This is for new visitors to my blog. Contrary to popular opinion and despite Frank's complete apathy, Progressive Christianity (our spin-off blog) is alive and kicking. If you are in the mood for a little blasphemy, you might want to give it a look. All posts look like this and can be zipped through quite rapidly. By the way, the blog-fairy is going to visit someone today that also resembled a fairy recently...

Halloween Cuteness...

My one-year-old niece watching the elephants in her chicken costume.

From the front...

Cruel Intentions...

Alas, another Hollywood super-couple has gone the way of the Dodo bird (that means it's over). That's right, America's sweethearts Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe are kaputski.

Reliable sources are saying the marriage ended after Mr. Phillippe grew tired of waking up each morning to find that he had impaled himself on his wife's razor-sharp chin.

Skankasaurus Rex...

Oooo, is the big scary liberal media asking you hard questions?

Tough toenails, toots. Suck it.

Wardrobe Staples...

For as long as I can remember, I have worn polo shirts. When I say "polo shirt", I'm not necessarily talking about shirts with a polo player on it. I'm talking about the style of shirt. When I was young, my parents would buy me a couple nice shirts to wear for church or for class pictures. At that time, Izod (the one with the alligator) was the major player. I can also remember having a shirt with a little penguin on it. I'm not sure what brand that was. I never had one with a polo player. There was also the JC Penney's version that I believe had a fox as its mascot. Even worse was the Sears version that had a little dragon. If you got caught wearing one of those in junior high you were likely to hear chants of "gayrod!".

Currently I buy my polo shirts from L.L. Bean (they have no logo). I have them in white, yellow, navy, green, and teal. They are comfortable and a touch classier than a t-shirt. Before you ask, no, I don't wear them with the collar up.


More Shit About Road Trips...

Me & my 15-passenger Ford Club Wagon, 1996

All the recent talk about road trips has motivated me to start planning a new one. The one part of the U.S. I have NOT yet seen is the northeast. I've been to many major world cities, but never New York City. During this trip I hope to cross off a bunch of still unvisited states. This will leave me with only North Dakota, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Alaska.

One day while I was bored I went through an atlas and tried to document each town that I have a memory of visiting. You'd be surprised how quickly this can be done. In order for a town to count, I had to remember something from while I was there - a place I ate at, a landmark, something. You can see my list HERE. See if I have ever visited a town near you! It's not like you have work to do.

Now I'm leaving early to go rake leaves. The weather is supposed to turn to shit after today.


For some reason, ever since I started blogging, I've always ended my post titles with an ellipsis. I'm not sure why. I mean, it's not like I think those ellipses are going to inspire added intrigue to the post that follows. I'm sure you don't read the title and say, "Well, I wasn't going to read this, but there's a goddamn ellipsis. Guess I'd better check it out."

Perhaps it's best not to question shit like this...

A Meaningless Question...

Do you know anyone that calls this "Catsup"?


These guys are a pleasure to watch.

Earlier in the season I was having a discussion about the Bears with Geoff, a friend of mine. He listens to a lot of Chicago sports talk radio. We share the same complaint about many Bear fans. They seem to cling to the memories of the '85 Bears. You know, the "Super Bowl Shuffle" Bears. Don't get me wrong, that was a great season and a super-fun team to watch. I was in eighth grade and I loved every minute of it, but...

I don't want to settle for a Super Bowl win over 20 years ago. I mean, if the Bears go all the way this season, do you mean to tell me we won't be as proud of the accomplishment as the last one? Bullshit! Did any of the Bulls six titles diminish the joy of any of the others? No.

I guess I can understand Chicago fans tendency to wax nostalgic about past victories because we have no idea when the next one will be (especially us Cub fans). I just hope this season's team puts to rest some of the glorifying of the '85 Bears.



It has come to my attention, based on a number of comments I've received lately, that I have the ability to make you people puke at will. I guess I can't blame you, what with all the bacon-crossed recipes and pictures of noxious government-types. While I'm sure many of you were being facetious, it nevertheless helped inspire the following post.

