Sunday, July 31, 2005

Rule #1: "Don't panic"

Dunno if this will hit the news beyond the immediate SoCal area BUT, there was a small "incident" on the California Screamin' rollercoaster, resulting in some minor injuries; all of which caused a gazillion cops, a squajillion paramedics plus platoons of lawyers, accountants, surveyors, veterinarians and reporters (including news helicopters) to show up. We were not anywhere near the mishap and other than being inconvenienced mightily*, we were not affected in the slightest.

So fret not on our behalf.

-Joke

* The "Disney's Electrical Parade" was canceled.

Posted by Joke at 1:31 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

California, here I come.

OK.

There may be a bit of a slowdown in my bloggage between tomorrow (7/27) and next Tuesday (8/2), since we're taking off for a week at Disneyland. Yes, I KNOW we go to Walt Disney World all the damned time, but:

1- We really love Disneyland also.
2- We're meeting up with friends from AZ*
3- WDW and DL are really not all that similar. Really.

Anyway, the output may slow to a trickle, but I suppose I shall return, full-force, on or about 8/3/05.

Ya done been warned,

-Joke

* On odd numbered years, we meet up with the AZ people, and--so far, anyway--on even numbered years we meet up with Poppy and her ilk.

Posted by Joke at 6:46 PM 2 comments

Because you asked...

Dear Internet,

Following is the world-famous "Endless Carrot Soup" mind you this is pretty freehand stuff, so don't get all hung up on the measurements.

1 large onion or two medium leeks (white & pale green parts only)
2T butter or EVOO
2T grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. carrots
2 c. water or stock

Sauté the (roughly diced) onion or leeks (cleaned well) in the butter or EVOO. Cook for a long time (15 minutes at least) over medium to low heat, just to "sweat" then add grated gingerand garlic and cook for a couple minutes longer. Add carrots, peeled and sliced. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes (ideally, you want to caramelize a bit of the carrot). Add water or stock to cover by an inch, and cook for 20 minutes at a steady simmer, until carrots are tender. Here is the tricky bit! This soup tastes better made a day before so you can (in fact, should) stop here, and allow it to cool. Cool soup will be much easier to puree in a regular blender (pureeing hot soups in blenders can be eithera bit slow or very explosive!) until the soup is smooth. You can, of course, use a food mill, food processor, or a hand blender but nothing beats the regular blender for smoothness. Salt and pepper to taste.

Variations! This is where the endless part comes in...

  • Finish soup with some sour cream, cream or creme fraiche, swirled to the tune of about 1T per bowl, or added to the pureeing process (in the blender you can get away with 2%milk!).
  • Replace the ginger with curry powder or garam masala, in which case you may wish to serve with cucumber-yogurt raita.
  • I have discovered that, in lieu of carrots, sweet potato works well, as do various hard squashes.
  • The ginger can be also substituted with chipotles or smoked, hot paprika.
  • You can use scallions or shallots in place of the onions
  • You can caramelize the onion/leek/whatever, which is especially nice wih hot or smoky seasonings
  • Crumbled bacon as a garnish is a nice touch as are leeks, grilled or frizzled, chives in any manifestation and infused oils.
  • SHARPLY seasoned, homemade croutons are also good.

There!

-Joke


Posted by Joke at 6:51 AM 3 comments

Monday, July 25, 2005

Please bring in The Negotiator

Today was the day the truck arrived to haul away NOS's old toys that he agreed to donate in order to make room for the new stuff he was going to get on his 8th Birthday. This is a lovely procedure that has manifold benefits:

1- Teaches the child charity
2- Teaches the child to prioritize
3- Keeps the room from overflowing with useless merde, and
4- Gets rid of the reminders of money wasted--nay, pissed away--on toys that got a whopping 2 hours of cumulative playtime in their long career with our son(s).

The hardest part of all this is doing it the 1st time. There WILL be much wailing and gnashing of teeth and I can see where a lot of parents would just up-and-surrender. But I am not a lot of parents. This all started when NOS's room at our old house looked as if a hospital for toys had done blowed up. Since TFBIM was doing some tax conference thing and couldn't exert a calming influence, I was able to be as strict as I felt was warranted. The choice was: Anything not in it's place by bedtime will be tossed away OR you can save the aggravation of it all and donate toys to make room for new stuff.

Wail, wail, gnash, gnash. I kept thinking "Your mom/grandparents aren't here to cave in, kid. You're SOL, NOS." as he whined and tantrumized*. It was only when I started tossing things into a black garbage bag that he realized his old man wasn't jacking around. He weepily parted with favorite toys he had never bothered to play with, looking at them longingly. But then Christmas rolled around and he got a fresh supply and all was good.

Among the casualties today were:

  • A Thomas The Tank train table that has never even SEEN a TTT piece, nor a moment's play in 3 years. TFBIM swore up and down it'd be the sensation of the year, but I expect she got it because her Bro. & SiL got one for their kids--who didn't play with it either--andshe couldn't resist being left out. It only cost $200 and took up 24 cubic feet of space for two years.
  • A Hulk pinball machine. Not something you'd find at any self-respecting arcade, but rather, something that a certain piping, childish voice mentioned ONCE. It got turned on once every couple of months.
  • Big wooden puzzles. I think there was sentimental value attached to these, but that quickly evaporates when they are flung on the floor as children tunnel in search of cooler toys.
  • Spider-Man video camera. $115 misspent by Santa on something that sucked so badly you'd think it was a Dyson.
  • A gallon of markers. 90% of these have never seen paper, but they HAVE seen walls, rugs, doors...
  • A Harry Potter "Potion" kit. Kids! You too can make stuff that tastes like warm, flat off-brand soda!
  • FIVE really cheap RC cars and airplanes. The kind that, at best, work they day you take them out of the box.
All of these have something in common: They were bought by adults that have lost every last shred of being able to think like a little kid. If a child asks for something ONCE (no matter how passionately) that's not a must-have. If it has too many parts, if it's obviously flimsy, or if you know the promises on the box are ridiculously unrealistic, skip it. the kid won't miss it.

This year someone wanted to gve NOS an electric scooter. NOS rarely uses the "manual" style, and when he does it's only to go as fast as humanly possible. Do we really need another piece of clutter in the garage? One that gets minimal play EXCEPT to hurtle this lad around the street at 20mph? Several other suggestions came my way and I am pleased to have shot them all down. Birthday came and went, and NOS was happy with the stuff he got and never peeped about what he didn't.

But he was still trying to rescue as much junk from the box on our doorstep as he could.

-Joke

* I have a superhero power of being able to to tune out crying, whining, tantrums, etc. Imagine if I got those Bose headphones...

Posted by Joke at 9:41 PM 0 comments

Not that you asked.

I am much less sore these days.

In fact, I am in a generally benevolent frame of mind, looking at life rosily and filled with bonhomie. A major, MAJOR project wrapped up at work not 6 hours ago. This project, although it had been winding down for the last couple of weeks, absorbed vast percentages of my "slow season" and basically knocked my comfy-cozy routine out the window. The fact it had been in wind-down mode allowed me to hit the gym with my usual fervor. Anyway, between the gym (30 min. of weights and 45 min. on the treadmill* or 30 min. swimming laps) and going back to my EatingWell** dietary plan, I am down about 7 lb., or about halfway to my goal of dropping the 15 lb. that crept up on me.

A long time ago, I let my weight slowly ascend to about 204lb. and it took a fanatical six months of exercise and watching my eating to get me back down to my "Pretty hot...for a Republican***" weight of 160lb. It was that point that TFBIM, who had known me for 4 years, started making goo-goo eyes at me and the rest, obviously, is history.

So that's the report.

-Joke

* It was 96F and 98% humidity, for a heat index of 112. YOU go running outside.
** This is kinda like South Beach, minus some of the fat, plus some pasta.
*** A backhanded compliment I received one night in Boston about 16 years ago. This was before I flirted with being a registered Libertarian.

Posted by Joke at 5:27 PM 0 comments

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Not a bed of roses

Sure, the life of a foodie seems glamorous. Every day brings a new quest (Where do I find bone-in prosciutto from San Daniele? Is extra virgin olive oil better from Andalucía or from Liguria? Which is the best organic butter?) or a new challenge (How can I braise a brisket that is both tender AND juicy*? Is guanciale preferable to pancetta in a carbonara sauce? In an amatriciana sauce?) or a new puzzle (If I am serving a New Orleans-inflected dinner, should I serve the crab in a crab cake-with-remoulade or in a gumbo? If I serve it in a gumbo...what other inescapably Creole starter could I use?) to tickle the mind. But there are some dark sides to being a foodie.

The most commonly held of these is that nothing will ever be good enough to serve you. While it is true that foodies are the last garrison of proper judgmentalism** the above generalization is wildly exaggerated. Foodies are not obsessed with eating caviar and foie gras at every meal. A true foodie delights in a properly made hamburger as much as a 5-star extravaganza. But we like to eat food, not groceries, which is why there is all this shuddering at eating things that come out of envelopes, cans and boxes.

No, the biggest drawback to being a foodie is being a solitary pioneer in unknown culinary lands, to one degree or another. I'm having a bear of a time getting TFBIM to try Korean food. Hell, it took two years to have her eat cooked spinach, and it had to be enveloped in lasagne at that. It has taken 12 years of marriage to get her to have beef medium***.

This means that some things I have to try when I'm the only adult at home. Say, the Endless Carrot soup. Which is unbelievably delicious, but since TFBIM hasn't managed to get past carrots...

