Thursday, August 28, 2008

Conversation .....

Harold and Maude had just escaped the heat of the day to refresh themselves with a quick fast food meal at a local Weinerschnitzel. After ordering, both sat down at an empty booth when an argument between two unseen employees broke out behind the counter. One was yelling at the other in Spanish:

“¡Mirar! ¡No me importa lo que usted piensa que sí, no es trabajo! ¡Ese es el tercer cliente del que traté de hacer una cosa y salió otra… después de que usted ha dicho usted fija bien desde la primera vez! ¡Ahora salir allí y cambiar la contraseña de root beer!”

(Translation: “Look! I don’t care what you think you did, it’s not working! That’s the third customer that’s tried to get one thing and it came out another … after you said you fixed it right the first time! Now get out there and change the root beer!”)

Harold and Maude looked at each other and smiled.

“Geez! What was that all about? But more importantly, don’t they have a word in Spanish for root beer?” Maude asked.

“No, they don’t,” Harold responded.

“That’s just dumb. You’d think they could say “root beer”! They have to use English words to say it?”

“What restaurant are you sitting in?” Harold asked.

“Weinerschnitzel,” Maude replied.

“That’s right. And there is no translation for “Weinerschnitzel” in English. So what are you going to call it? You’re going to call it “Weinerschnitzel”, just as you’ve done since you first learned the word,” Harold explained. “Not everything translates ..... and English isn’t the be all, end all …”

Moral: Dogs and root beer usually go together. (That is ... if you can make yourself understood when you order'em .....)

........................................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

If you have a better moral, post it, Diego .....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Andy Prieboy's "Bands" Put To Video .....

A video by Edwin Vacek.

How many bands or individuals can you recognize ... ???


"And I told her about the bands
And the bands I led, the bands I joined and bands I fled.
Bands I dug,
Bands I knew
Grand old bands and bands brand new

This band that band every damn band
Every damn band known to either god or man
This band that band every damn band
Every damn band known to either god or man ..."

.......................................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dream A Little Dream .....

I had an interesting dream this morning. Would you like to share it?

In my dream, a friend and I went to a concert. We parked in a field with hundreds of other cars and I knew it would be difficult to not only find the car later after the concert, but it would be a madhouse getting out of the place once the concert was over.

In my dream, he walked from the car to the venue where the concert was being held and it took a long time to get there. I saw the venue finally and thought, at first, it was the Hollywood Bowl ..... but it wasn't. It was a smallish hole-in-the-wall arena with a curved stage and a single layer of seating, no balcony. But it must have held a good eight hundred people.

In my dream, the lights dimmed and the concert began. Classical music began to swell and the stage lights slowly came up to reveal an odd assortment of performers. More were wearing everyday clothes, shorts, T-shirts, jeans. Some had tuxedos on, some dressed casually. It was an interesting mish-mosh of performers.

In my dream, the arrangements for the music were played similar to that of Peter Schickele and I was pleasantly surprised. It was very enjoyable.

In my dream, the stage began to move backward. The floor was opening up in front of the performers and a pool slowly came into view. Right in the middle of an especially interesting arrangement, the lead percussionists began falling into the pool comically. I don't know why, but it made for a grand spectacle.

In my dream, William Shatner came on stage and grabbed a two of the cellists sitting off to one side and forced them into the pool with him. Water splashed liberally into the audience at those sitting closest to the front. That was their cue to begin jumping in the water. Several did.

In my dream, I saw many in the audience had had enough of this weird concert and they arose to leave. But more and more people decided they wanted to join the fray and leapt into the pool, doing cannonballs and dives. I looked and saw my friend getting wet and undecided of what to do. I tugged at his shirt sleeve, motioning him into the pool. He just looked at me as I dove in.

In my dream, the concert progressed still. I started singing while swimming in the pool. I recall not singing very well, but giving it a go nevertheless.

In my dream, Piers Morgan - judge on "America's Got Talent" and winner of "Celebrity Apprentice" - suddenly swam casually up to me and asked: "Were you singing?" I responded I was. "Don't," he suggested.

In my dream, everyone began exiting the pool. The concert was over. I was one of the last in the pool to get out. William Shatner swam by me. "What a great concert!" he offered, enthusiastically.

In my dream, we made our way to our seats where some of out outer clothing was laid out, drying. I couldn't find the long-sleeved shirt I was wearing. There were several similar shirts, but mine was not to be found. I overheard several people stating the same thing and they decided to just pick one of the pieces of clothing that looked like it would fit and went on their way. I did the same.

In my dream, the audience shuffled out the exits. I couldn't find my friend in the throng. I made my way backstage, but there was no one there but a few of the performers, still packing their gear. I decided to head back to the car.

