May 31, 2005

The Amazing Sol Lipkin.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:40 pm

Sol Lipkin, a member of our American Legion Post, showed up yesterday to take part in the Memorial Day Parade, the Memorial Day Ceremony at the town’s Memorial Park, as well as the Memorial Day open house, which was hosted by the Post.

Sol turned 99 last week.

Sol started his career with the American Shuffleboard Company in the 30’s, but with the outbreak of World War II, Sol interrupted his career to join the Navy at age 37. He spent the war years as a See Bee building airfields in the Aleutian Islands. After the war, he resumed his position with the American Shuffleboard Company and sold just about every shuffleboard that exists today in the United States. He has been referred to as the “Father of American Shuffleboard”.

However, don’t get the idea that, at age 99, Sol is a feeble shut-in, who is annually coaxed away from his rocking chair and lap blanket to be paraded about on Memorial Day. No sir. Sol stays busy – very busy. You see, he still works, and he works hard. He travels all over the country promoting shuffleboard playing at Dave and Buster’s, a nation-wide chain of well-organized places that feature excellent food, drinks and arcade-type games for grownups. He also spends time promoting the Cadillac of Shuffleboards – the “Sol Lipkin Shuffleboard”.

In the 60’s, Sol was asked by the U.S. Navy to oversee the installation of a shuffleboard on a nuclear submarine, the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Details and enlargeable pictures of the final installation can be seen here (You’ll have to scroll a tad).

At age 90, Sol was inducted into the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame, which has since become known as the “Sol Lipkin Award”. Note: A couple photos of Sol appear at the previous link.

Sol’s extraordinary ability to sell is not limited to shuffleboards. When Sol learned of the American Legion’s Annual Poppy Drive a few years ago, the Post almost ran out of Poppies, because Sol single-handedly sold more than 500 of them outside a local supermarket.

His energy is seemingly boundless. At a 50’s and 60’s Dance thrown by the Post a few years ago, Sol showed up in a spiffy yellow sweater and outdanced people one third his age.

He was twice widowed and often speaks lovingly of both his wives. However, when I saw him yesterday he reported, with a twinkle in his eye, that he had just returned from spending a month working in Texas where he had the chance to spend a good deal of time with his “girlfriend.” He’ll be heading back to Texas in week or so, and then he’s off to a half dozen more states. He is irrepressible.

A few years back, I visited Sol at his home and, knowing that I enjoy a bit of bourbon now and then, he produced a well-aged bottle of I.W. Harper bourbon, a brand that is difficult – if not impossible – to find in stores anymore. We sipped the most excellent bourbon while I had the pleasure of having Sol share with me some facets of his life’s story. At the end of our visit, he told me that he would save the rest of the “special bottle” for my next visit.

Yesterday, he reminded me, “Jim, I still have that bourbon. You’ll have to stop by one of these days and we’ll finish it.”

I’ll make a point of it, because just as good bourbon improves with age, so does my amazing friend Sol.

May 30, 2005

Memorial Day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:41 am


May 29, 2005

Overheard at a Washington Cocktail Party.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:20 pm

A PRS undercover operative recently attended a Washington D.C. cocktail party and listened in on a discussion among a group comprised of Senators Barbara Boxer, Christopher Dodd, Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy. The discussion centered on their plans to defeat any energy policy proposed by President Bush, or, for that matter, anything at all proposed by President Bush.

Joe Biden interrupted the group’s discussion when he noticed John Bolton, the President’s nominee for the post of United States Ambassador to the United Nations, walk by.

Biden: “Hey John! John Bolton! How are you? Good to see you.”

Bolton: (briefly stopping) “Senators Boxer, Dodd, Biden and Kennedy … Good evening.” (begins to resume walking past the group)

Boxer: “John, please join us. It’s a wonderful party, isn’t it?”


Dodd: “Hey, buddy. I hope you’re not angry with us over some of the things we’ve been saying on the Senate Floor and in Committee. We’ve been pretty tough on you, I know.”

Kennedy: “Chris is right, John. I know that at various times, each of us has referred to you as a bully, and a liar…”

Boxer: “… and a person who rigged intelligence reports, and who hollered at a government employee and, as if that were not enough, you actually wanted to fire a government employee. a government employee, John!”


Biden: “Yes, and we all said on repeated occasions that your numerous character flaws render you completely unfit to hold the position of Ambassador to the United Nations. But Jeez Louise, John, I hope you aren’t taking any of it personally. We are just doing our jobs. You know…The Advice and Consent Thing?”

Kennedy: “It’s just a confirmation thing, John. It’s no reason why we can’t all just get along. How about a martini?”

Bolton: “Are you all finished?”





Bolton: “You shitheads have been saying those things about me on the Senate floor and in Committee Rooms, especially when the cameras are rolling. Well, were not in the Senate now, and I want to see if any of you has the backbone to say those things to my face. Right here. Right now.”





Bolton: “I thought so. You people make me want to puke. It kills you bastards to know that in the United Nations I would represent the interests of the people of the United States and not your bullshit We are the World – Kumbaya ideology. You can all kiss my ass!” (walks away)

Biden: “See? The guy lacks the temperament to be an Ambassador.”

