Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pix of 2009

Ahh 2009 – the year I finally got drunk in Prague.

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Top 10 of the 2000s: Years

I finish my waltz down nostalgia boulevard by rating each year.

10. 2005 – With so little photographic evidence, I must assume that this was not a terribly productive year.  And there was the little thing about quitting my Team in Training triathlon attempt.  I’m still waiting for my wet suit.

9. 2006 – Like 2005, not a whole lot went on this year.  It rates ahead of 2005 due to frequent visits to Austin and a trip to New Orleans and Vegas.  Otherwise, it’s pretty much a generic year slaving away at Nortel.

8. 2001 – When I was first putting this list together, I had few memories of 2001.  So I figured it must have been a shitty year.  But looking back at the pictures I guess it wasn’t that bad.  It was the year of our first Limo Birthday party that started a tradition still practiced by us early Feb birthday peeps.  It was the year I got Alex and the year of my proto-Walkabout through upstate NY.  I guess not a shitty year after all.  Well, there was that 9/11 thing.  But really, how did that effect me??

7. 2000 – These early years are probably getting short shrift (and if you’re anything like me, you don’t like to be reminded how short your shrift is).  So, while not a bad year, I can’t rank it above any of the years that are above it.  Which makes sense since that’s general how things are ranked.  2000 was the year of my first trip to San Francisco and Toronto.

6. 2004 – This is the year I finally woke up and moved to the Lower Greenville area.  And for that alone it gets ranked highly.  Although there’s not much photographic evidence of much going on in my life that year.

5. 2008 – This decade finished strong, but I have to rank 2008 lower due mostly to having a Walkabout that ranks third out of three (still a good time though).  The first half of the year was pretty shitty. I’m not really sure why, but much of the first half of this year I was in a fog.   But it did pick up with trips to Minneapolis and Southern California for work and the previously mentioned Walkabout to the North East.

4. 2003 – The highs were high this year and the lows pretty low (bye Musso).  But as long as there are great moments in a year, it’s going to be rated highly despite the bad times.  This year had great trips to New Orleans, Vegas and Colorado, the best Winter League Ever and the year I started becoming a beer snob.

3. 2009 – This has been a really good year.  My European Walkabout alone makes it a great year.  Plus I got to go to DC and Vermont.  And I finally got a job with a pretty good company in the year’s last quarter.  But there was those six months of unemployment weigh down this year a bit in the standings.

2. 2007 – The year of my Nortel layoff and subsequent western US Walkabout.  If I could chose a year in which I closed the first half of my life and started the second half, this would be the year.  The Nortel layoff gave me the opportunity to find the things that are going to be important in the second half of my life.  It’s the year I took up brewing and stepped up my commitment to cooking.  And, of course, it’s the year I got to see how beautiful the western part of this country is.

1. 2002 – Easily my favorite year of the Oughts.  Anchored weekly by Thursday Night Liver Practice at The Blarney Stone (when we would regularly get at least a dozen people, and often many more, each and every week) 2002 was a near non-stop party.  From Mardi Gras to Calgary Stamped to 20th Anniversary Hat Games to Blarney Stone’s Birthday Party to Jingle Bell Hell to the start of the Best Winter League Ever.  This was a very good year.

Overall, a pretty good decade.  So very much better than those fucking 1990s.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blu-Ray Review: Extract

That was a surprisingly tasteful funeral.

Extract is the latest Mike Judge film that virtually no one saw in the theatres but will likely become a cult classic.  He returns to the mundacity of “office life” by following the lives of some warehouse/assembly line workers of a flavor extract company.

Wow.  Except for the made-up word, that almost sounded like it was from a real review.

Hilarity ensues when a grifter, the very adorable, hot and underrated Mila Kunis, joins the company in order to con a recently injured worker out of his workman’s comp settlement. There’s also a whacky B-plot about factory owner Jason Bateman arranging to have his asexual wife to have sex with a stranger so that he can have sex with Mila Kunis.

What I Liked
Kristen Wiig – duh.
Mila Kunis – double duh.

What I Disliked
Heineken product placement.
Judge cheerypicks from the casts of many of the great comedies of the 2000s – Juno [Jason Bateman, J. K. Simmons] Forgetting Sarah Marshall [Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig], Drillbit Taylor [David Koechner].  One has to wonder where Seth Rogin was.

But in the end, I could only describe this film as pleasant.  It wants to be something but never really achieves anything.  The best part is Kristen Wiig telling off her neighbor who then inexplicably dies.

It’s doubtful this will become a cultural touchstone like Judge’s other films.

  • 0 Breasts
  • 0 Beasts
  • Machine Equipment to the Crotch-fu
  • Academy Award Nomination for Mila Kunis’ shirt for barely holding in those delicate scoops of lovely.

King Wally says check it out

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

File Under "Slouching Towards Idiocracy"

 blog it

Top 10 of the 2000s: Movies

I reserve the right to make changes to this list since there are a handful of movie from 2009 that I have yet to see that could potentially make the list.  The list won’t have the usual suspects that you will see on other decade’s end lists.  My list represents movies I liked and meant something to me. 

Oh, and if you don’t have any of these movies, and would like to buy one or two or ten, please follow the link to Amazon so I can buy kibble for Alex and Zoë.
Or maybe you would like some nice shoes or a handbag.

Just sayin.
On with the list….

10. The Hammer – Come on.  I had to put this on my list.  It’s Adam Carolla’s semi-autobiographical movie about a 40 year old carpenter/boxing instructor making a run at the Olympics.

9. Ghost World – An unknown Scarlett Johansson, a nerdy, grown up Thora Birch and an even more nerdy Steve Buscemi.  What else do you need??

8. Idiocracy – Not as funny as it could have been, but very prophetic.  It’s not going to take 500 years to get to the Idiocracy.  It’s already here.

