Friday, December 28, 2007

That Was The Year That Was

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Roasted a turkey for Thanksgiving.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think I did. I could do better though.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
The Drunk Mick and his wife welcomed my niece, M.I.A. into the world.

4. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Disposable income. Bigger dents in my loans.

5. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 28, 2007. I watched "House of 1,000 Corpses". What a piece of crap.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Making improvements at home and at work.

7. What was your biggest failure?
My yard.

8. What was the best thing you bought?
Gifts for PGirl. New television. New windows (more of a gift actually).

9. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Again, PGirls. The kids have settled down a bit.

10. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The current administration at the White House. I've never witnessed a more arrogant group of people in power, in our country.

11. Where did most of your money go?
Home and Car Loans.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Holidays.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier. Fatter. Richer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Small World

I'll be taking part in a mentoring program for school-age kids soon. I enjoy this type of volunteerism and happily bounded two blocks from my office for an orientation this week. The trainer ordered pizza for the mentors and I was delighted to see she had ordered from Dave's on Main Street. Their pizza is as close to New York City/Long Island that I've seen in Jamestown. A lot of folks turn their nose up to the stuff, but I prefer the thin to the thick. I think my late step-grandfather's biases against Sicilians might have had some merit...
Anyway, as I was transported back to Islip, New York in the seventies, I overheard the trainer talking about having lived in Cincinnati. My ears perked up. I had lived across the river in the Bluegrass State from 1979 to 1990 - my formative years. I asked her which part of Cincinnati she was from. "Claremont", she replied, "but I grew up in Northern Kentucky". A fellow country-woman.

When someone asks you where you're from and Kentucky is the place, one usually doesn't reply, "Kentucky". The state is split up into several very diverse regions. The Lake Cumberland area is someone resortish and has dry counties within. The Lexington and Louisville areas are known for their Universities and being different arms of the thoroughbred racing world. The Southwestern part of the state is home to Paducah, which is kind of a funky little place. And Eastern Kentucky, well, this is the birthplace of Loretta Lynn and some very bad jokes. "What's the definition of a virgin in Kentucky? A girl who can outrun her brother...

Northern Kentucky is distinct for several reasons:

  1. Like the Kansas Cities and St. Louises which bridge two states, Northern Kentucky is sometimes considered an extension of Cincinnati. And, contrary to some Hollywood movies filmed here, there is no part of the area referred to as South Cincinnati. You're either in downtown or drowning in the river.
  2. It is home to Cincinnati's airport ( Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport). Many travellers are confused by this.
  3. Covington has a high concentration of German-Catholics and also features a restaurant called "The Anchor" which has never been closed and makes Goetta.
  4. There are 8 Catholic High Schools in this region. 4 coed, 2 boys schools and 2 girls schools. The trainer went to Newport Central Catholic School and I went to a rival school, St. Henry.
  5. Good pizza was hard to find for several years around here. A chain called "LaRosa's" was and is still popular. Imagine a giant version of Lunchables pizza heated up and that is what you get.
  6. Cincinnati-style chili is also rampant in Northern Kentucky. Skyline is the most well-known and you may find it canned at your local grocery.
  7. Rural areas (a.k.a. B.F.E. and the Boonies) are mere minutes away from the urban areas, making for a nice pastiche of cultures.
  8. The annual Riverfest fireworks display is kicked off by a yelling contest between Ohio and Kentucky.
So, now you are armed with enough information to keep up in a brief conversation regarding the place where I learned to drive and shave, Northern Kentucky.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Last Curtain Call

The show is over! Despite bad weather, we pulled off some really fun performances. I dare say that this year's "Nutcracker" was better all around.

Being the last day, PGirl rounded up the older Ginger Snaps for a photo op offstage. Yeah, we're some hardcore girls.

PGirl Jr. made her debut in the ballet as a mouse. While her costume was hot and cumbersome, I liked it. If only to pad out the skinny little girl who used to be such a rounded cutie. She managed to take on two toy soldiers at a time.

I hope she continues to do this. She could become pretty good if this goes on. Mouse this year, maybe an angel next year. Who knows, maybe she fill out my blouse some day!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mutha Snap

Sympathize with PGirl, because this is what she wakes up to every morning - without the makeup.

We've played two performances to schools so far and we have two general public performances to go. Fun is had by all backstage. All of my snaps throw their own signs at me in the hallway beneath the stage.

They all dance in front of me, but occasionally one will look upstage at me. I'll throw a sign back at one when it happens again. We'll see who cracks first.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ginga Siznaps

"The Nutcracker" opens this Thursday and, like the holidays, it seems to have crept up on me. Granted, my part this year is about 3 minutes long compared to about 20 minutes last year and I have attended only a handful of brief rehearsals. Yesterday, I began to bond with the dancers who will be emerging from my character's hoop skirt. Little girls all, they spent some time with me offstage, waiting for our entrance. I told them that I felt the 2nd Act of the ballet is a metaphor for gang life, how each groug dances instead of fights. A couple of the more rambuctious girls agreed with me and showed me "fronting moves". Another flashed what appeared to be a gang sign at me. I told them that the Metatrons (the group that comes before us) thought they were all that and we should show them what's up. There was some modest agreement and we entered the stage to do our thing. So far, so good.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Love Those J-I-N-G-L-E Bells

Broken record time here....

If you love the holiday tunes and can stream audio where you live or work, please try these links:

Ralphie's Radio
Live 365's free streams sound a bit scratchy, which works perfectly for these tunes from the '30's and '40's. You'll feel like Darren McGavin is about to head down to the basement and wrestle with the furnace!

The late, great 97x (Rain Man said, "Bam! The future of Rock and Roll.") went all internet a while back and offers another season of holiday songs on a third stream. From original tunes by Sufjan Stevens to DJ/Classic mash-ups and everything in between, this is a must from anyone who spent their formative years in the eighties and nineties. They even have some Regis and Kathy Lee here!


One of the web's great music experiments stretches as it offers holiday songs. Just type in the name of an artist followed by "holiday" and you get your own personal station.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big Turkey

Dinner went off without a hitch and the weekend was pretty fun and relaxing. I purchased PGirl's gifts yesterday and am keeping my fingers crossed for them to score! I'm lost for anything else to write so I'll respond to my wife's tag:

Tagged by Preppygirl (and, in all honesty, looking for an easy post) - here goes:

I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What is it?
1. Produce: Avacados
2. Bakery: Apple Fritters
3. Meat: Pork Tenderloin
4. Frozen: Vegetable Lasagna
5. Dry goods: Dry onion soup mix.

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. Casual, comfy khakis
2. Light, sweat shirt
3. sneakers

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. "Fuck."
2. "What the Fuck?"
3. "Fuck!"
4. "Feck"
5."Come on!"

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Shower.
2. Pick up or drop off the kids, see them off to school.
3. Talk to my wife.

Sweet, you just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. Bills for next month.
2. Fix something in or around the house.
3. Clean the floors.
4. Straightening up the computer area.
5. Take the dog for a long walk.

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. Something to do with monkeys.
2. Petting zoo.
3. Insect house.

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. The Office
2. Mythbusters
3. Pardon The Interruption
4. No Reservations

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Butter pecan
2. Peanut butter swirl
3. Pistachio

Somebody stole your wallet… in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. Health insurance card.
2. CVS card.
3. Appointment cards
4. Receipts
5. Piccies of my kids and PGirl

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. Ask a girl out who is pretty cool. No pressure to sleep with her. Someone to talk to. You'll have a good time and you're not getting married to her anyway.
2. Work harder at basketball.
3. Go to the record store and pick up everything from SST that you can carry out.
4. Don't grow a mustache.

You're it Java!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. My “tagger”: In Java, Literally

2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.

a. I was in the Boy Scouts for a while. Was sort of working toward Eagle Scout when I quit. Guess that is why I'm making less money than I should be.

b. I am obsessed with media, checking out several websites, blogs, newspapers and magazines each week.

c. I love video games, but can't own a system for long because of my addictive personality. I pretty much limit myself to Monopoly on my cell phone and Sudoku too.

d. I have little patience for people who break driving, parking and pedestrian rules. I use my horn to let them know my displeasure.

e. I dislike most of the local radio stations around Jamestown and company-owned stations in general.

f. I think U.S. politics and "Survivor" are among the most awful examples of how people behave.

g. I have night terrors.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

Nick Dean
3 Carnations
Princess Slea

I'll link these up soon!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh Yeah...