In my dream, the walk back to the car was lonely. I walked to wear I thought the car was, but no one was there and no cars were present. The traffic had all disappeared and a vast, empty field was all that was left. The car wasn't there.

In my dream, I turned left and discovered a long brick wall with an archway opening. I walked toward the opening and when I got to it, I looked thorough it. It opened up into another field with a huge party of Mexicans playing softball and pitching horseshoes. In the distance were canopies where food was being served. I scouted to see if my friend was there, but he wasn't. I did, however, see a rather large, boisterous crowd beneath one of the canopies and decided to make my way over to it.

In my dream, as I approached the canopy with the biggest crowd, I noticed former president Jimmy Carter in line, holding a paper plate and plastic utensils, waiting to be served. I was thrilled to see him there, a white man in a line of Mexicans, just as hungry as the rest. He was speaking with the others in line and smiling. I wanted to meet him, but I didn't want to disturb him.

In my dream, I decided to leave the mass of people and continue looking for my friend and the car. I retraced my steps back to the brick wall. I went out the way I came in, through the archway, and I was in a long hallway made of brick. I proceeded down the hallway.

In my dream, I suddenly saw Jimmy Carter turn off the hallway into a room and I followed him. I took my a while to get to where he had turned, but I finally made it there. I was afraid I would miss him somehow.

In my dream, I looked around the corner where Jimmy had turned and there he was, sitting on a couch comfortably. I went up to him and stuck my hand out, introducing myself. He gripped my hand warmly and told me it was pleasure to meet me. I explained I saw him in the crowd below in a line, but didn't want to disturb him, but now that he was alone, I thought I would say hello. I noticed my speech beginning to become more and more strained as I spoke with him and my words becoming sluggish and unintelligible, but I forced my sentences out as best I could. I told Jimmy of my concert that evening. He seemed pleased with this information. I switched subjects and thanked him for his service to our country and to people in need. My words slurred horribly and you could see Jimmy become more and more uncomfortable with each passing moment. I stopped talking, stood up, waved to him in realization that I knew he knew I was no longer understandable and took my leave of him.

In my dream, I knew that my friend hadn't abandoned me because that is not who he is. Something had obviously happened to the car and he was obviously locating transportation.

In my dream, I heard a loud honking. I turned to see it was my friend. He was driving a silver-colored, interestingly outfitted Jeep which was towing an open-air rail passenger car with wheels suitable for the terrain. Each and every seat in the car being towed was filled. He drove past and thumbed at me to get in. I noticed the Jeep he drove had multiple passenger cars hooked up to it, each one loaded to the brim with people. Eight cars passed before the line of vehicles finally came to a halt and I was able to find a seat on the ninth and final car.

........................................... Ruprecht ( STOP )


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vampires In The Sun, That Is What We Are .....

Look: Everyone makes mistakes.

Yup. Me too. I make’em by the boatload.

Matter’n fact, I made no less than three of’em with my recent venture into Stephanie Miller’s mega-popular novel (and coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you-this-fall film) Twilight.

Naturally, you want to know more about the mistakes I made in delving into this piece of popularity, right? Well, read on, McDuff … read on.

I didn’t get a real taste of this tome 'til I hit the San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Twilight was a subject that came up often. Fans roaming ‘round with copies of the book tucked ‘neath their arms. Talk of the Twilight panel could be heard in the air whilst perusing the Comic-Con aisles and waiting in lines. People with Twilight T-shirts. It was everywhere.

So, when I returned from the Con, I decided to pick Twilight up and give it a read. After all, it seemed popular, much talked about and - if tons of web blogs had any truth to'em - an exciting pastime.

Oh, sure … I saw the title of the book over and over again in various locales. Wal-Mart. Borders. So-n-so's internet site. A casual aside in the paper. “On Sale!” in a Sunday ad flyer.

Though, while plastered out there everywhere, I didn’t truly take notice of it until The Con. I didn't even know it was a vampire book. I never got the meat of what Twilight was and never gave it a second thought. Apparently, as far as this book was concerned, I was living in a cave.

Also while at The Con, I was given a free copy of Dead Until Dark, the novel by Charlaine Harris that's being serialized by none other Alan Ball (“Six Feet Under”) for HBO. (Yes, there was a panel on this adaptation as well.) Yikes! Even more vampire stuff! (This one, at least, I'd heard of.) Them creatures of the night sure are popular of late, aren’t they?

So. Even though I had Dead Until Dark in my back pocket, I decided to pick up Twilight at my local library. (In fact, I had it reserved. The six copies they had were checked out and I was next in line. Popular book indeed!)

