Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Little Improvement ... Perhaps

Out with the old and in with the new they say.

And that's what I'm going to attempt once again with the start of two thousand fifteen.

I did my fair share this year of the "out with the old" part. I made that exact statement one year ago this very day. And (here's some of the preaching part) I didn't do half bad a job of it, either. New ventures, different attitude, etc.

But I'm not going to gloat and back slap myself for the year's accomplishments, great or small.

I am going to rid some of a bad habit of mine, though - yapping about things incessantly. I'm going to attempt to slough off some of the niggling things I've harped on and squawked about throughout 2014. And do a little bit more of that preaching at the same time.

Understand, however, I'm not completely delusional; not all I am going to crow about will magically disappear or change miraculously with the shedding of the old year. But maybe, just maybe, in putting it out there the intention (at least) of putting some of these things behind me I can fool myself into starting start fresh.

So ... people ...

Use The Turn Indicator On Your Vehicle. I don't know what the deal is of late but over the last several months I seem to have the "good fortune" of getting behind motorheads who have no clue how to use that stick on the side of their steering wheel. And, naturally, I make comments out loud to myself (and others if driving with passengers) about the folks ahead of me. "Must be one of those economy cars that comes without a turn indicator." "I get it. The 'need-another-bite-of-my-Big-Mac' was more important than letting me know he was going to turn right." "See that chick there? I trust she saved a bundle when she bought that Mercedes by nixing the 'turn indicator option' on her purchase." "Buddy? If you're going to turn left, let those behind you know your actually going to turn left. No ... I mean your other left ... not right as indicated by your blinking right light." "I'm just going to pull up alongside Mr. Backward Cap up there and politely let him know his turn signal lamps are out and he might want to take a quick trip to Auto Zone and get them replaced." Yeah ... you get the idea.

Diet Soft Drinks. Stop drinking them. Remember when Sweet 'N' Low came out and there were those studies done on lab rats concluding cancer was more likely to develop from Sweet 'N' Low's consumption rather the use of sugar? That was back in the 1970s ... and the studies continue to come forth today for not only that product but all the sucralose additives in soft drinks and gum and baked goods and more. Besides, seriously ... diet soft drinks taste like crap anyway. Develop a taste for iced tea without sugar. You'd be surprised how good it tastes ...

Taking The Lord's Name In Vain. Stop it. One of the ten commandments says not to do that. What? You don't practice Christianity? So why not use some other deity's name in your epithet? Here's a thing: How about respect for any religion or faith, not just those who believe in God? That's just good manners. You're an atheist so it doesn't make a difference to you? I understand that ... but still, good manners if nothing else. Good manners are universal, you know.

And ... speaking of epithets ...

Stop Cussing So Much. You sound ignorant when you use them to excess. Blurt epithets for emphasis. You'll get more mileage out of them, trust me. Their minimal use will punctuate your intent with a lot more *umph* if you curb their frequency.

And, speaking even further about words ...

Stop Saying "Like" Every Four Words. You're not a teenager. And while you're at it, stop with the overused "awesome." And "awesome sauce." And "crap ton." (What is that, anyway?) Thankfully, we saw the death of "Oh, snap!" long ago. Remember how annoying that phrase was? "Like" and "awesome" are right there with it.

See? Just a few little nippy things are all I have to complain about. Little things that are fixable. At least I think they are. Now? I'll stop barking about them.

On the flip side, how about doing some things for your ownself? Again, little things, completely doable by your lonesome ...

Learn Something New Everyday. Use your cell phone much? Good. How about utilizing it to better yourself instead of SnackChat (stupid kids) or gaming or inane texting or whatever other dumbass application you have on your phone and download Use the "Daily Word" feature, program it to pop up every single day so you increase your vocabulary throughout 2015. No ... you're not going to remember each and every funky word that pops up, Nor will you use them in everyday conversation. But you just might become a little bit smarter. And becoming a little bit smarter every day just might ward you from Alzheimer's disease. (You're welcome.)

Talk To Strangers. Speaking of cell phones, get off them and converse with a stranger when you're in the grocery line ... or in line ordering that Subway sandwich on the run. Or in the checkout at a department store. Climb out of your social cocoon and live a little. You just might learn something from someone new. It won't kill you.

Hold The Door Open For People.
And be conscious of doing so. Courtesy: Exercise it. It makes you look good. It makes you feel good. And - good news - it's free.

Slow Down When You Drive. You don't need to go so fast, trust me. You'll save gas. Your sanity. Your nerves. You'll have a better outlook on life, too. Life is fast enough ... isn't it? Take it easy.

