Friday Fives – telling everyone I was in Europe edition


What weird food combinations did your family eat that you only realized later wasn’t normal?

Nothing nearly as odd as this.  Apparently, when the show ‘Honey Boo Boo’ was a big thing, we learned what Mama June fed her young kids.  They called it ‘spaghetti’… or more likely something like ‘spetti’… but it was noodles with ketchup and butter.  That was their marinara/tomato sauce.  Paging diabetes, line 1 please.

What is that weird thing that grandma used to make that is difficult to explain to others?

Her relish.  It was transcendent.  She would can it (well, major jars… same thing) and give us each a bottle around the holidays.  I don’t remember what is in it, though.  I think my mom still has her old recipe box.  Must get a hold of that!

Not as good as Eddie Vedder’s classic fabricated story of the name Pearl Jam, his grandmother’s psychedelic relish dish.

As a kid, did you ever go to someone’s home and eat a meal and their food is something so different than what your family served?

No, we had great dinners.  The rule was, no matter where you were or what you were doing, EVERYONE was home and had dinner together.  Every night, at 6 pm.  I think this is the greatest thing in the world.  Regular family time.  We couldn’t even take phone calls during dinner.

Dinners were very simple, as both my folks worked full time to support us.  it would be hot dogs, or hamburger helper.  Often I would make the dinner since I was home from school and enjoy cooking.  But, there was always a vegetable, and we were always together.  At the dinner table, not in front of the TV.  You can bet there would be no smart phones or tablets in play, either.

I truly hate to say something nice about Comcast, but they have an internet commercial where a parent can pause the wifi for the whole house.  Man, I would love that.  it would be off during dinner, and it would be off after 10 pm.

What’s the best smell in the world? 

Your mother?  Sorry, force of habit.  It is vanilla.  That is how white bread I am.  It is the greatest smell in the world.

At your new restaurant, what would be your lowest cost/highest profit item on your menu?

French fries.

Know what it is in Europe?  Water.  You don’t just get water in restaurants in Europe… or anywhere outside of North America.  You have to ask for it, and pay for it.  It comes bottled, but it’s corked.  So, it is just tap water.  In Prague, beer was literally cheaper than water.  Beer was $1 (and it is a big ass beer, just as you would imagine), and water was $3.  $4 for sparking water.  Sparkling water is when they fart in it for you.  In France, I assume.

I, however, will not charge you for water.  Nor will I open a restaurant.  You can’t possibly make a profit.  Especially when the servers were making $2.50 an hour are now being paid $15 an hour mandatory minimum wage.  I am all for a great minimum wage, but it isn’t the panacea people think it is.  If it is more expensive for someone to run their business, they will simply pass those costs on to you.  Great, now you make $15 an hour… and $15 will get you a plate of fries at a restaurant and not much more… because they have to pay out that minimum wage.  Or.. he business just folds.  That isn’t good for anyone, and all you are left with is hacky corporate megaliths.  I say this in the situation of servers who also get tips.  Of course they should make more than $2.50 an hour, but $15 an hour its nuts.

In Europe (I am not trying to impress you by mentioning this.  Its just that I was just there last month for two weeks) a tip is NOT a given at a restaurant.  If you are truly dazzled, you leave 10%.  When they run your credit card, they don’t even have receipts where you can add a tip.  You have to tell them in advance to add that amount.  It’s rather awkward.



Friday Fives – Todd is an asshole edition


If you were a cult leader, what are some of the things your cult would believe in? 

Stupid liberal stuff.  Women leaders, no guns.  NO Todd.  Fuck you, Todd!  the more you work and contribute, the less taxes you have to pay.  I’m not talking that Ayn Rand shit where we take care of your stupid baby, either… BETH.

I kinda like this dictum, from Spiderman Jesus – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.   OOOHHH… I just thought of something funny.  Here is a new saying for the GOP – “the needs of the money outweigh the needs of the few®”

If you started a new sport, what would be some basic rules and the point of the game? 

football, but without the pads.  The game is dangerous because these guys are stacked with 30 pounds of smashing gear.  To reference the great Bill Simmons (great sportswriter who stopped writing,, only does podcasts now) there should be a team weight limit.  In 97, or 98… something like that… the Packers played my new adopted home Broncos.  The Packers had the heaviest O line in the league, no one under 300 pounds.   Broncos had the lightest, with no player over 300 pounds.  This was a sea change, further catapulted by the athleticism of Michael Vick.