Retiring one evening, I had a conundrum to overcome. Which to begin with? Dead Until Dark? Or Twilight?

And here, dear readers, was the First Mistake: I began with Dead Until Dark. I got a couple chapters of that one in. Spiffy book, right from the get go! Nifty characters! Intriguing introduction! Out of the gates and right into the thick of things! But, I realized, if’n I didn’t get motoring on Twilight, my time would run short before I had to return it to the library.

So I retired Dead Until Dark temporarily and committed to Twilight.

The blurb on the back of the book sounded rather promising: “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally, and irrevocably in love with him.”

But ... this blurb was a bit disturbing to me. Would this be my first venture into "trashy novel" territory? That made me pause, if only for a moment of consideration.

Then, I noticed the label applied to the spine of the book: "Teen Center". This was a "teen" novel? Another potential flag. But these things were to deter me not. I dove in.

What I got, in the first two thirds of the book, was a lot of this: “Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes - purplish, bruiselike shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose. Though their noses, all their features, were straight, perfect, angular.”

Those few lines are highly indicative of Twilight. Pages and pages and pages of gunmetal gray description of looks and touches and wants and emotions and facial tics and thoughts that just don’t matter to the story. Well … to be completely fair, they just didn’t matter to me.

Couldn't we have just "bitten" into some action within the chapters? (Pun definitely intended there, people.) Vampires come with fangs and garlic and horror and chills and bats and coffins and stakes and spells and fog and gloom and doom and wonder and creeps and surprise and evil power. Right?

Evidently not.

I'm not going to carry on about what is and what isn't within this book, but suffice it to say I was rather bored for the first two thirds of it. It just wasn't turning my crank

Then, all of a sudden, things got a bit interesting ... some intrigue came about. And this is where my Second Mistake came into play.

I got "nipped" and became interested. It would be short lived, however.

Because, after a few chapters of too brief breath-holding, the story drug on once more. And, quite simply, it became boring all over again and too quickly.

Oh. There're a few nifty turns in this read. It's not all description. But a lot of it is - a big majority of it. The initial set up just

. . . s . e . e . m . s . . .

. . . t . o . . .

. . . g . o . . .

. . . o . n . . .

. . . f . o . r . e . v . e . r . . . . . . . . . .

With Dead Until Dark, the introduction is quick and the action takes off like a shot. It pulls you in immediately. And this book's premise will make for a fine, fine series. Especially with Alan Ball at the helm.

Oh .... Twilight will make a fine flick for its fans. The story will be the darling of its followers, no doubt. But the book, in and of itself, doesn't deserve the hoopla everyone has given it.

And that's just my opinion.

Which leads to my Third Mistake.

I tried hard to enjoy the book. And I did enjoy it, despite the fact it felt like I was dragging along with it as if it was tied to my ankle, ball and chain like.

You see ... my Third Mistake was going to the library today and checking out it's sequel, New Moon .....

First, however, I think I'll get Dead Until Dark relaunched. It's been calling to me, waiting patiently. Bidding me come, to where the real vampires are.

..................................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, So Happy .....


You best believe this shirt rocks.

It said "love" from the moment it was gazed upon.

And nothing else comes close to saying "I'm Proud Of My Geekness - Deal With It!" like a Jack Kirby T-shirt featuring some of the most extraordinary Marvel superheroes ever.


Not. One. Other. Thing.

But ... don't be jealous. Be happy I'm sharing ... be happy you're viewing ... be happy you're invited to witness the love.

It's good to share the love, after all.

............................. Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, August 18, 2008

Late Sunday Misadventures In Eating .....


Rupe had a feeling. Rupe knew it from the time he eye-spied the restaurant they were headed to: Boston's.

And it was situated next to a Chili's as well, another few paces further. More bad news. (Rupe knowers will know of Rupe's "fondness" for Chili's. There isn't one.)

Nothing good could come of that, he thought. But then .... Rupe was doom-saying even before he walked in the door.

So, instead, Rupe put on his "silver-lining, happy-happy good-time" hat and ventured in.

With a party of five in tow after our jaunt to the Aquarium Of The Pacific wherein lots of slimy and sandpapery creatures were felt and ogled over, everyone was hungry and ready for something good to eat. (Rupe was naturally hungry for seafood, prolly 'cause he had walked past a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant on the way to Boston's .....)

The hostess of Boston's led us through a bar area crammed with television screens full of sports programs and through a door to an outside patio. There were a few patrons outside and a couple waiters were busily cleaning a few hastily joined tables for our use. (Rupe won't harp on the fact there were still crumbs remaining on several of the chairs after the waiters' hurried wiping. Oops. Too late. Rupe already did.)

