The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Friday, December 28, 2012

This is the year that was, or "Cue the Clip Show"

Monday, December 24, 2012

On The Radar (Holiday Edition): It's a toaster!

Scrooged has been one of my favorite Christmas films since it was released in 1988. The historic Dickens tale modernized with rapier sharp comedy and an all-star cast was an instant classic. But to be honest about it, my primary reason for loving this film was my Dad's reaction to it.

He would literally have tears in his eyes from laughing so hard, and this film didn't fit his usual bill of fare(a/k/a no John Wayne). Bill Murray, Carol Kane and most of the cast were total unknowns to him. He knew Robert Mitchum and John Forsythe, but his favorite part (and mine) was when Carol Kane, as the childlike yet vicious Ghost of Christmas present, beats the snot out of Bill Murray (the truth is painful, Frank), climaxing with "Oh look... It's a TOASTER!"

He would nearly go into convulsions at the line... "The bitch hit me with a toaster."

Dickens was never so enjoyable.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ummm, Wow?

I know one of the reindeer is named Dancer. But I never expected to see Mrs. Claus appearing on the main stage.

Merry Christmas, kids!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Rock climbing has never been attractive to me. I have no desire to pretend to be Tom Cruise in Mish Impossible II. I don't do heights well and I do falls even worse.

Actually the fall isn't that bad. It's the sudden stop that usually screws up the ride.

But way back in my younger days I decided to take the challenge on in reverse. Not one of my brightest ideas, but we'll come back to that.

I was 17 and had a weekend Liberty in San Diego. I could probably made it into TJ, but since I was 17 with no fake ID I had zero posse. On the other hand I heard about a nude beach! You kidding me? Actual nude hippie chicks on a California beach?

Try and stop me.

I caught the whatever buss and transferred to suchandsuch line then hiked another 1/2 mile to the top of a cliff by the UCSD campus. I stood there and watched people run off the cliff in their hang gliders and float in midair.

Then I looked down for the nude beach some 200 feet below. I could see people scattered about, but no nude volleyball tournaments or anything like that going on. But hey, I came this far and I ain't turning back.

I found a trail leading down the cliff to the beach. But the further I went the more narrow the trail got until it became a point of no return situation. The trail had ended and I had to scale my way down the last 50 feet or so.

Once I was down there my bubble was quickly burst when it turned out most of those people I saw running  about were in their 60's. My attempt at body surfing was abruptly halted when I found out the Pacific Ocean is colder than a witches heart in November.


Remember I had something to tell you? After not finding any hot young free love hippie chicks at the nude beach, I had to scale my way back up the face of that cliff. Fail/fail/fail. It became an actual life or death survival struggle trying to climb back up that cliff with certain hypothermia.

Don't ask me how the old hippies got down there. I wasn't about to go near them.

Once I made it back to the ship I swore to myself never to do something as stupid as that ever again.

I think it lasted about 2 years.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Monday Night Lights

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

Gary Kubiak and Eric Taylor have a lot in common. They are both coaches that know how to inspire players to reach the next level. There is such a high school team spirit on this year's Texans squad that nose tackle Shaun Cody came up with the idea of team Letterman jackets and it caught on like wildfire.

“I used to say before the season it feels like we’re on a college team,” Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin said. “Everybody gets along, we have so much fun. And this jacket, you feel like you’re on a high school team where it’s all about winning, it’s all about being around a group of guys. This jacket is just another symbol of that. There’s no names on it. You just have your number, your position group and the Texans logo.”

They plan on wearing them on the team flight to the Monday Night Football match-up against the dreaded New England Patriots. The idea is to show team unity and spirit just like in the high school glory days they can all remember. I wouldn't be surprised if they show up at the airport in an HISD bus. 

Barwin said "We have a dress code. Everybody's going to wear them on the plane, on the trip to New England, on the bus. [I'm] pushing for khaki pants, white shirt, blue tie, jacket, so it looks like we're about to get on a yellow bus with shoulder pads in our hands. We've got a great group of guys. Anything that represents the camaraderie of this team, guys are excited about, and that's exactly what the jacket does."

Momentum is on the Texans side at 11-1 and they plan on adding a few more patches on their new swag. “The plan is we’re gonna get the AFC South banner put on the sleeve from last year,” Barwin said. “If we take care of business this week and this season we’ll get the 2012 AFC Championship one. Super Bowl. Kind of build a tradition the longer you’re here the more patches you get on your jacket.”

UPDATE: Apparently the jackets don't do Jack. Pats slaughtered the Texans.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ride The Pasta Pony

I wanted to pass this recipe along to you with all the Christmas/New Year/Super Bowl parties coming up. It's not nearly as hard to make as it sounds (which isn't that hard) and talk about addictive! It's worse than chicken fried crack.

Hey, there are worse things in life to be hooked on than fried pasta and most of them aren't perfect for dipping. Besides, everybody will come back next year to get their fix. Enjoy.

Crispy Mac

A party snack idea with a twist!

4 cups corkscrew pasta or other bite size pasta like bow ties or wagon wheels
1 tablespoon oil
Oil for deep frying
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

One of the following seasoning mixtures:
Italian: 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Mexican: 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon each chili powder, cumin, and onion salt
Lemon-Pepper: 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Sweet: 2 tablespoons lemon zest (or orange), 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, with 1 tablespoon oil, until just tender. Drain well, turn out onto wax paper and blot away any excess moisture with paper towels.

Fry the pasta in small batches in hot oil (375°) until golden brown, about 45 seconds. Drain on paper towels.

Transfer the fried pasta to a serving bowl while still warm. Combine the melted butter and vinegar, and pour it over the fried pasta. Toss. Sprinkle the pasta with the seasoning of your choice. Toss again and serve.

But wait, there's more! Here's another recipe for more long term fried pasta munchies.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tis the season to be intolerant

I wonder if these people realize that the Christmas Tree is actually a Pagan custom that started long before the birth of Christ and the practice of bringing a tree into the house and decorating it is denounced in the Bible?

