September 29, 2005

Everyday Bourbon.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:43 pm

I believe that all civilized people should have an “everyday bourbon” handy to smooth out the rough edges created by a hard day’s toil. It shouldn’t be hidden away in the liquor cabinet, but rather it should occupy a place in the kitchen for easy access. I have found that Jim Beam fits the bill, but I often try other brands.

My most recent “experiment” was this one, which I think does the job quite nicely, and as an Honorary Georgia Blogger, I think that its name is gott-damned inspiring.

September 28, 2005

Georgia Blogger.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:39 pm

I was making my regular visit over at Cadillac Tight, and I noticed that he has me listed on his Blogroll in the “Georgia Blogs” category as an Honorary Georgia Blogger.

I’ve won an award or two in my life, but being named an Honorary Georgia Blogger is a distinct honor and privilege, particularly seeing as how I am a 100% born and bred Garden Stater.

I was admitted to this exclusive group approximately one year ago in Helen, Georgia, and I re-united with my fellow Georgia Bloggers in April on Jekyll Island. I have spoken with some of them on the phone on more than a few occasions. One of them even hooked me up with a most excellent guitar. I’ve supped with this guy in Jersey, partied with this guy in New York City and prowled the Jersey Shore with this guy.

How did I gain admittance into this distinguished group of writers and ass-kicking partiers? Hell, to them, I talk funny. I don’t drive a pick-up, and I don’t particularly care for grits. Surely it’s not my writing, and lots of people can play a guitar – no big deal there. I have great farookin’ hair, but I don’t think that did it for me either.

Heaven help me, I do believe that it was my affinity for the crystal-clear “homemade Georgia wine” that did it. I fear that some genetic accident, which probably first occured a couple generations ago in Ireland, resulted in the Dixie Elixir going down like well water, albeit with a knockout punch that would match Mike Tyson’s.

Many of my fellow Georgia Bloggers will be convening again this weekend in Helen, Georgia, but because of a prior commitment, I will be unable to attend. Instead, I will be on a road trip with some of the Usual Suspects to Cape May, New Jersey (the Cape Escape), a lovely place, but, alas, a place where crystal-clear “homemade Georgia wine” is nowhere to be found.

I will, however, be with my Georgia Blogger Brothers and Sisters in spirit.

Y’all have a great time.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:53 am

Sometimes we have to make tough choices.

Shamefullylessly lifted from Curmudgeonly and Skeptical.

September 27, 2005

Four and Twenty [Gazillion] Blackbirds.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:39 pm

Blackbird pie.jpgYesterday, as I went out for a morning walk, I could not help but notice that the neighborhood was full of blackbirds. They were on everyone’s lawn as well as raising hell in the trees. I assumed they were taking a feeding and rest stop on their way south.

One of my neighbors, a Haitian lady who apparently is new to the Northeast, saw me walking and asked, “What is with all these blackbirds? Are we in their migratory path?”

I answered that I assumed that to be the case.

However, I secretly thought it might be fun to say, “Oh no, this has absolutely nothing to do with migration. All these blackbirds are a sign of some extremely bad juju,” which I suspect would have seriously screwed up the woman’s day.

Sometimes I am just a regular gott-damned prince.

September 26, 2005

Music to My Jersey Ears.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:40 pm

In the past, I have tried, with the written word, to instruct non-Garden Staters in the proper use of “Jerseyspeak.” Despite my best efforts at phonetically depicting the Music of Jerseyspeak, I have often wished that you could actually hear the words I was writing.

Thanks to the Internet, it turns out that you can hear real Jerseyspeak. More importantly, you can hear words and/or phrases of your choosing from an impressive menu. The speaker is none other than the character of Paulie Walnuts of The Sopranos. “Paulie’s” command of Jerseyspeak is outstanding, even though his bottom lip tends to sometimes get in the way of his speech.

Check out this site. Click on the word or phrase of choice, and Paulie Walnuts utters it in pure Jerseyspeak. My favorites are those in the last column (Insults). But be sure not to miss the proper pronunciation of the universal Jersey greeting, “Haya doo’n?” (Middle column).

Yo! Get ovah dere — Now!! Don’t make me tell you again.

N.B. Be careful. Some of the phrases may not be safe for work.