Still, TFBIM is Julia Child in comparisn to other members of my family. I shan't out any of them, but I have relatives who will not even sample a blue corn tortilla chip, or consider fennel some sort of Siberian gulag fodder. Others have pantries FILLED with food in boxes, cans and envelopes.

As a foodie, there is nothing as heart-wrenching as the "Oh, I don't eat ___." or "What? Squid?" or "Who the Hell has eggs for breakfast/dinner?"**** Not just because you won't get to eat something you want to try, but because it reminds you of how far you have to go in your culinary evangelism.

-Joke

* This is not even remotely as easy as you might think.

** I mean...c'mon, let's face it, steamed, freshly harvested organic asparagus with a beurre blanc from scratch has to be infinitely better than asparagus from a can with hollandaise from an envelope.

*** Growing up in TFBIM's parents' house, the test for a steak's doneness was to hold it with tongs parallel to the ground and if the steak remained perfecty horizontal, it was finally cooked properly. In my house, a steak was done when the cow stopped mooing.

**** My relatives in Spain and Italy are convinced that having eggs for breakfast is the true hallmark of being a bone-in-the-nose savage, to say nothing of bringing ruin and desolation to the liver.

Posted by Joke at 6:50 PM 3 comments

Friday, July 22, 2005

High Society

No, not the film, not the porn mag.

I was in the library when I stumbled upon the 2005 Social Register (summer edition). I had a hunch the selection committee* may have been less than impressed with my status as one of America's preeminent lunchbox collectors, but on the off-chance they were able to peer into my inner, spiritual qualities, I decided to thumb through it in a (futile) search for self. This left me to muse what it would take to be among the listed, since all the coolness on permanent display in this blog is clearly insufficient, and having had ancestors in the hemisphere since 1565 and a baronet are as nothing. Snubbing one's betters seems to me to be an enterprise fraught with cheek, so I decided to delve.

While the whole getting-in process is gilded with a glittering lack of specifics, it is a very safe wager this is one of those invitation-only things. As near as I can make it out, it would seem anyone eager to get listed therein must be sponsored and seconded and all that by four to five people already listed therein. If time is of the essence you may, of course, marry a listee. This seems to work for women marrying a listee; men who marry a listee usually see their listee metamorphose into a delistee. Why the Y chromosome is a more reliable indicator of NOKDness is something that has yet to be carified, but we must accept it as some fact of science. Regardless of your marriage(s), you are not guaranteed squat, listing-wise. Pretty much the only guarantee is winning a Presidential election. It used to be that Presidents used to--coincidentally and conveniently--be among the listed even before getting elected dogcatcher, but that changed with Harry Truman. Afterwards, all Presidents get themselves listed.

If you're obnoxious and impertinent like I am, you'd notice there are aspects of the Social Register which seem riddled with special sort of irony. Ponder, if you would be so kind, this little factoid: There are about 25,000 families in the Republic who delight themselves on (among other things) TSR's exclusivity BUT somehow freely consent to have their addresses and phone numbers in a book available in every public library from Salmon Dick, Alaska to Assport, Alabama and all points in between.

Still, we live in a time of posers and arrivistes and the Social Register method, while flawed, provides an acid-test for separating uncouth, lottery-winnin' yokels from people of breeding and standing. The no-doubt stringent (and almost certainly Byzantine) screening process leaves the reader confident those allowed to grace the Social Register pages aren't just wealthy, they're OKD. There isn't much carved in marble about these people except they are tasteful, affluent and discreet. Any other desirable and deplorable aspect beyond these may readily find refuge among the listees, seemingly at random.

As you will doubtlessly not be surprised to note, The Social Register derives enormous delight in not answering to anyone. This much we know to be true:
  1. It started in 1887 in New York City**
  2. There were separate editions for major metropolitan areas (sometimes whole regions).
  3. In 1977 the whole shootin' match was squished into one national book. Two editions are each year (the winter one rolls out in November, the summer edition in May)

Past that, you must don a deerstalker cap and grab a magnifying glass. Oh, and drag Dr. Watson along, also, because it gets pretty complicated. The listings seem to have been composed on a diesel powered typewriter which last saw service during the Coolidge years.

Let's go to the 2000 edition and look up the entry for Thurston Zachary Howell III (names change to protect the innocent and all that), which yields the following gems: "Bbc.Prs.Jib.CtB.Dvg.Lyf.Qt.Ww." At first you think the information was obtained in conversation with a man who didn't have the decency to refrain from talking with his mouth full. However, further investigation (i.e. at the beginning of the book) is repaid with the knowledge that "Bbc" is Boston's Banker's Club, "Prs" is the Prescott Reading Society, and "Jib" is one of two things:

  1. An egregious misspelling (possibly a typo) or
  2. A club so exclusive--some clubs are so exclusive, they have no members--that to ask about it serves as further evidence (as if any was needed) the reader belongs anywhere but there

Mr. Howell is absent from the 2001 (and all subsequent volumes) book. One can readily speculate, but my assumption is he is Stf.Asa.Brd.Doa.

Like any self-respecting phonebook, this one has listings beyond the main one, including such sections as Births, Deaths, & Marriages. (The only times a private citizen, if he is to be truly well-evolved, ought appear in print.) My favorite section is called "Dilatory Domiciles." I love it partly because in a momentary twinge of dyslexia I misread it as "Depilatory Domiciles" which I understood to be houses where the Better Element goes for a full Brazilian.*** According to Dictionary.com, Dilatory means "1- Intended to delay. 2- Tending to postpone or delay," which is perfectly useless for the purposes of deciphering the riddle contained in TSR. The idea is to convey "seasonal homes" without actually using such a vulgar term. It is noteworthy most of thse Dilatory Domiciles have names. Nothing as evocative as "Tara" or "Monticello" but not anything to be ashamed of, with names such as "The Oaks" or "Walnut Crest." Still, even with misreading, this section has not as gleeful a title as the one christened "Married Maidens." After you make up your own puerile jokes, you realize it's a concordance of women's married and maiden names.

This summer's edition, features listings of Yachts (and owners) "for the convenience of subscribers." Because, y'know, it'd be damned inconvenient to go around wondering how broad abeam is Mr. Jonas S. Grumby's "Minnow" (home port, Marblehead, MA) to say nothing of how many tons it displaces. "Ahoy Polloi!"

I got home, filled with naive curiosity and began to peruse the web. In delving into the details of the matter, it will be an underwhelming shock to realize TSR is pretty Northeast-heavy and (naturally) a haven for old money. The New England and Mid-Atlantic sections of the Eastern seaboard providing about 65% of the listees. Hell, 30% of the listees are located in New York (4,362) and Pennsylvania (3,138) alone. New money is clearly (and almost thoroughly) shunned. California has far fewer than Massachusetts, despite having six times the number of people. Florida doesn't fare too badly, leading the non-Northeast contingent, on the strength of sufficient numbers of people deciding, in their senescence, they were good and sick of both winter and taxes. The least represented state is North Dakota with a whopping ONE entry, denoting what simply must be, unarguably, the glittering social axis of Bismarck.

As you would expect of such a delightfully archaic thing as TSR, the web offers precious little meaningful suggestions for getting thereinto. However, my ::cough, cough:: research clearly indicates that it's supremely easy to get kicked out. Just as easily as a you got in by virtue of some distant marriage into a Mayflower**** family you can get chucked because you married someone on whom one of the less savory characters on The Sopranos was based. Check this out: In 1984 there were 38,000 listings in TSR, but by 2004 the powers that be had effected a purgative cleansing to the tune of about 13,000 and had therefore trimmed the roster down to +/- 25,000. One can only imagine the disgrace of being excised from the listings, and the subsequent need to move, to start over, to flee the shame of it all.*****

-Joke

* I'm guessing this is an anonymous bunch, and rather star-chamberish at that.

** Apparently arrivistes were a threat even then.

*** The irony being that there are damned few Brazilians in this book, AFAICT

**** Quite lenient to allow boat people. I sense a progressive spirit moving, weaving through TSR.

***** In fact, one can imagine the long lines of Volvo and MB station wagons, winding their way south out of Darien, CT and Wellesley, MA and King of Prussia, PA like a sad, preppy Grapes of Wrath.

Posted by Joke at 10:06 PM 3 comments

Things You Couldn't Know By Reading This Blog

This is really, totally, inexcusably and brazenly stolen from Badger.

Things you could not know about me from reading my blog (until now!)

1. I have trouble with eye contact. Looking someone straight in the eye for over, say, 5-6 seconds really, truly rattles me. If you think I am making eye contact I am actually looking at your cheekbones, which is still a bit unnerving for me. Take it as a supreme compliment.

2- I am wildly profane. But, being the product of my schooling and upbringing, I temper it when I am (or could be) around women and children. However, I have made longshorepersons blush.

3- I am REALLY opinionated and often judgmental. And I like being judgmental. I am also always right. (Yes, I am also that arrogant.) You have no idea of how much of a raving prick I can sound like when someone gets me started. Since hypertension runs in my family, I try to not get started. I especially do not wish to get started on all the times my clearly correct and brilliant advice was disregarded to the great detriment of the advise-ee.

4- I am, like, stupidly sentimental. I cannot hear "America the Beautiful" without tearing up. Really.

5- I have punched people out. Why does it read weird to type "I have punched guys out."? I mean, I've/I'd never hit a girl, but that just came out weird.

6- I often think too fast for my mouth and mangle REALLY easy words.