We sat and perused the menus. After a quick first glance, Rupe realized Boston's menu was reminiscent of Chili's menu: not much substance to tantalize the pallet. Rupe sighed once more and adjusted his "silver-lining, happy-happy good-time" hat that was slowly going askew.

"Drinks, anyone?" an almost-fresh-faced male waiter called out to us unexpectedly.

We ordered. The girls (Rupe's wife and her sister) ordered strawberry mojitos in an effort to try something different, the daughters were treated to virgin margaritas to make them feel grown up and Rupe ordered a monster-sized Tecate with lime.

"I'll have to check if the bartender can make virgin margaritas," the waiter announced. Rupe's wife looked at him, quizzically.

"Oh, I'm sure whoever's bartending can come figure it out," Rupe cajoled the server whilst rolling his eyes skyward for his wife's benefit, sharing a personal joke with her.

"I'm only eighteen, so I really don't know," the waiter confessed.

Uh-oh. Rupe smelled trouble. Rupe, again, adjusted his hat. The waiter went off puzzledly and disappeared.

"Disappeared" being the operative word here.

We scrutinized the menus further. And continued to do so for ten more minutes.

Rupe finally announced: "They might be aquiring the water for those virgin margaritas via osmosis, I think. And, luckily, the beer will be fresh, 'cause they're obviously growin' the hops on premises. S'long as it's cold, I'll forgive him."

We pondered our food selections another few minutes when "Sparky" finally arrived, refreshments in tow.

All seemed right with the world. Finally. And after our first few sips, it was. Food was ordered, the conversation continued.

Mere minutes passed when the littlest daughter announced she was getting cold. The al fresco atmosphere and cold virgin margarita had gotten to her, no doubt. Rupe and daughter traipsed off hand in hand to the car to get her hooded sweater. A bit hurumphingly, we passed Bubba Gump's once again .....

On our return, we saw our orders had arrived. The specialty pizza the girls ordered was the wrong one, but Rupe's wife and sister had explained it was fine. Sparky had tried to cover it up and intervene, but it was all right they offered; they'd have it anyway. Rupe - having struggled over what to order and still dreaming of the seafood delights across the street - tried mightily to keep a straight face at the sad specimens of potato skins that were placed before him. Rupe's daughters were presented with burgers and fries.

"May I get some hot sauce?" Rupe asked. Sparky said he'd be right out with it.

All seemed in order. But Rupe noticed one daughter's face after the first bite of her burger.

"This tastes funny" she offered. "It's kind of weird."

Rupe took a nibble. The taste was indeed weird. And difficult to explain. The meat was reminiscent of ground beef, but with added extras to "enhance" the flavor. It was as if it had been deep fried, seasoned with floor sweepings and seared quickly on a grill that hadn't been cleaned in a month. The taste wasn't necessarily unpleasant, but it wasn't indicative of any burger Rupe'd ever eaten.

Sparky appeared a few minutes later to check on our order. "The burgers have to be exchanged for something else," it was explained. "They taste goofy and my daughters can't eat them." Sparky tried extracting a reason out of Rupe, but was stopped in mid-sentence with requests for replacement orders of spaghetti. Sparky at least got the hint. He took away the faux-burgers and was off.

Rupe apologized to the girls, stating this happened from time to time at restaurants. It wasn't the waiter's fault, Rupe 'splained. Rupe offered the girls potato skins slathered with cheese and onions and sour cream and jalapeños; they refused.

Sparky came back out and said their spaghettis would only take a few minutes. Rupe nodded in understanding. Sparky apologized and Rupe told him it was fine, not to worry about it.

It was under five minutes when the spaghettis arrived. The girls seemed pleased. But ..... Sparky failed to give'em forks. Spoons alone don't work when you're eating spags. Forks were ordered. Sparky huffed off quickly.

Meanwhile, the girls began eating with their spoons. Unsuccessfully, of course. "Use your fingers, that's fine," Rupe surrendered to them. They were happy to be doing so with Rupe's approval.

Rupe noticed there were huge meatballs accompanying the orders. Uh-oh. More trouble.

But the little one grabbed a golfball-sized meatball and took a hanker out of it, oblivious to the fact her burger was ousted a few minutes prior.

"Do you like that?" Rupe queried.

"It's pretty good," she said.

Rupe tried one. Yup. They were pretty good. Obviously, they were not prepared by the same cook that came up with the failed burger recipe.

Sparky reappeared. Forkless.

Rupe kept control: "Sparky? Forks?" He apologized yet again and ran off at an exaggeratedly frantic pace.

