April 28, 2006

Lone Star State Boogie.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:06 am


Suitcase:  Packed

Guitar:  Strung and packed

ID, Tickets and Stuff:  Checked and ready

Ride to Airport:  Arranged

Daughter in the House:  Yep

All the essentials are in place for us to head west tomorrow morning to the Blown-Eyed Blodger Tea Party and Ice Cream Social in Austin.  Other than a brief stop at the Dallas (Houston?) airport on the way to Hawaii, this will be my first visit to Texas.  I here it’s bigger than New Jersey.

In order to tune up for the trip we went out to a local Italian Joint and had a few pre-dinner martinis in glasses the size of soup bowls.  Civilized, that.

Play nice while I’m gone for the next couple days.  There are plenty of great things to read over there on the left sidebar.

And, as for you Blown-Eyeds, I’ll see you very soon.

April 26, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:45 pm

I dragged out the Axe (the one Rob picked out for me and played over the phone) on Sunday to make sure I remembere how to play it.

So, now here I am reading blogs (and now writing this drivel) when I promised myself I would put new strings on Mr. Guitar tonight so they can get all that stretching out of their systems before I get to Austin on Friday.  New strings sound great, but they are a pain in the ass until they get themselves comfortable.

I’m also supposed to be gathering up the duds I want to bring along.  Problem is that neither I nor my “wardrobe” is prepared at this time for “seriously farookin’ hot”.   Shoe suggested that we all bring a lid and some sunscreen.  I have a bunch of lids, which I wear (one at a time, of course) when I go walking in the mornings, which is always followed by a shower, and who cares about hathead in the shower.  I’ll bring one along anyway, potential hathead notwithstanding.  It is, however, a damned shame to cover this great farookin’ hair with a lid.

Speaking of hats, I’m hoping I get to see some folks wearing cowboy hats.  We don’t see much of that in Jersey, and when we do, it just looks dumb.  In Jersey, if you plan on strutting your shit in a cowboy hat, you’d better know how to fight.  Imagine one of Tony Soprano’s crew, say Paulie Walnuts, showing up in the Bada-Bing sporting a cowboy hat?

Truth is, I’d love to wear a cowboy hat, but every time I try one on I look like a Jewish dentist named “Mel” trying pitifully to look like a cowboy.  Besides, I’m a negotiator, not a fighter.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the reprobates  fine peeps I have met at previous blogmeets and with whom I have become friends over the past couple years.  I am also stoked about meeting some bloggers whose stuff I have been reading for some time, but whom have not yet met.  Finally there will be bloggers there whose sites I have only recently discovered, and I’m looking forward to meeting them too.  Bloggers are real easy to like.

I’ve been to a few of these events now, and one thing is for shit sure.  There are never, ever, ever any awkward moments of silence.  In fact, there is never ANY silence.  Bloggers are, by their nature, blabbermouths.

I had better get busy with those strings**. 


** For those of you who care about such things, they are Martin Extended Life SP+ Light Gauge, Bronze.  I’ve always used plain old Martin light gauge strings, but Willy (from whom I bought the guitar) recommended these, so I figure they gotta be good.


April 25, 2006

Blogging Note.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:19 pm

See the post below this one?  And, the post below that one?

See the big, empty space at the bottom?

See the little bit of a vertical line in the big, empty space at the bottom?

What you can’t see is the three times that WordPress zapped my paragraph breaks and printed the final paragraph twice.

 Damned if I know what is going on, and I’m too tired to give much of a damn.

Just thought you might like to know.

A 7-11 Morning.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:52 pm

Seven eleven cup.jpgAs is my custom, I stopped this morning at my local 7-11 to grab a cup of coffee and a pack of smokes. There was only one car in the lot when I pulled in. ”Sweet,” I thought. ”I’ll be outta there in about three minutes!” When I walked into the store, it was even better. The one car in the lot turned out to have been occupied by only one person, and that person was being waited on.

I walked briskly directly to the coffee counter and poured myself a 20 oz. black coffee. I snapped on the lid and was good to go. Money already in hand, I turned to walk to the counter. This was going to be an “in-and-out” record! This is going to be a great day.