7. Stepbrothers – Maybe just about the funniest movie of 2000s.  There may have been better comedies, but this one had the most yuck yucks.

6. District 9 – Yeah, I know.  I just watched it.  How can I rate it so high?  Admittedly, I may wonder what I was thinking when I do my retrospective in 2015.  But it really is an interesting movie.

5. Borat – My favorite of the Sacha Baron Cohen characters.  Yeah, I lot of the bits are obviously contrived.  And this could have been a funnier movie.  But there’s a lot of good stuff here. 

4. No Country for Old Men – I couldn’t put a Movie list together that did not contain a Coen Brothers movie.  This was their best of this decade.  But I’m not sure it’s as good of a movie as Fargo or Raising Arizona.

3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – I had to give The Lord of the Rings some love.  It took me a while to get on board with The Rings, but once I finally gave in to the hype and watched them, I loved them.  I still think the books are a colossal bore, though.

2. Sideways – Yeah, this is where the list starts to get a bit personal and maybe a bit weird.  I can’t explain it, but this movie really connected with me.  The first twenty minutes aren’t that strong.  And it could be that if I watched it right now I might think differently.  But for much of the oughts, this was my favorite movie.

1. Stranger Than Fiction – Will Ferrell’s best movie ever.  Also Queen Latifah’s best movie ever.  Another personal choice, thus I can’t explain why it on my list or why it’s so high.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pix of 2008


Ahh 2008 – the year I got a bonus West Coast walkabout, courtesy of billionaire Andy Beal.

Since Facebook hates me anything on my blog that uses Flash, if you're looking at this on Facebook you will see nothing. Please go here and relive the year we all* voted for change.

*Ok, well most of us didn’t vote at all or voted for an old man representing the status quo.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Live Blogging Cowboys @ Redskins

I’m sorry I couldn’t do this for the New Orleans game, that was one great game.  But Winter League got in the way.  Barring any potential Winter League or Van Morrison conflict, I do intend to blog all of the remaining Cowboy games.

Pregame:  Yeah NBC!  If Buck and Aikman aren’t doing a Cowboy game, Michaels and Collinsworth are the second best play-by-play/color duo. 

Pregame: Thumbs up on the Bob Costas interview of DeMarcus Ware cause I loves me some DeMarcus Ware.  I just wish I could find the Hard Knocks video of him doing “Head Shoulders Knees & Toes” with his baby girl.  It’s a touching to watch the soft side of a man that breaks quarterbacks for a living.

Pregame: Mmmmmmmmmm leftover Spanish Casserole.

Q1 15:00 Fuck this, The Wizard of Oz is on TNT.

Q1 15:00 Uh Oh.  Romo Shark sighting. Foobball Foobball Foobball Foobball Foobball Foobball Foobball

Q1 14:45 Anthony Spencer picks up from his terrific game last week with a 4 yrd loss.

Q1 14:10 And then no one covers Ganther in the middle for a first down.

Q1 13:10 Seriously, Ref, how do you miss that hold of Ratliff??

Q1 12:20 INT Terrance Newman!! 

Q1 12:07 WHY?  WHY? Even bother looking Roy Williams’ way??

Q1 11:15  Nice catch by Creighton to pick up the first down.

Q1 8:34 TD Roy Williams!!!!  Dude made a play! But Romo made an amazing throw and scrambled to keep the play alive.  It looked like maybe the play was supposed to go to Austin, who was double covered.

[Dal 7 Wash 0]

Q1 8:35 Hamlin bit on the play fake for the easy first down.

Q1 8:10 More great coverage by Jenkins.  Probably shouldn’t be Offensive Pass Interference.  But I’ll take it.

Q1 7:13 Hello Mr. Campbell, my name is Jay, Jay Ratliff.

Q1 6:56  I can understand Axe Men being on the Discovery Channel, but on the History Channel??   Seriously, what does luberjacking have to do with Hitler?

Q1 5:35  Well that was a disappointing three-and-out.  Creighton needs to make that catch.

Q1 5:20  Heroes is still on??

Q1 4:45 The Umpire should have been called for pass interference instead of Ware for holding.

Q1 2:31 Well, no wonder Spencer hurried the pass.  He was offsides.  Dangit, I was writing this as Collinsworth was saying it.

Q1 0:19 Great tackle by Brady James to prevent the first down and to begin the next half with a punt.

End Of First Quarter Dal 7  Wash 0

Q2 14:44 Sweet run by Felix Jones.  Loved the 360 pirouette.

Q2 12:24 Witten just short of a first down.  Hey, guys, lets not keep the Deadskins in this.  Let’s do to them what we did to their namesakes – steal their land and let them build giant casinos in return.  I’m not really sure how this metaphor will work football-wise.  Sometimes you go down a comedic hole and you just don’t know how to get out.

Q2 12:12 Great play by Moss cutting back for a big gain.  This is why you can’t keep these guys in this game.  Any NFL team is capable of a big play.  Oh, and that was Ware downfield for the tackle.  The guy is awesome.

Q2 10:29  Our first Barbie Carpenter sighting with pressure on Campbell for the incompletion.

Q2 8:55  WOW.  What a great catch and run by Witten.  Too bad he ran out of gas before he could score.

Q2 8:00 TD Marion Barber. 

[Dal 14  Wash 0]

Q2 7:50 Nice tackle by Hamlin.  I was afraid he was gonna break that dude.

Q2 6:39 Really Redskins??  3rd and 4, down by 14 and you try a draw.  I guess you have to try it, but did you think it would work?

Q2 6:05 Does any good beer advertise besides Guinness??

Q2 5:05 WOW.  Romo at his best.  Avoid a sack, scrambles and finds Austin for a first down.

Q2 4:22 What the fuck was that???  STOP WITH THE WILDCAT!!

Q2 3:28 INT Doughty.  That interception is on Roy.  The dude is a fucking pussy on any ball not thrown perfectly.  It was high, but it was in his hands.  Fucking Longhorn.