"I think Boston's needs to reassess their Wait Staff Preparedness Program," Rupe commented.

A few missteps more and we were out of the place. Rupe could finally take off his "silver-lining, happy-happy good-time" hat. A mental note was jotted in Rupe's super secret little black book: *Boston's: Just Say No*

Rupe and Company once more passed Bubba Gump's on the way back to the car. The neon lights mocked Rupe with their warm glow. A passing garbage receptacle was awarded Rupe's hat.

Rupe sighed, put the "dinner" behind him, shunned the neon lights and enjoyed the company of his family instead .....

................................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

Thursday, August 14, 2008


My daughter's three year-old goldfish died Thursday.

was a kick and a half. Never have I seen more spunk in a fish than in this one.

And in a goldfish at that.

And yes ... you read rightly: The fish was three years old.

Amazing .....

I think that I shall never again see

A goldfish live to the age of three,
My daughter's fish, Gabriella, she
Birthday'd thrice and much more, you see .....

That fish, she ate ..... and ate some more,
She must've ate 'til her sides were sore.
But that's okay, she gave us much more;
She gave us pleasure, smiles, stuff of lore.

The stuff of lore, you see, because
My daughter's fish, the fish she was
Was the biggest goldfish with fins of fuzz
And girth and hunger and all that was.

Gabriella the fish, never in a daze,
That fish was one who could surely graze.
She ate with gusto, with verve, for days,
Our astounding fish never failed to amaze.

She literally jumped from the water to feed,
She leapt, she twirled, to consume her need.
She entertained hugely, whether she fed or peed,
That fish was family ..... for certain ..... indeed.

So it was sad to see her begin to list,
Her final day would not be missed.
We would all be there, fate could not twist
Our last view of her and the tank she'd kissed.

And so, with solemnity, we say farewell
To our little three year-old fish we all thought swell.
With her gaping mouth that appeared to yell,
Our close family fish who we will miss, oh well.

So good bye, Gabriella ..... you've left a big hole
That will never be filled, not with shovel nor bowl.
Dear fish, you've given your ultimate toll.
You'll be missed, dear fish ..... swim now to your final shoal .....

............................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

"Birdbath" .....

Rupe works with Tommy T, a snappy-dressing computer operator.

His shirts're usually pressed cleanly.

He wears cuff links often.

His hair is coiffed all nice 'n' stuff.

He has an odd, yet pleasant, sense of humor which compliments Rupe's demeanor in the office and we often bounce our wits off'n each other.

And .....

Tommy T has Tourette's.

Yeppers. "Tommy T"
(his name has been changed so his cable company doesn't recognize he is the subject of this blog) is a Tourette's sufferer. Or so he claims.

Rupe has the tendency to believe this, as Tommy
does exhibit certain signs of Tourette's.

The thing is, it's not a problem. Not one whit.

Tommy even proclaimed on Day One of his employment he had Tourette's. But not the derogatory, ostentatious kind of Tourette's. And not the facial tic, must-scratch-that-itch sort of Tourette's.

Tommy T's Tourette's is a lot more fun and lighthearted. He goes so far as to make fun of his ownself because of it, matter'n fact.

Example: Sitting at his computer, when something goes amiss, his response is usually a hearty
"Eat it!" Why? No one is certain. But it's a frustration thing, exhibited when a program command doesn't go his way or somesuch. You can't help but chuckle at it.

And Rupe goes a bit further. Every time Rupe hears Tommy T cough out an "Eat it!", Rupe starts humming Michael Jackson's "Beat It". It works in a strange sort of complimentary way. And Tommy T gets a kick out of it as well.

Other signs of Tommy T's Tourette's exhibit themselves in his need to sing abstract, out-of-context song lyrics. This thrills Rupe to no end. 'Cause Rupe's all about the music, so Rupe doesn't mind this in the least.

Matter'n fact, Rupe works those lyrics into guesses of what Tommy's singing snippets of. And Tommy, well ... he's often amazed at the answers Rupe comes up with. Many times, Tommy knows not what he's singing and Rupe'll inform him of such.
"Really?!?" Tommy will query. "I didn't even know I knew that song!" he'll exclaim.

Yes, there is the occasional sharp
"Birdbath!" that Tommy almost shouts out, making everyone turn in his direction. So there is a bit of blurtiness that ensues. But, when Tommy himself laughs at his exclamations, you know all is right with the world.

Once, while in a meeting with the boss down the hall, Rupe and boss heard Tommy shout out a string of incoherencies that were so comical Rupe's boss was practically doubled over on the floor with laughter. "Do you have a problem sitting next to Tommy?" he asked after his laughter had died down a bit.

