Wednesday, November 30, 2005


With all this avian flu talk flying around, I opted to take the flu shot this year. For me, it's a hit-n-miss affair. Some years I get the shot and I promptly get sick a week or two later. Other years I don't get the shot and I delay getting sick by 3-4 weeks. The only difference seems to be whether I have an extra $20 in my pocket one year as compared to another. Well, as per my history, getting the shot this year resulted in my being sick over the T-day weekend, somewhat appropriate since we gorged on the avian as the shot of the avian sent me into one of those back-of-the-eyeballs throbbing pain, throat/nose congestion, deep-voiced 2 day colds. My ever-loving wife, dispensing dollops of wit as she dispensed rolls of gauze (about that a little later), commented that I seemed to be enjoying my misery as my voice lingered in the Barry White register. I was the Deep Voice of Sick Love.
When not Barrying my ever-loving wife with requests for liquids and meds, I was tabulating the home remedies suggested by family members and tryed by yours truly. I'm sure you folks out there all have your own versions, ones perhaps you'd be willing to share. Here's a few from our sickness domicile.

1) Hot honey (3 tbsp) and lemon juice.
2) Vicks Vapo-rub spread on gauze and wrapped tightly around one's chest.
3) Cloves of unpeeled garlic strung around a string around one's neck.
4) Hot water and lemon. For drinking purposes.
5) A Hat. In my case a favorite old French beret, clomped tightly down on the pate.
6) Covers. Lots of them. When lying on your back, there should be many piled on you that you can't see the opposite wall. Goose down (if you're not allergic) is a vital component, perhaps due to the avian/goose spirit thing happening.
7) Socks. At least two pair on each foot, adding more as the strength of your gait allows.
8) Vaporizers running at high output. You should have to breath through a snorkle because it's so humid in the room.

Any other non-doctor (well, medical doctor) recommendations to add?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Looking Good

You know you've got it when you look fabulous, even when posing with a pardoned turkey. This pic is from the White House site detailing all pardoned roasters from Harry T. to our latest president. Subtitle on the latter's picture was helpful so as to distinguish the bird from the Bird. This picture of H.W. Bush will tell you why the current prez' dad did not get re-elected.

This photo site link came from the excellent A Fool in the Forest.

Completely Subjective Brining Results

Using the technique (sans the Buckshot element; the tree rats must have sensed danger) described in an earlier entry, two seperate turkeys and two different days were used as test events. Sunday, November 20th and Thanksgiving Day, November 24th were the dates to test out brining times on seperate subjects, errr..., guests. The Nov. 20th 8 lb. turkey breast was dunked in the brine for about 6 hours while the T-day bird was in the saline solution for 12 hours.
Same mixture concoction.
(Relatively) same turkey weight.
Same cooking method.
The consensus was surprising, well, at least for me. The shorter brine swim of 6 hours resulted in a juicier bird, not that the 12 hour dunk was bad. I'd expected the longer duration would have resulted in more juices, especially when the 6 brining recipes I'd used as reference points all pointed to an optimal soak of 12-16 hours.
But, there was a positive side to the longer brine soak.
More turkey was left over from the second go-around, which made trying out Mr. Daddy-O's Southwest Turkey Chili recipe easy.
As I'd mentioned in the an earlier piece, I am no fan of turkey. It's a custom not a treat. There was serious discussion for future turkeys to be faux birds, i.e., taxidermy specials. Display said fake, spray some eau de turkey around the bird and then sit back and enjoy fried chicken, everyone's preference anyway. After the initial investment, it would certainly be a bargain. Just wrap it in plastic and pack it with the Christmas ornaments.
But, Mr. Daddy-O's Southwest Turkey Chili was a revelation. I followed the recipe to the T, substituting only strained Tuscan tomatoes for the tom-juice and adding a tsp of cinnamon and a tsp & 1/2 Hershey's raw chocalate powder. The taste is sublime, the resulting chili sauce a joy to roll around one's tongue, the turkey...well the turkey actually tasted of something. Go there and test it out for yourself. You'll be looking forward to leftovers. This recipe will be high on my comfort food list.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday Movie

***The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy***
In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

So, the world's gone retail mad today and there's actually some movies worth seeing. I think it'll be John Cusak in Ice Harvest, even though the reviews have been lousy. Or, hold off until the release of next week's Syriana and stay in and dvd "Coffee & Cigarettes".