7- I am a snob. In fact, I am an even bigger snob than even Poppy thinks I am. BUT, I am an egalitarian snob, meaning I don't hold it against anyne that I am vastly superior in every relevant measure.

8- I rarely laugh, even at stuff I think is funny. For me to laugh something has to be spectacularly hilarious. Like, y'know, the stuff Poppy says.

9- I am allergic to chocolate, tomatoes and corn.

10- I haven't been barking drunk since my bachelor party. I have been informed I pretty much behaved.

Bonus!
#11: I have no sense of direction at all.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:21 PM 0 comments

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Magazines, magazines everywhere and not a page to read.

Blackbird posted today on why she and Real Simple magazine are divorcing. Which got me thinking on magazines and my eleventy gazillion subscriptions.

As of today, I receive the following general-ish interest magazines:

Budget Travel (a freebie)
Cook's Illustrated
Forza
Alfa Owner
Octane
Sports Car Market
American Bungalow
Road & Track (another freebie)
Home Theater
AutoItalia
Golf
Men's Health (yet another freebie)
Italia!
Disney Magazine
Old House Journal

I'll almost certainly let the freebies lapse, and one of the two house magazines will likely not survive the renewal process. Now, there are some magazines that are "me" and in particular, those are Octane, Italia! and Cook's Illustrated. Sad thing is 2 of the 3 are published in the UK. Octane kinda captures best my lifestyle, but still leaves out huge chunks. I have every issue and after 3 years it has yet to stale.

Some magazines ceased publication (I particularly lament the demise of W Magazine's brother, M), such as Grilling and Longboard but many just stop being the magazine with which I fell in love. The list of these is pretty ceaseless: Esquire, GQ*, Metropolitan Home, Eating Well, Travel & Leisure, Traditional Home and Renovation Style. Sometimes this happens after, say, a buyout or some other organizational change, with the change being pretty rapid and drastic. I've never been one of those "Cancel my subscription!" idiots, but I cannot say the temptation hasn't been there.

Sometimes the concept just gets stale for me. Italian Cooking and Life is one such magazine. I know my long-suffering wife eventually got pretty bored with Martha Stewart's Living. I suspect that American Bungalow is not long for this mailbox either.

However, you are all commended to check out Octane magazine.

-Joke

* Ironically, GQ began to suck around the time that M magazine came out, then M folded and now I am stuck with neither.

Posted by Joke at 3:12 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Infinite blog fun

This is The Interactive Internet Question Game. I got it from Poppy.

This is how it's played:
1. If you want to play, leave a comment below saying so.
2. I'll post five unique questions to the comments section of this post.
3. You answer them in your blog.
4. In your post, you include this explanation and an offer to interview others.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1. You were standing in the wrong line when they were handing out body parts, so you got stuck with one of the following--which would make you the least unhappy?

a. Peter Gallagher's eyebrows
b. Donald Trump's hair
c. Al Pacino's height
d. Gerard Depardieu's nose

Easy, Al Pacino's height. I'd rather be travel-sized than hideous.

2. A major star has had to cancel a last-minute performance and you have to fill in. Which star would you most prefer, and what kind of performance?

I'll assume this is one of "all time" questions. I'd like to take over Cary Grant's part in the Broadway production of Arsenic & Old Lace. If we're dealing with modern stuff, well, then, it's gotta be Nathan Lane's role in The Man Who Came To Dinner. With enough Bloody Marys, I could be the very model of a modern Major-General, though.

3. What kind of "family car" could you drive without wanting to hurl?

The Audi RS4 wagon. It's reasonably fast, and stick.

4. Which Gilligan's Island hottie did you like better, Mary Anne or Ginger, and why?

Mary Anne. Rowr. Ginger would be no fun unless I had a part in a film to offer her. Although, a younger Lovey Howell could have beaten them all.

5. If you had to move to a state above the Mason-Dixon line, which state would you chose?

New Hampshah. Duh. I mean, really...no sales tax, no income tax..."Live Free or Die"?

Posted by Joke at 3:34 PM 14 comments

Mad Props du jour

Dear Internet,

I have said it before, and I shall continue to say it until I am blue in the screen: If you don't have your own Poppy, get one, now. Poppy managed to find a KILLER gift for TFBIM* on eBay and, in doing so, saved me a ridiculous amount of ducats. In fact, saved me just as many as I saved her when I scored her lodgings at WDW's Polynesian for way less than she had found. So there's some of that cast-thy-bread-upon-the-water thing going on right there.

MWAH!

-Joke

* They have surprisingly overlapping tastes in jewels and baubles, except that Poppy has a whimsical edge and TFBIM has a thing for matchy-matchy symmetry. Oh, and Poppy does yellow gold while TFBIM does white.

Posted by Joke at 11:38 AM 3 comments

Monday, July 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Numbah One Son

Today NOS turns a whopping 8. That means he is halfway to a driver's license, which is ironic, because he is halfway towards the clutch pedal as we speak. Fortunately for me, he is starting to develop my attitude towards birthdays which is:

1- I do NOT wish to be the focus of attention
2- I like getting stuff

So...

3- Leave cool gifts on the doorstep, ring the bell and run away.

When I turned 40 last year, TFBIM seemed pretty adamant about throwing me a party. This would have sucked for a zillion different reasons, not the least of which is that she would have overloaded the guest list with her friends who are (with THREE notable exceptions) jejune, vapid, witless and morbidly uninteresting...to say nothing of criminally tedious in conversation. So, I took preemptive action and scheduled JokeFest, wherein I celebrated my birthweek. This was because my actual birthday that year was on a Wednesday, and half of my pals (Rak DMC, the Klinker & Book 'em Dan-O) could only attend a party the weekend BEFORE my birthday, whereas the other half (Poppy, Jujube, Duane) could only attend the weekend AFTER.

Most people thought I was violating Precept #1, but in fact...I was not. I got all foodie-ish and managed to cook for all the parties, thus out of the way of most people. My evil ploy worked. My only regret was liking Jujube's gift, who was hoping I'd wonder what it was and would end up hating it. SORRY Jujube, but I liked it and I STILL DO. In fact, I use it all the damned time. Poppy, as usual, was stellar in her giftage.

Anyway, NOS cleaned up pretty well. A family tradition holds that birthday gifts are to be placed at the foot of the bed for the honoree to find upon awaking. He got a lot of "spy" stuff, a LOT of Lego stuff (Ferrari and Harry Potter), Harry Potter cards and books. Oh, and Game Boy stuff, especially the GameBoy GameLink, so he can play with Poppy's son (whom he considers the COOLEST kid, because he's two years older).

Anyway, Happy 8th, NOS, your old man loves ya!

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:42 AM 7 comments

Sunday, July 17, 2005

...and DONE!

At 1:52am EDT, I finished reading the 6th Harry Potter book. I am pleased to note I was right about the Half-Blood Prince's identity, I (& the estimable Jujube also) was right about Voldemort's weakness. I was also right about a few other things which I can't divulge for fear of spoiling suprises.

I was, however, caught unaware by the TIMING of something and something I was certain would happen has not yet happened. Now I'll have to wait 2 years to see if I will be proven right.

Time to brush up on my Epics,

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 2:33 AM 5 comments

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A brief blog hiatus

For those of you who are maladjusted, the sixth Harry Potter book is out today. This blog, my various email addresses, my sundry phones (office, cell, home AND all related voicemail boxes), my fax are all summarily in suspended animation until I finish reading it.

I will, of course take a shower at some point and will avail myself of some nourishment, but sleep is not an option.

Yes, I know. No, I do not give a damn.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 2:01 PM 2 comments

A parenting rant

OK. This weekend, my BiL and his wife went off on a short pre-vacationbefore they go off on a trip to Spain. TFBIM, being the kind and generous soul she is, volunteered us to babysit their kids. Fine.

The problem is that these two kids have STRONG brattish tendencies and my niece also has a SERIOUS bully streak, being the oldest, strongest and most aggressive. About two years ago, I saw Niece smacking NOS and, reflexively, gave her a hearty, well-aimed, and deserved spank. (If you are one of these neo-progressive, enuretic sorts of parent, stop reading right now.) My BiL's wife--who was inactively standing a foot away from me as Niece smacked NOS--was horrified I smacked niece. It was clearly conveyed to me that Spanking Leads To All The Known Evils. This caused me to blanch, because we babysit them a lot and, if I can't discipline my assorted nieces & nephews in the same way I do my own sons, then, frankly, I am not all that interested in putting myself in that situation.

Niece, in the meantime, has discovered thereis NOTHING she can do that will earn her more than a 30 minute time out. So, you may readily imagine what a well behaved child she turned out to be. Not fifteen minutes ago, she decides to slug NOS* who, having been parented properly, knows that slugging girls is a bad thing. So I had to explain to him that, he has my express permission to slug his cousin in self-defense. "But she's a girl!" he protested. I explained that she was a cousin first and that he ought to slug her BACK until she is crying, hard.

Naturally, she got the maximum penalty. A thirty minute time out.

-Joke

* She slugged NTS once. Once. NTS went apeshit and got mediaeval on her ass, even though he is two years younger, 15 pounds lighter and 6 years shorter. Since the anti-discipline parents were there, I said "Gosh, Numbah Two Son, we don't smack her like that. Golly, that's just wrong." I love that boy.