Set Your Clocks 10 Minutes Fast. Seriously. In your car. Your watch. Your phone clock if you use that. The clock on your stove, in your living room, in your bathroom. Guess what? When you're late? You'll realize you have 10 more minutes. It sounds kind of stupid, I know. But you'll find it's liberating. And you'll feel better about yourself. And? It's free as well.

One more thing: Share this stuff with someone. Of the couple hundreds I know who read my blather, a few of you will act on a couple of the above things. And the fact of the matter is you'll be all the better for it, I know. Not "world changingly" better ... just personally. Just a little bit. 

Happy New Year, folks.

.......... Ruprecht ( won't STOP, even going into 2015 ... )

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whine Not

It's something I've come across often.

People who seem normal ... outgoing ... sociable. In general, they are pleasant to be around.

But some? They turn (and quickly) into whining, annoying, self-absorbed crybabies focused on the most miniscule of infractions.

I'm not talking about verbal body tackles to their person. Or snide remarks tossed their way debasing their characters. Nor am I talking about sarcastic one upsmanship. I speak of whining for whining's sake. You know them: It appears they have nothing better to do than complain about the smallest thing.

I'm sure they think they have a reason for it. But in reality it's simply for their justifications.

Or it's because the person is truly self-absorbed and believes they're entitled.

Or they're happy in their misery and uncomfortable when removed from it - they know the feeling too well and don't like when they're not inside that bubble.

Hey, I complain. I complain all the time. You've been to this blog before ... you've seen me do it. When I do it's with a comedic bent. Or with an incredulous "I had no idea." There are several other categories when I grouse, too ...

... but I don't do it just to do it. I don't do it simply for the sake of whining. It's not because I know whining intimately and it's my natural state of being.

Quite the opposite: I'm a happy-go-lucky sort of guy. I'm mirthful and upbeat and I enjoy smiling. A lot. It's too much trouble to be unhappy. It takes too many muscles to frown. It makes for an unpleasant air when I'm around whiny, unhappy people. 

I'm not stupid or ignorant of such, though. All situations and conditions cannot be joyous or pleasant.

But why in the world would you force such a state on yourself? When there is absolutely no need to do so? To hear yourself complain? To moan and foster that "woe is me" attitude ever forward?

Stop it. No one wants that. No one wants to be around that ...

... well ... except other whiners. Because misery does, indeed, love company ... and whiners support other whiners.

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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Get It Right

People of Earth!

Get it right, already! It's "Daylight Saving Time" ... not "Daylight Savings Time" ... !!!

November 2nd we turn our clocks back an hour. We get an extra hour in the early morning to party a little longer or to get in an extra 60 minutes of our favorite program or absorb a smidgen more sleep for our overloaded bodies.

It's called "Daylight Saving Time."It's not time to visit the institution where deposits of daylight are stored away for a rainy day. There aren't any "savings," either daylight nor of time. In other words it's not "Daylight Savings Time."

Got it? Get it? Good ...

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP using it incorrectly )

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Congratulations Are In Order

Apparently, not so simple a request after all.

Terrific pitching performances all around for both teams.

And, while the Royals have nothing to be ashamed of, to the victor go the spoils:

Congratulations, San Francisco Giants, on your 2014 World Series victory. And as well on your much deserved MVP, Mr. Bumgarner.

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

An Open Letter To The Kansas City Royals

Dear Kansas City Royals:

I wonder if I can ask a small favor: Do you think you could keep me in mind during your pre-game preparations, when you take the field and all through tonight's final 2014 World Series contest against the San Francisco Giants?

I know it's asking a lot. I'm certain you guys will have tons on your mind going into the final and deciding game of the October Classic. But I would really appreciate it if you'd grant me this small consideration.

You see ... I don't like the Giants. I never have liked the Giants. They've always been the hated rivals of my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. Winning tonight's game would grant me a small solace against the disappointment the Giants furthered themselves through the playoffs and to The Big Dance where the Dodgers did not.

I know, I know ... I haven't been a good spokesman of the American League. As a matter of fact, when talking about it I've usually spewed something to the effect "Nine men take the field at the top of every inning, those same nine men better go to bat at the bottom of it" or some such. It's a mantra I believe in heartily. Yes ... I realize the designated hitter position has not only prolonged some terrific baseball careers (with many men in the position being some of my heroes) but it goes against the grain of being a true sportsman. A ball club should succeed or fail on both sides of an inning without a batting order being jury-rigged. You understand where I'm coming from ... right? You really can't blame me; it's a mindset that's been taught to me since I was a youngster ... and it's something I hold dear and true. It's not like the American League is my enemy or anything. (But, even if it were, it's a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing, that sort of bond. You get my meaning?)