Monday, November 21, 2005

An Add On

Usually, in the state of Delaware, the mention of Bear automatically conjurs a visual of reptiles and humans co-habitating. So, it was a pleasant and humorous surprise to come upon Jeff at No, Ma'am, this IS my Job. He doesn't seem to have reptiles in his house; his kids keep him busy enough as a stay at home dad. His blog offers an interesting take on his profession.

Brining – The Four B’s

I hate turkey. Even moist juicy turkey. Give me that spice and flavor sponge known as a chicken any day. And most days are any days except for Thanksgiving and Christmas which are THE DAYS, or B-days in our household. While I’m not a fan of eating the big bird, concocting different ways of preparing it is quite enjoyable. As the designated cooker, I’ve almost run the complete gamut of turkey preparation. I’ve stayed away from the boiling in hot oil and lead method, a technique that’s always been akin (to me) to the “You’ll-shoot-your-eye-out” version of a bb-gun. Way too many stories of people burning themselves, their decks, their houses. Minimal physical damage both to myself, my loved ones, and my property has been the guiding light in food preparation. As a lad, I blew out the windows of 3 rooms in our apartment making cookies in a gas stove. Even my uni-brow was singed off which, as a Croatian, was the extreme of relinquishing one's manhood. So, I’m intimate with the destructive power of food concoctions. Here then is a relatively harmless way to prepare your holiday bird.
Brining the turkey has been my preferred method the last 3-4 years. Things seemed to turn out favorably. The meat was juicy, the kitchen did not burn down or suffer permanent bad smell syndrome, no guest/family member was incapacitated by the finished product. What more can you hope for? Besides, brining is just up my proverbial alley. I believe in the supreme power of water, whether it’s in motion, as in coming out your tap, or if it’s in its natural and, granted slow, stage of purifying and cleansing, also known as soaking. My ever-loving wife and I are on opposite sides of this concept. For me, conscious of water conservation and minimal use of chemical cleaning agents, there’s nothing as effective as a 4-5 hour soak for cleaning our dishes. The ever-loving wife, put off by the dish-dip sitting in our sink, tends to run the hot water at high velocity and liberally squirt the dish-washing liquid as if the avian flu has taken up residence in our Kohler sink. Brining is a kin of the dish soak. Water, flavored with enough salt to kill any bacteria, gently, surreptitiously imbues itself into the fabric of the meat, sealing in liquid and taste. So, just keep the Four B’s in mind and your family and guests will safely nod off to turkey induced zzz-land.

Buckets – Well, "Bucket" really, but, being a guy, multiples always make a task sound more challenging. Get yourself a new one, if it's tool acquisition you’re after. I tend to stick with any 5 gallon bucket that’s been lying around the laundry room. The laundry room has detergent, cleaning agents, bleach, stain removal sticks, all the usual indicators that there’s some kind of high-powered chemical cleaning going on. The bucket’s got to be clean in this environment, right? Do yourself a favor (cause you’ll hear about it otherwise) and do not use any bucket lying near the sump pump, sewage drainage pipes, or by your oil change accoutrement pile in the garage. Just like people, the company a bucket keeps is the company it reflects. If you have a choice of plastic or galvanized, go with the galvanized bucket. You’ll thank me later (see Buckshot).