If you invented a new food craze, what would be the basis? 

Onions.  More onions.  EVERYTHING needs onions.  Look at you, that much is true!

If you founded a new country, what would one of the tenants of your new constitution? 

No Todd!  Rule #1.   Respect each other.  No guns, unless you are hunting;  No Todd.  Everyone learns to cook, and has to cook once a week.  For me, at least.  Except Todd, who even looks like a total asswipe.  I can not emphasize that enough.  No slander or maiming other’s character.  Except for Todd, who is a lazy, 1 eyed, dog fucker.  Like you mother!  Lastly, no ‘slut shaming’.  Beyond mean, it’s dumb.  If a guy gets laid, he’s a stud.  If a woman does it, she is a slut?  Dumb move, fellas.   Oh, except for Beth.  Beth is a stupid whore slut.  The rest of you ladies, though, are a-ok with me!


Friday Fives – at home? or in the theater

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would you rather

Download music // buy a CD

Buy a CD.  I want the physical thing, that can’t be lost in-between format changes or computer moves.  Plus, I love the liner notes.  Bands know they have to compete with digital downloads, so they are making great packages.  I love the liner notes, and the pictures, and (often) the little essays that come with an actual CD.

Use MP3 player // Use CD Player

In the truck, CD.  I have a really good system in the truck with a subwoofer.  At home, I use streaming.  It’s just easier.  Plus, I have a smart TV plugged into a very good bose home theater hifi.  So, I can watch live youtube music through the hifi, and it’s amazing.

Watch a movie at a theater // Rent a video

Same with a football game, at home.  Unless it is something like Lord of the Rings, I am happy to watch it all at home.  Have a big and nice LED tv, and (as I mentioned) a great hifi.  Plus, seeing a movie is wicked expensive.  Tix are about $10 each.  For me and the wifey to go see a movie, after a snack or two, we are out $30.  OR… I can wait 2 months and OWN it for more than half that cost.

Amusement park for the day // Picnic in a park for a day

Amusement part.  Do you think I am dead inside?  Am I that old?  Last year, I went to Water World for the first time.  It was amazing!

Read a magazine // Dollage with a magazine

Dollage with a magazine?  I have no idea what that sentence means.  What is dollaging?  I guess I ought to google it.  Ok, that didn’t work.  Google thought I wanted to say ‘collage’ a magazine.  Is that the question?  Who the hell writes this stuff?  Not me.  I rarely if ever write the questions, only the answers.  Am guessing dollaging is some kind of pinterest/etsy craft soft of thing.  How about a bonus question to make up for that one?

What cheap (<$20) guilty pleasure can turn a bad day into a good day?

A great gyro.  It’s the perfect sammich, and I RARELY find a perfect one.  Usually, too much bread.  A good gyro should be a thin bread.  See this?  Too much bread.  This?  Now we are getting closer.

Friday Fives – summertime, and the livin’s easy

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 It’s already June, for crying out loud!  What is your earliest summer memory? 

Swimming.  All my fondest memories of Phx involve swimming. Back then, summers were a full 3 months.  You had memorial day to labor day to do whatever.  Our parents were working.  At least, mine were  So… we were wild in the streets:  rapin’, murdering’, maxin & relaxin’?  No.  I’m 7.  Actually, it was pretty much my entire life… from about 7 to 18… summers off and parent’s working.  What do you do?  What I did was swim.

It is positively the thing I miss most about Phx.  People don’t have pools in Denver, and nor should they.  Swimming season would be too short.  Unless you had a heated pool.  I kinda do.  It’s a jacuzzi.

what’s the stupidest thing you’ve done as a kid over summer vacation. 

Too many to mention.  You know the phrase ‘idle hands are the devil’s playground’.  FACT.  So, here is a small, and dumb, little thing that I remember.  We were climbing around the school, getting up on the roof.  Most of our summer days also were spent at the school.  This is because they did ‘rec center’.  This was to open up the gym, have a teacher oversee, and let kids play basketball or ping pong or whatever.

anyhow, on to the stupid thing I did.  I got myself into a situation where I was too high on the roof, and couldn’t get down.  We didn’t have ladders to get on the room.  It was more of a slow parkour move.  We got to a point where we have to leave to go home and I had a very high jump I had to do to get down and I was just terrified.  I spent about an hour up there panicking.  I finally did the jump, and I was fine.  But that fear… I remember that.