Posted by Joke at 11:19 AM 6 comments

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ahead of the curve for Christmas

I know not how many of you suffer the indignity of having hordes of relatives descend upon you at Christmas. Living in the (sorta) tropical paradise better known as Hurricane Alley, this happens every year. Fortunately, there are enough of us to easily absorb the stress that all our returning diaspora can mete out.

Not all of us are so lucky. I was having speech with the lovely and gracious Poppy, who was expressing some trepidation over having the whole mishpocha* over for Christmas, owing to a series of behaviors--some Yuletide-specific, some not--on their part which give her great pause or at least outright spasms.

Since my sister and crew are going to vacation in Japan tomorrow, tagging along on a business trip my BiL is taking, this gave me an idea. Y'see, the company for which he works has printed and distributes to all its American employees going to visit the Tokyo office** a booklet, a slim little something, geared to provide a measure of cultural sensitivity to as not to offend the sensibilities of the citizens of the host nation, in this case, Japan. Also included are useful phrases like:

"Hello, my name is ___."
"Where is the nearest post office?"
"Front desk? There is a big-ass fire breathing T-Rex stomping on cars just outside my window." "Is this really dinner or am I secretly on Fear Factor?"

It struck me that perhaps this is something which might prove useful for Poppy.



When visiting Poppyland, you mustn't expect holiday decorations to be as extensive or bright as you might have at home. To the citizens of Poppyland, quite often "less is more," decoratively speaking. And this is where FUCKING USELESS BLOGGER DELETED THE REST*** OF WHAT TOOK ME 90 FUCKING MINUTES TO DO. YOU SUCK. No, seriously, right now I feel so UTTERLY FUCKING LIVID that I make Badger PMSing look like Mother Theresa.

-Joke, REALLY pissed

* Yiddish...Christmas...irony. I get it.

** Presumably, the same applies to those traveling from Japan to the USA.

*** Priceless, hilarious shit


Posted by Joke at 4:10 AM 2 comments

Thor

One day the gods of Asgard decided to have a mixer with those of Olympus. These gods being the rather base sort they were, the whole thing instantly degenerated into an orgy. The reveles lasted all weekend long, at which point individuals woke up and returned to their tasks, etc.

One of them, a blond, muscular sort, had particularly enjoyed himself, having managed to make the ::cough, cough:: acquaintance of innumerable Greco-Roman goddesses. As he was about to depart, he spotted the most beautiful of these, Venus, and hoping to avail himself of her talents at some point in the near future, strode over to formally introduce himself after the previous night's debauchery. He strode over, clasped her hand and said:

"I'm Thor."

She looked at him with benign puzzlement and responded, "You're Thor? Hell, I'm tho thore I can hardly pith."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I feel after working out a week straight for the first time since last September.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 3:58 AM 0 comments

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thought you ought to know

In celebration of 216 years of not arbitrarily decapitating people, I am on a Gilbert & Sullivan jag.

As you were,

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 9:44 PM 4 comments

Bastille Day

To those of you who are celebrating the 216th anniversary of arbitrary beheadings, Happy Bastille Day.

Now, before someone gets all wound up and calls me a Francophobe, I will detail for you all the French things I like:

  • Cuisinart Classic food processors and anodized aluminum pots & pans
  • Sabatier knives (some of them, they last forever but can't hold an edge)
  • Hermes things for women
  • Chanel things for women
  • YSL for women, sometimes
  • Calvados
  • Butter
  • Boullaibaise
  • Cartier (some things, some others look like What The Modern Europimp Is Wearing)
  • Muscat d' Baumes de Venise
  • Perrier
  • Belon oysters
  • The Louvre, except for that abominable IM Pei pyramid thing
  • Some Cathedrals

See? I'm all enlightened.

-Joke


Posted by Joke at 4:41 PM 5 comments

Like a long lost friend...[REVISED]

I was sitting here, minding my own business (literally!), planning for an August trip to Bahstahn* when, as I rummaged through assorted websites I ran across a factoid that left me stunned with glee:

LouLou's Lost & Found is not dead. Two (three?) trips ago, I was ambling down Newbury St. with the Not Deformed Poppy when I saw the premises for LouLou's held a completely different business. I assumed the very worst and dripping with disappointment, all I could muster was a purchase at a vintage bookstore.

But LouLou lives! Looky: Loulou's Lost & Found 0 Brattle St - Cambridge, MA. Just a short hop on, I'm guessing, the Red (appropriate for something that provides service to Cantabridgians, yes?) Line and I am there. Woo hoo.

The thing about LouLou's is that it is THE hippest, coolest antique/thrift shop in the known universe. A long time ago, I foolishly** passed up a chance to pick up--dirt cheap, no less--a full set of Disneyland plates made in the late 1950s by Limoges. The gold was still intact and not one piece was chipped. I think each place setting (bread plate, salad plate, dessert plate, large and small bowls and dinner plate) was something along the lines of $8.99. In my own defense, I was younger then (by 6-7 years) and, by definition, immeasurably less wise.

-Joke

* Which might not take place until, I think, October; mostly because my wife has seemingly roped me into a charity event where I might have to do work I don't want to do, with people I don't wish to see, at a date when I had planned to be elsewhere, held at a place I'm not eager to see filled with said people. Don't ask. This has me pretty pissy.

** I'm not so big on regret, so this statement actually carries more weight than you might otherwise think it would.

Posted by Joke at 7:14 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Don't just take MY word for it.

Rummaging around online, I came across this excerpt from David Rosengarten, former Food Network host, and James Beard Award winner:

I discovered the incredible Smith Creamery in Herman, Louisiana, which has me thinking I’m going to start mailordering in my milk and cream! The Smith Creamery is special, because they pasteurize their products at a lower temperature than most—which takes more time, but "preserves old-fashioned flavor," as they say. [Emphasis mine.]

You can certainly taste the difference in their amazing (4-star) Smith Creamery Whole Milk ($4.50 a gallon); it’s significantly richer than other milks, with a complex, almost vanilla-like taste. The dairy also attributes the difference to the fact that their milk is not homogenized—a process which breaks up the cream that rises to the top of a real bottle of milk. Even better is the (5-star) Smith Creamery Heavy Cream ($3 a pint), which is wonderful, spoon-coating stuff, with a deep, golden, buttery glow all the way down your gullet.

And don’t miss the highly unusual (4-star) Smith Creamery Creole Cream Cheese ($2.75 for 8 ounces)—which is not like cream cheese at all, but more like a slightly denser
mascarpone, with great acid and great butteriness, insanely good on berries, or just spread on bread all by itself.

This milk is carried by Whole Foods, at least in FL and GA. Look for it, although their lack of envirobabble may be a strike against it at places like WF or Wild Oats. Maybe your local foodie mart, where doing the right thing (bringing organic food to market) for the wrong reason (because it's yummiest) is not only acceptable, but laudable. But, I am deranged and if I had to, I'd mail order milk.

Smith Creamery

29184 Mount Pisgah Rd.
Mount Hermon, LA 70450
985.877.4445 (tel)
985.877.9939 (fax)

Personally, I'm going to try out their whole and skim milks (and I'll probably mix the two to get to a 1.25% milk, which I consider ideal).


Posted by Joke at 10:12 PM 0 comments

You heard it here first

White jeans for this summer. In a relaxed-ish sort of cut (not the classic cut, but close-enough-for-gummint-work), paired with crewneck tees in faded flourescents or colors named after fruits. Or, for that semi-punk/semi-surfer look, broad striped tees.

-Joke, arbiter

Posted by Joke at 1:55 PM 2 comments

Things without which you oughtn't live. Pt. 4


If you like s'mores, and you ought, you simply must have this in your arsenal:

Tiny Trapeze Vanilla Marshmallows. Tiny Trapeze Graham Crackers. While you could get their S'mores Kit, you may want to play around with the chocolate options. Personally, I find milk chocolate to make a too-sweet S'more and prefer semi-sweet. The combination of Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Squares* with the Tiny Trapeze marshmallows and graham crackers is, frankly, unreal.

This is must-have summer stuff.

-Joke

* Valrhona, in particular, would probably work even better, but the SIZE (i.e. a whole bar, as opposed to individual squares) makes it a bit unwieldy, in my book. Callebaut, Guittard and Scharffen-Berger are also good choices.

Posted by Joke at 10:36 AM 3 comments

More exercise wackiness

For those of you scoring at home, pursuant to my previous post, this is what I did on "Back and Biceps" Day:

Seated Wide Grip Rows
Seated Narrow Grip Rows
Narrow Grip Pulldowns
Lower Bench Curls
Upper Bench Curls
Seated Hammer Curls
Standing Rotational Curls

Then I did some stairwork for about 30 min.

What's weird is that I am sore from MONDAY's workout, which I was not on Tuesday.

Today will be leg day. Stay tuned.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 10:30 AM 0 comments

How I wound up here (Part 2)

(When we last left our intrepid hero, he had just arrived at college, not quite of legal age but with as impressive a batterie de cuisine as any freshperson at a large, southern, State university is likely to have had amassed in 1981.)

One of the many unforeseen* challenges in using all my vast** culinary powers to avail myself of the female pulchritude now before me was that most of these young ladies had been weaned on things like fried peach pie, catfish, chicken and dumplings, etc. and things such as Tournedos Rossini might prove a hard sell. There was also the matter of my having been WAY rusty in the skills required for daily interaction with young ladies, owing to having spent 6 years in an all-boys academic boot camp. Having a modicum of fashion sense, being physically fit, tolerably charming and possessing a fine Jesuit-school vocabulary went a long way--but not all the way--towards compensating therefor. "Compensatory skills"quickly became an axiom for my living the collegiate life.