Bags – After carefully selecting your bucket (and don’t call it a pail; a two syllable word for your tools of the cooking trade is always preferable to a one syllable word….hmm, except for "bag", where the short-'n-sweet principle applies), it's time to prepare the bird bed. Well, bird bag, actually. Go for the heavier gauge, don't use those see-through flimsy plastic bags, unless you truly prefer the "essence of bucket" as one of your principal seasonings. Since you’ll be loading this bag with nefarious looking liquids, I suggest a dark tone. White bags, while suggesting sanitary are not beneficial for one’s sanity. The white bags are diaphanous, a trait usually more associated with the costumes of love, not the costumes of poultry. So, unless you are having some relations with your turkey that I'd rather not allow a fleeting notion of to skitter through my mind, you should use a dark bag. In fact, the darkest thickest plastic bag you can find.
The bag should be placed in the bucket, with the top of the bag wrapped around the lip of the bucket. The bag should be opened and spread out hugging the contours of the bucket. When you look down into the bucket, the black hole staring up at you should seem as if it will suck the very soul from the tiny protected core of your self-image.
Into a large kettle/pot (the largest you can find), heat up 2-3 gallons of cold water. Measure and pour into this pot, 2 cups of Kosher salt, ¾ cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar, 10-15 peppercorns, 3 teaspoons of the following spices- rosemary, garlic powder, Dalmatian sage, red pepper flakes, 3 halved red onions and any other flavors you have a yen for. As soon as the salt and sugar have dissolved, turn the heat off. No boiling!!
Now, a lot of cookbooks tell you to cool the water down, but they don’t tell you how except by using that dangerous word, "wait". They may suggest you put it into the fridge. Right. Who has the room in a fridge during this time of year for anything except one more slice of cheese? I never got into that Wolf Stove, walk-in refrigerator kitchen re-hab work, so we have your basic refrigerator. Certainly not enough room for a large pot or, as we shall shortly see, a five gallon bucket. Granted, brining is just a short Alogonquin word for "waiting in a cold pool of salty water". But, you don’t want to be waiting so that you can wait. This is where that deck that you spent last summer building and never using comes into play. It’s your quick-cool station. Take the pot out there, throw in a small pot of ice-cubes, and let the chilly weather do the rest. Once the water is cool, bring your bucket out to your "brining" deck. Empty the contents of the pot into the bag-in-the-bucket. Lean over and brace yourself. Even in the cold temperature, your nostril hairs should start curling with the smell emanating from your turkey bag.

Bird – Look, how often do you have a turkey dinner at home? How often do you go through these preparations? You spent less time deciding what college you’d be attending, right? So, here’s the key point. Don’t go cheap on the bird. Get a Bell & Evans or one of those turkey/poultry farms that allowed your meal to be perambulating around, out in the sun, eating and enjoying its life on earth before it reached its unnatural end. If you get it fresh, which I highly suggest, you don’t have to worry about the thawing part. Take the turkey outside on your "brining" deck, unwrap it and wash it down with your hose. A word of caution here. You know that high-powered pressure washer that you got this year because you wanted to scrape the paint off your house the aqua way? Stay clear of that for this job, unless you want a scene on your porch worthy of a John Carpenter movie. After the hose-down, drop the bird into the bucket. Again, cookbooks suggest you put the bucket in the fridge, which means, for most of us, you have to empty the fridge and put everything out on your cold deck. Why not just leave the bucket with the bird outside? Place a large cookie sheet on top of the bucket. Then get some bricks or heavier wood pieces that are around due to an overestimate of material needs for a previous home project and place them on the bucket. Let time and water do its magic thing. Wait a minimum of 6 hours, a maximum of 18 hours before extricating the turkey from its chilly bath. Hose is off once more. Pat it dry with paper towels (the kind that don’t break up into small (but chewable) pieces. Then use whatever cooking/heating recipe your family has been horse-collared with through your multiple generations.

…and finally the fourth B.

Buckshot – Comes in handy if the tree rats (known as squirrels in other parts of the country) are particularly aggressive and tired of all those nuts and berries on your trees. Yes, you’ve followed my advice and not used a plastic bucket but gone and purchased that clangy galvanized steel one. Tree rats, operate more under the principal of determination than that of intelligence. Had youo used a plastic bucket, their determination would have allowed them to chew a hole in the bucket and then the bag. Your carefully and scientifically balanced brine would have washed out onto your "brine" deck. Your turkey then would have been slowly chewed by a pack of tree rats during the night while you were in your bed dreaming of drumsticks and mosit breast meat.
Luckily, you went metal.
That metallic scraping sound you hear coming from your back porch is not some malcontent zombie sharpening his axe, it’s a squirrel trying to chew through the metal bucket. Letting loose with some buckshot will usually do the trick. If the sound doesn’t chase them off, I’m sorry to say that you may have to commit small mammal murder. Keeping in mind that just below the surface of that furry tailed soft ivory chested little beast is the mentality of a NYC sewer rat will steel your emotions toward the deed. Just make sure you don’t wing ‘em. The only thing more aggressive than a wounded tree rat is a Grizzly and at least with Grizzlies, playing dead seems to turn them off..mostly.