....some more highlights of the weekend.

  • Set the DVR to record Food Network's Thanksgiving shows.
  • Set the DVR to record a new season of "Kenny Versus Spenny" on Comedy Central. Don't watch this show with the kids.
  • Wilco was on Austin City Limits!

Come On Feel The Illinois

Princess Slea, her sister-in-law, Fem-Monkey and the kiddoes came a calling this weekend. Fun was had by all. Some highlights:
  • Fem-monkey began the Wine Cellar's World Tour, which entails the drinking of over 40 beers served in-house. A T-Shirt and plaque entry await the survivors. Contestants are not expected to finish in one night. The Wine Cellar staff will keep your record card on file for years....
  • MonkeyJr. (aged 3) told me a variation on the Chicken crossing the road joke. Why? To eat the broccoli of course.
  • I found out that my god-daughter (Vampiress, aged 6) is dating a boy in her hometown. I proceeded to fake-phone the lad and threatened him to peals of laughter coming from PGirl Jr.'s room.
  • Ran with the dog down to Washington and 3rd streets downtown on Saturday morning. Felt good!
  • Listened as my poor PGirl's voice became more and more Suzanne Plechette-ish all weekend.
  • Made some too-salty chili for dinner yesterday.
  • Watched the Bills squeak by the lowly Dolphins. Our running back did have a good game, running in the sole-touchdown and following it with a two-point conversion.
  • I beat the top guy in my Fantasy Football League, with some help from the Patriots' bye week (this dude's team has Tom Brady and a few other Pats on it) and the fact that his second string QB was clobbered and taken out early yesterday. Trading deadline is Friday and the playoffs start in a few weeks, so I'm hoping for a trade. As of tomorrow, I should be in 4th place and playoff eligible, but that can change quickly...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I was tagged by Tracy for this little gem....

List 5 things that certain people (who are not deserving of being your friend anyway) may consider to be “totally lame,” but you are, despite the possible stigma, totally proud of. Own it. Tag 5 others.

  1. I record and watch "The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Specials" every December. This is one of those specials run on local PBS stations during pledge drives. This thing is basically a time capsule of how holiday tunes were updated throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. See the Osmonds as they serve hot chocolate to the Williams Brothers! As a kid, I used to daydream about being in a television program like it where I would be sitting on a bar stool in a ski lodge, spin to face the camera and sing a holiday favorite with others in matching sweaters. This started a trend in my mind which included singing "Endless Love" (circa 1981) with Anna Eddins as a duet and growing a mullet and handlebar mustache, wearing a duster and playing guitar for Heart (circa 1987). I'm not kidding.
  2. I was a card-carrying member of the Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club. Skywalk Cinemas in Cincinnati used to play this every Saturday night. When I was 15 years old I convinced my boss at summer camp to take as many staff as possible to see it. The Denton Affair cast was in its 8th year of performing live in front of the screen, there was a virgin auction, it was very cool for me to be there. Over the next 3 years, I'd grab everyone who would go to see it. I've never dressed as a character, but would consider it if the opportunity arose. Don't dream it. Be it.
  3. I offer answers to trivial questions being posed in total strangers' discussions. I figure it could help keep their conversations going. Why not?
  4. I've taken up comic book collecting again. In the '80's I collected G.I. Joe, X-Men and Avengers comics. In the '90's I picked up some graphic novels including "The Dark Night Returns". Two years ago I picked up "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Now I'm reading "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" Season 8 and The Walking Dead.
  5. If I think I've spotted a celebrity in public, I'll follow them around until I can confirm their identity. I once "stalked" Peter Cetera around the Dallas airport for several minutes. Finally I approached him in a bookstore and asked him if he was Peter Cetera. It went something like this:
Me: Mr. Cetera?
Peter Cetera: Yes?
Me: I'm a big fan.
(Totally wasn't.)
Peter Cetera: Thank you.
Uncomfortable silence.
Me: Thanks for the music.
Peter Cetera: Thank you.

I tag In Java, Mr. Social, Makkaio, Jenny and R (presuming the latter two haven't already done this and aren't too busy. Seriously, these ladies blog almost every day. In Java too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My So Called Church Life


I know that the title of this post might seem to be a stretch, but I'm compelled to write about Sunday mornings and give a shout out to "My So Called Life" - the best damn television show from the last twenty years (in my humble opinion).

MSCL (as the kids called it) has been re-released on DVD. Not sure what happened to the prior release from a few years back, but who cares. The show rocked. It presented teens as they truly were in the early nineties and for the last several years for that matter. "90210" was soapy trash. "Party of Five" was cooked the moment that Charlie showed up in the second episode with the same stubble from the previous episode. And, besides, no family goes through that much tragedy without being profiled on Dateline NBC or being turned into a Lifetime movie. "Saved By The Bell" was the crap that Dan Schneider would have produced if he weren't living down Dennis Blunden and sadistically preparing to unleash over a decades' worth of awful, young comedians via Nickolodeon (another Viacom outlet which sold its soul by moving away from "Pete and Pete" and toward the dookie-fests that were and are "All That", "Keenan and Kel", "Amanda", "Josh and Drake", the list goes on - apologies to Keenan who does a mean Bill Cosby).

If I have a point, it is that MSCL destroyed all of those shows in quality. It was probably too realistic for the folks that flocked elsewhere. Too painful to see people who were living as they too were living. This show spoke to me. I was 4 years removed from high school and 8 years older than protaganist, Angela Chase when I started watching the show. I moved schedules around to catch it. If DVR's had been around then, 19 hours of this program would still be protected on the hard drive. If you haven't watched the show, if you've blown it off before, put it into your Netflix cue and smoke it.

The family and I have begun, yet again, to go to church regularly. Since PGirlJr. has been attending Sunday school at the local Catholic elementary, it just made sense to start going to mass just before the class. Plus, I just think it was meant to be this way. I believe that things happen for reasons - good and bad. The opportunity for Kate to begin a journey towards Communion, Confirmation, Confession, etc, was the spark under our asses to do this again. It has been about twenty years since I've attended on a weekly basis.

I don't recall attending mass until I was 8 years old and beginnin CCD classes. Still attending public school, I'd go to classes on weeknights at St. Barbara's church in Kentucky. The teachers were cool, I was able to draw a lot, and the stories from the Bible were okay by me. I don't think I fully understood what taking Communion was, but I got to wear a suit that first time (and got into trouble with Saint Eileen for wearing the suit vest over a dress shirt on a future trip up the aisle and strutting back to my seat).

Two years later, I began to go to Catholic School at St. Henry and continued through their high school. As a student, I attended Mass weekly and had religion classes as part of the curriculum. I remember going to Mass on Sundays infrequently as we spent most weekends with The Colonel. By the time I could drive, I was splitting weekends between households and driving the Mick to church when not a my mother's house.

Throughout all this time, I never really got anything out of mass that I was aware of. Mostly I'd daydream about girls, replay movies in my head or think about "Saturday Night Live" from the night before. I was annoyed by the singers who would hold notes longer than everyone else. They seemed to be showing off to me. The homily was basically a wash and I didn't read along with the Gospel or the other readings. I was just there.

Throughout college and grad school, I was a virtual no-show, attending only one Easter and Christmas. I began to go again once I met PGirl. Luckily she is the love of my life and being Catholic made things easier for both of us. We didn't go every Sunday, but when we did, I'd read along and listen to the homily. I took a lesson away from it every week and tried to apply it where I could. I was still annoyed by singing (mostly by the cantor who just seemed to be so damn smug), but stuck with it.

Once we moved to Jamestown with the girl, we tried again. But the last six years have been rough. Our church is older and doesn't have a cry-room, so we have to stick it out. Around the time that my daughter could sit through a service, my son began to get squirmy. Another 3 years went by.

Now, for the time being, both kids can be occupied for an hour with little fuss. GalootJr's fascination with bathrooms has subsided, so I don't have to miss out on the homily anymore. The peace is holding. I figure we have about 8 years before PGirlJr.:
1. Decides to stick with going to church because she gets something out of it.
2. Starts the Barry trend of lapsing for several years.
3. Decides to stick with going to church because there will be a boy (or girl - did I mention that I'm not a hardline Catholic?) to fixate on a few pews up.

And I can still daydream and get the message. Only, the daydreams aren't about girls anymore. Just whatever snack I'll eat during the game. And for those of you who might be getting riled up about the lack of the Big JC in my post. Here ya go:

Be more like him. Peace!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nutcracker Again

PGirlJr. has a costume fitting for The Nutcracker tonight. She'll be a mouse in the first Act. The moves she does are adorable!