Via TigerHawk

September 25, 2005

The Best Laid Plans… (Updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:58 pm

I had my day all planned.

After my walk, I had planned to take a leisurely shower and lollygag around a bit alternating between reading (books and blogs) and writing a blog I had thought a bit about during my morning strut. I then planned on moseying out to pick up the supplies necessary to open the Post Bar in a couple weeks – all at a measured pace. After that, I had visions of Mr. Recliner, a bit of reading and maybe even an hour or so of channel surfing. It was to be a mellow day.

Then Ken, my friend and bodyguard, called.

“I got tickets to a hockey game to see the Devils tonight. You wanna go?”

I recalled that he and I had gone to a Devils game a while back, and I enjoyed the spectacle of it all, even if I don’t know much about hockey and most definitely do not qualify as a “fan.”

After about ten seconds of thought, I replied, “Sure, I’ll go. Thanks.”

From that moment on, it was a scramble to get everything that needed doing done, which included a trip to the Mondo Liquor Store, Costco and, Home Depot. For me, Costco and Home Depot are somewhere around the seventh and eighth rings in Dante’s Inferno. (Note that I did not include the Mondo Liquor Store, which is one of my favorite places.) The errands also involved a considerable amount of loading, unloading and lugging. I’m whipped.

I now have a couple hours to decompress before heading off to the game and its attendant insanity. The people who go to Devils games are seriously intense.

I think I’ll put my feet up and read something printed on paper, and I’ll be sure to let you know how the Devils made out.

Update: It was the first of a few pre-season games (Devils vs. NY Islanders). The arena was less than half full (or half empty, whatever), but the die-hards wearing their Devils jerseys, were there in force. Devils shirts were shot into the stands with giant slingshots operated by three people.Beer is still $6.25 a pop, and the place is glitzier than ever. We left after the second period when the score was tied at 1-1. The Devils ended up winning 3-2 following a shoot-out (apparently one of the new rules).

September 24, 2005

Judge For a Day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:47 pm

A Duie Pyle Driver.jpgWhat lawyer doesn’t desire to be a judge for a day? Well, I got to be a judge today, but not the kind who wears robes.

Instead, I served as one of the judges for the Annual Truck Driving Competition held by the A. Duie Pyle Trucking Company. I have done this for several years now, and last year I had the opportunity to serve as the announcer for the event. However, with the return of the regular announcer, I again resumed my “judicial” role.

I was the “Left Turn” judge, which involved walking behind each truck as the driver attempted to make a left turn around a barrel and getting the left rear tire (or tires in the case of trailer) as close to the barrel as possible without hitting it. The Left Turn was but one of the many parts of the course that had to be carefully navigated by both professional and amateur truck drivers (the “amateurs” work for the company but do not normally drive trucks).

These guys can do amazing things with those monster diesels. Indeed, two of the company drivers who competed last year went on to eventually compete in the National Truck Driving Championship, which was recently held in Tampa. One came in second in his class, and the other placed sixth.

As has been the case in prior years, this family-oriented event was a huge success with plenty of great food cooked on site, which, of course, included sausage, peppers and onions on Italian rolls – a Jersey staple. It is both amazing and gratifying to see some fifty-seven truck drivers come out on their day off to do what they do for a living – just for the camaraderie and the joy of competition.

I’m pretty tired and more than a little sunburned, but, as Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

This Guy is Pissed.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:30 pm

It’s a pity that Pulitzer Prizes are not awarded for complaint letters, because the following letter would be a contender. Here is but a sample:

Dear Cretins,
. . .
My initial [cable TV, internet modem and phone] installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website….HOW?

I alleviated the boredom by playing with my testicles for a few minutes – an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept. The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools – such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum.
. . .

Read the whole thing.

Via Mr. Snitch

September 23, 2005

Thank You, New York Times.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:08 pm

Compulsively picking at a scab, probing a chipped tooth with your tongue until it’s raw, peeling away at the necrotic epidermis spawned by sunburn, scratching an imaginary itch until your skin is raw — there is no explaining this form of self-mutilation to which many of us, including Yours Truly, sometimes succumb.

One of the more ugly forms of this malady is that nagging urge to click on the New York Times online ravings of the likes of Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman or Frank Rich. I do it more often than I care to admit, each time feeling angry with myself, much as if I had slowed down to gawk at a gruesome traffic accident.