Q2 3:17 Not a fumble, but what is Campbell doing?  You’re defense just got you the ball back in fairly good field position and you almost give it right back.

Q2 2:00 They just don’t trust Campbell on third down.  Last series the ran a draw. This one they ran a short screen that the Dallas defense sniffed out early.

Q2 1:12 To take it to the next level, Austin needs to stop dropping passes like this one.  Still, at least he makes plays, right Roy??

Q2 0:38 Unfuckingbelievable.  Roy, catch the ball, then look.

Q2 0:00 Well that was a sloppy ending to a 2 minute drill.

End of First Half Dal 14  Wash 0

Q3 14:53 More Ogletree, please!  [Stolen from Ben Rogers’ Facebook status earlier in the week]

Q3 14:00 Austin is starting to light up.

Q3 12:15 Razorback again??  UGH!

Q3 10:50 Barber stuffed two plays in a row.  Seriously, guys.  Let’s not let them think they have a chance.  I know it’s hindsight, but would some play action and a short pass to Austin have worked?  They’re gonna load up for Barber.

Q3 7:07 Ouch!  Scandrick put a hurt on Campbell.  Sack?  They didn’t really rule whether his arm was moving forward.

Q3 6:35  I hate to say it about an Aggie, but Marty B needs to mix in a quality catch. 

Q3 4:45 Cowboys taking what the Redskins are giving.  Presnap, both safeties were way off the line.  Making it obvious to run and Jones picked up 8.

Q3 3:30 On Jerry Jones’ hardon for Wade Phillips:  “I want that feeling ratified by some success.”  Highlarryass!!

Q3 2:50 Washington D is playing only to stop the big play with safeties playing deep.  Makes sense on 3rd and 15, but 1st and10???

Q3 1:26  Sam Hurd gets thrown to for the only time this week.

Q3 0:50 Barber stuffed again on 4th down.  Again, easy to second guess.  But there was a lot of moving parts on that run.

Q3 0:43 TNew, make the fucking tackle.

End of Third Quarter [Dal 14  Wash 0]

Q4 15:00 OK, guys.  I’m not feeling real good about this.  I seem to remember a game a few years ago where the Cowboys had a comfortable 10 point lead.  Then Santana Moss ripped off a couple of long TD receptions and we were all crying in our pizza rolls.

Q4 14:57  Brady James has had a good game.  That’s all.  Just thought it need to be pointed out since he was there in coverage.

Q4 14:51 Shouldn’t Ware get credited with a sack since he caused the intentional grounding??  Not that Ware needs the stat boost.  But if you were a backup DLer and you had a chance for a sack and the fucking QB threw it away.  That sack stat sure would look good at contract negotiating time.

Q4 11:20 Now’s the time in the game when we run the ball down your fucking throat.

Q4 10:27 Bad news—someone just broke our Tashard.  The good news:  no more Wildcat!!!!

Q4 9:10 MB3 TIME!

Q4 8:40 Ugh.  3rd & 4th and 1 has been way too hard tonight.

Q4 7:44 FG DALLAS [Dal 17 – Wash 0] Suisham makes his first kick as a Cowboy.

Q4 6:36 Nice tackle by Barbie to Cartwright in bounds and keep the clock rolling.  See, I can say nice things about players I don’t like. 

Q4  6:04 Brooking has also had a good game.  He seemed to slump a bit recently.  But has come back strong the last two games.

Q4  5:48 Time Out Washington.  Huh??  Why drag this boring game out any longer than it has to be?  I know you’re trying to save precious seconds just in case Campbell can mount a comeback.  But, come on. 

Q4 5:42  Good TO, Redskins.  You held MB3 to only 12 yards.

Q4 5:02 Oh, good Christ, another time out?? You haven’t thrown the ball more than 15 yards all night.  How are you going to mount a comeback??

Q4 4:57 Mercifully, Washington’s final time out.

Q4 2:00 ‘skins, you know you need three scores, right?  You might want to pick up the pace.

Q4 1:32 Washington Redskins:  The Two Minute Drill of the Boring

Q4 0:50 Second sack for Ratliff. BEAST!

Q4 0:26 Wash turns on downs.  Thanks again for wasting my time with those time outs.

Q4 0:00 Dallas is in the Playoffs!

End of Game [Dallas 17 Washington 0]



Snow Dogs 2009

Snowdogs (1 of 3)

 Snowdogs (2 of 3)

Snowdogs (3 of 3)

Pix of 2007

Ahh 2007 – the year I said goodbye to Nortel and hello to the shit tonne of National Parks.

Since Facebook hates me anything on my blog that uses Flash, if you're looking at this on Facebook you will see nothing. Please go here and relive the year that The Simpsons finally made it to the big screen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blu-Ray Review: District 9

image I would describe District 9 as The Office meets Reno: 911 meets Alien Nation meets The Fly meets Watermelon Man (look it up).  In fact, that’s pretty much the progression of the movie as well.

Wikus Van De Merwe is a semi-competent beaurocrat tasked with overseeing the transfer of aliens from their shacks in District 9 to spanking new tents in a new tent city camp.  It is here that action plays out very much like Reno: 911.  I was very surprised at how funny much of the first third of the movie was.  That was until Wikus becomes infected with mysterious alien liquid that begins to turn him into one of the aliens – aka a Prawn.

He eventually befriends a Prawn, Christopher, whom he had earlier tried to evict.  Christopher claims to be able to help Wikus and much explosions and flying body parts ensue.

I have to admit something here that I’ve admitted before.  It’s a lot more fun to slam something terrible than it is to praise something wonderful.  And this is one of those times where I’m coming up with clever and humorous things to say about a movie I liked.  So, I’m just going to have to rely on some banal and unimaginative phraseology.

District 9 was really really good.