No such luck.

It seems that the woman who was driving the one car in the lot and who was the only other person in the store, was in the process of buying an 8×11 sheet of paper full of lottery numbers. As if that wasn’t bad enough, English was not her first language.

It got worse. English was also not the first language of the guy behind the counter punching in the dizzying array of numbers, and his first language was not the same as herr first language.

It got worse yet. The lady buying seemingly every permutation of three-digit numbers (and whose first language was not English) was talking on a cell phone (in a language other than English) throughout the entire gut-wrenching process.

“Tree bippty tree, straight and box. Blah, blah, blah, blah” (in a foreign language into the phone).


“Tree bippty tree, straight and box! Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone).

“Meed-day or eeeebening?”

“What? Blah, blah, blah, blah” (in a foreign language into the phone).

“Meed-day or eeebening?”

“Oh, meed-day and eeebening. Blah, blah, blah, blah” (in a foreign language into the phone).

I stood there during a dozen or so exchanges, watching my morning slip away and wishing I had brought a razor into the store with me so that I could open a vein. Finally, a young woman emerged from the back room and took her place behind the counter, and offered to wait on me.

Before I could even point to my coffee on the counter, her cell phone rang, and, of course, she answered it. You guessed it. Her first language was also something other than English.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone). Can I help you?”

“Yes, I would like the coffee and a pack of Merit, Lights in a box, please.”

““Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone)”. This was followed by a puzzled look in my direction.

“Merit Lights in a box, please. They are the ones with yellow and brown on the pack, on the bottom shelf.”

“Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone). Dees one?” (pointing)

“No, those are Kools in a green pack on the first shelf. I would like the Merit Lights in a box on the bottom shelf, please.”

““Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone). Dees one?” (pointing)

“No, the BOTTOM SHELF, please.”

“Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone)” (points again).

“NO, down two shelves.”

“Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone)” (points again).

“NO. Over to the right!”

“Blah, blah, blah, blah (in a foreign language into the phone)” (points again).

“NO. Over one more.”

“YES! That’s it.”

She rang up my purchases while still blah, blah, blah, blahing.”

If I am ever elected King, there will be a new rule. Anyone who purports to wait on a customer while talking on a cell phone will be sentenced to thirty days of solitary confinement with Yoko Ono “music” pumped into their cell twenty-fours a day.

April 24, 2006

(Fill in the Blank) Day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:58 pm

I must admit that Earth Day came and went and I never noticed it. Which is OK, given that, as far as I’m concerned, I think Earth Day is largely a crock of shit.

I figure that by going about each day trying not to foul my little corner of the world, I’m doing my bit for the environment. I don’t toss litter on the sidewalks and roads, and I comply with the local recycling ordinances, even though I have a feeling that a fair chunk of recycling money ultimately finds it way into the hands of the Tony Sopranos of the world.

In short, I really don’t need a designated day on which I am supposed to stare into crystals and pay homage to Mother Earth.

Perhaps I didn’t notice Earth Day, because it is one of many “designated” days in the year. Indeed, it seems to me that we are experiencing a “Designated-Day Deluge”. Here are some of them:

Martin Luther King Day

Groundhog Day

Valentine’s Day

President’s Day

Read Across America Day

President’s Day

Pi Day

St. Patrick’s Day

Secretary’s Administrative Assistant’s Day

Mother’s Day

Memorial Day


Flag Day

Father’s Day

Independence Day

Boss’s Day

Columbus Day

Mother-in-Law Day (no, really!)

Labor Day

Grandparents Day

Veterans Day

Election Day

Smoke-out Day

It’s a bit bewildering.

Before we run out of days to “designate”, here are a few that I would like to see added to the list:

No Chuck Schumer Press Conference Day

Flip Someone the Bird Day (this is actually celebrated every day in Jersey.

Don’t Kill Anyone in the Name of Any Religion Day

Turn Your Damned Cell Phone Off Day

Change Guitar Strings Day (a handy reminder for folks like me)

Wash Your Undies Day (for the truly nuclear Stinkies among us)

Drink to Excess Day (for non-Irish folks; the Irish already have a day)

Blow Smoke in a Particularly Rude Non-Smoker’s Face Day

Don’t Pick Your Nose in the Car Day

Break Wind Loudly and Laugh Hysterically Day

All I know is that I’ve about had enough of today, which for all I know may well have been Shit in Your Hat and Punch it Day.

