Saturday, December 31, 2005

Same Crap, New Year

Well, loyal readers, tomorrow is the first day of 2006. It is also the 6 month anniversary of my little blog project here. They say most bloggers quit after 90 days, so I have doubled that anyway. I have watched my readership go up and down over about 5 of those months and due to the trends I will try to do more news and political postings (they seem to be the most popular) I will continue looking for the best lunch at a strip joint (also very popular- sorry JRB) and I will try to keep the personal stories short, to the point and unincriminating. I still have a few more friends to embarass with tales of adventure though.

Five years ago tonight I was sitting in the apartment I shared with my then wife, she was moping in the bedroom and I was drinking champaign straight from the bottle(s) watching the ball on TV drop. My marriage was over and I remember taking off my ring and looking though it trying to see the future. I never would have guessed that I would be 1500 miles away, have a good job making great money, a pub where every one knows me, and more friends than ever before... Oh, and a Jeep, my favorite 4 wheeled vehicle I ever owned.

That being said I will now test my clairvoiancy on the year ahead. So, without further adu, My predictions for Two thousand six.

1: The next major terror attack will occur in the US. Unfortunately for the Jihadists it will be in Alabama and they will all be killed off by Good 'ol boys who just happened to have hunting rifles in their trucks. No one will ever hear about it because the local Sherriff will sweep the incident under the rug.

2: Major race riots will break out in California. The participants on both sides will be white. It will be led by bleeding-hearts from Berkley who think they understand and represent the downtrodden. A follow-up riot exactly the same only smaller will happen in Austin, TX because too many freakin' liberals/Californians live here. African-American leadership will denounce them as "A bunch of fucked-up crackers"

3: It will be discovered by the music industry that Ringo Starr was really the talent behind the Beatles.

4: Gun manufacturors afraid of being sued for selling guns will instead give them away as prizes in boxes of cereal called Cordite-O's.

5: Hillery Clinton in an effort to show she is more moderate will alienate part of her base voters. (oh, wait... that happened last year.)

6: Skinny ties and fedoras will come back (aka: the 50's look) I always liked that style.

7: It will be proven once and for all that global warming is caused by the Sun. The media will refuse to report it... again.

8: Reasearchers will discover that cloning is fake and pro-wrestling is real.

9: Biologists will find that the tiny reindeer in Alaska are tiny because of the oil in the ground. After we drill, these poor beasts will finally be able to grow to their actual full size.

10: And lastly, main stream media will realize that the real news is reported mostly by bloggers. After a failed attempt to kill us all off, the best will be hired as consultants at a ridiculously high salary. I will NOT be one of them.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Broken Toys And Faded Colors

I wasn't always a grinch around Christmas. I once was an excited little boy spending weeks studying page after page of toys in the Sears catalogue. I remember sitting hours in the dark watching the blinking lights on the tree. My youngest sister & I (we were the only two left at home) would pick out the spots for Santa to leave our presents.
Some things really stick out. Inflateable boxing glove things. (what the Hell were those things called?) Eagle-eye GI Joe with kung-fu grip. An X-Wing fighter. Of course the year I got my first motorcycle (a Honda CT70), that was a pivitol moment in my life that I wonder if my parents ever wished they could take back.
Bags and boxes of fruit and nuts. Oranges, tangerines, walnuts, almonds. Everyone came home. My oldest sister, her Pensylvania-yankee husband and their two boys (one a year older than me, one five years younger). My oldest brother and his now ex-wife (a red-head... I wonder if that was an influence on my proclivaties...) My youngest brother who was still in the Air Force (one year... '75 I guess, I remember talking to him on the phone because he was in Greece.)

I was in the church Christmas play every year. Most years I was a wise man. (Ironic, huh?) Frakencense to offer had I. It was also almost always my job to read Luke chapter two at the end. I never felt that I did as good a job as Linus did in the Charlie Brown special.

2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Free Advice

I've always heard it said that there is nothing more costly than free advice. Not many people out there would peg me as a wise man, but I've had more than my share of experience. A friend of mine just had a baby, and I just attended the baby shower of another friend who is pregnant.

I was sitting in a bar last night soaking up some blues (and some bourbon) when I decided to jot down a few thoughts for a newborn. Simple things that I should have done, tried to do, and need to remember myself. Feel free to add your own in comments.

It's better to try and fail, than to wish later on that you had tried.