That’s two “really”s so I must have liked it a bunch.  Good Christ, I’m a fuckin’ wordsmith.

I guess I should give you some reasons it’s such an awesome movie.  It is a satirical science fiction movie with a great sense of humor and acerbic social commentary about xenophobia.  The special effects are amazing -- specifically the rendering of the Prawns -- but used only when and where the story requires them.  Are you reading this George Lucas?
  • 0 breasts
  • thousands of beasts
  • prawn-fu
  • Nigerian gangster-fu
  • Academy Award nomination for Peter Jackson for all the weight he’s lost since Lord of the Rings. Seriously, have you seen this guy recently.  It doesn’t look like the same dude.  Did he get a thumb stomach??

King Wally says check it out.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Greatest Movie Review in the History of Cinema

With Star Wars as the theme for Dallas Ultimate Winter League, I have resparked (is that a word?? well it is now) an interest in the films.  So when SpikeTV broadcast the series this week (in Episode order, by the way, not order of release.  Seriously Spike??) I felt compelled to watch at least some of it.
And I came out of this experience with a renewed fervor that George Lucas should be tried for crimes against humanity for his abortion that is quaintly referred to as the Prequels.
So it is with wild enthusiasm that I share with my readers this hilarious and insightful review of The Phantom Menace.

Be warned, this is part 1 of 7 (as you can probably see).  So be prepared to spend over an hour with this.  But it is worth it.
Facebookers, go here
Money Line : “I guess it was poetic cause I was vomiting in stanzas.”
And when you’re done watching that review, read this to learn how The Phantom Menace changed the course of history and got us to the predicament we’re in today.

Double You Tee Ef???

I may still be a little buzzed from some Christmas MacAllans.  But what the fuck is this Prestonwood Baptist Church Christmas program on Channel 8??  It’s like some sort of Christian Cirque du Soleil meets the underground humans from Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
This is the best video I was able to find on the interwebz. 

And what the fuck is John Tesh doing on this??  How big of a Bapitist Church do you have to be to get John Tesh to headline??

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hey Asshat: Holliday Two-For

#1  Hey, dude.  I saw you pass up that perfectly good parking spot at the Goody-Goody on upper Greenville.  It is understandable that you might want to find a parking spot that is closer to the store.  But there’s really only about four rows of parking at the store.  And, yes, you passed one spot on the last row only to stop and contemplate your closer options.  And while you were contemplating you were blocking others from parking.  And then, when your brain had finally finished rebooting, you chose a spot that, while technically closer to the store, was equidistant to door from the spot you passed up originally. 

Oh, and by the way, I took that spot you passed up and was in the store way before you.  So what exactly did you do with all that time you saved by parking closer??


#2 Yes, sir, I understand that there are very few MIT graduates managing Party Citys.  And that you, personally, are not responsible for someone else not properly updating the computer so that the discount is added on the Buy-two-get-one-free gift bag offer.  But, let’s be honest.  There were ten bags at $0.99 each I was purchasing.  So I’m only going to save $3.  So, as you were “helping” another customer and my cashier was perplexed by the discount not being applied, I suggested that you only charge me for seven.  It made sense to me.  And it appeared to make sense to you.  But then you had to piss me off with this.  “Well, we have to account for everything you purchased in the computer.”  To which I suggest that you can do that when I’m gone and that I don’t need to stand around for fifteen minutes to save $3.  All of this went ignored and you finally keyed in my purchase.  And then I looked on in amazement as you keyed in first one bag at the regular price, then three bags at $0.49 and then six more bags at the regular price.  Really?  This is what I had to wait for?  Olga, my original cashier couldn’t do this?  It’s really simple.  My time is worth more than $3.  Except for me and the woman you were helping, there was no one else in the store.  You could have sent me on my way charging me for seven bags and adjusted it in the computer afterwards once the store was empty.  I would wish something awful for you for the time I’ll never get back.  But I would imagine that managing a Party City is punishment enough.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blu-ray Review: Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark SIde.

A long time ago, when the gays weren’t all in your face about it….
Something Something Something Dark Side is Family Guy’s The Empire Strikes Back follow up to their Blue Harvest parody of Star Wars, Episode IV- A New Hope .  Did that sentence make any sense?  Well, continuing on right now.  For whatever reason Fox chose to make this direct to video rather than air it first as they did with Blue Harvest.
This is Family Guy at it’s best.  Since they have a defined plot (it is a parody of a well known movie, after all) to follow there are very few of their signature (some say crutch) cutaway jokes.  The funny is mostly kept to the plot.  But if you’re not a fan of the Star Wars movies, much of the jokes may go over your head.
I won’t give too much away, but some of the better moments were:
  • Pointing out that that an officer in the underground Hoth bunker had a Purina logo on his uniform.  From the first time I saw Empire I was distracted by that logo.
  • The sore leg gag done by an AT-AT.
  • Meg’s Appearance
  • Racialist Brian
  • Han’s pose frozen in carbonite.
  • Stormtroopers lamenting that they never seem to hit anything.
These Family Guy Star Wars parodies have done a masterful job of matching their characters to the Star Wars universe – Stewie as Darth Vader is brilliant.  But they dipped deep into the Family Guy dramatis personae to find their Yoda.  Who they came up with, Carl the Video Store Manager, barely made sense.
Other than that, this is a very nice Star Wars parody that, despite being in the Fox family, bares no punches at either Fox or Star Wars finest episode.
I do have to ask, why was this on Blu-ray?  It may have been marginally in HD but it was in standard 4:3 format.  However, as is mentioned in the commentary, many of the exquisitely re-enacted scenes are better rendered than the original 1980 versions.
And if you’re wonder where the name came from: (sorry Facebookers)

  • 0 breasts
  • Many beasts
  • Yoda-fu
  • Snowmonster-fu
  • Meg-fu
  • Academy Award Nomination for Seth McFarlane for officially being the most prolific TV animator since Hanna Barbera.  And their legacy is tarnished with the dreadful Magilla Gorilla and Grape Ape.