Boxer: “You’re right, Joe. He’s no Madeline Albright.”

Dodd: “Yep, ol’ Madeline would run circles around that smartass. Now where were we?”

Biden: “We were talking about how much we hate George Bush’s policy.”

Dodd: “Which one?”

Boxer: “Doesn’t matter. We hate ‘em all.”

Kennedy: “Oh waiter! Can we get four more Grey Goose martinis heah? Make it snappy!! We’re parched.”

May 28, 2005

Slippery Slope, Indeed.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:40 pm

Gone for one farookin’ week, and I’ve become something akin to a wombat. I guess I’ll lay in a supply of Foster’s and practice talking like this guy.

Da Vacation and Welcome Home Comment Spam.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:08 pm

Jeez, this place looks bleak.

Seeing nothing here and being wise to my techno-incompetence, my buddy Sluggo sent me an e-mail questioning whether I had been fooling around with Mr. Template and, in so doing, managed to nuke the site. He may be wise to my techno-stupidity, but he’s not completely hip to my utter lack of courage when it comes to fooling around with Mr. Template. I plan even teeny changes to Mr. Template with the care that went into the preparations for the Normandy Invasion. What happened was that, upon my return from spending a week in the Land of Booze Sun and Fun, I was again reminded that this place is set up to show a calendar week’s worth of stuff, and each post automatically electro-zaps into the archives after seven days of screen time. Hence, the sorry-assed looking site.

So, with that, I figured I ought to toss something up on the blog to make sure it still sticks.

Da Vacation. It was most excellent being in sunny Southwest Florida, particularly since last week in New Jersey the weather was chilly and rainy. We got through Newark Airport without a hitch, and when we arrived at Fort Myers, four of the Usual Suspects, who had spent some time in St. Petersburg the previous week, were there to meet us and to begin the annual hepatic and digestive system assault. Our old pal in the liquor store damned near jumped for joy when we descended on the place like thirsty lab rats, flush with money for spirits. Upon our arrival at Grownup Camp, we immediately created an elegant rolling bar, which I hope to be able to provide pictures of in the next few days.

We were greeted by our pals who every year also choose that week to attend “Camp,” from places such as “The Great City of Fort Wayne, Indiana,” Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rome New York, Longview, Washington, Shelbyville, Illinois, and Ashtabula, Ohio. As strange as it seems, over the last handful of years, they have come to enjoy tolerate the presence of the Jersey Vulgarians. Go figure.

There was plenty of swimming floating about, deep conversation bullshitting, gluttony fine dining, and, of course, cocktails. This year marked the first time I got to do a bit of guitar pickin’, because Usual Suspect Jeff and his spouse, No-Fly Adie, were kind enough to pack my guitar into their car for the mondo drive from Jersey to Florida.

As evidence that the repeated annual exposure of the normal folks to the Usual Suspects is having an effect, during one tune one of the Non-Garden Staters donned his wife’s dress bathing suit cover-up and her hat adorned with red and purple feathers and sashayed up to me to drop his room key into the “Tip Bucket,” which Deb, the Master of Disaster Activities Director had placed at my feet. He looked perfectly stunning, and the room key fit right in with the thirty-five cents and one Dorito that also found its way to the bucket.

I had anticipated that a week away from the blog would result in a wave of creativity. I even brought along a nifty journal to jot down the gems that I was certain would occur to me while resting my cruller. It really didn’t happen. I guess I forgot that my Muse was also on vacation.

That being said, I did have a couple thoughts and observations that I probably will jot down over the next few days, even though I believe that my Muse is still lounging around the damned pool thirteen hundred miles away.

Welcome Home Comment Spam. One thing that Ms. Muse could not have helped me with was the 2,400+ comment spams and one hundred or so trackback spams that greeted me upon my return. Of course each of those generates an e-mail, so I had quit a mess to clean up around here. I tried to be careful in the de-spamming and deleting process, but if you find that your comment failed to appear (they are held pending approval for posts older than 14 days), or if you are receiving a message rejecting your comments, please let me know, and I should be able to fix it, as it does not require fooling around with Mr. Template.

May 19, 2005

The Usual Suspects Do the Sunshine State.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:17 pm

Usual Suspects Small.jpgYes, it’s true.

Tomorrow several of the Usual Suspects will convene in the Sunshine State. The Original Bill and the Quietly Sinister Linda have been in a different part of Florida for a week already, and they were joined on Wednesday by my friend and bodyguard, Ken, and The Deckmistress. I have already received a few only moderately coherent phone calls from them, one of which was from a place called “Bongo’s,” the selling feature of which is that it is crawling walking distance from where they are staying on the Gulf.

The foregoing four will meet us (Mrs. Parkway, Pat[ricia], the svelte, single Usual Suspect, and Yours Truly) at the Fort Myers Airport, and we will proceed to the place where we all have timeshares in Fort Myers Beach after the obligatory stop at Publix supermarket and the nearby liquor store for critical supplies. I believe that the guy in the liquor store where we make our annual stop has a wing on his house dedicated to the Jersey Vulgarians.