If you tell a lie, it had better be worth sustaining, because you will have to tell it for the rest of your life.

Nothing you say can EVER be fully taken back.

Anything anyone tells you is "the worst thing that can happen" isn't.

No, you can't be anything you want to be, but you had better damn well try.

Never hate. Hate takes energy. Anyone you are willing to hate is not worth the effort.

Say what you mean, mean what you say, look 'em right in the eye and never... Never back down from something you truly believe in... Ever.

That's it. The accumulated wisdom of thirty-six years. Good luck.

Oh yeah, almost forgot:
You don't have to be able to outrun the lions, just be able to outrun the slowest antelope.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fresh Baked Tookie

I've been watching the Tookie Williams death watch for about a week. I have a few opinions (as one would have guessed) on this whole thing, but I wanted to wait for the outcome. As one of my physics teachers would say "I'd rather be a good historian than a poor prophet."

The one thing that sticks in my mind is everyone saying "Look how good he's become, he's so anti-gang now, he wrote a kid's book." My thought, "Big Deal." What else was he supposed to do, advocate the killing of Taiwanese immigrants? Go on a crime spree in cell block A? No, he was supposed to reflect on his crime, and then pay for it. Pay he did. Hopefully some of those other gangbangers will realize that no matter how good you are after the fact, you will pay for the crime you commit.

There are some out there who will try to tell you that capitol punishment is not a deterrent for violent crime. I'll bet anything you want that Tookie Williams never kills another person... Ever.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

For Richard And Poorer

Damn. Richard Pryor is dead.

Richard was by far my favorite comedian. Versitile beyond belief... and funny... Shit, that Mother Fucker was funny. (sorry Ma)

The first I really ever remember of Richard Pryor was hearing "Bicentennial Nigger" on cassette tape with a bunch of other young guys laughing at stuff we didn't fully understand.

He was a genius, and he didn't have to work blue to be funny, but when he did, God, he was FUNNY. He was even funny in movies he wasn't even in, he wrote "the bean scene" in Blazing Saddles.

His movies are icons, his comedy legendary, his talent unmeasurable. I won't besmirch his memory by repeating any of his jokes here, instead leave you with something else.

Every Thursday li'l Johnny's teacher would ask a question. Whoever answered it correctly got Friday off school. But, she would always ask questions no one could answer. Things like "How many trees are in the forrest?" or "How many bricks are in this building?" So... Johnny went home and spray-painted two softballs and took them to school on Thursday. When it came time for the teacher to ask her question, Johnny rolled them up to the front of the class. The teacher picked them up, held them over her head and asked "Who's the comedian with the big black balls?" Johnny jumped up and hollered... "Richard Pryor! I'll see you Monday Teach!"

Goodbye Richard. We'll miss you.

Friday, December 09, 2005

El Doctor Is In

I just found out that one of my best friends ever has a blog... and has had since a year before I started. I should really pay more attention. I met Doc when I was living in Raleigh, NC over ten years ago. I was a loudmouthed, leather jacket wearin', motorcycle ridin', hard drinkin', 3rd shift workin', womanizing pain in the ass with violent tendancies. He was an intelligent, well spoken, jovial, friendly, polite educator and basketball coach (he still is) who lived two buildings over in the same apartment complex.
We became friends... Good friends... He stood up for me at my wedding, and I did a reading at his. One time he got me good... Hot day, humid in NC. I was out back of the apartment working on my bike... hot, sweaty and greasy, and not in a good way. Phone rings- It's Doc "Time to hit the pool... Be there in 5." Sweet. I saw him inside through the window in the kitchen. Cold mugs in the freezer. So, he pops out the back door with a tall cold mug of amber liquid. I thanked him and took a huge swig of... Schlitz. Yikes. Back in those days I was not a beer snob like I am now, but SCHLITZ? Anyway, we drank those... and several more as I recall.

So, now I'm going to tell a tale on him... and me.