A  If you’re both a Family Guy and Star Wars fan
B If you’re either a Family Guy or Star wars fan
D If you’ve never seen either.

King Wally says check it out.

Hey Asshat

You know there is a perfectly usable bridge over White Rock Lake. You don't have to use Mockingbird anymore. I know. There are a bunch of pedestrians on the bridge that would slow you down. But let's be honest. You're a bit of a plus sized gentleman. There's no crime in that. I'm one myself. So those few seconds you lose on the bridge aren't going to ruin you Tour de France qualification. Better that walkers be in your way than you be in the way of a SUV going 50 mph.

-- Post From My iPhone

Top 5 of the 2000s: Miscellaneous Bests

There are some great things that didn’t have a list to be noted on.  So here’s their very special list.

5.  Best Video Game [Half Life 2] – I probably only played a handful of video games in the 2000s, but I played this one twice.  It’s one of the few First Person Shooters with an interesting plot.  And with the anticipated release of HL2:Episode 3 in 2010, expect to see this on the 2010s list as well.

4. Best Winter League [2002-2003 The Simpsons] – My first year to captain and the first year of the split.  And I had a good time for one of the few times at the end of the season party.

3.  Best Complement from A Dude That’s Been on 30 Rock and in a Jennifer Aniston Movie [Rhett Miller] – I was having a few beers with the Old 97s front man at The Libertine one night this year around St. Patrick’s day. He was with friends of friends.  But we were at the same table and talked about bidets.  As he got up to go home, he said his farewells and, to me, said, “I like your glasses.” 

2. Best Winter League Party [Mid January 2001 @ Jamestown Fields] – Those who were there know.  Those who weren’t there, wish they had been.

1. Best Hospitality [ Marie-Jean Welding] – Vanessa’s Aunt opened up her very tiny and very clean apartment in Antibes to a couple of slovenly Americans.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 10 of the 2000s: Shows

10. The Ticket Timewasters @ Plano Convention Center [2008] – Yeah, I’m really grasping for shows.  But I had more than 5 so I had to fill the list out to 10.
9. Jimmy Buffet @ The Coca Cola Superpages Smirnov Ampitheater [2002]  -- Somewhere there are pictures of me in a coconut bikini top.  I must persuade Jamie to destroy those photos if she still has them.
8. Muse/U2 @ The Death Star [2009] – It’s more of an indictment of my lack of show going in this decade that this even makes the list.  Although it is notable for being my one and only visit to Jerry World.  And Muse kicked ass even if they didn’t play Knights of Cydonia.  Hopefully I’ll get to see them when they’re back on St. Patrick’s Day 2010.
7. Mingo Fishtrap @ Jingle Bell Hell Party [2003] – The first time I ever saw these guys and the only good thing about that night besides seeing BIg Gulp as drunk as I’ve ever seen him.
6. Jerry Seinfeld @ Fair Park Music Hall [2004] – The second time I saw him.  He was gold, Jerry, gold!
5. Sorta @ Gezellig [2007] – I put this on the list since this was the last time I saw them before Carter was killed.  I probably had a Maredsous 10 or two that night to make it extra good.
4. Dave Attell @ The Addisson Improv [2004] – No one is better at diffusing a drunken heckler than Dave Attell and he did a great job of putting a drunk woman who thought she was the star in her place.  He must have been hilarious because I was practically pissing my pants laughing despite the pre-show meat coma inducing feast at Fogo de Chao.
3. & 2. Cirque du Soleil “O” @ The Bellagio [2003 & 2006] – So great, I saw it twice.  And it was fabulous (seriously, there’s no straight word for it) both times. It may have been a little better the second time since I knew what to expect.  Plus, I may have spent much of the first half-hour of the first time I saw it thinking “this is amazingly fabulous” and not really paying attention to the details.
1.  Van Morrison @ The Hollywood Bowl [2008] – As previously described here.  Or you can click here and buy the DVD and maybe catch a glimpse of me rocking out.  What?? You can't begrudge a guy trying to make a buck in these hard economic times, can you??

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pix of 2006

Ooooh, that rhymes.



Ahh 2006 – the year I met two of the great loves of my life – Amy’s Ice Cream and Maredsous 10.  And another of those terrible mid-decade years in which I just didn’t take that many pictures.

Since Facebook hates me anything on my blog that uses Flash, if you're looking at this on Facebook you will see nothing. Please go here and relive the year that a single stingray stood up to cargo shorted oppression and said no more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pix of 2005



Ahh 2005 – the year I finally made it up to Vermont.  And another of those terrible mid-decade years in which I just didn’t take that many pictures.

Since Facebook hates me anything on my blog that uses Flash, if you're looking at this on Facebook you will see nothing. Please go here and relive the year that Katrina and the Waves took on a whole new meaning.

Friday, December 18, 2009

So You Still Won't Watch The Wire??

How about this for a description.
clipped from
David Simon is responsible for one of the greatest feats of storytelling of the past century, and that’s the entire five-season run of the television series The Wire. If that sounds like hyperbole to you, then you haven’t watched the show yet. It is the most intricate web of character, motivation, insight, action, repercussion, and emotion that’s ever been on TV, and it rivals the grand novels of the late 19th century, when novels actually, regularly, had scope. More hyperbole, but there you go. I and most of its fans are to The Wire as a Christian is to Christ or a junkie is to dope. It’s basically A FUCKING GOD. Too much hyperbole there, maybe. But you’re getting the point, right?
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

JT’s Action Item of the Day


Fox has updated The Simpson’s character poster. 

JT must now name each and every character on the poster or die trying.

