Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cock of the walk, baby.

The Fox and I like to play a game from time to time. We try to figure out who the actor we'd most like to see turn up unexpectedly at a major function (i.e. wedding) would be. We've bantered a spell on this topic, and some great names (Buscemi, Duvall, Farrell), and some odd choices (Winona?).

But time and time again, I come back to the tried and true.

Christopher Walken.

For me, I would have most liked to see him randomly at one of the bars at my wedding. Sipping a cocktail, perhaps eating some shrimp. We'd look at each other, nod slightly, and go about our ways.

For those that question why, try this on for size.

Or, this.

Or this.

Or...this, if you like CW but are in a Kevin Pollack mood.

My God! That's the most horrible thing I've ever heard! What do you call that?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

All Hail, Orion the Hunter!

So there I was, standing the the Hall of Flags at the State House Thursday night, shooting the breeze with the Senator for Weymouth, when he mentions he's gotta run to the Hard Rock Cafe. He invites me, Carmen, and our two friends to come on over, there's a shindig going on for Barry Goudreau.

And I go, "no shit!"

And he goes, "no shit!"

See, the last time I ran into Barry was while waiting for the bathroom line to die down at the local. It was the last time I saw Brad Delp alive.

So I says, "hey, thanks, but we're getting sushi. Please tell him I said happy birthday."

And he says, "will do. Rock on."

Small world, huh?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Vant To Suck Your Blood. (no, veally, I do!)

Happy Halloween, all. What would it be without a list?

5 Horror Movies Ya Just Gotta See

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ain't we got fun...

"I bet if you put bits of bacon on a strip of bacon, you could travel back in time."

-Jim Gaffigan

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One of the good ones.

Someday, when DC is safely in the rear-view mirror, I will think back to this tree that lives in front of our condo and smile. I admit, the first year I saw this thing I thought the world was coming to an end, and this was the start of it all. It's actually kinda creepy how the flowers explode out of the branches. This year, though, it's all good, mang. The tree turned into a riot of purple as it always does, the bark is black from recent rains, and the contrast is wonderful. When all is said and done, I will miss this tree.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Michigan Bob, d.b.a. ...

While poor Heather is suffering in preggers-town, I'm gleefully drinking a Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, thinking of nifty alternatives to Michigan Bob's moniker, should the need for alternatives arise. Here we go.

1. Remington Bronson Shannon: Brings the best of two worlds together, Remington firearms and Charles Bronson.

2. Fuego "Diamond" Shannon: A nod to the Jazz Singer with a latino flair.

3. Angus Blackjack Shannon: With a name like this, he'd probably require an eye patch. One with a Sox logo on it. He can tell people he once killed a Yanks fan just to watch him die. Plus, with the initials "A.B.S.", chicks will subconsciously think of the braking system in vehicles and feel safer with him around.

4. Macky "Guns" Shannon: No comment needed, other than to say if anyone made the mistake of singing "Mack The Knife" to this kid, he could go home, get daddy's gun, use it, and then use daddy's black passport for travel to a non-extradition country. It would just add to the legend of Guns Shannon.

5. Delicious Shannon Ice: Q-Town has been without a bona-fide pimp for too long.

6. Mr. Chips: Let 'em figure THAT one out.

7. Steven Perry Shannon: Ode to a great. (OK, I admit. I might have outdone myself with that one.)

8. Judas "Ratt" Shannon: Might as well get 'em all in there in one name.

And if it's a girl...

1. Cherries "Poppin'" Shannon: Her somewhat less-cool entourage could occasionally evoke her catch-phrase by saying, "Hey, Cherries...what's poppin'?" To which she would casually reply, "chillin' like a villan while I'm illin' with the willin'." The proper response..."word up, sucka."

2. Dopetastic Shannon Rock: Girls can be pimps too...

3. "All Skate" Shannon: She could perpetually get around on roller skates sipping a smoothie of some sort. Guys would chase after her, but she wouldn't know because she'd have her Walkman on listening to some innocent music, grooving in her own innocent way, sipping on an innocent smoothie of some sort. Of course, most guys would dig that, and that's when they may or may not notice Diplomat Security Dad in an non-descript sedan behind them with a high-powered, silenced firearm trained on the center of their back. Yep. They'd all say, "Old man Shannon, he'll shoot your fucking spine out."

No need to thank, Heather. We can hoist up a shot or two when this is all over and toast to Judas' good health.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sh*tstain, DC strikes again.

To maintain a dog park in Sh*tstain, DC, the following conditions must be met;

1. There can be no evidence of rats within a six-block radius.
2. Every single tenant within visual range of the space must agree in writing to having a dog park. Every single one.

Sure. We can have a dog park. Simply meet these two main requirements.

Oh, by the way, this requirement is only for dog parks. Restaurants, schools, and day-care centers do not have to meet these requirements.

Get me the hell out of dodge. This place stinks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Last seen with Michigan Bob.

Well. The Carmenator and I returned from Beantown, and our St. Paddy's sojurn. As you might expect, it was wacky fun. Although, there were a couple of changes this year; inevitable signs of aging. We ended the night eating Lynwood's Cafe pizza instead of yakking in someone's garbage can. The Carmenator spent the majority of the day in Cambridge visiting a grad school chum and her sick baby. And...Heather was with child. Which, of course, meant very little to no boozy-booze for Heather. Even Chuck was cutting back a bit. Not entirely, but a bit.

No such actions by the Fox or me. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. As you might expect, thirteen hours of drinking can have an effect on a fella. And it did us. For those that know us, it meant insight and commentary beyond belief or reproach. And so, in our hours of madness, Fox and I came up with names for Heather and Chuck's youngin-to-be.