Regardless of my position on the whole National League / American League issue, I'm willing to do this: I promise that conflict won't stand in the way of my rooting for you guys to win the whole enchilada tonight. I mean ... even your uniforms sport the proud color (Dodger) blue which makes things more comfortable standing and cheering on your side of the fence.

So just know I'm gunning for you tonight. I hope your bats and gloves are as hot as they were last night (GREAT game, by the way), your spirits are high, your sportsmanship exemplary and you maintain that focused and competitive edge as you go into tonight's contest.

But, you know ... also with extreme prejudice.

Best of luck. I'll be watching and vigorously applauding your efforts. Keep me in mind.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dead, More Dead, Deader Still

As a selfless service (and as Halloween approaches), it falls on me to put a little informational PSA out there on the airwaves for your consumption.

Three classics of the horror make up cornerstones of the genre:

Night Of The Living Dead - the George Romero classic that began it all ...

Dawn Of The Dead - the long-awaited sequel to NotLD and a classic in its own right, and ...

Day Of The Dead - the twisted, interesting end piece to Romero’s "Dead" trilogy.

Peruse the reviews by accessing the handy, dandy links and please enjoy. Then? Go watch the films. You owe it to yourself.

Happy Halloween ...

.......... Ruprecht ( What's STOPping you from seeing these classics this Halloween? )

Monday, October 27, 2014

Meanwhile, Over At The Unbelievables' Site ...

Clark, Jeff and Michael
(not necessarily in that order)

As we do every year Clark, Jeff and myself are celebrating our Halloween extravaganza over at The Unbelievables

Take a peek and submit an entry if you like.

You could be a winner ... !!!

.......... Ruprecht ( will continue to celebrate Halloween, won't ever STOP )

Friday, October 17, 2014

Everyone Get Out Your Calendars ...

You should be more afraid of being killed by this bola than Ebola

So ... here's what we're going to do:

First, everyone get out your day planners. Take your cell phones from your pockets and purses and access whatever calendar application you have on them. Remove the kitty cat or Planet Of The Apes or rainbow unicorn calendar from your wall for easy access. Or ready your computer to ping you when the following nears:

I want you guys to put down the date you plan on taking a trip to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. Or if said plans might find you in the state of Texas where, specifically, you know you will be rolling around on a hospital floor. Better yet make a note of when you plan on exchanging bodily fluids with any person you happen upon who has the Ebola virus. It doesn't matter what day or month you jot, simply label something that will work for you.

Then? You can panic about the Ebola virus and contracting it your very own self as the time draws near. Then? You can worry about running to some antique store to purchase a gas mask. Then? You can plan your next grocery run which will include a swing by the pharmacy to snap up a box of disposable, elastic face masks and some latex gloves. Might as well stock up on the anti-anxiety medication of choice while you're there, too.

Don't get me wrong - we definitely have a situation at hand with this virus currently.

But it's a minor one and there isn't a need for anyone to panic about it. Instead of panicking needlessly (and that's exactly what's going on, needless panic) people need to step back from their anxious selves and let the experts who deal with infectious diseases get a handle on it. Yes ... to date there has been some stumbling about in dealing with it. (Which has been nipped in the bud if you've kept abreast of your local news and such. If you don't think the government and the general population isn't up in arms about the snafus, you're living at the bottom of the ocean.)

Here ... let's quote the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention shall we? 

"In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States."

Five. Imported Cases. None of which - and again I emphasize "in the past decade" - resulted in any transmissions.

Do the math: No transmissions = no deaths.

Until recently, there have been no deaths due to the Ebola virus. 

To put things in gross, under-appreciated (if you will) perspective, why don't we put some things out there that make sense worrying about?* (Even though worrying is a futile act akin to stressing over a bill which never comes due.)

Influenza: Flu kills thousands of Americans each and every year. An especially virulent outbreak occurred in 2004 during which some 48,000 people expired. If you fall into the category of being exceptionally young, elderly or you are immunosuppressed, then do something about it and get a flu shot as a precaution.

Guns kill some 30,000 people every year. That's frightening. You want to be anxious about something? There you go.

Traffic Accidents: Speaking of frightening, road fatalities stack up to around 30,000 or so deaths each year. Nothing to sneeze at. You take your life in your hands each time you get in a car, yours or someone else's. Traffic accidents are the #2 killer of folks residing in the United States.

Heart Disease / Cancer: Oh, look. As the largest cause of death, these two are in a tie when it comes to folks living between the Pacific and the Atlantic. You want something to worry about? Combined, both these lovely items contribute to over half the expirations in America. Worry about eating healthier and exercising more, two things you can personally do to reduce the chance of you becoming a statistic.