Yes, you have to distinguish between Kang and Kodos.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top 10 of the 2000s: TV Shows

JT finally got a list out before mine. Clearly he has been handicapped by his time in der Dorf.  Also, I really like TV.  It’s one of the my vices I wish I could do something about.  Most of my other vices I’m pretty comfortable with.  With one notable exception, all the shows on the list had at least three seasons.  While great, shows like Chappelle's Show and Flight of the Conchords just don’t have enough episodes to stack up.  And before I get any complaints, not that anyone is reading these lists, I have never seen Mad Men and have seen only the pilot of Breaking Bad.


10.  Good Eats – This is probably a surprising entry, but I felt it had to be on my list since there was probably no show I watched more of in the oughts.  Good Eats is a cooking show that masterfully balances information and entertainment.  And it taught me much of what I know about cooking.

9. Survivor – I felt obliged to have at least one reality show on my list since the 2000s was the decade of the reality show.  I hadn’t watched it much the last few years.  So it may seem odd to have it on my list.  But I came back this season; which may be its best.  Go Russell!!

8. The Family Guy – For much of this decade, this was the laugh-out-loud funniest show on TV.  In recent years, as Seth MacFarlane’s empire has expanded, the quality of The Family Guy has gone down.  Still, there is usually at least one fall-off-the-couch moment every episode.

7. Battlestar Galactica - The best show you probably have never watched because of the cheesy name.  A beautifully grimy metaphor for post 9/11 America, BSG never shirked from tackling such controversial subjects like torture, suicide bombers and smoking hot robots.

6. Arrested Development – We' have reached the point in this list where I must lament the early cancelation of a great series.  But to be fair, Arrested Development did have three seasons. What other series would dare to have dialog like this:

Michael: [To GOB, about his new boat] Get rid of “The Seaward.”
Lucille: I’ll leave when I’m good and ready.

5. Firefly – How Fox can keep a crapfest like Til Death on the air season after season but have no patience for an amazing show like Firefly is one of the greatest mysteries of the oughts if not the entire universe.  Firefly was essentially a western set in outer space.  And that description may have been what doomed it.  But it really was more than that.  Hulu should be cycling back to the pilot soon.  So make a new year’s resolution and watch them.

4. The Sopranos – This is the show that started the TV renaissance of the 2000s.  Without the Sopranos there is no Shield, Wire, Lost or Mad Men (which I’ve never watched but people say is good).  I have recently started re-watching season one on Blu-Ray and it still is awesome.  It would have been higher but I felt the last seasons were a bit self indulgent and rambling.  I got the ending and it made sense. But that doesn’t make it satisfying.

3. Lost – Has there ever been a show that has changed so much but still remained great?  Has there ever been a show that has been able to continually introduce new characters year after year that are often more interesting than the character we started out with?  It’s not a perfect show.  The time traveling of early season five did give me a headache.  (oops, is that a spoiler??)  Thank Christ they finally stopped.  And it did seem a bit made-up-as-we-go early on.  But there is no other show I regularly have watching parties for and then spend even more time listening to podcasts about.  I may have a problem.

2. The Shield – So here’s the pitch for the show.  Our main character (Detective Vic Mackey) will do something unspeakably horrible in the first episode and then do more horrible things throughout the series, all the while the home viewer will cheer every time he narrowly escapes what he rationally deserves.  Pretty much every episode induces an ice cream headache and thus seems to last about five minutes.  Of the series on this list that had finales, this one had the most satisfying.

1.  The Wire – This may actually be the best TV show ever.  The more I read about the failings of Dallas city hall and the school district, the more relevant this show becomes.  If you want to know why American cities are failing, watch this show.  It starts out as a relatively by-the-book cop show (Its creators were the creators of the best show of the 90’s, Homicide: Life on the Streets).  Then each season expands it’s stage by adding another failing sector of the city – the docks, city hall, the schools and finally newspapers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top 5 of the 2000s: Blog Entries

Assuming that I’m not struck by a lightning bolt of brilliance between now and 2010, here are my five favorite blog entries from the past decade. OK, the past two and a half years.

5. Drunk Lunch: Episode 1 – maybe someday we’ll do another Drunk Lunch – stupid jobs.

4. The Neverending Flight that Never Ended (Almost)

3. Movie Review : Transformers 2 - Rise of My Lunch from Earlier in the Day

2. And So It Ends...

1. Steve Cook is the Luckiest Man in the World

JT’s Number 1!!!

A Düsseldorf resident has done what few thought possible – displace the phrase “Gilf Hunter” as the #1 keyword directing people to The Summer of Steve.

European snark impresario, Lakewood bar disrupter, and three time FICA (Fédération Internationale de C-Block Association) welter weight champion, JT “JT” Richardson and his blog jtingermany caused 8 hits on The Summer of Steve as compared with only 4 for gilf hunter in the past month.

When asked to comment, Mr. Richardson used a dizzying stream of obscure Simpson’s quotes to express his surprise, delight and hunger for pork products.

What makes this accomplishment even more surprising is that many in the blogosphere had assumed The Summer of Steve had been shut down years ago.

The Top Ten Keywords for the past month are:

Keyword Visits
jtingermany 8
gilf hunter 4
dallas homicides 3
american beauty hd 2
flying saucer trivia 2
fupa 2
gilf hunter: episode 1 2
gilf hunter: episode 2 2
jersey guidos 2
summer of steve 2

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pix of 2004

Ahh 2004 -- the year I didn't take very many pictures. Seriously, I don't know what happened. I only have pictures taken in October of 2004. No pictures of the first birthday party in my new digs. No pix of the the party that resulted in Tree's tooth fragments. No winter league pictures. No New Jersey Pictures. No nuttin. Sorry, 2004 wasn't a very good year.

Since Facebook hates me anything on my blog that uses Flash, if you're looking at this on Facebook you will see nothing. Please go here and relive the phrase Swift Boat got into the vernacular.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Live Blogging Cowboys v. Chargers

This is essentially a playoff game – if the Cowboys lose, they will have a hard time making the tournament.  With that amount of importance, this game deserves the insight and snark of this self-indulgent blogger.