I do not vomit much at all and perhaps only slightly more that the Jerry character on the popular sitcom, "Seinfeld". The last time I remember puking was after a wedding reception in Chicago. It was one of those affairs where the bride and groom had had a small wedding a few weeks prior and this was just a chance for the rest of us to celebrate. The open bar we had been enjoying eventually ran out (or ran us out, as the case may be). We were all dressed up, so we decided to cab it over to the Drake Hotel, a swank joint off Michigan Ave., for a cocktail. As we got out of the cab at the hotel, I knew there were going to be problems. I threw up just a tiny bit on the doorman's shoe as he opened our cab door for us. Surprisingly, he was unphased.

Inside, there is a sort of piano bar area. As my less drunk friends went off and crashed a wedding that was going on, a few of us sat and had a drink. By this point I had switched to drinking Tonic Water. All of a sudden, I felt the chunks start to rise and grabbed the closest container I could find, which happened to be a half-full water pitcher. The first wave filled that handily and the second wave had nowhere else to go but all over the table. Again, surprisingly few people had noticed what I had done. Maybe they just never expected to see such a display at a place like the Drake. My friend, Dave, a bartender himself, inconspicuously ushered over a waiter, gave him a big tip, and asked him to bring over some bar towels. In the meantime, I got my ass down to a toilet and unleashed the remaining torrent. They never even kicked us out, including my other friends who got busted for crashing the wedding. Love the Drake!


"Back Off!"

What a fucking douche.

Another Bright Idea...

This new idea was inspired by a recent post over at Bells On and is predicated on my belief that combining two products that people want is the key to success (See my bacon-gum post below). We all know people still like to smoke, despite every effort to dissuade them. Maybe the time has come for us non-smokers to quit our bitching about second-hand smoke and look for some alternative that can make the smoke itself more appealing.

That's where bacon comes in.

That's right. Bacon-flavored cigarettes. Are you kidding me? This one is a no-brainer!

In fact, why stop there? The tentative name for my product line is:

"Uncle Ed's Olde Tyme Breakfast Cigarettes"

Available in these exciting flavors:
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Waffles with Maple Syrup
  • Coffee
  • Grapefruit Juice
Which leads me to even more opportunities. How about bacon-flavored coffee? Or cigarette-flavored coffee? You have to dream big, people!

*Edited to add: I have been derelict in my blog-fairy duties. Today's target definitely does NOT like the Blackhawks...


Annoyingly Happy...

Did you ever wake up and feel fucking overjoyed to be alive? For the first time in weeks there was a pretty sunrise. Driving by Walloon Lake on my way to work, I marvelled at the beauty as the mist rose and the sun reflected off the opposite shore. Last night I had a lightning-bolt of inspiration strike me with an amazing idea. It is not bacon-flavored gum or goofy t-shirts. This idea could very well set into motion a chain of events that could permit me to retire before I'm forty, which would allow me to carve fish, ski, and travel to my heart's content and not worry about an income.

On top of all this, I finally dislodged this fucking popcorn shell that has been dogging me for a couple days. How much better can things get?


Why Do You Hate Freedom?...

I must say I'm a bit disappointed in you guys. So far I have only sold ONE t-shirt and it was to the two-year-old son of a friend of mine. Apparently the rest of you all want the terrorists to win. What a shame. Remember, a portion of the profits (the part that I pay in federal taxes) goes to help fight and win the War On Terror. Do you all hate America or something?

I lowered prices, so now you have no excuse...

Buy 'em HERE. You will be THE coolest, most patriotic person on your block, guaranteed!

Fox News Roll Call: Sean Hannity...

Yeah, I know. This is the last thing you want to see first thing in the morning. Actually, if you didn't know him, he looks like he could be an O.K. guy. He's wide-eyed and has a bright, sunny smile.

Until he opens his mouth.

And then he starts to talk.

And that's when the poo comes out.

It's kind of like that Play-Doh toy some of you might remember where you put the Play-Doh in the back and push down to do extrusions of different shapes, like a star or spaghetti. The poo comes out of his mouth much the same way - in a continuous rope that coils in front of him on his desk as Colmes timidly looks on.

