Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

It’s a MuVo, not an iPod! – Part I

There is a phenomenon out there with MP3 players where people equate MP3 players to iPods. Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player, though like many good, competitive, businesses out there, they took and idea and capitalized on it. (Take that Microsoft! – But beware, the Empire will strike back)

I love my MP3 player. I LOVE it! I use it to listen to both music and podcasts. It makes the hour and half of mowing the lawn go by much quicker. It makes the drive and walk into work more enjoyable. And, without music, I can’t run 5 miles, let alone go around the block.

So, I get people loving their iPod. I also get that everyone calls an MP3 player an iPod. It’s marketing. “Doh!” even I call it an iPod sometimes.

Whatever you call it, none of them function well after being dropped in a bucket of acid.


November 27, 2006 Posted by | Life in general, Tech | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving, with a history lesson

thanksgiving-rockwell.jpgHappy Thanksgiving! I enjoy this holiday both for what it stands for and also for the festivities of the day. After all, the festivities pretty much consist of eating, drinking, and watching football – some of my most favorite things to do.

I was inspired to write this by one of my TV superstar heroes… Alton Brown. In case you’re not in the know, Alton is mind behind Good Eats, on the FoodTV Network. Yep, you read it right, FoodTV. (and I don’t even have cable!)

OK, truly, I don’t have any TV superstar heroes, but this guy puts together a great show. And, yes, it does happen to be about food; specifically, the science behind the cooking. He typically focuses on just one thing. For instance, an entire episode on brewing coffee, or making a baked potato. He also will come up with practical, though sometimes seemingly strange, ways to best accomplish a cooking technique, such as roasting beef in a clay pottery flower pot, or smoking salmon in a cardboard box. But, you can really learn from him, as now I can make that perfect baked spud and I’ve mastered gravy and other emulsions. – I even sound smart 😉

Recently, my lovely sister-in-law recorded for me the Good Eats: Romancing the Bird episode, which started off with a brief history lesson. You see, while almost all of us think of a great big turkey (like the one in the Norman Rockwell painting above), it didn’t start out that way.

The Pilgrims set apart a day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest, in 1621. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals were existing parts of English and Wampanoag tradition alike. It became an annual one-day observance later in the 1600’s, depending on the locale. The celebration was to give thanks to God at the close of the harvest season. *

But the food that was served at the time was food that was to be found in abundance. There were wild turkeys to be had, but more common was venison and fish, like cod or lobster. Also, do you think the pilgrims and indians had wine with Thanksgiving dinner…? No, beer was the beverage.

The Good Eats epsiode goes on anout brining a turkey before cooking. Basting is bad. It offers nothing to the flavor, and the constantly opening oven door slows cooking. No, the right answer is brine, and with the help of food scientist Shirley Corriher and her “Mystery Food Science Theatre 3000” slideshow, Alton explains how brine works. It’s all about osmosis.

Inside-the-bird stuffing is the next to fall to Alton’s debunking skills. It can dry the bird and provide a place for bacteria to grow. The right things for that cavity are aromatics like rosemary, apples, and onions. ** I’m convinced it is worth a try, so that’s what I’m doing right now… putting my turkey into brine. Read the whole recipe for yourself.

So, I will wake up early, start a fire in the fireplace, put on the parade for the kids, keep cooking, enjoy a wonderful meal, share my beer, watch some football, and just hang out with the family. Once, again, Happy Thanksgiving.

*via Wiki, ** via tv.com

November 23, 2006 Posted by | Family, Food & Drink, Life in general, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Be Afraid

Tony Romo has looked pretty good, but he is still a rookie for experience and sooner or later he will make mistakes by trying to force something to happen. The running backs of Jones and Barber are a good one-two punch, but neither are outstanding; or, could carry the whole game should one of them get hurt. Terry Glenn is the only top-notch receiver on the squad; T.O. can implode at any moment. Jason Witten is a decent Tight End, but he certainly isn’t in, say, Shockey’s class. Injuries on the offensive line, mistakes in the secondary, and more fouls than turkey house before Thanksgiving.

So why be afraid…?


Because of the Tuna.

It has been a roller coaster ride for Cowboy fans all season. It was a shaky start, and I’m glad Drew is finally sitting down – he looks good on paper, but was never going to be a super star. I can handle the loss against the Giants. The Giants were on fire and deserved that win. I think they could have beaten anybody that day. Still, I felt as if that was the season ender after that.

Of course, they came back and looked very impressive against a tough Carolina team. After that game, I felt as if they had just saved their season.

The next week, in the words of the local Dallas home’r, “On a penalty and a field goal, the Cowboys prove once again that they are just a mediocre team.” Reality sets in; another season down the tubes.

Who would have thunk they could beat the Colts????? What is all this about? I have to think that one of the greatest coaches of all time must have something to do with it. (now I’m going to have nightmares about Barry Switzer returning)

I’m once again looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day game. Who knows how I’ll feel after that…

November 21, 2006 Posted by | Sports | Leave a comment

Home Improvement Ineptitude

I use to feel so inept when I’m talking to another home owner who tells me all the work they have accomplished on their home. “We remodeled our kitchen”, “ We put in a hardwood floor in the living room”, “We remodeled the master bath and put in a Jacuzzi”, “We built a deck with a hot tub”. I’m so impressed, yet, I begin to feel incompetent because they tell me they did all these things over the summer. Not only that, they tell me how easy and perfect the job went.