For a boy, Michigan Bob, The Q-town Dandy.
For a girl, Beauty Shop Shannon.

I know. Genius. Kirk got a little antsy-in-the-pantsy about it, but he'll come around. He'll see the genius in our ways. So will Chuck. And Heather. They'll see.

They'll all see...

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Ok. Check out the diagram above. It's of an average Washingtonian. See anything missing? Yep! That's right! Reason. It's missing damn reason.

Why am I especially bitter today? Simple. Today was the day Washingtonians decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Parade and everything. Not the seventeenth, when it actually occurs. Nope. Today. I could see if St' Paddy's fell on a weekday. Then it might make sense. But this year it's on a Saturday. What gives, idiot land?

F*cking idiots. Yikes.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mee so happy.

Four reasons.

1. I saw a Cardinal, an Oriole, AND a Blue Jay recently. It wont be long now. (April 4th, to be exact. 4pm. You want some more, you maniacs?)

2. As I grow older, I am getting more in touch with understanding my love of Foxy Boxing.

3. Two weeks until I'm back at my local with my friends drinking incessantly, and putting my filthy man-paws all over my wife under the guise of "caring."

4. I'm off to celebrate number 4; half-price Belgian beers at L'Enfant. Whoop whoop!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A common mistake.

A very common mistake is made around these parts almost every day.

Virginia is not for lovers.

Virginia is for idiots.

I am stunned, almost on a daily basis, at how inept the population of that state is. They can't add. They can't spell. They sure as all f*ck-get-out can't drive or park.

Case in point; Carmencita and I went to the Apple store in Bethesda to get some support for the fancy new Mac, and we were sitting at a red light at a main intersection. The cross-street was two lanes; one to turn left only, and one for turning right or going straight. A smallish SUV approached the light, stopped completely (during the green light, mind you), and the driver got out of the car to talk to a friend waiting to cross the street against the light. Unbelievable. Can you guess where the idiot was from? Yep. Virginia!

More evidence; a woman came into the bank asking to withdraw some money. I said, sure, just go to the window and withdraw some money, but make sure you present ID to do so. She said, "well, that's going to be a problem. It's my husband's account." When I replied that, if she wasn't listed on the account, she would be unable to withdraw money, she became hostile and told me, "sir, when you have been married as long as I have, you can tell me what I can't do with my husband's money." She was NOT on the account, and wound up complaining to the corporate office of my unwillingness to take her at her word that her husband authorized the withdrawl (even though she would not let me call him.)

And, if these weren't enough, I have one more that is indisputable. Period. End of story...

I had someone from Richmond bet me $50 that Plymouth Rock was located in Pennsylvania. Honest to God.

"You sure about this? You know where I'm from, right?"

"Yep. Fifty bucks. Plymouth Rock is in Pennsylvania."

"Just out of curiosity, how did it wind up there?"

"The Pilgrims carried it with them after they landed."

"So, let me get this straight. The Pilgrims landed on the rock, and then transported it to Pennsylvania? Have I got it right? Upon landing, they decided to travel inland, and took the rock with them?"

"That's correct."

"So...what about all the Pilgrims that stayed in Massachusetts? And what about the rock everyone "pretends" is Plymouth Rock?"

"They probably put a fake rock there so people wouldn't go looking for the real one in Pennsylvania."

"Uh...you might want to look that one up."

"Nope. I'm certain."

"Tony, last shot, man. I mean it. I'm from there. As school kids, we would go visit it. Are you SURE Plymouth Rock is in Pennsylvania?"



Five minutes later I was $50 richer.

Get me the hell out of here...

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I went to see Reno 911!:Miami this afternoon.

Two thoughts.

1. If you enjoy the show, the movie is just like the show; it doesn't pretend to be something it's not. There are many plot lines taken from the show, so you'll enjoy it.

2. I can't get over how much Kermit looks like Junior. Yikes.

On a separate note, I tried Leinenkugel's Summer Wheat beer tonight. Dee-lish. Give it a shot, all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Innocence lost.

The wife and I went to see The Breach this afternoon. It was a great movie, but a wierd experience. Sitting in a movie theater in DC, watching a movie based in DC, I realized how little I know about politics. As events unfolded in the movie, pockets of chatter blossomed in the theater regarding the veracity of the event. And not just a comment or two, but many; "that building isn't located there", "the FBI would NEVER do that", "that's not standard procedure", and so on. Impressive and annoying at the same time, I guess. It made me acknowledge my inferiority where matters of government are concerned. And then came the second acknowledgement...

I don't care to understand it.

I don't need to know how laws or sausages are made. No matter. I understand what the operational parameters of laws and sausages are, and am content to abide by them; obeying laws while eating sausages. I don't feel lesser for it, despite the suffocating expectation of this berg imposed on its constituents.

The majority of the comments were made in the spirit of, "even I know that, the movie makers wouldn't last a minute in this town if they can't even correctly elaborate on surveillance protocols. Pshaw!" People were using the story and it's details to deem themselves superior because they work in that building, or they know so-an-so, and blah blah blah. This town trades on who you know, and how can I benefit from that connection. Period. It's so bad, it has even pervaded seeing a flick with yer chick on a holiday afternoon.

So, DC, I ask that you keep your opnions of everything to yourself, lest I utter one or two of my own.

(p.s., it really was a good talkie. I suggest seeing it. Also, we went to a restaurant called "Matchbox" afterwards. I'll do a Nibble Note on it at my chow-site, www.mysplendidtable.blogspot.com, should anyone find themselves for want of a good gourmet pizza joint in Washington.)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"List 5 books that played and important role in your childhood and explain why."