Though I wasn't asked to reprise my role as the Party Host for this year's production, another performer has dropped out and I've been tapped as a replacement. So, this December, I'll be playing the part of Mother Ginger. I'll write more about this development as it comes to me, but I'm pretty sure I won't be ad-libbing in this production as the character simply pulls strings lifting her massive hoop skirt to let the Ginger Snaps emerge from underneath.

In completely unrelated news, I found out why gloves should be worn while cutting Jalapeno peppers at Saint Eileen's house yesterday. My left hand felt like fire for 8 hours yesterday.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wings and More

This weekend found us traveling once again. We took a day trip to Buffalo. PGirl and PGirlJr. went to a bridal shower and dropped myself and GalootJr. off at the Buffalo Zoo for a few hours. Our friends who we visited in Toronto two weeks ago met us at the Zoo. Not a bad little city zoo. Weather was nice and the place wasn't packed at all.

After a brief detour to Delaware Park to watch some playground basketball, the girls picked us up and we all went to Anchor Bar - home to the original Buffalo Wing. Bottom line - wings were great, but the service was awful.

If you weren't able to catch my stunning announcement at our local high school, it should be embedded at the top of this post. If not, you may view it here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Post Today

PGirl's job change has been blitzing the media. Our newspaper carried an article last week about it, but I can't find a link to it. Same text and better picture may be found here.

I'm proud of my lady. She is perfect for the job and deserves to be happy at what she is doing. On account of the distance she travels to and fro daily, I mostly take the kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon. It is a nice change of pace for me and has helped me to organize my time at work.

Speaking of work, I'll be teaching improv to high schoolers again as a joint Drama Club between Jamestown High School and The Arts Council For Chautauqua County (my place of employment). I'll be putting out a flyer this week at the school, but also recorded a super cheap announcement for the club to be aired on the morning announcements. It will only be available on Thursday until I get a copy. Check out some morning cheese here.

Halloween is still several weeks away, but I like to get started on things early here. The decorations have gone up, the costumes have been purchased and I've started lapping up a month's worth of holiday goodness. My favorite Halloween tricks and treats.
  1. Listening to Halloween songs. You'd be surprised how many there are out there. Don't limit yourself to songs made for the holiday. Expand your horizons to include classical music, Broadway tunes, TV themes and goth music! The best Halloween streaming on the web can be found at Live 365.
  2. Tess's Indie Wave is my favorite station on the afore-mentioned website.
  3. Cobwebs In The Closet is a close second.
  4. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. If you don't like this special, there is something wrong with you.
  5. My kids' costumes. They've managed to be cute and perfect every year to date. GalootJr. put his fireman coat, hat and boots on last night over only his briefs. I told him to see PGirl , open up his coat and shake his hips. He surprised both of us by whipping off the coat, throwing his hat across the room, kicking off his boots and then dancing. Violently. I think I should put more parental controls on the TV.
  6. Candy corn. Yummy.
  7. Making jack-o-lanterns. We'll have to wait another week so they won't rot before the 31st.
  8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Watch it every year. The college PGirl works at is doing the original stage version later this month. Don't dream it! Be it!
  9. John Carpenter's Halloween. Fuck Rob Zombie.
  10. Columbus Day. A day off between Labor Day and Thanksgiving!
  11. Falling Leaves. We have lots of them and our region is close to peak.
  12. Pumpkin Seeds. A very tasty by-product of our jack-0-lanterns.
  13. Thanksgiving isn't far away...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Must Read Thursday - On Wednesday!

I'll cheat a bit here and unveil my Thursday Thirteen a bit early. You're welcome for this gift.

Meet my niece.

  1. The Mick and his lovely wife welcomed my niece, M.I.A., into the world last Friday afternoon. The whole family is doing well. Hopefully we'll be seeing them soon.
  2. PGirl cannot blog at work and sends her best. I'm sure she's checking in with all of your blogs on the weekends. Her new job is taking on more shape every day and she is tired, but happy with the new job. We had lunch together in the building she works in and it certainly took me back several years. Bonus: Free copies of USA Today and the New York Times are available during the week at the university, which the PGirl brings home to her baby daddy. Woo-hoo!
  3. The Kiddoes are both in the same school for part of each day. GalootJr. is doing the Pre-K thing next door to PGirlJr.'s 1st grade homeroom. Both are settling into nighttime routines with some minor revolting. Quote of the Week: While watching the Bills game at the Silver Fox's house on Sunday, the boy was acting up. PGirl remarked how she hoped this was a stage, to which GalootJr. replied, "This is not a stage!".
  4. Chicago was next on the vacation route after Northern Kentucky a couple of weeks ago. The wedding, shopping and eating were welcome reprieves from the daily grind. A visit with Favor8 and the missus found us at at Gio's bar and grill on the Northside, 312 beers flowing and laptops open as Favor8 and I took part in our Fantasy Football...
  5. Draft. I picked up Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Matt Stover and the Bears defense in our 12 team league - The Dirty SanchezFFL. This was the first time I'd done a live draft and it was quite the learning experience. Our first games were played last weekend, and my team, Nancy Boys United, defeated Sick Baby's Diapers. Those aren't made up, they are totally the real team names. I can't print some of the league's team names. Seriously, they are that bad. Speaking of football...
  6. The Bills lost one of their special teams players to a potentially devasting injury on Sunday. Please send your best wishes to Kevin Everett.
  7. Music still rocks my world at work and in the car. Our city played host to a Local Music Showcase last weekend that was well attended. Loads of people milled about on Third Street and other avenues on Saturday night, taking in several concerts at a number of venues. On Sunday night, an awards show went up with live performances and hall of fame inductions. This all was a good shot in the arm for locals who feel we don't need festivals in the city. Streaming Audio of the Week: Illinois Street Lounge on SomaFM. You can stream this on I-tunes under the 50's-60's area of radio.
  8. The Local Blogosphere is churning along nicely. Makkaio was a presenter at the awards on Sunday and the butt of a lame-ass presenter joke written and performed by my improv troupe. In Java took me back to the mid-nineties with some old videos last week. Jamestown Lawyer did a bang up job with the Local Music Showcase and awards last weekend. The Sunday night affair was truly inspired. Well done.
  9. Work sucks, but I need the bucks. Actually things are going well here. I have a lot on my plate, but at least it is all in front of me.
  10. Food tastes good! PGirl and I had some Gyro plates in Greektown while in Chicago. Last night we had some delicious pizza from Subzone. Forte hooked us up with a couple of tins of Sushi last week and Timothy's tomato bisque was exquisite today.
  11. Southern Tier Brewery made it into Bon Appetit's October issue last weekend! On page 78, you'll find descriptions of some select brews to have this Autumn and what to serve them with.
  12. The Unexpected Guests are moving down the street to the Reg Studio Theater this weekend. We didn't want to counterprogram the music last weekend, so adjust your calendars and get your asses down here for some laughs.
  13. My alma mater suffered the loss of a student to a tragic suicide recently. Thanks to Tracy for the update. My thoughts and prayers are with my fellow Eagles...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Holiday Road

The kiddoes and I are spending a few days in Kentucky at the Colonel's house before we head up to Chicago for a "hitchin"! So far, so good. We've been getting up early to play in the pool before breakfast almost every day. I spend some time swimming with the kids, then I keep them in the shallow end and read a bit by the poolside. I'm reading "The Wastelands - Dark Tower 3". It has been really fun and relaxing so far. I was bad and took some work with me, but I do that before the kids get up and it relieves me to be ahead of the curve when I get back to work.

Last night I met some high school friends at an Applebee's and followed that up with a trip to Barleycorn's. Big Red Letter Day for the kids as I took them to see "The Simpsons Movie" this afternoon. We were all supposed to go to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner tonight, but the Colonel is under the weather. So I took the kids to a family pub where they ate for free. Oh yeah, I took the kids to Border's yesterday too. Love it!

I know it is probably just urban sprawl and I'm noticing things more, but I've seen a lot of guys around here wearing golf shirts, pleated pants and cell phone holsters. The new gunslingers I suppose.

We'll hook up with PGirl on Friday for some wedding fun!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Low Power To The People

Listen up reader(s)!!! The low power, community based, arts-centric WRFA-LP will be broadcasting live from about 15 feet below my office all day in luverly Jamestown, New York. 10,000 Maniac keyboard playin' virtuoso and station manager Dennis Drew will be hosting the whole damn affair. There will be several local musicians playing throughout the day as well as some witty banter. Tune in and you may even hear me in the Arts On Fire segment.