April 23, 2006

Bigger and Better.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:20 am


This Bloviating Ham & Egger Jersey Guy won’t be in Austin next week, but I will.

Check out the previous entry.  Yeah, the one with the teeny picture.  I spent a couple hours in wee hours of the morning trying to figure out how to make the farookin’ image the size of the original.

 After a couple hours of sleep, I tried for another hour or so with zero success.  Just a moment or two shy of tossing Mr. Computer out the window, I dropped Dogette** a note.  She, after all, does all kinds of fancy things with WordPress on her site (e.g. bathrobes, Goth Undies of Despair and the world-famous 12 Poop Series). 

 Rather than wear out my fingers trying to explain all the undoubtedly stupid things I tried to get the damned image up in its original size, I enclosed a set of keys to the place and asked her to rummage around.

Next thing I knew, there it was — just the way I couldn’t get it to look.  She also sent me instructions on how to do it myself next time.  The instructions are clear, but whether I will be able to execute them is, at best, a crapshoot.

I thank you, Dogette, and so does Doctor Doctor who keeps track of Mr. Blood Pressure.

** I figured that Craig could use a break from dealing with Mr. Techno-Stoopid, particularly on a Sunday morning with a bunch of little ones running about. 


April 22, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:14 pm


This Bloviating Ham & Egger Jersey Guy won’t be in Austin next week, but I will.


April 21, 2006

Speaking of Cash, …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:44 pm

Speaking of cash (see below), one of the bills I received at the local 7-11 bore a stamp that read, “Track this bill at WheresGeorge.com.”  Interesting.

Who among us has not wondered about the travels of paper money?  Haven’t you ever considered whether the greenback in your pocket has traversed the U.S. a couple times, or maybe it has remained “local” before it found its way to you?  (Am I being presumptuous here?)

Anyway, I tucked the “marked” bill in a pocket from which I would not be likely to spend it until I could check the website referenced on the bill.

I finally got around to checking out the site, and I dutifully entered the serial number and series of my buck.  Whammo!  There it was!  I learned that about six and half months ago, someone in a town about six miles from here discovered it in his kid’s Trick-or-Treat bag, and I was the first person since then to report its existence on the site.  I have no way of knowing where it was in the interim.  It may have sat in someone’s wallet or on someone’s dresser, or it could have been to California and back and not have been logged in at the site.

For any given bill that is registered, the site will tell you when and where it was “entered”, and it will track its movements over time, and even draw a map.

What was most interesting to me was the number of people who are very interested in tracking the movement of currency.  Some regulars on the site go to their banks, get a stack of bills, enter each of them into the system and then count their “hits”.  As of this writing, more than 92 million bills have been entered into the system!

Go figure.

I plan on taking my marked bill to Austin next week and tracking it from there.

Note:  I gotta believe that Harvey, the Graffiti-Currency Guy, is already hip to the site.

Thanks to Kristen for the Austin idea.

April 20, 2006

Money? Ewwwww!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:17 pm

Yesterday I wanted to send off an order for some stuff from a mail order house that requires that the order be accompanied by a check or money order.**  If one uses a check, the order is not shipped until the check clears, but using a money order ensures that the items will be shipped on the day following receipt of the order.

Having purchased items from this place in the past, I would normally stop at the local 7-11 on my way to work and pick up a money order.  Money orders at the 7-11 cost one dollar.  However, yesterday morning I forgot to buy the money order at the 7-11, so during my lunch hour, I went to a snooty-looking suburban bank near my office, with an eye toward picking up the money order there and sending my order off in the afternoon.

A very pleasant young lady behind the counter asked, “May I help you, sir?”

“Yes, please,” I replied.  “I’d like to buy a money order for three-hundred and twenty dollars, please.”

“Do you have an ATM card, sir?”

“No,” I replied, wondering what the money order-relevance of the answer to that question might be.

“Do you have an account with us, sir?”