Ugh. It's amazing how just one simple sentence can wreak havoc on your soul and make you feel all old and shite. Thanks a bunch, Fox.

Well, time to 'Cowboy up,' I suppose. (Incidentally, I heard a rumor of signing Juan Gone? Huh?)

The Five Most Influential Books of my Childhood

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rudyard Kipling

Mr. Kipling taught me to love mongooses and hate cobras. Years later, these lessons still serve me, having befriended several mongooses (the most notable, Oscar, a good friend of Nipples), and laid the smack down on a cobra or two when called for (I had to dispose of one just the other day. Carmen and I were having a cocktail at a spot downtown. I went to the can, and when I returned, there was this cobra in a blue gabardine suit makin' moves on my lady! He's sittin' on the barstool all cool-like, drinking a vodka gibson and saying things like, "oooh, baby, if I had hands I'd sex you up real good." Well, I put a stop to that toot-sweet! I went up and told him there was a mongoose outside spreading a rumor that his mother was a whore. By the time he figured out my ruse, we had left. F*cking cobras; they fall for that every time.)

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Anyone who read this when they were young and deny any influence on their reading habits going forward is simply out of thier mind. This epic changed everything for everyone everywhere forever. Superlatives aside, I was one of three classmates in high school who passed notes to each other in Sindarin. Dîn broniant, estathar aen Tolkien!

The Amityville Horror, Jay Anson.

Yeah, I know. It explains a lot, doesn't it? I first read Amityville when I was around seven, and it did absolutely nothing for me. I read it again at age nine, and it scared the crap out of me for years to come. (I'm not kidding, either. I didn't drop another deuce until I was 11. It's documented.) But I loved it. I loved being scared in that reading kind of way; where you know you're safe, but you don't really know. I think it was reading this book, coupled with convincing my parents to let me stay up one night to watch The Birds that sent me off on my path of loving horror.
4. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

The whole series did it for me, but Wardrobe is the special one for me. As a kid, my mom would take me to the bookstore and get me books whenever I wanted. The only requirement was that I had to finish the book she bought before I could get another one. I remember getting this book, starting in the car, and finishing it right after supper. I read all seven books in a week and a half or so. I devoured them. Aslan was such a regal character. I later read The Screwtape Letters, and while it is completely a worthwhile read, it's a bit much at age seven.

5. The Cricket In Times Square, George Selden

I call every mouse I see Tucker. Those that have read the book know why.

Other considerations...

There are almost too many to list. I partially self-taught myself to read at age three or so, and have never stopped (my mom has a great story of my using her bedroom's bathroom, and coming out asking what a "menstrual cycle" was, having read all the boxes in her basket next to the bathroom. tee hee hee.)

Here are a few.

How To Eat Fried Worms, The Outsiders, The Pushcart War, Charlotte's Web, all Dr. Seuss (even though my favorite was a book showing the artwork that didn't make his books. Messed up, he was!), Animal Farm, Cujo, The Catcher In The Rye, and a children's book about a turtle who started walking aroud the world. He eventually got up so much speed, he hit a ramp and went into orbit. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the title. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Those were the days...

So there I was on the treadmill at the gym tonight (yeah! the gym! Me! WHOOP! WHOOP! Tee hee hee! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)



So I was on the treadmill, schlocking through the 5k run I do thrice a week, and I was jamming to my iPod. Earlier, I had uploaded several of my favorite Ozzy, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden discs. I wanted a serious stream of energy whilst killing myself.

God, I didn't realize how much I missed that music, nor how far from it I had strayed.

I miss all of it; Van Halen, Dokken, Iron Maiden, Led Zepplin, Judas Priest, Slayer, Megadeth, old Metallica, et cetera.

And, gosh darn it, I'ma gonna listen to more of it. Searing guitars, massive hair, non-sensical lyrics (Were heading for venus /and still we stand tall/Cause maybe theyve seen us and welcome us all/With so many light years to go/ and things to be found/I'm sure that well all miss her so) and all the wonderful trappings that go with it. I'm going for it all.

Let the metal renaissance begin.

All skate!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Not so sorry...

Yep. I gave it to a completely unsuspecting Starschmuck's "barista" who tried to tell me their espresso was 100% decaffinated. (For those in the know, it's impossible to completely decaf a bean. Just can't do it. Someday, ask me how I know this.)

Way I figure it, he had it comin' to him.

Monday, February 05, 2007


What, exactly, do you do with a five-spot that has spent almost 35 minutes next to your naked arse?

I found myself in just this predicament this afternoon when I stood, face-to-face, with the intended recipient of this ass-cash...and realized I wasn't going to give it to him.

It's true; the purported jerk was, upon further investigation, simply a curmudgeon.

And I owe him an apology.

You know who I speak of; book store jerkface-turned-authentic-curmudgeon. Here's how it went down.

I went to Eastern Market specifically for this evil deed. And to shop for some paperbacks I couldn't find at any other used bookstore. I felt ok about this because, after all, I needed some reason to give him the dirty, dirty money, right?

So I entered the shop, steeling my nerves for another brusque 'greeting.' What I got was,





hello? Shit!

"uh, hi."

"Welcome. Fiction is upstairs; non-fiction, downstairs."

"uh...thanks." (my resolve was cracking.)

I went upstairs to re-group. Forty minutes later, I had a pile of seven or eight novels. Time to move downstairs to look at their cooking reference and baseball books. I tempered my resolve; we were to cross paths again. I walked past his desk.

"Find everything ok?"

"What the f*ck happened to you?" I asked. (Well, no. I didn't say that. I wanted to, but I decided not to show him all my cards yet.)