Not anywhere near Jamestown? No problem, you can stream us online by clicking here:!

Update: My boss just said "condom riot" on the air. Genius!

Update 2: Brian Hanna just played a song about bugs with his son Evan. Shades of Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Purple Nightmare?

I'm working from the home office (dining room table) today, while the kids take a day off from their summer schooling at Chautauqua. They've played a few games, ate breakfast and watched "Sesame Street" so far. We'll be taking a break shortly to play outside, however, something made me jump from my seat a few moments ago to grab the remote. Sure, one of the munchkins might have inadvertantly switched over to Skinemax, but this wasn't the case.

What I heard in the back room was the beginning of "Barney". I hate "Barney". I think it is one of the most derivative crapfests in children's television. The melodies used were mostly children's songs to begin with, so why the hell do they have to change the lyrics? The child actors are awful and will probably grow up to be annoying Broadway wannabes. Yeah, I'm bitter. I was outvoted by my children's chanting, "Barney, Barney, Barney..." They can watch today, but you can bet I'll be popping in "The Electric Company" DVD before the day is through. No electronic media can teach my children better than Morgan Freeman - before playing God and voice-overs about man-love in a New England prison.

Last Comic Standing

As you may or may not know, I read the comics or "funnies" every day. Every damn day! If a newspaper is handy, I'll read about half of the strips published, but mostly I have bookmarks to a a select few:

Funky Winkerbean
For Better Or For Worse
Luann (A real shitty strip, yet still compelling. I'm getting blue balls from all the "will they, won't they" of Brad and Toni)
Pearls Before Swine
Get Fuzzy

Recently, I stumbled upon a blog devoted to deconstructing these very strips. The dude who writes here is spot on !and guarantees getting a deep laugh out of me every other post. Please, please, please try The Comics Curmudgeon

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Once Bitten, Nice Guy

Ian and Makkaio have turned me (pun intended) on to a new internet game featuring werewolves versus vampires. By clicking below, you'll see the website, let a little digital blood, but won't be obligated to do a damn thing!

Check it out!

Hey Makkaio! Good match the other night. Throwing darts is fun! As far as tradition is concerned when winning the match, I've gone a few without being stricken. Though I did catch a plastic dart in the head. Can't remember which evening though...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Kitchen Sink

"What in the hell has been happening with Galoot and PGirl?", you ask.

PGirl is watching "You've Got Mail". As I type this out. I hope she'll want to catch up on "Entourage" and "Flight of the Conchords" when I'm finished with this. I'm sending her HBO vibes right now, but I'm not sure she's getting them. HBO. HBOOOOOOOOO.....

Cleveland was the destination for our 7 year anniversary and PGirl's birthday present - VIP tickets to a screening of "A Christmas Story" at the house where exteriors were shot oh so long ago. It was a day of reminiscing and of landing some sweet-ass deals. As we took a two lane highway from Saint Eileen's that weirdly led directly to our hotel, we talked about the early days and looked at the scenery on an otherwise dreary day.

We picked up a couple of camping chairs at a rural Wal-Mart Supercenter for $10 a pop and made it to the Holiday Inn Express a few hours before the event. This was not your ordinary Express either. It was located in the theater district, downtown, in an old hotel. Vintage elevators, big lobby, the works. Ali let slip that it was our anniversary and the clerk upgraded us to the jazuzzi room for no extra charge. It was pretty damn cool. Top floor, high ceilings corner of the building with views of Lake Erie and the football stadium. Oh! And a widescreen TV bigger than myself and H put together. The clerk showed up soon with complimentary champagne. We were on cloud 9!

After dipping our toes in the jacuzzi, we drove to Flannery's Irish Pub for dinner, then on to the event. I'll let PGirl fill you in on some of those details. But the highlight for me was meeting Harry F'ing Knowles! The big redheaded dude in the picture above. He runs one of my favorite movie/tv websites.

I've lived in Jamestown for almost 6 years
now and I still can't figure out why my neighbor's family has chosen the curb directly across from my driveway to park their cars. I think they must have the same gene that compels them to walk in the middle of the street even though the sidewalks have been ice-free since April.

PGirl just switched over to a recorded "Entourage". My vibes are working. I want an Italian Ice. A mango flavored Italian Iiiiiiiiiiiiiice...

The best blog in Chautauqua County is not mine. I concede victory to In Java. She's been at it longer than me and she actually updates it on a regular basis. Lawyer revealed his identity to me last week and I just can't hold a grudge against the guy. Plus, he might do my living will. Morbid? Maybe.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Best of the Best?

In a stunning announcement two weeks ago, it was revealed to the world that Galoots Hoot Page was voted "Best Local Blog" along with 4 others in a write in category of the Chautauqua Region Word. The area I live in probably has around 100,000 people in it (county-wide), so this is no small distinction. Unfortunately, none of the 5 blogs listed was given top honors. Somehow, we're all supposed to share this. I don't think so. Call me selfish, but I have worked long and hard (often while working) at making this the best damn blog this county offers. The only "fair and balanced" way I can show you why I should have been crowned "King Of Chautauqua Bloggers" is to offer you some information about the other 4 that, if made public, would certainly convince you that I am your man.

1. "King of Chautauqua Bloggers" implies that a man should hold this distinction. That automatically rules out In Java and Preppygirl. I don't know what gender Jamestown Lawyer is. Disqualified for not being obvious as to what you really are, attorney-person! So this leaves Makkaio and I to duke it out.
2. Makkaio is a pacifist and holds a public office around here. Even if we did fight, he would take the higher road and lay down his weapons, making me the winner by forfeit. I'd still shoot him dead with my cross-bow. Plus, he has his own domain name. Utterly pretentious.
3. Assuming Makkaio's security detail shoots me down in cold blood and probably in the back, this would leave the other three to fight over the title. Hopefully you would still pick me in death because:
  • In Java would probably have to assume her husband's position in City Hall and serve out his term. She'll have little time to blog and will have to work two jobs.
  • Preppygirl would mourn me for like, five minutes, before moving the kids out to England in order to try and find another father figure like Hugh Grant or Colin Firth. Her new posts would be infrequent and in the British language - hard to read.
  • Even if you still want to go with Jamestown Lawyer, this person is into law. And we all know what a mess our country is in because of Gonzalez and all those firings.
So, if you aren't going to pick me, I could care less. Throw away your vote. I still score a moral victory.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's In A Name?

Preppy Girl works at a place whose “season” runs nine weeks straight in the summer. The place has concerts, plays, operas, symphonies, lectures and classes every day of the week and is crawling with rich people – new money and old. Due to the demands of the job, PGirl always has to work on July 4. Since both of our kids attend a summer school within her place of work and were participating in a “holiday parade”, I decided to join them and hang out for a while. A new, fenced-in dog run was recently installed there, so I took our pooch, Asa, along with me.

After a short walk from one of the entrances to the square of this community, I met up with PGirl, her assistant and a buddy of mine from The Unexpected Guests, who I’ll refer to as Milton F. Hunter. The parade of kids was absolutely adorable. They convened at the steps of one of the square’s buildings, sang some songs, marched to the amphitheater and sang some more. What happened as we waited for the parade to start was what I’d like to recount here.

As we waited on a sidewalk corner, many people stared at us. I thought maybe it was because of what we wore, that the rich folks could tell we weren’t money. PGirl had her work windbreaker on and I was slumming it in a pair of khaki cargos, track shoes and an oxford shirt. In L.A. I would’ve been mistaken for an incognito celebrity. In this place – a dogwalker.

But it wasn’t our clothes people were staring at. It was Asa. Our dog is a standard poodle who doesn’t wear his hair in any of the traditional poodle cuts. We usually get him short, cuts all around so he looks sort of like an Airedale. This often prompts people to look at him, wondering what breed he his. Our groomers give us shit for not asking for something fancier, but we like the way he looks. Several people approached us, saying things like, “I just have to ask, what kind of dog is he?” or “What a beautiful cinnamon boy!” (He’s apricot in color). The majority of him asked his name, which I readily revealed. After the 6th or 7th inquisitor, though, I began to have fun.