Pregame – Ugh.  It’s a CBS game.  I’m going to be spared to death by Phil Sims and that awful music they play in and out of breaks.


Q1 14:51 : It’s nice to see Felix back.

Q1 12:58:  Today’s first false start brought to you by Bergen County native Miles Austen.

Q1 12:12 : Back to back penalties push Dallas back to their own territory.  It’s good to see they have decided to not to change their ways for an important game.

Q1 10:51 : Alert the media. Roy Williams makes an important catch.

Q1 8:45 : Looking at the incompletion to Phillips, I think Roy ran the wrong route and brought his defender into the middle of the endzone breaking up the play.  How’s that for sports analysis?? Pow Pow!

Q1 8:40 : FG Dallas (Dallas 3 – San Diego 0).  Romo holding already pays dividends.  But seriously, if Folk misses that he gets cut instantly.

Q1 8:00 : SD Center Scott Mruczkowski looks like he might be a special needs kid.

Q1 6:10 : Terrance Newman is still looking for his jock.

Q1 5:10 : Sensabaugh, dude, you were in position.  Make the interception.

Q1 4:30 : TD San Diego (San Diego 7 – Dallas 3).  After the first two plays were for a loss on this drive, the Dallas D let’s the Chargers slice through them like a hot knife through a pathetic defense.

Q1 2:58 : Nice three-and-out Cowboys.  What exactly is the point of Roy’s route that was four yards short of the first down?  It’s not like he ever breaks tackles and picks up a bunch of YACs like Miles does.

Q1 1:04 : Great coverage by Jenkins, but a better catch from Jackson.  Yet another big play given up by the Dallas D.

End of First Quarter – San Diego Super Chargers 7  Dallas Cowboys 3


Q2 14:22 : Wade Phillips makes a barking seal hand gesture which I guess means more pie please.

Q2 13:49 : More great coverage by Jenkins.  The ball was well place but slightly out of bounds.

Q2 10:18: FG San Diego (SD 10 – Dallas 3)  Not looking good.  Selling all Dallas Playoff futures.  But if Dallas O can do anything on the next drive…. Who am i kidding???

Q2 9:30 Felix!  That’s a good start.  Two good runs by Jones.

Q2 8:40  Why are we reviewing Romo’s sack from 40 minutes ago?  Oh, to show us CBS’ expensive computer graphic play-pretty.

Q2 6:57  Does Williams ever not look for a flag whenever he doesn’t make a catch, which is often.

Q2 2:30 Thought they needed to go for it.  But MB3 couldn’t get that last yard three times in a row.  Nice drive, though.  It’ll be something nice to look at during week one of the playoffs and the Cowboys are all sitting home.  Why do I feel like I’m about to see a 99 yard touchdown drive?

Q2  1:46 WHOOP.  TNew with INT!  Plenty of time left.

Q2 0:42  Folk FG no good.  Can anyone else hold?  But seriously, can anyone else kick?

Q2 0:25 Jenkins with more great coverage.  Keep throwing to him Phil.  Your efforts will be rewarded in a pick-six.

Q2 0:18 Bowen with the much needed sack. SD is now way out of FG range and timeouts.

Q2 0:13 Jenkins is so good he prevents receptions by his own teammates.

End of First Half – SD 10 Dal 3 – After a shaky start the Dallas D keeps SD to only 10 points.  But the Dallas O continues to the disturbing trending of accumulating yardage but few points.

Random Halftime Thoughts

  • Can someone explain to me the difference between CSI, NCSI and Criminal Minds?
  • Bits of my brain have started to ooz out of my ears from having to listen to the generic, often incorrect analysis of Phil Sims.
  • Slouching Towards Idiocracy – A live event is shown in 3D.  Isn’t reality in 3D?  And you don’t need the stupid glasses; just some nice hipster doofus frames like mine.
  • I’m not the target audience for much of the advertizing.  Crime procedurals and American yellow beer are not exactly staples of my existence.


Q3 11:36  Cowboys have been lining up with Ware on one side then swapping OLBs.  The confusion finally almost resulted in a sack.

Q3 10:40 96 yards to a tie?

Q3 9:41 Nope.  But the first sighting of the Barbie Bird on the punt.

Q3 8:04  Alan Ball saves a touchdown.  Further greatest from the Six Feet Under creator.

Q3 7:49 Barbie Carpenter makes a tackle in front of the 1st down line.

Q3 7:10 99 yards to a tie?  Dallas is not winning this war of field position.

Q3 5:55 Ugh.  A promo for my sports kryptonite – college basketball.

Q3 4:03  First long completion of the day to Austen.

Q3 3:35 Why run wide with MB3?

Q3 2:23 It’s Miles Austen time!

Q3 1:41  Roy Williams is apparently reading this live blog and gets a shit tonne of YACs on this play.

Q3 0:55 MB3 to the 1.  I’ve seen this movie before.

Q3 0:02 Touchdown Miles Austen!!!! Dal 10 SD 10.  Dallas Cowboys now rated a slight buy.

End of Third Quarter Dal 10 SD 10.  It’s a ballgame!!!!

Q4 14:09 : Ugh.  They can’t let rivers have that much time.  Great stuff on LT on the first down play. 

Q4 12:05 : Dang.  Sproles is dragging multiple Cowboys for his 3 yard gains.

Q4 11:28 : Ware’s down.  Not good.  Cowboys now rated a weak sell.

Q4 11:28 : Oh shit,  they’re bringing out the cart.  Since I was pre-med in college I'm diagnosing this as cervical cancer. 

Q4 10:56 : TD San Diego (SD 17 Dal 10) Way to rally around your fallen teammate Dallas.  You were able to give up 53 yards in only 32 seconds.  Way to nut up.