It was really great.  It was free, something to do, somewhere centrally located for all of our friends, and (most importantly) air conditioned.

Do you have any summer traditions?

Sweating! We don’t have AC in our house, and we never had had AC since we lived in Colorado (21 years).  I know it’s a first world problem, but July and August can just suck ass.  The upside is that we are at work during the heat of the day.  However, the early evenings are just as not if not hotter inside.

What did you summer look like 15 years ago?

Just like this, but I was in the suburbs instead of out in the plains with a little bit of land.  Other than that, absolutely no different.  Wifey and I working, couple dogs, no kids, living the American dream.  Mostly, though, it just feels like I am at work every waking moment.  Oh well, at least work at AC.

 What do you hate about summer?

Wait!  You didn’t ask me what I like about summer, did you?  Well, I’mma gonna finish, anyway.  I LOVE the long days.  It is nice when I can get home from work and still do work on the property.  For the wifey, she loves it when she can come home and ride the horses.  Longer days are awesome!


Friday Fives – collection of collectors

Image result for guitar collection

Are you an active collector of anything?

Guitars, I guess.  I haven’t bought any in a few years, but I have a few.  If you count all the different types (electrics, basses, acoustics, ukulele’s) I have about 12 guitars.  Oh, and ticket stubs.  I have hundreds, and I need to find something cool to do with them.

 If you could quit your job and pursue your hobby full-time with financial security, what hobby would you pursue?

Travel writing.  Oh, and this.  More coming soon on that page with a few pieces already written about my recent awesome riverboat trip down the Danube.

What’s the gateway drug for your hobby?

Free first run movies and free booze on international flights.  Our last flight, the wifey and I lucked out with our own ROW to ourselves.  Meaning, we weren’t even sitting together.  This was to and from Germany, about 10 or 12 hours.

What one thing were you 100% into but now have no interest in?   

Reading, I don’t have time. I still read constantly, but I do it by audiobook.

What’s the weirdest hobby or interest you have heard of?

Piercing eyeballs.  You should totally do it!

Friday Fives – abridge your audiobooks, please for the love of all that is good!

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What is the TL;DR of your favorite book?

First, a translation of my hipster douchebag editor.  TLDR means ‘too long, didn’t read’.  The question is kind of contradictory.  If the book was too long to read, then I didn’t finish it.  So, I can’t call it a favorite.  My greatest struggle was the Great Gatsby.  I know it is a short book, and I tried to read it SO many times.  Thing is, we have the opening and it’s a compelling 20 pages.  Then, nothing happens for about 120 pages.  Then, everything comes unraveled and goes to shit in the last few pages.  I have to confess the only way I finished the story was by watching the movie.

here is what I skip on nearly every autobiography (90% of what I read these days is autobiographies). The first 3 to 5 chapters of every auto-biography.  They inevitably begin with childhood.  Then, you get 30 pages of that back story.  I skip it every time.  Here is a novel approach… put that at the end.  See, right now, I am not interested in your childhood.  I want to know about your successes ad battles and moments that made you great.  Once we have established that, and you and I now have the deep relationship.  NOW… I might be interested in your backstory and formative experiences.

You know how the Oscars start with best supporting actor and actress?  It is a BIG category… and they put it right up front.  Why?  Otherwise, everyone would skip the first 3 hours and just watch the last half of an hour.

Movies have learned this, too.  Generally, they start you in present day and get you hooked with a very compelling narrative.  THEN… and only then, do they weave in the backstory.  Movies do this, but books don’t.  You know how Guns & Roses double album could (and should) have been made just a single great CD?  You know how it sold horribly because it was sold as two separate albums (as opposed to a double disc single release package)?  That is how I feel about a lot of these books.

As for this ‘too long to read’… that goes for a LOT of books.  Never read Moby Dick, or Crime and Punishment, or 100 years of solitude.  I do not doubt these are amazing books.  But, I don’t have a year to set to read (or listen) to them.  I have a great book in the bathroom I am reading, about the top recruiter for the KGB during the cold war.  It’s not about him, it is BY him.  I read maybe a 2 pages a day.  Had I that book on audiobook, I would have been done with it 3 months ago.   Problem is, it isn’t available on audiobook.

Do you listen to Audio books? If so, why?