There was a mexican resturant down from where we lived. Busy place, full of yuppies. We managed to end up there a few times a week.
This one was a cold night, freezing. Doc, me and Beth (one of my upstairs neighbors). Man, that bar was packed. Square bar in the middle of the room, open ice tank at one end... right in front of us. The bartenders could not keep up with demand. Doc and I can empty beer bottles as fast as the brewers can fill 'em. We spent too much time with empties.
Two bartenders and a barback, so timing was everything. I looked at Doc and snagged a beer, big 'ol smirk on my face. He gave me the "you're not a cool as you think" look... And snagged a beer.
Wait a damn minute. Who's the criminal type here? ME. You're gotdammed right, so I snagged another one. So did he. Damn. Me. Him. Me, Him. Me-him before mine completely cleared the ice. We had beers lined up on the floor by the bar-rail all in front of us. On top of all the ones we drank. OK smart-ass. I put one back. So did he. Here we go again. Me. Him. Me... What the Hell are we doing? I was wearing my biker jacket. The one I still wear. Lots of zippers... and pockets. I took it off and draped it over my barstool. Bent down to tie my shoe and filled every pocket with beer. 8 or 9 as I recall. We put the rest back (minus the two more we drank) and I told them I'd meet them at my place. I picked up my coat (hung down by my knees) and headed for the door. Clink, clink, clink.
There was always a bouncer at the door, usually an off duty cop. Clink, clink. I made it to my bike, climbed aboard (clink) and put on my jacket. BOOM! It sounded like a shotgun going off. I looked down and saw an exploded beer bottle at my feet. One had fallen out of my pocket and hit the asphalt. Busted. Damn. I looked over expecting to see the cop running me down. I hadn't even started the bike yet. Screwed. Instead I saw the door close. He had gone in to get warm. I must've pulled rubber in three gears getting the Hell out of there.
They were some of the best beers I ever had. Me, Doc and Beth lounging around my living room, drinking and laughing. What? Were you expecting the "Wedding Mafia" story? Maybe next time.

Go check him out. He's good.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Naked Lunch Specials III

Sugar's Uptown Cabaret.

Sugar's is right down from Highland mall, which seems a strange place for a strip club. There is parking out front, but between two buildings with fences and hedges, so unless someone is looking for your car it's doubtful anyone will see it. I didn't notice if there was valet parking or not this time, I don't use it anyway.

Outside the front entrance to the right is a little semi-closed porch for a smoking area, but it was really cold yesterday and no one was in it.

Inside the front door is a small vestibule with the front desk, through the next door, and BANG you are in the club. There is a stage right in front of you, tables all around, the main stage to the right and a bar on the other side of the room. There is a VIP section to the right of the main stage and there is a small area up two steps on the other side of the entrance for a little quieter area and bar that is used as a second VIP area at night.

Once again there were very few tables against the walls and some of those are in a high traffic area. I finally got comfortable over by the back wall near the dressing room entrance. The lighting was ample (for a strip joint) and the music was at an acceptable level.

The waitress was there pretty quick and followed me around as I switched tables. As always I like to start with a Vitaman G (Guinness) and was dismayed to find out "What the Hell? $6.25 for a bottle of pub draft. Over six bucks for bottled beer." I'm sorry, but that's just wrong.

My waitress was new (two weeks) and didn't really know the lunch specials, so she handed me a menu and walked away. Bad form. You should always at least know the specials. Well, after perusing the selection I picked a $9.99 surf and turf. Steak, shrimp, potato and salad.

As always the salad came first. It was a tiny little bowl of iceberg lettuce with a sad wedge of tomato smothered in honey mustard dressing topped by crutons lined up like little tombstones. This was not looking good.

When the meal came my fears were confirmed. It was a flat little steak, three deep fried shrimp of the Mrs. Pauls variety (cocktail on the side)... By far, the best part of the meal was the baked potato.
The steak was tough, overcooked and had some kind if sage or rosemary rub on it. Why places feel they need to cover the meat taste is beyond me. The shrimp as I said were the flash frozen/reheated type, rubbery and in no way improved at all by the cocktail sauce. The potato, however, was of decent size, tasty, and loaded with sour cream, butter, cheese and chives. Disapointing is the best thing I can say.

So... On to the sliding scale.

Service: 6 (really should know the specials)

Food: 3 (2 of which goes to the baked potato)

Atmosphere: 7 (too few tables near the walls)

Value: 2 (the beer was too much, the food was too much for the quality, overall I spent $30 before tip for, at best, a pedestrian meal)

Total: 4.5 (sorry, but this just wasn't worth the trip)

Next week I'll be going back up north to Joy of Austin right off I-35 in Round Rock.

