Monday, October 31, 2005

26 Thoughts/Memories about and/or on Halloween

Zodiac signs and Halloween are not related (Zodiac=stupid, Halloween=neat fun).
Years ago, I recall a time trick-or-treating and a bird pooped on my hand. I continued to trick or treat after wiping my hand on the back of my costume.
X still marks the spot.
Witches always scared the crap out of me as a young boy.
Victoria was a Ballerina this year.
Underneath the costume there is a human being.
Telling scary stories is a lost art. Boy there were some scary ones back in the day.
Somewhere in Brooklyn there are bound to be kids throwing eggs and spraying each other with shaving cream.
Right now, Wolfgang Van Halen might potentially be contemplating why he is named after a virtuoso pianist when his dad is famous for playing guitar.
Quiznos subs are delicious but don't travel well.
Pennies instead of candies? I say, what about penny candies?
Only day of the year that it's okay to take candy from a stranger.
Never open your front door to a Jehovas Witness unless you plan on berating them.
M & M's (all varieties) are my favorite halloween treat.
Last time I trick or treated, Jimmy Carter was president and I was too old to be trick or treating but really wanted the free candy.
Krisy Kreme glazed donuts are a little bit of heaven right here on earth.
Jimmies? I prefer the term Sprinkles.
I can say without a doubt that Rosemary's Baby is the scariest movie I ahve ever seen.
Happy Halloween!
Grease is the word.
Frere Jacques.
Every little thing she does is magic.
Don't eat the yellow snow or the apple with the razor blase.
Can't believe how four years have passed since I've gone to Haunted Happenings in Salem.
BOO!
Arctic Bob - it's anickname for a good friend of mine who I had a lot of fun with thelast time he, I, and our significant others at the time went to Salem on Halloween. He's going through a tough time right now so let's all send him good thoughts.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

First Snow and Jowlers

Today we had the fist snowfall of the season. No serious accumulation but snow none the less. Here is a photo I snapped outside of my front door:




Jowlers - have you seen this website. I'll include their introduction paragraph here so that you get a sense of the insanity of the photos you are about to view.

Welcome to Jowlers.com!
This site is a place for you to upload and browse a unique type of photo that we like to call the Jowler. These fun pictures are created when the subject of a photo shakes their head really fast while the picture is taken. So, enjoy these unique expressions and if you feel up to it, take a few of your own and post em up.

So, without further ado, here are my jowler photos (taken by my 7 year old daughter):




Thursday, October 27, 2005

Today's Bits

I've been sick the last few days. I took some time off from work to get some work done in the house but a cold of sorts took its toll and left me in bed for about 16 hours between 8:30pm on Monday and 4:00pm on Tuesday. I'm not 100% yet but getting there.

Congratualtions to the Chicago White Sox for their World Championship victory and the Houston Astros for getting to the dance.

Thank you to Harriet Miers for bailing from the Supreme Court nomination. Wether or not it was really her choice to bail, she'd have been bad for the job so I'm glad she won't get it.

I'm not yet sure whether I'm more frightened at the TomKat pregnancy or the Brooke Shields one. Ah, who am I kidding, TomKat is far more frightening.

Imagine the reaction of the first person who ever formed a scab after a serious wound.

I am really angry that Kyle was eliminated from America's Next Top Model. Tyra, what gives?

From the Reuters newswire:
NEW YORK - Problem drinking may dampen both a man's sex life and his chances of having children, according to a new study.
Researchers in India found that men being treated for alcoholism had lower testosterone levels and more sperm abnormalities than non-drinkers did. They also had a far higher rate of erectile dysfunction (ED) — 71 percent, versus 7 percent of abstainers.
Some past studies have suggested that heavy drinking can take a toll on men's reproductive health. One recent study found that couples had a higher miscarriage risk if the man had consumed 10 or more drinks a week around the time of conception.
Commentary:
Last I checked, India was overpopulated. Perhaps it might be a good idea to just keep the men in India drunk at all times.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's Just Really Bad Weather

Alright everyone, there have been an unusual number of "natural disasters" this past year, the weather has gone bonkers, and yes - even people are dying. However, this has nothing to do with the bible, armegeddon, or the second coming. People, this is simply really bad weather (or mother nature finally going through menopause).

So, if the inclination to utter (other than for sarcastic or joking purposes) something of the sort that we're all doomed, etc. etc...don't - or I will personally kick your whiny ass!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Boss is The Boss!

After seeing Bruce Springsteen on his solo acoustic tour last night, I feel like I have been born again. Yes my friends and/or readers, I have been born again into the magic that the music and poetry of Bruce Springsteen has brought to me and so many others. My spirit was renewed – I have been baptized once more.