Happy Brining to All and to All a Good Bite.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Family Health

Better to end this week with a Bruce Kaplan than the previous "interesting" post.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Looking up

A piece by Michael Manske of The Glory of Carnolia and San Diego Reader fame recently on Self-Esteem and Suicides is worth a visit. Some professors at Bradley University concocted a survey and proceeded to draw conclusions on the results, based on the scores of each particular country. The subject was self-esteem. Mr. Manske then ties in suicide rates, globally speaking.
This little post starting a wee bit of reminiscing on my part. Back to the days when I was a 7th grader in the old Croatia, when it was still Yugoslavia.
I was back in the Old Country for a year’s worth of education so that the Croatian that I had so quickly and shamefully forgotten when we first came to the states could be recovered. My (ultra-limited) natural abilities for learning to speak a language combined with the difficulty of this particular language, with its rules and counter-rules (Learning Croatian being akin to learning to playing the violin with one’s feet while sitting on a wood-burning stove) made for quite an interesting year. “Interesting” as in that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”
We shuttled between various relatives in the short year that we were in Zagreb. For a short while, I lived with an aunt just off of the central square, nowadays called Jelicic Plac (Jelicic Square). Her apartment was in a 6 story building fairly close to the tallest building in the city, its first skyscraper. That building was called the Neboder, which is the Croatian word for skyscraper. Since there were no other skyscrapers in the city, this building became The Skyscraper. Even after other taller skyscrapers went up, they were called "neboder" rather than "Neboder".
During my short stay with this wonderful aunt and her family, living in the center of the largest city in Croatia offered a continuous stream of happenings. From Monday through Saturday, I'd take the tramway from the square to my grammar school in another part of the city. The tram stop was less than 1 block from my aunt's building, so I tended to cut it close as far as catching the #9. Sometimes, I'd miss it, because the usual stop was closed off and I'd have to walk quite a few blocks to catch another streetcar. The main reason the stop would have been closed was that a body was on the street.

Someone had jumped from the Neboder.

The relatives tell me that was the worst year for suicides, specifically for jumpers. Those who ventured up to the roof of the Neboder were said to be in for the Duboki Pad (Deep Fall). After a while, the management of the Neboder caught on that it wasn’t good for business to have people regularly jumping from your building, so guards and locks were implemented. A determined person could still make their way through. For others, the alternative would be the surrounding buildings. Shorter versions of the Neboder. These deaths were called the Plitki Pad (Shallow Fall). The block on which the Neboder was located was packed with shorter versions of the original, all together forming a wall edging the four sides of that block. In the center of this block was empty space. A locked in sound amplification area. Sometimes, a jumper would not throw themselves onto Ilica, the main street. They would go to the other side of the skyscraper and throw themselves into the enclosed space. On such an occasion, if the window in the kitchen or in my bedroom were open, I’d hear a boom and I’d know someone had jumped.

"Pogledaj gore" (Look up) became the phrase for the morning salutations as we left for school. Supposedly, one pedestrian was almost killed when a jumper landed very closely to them one morning. In kid-dom, the "almost" quickly became the "certain" and we began our mordant math on the number of deaths so far. Since I was one of my only classmates who commuted from downtown, I was expected to provide the gory details of any death. This worked out fine, since I never saw anyone; I was usually asleep or in class when someone died. But on one morning, I came out of our building shortly after someone had landed on the main street. The body was already covered with copies of that morning's paper and with someone's coat. Blood was pooling around the person, with a bright red rivulet running into the black steel tram tracks. A younger woman, one of the municipal cleaners, was brushing the flow with her long twiggy broom. I could see tears rolling off her cheeks and mixing in with the blood of the jumper. This must have been her first incident. Later that year I came upon a similar situation, but the cleaning woman, an older stockier version, wore a blank expression as she hurriedly swept the street. The sharp rasp of her broom echoing in the street. I stopped providing any descriptions after that, ashamed of the attention given to me by someone's tragic death.