Q4 10:42 : How does Witten get so open down field?

Q4 10:15 : Jones almost breaks Romo’s ankle with his fumble recovery.

Q4 9:23 : Well that drive sucked.  After the Witten catch, we’re treated to a Jones fumble, an almost interception and a throw to Roy Williams aka the Drive Killer.  But to be fair to Roy, he was single covered.  Did Dallas hang a Mission Accomplished banner after their TD?  Both the D and O looked like they thought the game was over and Superbowl rings would be handed out at the conclusion of the game.

Q4 7:51 I got a giggle from the spell checker that suggested that Superbowl should have been Superb owl.  In what context has that phrase ever been used?  Maybe in describing former Vikings QB Tommy Krammer?

Q4 4:15 Well, that’s just about it. LT with the first down.  Unless Dallas traded Folk to SD at halftime, the Chargers are in FG range with little resistance from the Dallas D. 

Q4 2:00 Two minute warning.  I’ve mentally checked out of this game as well by looking at pictures on Facebook.  I get the feeling the defense has done much the same.  All you need to do is have a season saving hold.  But the Chargers nickel and dime you down the field running precious minutes off the clock.

Q4 1:56 FG San Diego (SD 20 Dal 10)

Q4 1:44 What was that?  Williams was walking out of bounds.

Q4 1:36 To Williams credit, that was good work on the slant. 

Q4 0:07 Enough time for two scores?

Q4 0:02 TD Dallas (SD 20 Dal 17) Too little too late.  Not enough time to recover an onside kick.

End Of Game (SD 20 Dal 17)

Eagles have to win tonight.  With a game left against Philly, Dallas can still win the division with a win against them later.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Top 5 of the 2000s: Miscellaneous Worsts

So far all my lists have be largely positive. But over a ten year period, bad shit is going to happen. In order to keep the negativity to a minimum, I've devoted only one list for the Worst of the 2000s. As it turned it, it's a surprising small list.

5. Worst Use of the US Patent System [US Patent 6519452] – Yeah, so I have a patent. And the fact that this thing got a patent shows the US Patent System is horribly broken with regards to software.

4. Worst Jello Shot [The Jello Shot That Cannot Be Spoken Of] – I'm not at liberty to discuss this.

3. Worst Trip [Orlando 2000] – This was a business trip to a computer programmer's convention. Do I need to go on? Oh, and it was in fucking Orlando. Hot, muggy and Disney are not three things I want on any kind of trip.

2. Worst Meal [Village Inn, Flagstaff AZ] – Much chronicled in this posting. To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, it was a failure pile on a sadness plate.  [Sushi on McKinney]  Sorry, Matt.  How could I have forgotten the worst meal ever?

1. Worst Night [Feb 1, 2002] – The worst night of my life. Or, at least, the loneliest. That was the night of the 2nd Annual Birthday limo party. I had spent much of the week before organizing it. And then my gall bladder assploded. So on the night of the party, I was alone in the hospital. And all my friends were out having fun. Sniff. It's a good thing the rest of the year kicked ass.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I, For One, Welcome Our New Basset Hound Overlords!

clipped from
In this Tuesday Nov.3, 2009 photo showing some of the basset ...
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Top 10 of the 2000s: Trips

I'm sure JT's list is going to kick my list's ass. His list will include many exotic locales. But did any of his trips almost involve a beheading?? I think not. Unless it was his own. Or potentially being eaten by bears?

10. SoCal 2008 – This might have rated higher had I not had 10-12 hour work days to contend with as well. Two weeks of southern California getting to listen to my idol Adam Carolla live, all on the company dime. Highlights of the trip included seeing my Stars beat the Ducks, Van Morrison at the Hollywood Bowl and the discovery of Stone's Vertical Epic.

9. Hudson River 2001 – You don't realize how much of US history all took place along the banks of the mighty Hudson until you've driven up and down it. Driving up the west bank and then back down the east back, I kept thinking "OH, that's where that happened!!". Doing it in the fall also made it extra pretty.

8. Calgary 2002 – Some Canadians lured Pokemon and I up there for the Stampede. We never saw much of the Stampede, and by "much" I mean "any". And really, what better way to celebrate the 4th of July than getting drunk in America's hat?

7. Vegas 2006 – A fabulous meal at Circo and a second viewing of Cirque du Soleil's O make this THE Vegas trip of the 2000s.

6. Mardi Gras 2003 – My last trip to Mardi Gras was the best.

5. California 2000 – Ultimate + Disc Golf + Wine Country + Sushi for the first time == good times. And somehow I mustered enough self control not to chop Sarah head off in Santa Cruz.

4. Walkabout 2008 – This was the Walkabout where it was cemented in my brain that I'm a west coast kind of guy. There's just so much more beauty heading west from Dallas than heading East. Highlights included discovering Rehoboth DE and the Dogfish Head brew pub, pie in Waterbury and all kinds of food in Pittsburgh.

3. Colorado 2003 – For a trip that was thrown together almost the last minute for a Labor Day weekend trip, it turned out pretty awesome. Although it took nearly four years to act on it, this was a huge inspiration for my Walkabouts. Highlights included taking the cogwheel train up Pike's Peak and Silver Jack's in Montrose.

2. Walkabout 2009 – It took me a very long time, but I finally made it to Europe. They sure do talk funny over there. But, man, do they have some good eats. Highlights included the much written about U Fleků, seeing President Obama, Tarte Tatin and floating in the Mediterranean Sea.

1. Walkabout 2007 – I guess most people at one time or another get that bug up their ass to hop in the car and see America. Luckily Nortel and its generous severance package afforded me an opportunity to do just that. Highlights included Seattle, Portland, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, potentially being eaten by bears, lots of halibut and beer – oh the beer.

My New Favorite Website

The 2009 Douchies Start On Monday

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