Thursday, February 26, 2004


Hey kids – what happened eleven years ago today? In case you forgot (shame on you) the Islamofascists took their first shot at the WTC. I guess the death toll wasn’t enough to get Uncle Sam into the Middle Eastern strip mining business. Maybe it was due to the beginning of America’s Debacle – the Clinton Administration. Yeah – we eventually tried a scapegoat for the bombing, but it wasn’t enough. They eventually succeeded.
Yeah – I’m still pissed. I still remember that day. The horror, the images, the fear.
I won’t forget it. Our generation has let Pearl Harbor go from memory. Granted – we dropped two serious bombs that settled the score for some – but we have forgotten how we were brought into the war.
News flash folks – we’re at war right now. It’s just different now because it’s a virtual battlefield and the danger can very well be right next door.
Don’t forget. Stay angry.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Ashes to Ashes...

First up – a little kudos to the brotherman for the kickin’ changes to the blog’s style to allow better text flow around images. Bravo, Mr. Apropos.

I wasn’t going to get into it – but today’s the day and I just can’t let these things go. It’s a PACE day in the RC world. Let me explain.

RC world – Roman Catholic, not Royal Crown cola. PACE – Palms, Ashes, Christmas and Easter. There are a few types of Catholics out there. We have our devout practicing type, never missing a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation and possibly even doing extra credit Masses in Lent or maybe an hour of Adoration. Then we scale down to our Sundays ‘R Us, and even further down to the Sundays of Convenience, and even further to the PACEs. Those are the folks that come out specifically on Palm Sunday to get the palms (usually intent on making those nifty weaved crosses), Ash Wednesday to join the Dark Forehead Club, and of course Christmas and Easter because – well – that’s what you do.

Ashes, Ashley?
I’m not trying to make fun of Catholics – I don’t have to, as so many have already done so – so don’t bother with the unwashed heathen comments. I know I’m a heathen of sorts. Anything y’all might say is sort of old news.

So – As Mel Gibson might say – welcome to Lent. Let’s all help set the PACE…

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Polar bears are OUT there...

Dansk Polar BearYou KNOW they’re out there. Just recently the first born was shouting that they were wandering around the house. Great. My place at the top of my personal food chain has just been bumped.

‘Ol Yahoo Strange News brought this back to memory with a little diddy about some polar bears learning how to stretch their dominance to warmer climates through the clever use of algae for camouflage. Well – the article didn’t talk about them branching out – but they COULD. I can’t wait to see the news story.
RIO - “Carnivale Attendee Strays Too Close to Jungle – Mauled by Polar Bear”
Talk about Fat Tuesday…

Friday, February 20, 2004

Hey, Hey, Hey...

Me Man – I think I ate WAY too much last night.

There are limits to what Man can ingest, and I pushed those limits all the way. What can I say? I’m too much like a dog, who when presented with meat, will continue to eat until it is gone, not looking back to see if he shared with the others around him or contemplate the possibility of saving some for later or even room for “dessert.” I’m talking about the South American meal of Rodizio.
My compatriot and I were in the fine village of Newark, and after a long day of meetings and such, we needed refueling. So – we hit the Ironbound and went to the Brasilia Grill. Monroe Street, in case you were wondering.
If you hit the link you would have read about the “journalists” experience – let me tell mine.
We came in, sat down, handed back the menus as soon as we were handed them, and promptly ordered a pitcher of Red Sangria and of course – the Rodizio. We were early, so the side buffet wasn’t quite open yet. To supplant the table, we ordered up some garlic shrimp. The garlic is good for the heart, I hear. We would need it.
The next hour is blurry. We ate and ate and ate, as soon as they could bring it out, including the side dishes of red beans, rice, fries, collard greens and fried bananas. Skewers of freshly grilled chicken thighs, pork loin, turkey wrapped in bacon, beef ribs, sirloin tips, kabobs, pork ribs (we begged for them, as they only do them on weekends), and huge filets carved from the skewer to our plates. And chicken hearts. Yup – I ate a few of ‘em. I couldn’t resist – they came out hot – and were eaten just as fast. Not bad. It was neat seeing the little ventricles before gobbling them down, but tasty nonetheless.
Everything was simply salted and grilled. Delicious, but man – I am now effectively cured.
We wrapped it all up with an extra order of fried bananas and some flan. The extra caramel went well with the bananas and good cup of joe, to jump start the bod to drive home.
The fine staff informed us that they have live music on the weekends, and a dance club downstairs that the patrons gain admittance to. Yeah – I’ll be back, but there is no way I’ll be able to move around to the Latin beat after another meal like that with out making a mess.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Kid question.