There were other aspects involved in Making Friends And Influencing People, but these are for another blog another time.

One Friday (my classes ended for the week at 11am) I had finished an exam with great success and quite ahead of schedule and I stopped for a quick bracer at a bar across the street from campus, aptly named "The Campus Party Store" but known to all (for reasons which had never been adequately explained to me) as Bolton's. Several Bloody Marys*** later it dawned on me I hadn't lunched and I was feeling positively hollow.

I went to my apartment to fix something, but there was some sort of roofer's convention which made for an ill-suited marriage between the aforementioned Bloody Marys and the scandalous racket emanating from the general area of the roof. I took my new Electric Wok****, my Igloo SideKick cooler and headed to my fraternity house. I decamped on the west balcony which had, dead ahead, Sorority Row, with the corner of the Chi O house on the corner to my left, and the Kappa Kappa Gamma house on the opposite corner, to my right. The notion then struck me to make, right then and there, a batch of gumbo.

I hailed a passing pledge*****, gave him my keys and a hastily scrawled list of ingredients and sent him right speedily to Alberston's and then my apartment. In 45 minutes (they got points for good service) I had the whole gumbo mise-en-place thing going on and I began gumbo-ing. Hey, pretty soon things started to smell pretty good up there, and I was having a jolly time with some Killian's Irish Red Ale.******

A couple of girls going into the Chi O house looked up and asked what I was doing. "Not doing," I shot back, "making."
"So...what are you making?"
"Shrimp and crab gumbo."
"Like in New Orleans?"
"Yeah."

The notion that one could make New Orleans food outside New Orleans was a very daring and novel one, apparently.

"Is that just for y'all?" asked a Kappa.
"Nah. I'll give you a taste if you want."
"How?" (it was pretty much an article of faith that sorority girls only went up the stairs of a fraternity house with stealth and plausible deniability...doing so in broad daylight was Very Much Not Done)
"Lemme thinka something."
With the aid of Pledges Brian and Clay, I rigged something with a fishing rod and foam cups & plastic sporks pilfered from our dining hall.

I lowered countless draughts of gumboid elixir and the whole wheeze went over swimmingly. As I was packing up******* one of the Kappas looked up and asked: "What are you making next week?"

"I'm not sure. I'll have to call you and tell you."
"Okay."
"What's your number? Or, do you live in the Kappa house? What's your extension?"
"I'm extension 1147."
"By the way, I'm Joke."
"I'm Bronwen...yes I know."
"Hey, gimme points for not saying 'Bron...what?' With a name like that you must be an English major." (I had cheated and noticed she was carrying one of the more advanced Norton Anthologies and some Browning.)
"Yeah."

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the first step on the road to perdition.

More later.

-Joke

* Something of a recurring theme with me, alas.
** In hindsight, I now realize I was merely half-vast.
*** In those days the drinking age was 18 and nobody ever bothered to check the ID of anyone, and nobody ever bothered to check to see if anyone was checking IDs.
**** I am not really sure why this seemed like a good idea at the time.
***** Hey, Brian, if you're reading this, shoot a guy an email will ya?
****** The recipe has since been bastardized sharply downward, and now it's just called "Killian's Irish Red Lager" and it tastes like Hell. It is deeply missed.
******* Well, Pledges Clay and Brian were packing up, I was drinking a Bass and supervising.

Posted by Joke at 9:35 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stop it, just STOP IT

Enough with the flared jeans. I'm sick* of them.

Thank you,

-Joke

* I was actually sick of them in 1979, but y'know what I mean.

Posted by Joke at 2:05 PM 5 comments

So you can remain updated

As you might recall, I have decided to catch up (fitness-wise) with what my normal biostasis oughta be. Yesterday I decided to avail myself of the gym facilities for the first time in eons. I must confess to having been pleasantly surprised (VERY surprised) that I was able to get through the circuit without assistance from paramedics or anything; I am further glad I am not numbed with soreness as I feared.

Part of the thing of it is that this workout area, which is pretty new (and terra incognita to me) is riddled with machines with which I am woefully unfamiliar. My training philosophy is one that was worked out ages ago by Mike Mentzer, a former Mr. Universe & Arthur Jones, the guy who invented the Nautilus exercise machines, and it's called High Intensity Training. The theory being that you don't tap a dynamite stick eleventy zillion times to get it to blow up, rather, you whack it once with the hammer.

Part of this system is that when you do compound exercises, say, pushups, the smaller muscles get tired out before the larger ones do and you kinda waste a lot of effort without getting maximum benefit. So, what you do is perform "isolation" exercises, like dumbell flyes, to tire out the larger muscle so it will have a similar tiredness to the smaller ones. Exercises consist of a warm up set and then another set done to complete, temporary failure; i.e., you do 'em till you can't, not until you reach an artificially imposed number. In my case, since getting all bodybuilder-y is not such a big deal, the number of repetitions is higher, to derive aerobic benefits therefrom. So, I choose a weight with which I can perform a maximum of 12 repetitions and, when I can perform that exercise for 20 repetions I add weight.

This is what I did yesterday, in case anyone wondered:

Monday (& Thursday): Chest/Triceps/Shoulders.

Chest Rotationals*
Rotational Chest Press
Rotational Shoulder Press
Incline Dumbell Bench Press
Front Shoulder Raises
Lateral Shoulder Raises

I then add 4-5 miles on the treadmill, wherein I enjoy whatever AudioBook version of Harry Potter I am up to.

(Not including treadmill, the whole workout takes a mere half-hour.)

Today (& Fridays) I'll be working the back & biceps and Wednesdays I'll work on legs (which tend to get pretty muscular pretty quickly on me, something I do not need).

More to follow.

-Joke

* I have no idea who names these machines.

Posted by Joke at 11:01 AM 0 comments

Blogger is...

SERIOUSLY pissing me off.

I was scrolling up in my other blog as I was wrapping up a MOST excellent post on jeans when...>POOF!< that fucker just up and vanished.

-Joke, pissed

PS Why does the blogger.com spell check not recognize the word "blog?"

Posted by Joke at 10:07 AM 0 comments

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yet more Badger pilferage


What Reject Sith Are You?

Posted by Joke at 10:02 PM 0 comments

How I wound up here (Part 1)

Many of you have asked...clamored, even..."How can I become a foodie like you, Joke?"

I cannot say I recommend this path to everyone, but here are the autobiographical Cliffs Notes of a foodie.

In early 1974, my mom handed a Better Homes & Gardens Junior Cookbook to my sister. My sister being who she is* tossed the book aside on the assumption she'd always have someone else do the cooking, which at any rate was no biggy, since all she cared about was chocolate. I picked it up because I had just had something deliciously exotic at the school cafeteria** which I had never had before and I simply needed to replicate this thing...this ambrosial...meatloaf. To someone weaned on garlic & lime marinated pork roasts and plantain chips and poached taro root with EVOO, and chorizo and all that, this was bewilderingly exotic stuff.

Anyway, all the cookbooks in the house were tomes which enshrined recipes for Iberospheric edibles and therefore, in a fit of desperation, I took possession of the aforementioned cookbook. Not only was meatloaf represented in these pages, but also other delights such as pot roast, macaroni and cheese (both the creamy AND the crunchily-topped casserole), salisbury steak, "chili con carne with meat" (stop and ponder that for a bit all of you who are down with the Castilian), PB&J sandwiches, as well as hot dogs and burgers, which my parents only allowed as a rare treat, and quite reluctantly at that.

So I took hold of the book and made the Mini Lunchbox Meatloaf even though it said quite explicitly to "ask Mother to help you" and it was pretty good. Wow. This works! I am not bound by the conventions of the patriarchal hegemony. I am liberated, hear me roar! I can eat whatever the Hell I want!

Cool.

For the most part I kept to the eleventy zillion variations of hot dogs and burgers and cookies and brownies. This kept me going for 3 years, until, one fine spring morning I discovered girls.***

Seeing as how girls had suddenly replaced the GI Joe Submarine Base as the focus of my existence, I decided to apply my intellect towards perfecting an approach that would yield success with the distaff side of the species. For reasons (and under circumstances) which are well beyond the scope of this blog entry, my research took me to Playboy magazine. I regret to say that I also read the articles, on the assumption that a guy who absorbed and acted upon all the information contained therein, would somehow manage to surround himself with girls such as those also showcased within those pages. (The logic seemed impeccable to me.)

While I have not sounded out those who knew me way back when, I fear that I must have resembled the Andy Kaufman "Vic Ferrari" character from Taxi. Be that as that may, the way I figured it, a serious component in being a successful Lothario (or, if you prefer, Casanova...I'm in no mood to split hairs) was being able to fix a SPECTACULAR dinner for--as we said in the 70s--Your Foxy Lady.****

There was only one solution: Buy The Playboy's Gourmet by Thomas Mario. Yes, you are right to wonder what the Hell sort of 14 year old gathers up his pennies to buy such a book, but I was that sort of kid and, sadly, the boy is father to the man. Anyway, this book had HUGE vistas, never seen in the pages of the BH&G book. Beef Wellington. Coq Au Vin. Veal Oscar. Chocolate Mousse. Peach Melba. Cherries Jubilee. ***** The way I saw it, I'd have a harem before the time my driver's license had cooled in my wallet.