My aunt lived on the third floor of her apartment building. The staircase wending its way through the building was broad and the steps short. One could easily take two steps at a time which meant a typical teenager could take three. The steps were finished with an Adriatic blue ceramic tile, a bit slippery after a rain or snow fall. Because the steps were so short and the tile so slippery, when coming down one could slide down by taking a running start. Coming home, one could seemingly fly up the stairs, bounding up through the building.
There was an iron gate at the foot of the stairway, requiring a key. While fumbling through one's pockets for the key, someone may be exiting the elevator. It was then easier, though slower, to take the lift than to keep on searching for that key.
One day, coming home later from school, I found myself tearing through my pockets for the keys for the gate to the stairway. That keychain also held the keys to the elevator, which one needed to get onto the elevator unless someone was exiting as you were hoping to enter the elevator car. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall shadowy figure. It wasn’t odd to see someone just moseying around the lobby, especially in the colder months of the winter. Someone may be waiting for a friend, a tenant in the building to come down so they can go to one of the 4 or 5 kavanas (coffee houses) in the immediate area. Or, someone may just duck in to get a bit warmed up from the bitter blowing outside. I didn't recognize this man as one of the regulars, so I assumed he was there for a warm-up.
As I was still digging through my pants for the keys, the lights of the elevator stopped counting down. A tenant from the top floor got out, looked at me, swirled the top of my hair as was the wont of most older folks, smiled, and held the elevator door open for me. I went inside and, just as the door was shutting, found myself in the small elevator car with the shadowy stranger.
He slipped in and leaned, slightly, on the far wall. He was about 6’ 2” but seemed taller because of his gauntness. Though he seemed to be using the wall to support him, he stood ramrod straight, his cloudy eyes staring straight ahead, his hair, grayish tinged black, standing resolutely high and straight.
The dignity he bore was, alas, not reflected in his suit. The fine cut, the crisp cloth, the tightly sewn and aligned buttons. All were now gone, the well-dressed spirit had deserted the cloth. Only his posture, now stark due to his skinniness, remained, a faint reflection of what must have been an impressive gentleman.

I punched "III" on the control box. From his position, he extended a long arm and scraped on "VI". I peeked over. I knew who lived on the sixth floor; his face was a new one attached to that floor. I continued to busily go through my pockets, just an activity to keep me engaged in my own solitude and a siganl to him to stay in his.
"Nice day", he said in a high and airy voice.
I mumbled some acknowledgement and pressed "III" over and over again, all the while knowing this would not make the elevator go any faster.
"It’s cold but it’s a fine purity. A clean day for flying",
What? Did I hear that? I faked a coughing attack.
"Are you o.k.?"
I nodded, excessively, if I recall correctly.
We reached the third floor. I hurriedly pushed the door open and grabbed my schoolbag.
"Good bye, son".
It was the loneliest sound I’d ever heard.
The elevator door closed and started its ascension to the 6th floor. I rushed to my aunt’s door, keys at the ready. Quickly opening the door, I went directly to my bedroom. I cracked open a window slightly, so I could hear...anything. An hour or two passed with no booms. I walked to the living room, where windows offered a view of the entire square. I pulled the long drapes back, swung the casements windows in, and leaned a bit over the window ledge.
No trollies were stopped.
No crimson on the street below.
I stuck my head out and looked up.
There he was, his head poking out from the tip of the flat roofline, hair still perfectly vertical. He saw me after a while and waved a fluttery good-bye.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So, is that a joke?

From The Times, an excerpt.

"Laughter and humour are also being studied for their effects on health. Research methods include using a tickle machine, and probing with electrodes to find the funny parts of the brain. Laughter, like stress, increases blood pressure and heart rate and changes breathing. But unlike stress, it reduces levels of chemicals circulating in the body. In one study, people's cortisol and adrenaline were reduced after watching a favourite comedy video for 60 minutes.