A woman approached, asking the standard questions. When she inquired about his name, my improv-addled mind pushed me to blurt out, “Alistair”. Milton stifled a laugh and PGirl shot me a smirk. After the lady left, my wife asked, “What are you doing?”. I smiled back, “Just having a laugh!”.

A few moments later, another lady approached us with the name question. I replied, “Acadian Driftwood”. She didn’t bat an eye. Milton was having a hard time not busting up this time. We walked over to the grass across from the singing area to listen to the kids. Several more people and their dogs visited with us, but no one was asking his name. I was getting anxious. Finally, the next mark approached.

“What is your poodle’s name?”. I started running through a short list of ridiculous “A” names. Before I could settle on one, she cut me off with her next question. “Is it Coco?”. I choked back a laugh. Coco was a brilliant name. My voice quivering, I said. “No. His name is…”. I was having difficulty coming up with a clever name. “Coco” kept ringing in my ears. I gave up and gave in. “Asa.”, I said. “His name is Asa”. She walked away from us and Milton and I gave up our fun and games.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Woman Of The Year

In honor of my dear wife Preppy Girl's thirty@#$$#$$% birthday (last Sunday), I present to y'all...

Thirteen Things You Might Not Know About Preppy Girl
  1. She is a bonified expert in romantic comedies. No joke here. She watches as many as she can see in what free time she has (even made for cable). As much as I bitch about "Prince and Me 2" and "The Cutting Edge 2" and "Ashton Kutcher Drags Amanda Peet Down To His Sublevel Piece of Crap RomCom", her knowledge of these films astounds me.
  2. She once did a pub crawl in Bemus Point with a blow up doll. His name (modified with a permanent marker.....Mr. Tud. They weren't alone, but with her bridesmaids at her bachelorette party.
  3. She took me home to meet her mother on our third date. Boy did I have her family fooled! In a foreshadowing moment, I spent part of the evening talking trivia on the phone with my future B.I.L. and fellow Guest, Mr. Social.
  4. She introduced me to the joys of Key West. Which we attempt to recreate on every subsequent trip. Seriously. We almost always hit Hog's Breath Saloon, Captain Tony's, The Book Store, Blue Heaven and The Conch Train Tour.
  5. She can always talk me down. From whatever trips my fuse.
  6. She is an excellent teacher. To her employees, to our kids and to me (with all things Microsoft Office.)
  7. She rode on Kentucky Colonel's motorcycle. And flipped me the bird on I-75.
  8. She is a great gift buyer/giver/wrapper. Very good taste all around.
  9. She is a competitive dart thrower. Having played in a league in Florida, she has taught me the sport and hopefully will teach it to our kiddoes.
  10. She is a Jeep fanatic. We've owned or leased three since we've been together. That Patriot is looking good and affordable! Even the kids had a Jeep rocking chair when they were infants.
  11. She hung out with one of the villains from "Crocodile Dundee 2". No lie.
  12. Her hair looks really good when it is up. It looks good whether in an up-do or just clipped in.
  13. She has three tattoos. And one of them makes a sound when pressed upon...

Just Words

I've recently been informed that Galoot's Hoot Page has been nominated for "Best Local Blog" in the Chautauqua Region Word weekly arts/entertainment paper. Certainly, I am honored by even being considered for this distinction, but I have to give some credit to those blogs which I read often. Included are websites I visit often.
  1. Preppy Girl's Guide - By the woman who got me into blogging just over a year ago. My wife, my soulmate, my love. A window into our humble life in Western New York.
  2. And You Know What Else - The mostly anonymous "R" is a young, married and funny lawyer who is married to a galoot-like fellow, also working in law. Takes me back to the days before we had kids.
  3. Mama Drama - The Houston Chronicle hosts blogs by several moms at various stages in their lives. My favorite to read is by Jenny Lawson, who also has a more profane blog - The Bloggess.
  4. Starry Night Boutique - Preppy Girl's same sex soulmate and BFF, the Princess herself, gives us a unique look into life in her midwestern town. Imaginary friends, hairless cats and angry drivers rule.
  5. In Java, Literally... - Runs a close second to Preppy Girl for my vote for favorite local blog. WRFA's newsreader and improv audience regular enlightens the world to her existence in the Southern Tier, including her husband - a government official and skateboarder.
  6. What Jeff Killed - A large orange cat in California is "death itself" to the other critters in his domain. His adopted owners document his exploits graphically and with humor.
  7. Chautauqua Area Music Profile - Ever wonder what musicians from my part of the state talk about? Surprisingly, not much about music. Check out the forums for threads of local debate.
  8. Post Journal - Jamestown's own newspaper has improved since I moved here five years ago, but it still has a ways to go. Check out the letters section for the Bill O'Reilly wannabes and the opinions section for the editor's "fair and balanced" comments.
  9. G-Mail - Google mail is the only account I have that hasn't been spammed.
  10. Harry Shearer - Visit on Wednesdays for a rebroadcast of his Sunday night, one man, many voices program "Le Show".
  11. Arts Council - The website for my workplace. New and improving. And I helped!
  12. Weather Channel - More bugs than Weather Bug, but I still visit for the forecast.
  13. Chautauqua Region Word - Arts, entertainment, cartoons and more.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Where It's At

Busy beavers are we in Western New York.

Jamestown has been the location of several events since Memorial Day weekend.

  1. Lucy-Desi days came and went - though we skipped town after a late-night improv set.
  2. The Gus Macker tournament took over 3rd street for a few days as did the...
  3. ...Wild Rib Cook Off, which expanded this year.
  4. Yassou - St. Nicholas' church's annual Greek festival took down its tents today. PGirlJr. and GalootJr. each took several turns on the dancing platform. Icing on the cake is the church only being 8 blocks away from our house.

The Sopranos ended its run a week ago tonight. I've only seriously watched the show for the last two seasons, but loved every minute I saw, including the final episode. Without getting into spoilers, I will say that the last five minutes of the show were gripping, and I was immensely satisfied with the ambiguous nature of the conclusion. I'm sick of reading t.v. critics trying to rally people behind them by claiming that David Chase let the fans down. As if all of the bitchers out there could agree on an ending to the story.

Father's Day was cool. PGirl and GalootJr. surprised me last night with the gift of a new DVD player. This one upgrades regular images up to near the quality of High Def - which our newest TV is equipped with. We watched "For Your Consideration" on it. Very funny movie. This morning we had breakfast with the Silver Fox, The Greater Spy and his family. Then we headed down to visit with The Organ Grinder and Saint Eileen for some lunch and dessert. All is well!

PSlea and Monkey visited with the kiddoes last week. Having them around was a blast. Reminded me of when my Uncle Bill, Aunt Maureen and their 3 kids lived with us in Long Island 30 years ago. We did birthday parties for PGirlJr. and my niece, attended a ballet recital for PGirlJr., did an improv show, cooked in, ordered in and more. Monkey and I finally had a boy's night out with The Greater Spy, Ian and Kip, doing the Jamestown pub crawl until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Billiard balls were played and darts were thrown (including one plastic one at my hand, due to a sadistic tradition that The Unexpected Guests have). Can't wait to see our Illini brethren again!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


My children are consistent in making me crack up. Regarding their recent exploits:

Galoot Jr. - During our recent trip to the Kentucky Colonel's homestead:
  • Climbed into Colonel's car. When I lifted him out of it, an unpleasant smell wafted past my nostrils. I set the boy down in the driveway (in front of Mick, Mrs. Mick and a few other party guests) and asked if he had pooped his pants. After GJr. said he hadn't, I pulled back the waist band of his shorts and stuck my face down there to take a look. Without hesitation, the boy blasted an air biscuit, inches from my mug. While the small crowd laughed, GJr. walked a few steps, stretched his arms out and continued on his way.
  • Peed off of the back porch into the grass. A perfect, golden arc into the lush bluegrass. He then pulled his shorts up, clapped his hands together and rubbed them. A new day had dawned.
PGirl Jr.
  • During the trip to Kentucky, she flirted throughout the afternoon with a 12 year old boy who was a cousin's guest. During a game of head to head Halo, she sat next to her object of affection, hands on her knees, giggling at everything he said and did.
  • This morning, as we pulled out of the driveway, we noticed three rabbits on the lawn, eating their breakfast. PGJr. said that rabbits are good because they don't bite people. I told her that, any wild animal had the potential to bite if they were scared. PGJr. remarked, "If a rabbit bites someone, they become Rabbit Man.". "Like Spiderman?", I asked. She replied, "Yes."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Real Dressing Room - Florida

This is an improvised video shot in 1995 at Florida Atlantic University. It was made backstage during the production of "Measure For Measure", taped, directed and edited by cast member Bron Barry - no relation, but a very cool dude who's living and working in L.A. now.