But, as my friend Eric cautioned, I had to beware making something the first time and through inexperience and/or nervousness, misreading the directions and wind up with something tasting, as Eric put it, like "monkey shit." The boy had a point. I then struck upon the notion of using my family as guinea pigs. They are going to help me become an irresistible chick magnet and they don't even know it! I guess this is what Lenin meant by "useful idiots," the fools!!

So I convinced my parents to let me make Beef Bourgignone for dinner. Since my mother's idea of the finest cooking was whatever was cooked by someone else and my father was quite curious, they nodded assent and off I went into the kitchen, where I read the recipe with the care normally reserved for a defibrillator.

The thing was a hit. I received the first uncompromised compliment from my father that I could ever remember. It also tasted amazing. My sister even said it was "y'know...awright" which is worth 3 Michelin stars, right there. I was hooked.

My parents couldn't make sense of my humor, my sister thought I was a weirdo, and her friends thought me a sort of mad genius. This was my ticket. "Lock up your daughters," I thought.

Shortly thereafter, a mere 4 months after turning 17 I was off to college, far away from home and VERY far away from the confines of an all-boy's school. There were girls to conquer and I had my own apartment with my very own (shoebox-sized) kitchen.

[to be continued...]

* This will come as no shock to those who know her.
** I'd forgotten my lunchbox.
*** I still haven't recovered.
**** How I was going to bring--with clearly prurient intent--a Foxy Lady for an intimate dinner at my parents house, I never gave any thought.
***** Hey, quit laughing! That was serious foodie territory back in 1978.

Posted by Joke at 9:46 PM 0 comments

The light at the end of the tunnel...

...has been flicked on.

I went to the office while TFBIM and the lads were off at my parents' house. TFBIM feeling very stir crazy, asked if we could go to lunch somewhere, seeing as how it was 2pm already and she was sick and tired of eating food chosen on the basis that it'd spoil soon. So after consulting with those whom we'd offsprung, we decided to go to Johnny Rocket's. This'd have minimal appeal for me, save for the fact I have NINE gift cards from Williams-Sonoma and I was in the mood to burn them up with purchases as I could.

On our way to the mall (which is quite a ways away, since our little enclave isn't such fertile ground for big-box retail) I detoured by our house and--looky here!--the porch light had sprung to life, approximately 42 hours after it had been snuffed by a wayward tree. We kept going because we figured:

1- If we stopped inside, the desire to clear the refrigerator and freezer of casualties would be overwhelming and we were quite hungry, and
2- We figured it'd be the kind thing to do to let the a/c bring the house to levels of humidity and temperature hospitable for human habitation.

Bouyed by the good turn of events, I strode manfully into W-S, only to discover a pretty decent assortment of things to buy. A new Valrhona brand Devil's food Cake mix wanted sampling, linen (!) bar towels and cloths begged to make my home theirs and some insanely delicious Key Lime and Meyer Lemon biscuits overwhelmed my palate with a longing of the basest sort. A whole MicroPlane array also found its way into my receipt as did a dual digital roasting thermometer with CORDLESS alarm. I even got that nonstick-friendly whisk for Poppy I had promised her way back in April.

The debris in the fridge was moderately extensive. Most of the frozen vegetables and berries (and there were a lot of these) bit the big one and had to be jettisoned. Ditto the ice cream & sorbets, although the former were pressed into service as milkshakes. The seafood had to go, too.

I am still WAY pissed I had to miss a most excellent birthday party.

But I am home. Lights on, a/c blasting and a cool frosty Gin* and Tonic** helping me with my perspective.

-Joke

* Plymouth, the finest gin known to mankind, even if it IS a flying bitch to find.
** Schweppes. There really is no other acceptable tonic water.

Posted by Joke at 6:55 PM 0 comments

Things suck, but shan't suck forever


I talked to a minion at Florida Power & Light who alleged that we'd have power by 9:45pm. We shall see. Here is the official map of total outage and the transformers restored (in green) and those still out (in red). Note the splendid isolation in which my block finds itself. If you are SO bored that you need an update, or more graphic detail, click here.

Part of the problem is that for some reason, someone got it into his head to plant this little subtropical suburb with from sole to topknot with banyan and ficus trees--native to India and Hawaii, NOT to SoFla--to replace the native but not so tropical-lookinng Southern Oak. These nonnative trees have root systems a mile long but an inch deep, with HUGE canopies. Result? A gust stronger than 45mph sends the trees ass-over-teakettle, not infrequently knocking out power and violently inconveniencing people like me.

In case you were wondering, I'm at the office.

Posted by Joke at 11:46 AM 0 comments

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In case you wondered

I'm still all disempowered. Still, this remains preferable to having a winter.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 10:53 PM 4 comments

Things, they sucketh mightily



This is the state of things as of 5 minutes ago. You see that little purple blob right under* the "M" of "Miami"? OK, that's my house. Still no power, although power restoration is slowly inching towards us. Which can't come too soon, as the boys are going WAY stir-crazy which, in turn, is just driving me "regular" crazy.

I'm also sweating like Michael Jackson on a polygraph.

-J.

P.S. Actually, when I put up the link for the picture, I wasn't aware it was "live" so the little purple blob has moved. I have likened this experience to watching TV news on terrorism and having the TV blow up and killing you.


Posted by Joke at 11:04 AM 4 comments

Here we go again.

Well, this sucks.

Before you go any further, gentle reader, note the time stamp. Done? OK, swell.

As we, er, speak, I am typing merrily in the dark of my house, having been without electricity since on or about 7:20pm. Look at the time stamp again and do some math. Besides dark it has also been, um, sultry inside the house. We took the opportunity to head up to my BiL's house to deliver their allotted portion of Kobe beef. Before leaving we called the Florida Power & Light outage hotline. The automated response system said our power ought be back by 9:45pm. As we were departing my BiL's, the time had been shoved back to 11pm. By the time we got home around midnight, the automated thingy said and I quote: "We're sorry, but we do not have enough information to establish a time for the restoration of power to your area." As of 3:20am, the thing had not changed. I am not terribly optimistic.

Oh, did I mention that NTS had to geta thingy on his nose operated? It was a teeny something that looked like a zit, but was a viral something that needed to be excised. No big, only that NTS is not one of those boys eager to leave a stitch in peace for the required week. Last time NTS had to be operated (a very minor brain cyst) we came home to another storm-inspired outage AND a total plumbing blockage. TFBIM, relentless and indomitable survivalist she is, sobbed a lot.

The moral of the story is that NTS can'tbe oprated again, at least not until he is out from under our roof...which, by the way, is now going to need replacing.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 4:03 AM 0 comments

Friday, July 08, 2005

Subtropical suburbia

For those who have visited me or, through other circumstances in their life, seen my little southeasternmost corner of the republic, you will be familiar with the general scenery of this enclave. Some wags have called it--and not without a modicum of accuracy--"Palm Beach Lite."

I like it. Not because there are Bentleys at every corner, or because every house is palatial, or because the ethnic makeup is monochromatic. I like it because it's very pretty, very placid, full up with Historical Landmark Type Houses, and convenient to really good shopping.

There is much to dislike about suburbia, to hear neo-urban hipsters tell it, but most of their gripes hold no water here. The shopping areas are pretty much free of the same retail chains which pockmark landscapes elsewhere but they are also blessedly free of those "funky" stores that all basically look alike. There is one huge-ass Barnes and Noble and it coexists happily with an independent bookstore that has a lot of hard-to-find books, all conveniently priced at full retail.

For the last 3 years, though, we have been down one Vintage Book Store, which I find almost intolerable. TFBIM will tell anyone who seems halfway sympathetic that my very favorite sort of shopping is at used bookstores and, in fact, I have wasted complete afternoons at library sales.

I am, I freely admit, an unalloyed book whore.

Cookbooks, books on history and biography, film, geography and travel, language and culture, Americana and pop culture, comedic literature, and (quite literally) boxes upon boxes of old magazines* find a home in my, er, home. So imagine my dismay when the two crewcut pentagenarian women who ran "Book Keeping" took their cats and crystals and Birkenstocks and left for greener pastures. So here I am, having to make do with eBay and B&N. Poppy was once kind enough to show me her favorite one in Boston, and I know that she waited until we were tight on time for our respective flights to do so, such is her Macchiavellian sense of passive-aggressiveness. Still, I had enough time to run off with a tome or two.

But aside from this, life here is pretty idyllic, if you don't mind the sorts of summers that make Texans and Arizonans reflexively wander to the air conditioner. (This is the price of being able to wander out to your garden in February in shorts and a tee shirt and pick dead-ripe tomatoes and lemons and, since I am happiest when I am spending copious amounts of time indoors, this seems very equitable to me.) We have no gated communities, no vast expanses of houses looking identical (or nearly so) to each other, no Starbucks at every corner. Good golf, a great library and a biggish University nearby.

Oh, and one of the GREAT Italian auto mechanics down the road.

-Joke

* A future blog entry on this, I promise.

Posted by Joke at 10:09 AM 3 comments

Thursday, July 07, 2005

There'll always be an England


This blog entry is a special one to my English pals. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Sadly, the evil that is terrorism has visited another nation and fed itself with the blood of innocents. It underscores my view that this is not a nuisance to be contained, or a mindset to be understood. It is a ravenous cancer upon the civilized world and one which will not respond to treatment. It must be excised.

The savage bastards who derive joy from the wanton slaughter of humans must be extinguished from the face of the earth, the fields that produce such vile fruit plowed under with salt. There is no reasoning, there is no dialogue, there is no discussion which can dissuade the psychopath. There are temporary, illusory reprieves in which these serial-killers-on-a-grand-scale may lie below our sightline, but it is just that...a temporary illusion, brought about by their tactical choices, not by any actions of ours.