As of today, The Times has taken a step that will go a long way to allowing my scabs to heal. From now on, in order to be able to read the aggravating drivel of Dowd, Krugman, Rich and others, one has to enroll in TimesSelect at a cost of $49.95 per year.

There are precious few things in life of which I am certain. However, the chances are infinitely greater that I will stick a feather in my ass and fly to Pittsburgh than they are that I will pony up $49.95 or even one penny to read the Dowdkrugmanrich crap.

I can already feel the healing beginning to kick in.

September 22, 2005

Jimbo’s Excellent European Adventure.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:25 pm

The following is a collection of “quick takes” that I jotted down or committed to memory during my trip to Barcelona.

The Quick Test. If you want to quickly determine whether a person in an airport (or wherever) is an American or a European, check out the footwear. This method, which works for men and women, has, I believe, a reliability quotient of greater than 90%. Obviously, Europeans are well aware of the reliability of the Quick Test, which accounts for them immediately speaking English to you before you open your mouth.

This really is nothing new, as the Quick Test was just as accurate when I lived in Europe in 1969-1970. The fact is that Europe tends to be a year or so ahead of the US in terms of footwear style. By the time Americans get around to adopting European styled footwear, the Europeans have moved on to something else.

Bad Idea. A fairly raucous and feisty group of Italians, who appeared to be students in their late teens or early twenties, thought it might be fun to try to make an ass out of a TSA Security Guy at Newark Airport. The officer’s facial expression and the words, “Are you people looking for a problem?” obviously needed no translation.

Smoker Fairness. The airports in Duesseldorf, Munich, and Barcelona all have designated smoking areas, unlike many American Airports (such as Newark), where one has to exit the airport to have a smoke and proceed again through security to return to the gate. Europeans have not been afflicted with the anti-smoking hysteria and insensitivity to smokers that have become the norm in the US.

Cell Phones. If you are a Verizon customer, you can leave the phone off during your trip and save the battery for when you return home. It doesn’t work in any of the three cities mentioned above.

Gasoline. We are knocked to our knees around here with gasoline hitting the $3.00 – $3.25 per gallon range. When one converts liters to gallons and Euros to dollars, the folks in Barcelona pay about $7.00 per gallon, which, in no small measure, accounts for the many downsized cars and motor scooters seen in Barcelona (see below).

Kamikaze Motor Scooter Drivers. If I remember the numbers correctly, Barcelona has 600,000 cars and 300,000 motor scooters. It is common to see people (men and women) in business attire blasting through the streets astride motor scooters. Their apparent fearlessness in weaving in out of traffic and cutting in front of cars, buses and trucks was something that I had a hard time becoming accustomed to. I guess people who drive cars, buses and trucks in Barcelona expect to see these death-defying mosquito-like maneuvers. I also saw a motor scooter guy with a passenger on the back; the driver had a guitar between his legs and the passenger had a guitar between her and the driver. Amazing.

Languages. I never cease to be amazed and frankly humbled by the number of Europeans who can effortlessly slide in and out of three different languages.

Barcelona Buskers. Three come to mind. First, there was a trio in the plaza in front of the old cathedral comprised of a banjo player (yes, a banjo!), a trombone guy, and a piano player. They sounded just like a New Orleans Dixieland band. For a moment I had wondered whether they might actually be displaced New Orleans musicians turning a buck, but it became apparent that they were locals. The people in the plaza were loving it, and one Spanish gentleman who appeared to be in his nineties hopped out of the crowd and did an impromptu buck and wing. I thought it was great.

I also spent about twenty minutes listening to a fellow play exquisite classical guitar. It was as good as I have ever heard, and the guy’s payment consisted of people tossing money into his open guitar case.

Finally, at a traffic light, a juggler leapt in front of the bus on which we were traveling and did a bit of juggling with those things that look a bit like bowling pins. He dropped the pins on several occasions. In his defense, I would guess that he had to keep one eye on the traffic light so he could avoid being run over and to be able to stop his act in enough time before the light changed to run to the waiting cars to hold out his hat for payment. Unfortunately, he was dressed in a clown suit, and I hate farookin’ clowns – even juggling ones.

I hope to have a bit more to say about the wonderful city of Barcelona in the next day or so as I continue to collect my thoughts on the matter.

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