Don’t worry – this won’t be a kid story. It’ll start that way – but end way off of it. Here goes.
Last week Dara (the one on the right) and I were on an extended mission. First – computer help to Uncle Rich, then appliance purchasing at Sears, with a surprise visit to Wendy’s for a snack. Snacktime proved to be most thought provoking, as conversations with a nearly five-year-old can go just about anywhere. And this one did. It was my fault – I succumbed to my own weaknesses of parental mollycoddling and purchased the “kiddie” meal, complete with cartoon character-themed meal bag and Asian mass-produced toy. The cartoon character in the spotlight was Clifford. The Big Red Dog was all over the bag, in puzzles and pictures and other methods of child distraction. After working out a couple of the word games, Dara made the announcement that I’ve been thinking about since.
“Dad, Clifford needs a girlfriend.”
Stop right there. I’ll let you, casual web-reader, figure out some of the implications of such a statement before I proceed.
Deep breath.
“Why what?”
“Why does Clifford need a girlfriend?”
“Oh. Because he’s probably lonely, and he needs someone to be with.”
I can respect that answer. Not bad for a 5 year old, either. It’s been on my mind since – I can’t quite get the picture of this giant red beast looking for a mate and possibly settling with whatever might come close enough to fulfill the needs. After all – we all know that Clifford was unique. Bad news, pal – yer it. Go find something else that looks big and red. Firefighters everywhere just locked the garage door. They even stopped calling Engine 4 “Bessie”. Dogs hear real well, y’know. I would hate to be an elephant with a rash, too. But let’s just contemplate the idea that there was some other genetic happenstance out there and we have ourselves another big red dog. The odds were crazy enough that we have one, but we have to skim the odds by half to the fact that it came out female. I’m making that supposition, because the other condition makes for bad reading here.
Ok – Clifford meets Claudia. If we know anything about dogs – we know that they don’t do things small, especially in this case. What comes just isn’t a puppy – we get puppIES. Litters. Lots and lots of BIG RED PUPPIES. Never mind the noise pollution from the incessant yelping – the actual pollution from big red puppy waste. We can only pray that they receive discipline from the very beginning much akin to that which Clifford received, or there will be rampant destruction. Somehow, though – I really don’t think that Dara thought of all this. Good thing she has us parents to help out. Good luck, Clifford – Happy Valentine’s Day – which you’ll probably endure alone – again.

Locks. They’re there for a reason.

Sometimes it’s as if there was a camera crew following me. It all started normal enough. Alarm goes off, struggle outta bed, get to the bathroom. Start the shower, wait for the hot water, take a look at the mug in the mirror. Then we veer off course. Enter, stage right, soon to be five year old. She’s gotta pee, like all five year old girls do at 6:45 AM. She immediately chats up a storm about how great the weekend is gonna be since she’s having her Princess Party on the morrow. Yeah. Now get out and let me use the hot water. She exits, still talking, and I try to get the bus back on schedule. Mid-lather I hear knocking on the door, and thus - `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door’ - Only this, and nothing more.' “Lenore?” nah – something more.
The door opened and I heard a clunk, then an announcement of some kind that this was for you, Daddy. The music of the King filled the bathroom. Cool, but it doesn’t end there. The first child left me to the music, but the singin' and tunes had this Siren effect on the second child, who promptly woke to come into the bathroom to plop and enjoy the concert. Half thrilled that they enjoy the tape player, specifically for Elvis as opposed to mindless kiddie tunes, yet bothered by the realization that my privacy (which I thought I would be able to hold on to until at least the first one turned maybe 10) is now forever GONE, I finish my shower. The day hasn’t slowed down since. Welcome to the rest of my life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Zen of Text.