"uh...yeah, thanks. Where are the baseball books?" I was setting him up for a trap! I knew precisely where the baseball books were. I was simply goading him into acting like a jerk again. Genius!

"Downstairs to the right."

I went downstairs to the right. Sure enough, the baseball books were there. (Wait, I knew that already! Why was he being so nice?) Enough thought. Enough talk. Time to execute Operation "Give Jerk Ass-Cash." I retrieved the now-cursed money. We had spent the last half-hour getting "real close" if you catch my drift. My butt now had a 2 7/8" x 6" chilly spot where Lincoln was just moments ago. No worries, though; it was off to wield a unique jihad on he who would insult the bill's master.

I grabbed The Longest Slump Ever, and headed upstairs, prepared for the endgame. We came face-to-face.

"See the game last night?"

"uh...yeah" (God! What was happening here?)

"That Manning, he sure is a good one, huh?"

"uh...yeah." (This is bad.)

"Well, one good thing, though. Now we can move on to baseball, right?"

"uh...yeah." (Aw, shit...)

"Hopefully we'll get to see the yankees fall again, huh?"

"uh...yeah." (ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! He hates the yanks! Operation GJAC is a NO-GO!)

"Will that be cash?"

"uh..." (I was at the fail-safe point, the moment of truth, the true event-horizon of the mission.)

"uh..." (I knew what had to be done.)

"uh..no, thanks. Do you take American Express?"

"Sure do."

I handed him my card, and let my adreneline level lower. I tucked the money in a back pocket.

"Have a great day. Stay warm!"

Yeah. Sure, pal. I'll stay warm.

I wished him the same as I left the building.

So, there it is. I couldn't do it. I was wrong and I knew it. So, Mr. Man, I apologize for mis-judging you. And, at least, I cemented my opinion that Capitol City Books is the best of the bunch out there in DC.

And as for the stinky money resting in my back pocket?

Well...I think I'll get a latte at Starschmucks tomorrow morning before work.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Excellent ideas...

Thanks to all who responded to my last post regarding how to mitigate a bookstore turd. There were many excellent ideas, but Heather's was the best.

I quote, "Take $5, rub it across your ass a few times (before you leave the house, please) and pay him with that. Or, better yet, rim it!"

Thy will be done, Heather.

A full report to follow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In a bind (of sorts)...

What to do.

You see this place above? It's Capitol Hill Books; located just outside the Eastern Market in southeast DC. For those unfamiliar, Eastern Market is an indoor/outdoor market servicing all your fresh veggies, meat, flora, and baking or cooking needs. It a great place where families run kiosks of every kind. You can get a fat old hot dog for $1.50, and a pound of thickly cut bacon for $4.00 (and this is serious shit, this bacon. No messing around whatsoever.) The market is a wonderful place to futz around for a couple of hours, get what you need for dinner or the week, and take it all in over a pint or a cup of coffee or tea. CHB is next to it; one of many small restaurants and shoppes to be enjoyed. It all makes for a great Sunday afternoon.

When you go in CHB, it's exactly as it appears from the outside, and pretty much as you would hope from an old used bookstore; the place is simply festooned in books. The front window is as the whole place is. Wherever there isn't a human body or a tiny bit of carpet to walk on, there are books. Thousands of wonderful books strewn over three floors to get lost in. I love it. I love to get lost in the cramped aisles for hours, searching out the next great read. I spend roughly $50 per month in $3.50-$6.00 books, and I love it. There's only one problem.

The owner is a jerk.

Well, I presume he's the owner. He a gentleman of some age, and every time I have ever been in there, he's sitting just inside the door, reading something; so, I presume he is Morton "Jim" Toole, as the card he hands you reads, the owner.

Why is he a jerk? When you walk in, he doesn't say hello. He doesn't say welcome, or any other sort of salutation. He doesn't even bother to lift his head from his reading. He simply says, "fiction's upstairs, reference is downstairs." That's it. It would be cute in a curmudgeonly way if he was an actual curmudgeon. He's not. He's a jerk, and I hate giving him my money. My father works too damn hard at giving people the best possible experience in our family camera store to take care of his family to patronize some, well, "Toole" that can't bother to give you the time of day when you are trying to support his establishment.


I am right, aren't I?

Here's the problem; there aren't too many other used bookstores of the ilk in DC. From a product delivery standpoint, his is excellent. I am right in wanting to cease patronizing him for the shabby way he treats his customers, right?

Opinions, please.

In the meantime, I will wrestle with this moral issue. If anyone can assuage my concerns, speak up, please. Also, if anyone knows of a good used bookstore in DC that cares when people come in, please let me know. I need a new one.


Oh, and here are a few recent books I've read that are worth checking out.

Lives of the Monster Dogs, Kirstin Bakis
Dirty White Boys, Stephen Hunter
A Death in the Family, James Agee
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty
The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo

They're kind of all over the place in subject matter. All good stuff for different reasons, though.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Still greasy...

My friend Heather makes some cogent responses to my last entry. I suggest a New Englander's predilection to ask, "where do you live?" is ultimately aiming to figure out the likelihood of social assimilation; people are feeling you out to see if and how you will interact with thier tribe. I agree with Heather that, "I will determine how you were raised, your probable religion, your value system, and your schooling all based on your answer to that question," but I believe that is normal. We probe potential relationship candidates all the time; we do it when we're flirting, when we're applying for a job, when we meet new people...we're looking for commonalities to provide a rapport to build on. In D.C., unfortunately, it's like they're giving you a quick scan to see if you're worth any more of their time. In New England, it's like they're throwing you into the fire to see what comes out, and the degree of acceptance is directly tied to your burns. In D.C., it's like they pass an unseen metal detector over you to see if there is anything they can get from you. If a little beep goes off, they stay. If not, they move on to the next pile of sand drinking a martini in the room. It's the difference between finding a short-timer or even a one-night-stand (there), and trolling for a hooker (here).