The blood of these innocents, the most recent layer of countless others, cries out to Heaven. Today, let us mourn the lost, the injured, the scarred. Let us reflect back on lives gone, lives crushed, families upended, friendships decimated. Let us honor the memories, severally, of those who were the victims of this bestial cruelty. Then, let us cement that honor of these and all the others who have fallen into the maw of savage, brazen evil...and blot the Earth spotless of the trace of these murderous, barbaric bastards. There will never be peace with terrorists. There can be peace without them. Let us pray for victory over evil.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 1:56 PM 0 comments

Mom's Birthday and the Japanese Cow

Well, it was mom's birthday yesterday and we had a platoon of people come over to celebrate. She was all happy and stuff until she started roughhousing with Numbah Two Son (NTS) who just WHACKED her in the nose. "It's only the bone," she said with a tear coming down, "that and my emotions coming out."

My sister was late, as usual. I explained she was stuck in traffic (she lives 2 blocks away) which is why she was 45 minutes late. Which is usually something which can be relied upon. It seems that just minutes before she was due at our house, she decided to call Continental Airlines and try to haggle about something related to her ticket for her upcoming trip to Japan. Perhaps time management prioritization is not a prominent part of her skill set.

I had decided to grill a whole Kobe tenderloin, since my mom is one of the few normal (well, normalish) relatives I have and therefore merits going all out. The catch about this beef is that you wait for it, not the other way around. I seared it off to rare and let it rest to come up to medium rare.

My mom's ideal meal is steak and potatoes and no vegetables, so I threw some great Yellow Russets on the back of the grill, until the skin was all crackly and the insides way fluffy and very potato-ey in flavor, I like 'em with just a touch of salt and organic butter. I also grilled leeks, mostly because I love them.

My dad raided his wine cellar and brought out some heart-stoppingly awesome Burgundy (1996 Alain Graillot "St. Joseph") which we all enjoyed, except my sister who doesn't like beverages which are not vanilla soy milk or diet Pepsi. We had started with an arugula/grape tomato/mozarrella salad with a LIGHTLY chile infused dressing of basil, EVOO & balsamic.

The beef was truly decadent. I can't see myself getting $43/lb. beef more than once a year at very most, but it really was sensational stuff. NOS wanted to print up menus and then he suggested we put "the story of the cow"on the back, so everyone was brought up to speed with the story of how these Japanese cows are massaged with sake or rice bran oil, fed copious amounts of beer, etc.

I could tell the roast was a hit because my dad a guy who can be, um, a bit abrasive or wacky (often simultaneously) at times, was eerily silent throughout dinner, methodically working his way through his allotted portion of beef and wine and potato. The cake was good, some sort of half-Strawberry trifle/half-cake and, with some Bailey's for the birthday girl, everyone went home and I took a well-deserved shower.

-Joke

Posted by Joke at 7:30 AM 3 comments

Because you asked.

I won't out you, but I am tired of being asked for drinks recipes. Therefore, in the spirit of comity and all that, here are my summer drinks mainstays:

Panama Jack
2oz Pineapple Juice
2oz Orange Juice (In both cases, the fresher, the better)
1 jigger Creme de Banane (or some other non-artificial banana liqueur)
1 jigger Coconut Rum*

Place in shaker over cracked** ice and shake vigorously for 8 seconds. Strain and serve over FRESH crushed ice in a Collins glass, garnish with orange slice.

The cheater's version is to get Dole's Pineapple-Orange-Banana juice blend [UPDATE...this Dole product has been changed and is now UNDRINKABLY VILE!! AVOID!!!!] and TWO jiggers of coconut rum and then do the shaker thing. 90% as good, 40% of the effort. Your call.

Mojito
2 huge-ass springs of spearmint
1 lime, juiced
2 TS granulated sugar
1 jigger silver rum
Club soda to taste

Rip most of the leaves off the mint springs (leave one sprig with 2 vestigial leaves, for garnish). Drop them into the bottom of the glass (a tallish, Collins affair). Add the sugar. With a wooden spoon (or, if you're all Inspector Gadget-y, a muddler) mash the mint into the sugar, until there is no leaf left and all you see is damp, green sugar. Most recipes will have you muddle the mint on its own and add powdered sugar but that is all kinds of wrong.*** Add lime juice and rum, stir to dissolve sugar. Add cracked ice, top with club soda, NOT SPARKLING MINERAL WATER.

Rum Runner
1 oz rum (silver)
1 oz banana liqueur
1 oz blackberry brandy
1 dash grenadine
5 oz Sour Mix (don't be a schlub, make it yourself with lemon juice and sugar)

Place in shaker over cracked (see above) ice and shake vigorously for 8 seconds. Strain and serve over FRESH crushed ice in a Collins glass, garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

* Captain Morgan has a great one, better than Malibu. Also has an off-brand that is the same thing, but with a different label: Admiral Nelson. Not very creative ovah theah.
** Make sure the ice is fresh and not all melty, you want the ice to be pretty dry. NO, NOT DRY ICE.
*** Powdered sugar has cornstarch and it tastes...I dunno...off.

You're welcome, Internet.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 6:59 AM 5 comments

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The right thing for (says you) the wrong reason

I have yet to write a mash note here about organic produce. You may be wondering what a raving Goldwater-ite* is doing consuming, let alone enjoying, organic produce. Which is fine for you to wonder this. The thing of it is that I don't care about "sustainable"** agriculture. In fact, I don't care if such farming could raise the dead, bring back extinct species or turn my grey hair back to its original marron glaceé splendor. That's not why I joined up.

I am reminded of what Mark Twain (or was it Mencken?) said: "It is nobler to eat caviar on impulse than broccoli on principle."

I love organic produce because organic produce tastes REALLY good. Not just organic produce, but all organic edibles and potables. (In fact, after my invective on the matter, I have even found a local source of raw [!] organic milk.) Stuff tastes better when you don't process the snot out of it or ply it with chemicals, as the cannibals have often said.

To further illustrate, I was on the road back from Tampa*** when I remembered that, in one of my foodie newsletters, the writer had touted a certain butcher shop in Naples (about halfway between here and there) called Jimmy P's as one of the great ones, especially since they carried Kobe-style* beef. Seeing as how I have been driving past it for eons, I decided to stop in this trip, and even came equipped with a big-ass cooler to handle purchases. Yes, I coud just call up and order and have it shipped, even delivered "same day," but I wanted to see and pick and choose.

Wow. This place is a shrine to the civilized carnivore.

My mom's 72nd birthday (Happy birthday mom, even if you don't read this blog, or any blog, or know what a blog IS...or, for that matter, even ever sit in front of a computer) is today and since we're having a a small mob over, I decided to get a whole Kobe tenderloin, a (relative) steal at $283. Then I ordered a few flat iron steaks, some London Broil (a/k/a chuck shoulder steak) both of which are hidden steals in the beefeater universe, and top sirloin and then I called all my local foodie pals to see what they might want. Let's just say I didn't see much change back from $500. However, the Jimmy P's crew could NOT have been nicer. They broke down all the assorted primal cuts to get me all the things I wanted (Porterhouses, NY Strips, and all the other things my foodie pals asked for), put it all in cry-o-vac, and even threw in a free 24 oz. package of their custom-ground-on-the-spot***** Kobe chuck, lovingly laid it all in my cooler, and piled it with ice...all while I shopped at the mall across the street. Mad props for service.

Anyway, it was a hectic day (what with driving across the state and all) and I wasn't in the mood to do much cooking, so on my way home I stopped by "my" supermarket and loaded up on organic hamburger rolls, organic dill pickles and even Heinz organic ketchup and deli mustard. Figuring the only way to do the thing properly is to overdo it, I even dragged out the charcoal grill, fired it up with lump mesquite charcoal and then grilled off the burgers.

WOW.

The burgers themselves were not of a prodigious bun-bustin' size (figure 4 oz each), but they were so richly beefy, tasting like REALLY good steakhouse steak. I was transfixed. I mean, I know I can't eat this way every day, but for the occasional beefy treat...this is nothing short of sensational. The richness of the beef is not that unctuous tallow-ish taste, but more of a miniature display of butter-fireworks on your palate. The dry-aged aspect deepens The Beef Experience.

When it comes to food, nothing is as delicious (or--and I'm guessing here--nutritious) as food caught in the act of being fully itself. That we may forestall the next ice age, quench the thirsty, clothe the naked (or, at a minimum, the unfashionable) and teach the lepers how to sing, that's just a bonus. Like someone who joins the army for the uniform, count me in, even if I am standing shoulder to shoulder with people who look at me all weird.

-Joke

P.S. I am so NOT wearing Birkenstocks made from organic hemp.

* Sometimes I think I am the only such person writing a strictly nonpolitical blog.

** The cynic in me defines "sustainable agriculture" as "agriculture where profit is treated like a flatulent leper at the dinner table."

*** Back in the good old days, a flight from Miami to Tampa would be a 45 minute affair, 60 including checking in and boarding. With new security regulations, it's now an immaterial advantage over driving.

**** That's the traditional, Japanese (or Japanese-style) beef which is fed a 100% organic diet famously featuring beer--so as to both stimulate the steer's appetite for the strictly prescribed regimen of grazing and foraging and simultaneously discourage overathletic foraging & grazing--and routinely massaged, as well as pampered in a gazillion other ways designed to produce ridiculously delicious, and ferociously expensive (like $75-$175 a POUND at places like Lobel's in NYC or Allen Brothers in Chicago) beef.