Imagine if you will, listening to songs you know, songs you’ve heard so many times you can feel them whether or not they are actually playing. Imagine hearing those songs you are so familiar with as if you were hearing them for the first time. There is an air of familiarity in the lyrics, but that is the only familiarity. Oddly, the song doesn’t take on a new meaning (it was still written for the same reasons and inspired by the same things), but the way you interpret the meaning of the song has completely changed and thus, the song now means something different (and/or something new) to you and makes you feel something different.

I would suggest that there are very few people who can single-handedly command the stage solo in a cavernous arena filled with 15,000 manic devotees. One single performer and a performance that left everyone overwhelmed with an individual experience that will easily remain imprinted in their minds. Dare I say that very few can create the level of intimacy that Springsteen was able to create ambience by virtue of his performance.

Shows like this, at this stage in his career, also serve as a reminder to those who’ve jumped on board during the Born in the U.S.A. breakout period that Springsteen far from being just a rock and roll star. No, this is the type of show to put these folks to the test and see if they truly are fans of what Springsteen represents: a poet, a performer, a musician (during this show he played electric and acoustic guitar, electric and acoustic piano, organ, harmonica, banjo, ukulele, and harpsichord). These are songs about the common man written and performed by someone who clearly appears to have an understanding of the common man. For me, there is a very strong sense of bonding. One sense of this performance for me was the feeling that Bruce was just hanging out and having a few friends over to chit chat about the stuff that’s been on his mind and the way he sees the world; it really does on some level translate into a deep, moving conversation with someone who actually cares about the stuff he talks (sings) about.

Enough of the sappy stuff, let’s get into the set list...

1. Idiot's Delight (unreleased, co-written with Joe Grushecky)
This is a new song that I heard for the first time here at the show. Bruce sang this through a vocal effect that added “grit”. Check out the first verse:
I met up with St. Peter
He was working at the pearly gates
He said I can't let you in now son
You're going to have to wait
So just sit back and take it easy
And kick off both your shoes
And grab yourself a beer
While I watch the evening news
You really gotta love the imagery of St. Peter watching the evening news (could it be research?) and telling someone waiting to get in to heaven to chill out and have a beer.
2. Across The Border (from The Ghost of Tom Joad)
“…Tom Joad” is one of those albums that is often overlooked or forgotten about. It’s not the Springsteen album you go running to because you just can’t get one of its songs out of your head. However, there is a central theme, or at least a central point of inspiration which in all honesty was never totally clear to me until tonight.
3. Devils And Dust (from Devils & Dust)
4. Long Time Coming (from Devils & Dust)
Both, off the latest CD which inspired the nature of this tour, really came to life in a live setting. It was most interesting to see how these and the rest of the songs from Devils & Dust played out after listening to the CD quite a few times. The stories and characters were given richness and depth as a result of the arrangements and Springsteen’s ability to tell stories to a live audience.
5. Sinaloa Cowboys (from The Ghost of Tom Joad)
I had no recollection of this song and can only tell you here that is was on “…Tom Joad” after looking it up on the Internet. Only Bruce can be bring up a meth-lab in a song and still get you to understand the plight of the human characters.
6. The Fever (from 18 Tracks)
7. The Promise (from 18 Tracks)
Today I found out for the first time that “18 Tracks” is not just the subset of the “Tracks” boxed set that I always thought it was; guess I’ll have to make a purchase. The arrangement of Fever performed on the electric piano was impossibly outstanding. Springsteen introduced the song as “one of those annoying fan favorites” before completely reworking the song into something completely new and fresh.
8. Johnny 99 (from Nebraska)
An unusual rendering of a great song from a great album. From what I read, the vocal effect was created by singing through a harmonica microphone. In fact, during the song, I thought he was singing “Dead Man Walking” until I was able to decipher some of the lyrics through the vocal effect once I got used to it.
9. All I'm Thinkin' About (from Devils & Dust)
This reading brought the CD version to life as Springsteen exploits his vocal range beyond the familiar to create a backdrop for a fun, yet strong lyric.
10. Brilliant Disguise (from Tunnel of Love)
My favorite song from Tunnel of Love-I recently learned of, and heard, a cover version of this song performed by Elvis Costello. The Costello version is a totally unique rendition that for me stirs up variation in the complexity and make up of its main characters. Tonight’s rendition stood fairly true to the original as the acoustic setting punctuated the tone of the lyric.
11. I'm On Fire (from Born in the U.S.A.)
Very unusual version of what already is an odd song.
12. Reno (from Devils & Dust)
The highlight of an amazing evening. I love the storytelling and the live setting (along with the two video screens) punctuated the song with facial expressions that just added to an already great song.
13. When You’re Alone (from Tunnel of Love)
As this song ended and Bruce started the piano intro to Racing in the Street, Springsteen offered an unforgettable moment that ended in laughter for all, including Springsteen himself. In fact, he was so caught up in laughter that he laughed right through the intro to the song. At various points, there was a seemingly drunken fool clapping so far out of time that it echoed through the otherwise quiet arena. Apparently enough was enough as Bruce himself requested that the person clapping “please refrain and get with the program. Follow along with the people around you…get a clue.” (to paraphrase the Boss) We were laughing particularly hard at this because we were freely commenting on our disgust for the same nut just moments before.
14. Racing In The Street (from Darkness on the Edge of Town)
15. Lost In The Flood (from Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ)
More than 30 years after its release this song, it seems as though time and experience are not enough to keep the past from haunting us into the present. Quite stunning.
16. The Rising (from The Rising)
17. Darkness On The Edge Of Town (from Darkness on the Edge of Town)
Very different arrangements.
18. Jesus Was An Only Son (from Devils & Dust)
Finally a classing Springsteen “rap” not jut before,, but during the song. A terrific piano piece that offers a look at what Jesus living a human life might be like.
19. Two Hearts (from The River)
Terrific version of a great song. Same fire as full band version with a lot less overhead.
20. The New Timer (from The Ghost of Tom Joad)
Three (more) words: Bruce played harpsichord.
21. Matamoros Banks (from Devils & Dust)
A very brief break followed this song which was true to the CD version and highlighted by a brief rap that attached significance to its lyric.(encore)
22. I Wanna Marry You (from The River)
Springsteen came out with a ukulele claiming “size don’t count” as he plucked through a fun version of this song ending it with “I'd be proud if you would wear my name, hyphenated!”
23. Waitin' On A Sunny Day (from The Rising)
“Band-free sing along version of song gains acceptance among fans,” says reviewer Chris Daniele.
24. The Promised Land (from Darkness on the Edge of Town)
25. Dream Baby Dream (unreleased cover song-originally by “Suicide”)
Nobody knew what was going on, everybody was stunned. There was a very brief moment where several of us thought (as my pal Steve noted) that he might be reaching out for Courtney Cox to get up and dance with him. But Bruce was just once again reinventing himself ending the show leaving us, definitely me, wanting more, loving what was given, and looking forward to whatever may come next.

