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.

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