Always.   Every waking minute.  If I am not driving, I am listening to them in earbuds while doing chores around the house.  I love to read, but don’t have the downtime at home.  What I do have tons of time doing is driving.  I go through about 2 books a month, and it is awesome.  I use audible, which is quite good.  Not great, though, because they don’t have an unlimited option.  You only get 1 book a month.

why?  Because I am always in my car, and I am sick of rock radio playing the same songs every 45 minutes.  My truck antenna broke about 5 years ago, so the radio doesn’t even work.  never bothered to fix it.

To supplement that, though, I also use my library.  They rent audiobooks, virtually.  What I mean by that is I never step foot in a library.  I have an app on my phone (called Overdrive… it’s free) and borrow books through there.  Here is what it looks like on your phone.

Image result for overdrive logo

Bonus insider info – you can have multiple library accounts on there.  Plus, you no longer have to live in a district to be a library member.  It’s a state thing.  Perhaps you live in Elbert County, like me.  Their library is 3 bibles, and some old Haynes manuals for 80’s Camaros.   I don’t even think they are online.  BUT… I also have a library card through Douglas County.  This one is money, because Douglas county is RICH.  Specifically, the 7th richest county in America.  It’s just upper middle class white folk, like me.  No drama, and no crime.  So, the city spends their money on things like dope ass libraries.

Now, did I just imply Douglas County is safe because it’s all white?  No, I did not.  You did, however, infer it.  That makes you the racists, asshole!  I rant more about this on my ‘what I am reading’ tab… but you really MUST get into books on tape and podcasts.  Here is some rough numbers I have put together on the topic

How much time do you spend in your car?  I’ll tell you.  The average driver does 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year.  Let’s say because of commuting and traffic you average 30 mph.  If I did my math right, that is 500 hours a year you spend in your car.  The average audio book is between 8 – 10 hours.  Using the high side, for illustrative purposes… that is 62 books you could have listened to last year.  Educate yourself, and entertain yourself.  Stop listening to Clear Channel I heart Radio… it’s the same company, btw.  Clear Channel just changed their name after some pretty visible lawsuits busting them for payola, censorship, market manipulation… bla bla bla, and all six songs they play.

so the question should be framed, why aren’t you consuming books on tape?  Enjoy your drive, learn stuff, be entertained… all at the same time.  Secret bonus – ALWAYS look for a book to be read by its author.

Who should definitely NOT be narrating children’s books?

Ozzy.  I have read a couple books by Ozzy.  Almost always, autobiographies are read by their author.  You don’t want Ozzy reading.  He is unintelligent.  As was the late Doctor Hunter S Thompson.  Both have been subjected to subtitles when they are on programs.

WAIT… hold on.  I have an addition and complaint about audiobooks.  Please offer more abridged options.  When I started getting heavy into books on tape, they were universally about 6 to 8 hours.  Now, they range around 20.  I just finished ‘Hellhound on his Trail’ about the assassination Dr King and the subsequent fugitive hunt for James Earl Ray.  I skipped 6 hours of that book, and missed nothing.  The author literally explained what Ray did each and every day he was on the run.  What he read, what he hate.  That was it… for 6 hours.  While I fully get many folks may want that must exposition, why not offer a 6 hour edition?  You already paid for the recording, just cut it down.  Plus, that kind of minutiae… the author couldn’t have known 50 years later.  So, it is just speculation.

I guess if I read listened to Steven King books, I would want them all narrated by James Earle Jones.

What would be some good books for a 12 or 13 year old boy could pickup and then learn to love to read? 

 Glad you asked!  Nothing that school gives you.  Anything that is a ‘newbury award winner’ is a boring and sanitized piece of boringness.  The books I was given made me HATE reading.  Yeah, go ahead and give a 12 year old kid the Scarlet Letter.  There is nothing more a young fertile and bored and horny mind wants to read than 300 pages of Victorian era repression and gender roles in 18 century England.  No one cares.  I have a literature degree and I don’t care.

So… I HATED reading when I was a kid, and yet ended up with a literature degree.  How, and why?  All credit goes to Kermit.  He taught me books can be amazing and violent and thoughtful and sexual and funny.  In high school, he turned me on to Hunter Thompson, Henry Miller, and Jack Kerouac.

Then, he turned me on to Salvador Dali and the Beatles.  Of course, I knew the poppy radio Beatles… sterilized music from my parent’s generation.   Oh no, he said… listen to this.  He fed me Sgt Peppers and the White Album.