I love, how, only a few years into the Real World's existence, we "young people" knew what utter bullshit it was. I'm pretty sure we made this around between San Francisco and London seasons. Look for Jimmy McJamestown (pictured above), Charlie Berfield, Keven Scotti, Reggie Garcon, Paul Casali, Des Gallant and many others (including Bron!), improvising our hearts out.

Now that I know the rules of improv, I'm picking my performance apart (it has been 12 years since I've seen this). But it is kind of fun to watch. Thanks to Bron for posting this! Beware, it is almost 18 minutes long and contains profanities. Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Quick One While She's Away...

What is up?

Work and home are busy, busy, busy now!

Some updates:

Asa got a haircut at Groomingdale's yesterday. We kept some hair on his muzzle, ears and tail. He looks freaky! But I love it. I spoke with our groomer about some Halloween cuts for October....

Galoot Jr. and myself are getting haircuts tonight. Fun stuff.

I've been growing a beard for a play reading in June. I'll be playing Buffalo Bill at an unveiling for a wood-cut, billboard that was uncovered on the side of my office's building a few years ago. This thing is vintage and very cool. Please don't laugh at our website. We'll be presenting a new one soon!

It took a few seasons, but it appears that Jim and Pam might finally be getting together on The Office! Very funny, very cool episode. I've already seen conspiracy theories on the net regarding Ryan's taking the job at corporate. Remember when Wallace said it would be nice to have another M.B.A. at work? Ryan is still in business school, no? Big theory is Wallace was talking to Karen, then Karen was the one talking to Ryan. What do you think? In other sweeps-period type developments, one of the gals I dated in graduate school was playing, Grace, the receptionist at Dunder-Mifflin in NYC! PGirl was very pleased when I paused the image to reveal this to her!

We're going to attempt a marathon trip next week. On Thursday, PGirl and I will drive 3 hours east to Elmira and catch my mentor's production of Cabaret at the college. On Friday night, we'll be back in town for The Unexpected Guests annual Lucy-Desi Days show. Early on Saturday morning, we're going to beat it out of town to vist the Colonel, the Mick, Momma Hen and Taken for a Memorial Day weekend hootenanny!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Uninspired.... I'll steal another type of entry. From PSlea,

Four Things about Me

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) Puppeteer - For a very brief stint, I worked two puppets for an ill-conceived, ill-fated Saturday morning, 6am, public access, children's show that basically served to sell a video of the puppets (with different performers). One character was a cowboy/cyclone and the other was a Rastafarian, rotary telephone. His name was Rastaphone.
2) Usher/Concessions Dude - I worked at Loew's Cinemas in Florence, Kentucky. At that time, nine auditoriums were considered a multiplex. Itchy polyester pants. Free popcorn and movies. I served Ozzy Osbourne and his entourage.
3) Camp Counselor - My first job stretched out over 3 summers at two different scout camps. Too many stories to tell here. The cub scout camp was the most fun though. Not because of the kids. No, the older guys on staff were like a fraternity and were insanely cool and funny.
4) Book/Music Seller - I helped to open the Border's in Boynton Beach, Florida eleven years ago. If I went back into retail, I'd consider that chain.

Four places I have lived:
1) Islip, New York - My first memories were in an old house on Long Island. We lived a few miles from the ocean. It is congested as hell now, but I like visiting when I can.
2) Delray Beach, Florida - I rented a very cool, recently renovated little apartment from Jimmy McJamestown's folks. Only stayed for 4 months. It was about 50 yards from a 7-11.
3) Deerfield Beach, Florida - Shacked up with PGirl for almost 2 years before we married. Her first condo.
4) Northern Kentucky - My formative years were spent in this part of the southern midwest. Mere miles from Cincinnati and B.F.E.

I think I recommended some shows in a previous entry...

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
1) Ireland - Weeks before my wedding, my family went and visited my Mom's cousins.
2) Key West - Possibly my favorite place to go.
3) Lake Cumberland, Kentucky - Houseboating for a week - several hundred dollars. Beer in a dry county - 50 bucks. Going nude down a slide into the water at midnight - priceless!
4) Warren, Pennsylvania - As a 14 year old. Don't try this. Ever.

1) Sushi
2) Pizza
3) Bagels with cream cheese, salmon and capers.
4) Bacon

1) Home.
2) Mother's Day morning.
3) Key West
4) At a Pavement concert.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Silver Screen

Wow! A lot of blogging folks seem to be on a movie kick. I'll chime in here.

The family will be packing in the "man"ivan soon to head over to the Park 60 Drive In. At dusk, we'll be watching "Spiderman 3", munching on popcorn and trying to keep the kids from killing each other. I love the drive-in, because we can all see a movie together without GalootJr. making a run for the exits before the first reel is over.

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. Hopefully it will be entertaining. What follows are my favorite super hero movies. In no particular order...
  1. Spiderman 2 - Perfect balance of humor, hubris and action. This one managed to be a Sam Raimi movie, while preserving the integrity of Peter Parker.
  2. X-Men - Not bad for an "origin" story. Wolverine's entrance was memorable.
  3. X-Men 2 - Nightcrawler was well realized here. Shame the controls were turned over to Brett Ratner for number 3.
  4. Superman - Still rocks my world after almost 30 years. I loved Christopher Reeves' take on the character.
  5. Blade - Thoroughly entertaining bit of vampire killing. Wesley Snipes owned the character.
  6. Superman 2 - Richard Donner was asked to leave production after much of this one was in the can. I'd like to see his cut that is available on DVD.
  7. Batman Begins - Very, very cool! Almost perfect cast all-around.
  8. Batman - I liked the music, the sets and the costumes. I'm still not crazy about Michael Keaton though. And Jack Nicholson was good, not great.
  9. Ghost World - Based on a graphic novel about two teens facing life after high school graduation. Funny. Sad. Quirky.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

While We're On This Subject...

My favorite places to eat breakfast are...

  1. Aldo's - A Jamestown greasy spoon. It is what it is. Some of the best diner food I've ever had.
  2. Stringtown - A Florence, Kentucky greasy spoon. Best biscuits and gravy!
  3. Denny's - If you can't eat at a local place, find one of these chains.
  4. Tom Sawyer's - A Boca Raton joint that serves breakfast in a pot. Literally. Three biscuits on the bottom, covered with gravy, topped with scrambled eggs with whatever you like and sprinkled with cheese.
  5. Bagel City South - Cram a bunch of tables and chairs into a small Jewish deli and this is what you get. If you can't make it to a New York City diner, this is the Boca Raton version.
  6. Bob Evans - 2nd best biscuits and gravy ever.
  7. Original Pancake House - IHOP? I don't think so.

Honorable Mentions -

  1. Cracker Barrel - Pretty good southern food, yes. But I hate, hate, hate, waiting forty five minutes to get a table. The gift shop can only hold my attention for so long.
  2. Coffee Cup - This Jamestown restaurant has the best monthly breakfast specials of any breakfast joint I've been to. The waitresses are really nice, but...for a place with this name, they should really try to give you a refill more than they do.

Glorious Food

Ingloriously Ripped From Jenny at Mama Drama

1- Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?
I can cook and I love it. I'm getting better at cleaning as I go.

2 - When does your whole family come together to eat?
Usually everyone is at the table 4-5 times a week.

3 - What do you have for breakfast?
Breakfast bar or bowl of cereal most of the week. Sometimes a bagel with salmon, cream cheese and capers from Timothy's. Big breakfast (bacon, eggs, etc.) once a week.

4 - How often do you eat out?
Once a week.

5 - How often do you order-in or take-away?
Once a week (alternates with #4).

6 - Re: 5 & 6 - If money was no question, would you like to do it more often?
Not necessarily. If money wasn't a question, I'd probably cook more.

7- Are there any quarrels because of food?
PGirl Jr. is notoriously picky. I have a thin skin sometimes when cooking breakfast.

8 - Are you vegetarian or can you imagine living vegetarian?
I could be a vegetarian. Just a matter of finding what you like.

9 - What would you like to try out that you haven't dared yet?
Beef Tartar.

10 - Would you rather cook or bake?
Cook. I'll bake once we get a stand mixer.

11 - What do your kids like to eat best? What would your kids never eat?
They like mac and cheese, pizza, some pasta. They don't like certain vegetables.