Ironic that his name rhymes with sanity...


Pushing The Limits Of Sarcasm (And Good Taste)...

I watched a documentary last night about Nelson Mandela. Man, what a jerk! Could he be any more selfish? I've been to Robben Island. It's not that bad. There are penguins there, for Pete's sake! I'll bet he wanted to sit in prison all those years just so he wouldn't have to get a real job.

*Edited to add: Please re-read the title of the post before sending me hate mail.

**Edited again to add: You thought I forgot about my duties as blog-fairy. My only clue for today is: Rapid Eye Movement.

The Ultimate Road Trip...

Fellow bloggers and lurkers. Your assistance is needed.

I don't know about you, but I love a good road trip. On the map above are two trips I made. The blue one was by bicycle (2 months), the red one was by van (5 months). It has come to my attention that a fellow blogger, Megan, has done an insufficient amount of domestic travel. It is up to us to put together a kick-ass road trip itinerary for her. What I'd like to do is compile a list of potential "can't miss" attractions around our great nation so that she can decide what she'd most like to see. These can be serious or goofy (let me guess where most of you will go with this).

I'll start things off with the quintessential road trip stop. It is legendary. You guessed it. The Biggest Ball of Twine. I'll let her decide if she'd rather see the one in Darwin, Minnesota or the one in Cawker City, Kansas. See this Wikipedia entry for the distinction.

As far as a serious option, I thought the Olympic peninsula in Washington state was pretty beautiful. It's home to some beautiful coastline, mountains, and three temperate rainforests.

OK, now where else should she go?

I Totally Knew That Post About Eric Bogosian's Hair In "Talk Radio" Wasn't Going To Generate A Big Response...

Um, that's pretty much it.


The Next Big Thing...

Often the best ideas are right in front of us. The secret is to find two things that people love and unite them in some palatable way. You know, like "Whistle Pops" and "Beer Bongs". Here's mine:

Chewing gum is as American as apple pie and tractor pulls. It evokes memories of childhood. It is currently banned in most classrooms, but shouldn't be.

Bacon is one of the most popular foods in America. It's hickory aroma never fails to bring a smile to people's faces (unless they're one of those wacky vegetarians).

Put these two beloved items together and you get "Ba-gum" (pronounced "bay-gum"), bacon-flavored chewing gum! It can't miss!

I am going to be a fucking millionaire!

Bestowing Honors...

My vote for "Best Hairstyle In Cinema" goes to Eric Bogosian in "Talk Radio". There is a flashback scene, before he becomes a talk show host, where he's selling suits. For those of you that have seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you that haven't, I looked all over the internets for a pic, but came up empty. There is a big prize waiting for whoever can find me a picture of him with his enormous 'fro. Believe me, it's a thing of beauty.


Trying To Be An Informed Consumer...

I am in the market for a new melon baller. When buying a melon baller, a lot of factors must be taken into consideration: construction, material, weight, versatility (can it make two different sized balls), cost, and aesthetics.

Here are some of my options:

This one is offered at TheKitchenDrawer.com. At $1.49, it is reasonably priced. I'm not crazy about the color and it looks a bit flimsy. However, for a double-baller, the price can't be beat.

This one by KitchenAid retails for $7.49. As you can see, it is a single-baller. It is streamlined and sturdy, but I don't like the KitchenAid name on the handle. Why should I be forced to do their advertising for them?

This is the Gel-Grip Melon Baller by KitchenArt (not to be confused with KitchenAid). This is the Rolls-Royce of ballers at $10.80. Again, it's a single-baller, but that Gel-Grip handle could prove a lifesaver, given all the balling I do.

This is a major purchase, so any guidance in this matter from people that do a lot of balling would be appreciated.

Virtual House Tour...

I set up my tripod in the middle of my living room and then pivoted the camera to get different shots. There is nothing inherently interesting about these shots, just a glimpse into my home decor at a particular moment in time:


Wikipedia To The Rescue...

I've always wondered what the fuck Shinola was.

Sanity Check #1...