I am exhausted now and must rest.

Updated: Sunday 10/23
Now that I've had a moment, albeit a brief moment, to rest, I wanted to let you know of two web sites that I view often and both of which I used as reference for the post above:
1. The Official Bruce Springsteen Web Site... www.brucespringsteen.net
2. A highly respected and very popular site for all things Bruce... www.backstreets.com

After alot of thought, I still feel like I heard Bruce sing "Dead Man Walking". My only concession for not moving further with it is that it has yet to appear on a set list either before or since. Of course, that doesn't mean it didn't happen, it just lends creendence (as do obvious other things) that I'm clearly out of my mind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

26 Thoughts that Popped into My Head Just Now

  1. Advance to the next line, I’ve nothing witty to say here.
  2. Believe it or not, I actually put thought into this.
  3. Crap! We’re three in and nothing yet.
  4. Deliver something to laugh at already...or at least something to think about.
  5. Evil are those who let your children out of school at 3 o’clock
    while you must work until 5.
  6. Forever trust in those whose first claim is that they can not be
    trusted.
  7. Go somewhere you’ve never been every so often.
  8. Hatred hurts the hater worse than the hated.
  9. I have no idea what I’m doing at this very moment.
  10. Just for argument’s sake, concede – just once.
  11. Kissing the ass of those who like to have their asses kissed is the least satisfying use of the term kiss that could ever be possible.
  12. Laugh every day no matter how difficult it may sometimes seem.
  13. Most of the time, your first instinct is right.
  14. Never second guess yourself unless you are absolutely sure that your first guess might be wrong.
  15. Optimism is crucial – more so now than ever.
  16. Pickles don’t seem nearly as popular as they used to.
  17. Queen is one of those bands who you can go years without listening to, then listen to them, love it like crazy, then not listen to them for another couple of years.
  18. Relocation will often change your perspective on the things around you.
  19. Smile – even when it hurts like hell to do so.
  20. Take a minute every day to be thankful for everything you have.
  21. Understanding is one of the hardest things to understand.
  22. Validation need not come from others if you truly believe in what you are and how you act.
  23. Wish for things that positively affect the world around you.
  24. X marks the spot.
  25. Yesterday is in the past, Tomorrow may not come, What are you going to do today?
  26. Zealous behavior is far more productive than jealous behavior.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Fast Questions"

I stole these from some web site. I had seen some of these before - they're always fun as they serve as a reminder to me that I'm not nearly the genius I play in real life. Have fun...