12 - What do you dislike most?
Processed American cheese slices.

13-what are you hungry for right now? Sushi.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

While driving today - a lot of miles - I remembered on book trilogy that should have been on the list. The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle. These books follow the Rabbit family of Northern Ireland. The first book, "The Commitments", was made into a film in the early '90's. "The Snapper" and "The Van" were also made into films. Though I love "The Commitments", "The Snapper" is my absolute favorite. Trivia: Colm Meaney of "Star Trek Deep Space Nine", played the patriarch in each film, though the names of the family changed after the 1st film.

I drove 3 hours to Rochester this morning for a two hour regional meeting of my peers. I decided to take an alternate route home that would have gotten me back in the same amount of time. When looking at the map, I realized if I drove an hour out of my route, I could surprise my old college professor and mentor, John Kelly. We met in college in Missouri. He's since taught in Louisiana and got his current job in Elmira, New York last year. With the help of PGirl on Mapquest (like Chloe Sullivan from "24") I managed to walk into a production meeting John was having for his spring musical. He smiled and was otherwise unfazed, saying something like, "You made it."

Elmira is a lovely little town. We talked about doing a two man show this summer for charity. Should be fun.

PGirl Jr. has the chicken pox. Check out my wife's blog for details.

I sewed a button on my favorite work pants this weekend. When I showed it off to PGirl and Galoot Jr. (who were sitting down at the time), my crotch was level with the boy's face. I tugged on the button, an action which my son mistook for my making water. Quote Jr., "Don't pee on me! I'm not a toilet."

The local news - a Time Warner cable station - revisited my improv troupe last month for a VIP Chautauqua piece. They aired interviews and performance footage of us for three consecutive segments over the last few weeks. As soon as it is up on Mr. Social's YouTube page, I'll post a link. If you don't want to place my voice with my mug, don't watch it!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Read All About It

Ten Book Series I Have Enjoyed Throughout The Years:
  1. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman - A young girl bridges several alternate earths (including ours) and combats a bureaucratic government with the help of a Texas hot air ballon pilot, a talking polar bear, gypsies, witches and a boy from America. Sounds hokey, but it isn't. In Lyra's world, the soul manifests itself as an animal which is always by your side. Unless someone tries to seperate them....
  2. Harry Potter - The first book was a joy to read, as a young orphan finally found a home at a school of magic. The fourth book was a classic middle of the journey story (think "Empire Strikes Back"). As the books have become longer, the story has become darker, richer and more involved.
  3. The Great Brain - Fun vignettes about a boy in turn of the century Utah who schemes his way through life. Ferris Bueller as a Mormon.
  4. Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - If Monty Python had written books about science fiction/fantasy...
  5. Ramona/Henry Huggins - Sister Juanita would read these to us in the fourth grade. Beverly Cleary rocked.
  6. Macdonald Hall - Two Ferris Bueller-y types play pranks in a Canadian boarding school. Written by a then-juvenile Gordon Korman.
  7. The Three Investigators - Three Hardy Boy-esque archetypes (fat kid, jock kid, non-descript kid) solve local mysteries. Bonus points for having a secret, airstream trailer base in a junk yard.
  8. Lonesome Dove - The original is a classic, the sequel - a dark, dark wrap-up and the prequels were fair to middling. Catch the miniseries, all of which are pretty decent. The last book released (number 2 in chronological order) is supposed to be televised this year on CBS. With Val Kilmer no less!
  9. Xanth - Piers Anthony's characters were based on mythological creatures and magicians who live in a land not unlike Florida. Several generations of characters are covered in these books. A lot of winking references to modern conveyances.
  10. Uncle John's Bathroom Reader - Perfect for long or short hauls on the porcelain throne.
Three series I should read:
  1. The Lord of The Rings - I still haven't made it through "The Two Towers" yet. I think I was spoiled by the movies.
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia - Sounds cool enough.
  3. The Dark Tower - I have a copy of the first trade paperback of the first book on my night stand. Trying hard to get through it. I need to just plow through the damn thing until I'm hooked.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Boob Tube

Quick and Cheap today....

Thirteen Television Shows You Should Be Watching:

  1. The Office - Since beginning as a virtual copy of the British version with the pilot, this one has come into its own. The Jim and Pam story arc is painfully realistic and it looks like they'll wait until the season finale to come to a resolution (if any). Steve Carell's character tries so hard to please everyone and usually fails. Best pushing the envelope lines since "Arrested Development".
  2. 30 Rock - I didn't start watching this until mid-season, but I love it. If you enjoy Alec Baldwin's commitment to absurd characters on "Saturday Night Live", then you should like this show. Eccentric characters abound. This show is like "My Name Is Earl", but without the heart.
  3. Mythbusters - Fun for the whole family! If you've ever wanted to see old proverbs, urban legends and myths tested scientifically, this show is for you. Things often explode on this program.
  4. Friday Night Lights - Imagine the best parts of "My So Called Life" and "Once and Again" mashed up with a season of rural Texas high school football and you get this gem. Like a lot of NBC shows, you can catch up with repeats on Bravo. Hopefully they'll do a marathon soon!
  5. Battlestar Galactica - The producers took the premise of the original ABC series and infused it with dramatic story arcs. Not just a sci-fi show. There are robots, robots who look like humans, and the humans they may or may not want to kill off. Some former "Deep Space Nine" people work on this show.
  6. Pardon The Interruption - A daily dose of sporting news, delivered and debated by two balding sports writers from D.C. Fun, informative and bombastic.
  7. The Daily Show - The first 10 minutes of this show are some of the funniest comedy you'll see in a given week, month or year.
  8. Conan O'Brien - Still rocking late night after several years on the air. The comedy bits before and after the 1st interview are worth recording the show.
  9. Saturday Night Live - Some folks still think the first season was the best. I say you can't compare them that way. The topical humor of the mid 70's only flies on cable stations now. Love it or hate it, the show still manages to knock you on your ass, laughing at least once each episode. Best line of the season, "Bobby McFerrin raped my grandmother." And for those MadTV folks out there who like to bash SNL regularly, you are invited to the grown up table to feast on some adult comedy any time.
  10. The Venture Brothers - A scientist, his idiot-teenaged sleuth sons and their homicidal bodyguard try to get by in life while being targeted by a butterfly themed villain named The Monarch. You really have to see this cartoon to believe it. By far, the best use of Patrick Warburton's voice in an animated series, ever.
  11. 24 - This season has sucked and blowed like never before, but I'm hanging with it to see how they'll wrap it up. Ricky "The Ricker" Schroeder showed up a few episodes ago as a Jack Bauer type without all the family baggage. Greatest line of the season - when Ricky's character enters a warehouse where Bauer has recently dispatched ten terrorists with bullets and then hanged their leader on a chain in order to secure two nuclear bombs. Ricky's line, "Damn Jack!"
  12. Austin City Limits - Unshackle yourself from terrestrial radio, "American Idol", MTV and anything run by Clear Channel to see some truly diverse musical acts in a live setting. Check local listings as it airs on PBS.
  13. Project Runway - And I though "Top Chef" was great. This competition for clothing designers provided the template for all the other Bravo knockoffs.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Seven Songs

I didn't get tagged for this one, but I liked it so much, that I had to share. Basically you pick seven songs that you've been listening to and tag seven friends to share. Here are my picks:

1. “Listening Man” by The Bees (U.K.) - This one has been playing on Sirius a lot lately. I sounds like Bob Marley by a bunch of white dudes. Like UB40 without the crap remake baggage. I don't think the album is out yet. These guys are real throwbacks.
2. “Jacksonville” by Sufjan Stevens - I posted a link to a live video version of this tune a few months ago. The recorded version is good, but the live version is better. The only song about Helen Keller that I know about.
3. “Rise Up With Fists” by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Lewis reminds me of Neko Case with a better singing voice. A lot of her songs are alt-country, but (as my friend Conroe put it) there's some blue-eyed soul in their as well.
4. “Company In My Back” by Wilco - This one's gotta be a few years old now, but I still love it. I have no idea what it is about, but it is a beautiful track.
5. “He War” by Cat Power - Another song from the recent past. I like the overdubs of Chan Marhsall with her own lead vocal.
6. “A Method” – by TV On The Radio - Last summer I heard this song over and over on Nice studio song, but I wonder what the live version is like.
7. Unknown - by Half Japanese – Jad and David Fair are a couple of brothers who taught themselves how to play instruments and recorded a lot of music. Think Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes fronting The Minutemen. I don’t know the title of the song, but I heard it in a documentary about the band a couple of weeks ago. I wrote an email to Jad Fair, asking him for the title. We’ll see if he gets back to me!