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Moral grease.

Disclaimer 1: I am NOT politically savvy by most standards. I am NOT in favor of any particular party. I am NOT in-the-know when it comes to politics. I am NOT up-to-speed with political bents or trends. I do NOT read political publications. I do NOT watch any of the myriad political shows on Washington DC. I'm not smart when it comes to politics, and I don't care to be. So, if you don't like what I'm about to say, find someone who gives a sh*t, m'kay?

Disclaimer 2: This entry is NOT inclusive of my few D.C. friends. AT ALL. It's sad to say I have so few friends in this city; If you are my friend and you live in D.C., my apologies.

Ok. Now...

As I was on the treadmill tonight, I caught the nauseatingly grandiose pomp and circumstance of the beginning of the state of the union speech on tv. The announcements. The fanfare. The fraudulent smiles and hand-shaking between peoples clawing each other's eyes out just weeks ago on the campaign trail. The little clusters of like-opined 'important people.'

And I felt, well...I guess I can't say it any better than saying I felt morally greasy.

I felt like the values my parents worked so hard to instill in us kids were useless here. I felt like this town pivots on manipulation, deceit, and self-service. I felt like the capital of my country is one of the worst examples I've ever experienced of what my country is actually about; if I were to escort a foreigner around my country (and I have, to a small extent. Hi, Aldo,) would I choose to take them to Washington?

Unfortunately, yes, I would. Begrudgingly, I would. I have to concede D.C. has some wonderful restaurants, top-quality museums, and gorgeous neighborhoods. I have to concede these are worth experiencing, and I would have to show my guest these sights for them to get the full monty of our background (seeing the actual Constitution is chilling, I say,) but I would do everything in my power to prevent them from talking to too many people or looking in too many shadows. It's in those shadows the fetid stench of this city lies.

I first noticed it when I began dating my (now) wife. She would take me around to quaint happy hours and introduce me to co-workers, friends, and the populace of her government career. With almost no exception, everyone's first question was, "so, what do you do?" They weren't asking out of curiosity or to make conversation; they were asking as part of an evaluation of my worth to them. I know this because, usually, the smile faded and the conversation ended quickly when I told them I managed a coffee shop. Now that I manage a bank, the interest level is at least maintained long enough to answer whether or not I can provide financial advice. Then, the glazed eyes and quick glances at the watch. Sickening.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the almost suffocating sense of self-worth and entitlement this city has. All chiefs, no indians. Or, all butt and no toilet paper, ya know? Have you ever gone to a function where everyone walked around like the rod up thier ass had a rod up its ass? Well, multiply that by hundreds of thousands. I actually had someone yell at me (and I mean YELL) because I wouldn't allow him to perform changes on an account he forged for his mother AND son. He forged the signatures. Their names. His signatures on all three accounts (including his.) And, he's a fucking lawyer. And, he knew what he was doing was wrong. I'm the bad guy, I guess.

D.C. is a classless hack of a burg.

Morally greasy, I is.


Monday, January 22, 2007


As I mentioned earlier, the current reigning champion of beer on my heart, Belhaven, is in danger of being overthrown by either Miller High Life, or Hoegaarden. I promised to keep you appraised of my findings as they happen.
As it is situated currently, Belhaven is in the lead, with High Life and Hoegaarden fighting for second. It really depends on what time of year you ask me.

I can tell you this, though. I drank almost three pitchers of Yuenling last night during the game. In my book, it would barely crack the top 10. Maybe.

For those not in the know.

If you've never experienced Natalie Dee, you really should. She's brilliant in a really, really quirky way.

Out with the old, in with...

SPRING TRAINING in only 27 days!

Ok, ok. I admit, watching the Pats lose to the human advertising agency Peyton Manning because of such stupidity as Reche Caldwell dropping a pass with nobody covering him (nobody!) hurt. But, on to more important things! Baseball is coming, and for those of you in the know, here is the greatest baseball-related timekill ever. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Get thee to a nunnery, Nipples!

(this story is true. only the names have been changed, except for the nun.)

Nipples the Curious Sockpuppet and his wife, Mrs. Curious Sockpuppet, went to a church function on Saturday night, largely (ok, only) because Nipples' wife is significantly religious, and has quite a little community of folks there to say hi too. So, Nipples went (besides, the choir sang at their wedding, and he was grateful.)

Anyway, the event was an annual dinner and raffle to benefit the church. So, Nipples, with his last two dollars, bought two raffle tickets and sat down to dinner. At the table were several people Nipples didn't really know, including a nun, Sr. Anne, who drank lots. In fact, Sr. Anne was kind enough to swipe bottles of wine off other tables in the room, much to the glee of Nipples!

After dinner, everyone made their way into the main hall for the raffle. Well, I'll be darned if Nipples didn't see Sr. Anne drop five or so of her tickets (she had bought many more; a strand had fallen.) Being the good sir he is, Nipples scooped up the tickets and pursued the weaving, staggering nun. "Sister Anne!" he cried, "Sister Anne!" Finally, Nipples caught up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned.

"Sister Anne, you dropped your tickets."

"Aaaah, thank you. You are an honest gentleman."

"Are you shitting me? You're a nun, and we're in a church."

(after thinking for a minute)

"You're right, you'd go to hell. Need a drink?"

Oh, Nipples. Will you ever win?

A trifle on the side.