For some reason, I don't think any of that would matter to them.

h/t Alan Rudnick

Friday, November 30, 2012

Unsolved Mystery

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Donna Gugger's heart was heavy as she sifted through the scattered debris and devastation left by Superstorm Sandy along the Jersey Shore. Pieces of broken furniture. Shards of metal. Chairs ripped off patios. Blue jeans tossed out of bureaus.

But there was something different about that swath of gray cloth with shiny brass buttons. She stopped to take a second look, leaning down to tug on an edge of the fabric that peeked out from under the sand. At first glance, she thought it was an elaborate Halloween costume — a jacket that reminded her of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper.

It was no costume. Gugger had stumbled across an 80-year-old tunic owned by a 1933 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a World War II hero described in his West Point yearbook as a soldier with a "heart like a stormy sea."

The jacket's journey is as mysterious as its history. No one knows how it ended up on the Jersey Shore, hundreds of miles north of the late warrior Chester B. deGavre's home on Virginia's Eastern Shore. His 98-year-old widow, Tita deGavre, didn't even know it existed.

But now that it has been found, the jacket is more than just a recovered forgotten relic.

For deGavre, it is another part of her late husband to cherish. She plans to hang it on the wall along with some of his other military garb and awards at the Deep Creek Plantation, a sprawling Virginia landscape along the shore where she also found her husband's missing West Point ring years ago.

"I found it most impossible to believe," deGavre said after Gugger drove five hours earlier this week to deliver the ornate jacket. "Where could it have been all this time?"

Chester deGavre's parents used to live in Red Bank, less than 10 miles southwest of where the jacket was found. But that was years ago and the house has been sold many times over.

"Somebody must have had (the jacket) under great care, and whether their house blew away with Sandy, I don't know," said deGavre, who met her husband while he was overseas in her native England. They married in 1948.

"It's all a big mystery, but I'm happy about it."

To Gugger, the jacket is nothing less than a symbol of resurrection and renewal in a landscape scarred by sorrow and loss.

The 48-year-old pharmaceutical consultant from Holland, Pa., found the military clothing while she and other members of the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club helped clean up damage from Sandy, which struck in late October.

"I saw blue jeans, I had seen jackets, chairs, backpacks — all kinds of things," she said. "And to go from a point of looking at devastation and the sadness that was associated with that, to find that something so good could potentially come out of the findings in all of that debris, I was just overjoyed."

Gugger took the jacket home, shook out the sand, and washed it off. It was in extraordinary condition, and upon closer examination, she noticed the words "West Point" and "issued to deGavre" on the inside. Determined to get the jacket back to its rightful owner, she contacted West Point's Association of Graduates, which cleaned and preserved it and tracked down deGavre's family.

The heavy coat, studded with brass buttons down the front and sleeves, hasn't changed much since it was first adopted at the academy around 1816, said retired Army Col. Chris Needels, a 1965 graduate of West Point and family friend of the deGavres. With its tails, intricate stitching, and diagonal gold braids on the shoulders, the jacket is still worn by cadets for formal occasions and in parades.

Before his death in 1993 at age 85, Chester deGavre was a Retired Army brigadier general, a pioneering paratrooper and chief of staff for the 1944 airborne invasion of southern France. He was one of the first Army officers to take parachute training at the start of World War II, joining the Airborne Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Newark, N.J., native improved techniques and standardized equipment for the airborne forces as a parachute-training officer and chief of test and development. His decorations included a Silver Star from the Korean War and the Legion of Merit with three oak-leaf clusters.

"This was a soldier, this was a war hero, somebody who risked his life for our country, and I was determined to get it back to the family," Gugger said of the jacket.

"It's a miracle because it's still a mystery how it made it to that beach and for me to have even had the opportunity to pick it up. It's not really about the jacket, it's about the journey."
"Heart like a stormy sea", that's a pretty prophetic quote considering what happened.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

White Male Over 50? Just Take A Deep Breath and Relax...

One of the fabulous things about VA Healthcare is they take very good preventive care measures. Unfortunately one of those preventative measures involves a rather invasive procedure after you hit the half-century mark. If they ain't happy with that, then  it gets real up close and personal in 1080p.

Bad news: I don't get to pick my doctor. Worse news: they told me not to get my hopes up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Ritual Continues

Everyone has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Mine started many, many years ago as a impressionable long haired yoot listening to The Zoo (KZEW). I never realized how important it was to me until I joined the Coast Guard and spent my first Thanksgiving away from home. Come to find out, not every rock station around the world plays Arlo Guthrie's iconic tale on Turkey Day and that is a crying shame.

Altho this isn't the original, it's become my favorite version. Enjoy a little Arlo with your turkey and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Angry Old Guy Rant #14

I remember when I used to complain about not being able to walk out of Walmart without spending $100. Now I can't get out of there without dropping Tres Hombres in my wake. And I still don't have Jack to show for it!

I look like a Doomsday Prepper at the checkout. Canned goods, dried beans, pasta, ramen noodles, some obligatory single guy frozen diners (Marie Callendar's are freakin' great!) and organic milk (it has triple the shelf life of regular milk). But honestly, $300? It will only last me 3 weeks tops before I have to do it all over again and that's with several "this and that" runs to the local store.

It makes me wonder how families do it. Kids are ex-pen-sive and they eat their weight in food about 3 times a day whilst outgrowing the new clothes you just bought them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Off The Radar: Last Resort

ABC has torpedoed the USS Colorado. Despite an intriguing storyline, a talented cast and well written scripts, Last Resort has been foundering in low ratings since it's debut. They are leaving open the possibility of it being a summer replacement series next year, but it's highly unlikely. That means the final episodes could be very exciting as they wrap up the storyline.

More info over at Deadline Hollywood.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Miller Time!

Congrats to "Blue Deuce" driver Brad Keselowski and "The Captain" Roger Penske on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship! It was a long time coming.

It's Dodge's first Cup championship since Richard Petty's 1975 title and sadly it will be their last for the foreseeable future. This was the final race for Dodge in NASCAR. Penske was the last team to run Dodge power and starting next season Team Penske is committed to Ford.