Y’know – there’s just something about communicating via text message. A simple conversation that, using the spoken language via traditional make noise methods, would normally take about twenty seconds. Maybe even ten, or at most thirty, depending on how well you’re able to truncate the words in an effort to save characters sent.
It’s a throwback to childhood, playing Secret Agent or Dick Tracy or even for that matter Fort, sending private, coded messages to your remote scout.
I’m waiting for the DNRC to pick up on this, but you can picture it – it’s the board or conference room, there’s some “meeting” in progress, and what are you doing? Having an insult-war with your brother-in-law, or “innocently” flirting with a pal.
My cousin is a Master of Text, not for his ability to write amazingly complex messages, but for his timing of his bleats. I would swear – I can be in the middle of a heated debate on how I’m going to keep my job with the employer du’jour and wham! New Message – Read Now? Well – why not? The beep already disrupted my flow, oh, perfect “monkeynuts” and with that little happy thought I get to salvage what’s left of my composure. Needless to say – I’ll be sure to reply later – I’ll wait ‘til he’s bowling to send him “nad juggler”…

Monday, February 09, 2004

Let's count to... One.

Kid So the Kid made it to ONE today.
And we have this gig that we as Polacks do, or at least Cz’ski Polacks do, almost as a test to see how messed up we’ll end up later in life.
So here’s the deal : we place a hammer, a shotglass, a set of rosary beads, and a dollar on the floor about four feet in front of the kid. We let the kid go, much like a retired greyhound, and he crawls to the objects before him. Whichever thing he picks up first will be a focus or at least a major part of his later life. Good news – he went for the money.
Me? I did a double. I got the shotglass and the rosaries. Great. Y’all know what kind of love affair I have with Mr. Bottle and the personal “agreement” I have with the Almighty. Yeah – Mr. Yahweh likes me as entertainment, but all in all He treats me quite well. You just don’t throw away your favorite movie, right? Yeah – I might complain when He gets me in this rewind mode to laugh at me fall down a few times like a good part of a Stooges festival, but sooner or later we get to the good parts. And I gotta say – today was all right. Check the pic to see what I mean.

Friday, February 06, 2004


Good news? Never, unless it’s from a personal source. Why should the car radio give me pleasant news from the world just because the weather sucks, as if to make up for the gray cold soulless wetness conditions with a bright spot or two of happiness from others?
No can do. I was greeted this morning with words describing another person’s nightmares come true, the story of a 11-year old girl’s body found. You’ll notice how I say that just her body was found, and not the girl herself. We do that sometimes to distance ourselves from the reality that a real person is now gone, no, taken from us. I can’t even bring myself to type her name, because that might hurt too much.
You see, I stepped up on that “grow up” challenge my parents threw at me so many years ago, and I became a parent myself. Doing that created and destroyed old and new values, and brought on new meanings of fear and wonder. The news today played on the worst kinds of fear.
Now – I live on the right side of the political scale. Just from that I’m sure you’re going to expect me to rant on about how I won’t feel justified until the creature that caused the news today breathes his last painful breath and exits our world. But I can’t.
It’s not the solution. I really can’t support the death penalty. I never could. But I really can’t support the idea of us happy taxpayers putting this miscreant up with room and board for the rest of his miserable existence. What bothers me is the world that created the monster in the first place. You know that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard a story like this and knowing it won’t be the last time we hear it keeps us awake at nights. Are we advanced enough to figure out the source of the evil? No way. Will we get there? Eventually, so folks tell me. I hear we’re gonna get some help from a higher source. If you ask me – and I can respect that you haven’t – that help couldn’t come quick enough. I can’t take much more of these news reports.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Ack! Loser!