I found myself wanting to add a bunch of foodie stuff to my blog, but felt it woul clutter up the focii too much. So, I put the thoughts where they belongs; on thier own site. Hope you like it and get something from it/give something to it.

Where do all the good ones go?

To Cleveland, I guess, at $3 million for a year.

Thanks, Trot, for representing the Red Sox as well as anyone in the last twenty years. I will wear your #7 pridefully.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Coffee, Tea, or...Lovecraft?

Reading The Fox's blog entry regarding his love of books in general, fantasy in particular, did, amongst several things, remind me how much I love horror. Specifically, the mind-numbing terror stuff that robs me of my ability to sleep. Yes, I admit, I dig some of the slasher stuff too, where people are butchered just for the sake of butchery, but I generally prefer stuff that makes me shiver. So, in deference to my esteemed (and quite well-read) colleague, I submit my own version of his questionaire, though I disclaim any similarities to his entry other than format; remember, this is the guy that has an approximate IQ of 312, yet maintains Bogart is superior to Sinatra. Thanks for making me thing, Fox.

Fox's List (adapted for horror by Bunny.)

1. Science fiction, fantasy, or horror?
Horror, please. I don't get much out of the other two genres. Horror in all its forms (slasher, psychological, et cetera) gives me the creeps, and I dig that.
2. Hardback, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback?
No hardback for me. I can always tuck a paperback or two into my jacket pockets. Not so with HC.
3. Heinlein or Asimov?
I leave this question as-is because I have a funny story about Asimov. In art college, I had painting, and I completely hated it. This was simply because I suck at it, knew it, and chose to focus on my strengths instead of bettering a weakness in this context. I had accepted the reality of a six-week project representing 50% of my grade. It was to be a portrait. Can you guess who I painted? Yep! Asimov. I was working part-time at a bookstore at the time, and Asimov had just died, so he was emphasized in the marketing displays. I chose to paint a portrait of an older Asimov, and the background was outer space. Well, my judgement of my abilities was spot on, and my painting, when hung up with everyone else's for critique, garnered such encouraging (yet surprisingly accurate) reviews as, "I didn't know balloons could float that high," and "despite what physics you may choose to employ, eggs cannot remain staticly positioned in the heavens, even if they do look like Burl Ives (that is who that is, right?)" Other than that, I pick Asimov, for the sole reason that he wrote "Realm of X", where X was a scientific subject. I've never had a more clear and understandable explanation of calculus, neither before nor after.
4. Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
Brick and fucking mortar. As the son of a small business owner, I vehemently object to big-box anything, even if it's on-line. Now, I agree with Fox that the way-out-of-the-ordinary book that you have given true dilligence in finding locally and can't may merit using Amazon, or Amazon UK (for example, my wife's Harry Potter editions she can only get from the UK or Canada.) Otherwise, they can piss off.
5. Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Borders – better store layout, greater likelyhood of finding the aforementioned wierd tomes.
6. Hitchhiker or Discworld?
Don't know either of 'em, but Fox's link to The Luggage may make me check this one out...
7. Bookmark or dog-ear?Bookmark.
Both, whatever is possible when I need to stop. I usually use the receipt of the purchase as the bookmark; it's interesting to see my collection grow over the years.
8. Magazine: Asimov's Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
Neither. Haven't read either.
9. Alphabetize by author, by title, or random?
I organize by a) author, b) genre, and c) book size. Thus, all of one author' s books are together, but not necessarily in any further sort pattern than that.
10. Keep, throw away, or sell?
I keep most of 'em, and donate the rest (what few escape my clutches. I hope to someday have a home library where all the walls are bookcases teeming with words.)
11. Year's Best Science Fiction series (edited by Gardner Dozois) or Years Best SF series?Neither. Never heard of either of them.
12. Keep dustjacket or toss it?
I'd keep it if I bought hardcovers. But, I'm a paperback freak myself.
13. Read with dustjacket or remove it?
See #12.
14. Short story or novel?
I enjoy both, but prefer novels because I really get to know the characters. If it's a short story or novella that I'm reading, I need the characters to be intensely present, or I find myself having little emotional investment in their outcomes, which is a problem in horror fiction.
15. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter for me. I love that bad things happen in the stories; children's tales where people are bewitched and killed and injured! Love it! The Brits must have better-adjusted kids than us. When it comes to PC and 'protecting' the fragile little minds of kids today, I find it sickening. Let your children see what a dead squirrel on the side of the road looks like, explain truthfully what happend (not, "he's in squirrel heaven where he eats nut sundaes every day!"), and move on. Let your child digest it, and do the same.
16. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When I’m tired, and at the top of a page. I can't keep reading just to get to a chapter for the sake of doing so. I'll not pay any attention to the material.
17. "It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
Dark and stormy night. Especially if in that night there is a malevolent creature with fangs, a raspy growl, and no sense of mercy.
18. Buy or borrow?
Buy, almost always. Remember! The bookcase!
19. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse?
I am a fan of reading other writer's suggestions. I am currently reading books recommended by Stephen King, and they encompass many genres and styles. I find it helpful to digest his works after learning more about what he feels is impressionable. But, I do admit going into bookstores, and purchasing a book solely on the title or cover. It's fun to discover something completely random.
20. Lovecraft or King?
It's been said Lovecraft wrote fewer than 5,000 words of dialogue in his career, and that King writes that per book. I give the vote to King with the proviso that Lovecraft was superior in create an environment you just couldn't wait to get the hell out of. King wins because, once he had you and the characters there, what you thought the worst that could happen, did.
21. Slasher or psycho-thriller?
Psycho-thriller, quest que cest?
22. Collection (short stories by the same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
In this, I actually agree with Fox in the fantasy world; I love Bradbury.
23. Hugo or Nebula?
Don't know em!
24. Golden Age horror or New Wave horror?
Give me slightly older-school. The new stuff is just for shock-value.
25. Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
If by tidy, you mean many dead and some come-uppance? Then tidy it is!
26. Morning, afternoon, or nighttime reading?
I get to read a little in the morning, and I spend my lunchtime at work buried in a novel, but I love reading in bed at night until I'm sleepy. I tend to read multiple books at once. At the moment, I'm working on three different books. As Fox said, there is plenty of time, you just have to find it.
27. Standalone or series?
Can't really choose. I generally like stand-alones, but a good series is well worth the read.
28. Urban fantasy or high fantasy?
I can't say I really know the difference. So, uh, I guess...high.
29. New or used?
For me, used. Spending time perusing the shelves of disheveled books is time well-spent. Especially when you locate that book you've been looking for forever.
30. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Lives of the Monster Dogs - Kirsten Bakis
31. Top X favorite genre books read last year? (Where X is 5 or less)
Dirty White Boys, Steven Harris; Footprints of God, Greg Iles
32. Top X favorite genre books of all time? (Where X is 5 or less)
Hannibal, Thomas Harris; The Exorcist, William Blatty; The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker; Needful Things, Stephen King
33. X favorite genre series? (Where X is 5 or less)
Hellraiser, Clive Barker; The Hannibal Lecter series (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Manhunter);
34. Top X favorite genre short stories? (Where X is 5 or less)
Any Poe you please. Also, I dig some Kafka when my life makes too much sense. And Bradbury.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I fully concur, my friend. In fact, I think I'ma gonna go back to bed.