SNL Recap

The cold open focused on the Petraeus scandal with a CSpan's Booknotes featuring Paula Broadwell (Cecily Strong) reading excerpts from All In. But they sounded more like excerpts from 50 Shades of Gray. Good premise, but it fell flatter than a soufflĂ© in a Tokyo earthquake.

Host Jeremy Renner's monologue started slow with him reminding viewers he's not known for comedy (at this point, he still isn't). He quickly went musical and the live TV gremlins struck when his piano mic was dead. A few awkward moments while that was fixed before he displayed his surprising musical talent on the piano singing songs about action adventure films.

The mock commercial was about vacationing in your hometown and visiting exotic locations like the new Kmart and the old Kmart that's now a closed Michael's. Another belly flop of a skit. So far we're 0 for 3.

Possibly a redemption point here with the return of The Californians. This is one of those skits you either get or you don't. I always get a kick out of watching them roast Left Coasters. Jeremy played the family lawyer and despite being an actual Californian, he didn't get the accent down. It took an upswing when Fred Armisen started channeling Harvey Korman and cracked up doing his lines which gave Kenan Thompson the giggles and it almost went full blown cast giggles before they regained composure. I thought it was funny, your mileage may vary.

Next, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis) reporting on the Petraeus scandal and showing the same clip of Jill Kelly over and over because that's all the footage they had besides a still photo of her with Mardi Gras beads. They threw it to their never used Tampa correspondent Victor Randel (Bobby Moynihan) who commented on spending 3 days outside Kelly's house and her not answering any questions he yelled at her. They were joined by the Mayor of Tampa Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek (Renner). When asked if he had any info on Kelly he said "She fine!" and had no clue about any sex scandal, but "She fine!". It was then discovered Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek was only the self proclaimed Mayor of Tampa.

Another dud.

This weeks video was "The Standoff", a take on an action film with Renner, Bobby Moynihan (channeling his inner Steven Segal) and Taran Killiam in a 3 way mexican standoff over a hard drive. Unfortunately Renner needed to pick up his kid from dance class and wanted to speed things along. The standoff went mobile when they jumped into a cab, picked up his daughter and read her a bedtime story (all the while with their guns still trained on each other). They wound up spending the night in the same bed 3 Stooges style, showered together, went to the bathroom, ate Thanksgiving dinner, ice skated in the park with their guns still trained on each other. They did everything together including giving a stranger (Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine) directions who joined the standoff with his guns before leaving. After 2 days they wind up in the same parking garage where they started and Bobby becomes sentimental telling them these were the greatest days of his life before Renner and Killiam both open fire on him. Having dispatched with Bobby they once again train their guns on each other before Killiam says "Listen, I've got to let my cat out" and they go mobile once again. Funny and original. So far this is the high point.

Musical guest Maroon 5 performed One More Night.

Weekend Update naturally kept the focus on the Petraeus scandal. Included was "Winners and Losers". Winner: Whoever writes the next Petraeus biography. Reading the current biography would be like reading Batman right up to when his parents were killed. Losers: All other biographers. For the next 10 years if you tell someone you're writing a biography expect them to say "Uh huh... yeah nice". Winner: Homeland. Just when your plot twists were starting to look a little far fetched, this scandal comes along and suddenly you look like a documentary. Losers: People trying to have affairs in the digital age. You can't get away with it... The Director of the CIA couldn't get away with it.

Kat Williams (Jay Pharoah) visited to comment on being dragged off stage after attacking a heckler and pulling a gun on another commedian. His explanation for his behavior, "I was being a pimp!".

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (the real Chris Christie) stopped by to comment on Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts. He was very funny playing the pushy, angry, dominant Jersey stereotype and quoted the great Jersey poet Bruce Springsteen. A huge thumbs up for The Gov's performance.

Following WU a parody of The Avengers with Renner in his role of Hawkeye who suddenly didn't have much to do when he ran out of arrows. One funny line came from Ironman (Sudeikis) "Come on "Hunger Games"! Just pull arrows out of the ones you've already shot, Katniss!". Bobby Moynihan as The Hulk tried to lend a hand with an arrow he found, but broke Hawkeye's hand fist bumping him. Hulk found a way Hawkeye could be useful when he picked up the archer by his ankles and used him as a baseball bat to kill the aliens. Not bad.

Jeremy played himself in the next skit about making an action movie. Jason Sudeikis played evil tough guy thug character actor Dick Fuel (obviously modeled after Vin Diesel) who's afraid to take a slap. Meh.

Maroon 5 returned to perform Daylight.

Next was "Midnight Snack"(possibly a new TV Funhouse type segment). This was a cartoon about the use of drones and included a DOD promotional film entitled "Cool Drones" where 4 drones led a double life as a boy band.

The County Morgue was the scene of the final skit as a man (Renner) has to identify his brother's body for the Coroner and a detective. But the man is nervous and identifies him as Steven Tyler, Yao Ming, basically anybody but his brother. It took a twist in the end when it turned out the guy was still alive. "He SAID he was dead!"

This skit was much funnier than it sounds. A particular bit that broke me up was when the Coroner (Bill Hader) became bored listening to the answers and started playing bongos on the corpse's (Taran Killiam) chest and face. This didn't look like it was part of the bit and was an impromptu test for Killiam to remain playing dead with Hader slapping him randomly in the face. Hader had an evil grin on his face the whole time which made it even funnier.

This episode was very hit or miss. When it was good, it was very good. But it was loaded with an equal or greater amount of flops. At times Jeremy didn't look very prepared and often struggled with the cue cards. In his defense, there was some bad writing. I give tonight's episode a C.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4 Dead 17 Wounded in Midland Veterans Parade

Four people died and 17 others were taken to a hospital when a train crashed into a parade float honoring veterans in Midland, Texas, late this afternoon.

"From what we know right now, apparently there were two fatalities at the time of the incident and two more at the hospital that passed away after they'd been transported," Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said.