It's difficult to resist the logic of the happiness doctors. Stay in your Eeyore-ish bubble of existentialist angst and have a life that's short, sickly, friendless and self-obsessed. Or find a way to get happy, and long life, good health, job satisfaction and social success will be yours. You'd better start writing that gratitude letter now.


Men often complain about their wives' volatility. Now research confirms that women really are both happier and sadder. Positive and negative emotions are not polar opposites — you can have both in your life. Women experience more of all emotions except anger. First it was found that women experience twice as much depression as men. Next, researchers found that women report more positive emotion than men, more frequently and more intensely. It all points to men and women having a different emotional make-up. Cognitive psychologists say that men and women have different skills related to sending and receiving emotion. Women are expressive; men conceal or control their emotions. Women convey emotion through facial expression and communication; men express emotion through aggressive or distracting behaviour. Does the difference lie in biology, social roles or just women's willingness to report emotion? That's up for debate.

Which all comes down to ???

Women love the Men of Humour!
Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.
Robin Williams and any au Pair.

So, forget all that free weights, fly weights, middle weights, kung fu, bugaboo, peekaboo, and poo poo pa dooh.

Hone those verbal skills to match the ready wit you've been hiding and get out there and woo without the boo-hoo.

The Surprise of Familiarity

Out on a drive in the backroads of northern Delaware, where one can see Mansions that don't have a preceding "Mc" attached, the ever-loving wife noted, apropos of no topic being bandied about at the time, "It's those people who have cd's or dvd's who never play them but are enthralled into gluing themselves into a sofa when a song or a movie, a copy of which they already have in some form, is playing on the radio and tv.." And here she caught her breath and I pause for a stoppage in say. "...It's those people that I don't understand!"

My spouse, a delightful creature of magnificent memory, quick wit, and ready tongue, realizes that the best time to have these type of conversations is when I'm behind the wheel of a car and she is seated next to me, giving her one of the classic seating positions. The "Better to hear her" position. It's also a position of weakness for me, as I must involve some of my already limited cognitive powers on conducteering our modest car safely to our destination. What wits I have about me are now reduced by the act of driving, so fending off the point of her topic becomes an ordeal I try to ignore at least long enough until we get to a stoplight.
As the backroads offered no succor in stoppage, she continued,"Why do they get such a thrill in watching a movie on tv or listening to a song on the radio when they have THESE THINGS accumulating in the house?" I may be deaf to the barrage but I am not blind to the target. Them Things can only mean Those Things and when you're mixing them's and those's, you can only be talking about two things.
Billy Holliday singing "God Bless the Child" or the cd/book accumulations in our humble chateau. In either case, you're discussing some deep blues.

Did you know that Maglites were invented by a Croatian? My wife was not familiar with this fact although she was quite aware of the features of these flashlights. By turning the head of the light to the right, a broad amount of light shot out from the Maglite. By continuing to turn the head to the right, the light increased its intensity while reducing it's coverage. Turn it right enough and a pin of intense light bore through the object the light was pointed at. Sound, like light, is also a wave. In the proper mouth, sound can be crafted to hit a general topic or concentrated to shine its waves on a specific point in the ear, cutting through the Outer and Middle Ear and honing in in the Vestibulo-Cochlear Nerve

Did you know that torpedoes were invented by, yes, a Croatian? The ever-loving wife was quite familiar with this below-the-surface weaponry. I'm a overladen freighter of raw ideas, slowly plowing through dark waters of doubt and rationality. I'd shag one of those ideas and haul it up for inspection and polishing, thinking it ready for public pronouncement. By chance, I'd look over the side and just catch the propeller end of the ever-loving wife's logic as it keyed in on my idea. No double-hulls for me, in most cases. The bow would dip and the stern quickly stands up end as my idea quickly sinks.
But this time, I think I may be able to fend her off. And, ladies and gents, fending is quite important. There's a cargo of books, cd's, and dvd's that are hoping to stay on the good ship and not get blown out, flotsam and jetsam for the easy picking.