Maybe 12 is a bit young, but who cares.  If you want to show books can be great and beautiful and dangerous.  Someone that age is just learning to test the bounds of society.  Let’s show them reading can be great.  With that said:

  • Alice in Wonderland, my favorite book in the whole world
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter Thompson
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Now… when they are 16, you can give them some Henry Miller, or Jim Carrol.  But, 12 is too young for that.  The funny thing is this, if these guys weren’t writers, or white… they would all be in jail.  They should be in jail.  This is why I would like to go into jails and do an English program.  Long as I can choose the books.  I would say “the difference between these guys and you… is they wrote about it.  And didn’t get caught.  Reading an Hunter Thompson book is more like reading a rap sheet of felonies.  But if you write about it, well, you aren’t a criminal… you are a cultural hero!

What’s the most disturbing book you’ve ever read?

Gotta go with Alice in Wonderland.  Sure, it is a ‘kids’ book.  But, its also a really fucked up and psychedelic tale.  One of the big reasons of why I LOVE this book is how Alice handles everything.  She never freaks out, and is never mad.  She is always polite, and utterly open to the weirdness that unfolds around her.  Did you know it is not polite to eat animals you have been introduced to?  Alice does, and she handles it beautifully.  She is not a pushover, either.  She takes on the Red Queen, and was he first to ever do so.  She is a modern day heroin and role model for all time.

That being said, I don’t read horror or thrillers.  But, an honorary good mention goes to ‘June 1941 -Hitler and Stalin’.   This story concentrates on the last few days before Hitler invades Russia in WW2.  Stalin WILDLY mis-judged Hitler.  Stalin’s plan was that he and Hitler would carve up the earth after the war.  Stalin assumed he and Hitler were totally good.  He had ZERO fear (or preparation, it turns out) to defend against Germany.  Stalin’s generals and spies warned him that Germany was amassing at the Russian border for an attack.  Even up to the night before, when the attack was imminent, Stalin that it would just a show for England and the allies.  That is what a raging narcissist Stalin was.  He thought ‘no one would dare attack us.  I am Stalin.’  It’s a pretty good story of megalomania.

It turned out to be a very good thing, though.  By attacking Russia, Germany completely over extended themselves.  There is just too much land to fight.  Plus, doofus Hitler attacked in Winter.  His army was not prepared for the bitter ice cold.  In short, it’s why Hitler was unable to take over the Earth.  Had he made a pact with Stalin, as Stalin assumed he would… it probably would have worked.

Let’s play catch throw

What’s better than that?  A stock photo of a father and son playing throw.  You were thinking ‘catch’, weren’t you?  Turns out your memories were wrong.  You were never playing catch, you were playing ‘throw’.  Besides, I am pretty sure the NFL or Gene Simmons own the word ‘catch’.

How do I know you weren’t playing ‘catch’?  Or… how do I know what the difference is?  Well… when your pops threw you the ball, you thought that part was over when the ball was in your hands, didn’t you?  In the old parlance, you thought that you had ‘caught’ it.  You magnificent naïve bastard.

Once you had the ball in your hand… once you ‘caught’ it… did you

  • Turn upfield?
  • Demonstrate possession?
  • Commit a further act of football?
  • Turn into an active runner?
  • Have the ball clearly long enough to become an active runner?

all you had was the ball in your hands.  That is a step, it is step 1 of 342 steps required to make a catch® in the NFL.   Since we truly don’t know what a catch is… what shall we call such a play in its infancy?  Like… what do we call a catch before the lawyers come in and adjudicated its catchiness?  To simplify, let’s call it a ‘grab’.  Someone threw you the ball, its in your hands… it’s a ‘grab’ (for this discussion only)

Now, let’s break it down… each one of the above.  Did you ‘turn upfield’?  What the hell does that mean?  It means after you took the ball, did you turn and begin running toward your endzone?

Did you Demonstrate possession?  Do you have any historic, dated, selfies of you and the ball?  Do you have receipts throwing at least three consecutive payments on said football?  Did you run up to the ref, bonk him in the nose gently with the football, and then run off?  Sure, the latter will get you kicked out of the game.  However… loophole… for them to accuse you of assault, they have to admit you possessed the ball.  Lastly, is your name in the stitching?

Did you commit a ‘further act of football‘?  I shit you not, that was the legal verbiage.

Then it wasn’t a catch, dummy.  There are just SOME of the rules of ‘what constitutes a catch’.  When you got home that night, did you put the football away?  That clearly demonstrates lack of control.

You disgust me.  Don’t even bother getting a flu shot this year, you couldn’t even catch a cold!   Now, let’s get out there and play some throw