Midland Memorial Hospital confirmed the four deaths to ABC News.

Of the 17 injured at the hospital, 10 were in critical condition and seven were in stable condition, Robinson said.

The float was one of two 18-wheel trailers carrying wounded veterans and their families during the parade when a train approached, according to Hamid Vatankhah, a witness who owns a used car lot near the scene of the crash.

The first truck crossed the tracks in time, but the second did not, Vatankhah said, adding that sirens from the police cars in the parade may have drowned out the sound of the approaching train.

"Some people were able to jump, and some that were sitting in wheelchairs on top couldn't do nothing about it," Vatankhah said.

The floats in the Show of Support's Hunt for Heroes parade were crossing Union Pacific train tracks near Garfield Avenue en route to a Show of Support Banquet around 4:35 p.m. local time, according to ABC News affiliate KMID-TV.

Monday, November 12, 2012


That was the callsign of  LA County Fire Station 51. The home of Emergency! This show was so cool on so many levels. It even made 1 Ton Dodge Duallys cool.

Jack Webb was the original "reality" guy. He ripped the files straight from the... well, files. Dragnet walked you thru a case step by step. Then Adam-12 took you on a patrol with the LAPD. His swansong, and arguably greatest achievement from Mark-VII Productions was following the LA County Fire department and the introduction of Paramedics to a skeptical public.

Sure, we all take EMT's as a given commodity now. But back in the early 70's it was some wild Liberal California idea to make firemen doctors. Rather than take his usual ultra-conservative approach, Jack Webb embraced the idea and strove to highlight the efforts of "Rescue Paramedics" with Producer R.A. Cinader at the helm. Not being Cops throwing people in jail and actually helping sick and injured citizens drew a wide positive response with viewers. Gage and DeSoto became instant action hero medics and an inspiration to a wave of Paramedics across the country.

Without a doubt this one program is responsible for educating the American people on the importance of Paramedics and allowed the program to expand to where it is today. Without Emergency!, EMT's wouldn't be here at the capacity they are today. Every Saturday night NBC took you into LA County Station 51 and gave you a ride along with their calls. Everyone got to see what kind of service EMT's could and need to provide nationwide. This show made that happen.

As a tribute, the actual station featured in the series (LA County 127) was renamed the Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station in honor of the series producer. The series also featured LACoFD Dispatcher Sam Lanie on the radio calls on every episode.

It also featured an odd cast. Executive Producer Jack Webb first cast cowboy actor Robert Fuller as ER Chief Kelly Brackett. He then cast unknowns Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth as DeSoto and Gauge. Next he cast his ex-wife Julie London as RH Dixie McCall and her jazz pianist husband Bobby Troupe (he wrote Route 66) as Dr. Joe Early.

This show had built in drama.

Hiring your ex and her husband had to be kinda weird for Jack... but it worked. If you need further proof, ER is a direct ripoff of Emergency!. Swap Rampart for County General and you've got the same show focusing on a different aspect of the same story.

Formulaic? Yes. Does it stand up to the test of time? Absolutely. Worth watching? Without a doubt.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

SNL Recap

The cold open focused on Mitt Romney's (Jason Sudeikis) election night on the balcony while he was secretly drinking his blues away hitting the hard stuff, whole milk. Constantly interrupted by Ann (Kate McKinnon) and the boys, Mitt took the time to toss Karl Rove (Bobby Moynihan) over the balcony after he told him he could still win Ohio and asked to borrow $300 Million dollars. Sadly, this will probably be the last time we see Sudeikis and McKinnon as the Romneys.

3 time Host Anne Hathaway went musical with her monologue in a tribute to her role in Les Misérables.

Girlfriends Talk Show featured BFF's Morgan (Aidy Bryant) and Kiera (Cecily Strong) and much to Morgans lament, Kiera's newest BFF Tara (Anne Hathaway). Morgan was not happy with the new situation. How many Best Friends do you have because I have one! As the skit progressed Morgan became increasingly annoyed with the much cooler Tara. This bit has recurring potential.

This weeks film was a song by Kenan Thompson that featured Tarran Killiam as "Mokiki Mo" doing the Sloppy Swish.

Up next a parody of Showtime's Homeland with Hathaway as Mathison,  Killiam as Brody, Kenan Thompson as Estes and Bill Hader as Saul. The bit was highlited by Brody's daughter (Nasim Pedrad) who somehow managed to keep wandering into high security facilities.

Hathaway took the lead in the next sketch as a Mc Donald's manager trying to run a staff meeting. Somehow two staffers (Moynihan, Strong) thought they were getting fired so they decided to get some personal attacks aimed at other staffers off their chest. Funniest line "Ba dup bomp bap ba... Go kill yourself".

Musical guest Rihanna featured some impressive 3D video graphics during Diamonds.

Weekend Update naturally focused on the election straying for a moment to comment on the resignation of David Petraeus after the discovery of his affair with the woman who coauthored his book "All In". Of course when they started the book it was titled "Just the Tip". Jay Pharoah paid a visit as Pres. Obama warning Republicans to look out, because he's got nothing to lose now. A Gay Couple From Maine (Hader, Armisen) also visited to comment on newly legalized gay marriage in their state. And in closing a visit from Drunk Uncle (Moynihan) and his thoughts on the election results.

A take off of Ellen DeGeneres' talk show was up next with Kate McKennon in the lead and Hathaway as Katie Holmes. Ellen likes to dance. With a bit of polish it could also be worth revisiting.

A tour thru The Art Institute of Chicago led to the story behind American Gothic with Hathaway and Sudeikis as paid models trying out different poses and props before settling on the classic. This was pretty funny, especially when the pitchfork was introduced to the equation.

An encore performance by musical guest Rihanna singing Stay.

The final bit was a commercial for an allergy medication for people who suffer from made up allergies they invented to get attention. Flaritin. Fake Claritin for fake allergies.