One of the many nice things about this forum is that I can use it as a sounding board to verify that I'm not crazy in a semi-anonymous way. It's a way to find out if others share the same tendencies or if I'm all alone. You know, those things you do and often wonder if others do them too.

My question is for pet owners. Do you ever find yourself speaking complete nonsense to your pets? I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill babytalk. I'm talking about straight-up, non-word jibberish. Sometimes I'll catch myself doing it and then, moments later, wonder what the fuck I just said and where it came from.

There may be more queries like this from time to time, so stay tuned...


Some Truth About The Third World...

I have had the privilege of making two trips to South Africa to do Habitat For Humanity work. This was my first extended experience in an impoverished community. We were in an area called "Orange Farm" outside of Soweto. It was a group of people from Chicago that my mom hooked me up with. We built four homes each time I was there. The homes are constructed of crude concrete blocks with corrugated metal roofing on wood trusses. Each home has the same floor plan: two bedrooms, a full bath, a kitchen area, and a living room. I think they were about 800 Sq.Ft. total. Compared to what they had been living in, these homes were palaces.

There were no power tools or cement mixers, so everything had to be done manually. The most labor intensive stuff involved hauling the block to where it was needed and mixing the mortar. Mixing mortar was backbreaking stuff. You'd get so many wheelbarrows full of sand, combine it with the right amount of cement, add water, then mix it on the ground with shovels. The woman pictured above, Wilhemena Silesi, was working each morning when we got there and was still going when we'd leave each day. Her husband, George, worked at a gas station during the day. As you can tell by her picture, she was about 5'-3", 100lbs. She worked circles around all of us. A common misperception is that impoverished people tend to be lazy. This, my friends, is bullshit. We looked like utter wimps compared to the Africans. The other thing that became clear is that they all took great pride in their property, no matter how meager. Some would buy a few pieces of sod and manicure them like they were the 18th green at Augusta.

One of the most poignant moments for me was towards the beginning when the exterior walls were just starting to take shape. The son, Moses, came home from school to see the progress. He had a smile a mile wide and pointed out exactly where his bedroom would be. Their previous home had just one room where the entire family slept. When I went back the second time, I stopped by to see what the home looked like all finished with furniture. It was amazing. They had stuccoed and painted the outside and even planted flowers and a small vegetable garden.

I have a few pics of the second trip on my website HERE which includes some of the sight-seeing and safari stuff we did after the work was done.

I almost forgot, the blog-fairy's target for today campaigned for their family to give charitable donations in lieu of exchanging Christmas gifts. Pretty fucking noble, I must say.

I Don't Usually Do This...

So much for my efforts to avoid politics. I had to post this so that people can see that there ARE people in the media willing to call the president on his bullshit. Enjoy! (There is a written transcript for those with a slow connection). HERE


For me, the most enjoyable forms of conveyance are ones without motors.

-I'd much rather paddle a kayak than ride in a powerboat. Even with all the lakes around me, I have never ridden a waverunner, believe it or not. When I lived on the lake I'd come home from work and paddle the mile across to the other side. On the way back I'd stop in the middle and just sit and watch the sun dance on the waves. It is very meditative. Being so close to the water is a cool sensation.

-I'd much rather ski than ride a snowmobile. On the ski patrol, I'm required to do both. Snowmobiles are loud. They ruin the serenity of a quiet, snowy day.

-I'd much rather ride a bike than a motorcycle. Again, they're loud and there's no sense of accomplishment when you get to the top of a big hill.

-Although I haven't tried it yet, hang-gliding looks like something I would really enjoy.

Of course, this is just my opinion. If you had the choice, what form of conveyance would you choose?


Bear With Me, Ladies...