Tag: Brother Mick, Preppygirl, PSlea, Mr. Social, Julia, TCrowe and Momma Hen

Guilty Pleasure of the Week: The Bridge - A soft rock channel on Sirius. I almost stayed in the car last week to finish hearing "Blue Bayou" by Linda Ronstadt.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Keeping It Real

Movie boyfriends? Movie girlfriends? Have all of you blogesses gone insane? If you're going to crush on a media personality, at least choose real people and not characters on the silver screen. I present to you:

Eight Of My Television News Girlfriends

  1. Ann Curry - She's exotic and reads the news really well. Plus, she's vulnerable from losing the "Today" anchor job to Meredith. I'm here for you Ann.
  2. Robin Meade - Finally, CNN has put her name on the morning show she does. You rock my world Robin.
  3. Chris Jansing - She kind of looks like a manga character, but since her hair has grown out, it kind of balance out her features. MSNBC stands for My Super Nubile Broadcasting Crush.
  4. Campbell Brown - She must be like, 6 feet 2 inches or something. Sort of tomboyish. Lenny likes!
  5. Jodi Applegate - Whatever ever became of...? Jodi was like a shorter, more wholesome version of Campbell. She rocked my weekend "Today" visits.
  6. Natalie Morales - Muy caliente!
  7. Maryalice Demler - Our Buffalo NBC co-anchor. Former beauty queen, though she doesn't flaunt it. The only brunette with frosted tips that keeps the crunch in my cereal.
  8. Hannah Storm - Emigrated from the sporting news world into that crapfest at CBS. Hannah, you can join my morning news team any day!
And Five Who Missed The Cut:
  1. Katie Couric - You used to be cute, but the blond dye has affected your look for the worse. You should really consult someone in wardrobe.
  2. Jodi Johnston- Another morning person from Buffalo. The clothes she chooses have done her in.
  3. Meredith Viera - I lusted after you on "West 57th" years ago. But "The View" showed some sides of you I'm just not crazy for. Sorry.
  4. Connie Chung - You chose Maury over me. Whatev.
  5. Soledad O'Brien - We could have had something.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Who Are You?

Another acquaintance from my college days has been in the blogosphere for several months now. Unlike my other chums from Fayette, Missouri in the nineties, I do not know the identity of this person. She is being coy and dropping hints here and there, but she hasn't cracked yet. Looks like we'll have to use the process of elimination here:
  1. She isn't Tony Vrooman, Dino English or Tony Primeau because those guys are dudes.
  2. She isn't Flybunny because Flybunny is Flybunny.
  3. She isn't Gwen Stefani, because Gwen Stefani sucks.
  4. She isn't old girlfriend, Doctor SLK, because I don't think my old flame would want to reveal much in a blog.
  5. She isn't Doctor SLK's old roommate Doctor H, because she is even less likely to blog.
  6. She isn't the always entertaining MelMcD. because she said so.
  7. She isn't TCrowe, because Skippy has TCrowe to himself in a cool house in Rocheport.

I'm not going to give out other names I'm thinking here, because I'm not feeling like it. But this is kind of fun.

P.S. Tracy, she might be one of your music sorority sisters or a theatre sorority sister...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mr. Roboto

Jenny from Mama Drama apparently has experience fending off angry robots. We have a slight infestation in Western New York as well....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Life Rocks!

What a weekend! The second in a row that I managed to enjoy. Some highlights:

- Remembering the old college days because I discovered that one of PGirl's blog-buddies went to college with me for two years. Big ups to Flybunny.

- My March Madness bracket is shoring up. I went 22 of 32 for the 1st round, 11 of 16 for the second round and After a post-lunch visit to the Wine Cellar for a look at my picks, I despaired, seeing I was 9 points behind the guy in first and tied with a gazillion people for something like 10th place. By Friday night I was 6 for 8 and tonight, Georgetown sealed my Final Four, perfectly. I have Florida and Georgetown in the final with the Gators repeating.

- In a somewhat sad note, Tubby Smith, ten year head coach at Kentucky, left to coach the gophers of Minnesota. Good for him. I've got another team to support. Now, who will fill his shoes in Lexington. Any guesses? Billy Donovan would be a huge score for the Wildcats. We'll see what happens.

- In a funny note, Galoot Jr. was in the McDonald's bathroom this morning, humming a familiar theme. I asked him what song he was singing. He said, "Star Wars". The little sprout was humming the "Imperial March". May the poop be with you all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We Are Family!

Wow. It seems that the disovery of the blogs of friends and family seem to cluster together. A couple of days after finding Steve and Tracy, the blogs of my stepbrother and sister-in-law come to my attention. Check them out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


  1. Not a thirteen. Maybe something else.

Two dear friends from my college days have been blogging for a long while and I'd like to link them up here.

Steve (a.k.a Skippy)

And Tracy!

Here goes...

Some Random Recollections About My Friends, Steve and Tracy

  1. Tracy was among the very first group of folks I met at college that remained friends throughout our tenure.
  2. I met Steve when we were cast as sidekicks in "Scapino".
  3. Tracy is from Oklahoma and a perfect example of Midwestern kindness.
  4. Steve (I believe) is from Missouri and a perfect example of what happens to you if you use the same facial expression too much. In other words, the guy has a huge smile that was present often during our times together.
  5. Tracy's dad was a founding member of my fraternity.
  6. Steve was in another fraternity, whose members I was very close to.
  7. Tracy and Steve are both accomplished vocalists.
  8. Tracy was in a sorority with my college girlfriends, Sara and Traci.
  9. Steve and I founded our own fraternity known as "The Squirrels".
  10. Tracy had a propensity for reaching out to people in genuine generosity.
  11. Steve had a propensity for reaching out to me in genuine nudity (and I reciprocated!).
  12. Steve and Tracy honored me by asking me to be the best man at their wedding!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March Madness 2

Is there any better weekend of the year than the one that comes closest to the Ides of March? If the calendar dates fall into place, St. Patrick's Day coincides with the beginning of the NCAA Basketball Tournaments. This year was a trifecta as the second round of games and the Irish-American holiday fell on a Saturday. Bliss, sheer bliss.

I spent part of my free time on Thursday and Friday prepping for our somewhat annual St. Patrick's Day dinner by prepping the menu and watching 1st round games. Work was a virtual wash on Thursday as I kept an eye on the scores and listened to a few games on the radio. I managed to pick 22 of 32 winners in the 1st Round. I'm 8 for 11 on the second round so far. The best I can do is 11 out of 16. It was nice seeing Duke get dropped on Thursday night.

On the commercial front, am I to believe that Kevin Bacon and Michael Jordan are roommates? What does Kyra Sedgwick feel about this? I'm so confused. I think I'll go to the Dollar General and buy some underwear.

I picked up extra groceries for dinner on Friday night (in the midst of some nasty snow) and grabbed take-out from the best fried fish place in town. Then I peeled potatos while watching Kentucky beat Villanova. Relief, at least until 7pm tonight when the world will know if the Wildcats have tournament legs.

Saturday couldn't have been more perfect. I only had to make one trip to the grocery for last minute ingredients and we managed to clean the house (mostly PGirl) and cook the food (mostly me) while keeping the kiddoes occupied. Not one moment of stress or yelling or anything of that sort.

Our menu:

Corned Beef Brisket
Shepherd's Pie (with and without cheddar cheese)
Potato and Turnip Au Gratin with Pecorino Romano cheese
Soda Bread
Beer Bread
Scones (the last 3 made by Saint Eileen)
Dublin Cheddar
Some other funky Irish Cheese that kind of tasted smoked
Cracker Assortment

At The Bar:
Guinness in the can (served in a pint glass)
Guinness in a bottle
Harp Lager
Southern Tier Beer
Cask and Cream Irish Liquor
Irish Whiskey

Fun was had by all! The guests were a mix of co-workers, friends, family and acquaintances. The shepherd's pie was popular as was the corned beef. PGirl brought a space heater from work, so we warmed up our porch room and threw some darts as well. We finished off the Irish cream (I had a bit too much of it) and wound up with gift bottles of Carolan's (another fine substitute for Bailey's) and a red wine from my boss. I'm certain PGirl will do a write up on the evening as well, but I figured I'd put out my take!