The show was fast, witty and didn't lay any eggs. Anne Hathaway did a wonderful job, Rhianna was spectacular as always, the political jokes were funny without being mean and I there wasn't a cast member that didn't get on stage tonight. I give it an A.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


There's a cool trend in cars lately with retrostyling muscle cars. Some are taking it a bit further than others. More specifically, Mustangs. That is a very cool '69 Boss 302. But it isn't a '69 Boss 302. It's a 2012 Mustang GT with the ultimate facelift compliments of Retrobuilt of Lamar, Missouri.

Retrobuilt fuses custom fiberglass body panels to the existing rear quarter panels and door skins and then replaced the front fenders, hood and rear deck with fiberglass parts. They also add custom exhaust, suspension and air intake to maximize performance.

It takes about 6 weeks and $30K (not including the 2012 Mustang) to convert one.

But wait, there's more... Not to be out done Eckert's Rod & Custom in Molalla, Oregon got the bright idea to fuse a '69 Mach 1 and a 2006 GT 40. At this years SEMA convention in Las Vegas they unveiled The Mach 40!

The Mach 40 won the award for Best Hot Rod & overall Best in Show. But, it will set you back quite a bit more than $30K.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Baby's Gone and She Ain't Never Comin' Back

I finally decided to pull the trigger and trade in my '08 SLK. I loved that car, but it just wasn't built for someone 6'2" 220. The road trip to Las Vegas proved that. It's OK for a "grocery getter" but not for long trips.

I've been checking online for a couple weeks and found this little gem, 2010 C300 with Sport and P1 packages and only 17K miles. It doesn't have the zip the SLK had, but it's much more roomy and has a very quiet interior. The SLK suffered from horrible road noise on some surfaces.

Got a decent deal. $1500 over Blue Book for my SLK (excellent condition, low mileage) , $500 under Blue Book on the C300 and financed thru MB for 1.99% plus my first two payments were made by the dealer. It also has 3 years of factory warranty.

For once I didn't feel raped when leaving the dealer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

SNL Recap

The cold open was a funny take on New York Mayor Bloomberg's press conferences featuring his overly expressive sign translator. Bobby Moyinahan did a great Chris Christie bit with his own Jersey sign translator.

First time host Louis C.K. gave a predictably killer monologue. Be careful of old ladies in airports.

The recurring FOX and Friends bit was the next skit with a Donald Trump (Jason Sudeikis) interview and Louis as a FEMA official who's instructions are horribly communicated by the FOX hosts.

The video featured Louis Abe Lincoln as Louis C.K. Pure genius. It was a very smart satire of Louis' show on FX.

Australian TV's Australian Screen Legends explored the careers of 50's actors Tess Davies and Graham Dixon (Kate McKennon/Bill Hader) including a Brokeback Mountain parody with Louis as John Chisholm (widely regarded as Australia's Steve Zahn).

This week's musical guests, New York based Indie rockers Fun performed Some Nights.

Weekend Update with Seth Meyers dug into Hurricane Sandy. One funny line was the statement by officials that the NYC subway system would be running at full capacity by sometime next week, which is amazing because it never has before. A Presidential candidate stopped by to make a last minute pitch to voters with Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney. Later, Aidy Bryant appeared as expert Kourtney Barnes who gave insight on the part social media has played in the election. To wind things up, Cecily Strong was "The girl you wish you hadn't started a conversation with" and her thoughts on current events.

A man fulfilling a quest by climbing a Kyldrian mountain pass in the Pre-Balorian era (Louis) that annoyed the villagers with his ram's horn and cries for "ZOG!" kind of fell on it's face. The only really funny part was when Louis and the sound guy got out of sync during the horn blowing. For a split second Louis almost pulled a Harvey Korman. Come to find out he had misread the sacred scrolls and it said "ZORD!" not "ZOG". Zord was there the whole time.

Bobby Moyniahan and Louis were in the next bit about a hotel guest in a hurry to check out and a desk clerk reviewing room bogus charges.

Once again Fun took the stage, this time performing Carry On.

The final skit was a visit to Donnelly's Pub at last call with a drunk and desperate man and woman. They wind up in a horrific makeout session with Kenan Thompson as the disgusted bartender.

Not a bad episode. Louis did a great job and the writing was mostly above par. I give it a B+

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Tired Is Hanging Out

Put a few miles under my butt this week. Here to Pennsylvania and back followed by here to Houston and back. Oh, my aching back.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Real Fake Bounty?

More than a dozen members of a Nova Scotia-built replica vessel are abandoning ship off the coast of North Carolina after getting caught in the high seas brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

Lt. Junior Grade Brendan Salerno, with the U.S. Coast Guard, told CBC News the 17-member crew of the tall ship HMS Bounty had decided to abandon ship after getting caught in 5.5-metre seas off Cape Hatteras.

"We have a Coast Guard Hercules C-130 aircraft on scene with the vessel. Right now the vessel has decided to abandon ship so right now we're working on rescue ideas," Salerno said Monday.

"We're trying to get one of our cutters underway and we're sending out some of our helicopters to try and get people that way as well."

Salerno said the winds in the area are sustained in the 75 kilometre per hour range.

The replica of HMS Bounty, which launched in Lunenburg in 1960, was made famous in a 1962 movie starring Marlon Brando — Mutiny on the Bounty. It has also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest starring Johnny Depp.
They have been talking about how big this storm was going to be for days and they didn't head for safe harbor? That's just plain stupid. I've been to sea and seen some pretty rough stuff in the Bering. But it wasn't a hurricane and I was on a 378' High Endurance Cutter with 4 engines. No way in hell would you find me on a wooden tall ship in a hurricane.

Hopefully all souls will be saved. Abandoning ship in a hurricane is definitely THE worst case scenario there is at sea.

UPDATE: 2 were washed overboard while trying to enter the lifeboats and are lost at sea. 14 were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter and are safe. SAR Ops are underway for the missing crew members.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Surf's Up!

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the British Columbia coast has triggered a Tsumani Warning for Hawaii. The Weather Channel has predicted a minimum 7ft  wave at 10:30 local time. CNN has a 5ft prediction. It does not matter what side of the islands you are on, but it looks like Kahului on Maui's North Shore will take the worst of it.