I know you get tired of my football posts, but you don't need to know anything about football for this one. I wanted to start a list of great Chicago Bear names throughout history. This has nothing to do with their playing ability, just how tough their name sounds. Here's mine. Frank, Phil, Grant, feel free to add to this.
  • Brian Baschnagel, WR, 76-84
  • Cap Boso, TE, 87-91 (Note: Not really tough-sounding, but a drunken Mike Ditka loved it.)
  • Dick Butkus, LB, 67-73
  • Paul Engebretsen, G, 32
  • Jim Grabowski, RB, 71
  • Mirko Jurkovic, G, 92
  • Olin Kreutz, C, 98-P (sounds sort of third-reich-ish)
  • Jerry Muckensturm, LB, 76-82
  • Bronko Nagurski, FB, 30-37, 43 (My personal fave.)
  • Paul Podmajursky, G, 44
  • Bill Steinkemper, T, 42-43
  • Michael Stonebreaker, LB, 91
  • Pete VanValkenburg, RB, 74
  • John Wojciechowski, T, 87-93
I know I didn't include Da Coach. Sue me. An honorable mention goes to Lemeul "Lemonhead" Stinson.

Why Do I Blog?...

Last night I was trying to remember why I started this blog. Prior to this, the closest I came to blogging was writiting really disgusting synopses for movie adaptations of sitcoms and putting them on my MySpace page. I've posted a few of them here. It was fun seeing how much vulgarity and bodily fluid I could pack into each. I think the blog started for the same reason:

I thought it would be fun.

This is the primary criterion for any new activity I decide to try. Other reasons I might have include:

I think something will be interesting.
I think something will be exciting.
I think something will help someone out.
I think something will be challenging.

I didn't expect anyone to be interested in what I wrote. I'm glad they are, though. After all, I think everyone wants to feel interesting to other people, even if their day-to-day life is fairly mundane. I'm sure other people keep their blogs for hundreds of different reasons. Why did you start yours?

-Todays "blog-fairy" target likes grilled cheese and Seinfeld. And for those of you that are wondering, no, I'm not going to give more hints or even reveal who I'm talking about. That makes it more fun!


I'm Politically Spent...

I've had it.

I noticed I haven't had a political post in a while. For those of you who come here for my political rants, I'm sorry. I don't have it in me. It's always the same. Republican spouts insane talking point. Democrat counters with another talking point. Republican questions Democrat's patriotism. Democrat asks where the WMDs are. And on and on and on.

I've watched a few of these "Meet The Press" senate debates. They all blend together. Same questions, same answers, no matter which state they're from. Do any of these fucks have an original thought? Do any of them have the courage to stray from the party line and actually say what they really feel? Sadly, the answer seems to be no. I hate to break it to you. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'd love to hear it. This is a case where I'd love to be proven wrong. Don't worry. I'm still going to vote and shit, but my well of disdain has run dry.

At least for today.

Something You May Have Missed...

My readers are pretty savvy when it comes to knowing what's good, so I suspect many of you watched this show when it was on. For those of you that didn't, this is one that you'll want to watch on DVD. It will suck you in and you'll wonder what TV exec's head was up his or her ass that they decided to cancel it. The show was called Freaks & Geeks. It takes place in the early eighties. It comes closer than any other show I've seen to representing what my childhood years were like - a suburban world full of fruit roll-ups and Garanimals. Even though it would've been a few years ahead of me, I can still relate to it. There's the impossibly sunny mom who is WAY into Halloween and gets chastised for giving out unwrapped cookies to the kids. There are the awkwardly tense dinners with the cranky dad. The first car accident. The first fake ID. The horrid garage band with big dreams. The AV club and their D & D all-nighter. The first kegger when the parents are out of town. This show was hilarious, had heart, and was real, meaning the kids looked like they were in high school, not like dinosaurs on 90210. Check it out!

A Renewed Plea...

Those of you that read my blog regularly know I'm a bit of a movie buff, especially when it comes to documentaries. After countless hours of studying these films, I decided to put together a plan for my own documentary film. These are some of the selling points of my plan:
  • If made, my film would make more money than Fahrenheit 911, Supersize Me, and March Of The Penguins combined.
  • It would cost next to nothing to make.
  • It would shock the shit out of people, most of whom would never imagine a film like mine would ever be made.
  • It wouldn't contain any graphic violence.
  • It would be a hopeful movie.
  • It would be unprecedented.
So, if you have some sort of connection to someone in the film industry that has the ability to dream, drop me a line. This is not for those who don't have an active imagination. The film I have in mind combines elements of documentary and dramatic film in a very unique way. I have a thorough presentation I can make available. I'd make sure that you were well compensated if the film ever got made. I'll admit, I'm doing this now after talks I'd been having with a certain industry muckety-muck fell through. I refuse to give up on this thing, though, no matter how much nay-saying I hear.