"Nah. Tommy's fine. It's not a problem," Rupe replied. "Though, you
may want to tighten up the observational analysis portion of your interview process next time around," Rupe jokingly suggested. Rupe's boss chuckled and shook his head knowingly.

Tommy T has Tourette's.

And Rupe loves the guy .....

........................................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Weekend Get-Away .....

Just a few notes on the just-concluded long weekend spent shuttling between Carson City and Reno, Nevada.

Chapter One

In Order To Be Hotel Security, Your “Fun Gland” Must Be Removed

As we pulled up to the hotel for the first time in a calm, quiet Carson City early Friday morning, we could see the girls bouncing up and down waving frantically to us from their second story hotel window. I saw my father-in-law in the background gazing down at us as well. The girls knew we had arrived. They were just as anxious to see us as we were to see them.

Up to the room we went. Multiple bear hugs and kisses later and a good night from the FIL who made off to his room, the littlest one decided to come down to the car with me to help carry a few things up. As we left the room for the car, I spied a couple of security personnel heading our way.

I turned to my daughter walking beside me and asked “Do you remember what room we're in?”

“Yes!” came the confident response: “Room 210.”

As the security guards passed, one of them turned and asked “Did I hear her say you came from room 210?”

“Yes, you did,” I told the guard as I looked over my shoulder.

“Because … we're headed there right now,” I was informed.

“Why is that?” I puzzled.

“It seems there's been a lot of noise coming from that room” he explained. “The room below 210 called and complained of pounding going on from above, so we were just on our way to check it out.”

“Very interesting, because I just got to the room,” I confessed to the guard. “We just rolled in … we just got here.”

I walked the short distance back our room, security guards on one side, my daughter – wide eyed and taking everything in - on the other.

As my wife answered the door (I hadn't a key yet), she was surprised to see all of us standing there. I explained the situation. She mimicked my few sentences to the guards about just having arrived.

“Have you guys been making any noise?” I asked both the girls in the presence of the guards

”We just jumped up and down when we saw your car and waved at you,” the eldest revealed.

And then it dawned on me: Their exuberance was the culprit. Apparently, midnight trouncing about is a bane to the gambling contingent on the lower floor that decides to turn in early.

I addressed the security goons and apologized. Naturally, I blamed my (non-present) father-in-law for the commotion.

And all was well with the world.

I promised them I wouldn't swing from the light fixtures a few hours hence in respect of our neighbors sleeping habits … but all bets were off come the morrow. I was met with a stare from one guard to which I offered not only a “Good evening!”, but a hearty “See ya tomorrow … same Bat time, same Bat channel!”

Off to the car we went to retrieve luggage.

Good times.

Chapter Two
The Cat Toes're The Best Part

There were fourteen of us. Kids. Grandparents. Friends. Cousins. Outlaws all. So, when it came time for dinner, choosing a place was always “a blast”.

Chili's was a disaster the previous evening. (Is there ANYTHING good on that menu?!?) We were strewn between two different tables (granted: not the establishment's fault), my wife's burger arrived raw, the atmosphere was claustrophobic and the two year-old nephew I sat next to was demanding to be played with the entire dinner session.

So, Saturday night it was off to a Chinese hole-in-the-wall buffet my father-in-law spied on the way back from Reno.

I was one of the first to get to the entrance of the place. Right there at the front door, an announcement glared back at me. “Lost: Black & White Cat.” As my wife approached, I thumbed her gaze toward the flyer taped to the glass.

“Look what's on special tonight,” I told her. She made a face.

I held the door for her as she entered.

I took an exaggerated deep breath. “Yup. Smells like tabby to me!” She chuckled a bit while grimacing.

I opened the door and let my father-in-law and brother-in-law in on the joke. They rolled with laughter.

Despite the fact the place was a hole-in-the-wall – and the fact steaming cat wafted interestingly through the air – dinner was quite tasty …..

Good times.

Chapter Three
Shoulders Are Made To Bleed

I promised the girls I would swim with them all afternoon Saturday.

We dove for quarters for what seemed like hours on end. I tossed the eldest in the air 'til my arms hurt. The youngest leapt off my shoulders until I had permanent gouges depressed into my shoulders. I could've sworn I saw blood oozing from them round about the 100th leap. I made my father-in-law pay for hiding a sunken quarter with his foot. And I kicked a nineteen year-old's ass by drowning him every chance I got when we went head-to-head after the same coin.

Good times, indeed.

Chapter Four
Carson City Casino Cafés're Cold, Y'Know

As she came out with everyone's breakfast Sunday morning, the waitress announced she brought extra toast ‘cause the cook burnt more than he toasted. Everyone looked at each other at that unusual comment, but no one said anything. (A rarity.) We had so much sourdough toast at the table we could have formed a sourdough maze and charged admission.