(For those not in the know, this is Rudie Pie. He's our ska pup. Rocksteady.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I need to feel better. N-O-W.

Just thinking about the dinner earlier is making me all antsy in the pantsy. I need something to calm my nerves. Something to re-ground my sensibilities. In short, something to make the pain go away.

But what?

Cognac? Perhaps. Hmmmmm....nah.

Sambuca? Better, but still nots whats I'se needs.

Ah yes.

I have it.

A good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense picture of some sausages.

That's it, my deliciously corpulent little links of delight; give daddy his medicine.



Carmen and I were presented an opportunity this evening to experience a little slice of "Restaurant Week," a twice-yearly, week-long event when local, up-scale restaurants offer a limited menu for (usually) half-price. A great way to try the better restaurants around town without dropping hundreds of dollars doing it. Last time, we tried Corduroy , and had a wonderful time doing so. This time...well, we weren't so lucky.

This time we tried The Monocle, a "DC institution" where loads-o-senators and congressmen go to chat it up and make "important" decisions over a $30 steak. We were offered this opportunity via a co-worker who couldn't make the reservation after all, and offered it to us. Gladly, we accepted. Here's what we (well, I, anyway) found.

The decor: old-style interior with fabric wallpaper and a gold-and-crimson color pallete. The interior was comfortable and inviting. Lining the crown molding were painted slogans saying things like, "If you want a friend in Washington - get a dog," and "An attack unanswered is an attack believed." Ok. That's a little disheartening, but, whatever. I think politics suck, and I'm pretty certain politics feels the same about me. No love lost there.

The menu: The menus rolled out for Restaurant Week comprise a limited selection of items, but in no way are the selections poor or second-class. The Monocle offered an appetizer (fried calimari, roasted vegetables with goat cheese, or any salad or soup you wanted), a main course (filet mignon, grilled salmon, or shrimp and orzo), and dessert (creme brulee, cheesecake, or chocolate cake) for a grand total of $30. Sounds too good to be true, right? Read on. Of course, the full menu is available, but not as part of the week.

The food: This is really all I cared about; this, and the wine list of course. Being the complete epicurean, I like to peruse all the meats of the cultural stew. First, the wine list. It was mediocre at best. It had a grand total of roughly thirty wines to choose from. But I'm totally ok with that; the restaurant never claims to be a vintner-grade place, so there is no foul. Carmen got a Californian Viognier. Myself, a central-coast Chardonnay for the apps, and a French Pinot Noir for din-din. The apps were pretty solid. Carmen got a tossed salad with hearts of palm, and a decent vinaigrette. I got the fried calimari. The rings were delicious, and served with a spiced pepper aoili. Good stuff, save for the unfavorable ratio of squigglies to rings. I estimated the ratio of tentacles to rings at roughly 1:1.75...WAY too close. There should be significantly more rings than squigglies, say to the order of 1:3.5 or 1:4. Anything less, and it's like picking through a graveyard of dead bodies to find the little fried pots of ringed gold. Yay to the flavor and cooking of said calimari, boo to the ratio. For the main course, Carmen got the shrimp and orzo in a cream sauce. In her words, it was "more creamy than I thought it would be." She rated her main course a 5.25/10.00. Not a solid outing. For me? I got the "Filet Mignon with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Onions in a Red Wine Reduction Sauce." The owner should really pay attention to whoever is printing the menus for his establishment, because what I got was "Sad Little Pieces of Brownish Meat with Limpy Peppers, Green Mushrooms, and No Onions in a Sickly Sweet Burgundy-Colored 'Sauce' that Tasted Like Chef Boyardee Mixed One Part Cat Puree With Three Parts Ketchup." Now, I completely understand that, during a week-long event like this where your profit margin as a restaurant tanks, the plan is to placate the masses, HOWEVER, at least give them a reason NOT to refer to the inconsistent, oddly-sized brown things coming out of you an hour later as "Monocle Pies." Dessert? We both got the Creme Brulee (who wouldn't?). It can be said that, at least, the "chefs" are consistent. Imagine getting a ramekin that is really cold, with a rim that is almost unbearably hot. Yep. You guessed it. They took it out of the fridge, and ran a cooking torch over the top to caramelize the sugar to a crust. The result was a badly-burned crust with a near-frozen brulee underneath.