If you have a club in your area you would like to review (Food only please, my mother reads this) send a write up to and I may post it. Or if you are in the Austin area and have a club you would like me to visit and review, or would like to join me for lunch, just place in comments.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


[...] December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. -War Message Against Japan, Franklin D. Roosevelt

My youngest sister was visiting me on this date two years ago, and our discussion turned to the attack on Pearl Harbor and our father who was there. She asked me if I had been old enough to go to see Tora, Tora, Tora with Pop in the theater. I wasn't, but said I really like the movie. She said I wouldn't if I had gone with them. The whole movie he sat there and pointed at the screen "That didn't happen... They weren't there... That's not right..." At least I came by it naturally.

It's amazing how strange it seems separated by almost 65 years. It almost doesn't seem real. I have trouble placing the man who became my father in those black and white stills from back then.

The shock and horror those long ago people felt at a surprise and unprovoked attack I can somewhat understand. 9-11-2001 brought that experience into my life, but it's not the same. It can't be. My generation, the one before it and the ones that follow have had our senses dulled by a continuing onslaught of violent images and disturbing news most of our lives. So much so that we have made games and entertainment out of horrific events.

I received my father's Pearl Harbor medal posthumously by accident. It was only a year or so since he had passed away, I was living in NC then, and driving by a Holiday Inn with a "Welcome Pearl Harbor Survivors" sign out. I stopped on a whim, walked in and asked the first old guy I saw if he knew my dad. It was a dumb way to do it, but I was just a dumb kid back then.
"Bud? Nope, I didn't know any Bud." His real name was Thomas. "Oh, my God... You're his boy? Come on over here son." I spent the next hour or so hearing war stories and asking questions. I wish I had had a tape recorder, because I've forgotten most of them, but they were funny, and exciting, and scary. They told me great and wonderful things about my father, where he went and what he did, so much I couldn't absorb it all. Then they told me about the medal. I got all the paperwork together, sent everything to the department of the army, and I still have it displayed in my home to this day.

This post is nothing like what I set out to write today. I wanted to do something stirring and patriotic... But, this is more real, more true. This is what I think and how I feel, and have felt and thought around this date every year for a long time.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Steamy Videos

I may have crossed a line. I know I am eccentric, (to say the least) but this is new.
I love old movies. I have a quickly growing collection of classics on DVD. I have Bogie & Bacall, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and more. War movies, westerns, and just good old fashioned drama.
Ever since they figured out that I was stealing cable, and cut me off, I have had only eight channels... And two of them are in Spanish. So, I watch movies instead. I decided to go out and buy a few of my old favorites to keep, because there have been piteously few good movies made in the last ten years or so.
I started out with some "must have" movies. The Great Escape. Casablanca. The Magnificent Seven. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The Hustler. It just grew from there. I watch movies at night before I go to bed, while I clean house, when I'm bored.
Now, I love electronic equipment. I put my stereo together piece by piece. Tuner/amplifier, 60 disk CD player, dual cassette deck, hi-fi VCR, DVD player, turntable... Yes, turntable. I still love my vinyl. My TV plays through my stereo.
In the bedroom I have another setup. Tuner/amp, 5 disk DVD/CD player, speakers mounted in the corners for surround sound. I can put in two movies and three music disks and change it all without ever getting out of bed. This is still not the weird part.
A friend of mine was getting rid of a little 13" color TV, so I took it off his hands. I have a one bedroom apartment, and already had three TV sets, so I put this one in the bathroom. It comes in handy as I can watch the news/weather/traffic in the morning while I shower. Still not the weird part.
Last night while out and about I saw a DVD player for 29 bucks. HMMmm. $29 is pretty good even if it's crap. I also found Resevoir Dogs on DVD for $5.99. So a couple of hours later, I was sitting in a tub full of hot water, drinking a cold beer, watching Mr. Blonde pour gasoline all over a bleeding cop before being gunned down by a gutshot Mr. Orange. This is weird. Isn't it?
I guess this week I have to see if I can find Psycho on DVD so I can watch the shower scene... in the shower.

Oh, and if anyone is trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, I have been eyeing the Looney Toons Golden Series vol 1, 2 & 3 on DVD, (the classics... pre 1960) but can't find them in any stores around here. I also don't own any of the Star Wars movies... Widescreen version, by the way.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Naked Lunch Update

Sorry for the delay in the reviews. I had forgotton about the Thanksgiving holiday, and had to work the following Wednesday. I will resume with the Sugar's review on Thursday of next week barring incident. Thank you for your patience.