On Saturday, we will be joined by Usual Suspects Jeff (da Chef a da Future and one of the barkeeps at the Jersey Blogmeet) and his boss wife, Ms. Adie, the resolute non-flyer. Because Adie will not set foot in a plane, she and Jeff will be driving down from Jersey. The bonus is that Jeff has graciously agreed to transport my guitar in his car, sparing me from having to lug it onto the plane. By the time they arrive on Saturday afternoon, we will most certainly be well oiled, so I probably will should put off the guitar playing for at least a day.

We will also re-unite with other timeshare folks we have come to know and who come in from various places, including Indiana, Illinois and Washington State. It’s always great to see them and catch up.

By and large, we plan on doing loads of sitting around, drinking, swimming, drinking, bullshitting, drinking, ball breaking, drinking, overeating, drinking, and not much else. My kind of vacation.

So, dear hearts, I will be computerless and, therefore, blogless for a week, but I will see you again some time next weekend. In the meantime, behave yourselves. But, if you can’t behave yourselves, at least be careful.

May 18, 2005

Kokomo – Kosovo … Whatever.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:06 pm

Here is a video of a bunch of Norwegian soldiers in Kosovo doing a takeoff on the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”. It is well done and very funny. I figure these guys must have just finished off a couple bottles of mead sent in a care package from home.

Via the Dog Snot Guys

May 17, 2005

The Supremes Decide the Wine Case.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:40 pm

The Ruling

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that state regulatory schemes such as those in Michigan and New York, which permit in-state shipments of wine to consumers, but prohibit out-of-state wineries from making such direct shipments, violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The States argued that the Twenty-First Amendment’s (the one that repealed the Eighteenth Amendment – “Prohibition”) broad recognition of the States’ police powers in regulating alcoholic beverages permitted Michigan and New York’s differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state wineries with respect to permitting direct shipments to consumers.

The Court ruled that the Michigan and New York direct shipping laws unfairly discriminated against out-of-state businesses, and, as such, violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and that the discrimination was not authorized or permitted by the Twenty-First Amendment.

What does this mean for New Jersey?

New Jersey has a statutory and regulatory system similar to those in Michigan and New York (i.e. a three-tiered system requiring separate licenses for producers, wholesalers, and retailers). Also like Michigan and New York, New Jersey prohibits direct shipments of wine to New Jersey consumers from out-of-state wineries, but permits in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers. However, for a New Jersey winery to make direct shipments to consumers in New Jersey the winery must comply with Byzantine and burdensome regulations concerning the “transportation” of alcoholic beverages within the state.

Does this mean that today we in the Garden State can order wine on the internet directly from a California winery?


The New Jersey Attorney General will weigh in on the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision, but ultimately it will be the state legislature that will have to sort it all out.

That means, of course, that it will likely boil down to a battle of the lobbyists. If the lobbyists representing the licensed distributors carry the day, the legislature can protect the distributors by banning the direct shipment of wine to consumers in New Jersey from anywhere, including in-state wineries. That would remove the discrimination against out-of-state wineries, thereby curing any Commerce Clause violation.

As a practical matter, this would not have much effect, if any, on the current operations of in-state wineries, because they appear not to be shipping wine, even to in-state consumers. I was unable to locate any New Jersey winery that currently ships directly to consumers in New Jersey. I suspect that this may be due to the onerous regulations concerning the transportation of alcoholic beverages within the state. It may be that the wineries don’t want to incur the bother and the expense of obtaining the necessary licenses and following the required procedures to ship wine to in-state consumers. Perhaps the regulatory burdens make it unprofitable for common carriers to deliver wine to consumers. I’m not sure which may be the case.

The other option open to legislators who wish to protect the distributors is to apply the existing Draconian transportation rules to out-of state wineries. Again, this would treat in-state and out-of-state wineries equally and would not violate the Commerce Clause. This may well have the same chilling effect on out-of-state wineries that it apparently has now in in-state wineries.

Either option would seem to be well within the State’s police powers under the Twenty-First Amendment to regulate the transportation of alcoholic beverages.

On the other hand, if the lobbyists representing in-state consumers and out-of-state wineries are more convincing, the ban will be lifted and the transportation rules will be relaxed so as to permit out of state wineries to easily ship wine directly to New Jersey consumers, as is the case in many other states.

Sadly, in The Jersey Political Swamp, the matter will probably be decided based upon which group of lobbyists can “buy” more legislators.

Here’s mud in your eye!

Scary Hair.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:10 am

If somebody did to my hair what a crazed barber did to John Shabe’s, I’d have to kick his ass. I figure the guy who cut his hair must have been trained at Fort Dix.

It’ll grow back, John. But, in the meantime, consider a lid. 😉

May 16, 2005

New Digs.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:05 pm

Christina has some fine looking new digs. Make the necessary adjustments to bookmarks and blogrolls.

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