The bill: $133 with tip. How? Well, the booze and the extras. We figure we saved roughly $40 because of the weekly event. Thank God. $173 for that would have been like paying $500 to have a one-eyed prostitute f*ck a horse while you drank extra-dry vermouth from the bottle and watched while sitting on a broken glass-covered stool eighteen inches away; it sounds all cool and stuff, you know, a woman f*cking a horse! But then you're there, and it's like...uh...that's...a...woman....f*cking...a....horse.

The skinny: Look, I again concede this restaurant never touted itself as a mecca for higher-end cuisine. It's a place where pols meet to schmooze and conduct "legitimate government business." It NEVER overpromises, therefore it NEVER underdelivers. The place itself is attractive and comfortable. The staff was helpful and present (including the waiter at the end who told me I could go into the coat-check myself and to have a good night.) On paper, The Monocle looked good, maybe even worth the money. But when the tires hit the road? Well, let's just say I held off using their restroom for fear of leaving no extra bathroom tissue that might need to be hidden under "Red Wine Reduction Sauce" and passed off as "Filet Mignon" later on that night. Before or after use, that is.

Final scores:

Appearance: 7.25/10.00
Menu: 6.50/10.00
Service/Waitstaff: 6.75/10.00
Food: (as props in a Three Stooges Bathroom Skit, 8.00/10.00; as-is 4.00/10.00)
Wine List: 5.00/10.00
Cost (relative to value): 3.50/10.00

Overall: 4.25/10.00


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2007: The Year of Revelations...

Even in this early stage of this young, young year, I have already come to terms with some truths in my life. To preclude my becoming boring, I will not list them all right now, lest I become boring and, (eek!) pedestrian in my musings. Here are a couple to whet your whistles.

1. My favorite beer in the whole wide world, Belhaven, is precariously close to losing it's rank. I know, I know. Crazy talk, right? I'm sure you're thinking, "ahah! Now High Life can take it's rightful place at the Zeus slot of the beer pantheon!" Well, I can't rightfully say that just yet, true as it might turn out. No, the dark horse in this whole shebang is Hoegaarden, a wonderful Belgian white. If you haven't had one yet, go ahead. I'll wait. No, even better, I'll buy. I will keep all posted on my intensive research and testing. I hope to have a winner within a month or two.

2. Being married is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Another shocker, I know. Especially for anyone who has ever known me. But it's true; marriage is not all backrubs and delicious turkey dinners and pudding fights on tarps and sock puppets with dirty names like "Nipples the Curious Sockpuppet" and the like. No, my little monkeys, it's filled with things like cleaning up after yourself! It's about minimizing the wake of destruction you leave after using the bathroom to get ready in the morning! They expect you to shave! You can't go around arbitrarely buying socks and naming them 'Nipples'! Fortunately, I have a great teammate in all of this, and in the end, I outweigh her by roughly 85 pounds, so it would be quick if it went too far.

3. I LOVE horror. Of all kinds. Movies. Books. Folklore. Whatever. I love the macabre (something I share with my sis,) in all its manifestations. If you have a recommendation, lemme know! I'll try to do the same. But... please make it good. I'm not looking for slasher flicks like "Halloween 7" unless you can substantiate why it's good. I'm looking for quality here, people! I promise to deliver the same.

Ok, more revelations later. Now, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the up-coming class of Rock-and-Roll Hall Of Fame inductees...

That's right. The Mighty VH is getting into the RRHOF, and gets to walk down the elegial aisle with Grandmaster Flash himself. The ceremony is March 12th. Any takers to go witness some history? Can't you just picture it? Eddie wailing to the docit tones of "White Lines"? Or GMF bustin' wylde to "Atomic Punk"? Let's roll! (Like my hand-made logos? There are certain trademark rules one must follow.)
In fact, in honor of the occassion, I invite you to take this brief quiz...
For Mike...
Dear Mike, as I understand it, you dare question VH's veracity in entering the RRHOF. Here are some points to think about.
1. Van Halen has, to date, sold more than 75 million albums. This is roughly 40 million more albums than 1999 inductees The Staple Singers.
2. Van Halen has exactly one number-one hit, "Jump." This happens to be the same as 1998 inductee Lloyd Price ("Stagger Lee".) Of course, "Stagger Lee" lasted only four weeks. "Jump"? Five.
3. Van Halen was performing and touring over a span of 27 years (unfortunately, it pains me to concede this includes the most-unfortunate Van Halen III. I also confess I have never heard any of it. I refuse to.) My point? They had a longer active career than 1987 inductee Clyde McPhatter (I will also confess "McPhatter" is a cooler last name than "Van Halen", at least, until you're older than 24.)
4. According to VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll, Van Halen ranks #48. And, while they don't top artists like Led Zepplin (#4), U2 (#29), and Prince (#18), they do best Frank Zappa (#64), Johnny Cash (#89), and Stevie Ray Vaughn (#70). Now, I know what you're saying..."that's can't be right. Those statistics are rigged!" Fair enough. Conveniently, VH1 also solicited public opinion and found Van Halen at #31 (even better!), still ahead of Zappa (#58), Cash (#87), and SRV (#70.) In fact, vox populi ranked VH ahead of Miles Davis (#73), Janis Joplin (#35), and The Police (#34)! Suck it!
5. Number 2, baby. 'Nuff said. Thank you, KISW. Thank you.
Ball's in your court, my friend. Bring it.