Bear's Update, 10-17-06...

This is the horseshoe the Chicago Bears pulled out of their ass last night.

Talk about winning ugly...

Edited: I fucked up the clue for the "blog-fairy" target. The first one goes to a long-time reader, a fan of beer (yeah, THAT helps!), and could very well be skilled with a twenty-sided die. It's not Frank.


I'm A Copycat...

I've seen others doing this lately, so here's my random I-Pod ten for the day:
  1. Jimmy Smith - Organ Grinder Swing
  2. Phil Ochs - That's What I Want To Hear
  3. Cab Calloway - Reefer Man
  4. Tito Puente - Cao Cao Mani Picao
  5. Body Count - Body Count
  6. They Might Be Giants - O, Do Not Forsake Me
  7. James Mathus & His Knock-Down Society - Rock Of Ages
  8. Edith Piaf - Hymne A L'Amour
  9. Lionel Hampton & Oscar Peterson - Indiana
  10. Howlin' Wolf - How Many More Years

Because I Know The Georgia Girls Are Jonesing...

Boyne Mountain, Winter, 2005

Coming Home...

I always know I'm close when I see this sign.

Something New I'm Gonna Do...

Remember back when you first started your blog? Hardly anyone visited. The only people to leave comments were a few friends who took pity on you. It was kind of like being the new kid at school. Slowly, over time, you got up the nerve to venture out, find people you shared stuff in common with, and coax them over to see what you had to offer. In my case, I was unknown until Grant offered me some time to promote myself on his unbelievably popular site.

The thing is, I feel bad for those early posts - the ones where you really tried because you knew a good first impression was essential. It's a shame for them to go unnoticed.

So, each day I am going to go deep into one of my blog-pal's archives and leave a comment somewhere, sort of like the tooth fairy. I'm not going to say which post it is, but I'll leave hints as to who I'm targeting. It's up to you to find them. Isn't this going to be fun?! Hey, stop yawning!

More Movie Shit...

Last night I watched "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" for the very first time. What a flick! First, the photography is beautiful. It's funny, but not over-the-top funny. Bacharach's music seems a little odd at first, but I liked it overall. Paul Newman has got to be one of the coolest mother-fuckers of all time. He and Redford make a hell of a team. Now I have to see "The Sting". I've never seen it, either. I have problems...

Anomaly #2...

I love apples


I don't eat apple sauce, apple pie, apple butter, apple crisp, or Apple Jacks (TM).

I rarely drink apple juice or cider.

I don't own an Apple computer.

I don't listen to Fiona Apple.

I have never been to the Big Apple.

And I think you know my feelings on Gwyneth's baby-naming tendencies.

*Edited to add: Chicago was fun. My niece is cute as ever. I ended up getting her the Fisher Price Farm, a toy that I had as a little kid. It's different from mine, but it made sounds and seemed to hold her interest for more than a few minutes. I consider that a success.


Before I Go...

Does anyone need me to pick up anything in Chi-town while I'm there? Italian Beef? A lock of Mayor Daley's hair? Anything?

You kids behave while I'm gone, OK? If I come back and things are a mess, it'll be curtains!

Books That Are Currently On My Coffee Table...

The Cabin: Inspiration For The Classic American Getaway
A great book with photos and thumbnail plans of cool, custom cabins. Each of them are faily small, just the way cabins should be.

The Rustic Furniture Companion: Traditions, Techniques, And Inspirations
I took a rustic furniture class taught by Dan Mack, the author. He does a good job of showcasing both his and other funiture-makers work.

Harper Collins Spanish-English Dictionary
Every once in a while I like to know how to say a word in Spanish.

Trout - An Illustrated History
A neat book of trout paintings (watercolor) with interesting information on each.

I've mentioned Andy Goldsworthy before. He's the guy who does environmental art. Amazing stuff.