Evacuations are underway. Local TV (via CNN) advising people to gather gas, cash, food and medicine... but not to horde because that would be rude.


Live local feed:
Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

3:25am- This is starting to look like a cluster***k. There are major roads jammed with traffic heading for higher ground that should have been made one way evacuation routes. Local officials now advising people stuck in traffic in the inundation zones to consider abandoning their cars.

At the same time they are showing people gathering at local beaches to watch the wave. Darwin is standing by...

3:34am- Weird fact: This tsunami is coming from the East. Most emergency planning is for waves coming from the West.

I have the live local feed on my PC and DirecTv's News Mix on. The live local feed is definitely the most interesting.

3:45am- Nothing yet. Officials are still telling everyone to be on guard.

3:55am- Starting to see abnormal waves across the islands with reports of boats on the sand in Hilo Bay.

3:58am- To show nothing was going on they went to a shot of people standing on a dock looking out at the ocean with nothing going on. Meanwhile, evacuate from coastal regions...

4:04am- So far, so good. No dramatic waves reported yet.

Being able to sit here and watch this in real time as it unfolds from multiple sources is kind of eerie. Right now it's all cool, but if something should change this could get real ugly, real fast.

4:26am- Cut to tourists being pissy about mandatory evacuations.

4:52am- Reports of the tsumani hitting with a 6in wave 30 minutes ago.

Best line of the night "It was a nice break from all the campaign ads".

5:06am- The "All Clear" hasn't been officially issued, but it appears the danger has passed. FOX News was quick to find an "expert" to say it was a massive overreaction by the government. Had 1,000's died he would have said it was a massive government fail.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taunting Panther's Fans Force Marine Amputee Out Of Moosehead Bar and Grill

Taunting Panther's Fans Force Marine Amputee Out Of Moosehead Bar and Grill
On Sunday a U.S. Marine who lost both legs in Afghanistan was forced to leave Charlotte's  Moosehead Bar and Grill along with his wife, parents and friends after another patron at the restaurant became verbally combative and the restaurant staff asked the Marine to leave.

According to the Charlotte Observer: "The incident happened after Garrett Carnes, his wife Courtney, their parents, and friends Brett and Nicole Coburn stopped at the restaurant for dinner after attending the Carolina Panthers’ game against Dallas. Several members of the party, including Garrett Carnes, were wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys.

Coburn said that when the group reached the front door, the fan, who other patrons called Tank, was waiting for them."

“He was standing at the door, and he started harassing us because of the Cowboys jerseys,” Coburn said.

He said Tank told Garrett Carnes, “Don’t use your wheelchair as a crutch.”

According to multiple accounts of the incident, Carnes told the patron – and others who were ridiculing the group for being Cowboys’ fans – that he was a veteran and had lost his legs in Afghanistan.

Members of the Carnes-Coburn party tried to “defend ourselves verbally,” Brett Coburn said.
He said Tank walked toward Carnes in a threatening way, and some other patrons stepped in to break it up.

Neilsen said his employees are trained to separate possible combatants, in an effort to defuse such situations. On Sunday, staff members asked Garrett Carnes and his party to leave, while they took Tank to another area of the restaurant." 

More about Garrett Carnes here and Deadspin picks up the story and takes in national here.  The Daily Mail in the UK piled on this morning here.

Meanwhile the Moosehead Bar and Grill is getting slammed with neg comments on Yelp which is here. Moosehead's Yelp rating has "Tanked" to two stars out of five as Marines from across the nation hammer away at the four star rating the bar had this morning.

Josh Watts, errr "Tank" may want to leave the state, or at least lay low for a few months. But as the following photos attest he just ain't that smart.

The comments at Cedar Posts are pure gold. Since the story broke Josh "Tank" Watts has shut down his Facebook page. So has Moosehead Bar & Grill. Sounds like Moosehead is about to be overrun with Marines and Tank is the guest of honor. They've also uncovered he works security for the Charlotte Bobcats. Here's his LinkedIn in case you'd like to give him a job reference.

Hopefully, The Cowboys organization will reach out to Garrett Carnes and his family. The least they could do is offer luxury suite tickets and VIP passes for him and his family.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Toll Tag Testing

Will your toll tag work at 85mph on TX130? I don't think that's going to be a problem.


They Call It Mellow Yellow

Deleted because of the annoying autoplay.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gangnam Style

Yesterday's Bag of Nothing  featured a Gangnam Style parody video from the cadets at West Point. Being an ex-Coastie, I am obliged under Federal law to point out the Midshipmen at Navy beat them to it by 2 weeks!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Just How Big Are Skunks in Pennsylvania?

NEW SEWICKLEY TWP. — A 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot in the shoulder Saturday night by a family member who thought she was an animal outside a New Sewickley Township home, police said.

New Sewickley Police Chief Ronald Leindecker said the girl, whom he would not identify, was over a hillside around 8:30 p.m. during a Halloween party at 376 Brewer Road.

Leindecker said an unidentified male relative mistook the girl, who was wearing a black costume and a black hat with white tassel, for a skunk and shot her in the shoulder with a shotgun.

The girl was alert and talking when she was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Leindecker said. A report on her condition was not available. Leindecker said he was not sure if charges will be filed. He added that the man had not been drinking.

Officers on Saturday night were still investigating and collecting statements, and they will turn over the case to the Beaver County district attorney’s office, Leindecker said.
Just a couple questions. First, why didn't they release the name of the shooter? Second, why did he shoot at a target he wasn't 100% sure about, especially when there were kids in the area? Granted she was wearing a costume, but still...
9 Year Old Girl

Can you tell the difference?

SNL Recap

The cold open tonight was, as expected, on the Presidential debates with Jason Sudeikis and Jay Pharoh as Romney / Obama and Aidy Bryant as moderator Candy Crowley. Thankfully no F-bombs were tossed as they constantly played up the bad blood between the two and had several funny barbs. The skit also featured a cameo by Tom Hanks.