So, what is the attraction of viewing, say "What About Bob?", on tv, on a commercial channel, chopped up by commercials stealing the very soul of the movie right in front of you, when you can easily plop in the dvd that you own of this movie? Is it inertia? Is it the commercial station's diabolically subliminal signal permeating the cranium with invisible skeltal fingers squeezing the last miiligrams of self-control out of you?
But, I tend to think of these entertainment moments in terms of comfort food. These movies or music cd’s are the lifetracks of positive feelings we had at some point in the past. With the hectic pace of it all, the past may only have been a month or two ago. What we perceived as personal is actually global; there are millions of people watching/listening to these oft-repeated lifetracks. But experiencing it again (and again and ad infinitum) in the confines of one’s home leaves us with the deceptive warmth of personal choice. Ah, the pleasures of self-delusion! And choice is what it’s all about. We think we are choosing, because we do have the power to flick to another channel, but the choice has already been made by some programming exec in a tall building in NYC. We sink back down into our couches and bind in a doldrum of vacancy, connecting to a familiar site with a surprised look/listen. “Hey, they’re playing our song/movie!”
Poor, poor man. Taken in again by the surprise of familiarity.

Here, then, The Usual Suspects:
Mrs. Doubtfire. (This movie is close to having its own channel, isn't it? Mrs. Doubtfire 24/7.)
Shawshank Redemption.
The already mentioned What About Bob?

Christmas is coming, so expect more Surprises of Familiarity.
The Christmas Story.
Home Alone 1, 2, & 3.
National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.

Peel Me a Grape

A recent post by the much-visited Croatian Blogmeister Draxblog notes in a depressingly humorous entry that the broadcasting of The Apprentice in Croatia is doomed. "The real reason why The Apprentice is going to fail is ...its entire concept is alien, if not insulting, to Croatian values and way of life." An interesting take on how televised raw ambition collides with the reality of self-annointed indolence. Put your tongue firmly against your cheek and bite.

I See Dead People

The Philadelphia Eagles never had a chance last night. It just took them 57 minutes to realize that.

They acted as if they did. They were winning 7-0, 14-7, 17-7, 20-7, and finally 20-14. They were smiling, laughing, totally imbued in winning in front of their ravenous home crowd. Barkeep! Cheesesteaks and Yards for everyone.

Bill Parcell's younger brother Don died last Wednesday. Bill Parcells went to the funeral on Monday morning. Don Parcells' spirit then accompanied his big brother Bill down the NJ Turnpike to Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. Nicknamed The Linc.
There was a link.
Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams, uniform number 31, intercepted an ill-advised late game pass from the soon-to-be much maligned Eagle QB, Donavan McNabb, and ran it in 47 yards for the winning game margin of 21-20. His score followed a previous Cowboy score 21 seconds earlier.

Don Parcells, West Point grad, Purple Heart award soldier in Vietnam, successful banker, and late brother to Coach Parcells wore 31 as a running back when he played for Army. He even scored a touchdown in the annual Army-Navy game with Prez. Kennedy (ex-Navy) in attendance. In Philly.

Roy Williams, the excellent Cowboy linebacker, put the hurt on the Eagles last year when he collar-tackled (now an illegal method of snuffing out an offensive player) Terrell Owens, ending his regular season. Last night, #31 was channelling Don Parcells. He could see dead people. Unfortunately, the Iggles could not, until there were were only 3 minutes left in the game.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Recalcitrant Duties

Being called out (and rightfully so) by Mr. Whisky Prajer, for my not-so-frequent entries was a low day. Unlike Mr. Xenoverse, also called out on the non-blogging rug, I didn't have a ready excuse like having Trent Lott hair or trying to de-cipher "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie.

It's been a bit bizarre, in a ghoulish way, being connected with the state of Delaware lately, so I've been keeping a low profile. Frederica, Delaware an embarrassment of news story riches already, now on the international scene with over 281,000 Goggle references for a truly hideous story. Please note the comments on the story by the wife of the Frederica Mayor. If you plan on visiting there, be sure to bring your boxing gloves.

I'm keeping mum on this. I'll be covering non-Delaware items shortly. Thanks, WP, for keeping me honest.

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