***** I like it extra coarse, ground twice.

Posted by Joke at 10:58 AM 6 comments

Monday, July 04, 2005

Huh?


Your Slanguage Profile

Aussie Slang: 75%
British Slang: 50%
Canadian Slang: 50%
New England Slang: 50%
Southern Slang: 50%
Prison Slang: 25%
Victorian Slang: 25%

Australian slang? Canadian slang? Are these people deranged??? I don't KNOW any slang specific to any member of the British Commonwealth! (To include Jamaica, New Zealand & South Africa.) Yes, this test is flawed...but still, fun.

Posted by Joke at 7:11 AM 3 comments

Bored on the Fourth of July

Is it just me, or is anyone else just dog-ass tired this Independence Day? I must also confess this year it done caught me unaware.

Posted by Joke at 7:06 AM 2 comments

Like Badger, only slightly more so

You Are 68% American
Most times you are proud to be an American.
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe*
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!



* I'd guesstimate there is no little divergence between what makes me and Badger cringe.

Posted by Joke at 12:34 AM 2 comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

So as to leave no doubt...

My, but I love espresso. Serious essence of a properly roasted coffee bean, lovingly extracted and sweetened with turbinado sugar.

Yummity yum yum...

Posted by Joke at 11:29 PM 0 comments

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Love vs. Hate (CRUCIAL ADDENDA)

HATE:

1- Picky eaters.

"I don't eat...what did you call that? Mizuna? I don't eat that. Do you have any lettuce?"

Seriously, do NOT get me started.

2- The pathologically incompetent. Yes, All-America Auto Transport, Inc. that means you, you stupid, craven, useless fucktards.

LOVE:

1- Firesign Theatre

2- Britcoms

3- People who R.s.v.p.

Posted by Joke at 4:14 PM 0 comments

"Dude, Where's My Car?" or "Incompetence is the first sign of evil"

As the more diligent among you may recall, I bought a 1991 Spider Veloce on eBay on 5/25/05ish. After going up and looking at the car and all that, I exchanged $ for title and flew back home (the very same day!). I then contacted the shipping company that had delivered both of my previous out-of-state Alfas (from OH and AZ, respectively).

What a nightmare THAT was. The Cliffs Notes of this mess are that the car, due to the seller's heavy travel schedule, would be available for pickup on 6/19, two days after I faxed in the order. A week after faxing in the order (6/22) I called to check the status of the thing. My then-account rep told me it had been picked up on 6/20 and should be in my driveway by 6/25. On 6/27 I called wondering about the
delay. I got put on near-endless hold every time I called between 6/27 and 6/30, only to be told they couldn't reach the dispatcher. On 6/31 they told me my account rep (who was always mysteriously unavailable) was "no longer with the company." I was given the number of the dispatcher and told to call myself. What service!

The dispatcher told me they had no idea who I was, what I was calling about and they had never heard of my car and they did not have a signed order to pick up my car. Two minutes later they called to tell me, by the way, they had been pestered by my shipping company and spoken to rather abusively. They told me they would no longer do business with this shipping company.

I got a new rep (I was wandering rep-less all this time) and he told me that "Ooops. The car was never picked up," and since his explanation was also plausible, I let him skate. I then spoke with the seller who was leaving on vacation for the
Independence Day weekend and the car MUST BE PICKED UP by Friday, 7/1/05 at 3pm. I called back--my new rep was gone for the day--and left them specific instructions to that effect. I was told to contact the dispatcher directly. Conveniently, the contact at the dispatcher was already gone for the day, so my details were taken down (you could just HEAR them writing "A-l-p-h-a...R-o-m-e-r-o") and I was told they'd call back. I'm still waiting.

At 1:30pm, the seller leaves me a voice mail to say he hasn't been contacted by ANYONE. At 2pm I call my rep and ask him what the status of this order is. He says
my car has been picked up. Yay!

But, having been turned from a naif to a hard-bitten cynic in the space of 5 weeks, I call the seller and he says (and I quote) "What are they? On crack?" and explained the car was a foot away from him. Call the rep back, who says "Well, they TOLD me it was picked up." I impress upon him the mandatory nature of picking the car up BY THREE PM. He puts me on hold and, upon returning, tells me the driver is around the
corner and will be contacting the seller.

At 3:45pm, a very exasperated seller calls me to find out what's what. He explains to me nobody has called him to arrange anything. Back yet again with the shipping company and back after that with seller, who informs me that the trucker called, saying he (the trucker) had just gotten the order and he'd pick up the car on Saturday. Seller says no, since he will be out. Trucker suggests seller leave car outside with keys under the mat. Seller, using vigorous and frank language not unheard of in NJ, declines to do so. Seller relays all this to me, and I apologize for pushing his vacation departure into the meat of a 3-day Weekend's rush hour and that under no circumstances is he to have the car picked up without his presence.

I then call the rep again (rep is out) to cancel the order. I get some other minion who questions why I am doing this. I explain all of the above to which he replies: "But the car is ready to be picked up tomorrow." I remind him the deadline--now well past--was 3pm Friday AND that his company had been told this AND my rep had been specifically told this AND so had the dispatcher. He then, with enviable calm and gall, informs me there is a $50 cancellation fee.

With the greatest self-control I could muster I respond with a parting "Yeah, well,
good luck with that."

Yes, I am livid, and my 2nd car is STILL in NJ.

Posted by Joke at 1:04 PM 4 comments

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Hate List

(Shamelessly pilfered--in concept, not content--from the estimable Badger.)

* White Zinfandel (it's not wine...Hell, I'm not even sure it's a beverage)
* Disco...this one is pretty visceral
* Liver (and offal, while we're at it)
* Artificial fibers
* Totalitarians
* Boot-cut, pegged or flared trousers
* Browned Down Red (don't ask)
* Mass market white bread
* Stupid-ass, numbnuts lawsuits
* Diet drinks
* American Fucking Idol, and the sorts of music that winners therefrom inflict on humanity
* That idiot in the Prius who flipped me off for having a car strictly for pleasure
* Conspiracy theorists
* The texture of coconut
* Regular coffee (maybe it'd taste like something if 75% of the water was missing)
* The 1970s (aptly called "that ghetto of a decade")
* Star Trek and all its permutations
* Seattle grunge music
* Modernism
* Cancer (I mean, duh)
* People who titter at their own unfunny remarks
* Taxes (I would have thrown all that tea in Bahstahn Hahbah all by myself)
* Olives (TFBIM is in charge of those)
* Overprocessed hair
* Reality TV
* Drinks with pornographic names (the Flaming G-Spot, Orgasmic Walrus, whatever)
* Chick flicks & chick lit (Do NOT get me started, especially those "Beaches" type things)
* Academy Award injustices
* Atonal music
* Cosmo magazine
* The bed-head look
* People who consider irony the height of...whatever the Hell, like I care
* Repeating myself (this is in a class by itself)
* Neo-urban hipsterness
* Breast implants
* Near-criminal stupidity
* Modern German composers
* Women who sling around the term "Girlfriend" or "Diva"
* Hair implants or, worse, hairpieces
* Male sales associates who keep saying "uber"
* People who overcomplicate things
* People whose parenting styles come strictly from manuals
* Traffic jams
* Automatic transmissions
* Waiting
* Anything which inconveniences or impedes my forward progress

More as my bile rises...

Posted by Joke at 10:22 AM 4 comments

The Love List

* Bizarro brand Single Malt Scotch
* Sunsets
* Anything cooked over a live fire
* Linen linens. Hell, linen.
* Oceans
* Bloody mary
* Boston (to visit)
* Cars that are simultaneously beautiful and fast
* PG Wodehouse
* Steak, cooked over a lump charcoal fire to "warm rare" (even if I abstain so as not to go Orson Welles-ish)
* KFP Coca-cola
* Black tie
* Food-friendly wines
* Surfing (even if my time available for said purpose is nil)
* Smoked salmon
* Unknown New Wave 80s tunes
* Madras
* Cole Porter (as I type, I have "Did You Evah?" stuck in my head)
* Dead-ripe tomatoes
* Prosciutto (bacon comes very close)
* Marx Brothers
* Playing guitar (even if my time available for said purpose is nil)
* Woodford Reserve or Knob Creek Bourbon
* EVOO
* London
* Was-swimming-a-minute-ago sushi/sashimi/ceviche
* Italy
* Guns (not to the extent to have an ARSENAL, but yeah)
* Whimsical cufflinks
* Sorbet
* Aviator sunglasses (none-too-huge)
* Harry Potter
* Pinpoint oxford
* Hackleback caviar & a REALLY crisp pilsener beer in a teeny-tiny Petrossian pilsener glass
* Fountain pens
* Leather furniture
* Fresh pasta
* Buster Keaton
* Seersucker
* REALLY nice stationery
* Hammocks
* Golf (alas, I have SOME time for this)
* Symmetry
* Lime
* Watches (pocket & wrist)
* Espresso
* Disney theme parks with TFBIM, NOS & NTS. (Bonus points if Poppy et Cie. tag along)
* The Wine Country (anywhere)
* Shopping
* Gilbert & Sullivan
* Convincing people
* Cooking for blowout dinner parties
* Whimsical postmodernism

I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks.

Posted by Joke at 9:58 AM 0 comments