Host/musical guest Bruno Mars quickly acknowledged his awkwardness as an actor and went to his strong suit by singing the monologue followed by Taran Killam giving Brad Pitt's odd Chanel commercial an inside look. It would become a running skit with various sponsors.

Next Bobby Moynahan played a Mom accused of stealing her daughter's (Mars) boyfriends on the daytime talk show "haters". Thankfully it was a short skit and didn't implode. The acting was funny, but the writing was weak.

A power failure at Pandora HQ forcing an intern (Mars) to karaoke various songs was the plot for the next skit. That was followed by what is presumably the new SNL short film segment. Titled "Sad Mouse", it featuring Mars as a distraught man who was just dumped by his girlfriend of 6 years being hired to play a life size mascot that happens to be a patriotic mouse. Things do not go well as he suffers his breakup on the job. But in the end he finds a distraught female frog mascot (presumably suffering a similar breakup) and they walk away together.

That was followed by Bruno's musical segment introduced by Tom Hanks and a rather weak Weekend Update that was only saved by an appearance of Bill Hader as Stefon with Halloween party recommendations. I love Stefon because he reminds me of a mix between Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. Hader always loses character and cracks himself up in the middle of jokes.

After WU, a skit dug up from from the grave that would have been better off left for dead. The Merryville carnival haunted house ride taken over by animatronic characters after a malfunction. Hanks made another cameo at the end of the skit.

The Wilderness Lodge was the locale for the next skit as two tourists (Sukeikis, Vanessa Bayer) look for Yeti Point. Mars played the one eyed innkeeper and Hader the disturbed caretaker that was sexually molested by a Yeti.

In what may be an SNL first, Bill Hader redonned his Stefon costume to introduce Bruno Mars' second set. Not sure a cast member in character has ever introduced a musical guest before. I certainly don't remember it ever happening.

Donkey Punch the Vote was a weak attempt at humor and shock value as a youth "get out the vote" commercial. Thankfully it was the last bit of the night.

Overall, tonight's episode scores a C. Mars did a respectable job as a first-timer pulling double duty, Stefon made a long awaited appearance and Tom Hanks provided help when needed. But the writing was just plain weak.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Now that's a serious tan

The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling some half-million bottles of spray-on lotion after reports that a handful of people have caught on fire after applying the product.

Unconfirmed reports say Patricia Krentcil has stockpiled all she can get.

Friday, October 19, 2012

To Vegas, or not to Vegas? That is the question.

I've been contemplating going to Las Vegas for Halloween. Where else but Sin City to celebrate All Hallows Eve?

This trip will be a classic affirmation of everything right and true in the national character. A gross physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country. But only for those with true grit.

And we are chock full of that, man.

Spirit Airlines has some $200 round-trip flights, I've got a comp'ed room thru the end of December at Stratosphere and another at Monte Carlo.

Classic strategy. There is a certain bent appeal in the notion of running a savage burn on one Las Vegas hotel, and then just wheeling across town and checking into another.

Plus, I can do a pretty convincing Raoul Duke.

What's Your Vector, Victor?

It's all over by the :45 mark. But things got real interesting there for a second.

If you follow the comments on YouTube it's debatable who was at fault. The camera gives a false platform from which to judge. But, if you look at the horizon and not the aircraft it appears the tanker zigged when he should have zagged while correcting and nosed over in front of the AWACS when he should have pulled up.

The AWACS pilot reacted correctly, in the nick-o-time, and nosed over hard which resulted in some violent negative G's, but avoided a mid-air collision.

That had to be a wild ride onboard the AWACS. There were injuries and damage to the aircraft reported.

Future Dallas Cowboys Defense Unveiled

It's a Jerry Jones starter kit. Just add some silver pants and a blue star on the helmet.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On The Radar: Hulu Edition

Kitchen Confidential
Very loosely based on Anthony Bourdain's best selling autobiography, this 2005 FOX series didn't last a season, but it had potential. FOX gave this one the full Firefly treatment, screwing with the schedule and eventually canning the series after just a few episodes before it could build an audience.

Producers Darren Star (Sex and the City) and Dave Hemingson (Just Shoot Me!, American Dad) put together a great cast led by a pre-Hangover Bradley Cooper as Chef "Jack" Bourdain. It also featured Frank Langella as Nolita's owner Pino, and John Cho as Teddy in recurring supporting roles. It was a solid, talented cast infused with several promising new faces.

Unfortunately, Anthony Bourdain didn't do any of the writing for the series. In fact, he had barely anything at all to do with it other than a "based on" credit. Hemingson wrote the first two episodes, then a cornucopia of writers wrote the final 11. Star directed the first 2 episodes then opened the revolving directors door for the remainder which probably explains why the plot wanders from episode to episode.

It's still a fast paced, funny look at life inside an upscale kitchen with a talented but dysfunctional staff. Worth checking out when you get the chance. All 13 episodes (most of which were never aired) are available on Hulu.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grease City Burger Co.

Maybe I just caught them on an off night. But when you pay damn near $10 for a burger and onion rings there had better be no "off" nights. It's been several months since I ate at Rock City Burger Co in Bridgeport, but from what I remembered they were pretty freakin' good. They won the Best Burger in Wise award for 2011-12. Usually good eats.

Tonight, a much different story. There were only 2 customers there when I pulled up. I thought it was good timing. Instead, it was probably a sign that things have gone way downhill in a hurry and I would be better off going to Sonic.

I ordered a single meat cheeseburger with grilled onions, jalapenos, mushrooms and onions plus an order of onion rings. Yeah, I like onions. What I got was a single greaseburger with a patty so thin you could read a newspaper thru it and all the fixins lumped in the middle. The onion rings were undercoated and undercooked. Even the Dr. Pepper was weak.

Now, I love a greasy cheeseburger as much as the next red blooded American. Herd's in Jackistan is the best I've ever had. But this was much different. It was like they added extra grease with each ingredient.  I wound up throwing over 1/2 the meal in the trash. It was that bad.