Here's a little test of four questions. Your replies must be spontaneous and immediate, with no deliberating or wasting time. And no cheating.

Marks, set...GO!!!

1: You are competing in a race on a straight racetrack, and overtake the runner lying in second place. In which position are you now?

Answer: If you answered that you're now coming first then you're completely wrong. You overtook the second runner and took their place, therefore you're coming second.

Next question...

2: If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?

Answer: If you answered second-last, once again you're completely wrong. Think about it...How can you overtake the person coming last? If you're behind them then they can't be last. The answer is impossible!!

Anyway, here's another to try, don't take any notes or use a calculator, and remember your replies must be instantaneous. Take heart!!

3:
Take 1000. Add 40.
Add another 1000.
Add 30. 1000 again.
Plus 20. Plus 1000.
And plus 10.

What is the total?

Answer: 5000??? Wrong again!!!! The correct answer is 4100. Try again with a good calculator. Today is clearly not your day!! Although you should manage to get the last question right...

4: Marie's father has five daughters:

1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Question: What is the fifth daughter's name? Think quickly. You'll find the answer below...

Answer: Chuchu??? WRONG! It's obviously Marie! Read the question properly!

Sarcasm aside, if you've answered NONE of these questions correctly, then you're probably in good company! Tricky questions (answered FAST) are like mental illusions -- fooling the brain.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

Karen Carpenter sang those lines to fame in between bouts of vomiting herself to death. As I sit here on the tenth straight day of rain, I am living them. I'm looking forward to walking out of doors without an umbrella and/or a raincoat. To be able to look up at the sky and not be spit on by the clouds. There, now it's out of my system for now).

This past Tuesday I saw Hairspray the musical. The show was really alot of fun and reaffirmed the fact that everyone loves a drag queen. Before the show started, I was reading the cast list in the playbill and came across the name Jim J. Bullock. After a brief second of bedazzlement I accepted the realization that there simply couldn't be two but flipped over to the cast bios nonetheless. Sure enough it was "the" Jim J. Bullock (formerly known as Jm J. Bullock) who played Monroe on Too Close for Comfort and was also featured on the John Davidson version of Hollywood Squares. It's been quite a few years since I watched the movie Hairspray and I've always loved John Waters' disturbing sense of humor and film making - after seeing this wonderful theater production based on the film (Waters' Screenplay), I'll need to catch the movie again soon.

I watched the movie Spanglish today. Very entertaining and surprisingly great performances by Adam Sandler and a few unknown (to me) performers.

My all time favorite joke:
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender looks at the horse and says, "So - - - Why the long face?"

As of this moment, there are 2,919 songs on my iPod (and I'm listening to one of them as I type this.

I think I think too much.

Yesterday was my sister-in-law's birthday. That is, my brother's wife Jennifer. Jenn's a great gal and is the only of my in-law's that I like. The bad thing is that I had no idea that yesterday is her birthday because I am a schmuck and don't know any important birthday's. Sorry Jenn that I didn't know, but Happy Birthday sis-in-law...I Love You.

I'm outta here for now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Which Roman Emperor am I?


You scored as Augustus. You are Augustus! First emperor of the Romans and one of the greatest statesmen in the ancient world. You brilliantly eased the old Republic into the Principate and set the path for an empire that would last for centuries and form the underpinnings for all western civilization. Hail Caesar!


Which Roman Emperor Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Monday, October 10, 2005

10 Foods You Should Never Eat

I stubled across this on another blog and it just freaked me out. I really thought I needed to make this available to my friendly and loyal readers, so click the link and be freaked out as well...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

So what has been going on in the life of me?

Well, things are pretty nutty here at the house. You may recall my post of several days ago regarding the backyard/pool disaster. I have begun the deconstruction of the pool and received a price quote on getting the remains carted off to the dump. I was having some difficulty getting the deck to physically separate from the pool but then the rains came hard and I had to bail on the project for the time being.

Indoors here at the house we had been planning for a long time to have hardwood floors installed. Well after a long procrastination period, we picked out the wood and placed to order a few weeks ago and once the order was in and paid for, I cam home to call the contractor in an effort to arrange a firm install date. Turns out that Tom, that’s him name, injured himself pretty severely working on his own house and as a result had emergency surgery to repair some nerve damage which will have him out of commission for a minimum of four to six weeks. This past Friday, the wood arrived at the house and now there are seventy-seven large, heavy boxes housing one thousand five hundred and forty square feet of wood consuming the family room and part of the dining room.

