its TV popularity indicates that a sizable portion of the viewing population disagrees with me. Director Curtis Hanson does his best to generate suspense as each new hand plays out, but this becomes a case of too much of the "sport" in a movie that is at heart a relationship drama. There's no doubt that the movie needs to show some action at the poker tables - that's where some of the most intense character development takes place - but less would have been more effective. At over two hours, the running length is bloated and there are times when the film bogs down."

On Sunday, I went on my own to the British comedy-satire, "Hot Fuzz". It pokes sophisticated fun at American action movies and did quite a good job of it (A-). I typically enjoy British movies for some reason (I may have been one, perhaps a serf, in a past life). The next film I plan to go to, "28 Weeks Later", is also a Brit flick.

And then last night, I went to, "Spidey 3". Not too many people there since it was a late show and the movie has been out for more than 10 days. Most reviews said it wasn't as good as the first 2, but I figured I'd give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were great as usual (there is a heartbreaking scene that takes place between them on a bridge).

I really enjoyed the love story aspect of the film (based on some things going on with me right now). The fight scenes were almost an afterthought for me. I guess I'm just more of a fan of character development. Great movie, though (A-). And its 2 hour 20 minute run time really allowed me to just relax and let the story unfold. Ron Howard's daughter (hot!) played a love interest of Peter's and there was a fantastic comedic moment where Peter gets to indulge his "other" side (he comes out of a clothing shop and, dressed to the nines, does a dance totally ripped from "Saturday Night Fever").

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Report: 92 Percent Of Souls In Hell There On Drug Charges

HELL—A report released Monday by the Afterlife Civil Liberties Union indicates that nine out of 10 souls currently serving in Hell were condemned on drug-related sins.

Pool Party

This is one intelligent dog.

Monday, May 14, 2007


In the early 80's, there was many an afternoon that our family went to the Sirloin Stockade after Sunday services.

The restaurant had a cow just like the one pictured above attached to its main sign. It was located just a few blocks from our house of worship, so many of those in our congregation would be there as well. It was similar to an all-you-can-eat buffet (you grabbed a tray, silverware, and pop and then ordered the buffet and/or a meal). I pretty much always chose a burger and fries. On one occasion, while my dad was enjoying steak, he said that I didn't know what good food was.

He hoped that when I grew up, I would appreciate the value of a good steak. However, it never happened. I still love burgers. They're more interesting to me. Burgers aren't just meat. There's pickles, mustard, onions, cheese, and lettuce. The combination excites me and my taste buds. It even gives me a chubby from time to time.

At the end of the meal, us kids loved going to get some ice cream out of the soft serve machine. Yummy! On our way out, Dad would go up to pay the bill and always took a toothpick from the dispenser for the ride home.

A few years later, the restaurant changed its name to the Golden Corral, then a few years after that to Prime Cut. In the 90's, its name changed again, this time to the Winona Steakhouse. Despite the name changes, the restaurant stayed the same. The last time I was there was about 3 years ago. It was my birthday and I ate there with my mom, dad, and wife. A good time was had by all.

It finally went out of business about 2 years ago and is now a crematorium. That's right. They're still using the ovens, only now they're cooking a different kind of meat.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Green Means Go

I was driving into work this morning and had the Mother's Day card that I'm giving to my mom later today with me in the car. I figured I'd put her name on the envelope and sign it when I hit the red lights on my drive into town. Wouldn't you know it, I didn't get one fuckin' red light. Green, green, green, at every intersection. I was literally starting to get pissed that I was not getting any red lights. If I hadn't had that card to sign, how much do you want to bet I would've hit a shitload of red lights?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mojo Part II

The other book that helped me out bigtime in '93 was purchased at Goltz Pharmacy. I had been thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a book that told you how to live, how to be happy?" (not the Bible, though, something more hip and less Old Testamenty). I already had the hang of positive self-talk. What next? I lived right across the street from Goltz and was perusing their paperbacks one afternoon. I might have been waiting to get a prescription refilled. I noticed this book on the shelf:

It was a best seller that dealt with spirituality, life, love, you know, all the good stuff. I read the back cover summary and was sold. Here are some excerpts from the book:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. And as we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

"In order to ensure our progress toward the goal of enlightenment, the Holy Spirit has a highly individualized curriculum for everyone. Every encounter, every circumstance can be used by Him for His purposes. He translates between our perfect cosmic self, and our worldly insanity. He enters into the illusion and leads us beyond it. He uses love to create more love, and He responds to fear as a call for love."

"Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don't know it."

"We're all assigned a piece of the garden, a corner of the universe that is ours to transform. Our corner of the universe is our own life — our relationships, our homes, our work, our current circumstances —exactly as they are. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity, perfectly planned by the Holy Spirit, to teach love instead of fear."

"Relationships are the Holy Spirit's laboratories in which He brings together people who have the maximal opportunity for mutual growth."

"Relationships are meaningful because they are opportunities to expand our hearts and become more deeply loving."

"All attack is a call for help."

Basically, the book teaches that love is the answer to everything in life.

The five best qualities to have in order to be happy are to be joyful, loving, accepting, blessing, and grateful. And one shouldn't "do" things in order to "be" happy. One should "be" happy and then go from there. So what say you? Yeah, you, sitting at your computer there. Do you choose to be happy right here, right now or do you have better things to do?

One of my all-time favorite jokes

Did you hear about the accountant who had constipation?

He had to use a pencil because he couldn't budget (budge it).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


In the spring of 2003, I was conversing with my neighbor in our backyard. We were just shooting the shit. There were a couple small birds flying nearby. All of a sudden, one went right into our garage through the back door (I always left the back door open so that Brandy could go in and out as she pleased).

My neighbor was like, "Whoa..." Over the next couple days, I noticed that the birds had made a nest near the ceiling of our garage on the top of the garage door opener. I didn't mind. Fact is, since I live in a newer subdivision, there aren't many trees for the birds to choose from to nest on.

It was cool watching my cat, Mayo's, reaction to the birds. She would go on top of my car in the garage and make that movement with her mouth that cats do when they spy birds. She sometimes would even get on her hind legs to get even closer. One afternoon, we got home and the side garage door was partially ajar (we must've accidently left it open). Both birds were in our house. I was able to get them to head back into the garage. Time passed and the chicks were born. It was pretty cool hearing them chirp in the mornings. One day, they all flew the coop, never to return. But I was proud of the fact that I, in some small way, helped them get started.

The same type of birds returned in '04, '05, and '06. I welcomed them back and even took some pictures and video of them. I had a handyman come out in the late summer of '06 to do some odd jobs for us. He said the nest should be removed. He did and I was fine with the fact that the birds wouldn't be returning. I even started closing the back garage door when I went to work in the morning.

Imagine my joy when I saw a couple birds in the garage this morning. I left the back door open so they could come and go as they wished. I'm not sure if they're gonna build a nest, but whatever they want is fine with me. Zoe (our Pomeranian) is hilarious. Whenever the birds are flying around in the backyard, she chases after them as if to say, "Hey, quit flying over my turf!"


One of my favorite memories of our Saint Bernard, Brandy, was when I brought some KFC home. I sat on the couch and opened up my box of food. I let Brandy take a look inside. She immediately put an entire wing in her mouth, bones and all. I tried to get it from her, but she swallowed the entire thing before I had a chance to do so.

Another similar incident occurred in 1999 when I lived in the Hallindale apartments near St Marys. I was walking both Zoe 1 and Brandy and Bran noticed the remains of an ice cream cone on the ground. It was mostly just the cone with a McDonalds wrapper around the bottom of it. When she put it in her mouth, I tried to get it out to take the wrapper off, but, again, she swallowed the whole thing before I had the chance.

Another time at my present home, I left a box of Old Dutch potato chips on the kitchen counter. The next morning, when I woke up, the box was open on the floor next to the couch. One of the airtight bags had been chewed open, maybe both, and and many of the chips had been eaten. I was wondering how she did it, but quickly realized that the only way possible was for her to get on her hind legs. Sometime later, I actually saw her get up on her 2 back legs to drag something off the counter. Needless to say, I didn't leave any goodies up there after that.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I resumed my alcohol "experiments" this past Friday. This time, the scene of the crime was a relatively new bar called Boomers (named for Baby Boomers, of course). I arrived there in the early evening. A number of my coworkers were already "getting the party started". As soon as I sat down, I ordered a fuzzy navel. I conversed a bit with the others. We were sitting right next to the jukebox. I love jukeboxes. I used to enjoy picking out songs at pizza places like Godfather's and Pizza Hut, but they have since gotten rid of the machines. The one at Boomers was the shit, however! There were at least 300 CD's that one could choose from. I played a few of my favorite songs: "Maneater" by Nelly Furtado, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson, and a song that I heard on XM radio at work a couple times last week and really enjoy. I kinda missed out on the song when it came out a few years ago. It's by Christina Aguilara and simply called, "Dirrty".