Vices. We all have them. I seem to have perhaps more than your average Joe, but they do make life interesting. There are two that stand out, and when they get together, nothing but trouble comes out. You can guess which two they are : drinking and gambling.
So there I was, enjoying the company of one my buds, complementing the company with the liquid refreshment of a pint or three of Bass. The establishment sported a pool table, in which we pumped a few quarters, and in no time we felt the urge to raise the level of game play with the introduction of a wager.
Wagers can and have taken all forms, and I am one to stray from the mundane monetary form of wager, as I feel nothing creates more problems than issues of money between friends. So – it became a contest of objects. What objects? Soon, reader, soon…
Some of y’all might know that I am no stranger to the game of pool, and I have been known to shoot some mean stick. It’s those Bass Ales that get in the way of a straight shot, and the banks, well, the banks were closed. I struggled in the games, and I came out with few victories and the prize tokens. I am now in debt, where I must produce the objects in which I lost.
What was wagered? If I can sift through my muddy memory – I am now the future owner of a new bottle of hot sauce (loser’s choice), and a six-pack of AB’s World Select. My losses are pretty big, though. I need to come up with a personal mix cd, and a dish of my infamous nacho layer dip. I threatened to lessen the quality of my guacamole, but I just can’t do that. It’s food, and you should know that food is sacred to me. I’ve been meaning to put together a new mix cd, as my last compilation, entitled “the System of Things” needs some serious updating. All those who would request a copy – go ahead. Be prepared for what might be some eclectic tunes.
So, Aesop, whatcha tryin’ to say? It’s easy – if yer drinkin’, don’t play pool with someone who has game. You’ll end up givin’ away the dip.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

You CAN'T do it!

Coochie! Right now – DON’T think about Charo.

Man - I would normally put a polar bear up against any "non-thought" challenge - but I accidentally thought about Charo at dinner, and she just won't LEAVE MY HEAD. My pain is now yours, or at least pity me.

New Plan.

After some careful review of Life so far – methinks it’s time to get back to basics. Book time. I need to get some letters after my name. So – I’m gonna burn some oil and prep for a big test at the end of May. What test? We’re talking about the CISSP.
A couple of gents here at jobland have recently taken and passed the exam, and man – I KNOW I can do it. Bad enough I’m already doing some consulting around this field anyway – I might as well make it official, and start collecting for it.
I’ve got a TON to learn, or at least re-learn, or maybe remember. I almost forgot what it takes to study, but luckily this is a topic of which I have interest, and if it is anything remotely like useless knowledge – I’ve got it made.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Weather Report : Chili Today, Hot Tamale…

Punk Rodent
Ok – this is stolen from the numerous billboards along Route 1 in the direction of South of the Border, the tourist trap of the East Coast. For real weather prediction, we have good ‘ol Phil out in PA. I heard a conflicting report from some rodent out in Staten Island going by the handle of Chuck that says we’re in for nice weather soon. Right. Typical of those Islanders. Always against the grain. Bottom line : Sham. Punk. Charlatan. Whatever.

In other news : My need to create has gone to the kitchen. I went to my neighbor’s for a Super Bowl bash and it would have been in bad form to go empty-handed. In my closing thoughts Saturday evening the brain-bone worked hard, thinking what to make or bring that would be worthy of a Super Bowl gathering… Super Bowl… Bowl… I’m hungry… Cold… Bowl… Chili.. Super Bowl of Chili… done.
So – as a public service, I present to you my recipe for what is a superior tub of the meat-slop. You may substitute the beef for whatever meat you feel appropriate.
Ingredients :
2 -28oz cans tomatoes
1 - cup water
1 -TBL brown sugar
2 - beef cubes
2 - TBL Cilantro
2 -TBL hot paprika
4 -TBL cumin
7 -TBL chili powder
2 -TBL cayenne pepper
4 -Bay leaves
1 -TBL minced garlic
5 - whole jalapenos, stemmed and pitted
2 – red peppers, stemmed and pitted
1 – green pepper, stemmed and pitted
1 – small onion
1lb. sausage (chorizo)
3+ -lbs beef
tobasco as needed

ok – you pick out whatever beef – I use Top Round Roast. Add all the liquids and spices to pot – get simmerin’. Meanwhile grind all the meat, peppers, onion, garlic, then brown it all, add some salt and pepper. Throw in that simmerin’ liquid stuff, and simmer some more until you just can’t take it anymore and need to eat it. Probably at least 90 minutes. If you want – open up a few cans of Red Beans and add ‘em to the mix for the last 40 minutes of simmer – some folks don’t like the beanage. I sure do.

I like this stuff over rice, with some cheddar on top. Accompany with some nacho chips. Maybe even some Pedron. Definitely cerveza. Share and enjoy.