I’ve begun pulling carpet. Yesterday I cleared out the spare room which even though is the smallest room in the house that will get hardwood flooring, it was enough of a horrible experience to make me realize why the contractor quoted $900 to remove all of the carpeting and dispose of it. One room was enough to discourage me from doing the rest of the house but I am going to force myself to do at least this much on my own and save the $900. Hey, with Tom’s hands not currently functioning, I’ve got plenty of time.

Baseball has been the major cause of lack of sleep and all the horrible things that go along with that. As I type this, my NY Yankees are in a do or die situation as they are down 2 games to 1 in a best of 5 series.

I am going to see Hairspray the musical this coming Tuesday evening at the Boston Opera House.

I am going to see Bruce Springsteen on the 20th of October at the DCU Center in Worcester. My buddy (and best man at my wedding) Johnny Dee is driving up from NY to catch the show with me and my pals Jenn and Steve will also be joining us. It’s gonna be a great evening.

I “power-tuned” my car today using a $319 dollar device that I purchase after hearing interesting preliminary results from CuzzHuzz. My car get an average of 16-18 miles per gallon so I am hoping this will help because as much as ridiculous as it’s gotten to fill the gas tank, I can’t even consider a new car for myself at this point.

I guess that’s an adequate amount of babbling for the moment but before I sign off I’d like to dedicate this post to my colleague and dear friend Liz (Dr.) Watson. Liz is a loyal reader and always someone I can count on to cheer me up, even if it requires me making her laugh.

Peace.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Passion

It was a few months ago that Egan was touting the joys and delights of the new green tea drinks at Starbucks. Being a green tea fan, I inquired which, if any, of the new green tea drinks might be caffeine free (or decaffeinated) so as to not have some odd caffeine attack while enjoying my new beverage. After a revealing conversation with my local Barista, who insisted that the green tea drinks are all with caffeine, but I may be interested in trying an iced passion tea instead.
Needless to say three months later I am officially announcing to the world that I have grown addicted to this chilled elixir sweetened with a valencia orange flavored sugar syrup. This my friends is a beverage for the ages with fruity delightful taste punctuated with slight hint of spice.
Thank you Egan for pushing me into the shaken tea syndrome leading me to discovering this joyously refreshing and delicious drink. I even have a box of Tazo Passion Tea in my closet for emergency home brewing purposes. I'm out for now folks but if you're contemplating your next cold beverage and are anywhere near a Starbucks that is still open - stop in and try a sweetened iced passion tea. Tell them Chris sent yah so you'll get that odd stare that just oozes "who gives a crap" just before you get your prize.

WildCam:Africa!

This is fun to watch. Check it our here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

In the Battle of Thorn VS Side, THORN WINS!

After returning to my desk from lunch today, I get a call from my wife on the cell phone asking me if I've drained the pool. Perplexed by the question because there is no reason I would drain the pool, except down to the skimmer in preparation for closing (which I've been working on), I proceed to ask her to elaborate. She said, "the pool is completely empty and there is water all over the back yard!"

The pool is (or rather was as you'll soon learn) a 24 foot round above ground pool which houses, sorry - housed 13,500 gallons of water; all of which is no longer in the pool but elsewhere in the vicinity of the pool, on the outside.

I'm still frazzled about all this so please excuse the disorganization of this post, but I'll try to explain what I can only guess happened. It appears that the ground underneath one part of the pool gave way and the weight of the water clearly broke through the bottom of the liner forcing the water to jet out of the pool with enough force to wipe out a one foot row of stones that surrounded the base of the pool, that id the ones that didn't fall into the giant gaping hole in the ground.

I'm baffled as to how the ground gave way and frightened at the thought of what it's going to cost to get all of this taken care of. Hopefully insurance will help but I don't plan on holding my breath. I must also say that though all of this is quite frustrating, I still am very aware of the devastations of Katrina and to some extent, Rita have caused and know that I should be counting my blessings that this isn't anywhere near, not even in the same universe, as that. In a way, it does help to ease the frustration but...

It's frightening to think of what could have happened if my daughter were in the pool when it happened. Anyone for that matter. I really am grateful that nobody was hurt and though the damage to the backyard is pretty severe and the pool is now history, the house is fine, there is no damage at all to the house or the basement and as the shock wears off and this eventually ends up in the past...well, I don't know... I've hated the pool forever so at least when this is all over it will finally be gone for good...

I think I'm just too emotional over this to write anything really coherent so I'll stop here.