I walked in expecting a killer meal. I walked out having survived a meal that tried to kill me. Maybe they need to concentrate less on the Jeep videos and more on the kitchen.

Now where's my Lipitor?

One Take?

Those Old Spice fantasy commercials are pretty entertaining. But I was shocked to find out they did it in one continuous shot.

h/t H8torade

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Christina Applegate Fits Right In as SNL Host

I was expecting a lot from the SNL cold open. Naturally they went with the VP debate and Biden's over the top expressions. What I wasn't expecting was an F-bomb from Kate McKennon as moderator Martha Raddatz directed toward Jim Lehrer that wasn't funny and just plain mean that drew a stunned reaction from the audience. It took a lot away from what would have been a funny bit with Jason Sudeikis and Taran Killam that included a cameo by Usain Bolt.

Host Christina Applegate displayed her singing skills during the monologue then followed it up with a great performance in the recurring skit "The Californians". Next she hosted "Tech Talk", a bit that will make any iPhone user cringe as experts complained about the flaws with iPhone 5's and Chinese factory workers responded to them with their living and working conditions. When asked if the Chinese workers had any complaints about American products, they responded "Good question. What does America make? Does diabetes count as a product?".

Christina was also in a video parody of a blockbuster action movie trailer entitled "Give Us All Our Daughters Back" as Uma Thurmon. The bit was funny and gave Jay Pharoh and Bill Hader a chance to show off their considerable impersonation skills as Denzel Washington and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bobby Moynihan also pulled off a very funny Steven Segal.

Following a performance by Passion Pit, Weekend Update tore into the debates including a visit from Nasim Pedrad who nailed it as Arianna Huffington. Expect to see much more of Arianna in the future. Kenan Thompson then brought back his Top French Def Jam comedian Jean K. Jean to comment on Lance Armstrong. He commented on everything but.

Up next another appearance by Christina as leader of a Siren trio in the Aegean Sea singing 90's pop songs to Odysseus that featured some high tech special effects. Then a skit about the "Booker T. Washington High School Hell-oween Ball"  featuring Christina as school librarian Miss Schrader dressed as "the ghost of the Haunted Library , not the KKK Fairy as some students suggested".

Following another performance by Passion Pit, a final skit with Christina as an over the top dance studio instructor the students can't understand.

You can tell when the host has talent and can work on the fly, they're in more skits. Tonight there was barely anything that didn't feature Christina. I predict she'll be back numerous times after tonight where she melded right in with the cast and had a flawless performance.

I give tonight's show an A-. A majority of the credit going to Christina and her excellent performance. You would have thought she was a veteran cast member.

This was her second time hosting SNL. The first was during her Kelly Bundy days back in 1993 on the episode when Chris Farley debuted loud-mouthed, thrice-divorced, government cheese-eating motivational speaker "in a van, down by the river" Matt Foley.

Let's hope it's not another 19 years before she gets another shot.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On The Radar: Hitchcock

Good Evening

I hadn't heard a peep about this film until I ran across it on Bag Of Nothing. From what the trailer reveals, I'm very intrigued. 

Anthony Hopkins probably wouldn't have been my first pick as Hitch, but it's not a bad one. On the other hand Scarlett Johansson is perfect as Janet Leigh. Toss in Hellen Mirren as Lady Reville, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins and you might have a decent flick.

My spidey senses are tingling!

It's Like Zombieland, But With Water Bottles

Only 1 man can save us...

Why do I suspect this guy has a bigger Twinkie fetish than Tallahassee?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Reservations? I Beg To Differ!

I don't usually go to speaking engagements featuring celebrity chefs (or anyone else for that matter), but this sounded too good to pass up. I'm a big Tony Bourdain fan. I like his "Gonzo" style of writing, his snarky razor sharp wit and his approach to life in general.

Getting Eric Ripert on stage at the same time? Bonus! They will only be doing 3 shows together and Bass Hall is one of them.

This should be a very entertaining event and I snagged some killer seats. Tickets are still available for their Nov 9 appearance at Bass Hall.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Get Lost Maze

Shouldn't that be Maize Maze?

Why haven't I heard about this before? Sounds like a blast! I bet it could get pretty spooky after dark with the fog and performers.

Blue Bell in Spaaaaace!

Among the important cargo onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule is material to create Silly Putty as well as ice cream.

The ice cream tagging along on the space flight that launched Sunday night from Cape Canaveral, Fla is none other than our beloved Blue Bell. The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station on Wednesday.

The Blue Bell will be stored in GLACIER, or General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator. Primarily used to preserve science samples that require temperatures between -301 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit on the way to or from the space station, it makes a dandy ice cream transporter. The mini-fridge sized freezer previously flew aboard the space shuttle.

All space station crew members, regardless of their home nation, spend time training for their expeditions at Johnson Space Center in Houston, and everybody knows Blue Bell dominates the market in Texas.

As such, the Blue Bell Sundae Ice Cream Cups should be especially welcome by Expedition 33's commander, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, as well as flight engineers Yuri Malenchenko of Russia's federal space agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

Blue Bell isn't a space rookie. Far from it. In 1995, astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis first took Blue Bell along for the ride. In 2006 it made it's first visit to the ISS delivered by, ironically, Atlantis.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SNL: Big Bird Steals The Show

I normally try to give you an SNL critique, but this Stackjack pretty much sums it up.

The show's highlight came when a "very tired" Big Bird joined Seth Meyers during "Weekend Update" about "seven hours past his bed time." The iconic "Sesame Street" character learned he was mentioned in the debate after "getting a million tweets" but passed on making any statements on the election or Mitt Romney's vow to cut federal funding for PBS because he didn't want to "ruffle any political feathers." Needless to say, the eight-foot tall Big Bird towered over Meyers as they sat together behind the anchor desk. 

You have to love Big Bird. Even when attacked, he turns the other cheek. He just wants to be your friend. A touching moment came in the closing credits when Bobby Moynihan got to hug Big Bird goodbye. You could see the 6 year old kid inside Bobby.