Again, I replied, “No, I do not,” as my bank is in the town where I live.  I reached into my pocket and produced $350 in cash, and said, “I would like to buy the money order with cash.”

The teller looked at me as if I were trying to hand her a turd, and, after an uncomfortable pause, said,  “In that case, the cost will be ten dollars.”

Imagine the nerve of me, actually wanting to buy a money order with … well … MONEY?

I smiled, put the money back in my pocket and left the bank.  I stopped off at the 7-11 on my way home and bought the money order for a buck.

Cash is still good at the 7-11.

**  Note to the dirty-minded among you.  This was a G-rated purchase. 


April 19, 2006

Hometown Meme.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:05 pm

Gail, at Scribal Terror, tagged me with a Meme, the point of which is to have each of the tagees say four cool things about his or her hometown.  Not being flush with content at the moment, this came at a pretty good time.  Here we go.

I was raised in Kearny, New Jersey (pronounced, “CAR-nee”).

The Sopranos

Over the last few years, parts of Kearny have been seen nationwide, because many of the Sopranos’ location scenes are filmed in the town.  For example, every time Tony and his crew sit outside “Satriale’s Pork Store,” they are sitting on Kearny Avenue, the main street in Kearny.  “Satriale’s” is actually a closed-up auto parts store.  Several Kearny scenes (and those in nearby towns) appear in the opening montage as well.  It’s great sport playing “I Know Where That Is” when watching the show.


One of the best things about growing up in Kearny was its proximity to New York and Newark (Newark was considerably nicer when I was a boy).  Both were a short bus ride away, or one could drive to Newark or New York in ten and twenty minutes, respectively (not during rush hour, of course).

The proximity to New York was a very big deal back in the days when New York’s legal drinking age was eighteen and Jersey’s was twenty-one.  Which, of course, meant that we were schlepping into “the City” at age 17 (with “appropriate” proof of age), starting at about age seventeen.  We could be in places like McSorley’s Old Ale House in no time.  The dark side of the drinking trips into New York was the death-defying drives back to Jersey (a product of the stupidity and recklessness of youth).  When I think back on that now, I get a cold chill down my spine.

On the other hand, Kearny was just far enough away from Newark and New York to provide some of the advantages of living in a “small” town.  (See below)

An “Ethnic” Small Town

Kearny was heavily populated with Scottish and Irish people (mostly Scottish), many of whom had parents or grandparents who immigrated to the U.S. to find work in the large thread mill in town.  Over time, these folks sponsored their relatives, so it was not at all uncommon to find one’s self surrounded by people speaking with a thick Scottish accent.  The town had (and still has) a Scottish butcher shop at which one can buy things like meat pies and haggis (I’ll take a Pasadena on the haggis), and it also boasts at least three fish and chips restaurants, an Irish-American Club, a Scottish-American Club, two pipe bands (one Scottish, one Irish), a place to buy bagpipes, kilts, and kilt stuff, and a store that specializes in darts and darts stuff.

Aye, ‘twas a bonny town, it was.

The “Av” (short for “Avenue” and pronounced something like “eeAv”)

When I lived in Kearny, shopping malls as we know them today had not yet been “invented”.  So, when we became too old to play in the street or in the playgrounds, we hung on Kearny Avenue, (the “Av”, which was the main street that ran through the entire town and continued south through Harrison to the Newark border and north through North Arlington, Lyndhurst and Rutherford.

Once all the guys got driver’s licenses and access to cars, we would spend hours and hours and hours “riding the Av” between Harrison and Rutherford (Back then, you could ride the Av all day for a buck’s worth of gas).  The stated purpose of all this mindless driving was to pick up girls, but that happened about as often as an asteroid strike.

If you stuck with this scintillating piece long enough to reach this point, this is the part where I am supposed to tag four people.  I am curious about the hometowns of several bloggers, but knowing that some people get cranky when tagged, I will invite anyone who stuck it out this far to jump into the pool, either in the comments or on your own site.  If you decide to post it on your site, please send a trackback, so we can check out the post.

 Update:  Rita posted about Marshall, Arkansas here, and Rob posted about Savannah, Georgia here.

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