Ten minutes into breakfast, I felt the room go cold. Downright fridged.

And then I saw the reason why.

My brother-in-law hadn't been served and he was starting to slow burn. You could see tendrils of steam radiate from beneath his baseball cap (which he wore at the table). As the waitress came by to check on everyone, my sister-in-law asked his missing food. It seems she never got his order. Or he never gave it. Or sumpin'.

She apologized profusely and told him she would have a plate for him in a matter of a minute. He gushed icily that it was fine … he didn't want anything after all. He was in a molded funk, for sure.

He shifted into high gear – high asshat gear, that is – and made a big 'ole scene. The poor waitress didn't know what to do, so she simply retreated to the kitchen.

I offered half my omelet to him, which he refused. My wife hushed me.

I told him there was plenty of toast and I was accosted with Superman heat vision eyes from several of my (out) in-laws.

I mentioned out of the corner of my mouth it could be worse … it could be Carson City cat hash and gravy he'd be eating. Several Smucker’s orange marmalade packets were positioned to come flying headward if I didn't shut up post haste.

The girls just giggled.

At breakfast, there were good times, too.

Chapter Five
Puking Hinders Not The Double Down

My sister-in-law complained of a stomach ache the night before. Remedies were exchanged. Charcoal pills were offered. An early evening's turndown was inevitable for her and she bowed out as gracefully as her green tinged face allowed.

Come the morning, she was at breakfast ... but understandingly didn't eat anything. She had slept miserably. She was grouchy and had bags beneath her eyes. The green glow was gone from her cheeks, replaced by palidness.

Half an hour later, as everyone was moving their luggage to the cars, she was mysteriously absent from the group.

It so happened I had passed her in the casino while checking out; she was sitting at the blackjack table, merrily tossing chips about in front of her.

Back at the parking lot, my brother-in-law was grumbling … still peeved about the earlier breakfast, but he'd moved on to something different to moan about.

“Yeah … she's too sick to pack, but she ain't too sick to plant her ass at the blackjack table,” I was informed.

Good times at the back end of the weekend as well.

....................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It’s The "Cheesiness" That Beckons …..


The fact that you're here, that you're reading this blog, says something about you.
You could have gone off on your own and went somewhere else. No one twisted your arm to come here.
You could have said “Enough is enough! I can't sit in front of the computer another minute!”, gotten up and walked off in a huff.
You could have decided a restroom break was in order …. a drink needed to be procured …. the dog needed walking. You could have decided any number of things.
But, instead, it was two simple things that kept you here:
  • 1) It was the ease in which the link to this blog was effortlessly clicked; and
  • 2) It was the succulent looking Velveeta image above that called your name silently and beckoned you to stay.
Admit it. You know exactly what you want. Nothing more or less. It was the cheese you wanted – right? It’s all right. No need for embarrassment. No need to shun your inner need for the cheese.
It’s the warm gooeyness that attracts you. The tang of sharp cheddar that holds sway over you. The creaminess of it all when cheesy warmness dribbles over some foodstuff made all the better with a creamery goat cheese concoction. It’s the cheese from Philadelphia you slather on that toasted bagel in the morning that you long for. It’s the stringy stuff on your baked potato you adore so much. It’s the pepper-infused “moots” you wedge up and add to your antipasto. And you know it.
Now … some say (as I often do): “Use Velveeta … go to jail.” That should be a constitution everyone should hold dear to their hearts. So … why do I use the image above? I use the Velveeta name and image not for the taste factor … but for the cheese factor.

Yes. The cheese factor. Or, rather, the cheesy factor.
‘Cause there ain’t nuthin’ “cheesier” than Velveeta, let me tell you. And I ain’t talkin’ taste, folks.

Not. One. Bit.
So getcher nachos out, guys. (No … that wasn’t a euphemism.) Unwrap them Triskets and Melba toastsis and Cheeze-Its.

‘Cause the “cheese” is comin’. And it don’t smell like teen spirit.

It smells like Limburger, baby ….. and it's oh, so good.
................................ Ruprecht ( STOP the cheesiness )

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gas, On The Other Hand, Is A Bargain .....

Look .....

To each his (or her) own.

But there's a line. Seriously. And I think it was crossed on a little shopping outing over the weekend.

I don't remember when it was ... a few years ago, I think ... my wife and I were walking through Nordstrom on our way back from some mission just accomplished in the mall.