I must be a moron! It takes me forever just to paint the trim on my house. How do these people have a full time job and spend time with their families and add a half-bath all in one week? I’ve been working on a pretty large project for over a year now, taking a 16 x 20 screen room and making it year round livable, and I’m not even close to done.

I grumble and kick myself in the ass to get a move on only to find out… these people didn’t remodel their bathroom…. they hired someone else to do it! Ohhhhhhh….. Writing a check is easy. So please, people, when touting how great a home improvement person you are, let it be known who actually did the hard part! Oh, and also mention how much you spent on it so I can tell you where I could have gone on vacation with that money.

For those of you in the same camp as I, I hope I made you feel better.

November 20, 2006 Posted by | Family, Home Improvement | 1 Comment

Game Console Madness

ps3.jpgThe Sony PS3 is released today, but it won’t be hitting the shelves. Sony only made 400,000 PS3’s. Not because they wanted to create “demand”, rather, they screwed up planning, parts & production so bad that that is all they could make. Nintendo will have more than a million Wii’s ready at launch, so you should be able to walk into Target and pick one off the shelf without getting mugged. It is ironic that the company that has screwed everything up to date is getting the mainstream public’s attention as the “console in demand.”

It isn’t pretty though, there are lines, mobs and shootings releated to the PS3 launch. That’s just ugly. Video News Story & Man shot in line waiting for his PS3

I’m not planning on buying any new console; I’m a PC gamer and my kids aren’t ready for the next gen console. Of the three big players, there is no winner. I believe each slice of the pie will actually even out, each company getting closer to a third of the market. If anyone can be considered a winner, it will be Nintendo where they will likely gain market share. Not only that, they will have grown the pie as they will gain new customers that wouldn’t normally have even considered buying a game console prior.

Sony’s angle on the game console is more power and better looking graphics; at $600. Nintendo’s is to have more fun playing; at $250. Microsoft is somewhere in between, but they certainly have established the standard for online, multiplayer, games; at $400.

Wii Ad: Wii would like to play
Wii Ad: Wii would like to play (short)
PS3 Ad: PS3 Power
xBox 360 Ad: Futbol

And… a spoof on PS3 and Wii

I’ve had tons to say on the subject, but haven’t had a chance to write it all up. Please comment and let’s discuss.

 [Edit: I’ve also been watching the reviews of the games for each system, the PS3 and Wii. Most are good, non are out of this world. My initial take is that neither super looking graphics, nor innovate controllers, make a better game.] 

[Edit: Nov 27th – reviews continue to pile in. While the Wii has gotten several great reviews, including surprises such as Madden 07, the PS3 games all seem pretty mediocre]

November 17, 2006 Posted by | Gaming | Leave a comment

Rutgers Perfect 9-0

Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 9-0 for the first time in 30 years, recently beating 3rd ranked Louisville. Being a Jersey boy, I just think that’s pretty cool. They face Cincinnati this Saturday, Nov 18th, at 7:45 PM.


November 14, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Have you checked out Hop-Talk.com yet? Well, if not, there is no better time than now to do so.Hop-Talk.com is the idea and creatation from a good, long time, friend of mine. There, we blog about beer… anything relating to beer. I haven’t written about beer on this blog because all of my hoppy talk goes there.

So, if you haven’t done so, please check it out.


November 13, 2006 Posted by | Food & Drink | Leave a comment

Books for Boys

captainunderpantscover.jpgMy son, now in 1st grade, has been bringing home this series of books called Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot for a couple of years now. I’ve always enjoyed reading them for several reasons.

  1. The chapters are short so it is easy to put down and pick back up.
  2. They are somewhat amusing, even to an adult.
  3. They just read easy aloud; not all books do that.
  4. The author uses words and phrases that I use to use as a kid, but now I’ m too old and conformed to society to even think of them.
  5. Flip-o-rama (read it to see). (but it is totally ultra-cool)

Dav Pilkey is the author of the Ricky Ricotta books and many others. Recently, my son has been bringing home The Adventures Captain Underpants. However, I didn’t like the sound of it so much… Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets??? My wife and I “banned” the Junie B Jones books from my daughter when she was younger because we thought Junie was rude and disrespectful. So, I read the first Captain Underpants book and the main characters in this book are also rude and pranksters. And now that my son reads on his own, I can’t easily mind how he interprets the text; so I should I ban these as well…?

Nah…. they are too dam funny! Come on… a hampster named Sulu who gets turned bionic by a Combine-o-tron 2000? Who doesn’t like that? The author does put in warnings, too:

Warning: The following chapter contains graphic depictions of a mean little boy getting spanked by a bionic hampster.

And it goes on… it is too funny. I think that is what makes it ok… it is so over the top, you know it is meant to funny, not immitated.

It’s not a double standard… is it?

November 10, 2006 Posted by | Family | Leave a comment