Here's the chorus of it:

Gonna get a little unruly
Get it fired up in a hurry
Wanna get dirrty
It's about time that I came to start the party

Ooh sweat dripping over my body
Dancing getting just a little naughty
Wanna get dirrty (oh, oh)
It's about time for my arrival

A short time later, a couple people got up to dance and I ordered another navel. I had a light buzz going as the night wore on. Nothin' too big. Perhaps next time, I'll go further. Baby steps. Now who else wants to get a little bit naughty?

Friday, May 04, 2007


I usually carry about 30 dollars of cash on me at all times. I typically use the money for when I go out to fast-food eateries such as Wendy's, Taco John's, or Godfather's Pizza. The moolah also comes in handy if I want to pick up a greeting card or a jar of my favorite lip balm, Carmex. Inevitably, I will get change back from these transactions. I'll hold onto quarters, but I get rid of dimes, nickels, and pennies as fast as possible. Wendy's and Godfather's have small containers, for donations, by their registers. Without fail, I put all my small change in there. If there is no such thing nearby, then upon leaving the store, I drop (or throw) it on the ground. I could put it into the 2-foot Pepsi bank bottle we have at home, but this way, I know a small smile will come to the face of kids (and adults) as they excitedly pick up this "found" money minutes later.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


In 1980, the religious organization that my family and I belonged to published the above book. At the ago of 10, I was quite interested in what it took to be happy. Therefore, I devoured the book in just a few days. One of the chapters I was most interested in tackling had to do with the subject of sex. There was a certain sexual activity I engaged in from time to time even at that young age and I was curious to know what the book had to say about it. Well, as it turns out, the book was against it (I forgot the exact reasons, but one was that they considered it to be "unclean"). I was disappointed the rest of that day knowing that the religion I belonged to disapproved of this seemingly innocuous activity. However, was that enough to get me to stop, to resist Mother Nature?

In a word: no.

Look at the last 6 letters of happiness. What does that tell you?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


In the summer of '93, I was unhappy, quite unhappy. Though I had friends, I was depressed. I just couldn't get my mojo back, so I talked to my mom who suggested seeing a counselor. I set up an appointment and saw someone at the Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center.

I talked about my problems, about my feelings. I was also put on some "mood enhancers". The therapist said it would take several weeks for them to take effect. In the meantime, she suggested I work on my self-talk (the things I think to myself). She encouraged me to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. I found a book that was extremely helpful in this regard at the Little Professor Book Store in the Winona Mall.

The following is an excerpt from the book:

"The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your "cognitions," or thoughts. A cognition refers to the way you look at things--your perceptions, mental attitudes, and beliefs. It includes the way you interpret things--what you say. about something or someone to yourself. You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment.

Let me illustrate this. How have you been feeling as you read this? You might have been thinking, "Cognitive therapy sounds too good to be true. It would never work for me." If your thoughts run along these lines, you are feeling skeptical or even discouraged. What causes you to feel that way? Your thoughts. You create those feelings by the dialogue you are having with yourself about this book!

Conversely, you may have felt a sudden uplift in mood because you thought, "Hey, this sounds like something which might finally help me." Your emotional reaction is generated not by the sentences you are reading but by the way you are thinking. The moment you have a certain thought and believe it, you will experience an immediate emotional response. Your thought actually creates the emotion."

One of the most memorable passages of the book involves how to proceed when you don't "feel" like doing something. It suggests that instead of waiting until you feel like doing something, to just go do it. Usually after a few minutes of doing it, the motivation (which you didn't feel before) will magically appear.

There was another book that I purchased a few months later which was also extremely helpful. I will give you the scoop on it next week.