Casually, we strolled the main aisle through the middle of said Nordstrom and we had to veer either left of right. There were a couple mannequins in our path. As we began to walk around them, I went up to one mannequin nattily dressed in some sort of capris and top ensemble. It just so happened both the price tags were dangling near each other and I reached out to take a gander. What I saw shocked the bejeebers out of me:

The price on the capris pants was $550.00. I shit you not. The cost of the top? $800.00.

"Holy Crap!" I exclaimed out loud to my wife:

This outfit costs $1,300.00 ... !!!"

People turned and stared. My wife - never so embarrassed in all her life, she would later confess - grabbed me by the hand and with as much dignity as she could muster under the circumstances led me out of the store at a jaunty clip.

Fast forward to yesterday. Another errand, another excursion to the mall. And yes ... much to my wife's chagrin, another stroll through Nordstrom, my personal "favorite place to shop".

You see, the wife was out of perfume. And it just so happened she had a handful of Nordstom gift cards to exchange. So it was into the store we went ... but not before being admonished:

"You are not to say two words when we go in here, do you understand?" she chided.

"I can say anything else, though, right?" I asked. "Just not 'two' and 'words'. Got it."

I was given a look that froze the words coming out my mouth right there in midair. I wisely lowered my eyes in subjugation and opened the door for her.

It was a short stroll to the perfume counters. Her brand was quickly located, a gift box was acquired and a free gift pouch with unknown goodies was given to her for her efforts.

Meanwhile, I took time to peruse the men's colognes. I found one I thought rather unique and gave the sample bottle a squirt. "Hey!" I was yelled at. It was the wife, coming my way. "What are you doing?!?" "Just passing the time," I confessed.

Into the mall we went ... without an incident to be told of.

Thus far.

But on the way back an hour later, we needed again to pass through Nordstrom. And this time, even the wife was game for a looksy at a few things being hawked. (Though, I don't know if you can really call salespeople selling the wares of Nordstrom "hawking". Not at some of the prices I saw.)

We passed a shoe department. A pair of glisteny high heels beckoned me. I went over and nonchalantly lifted one. "How much? Care to take a guess?" I asked the wife.

"You guess," she replied, looking at me askew.

"Hhhmmmmmm ...... it is Nordstrom. I'll wager 175 bucks."

I wasn't far off. The pair weighed in at $160.00. I was only slightly aghast. I reasoned that must be a bargain.

Then, I saw some goofy looking plaid shoes. They were Bum Berry's or Huckleberry's or somesuch ... I don't know. These were probably the ugliest shoes I had ever seen ... ever. They were those dopey looking ones that kind of look like a sneaker, but they're a slip on shoe, without the heal. They were plaid, a brown and white combo, and they looked like a really bad picnic table cloth that didn't have anywhere else to call home so someone decided it would make a good shoe design.

We're talkin' hideous: Damn. Fugly. Shoes.

I hefted one and flipped it over to see the price; that's when my eyes about boinged out their sockets:

$275.00 for a pair of shoes that were missing the heal. Seriously.

I looked at my wife who was looking at me comically. "You ain't seen nothing yet," was her only comment with a wry smile.

Next we perused the sunglasses. She tried on a pair or two and asked if I liked any of them.

"Those ones look really good on you," I admitted at an oversize pair she donned. The $175.00 price tag, however, left me breathless.

"Let's get out of here," I told her and grabbed her hand.

"It could be a lot worse ... I could shop here all the time," I was told. "The only reason I come here is to get perfume or cash in gift cards."

I was relieved to here that.

On the way out, I spied a really spiffy looking Hawaiian shirt adorned with pineapples. It was earthy and comfortable-looking. And it was my last hurrah of the outing, so I took the bait. (I have a fondness for summer Hawaiian shirts - "pineapple shirts", I call them. I need a new pineapple shirt for summer every year and usually get one for Christmas. And, yes, they usually have a pineapple on them.)

$275.00. The shirt retailed at $275.00. My wife scooped my jaw off the ground and led me out of the store.

As we exited, I exclaimed: "That's insane. Completely, totally insane. And people actually pay for that stuff. Matter'n fact, it's beyond insane. It's obscene," I gushed.

We entered the car and I continued: "Look - I understand if you're some highfalutin', high-end personal shopper to the stars. Or if you're employed by someone who requires you be dressed to the nines ... but those prices are ridiculous. I mean ... you can't even walk out of there with a complete outfit for under a grand! Don't the people that shop there know we're supposedly in the midst of a recession ... ?!?"

The wife just shook her head at me silently. I turned on the radio.

Pink Floyd's "Money" was playing .....

.............................................. Ruprecht ( STOP )

P.S. Anyone that can identify the mall in the picture above wins a prize - specifically, the movie it was featured in .....