The Bottom Line: You have more of a chance being killed by a bola (the image at the top of this page) than Ebola.

So quit with the hysterics, already ...

.......... Ruprecht ( The hysteria must STOP. You'll benefit from doing so. )
*All sourced from

Monday, October 13, 2014

Poor Fred

Much to his chagrin, Fred chose the wrong date for the evening ...

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Real Life Adventures In Construction - Karl Can't Catch

Now ... Karl did mention at one point his depth perception had been compromised from his injury.

But that didn't stop me from forgetting that fact.

We'd worked together for several days. He's a regular guy. The difference is he's simply got a single eye is all. But you wouldn't know otherwise.

Calling it a day one afternoon, we packed up our stuff and readied to head out. Karl came over the hump of the insanely steep driveway and called down to me below if I saw some copper fittings. I said I'd seen them.

"Mind tossing them up to me?" he asked.

I got all three of them and asked if he was ready to catch them.

Now, I used to play ball. Still do. Just not on a regular basis. And I'm a good aim. Winging the fittings to Karl wasn't any kind of challenge. At least ... not for me.

For Karl, however ...

I flung the first one in for a strike ... which Karl promptly dropped directly in front of him. The next one whizzed in a bit to his right but he managed to get a hand on it. Still, he dropped it. The third? Another strike ... which he couldn't get purchase of and fell to his feet.

That's when I remembered his deficit. He was pretty much blind as a bat when it came to catching anything thrown at him.

"Shit! I'm sorry Karl! I completely forgot you can't see ... !!!"

"That's all right ... pick on the disabled dude. No worries ..."

"Hey, you were the one who told me to throw them to you ..."

We both laughed out loud.

Screw political correctness. It was a good moment ...

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP with the curve ball already )

Monday, September 29, 2014

Real Life Adventures In Construction - Wood Eye?!? Wood Eye?!?

"... and when I looked up and it shot right into my eye and buried itself right into my eye socket ..."

I hadn't been privy to the conversation taking place down below me until I happened on the guys who were having it. I caught wind of what they were saying as I came down from the roof.

The tale teller - Karl - continued: "Had I looked up a split second later, it wouldn't have stopped at the back of the socket bone. It would have gone right into my brain. I was lucky."

"Damn! So ... your eye was all right? You recovered?" one of the guys asked.

"Pretty much. I was on worker's comp for a few months. When it healed I could see out of the bottom half of the eye but the top half was grey and fuzzy. Couldn't see anything out of that part. I was told it was scar tissue that was making things fuzzy and I would need an operation. There was a good chance it would fix it but it might not. Long story short, it didn't work ..."

"So that's a fake eye?" the same guy asked.


One of the other guys standing there listening in on the conversation started to shift where he stood, nervous. We knew what was coming.

Karl reached up to pluck out his left eye.

Out it popped. It was only a partial eye piece, not a full, rounded marble of an eyeball. He held it out for everyone to see (that was awkward, let me tell you) and you knew everyone groaned inwardly. Karl looked up good naturedly to show everyone what was left of the damaged eye. Scar tissue blocked the socket from going all the way to the back of the socket.

After everyone stared gape-mouthed at him for a moment he said "Now ... I need a little help positioning the thing when I put it back in. I don't always get it right and I don't have a mirror on me. Sometimes I look like that guy Marty Feldman ... you know ... from Young Frankenstein? So I'll need someone to tell me if I got it in right. Anyone willing to do that?"

I flailed my hand straight up into the air and yelled: "Would I ... !!! Wood I ... !!!" No one got the joke.

Karl bent over and popped his eye back in, then looked up.

His right eye - the good one - looked right at us. The other one was pointed at a 45° angle straight at the ground. Several of the guys muffled chuckles. I directed him on which way to position the thing so it wasn't all cockamamie in its socket.

And then? We began packing up our gear as if nothing happened.

I was somewhat flustered as I rolled cords and straightened tidied stuff up; how was it possible no one knew that joke?


.......... Ruprecht ( doesn't even STOP at an inappropriate moment )

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An All Together Different Matter

In the midst of conversation one day ...

"So what did you like better - the half day worth of mood or the mood that lasted several days?"

"Neither was better ..."

"That's not an option. You have to pick one."

"But ... there wasn't a 'better' mood. They were both equally moody. There isn't an 'option' to pick ..."

"You don't think the half day one was better?"


"Why not? It was shorter."

"Wait ... are we talking about the moods being better or shorter?"

"... so you liked the shorter one better then."

"No. Again: There wasn't a 'better' mood. Now ... if you're talking about whether I liked the length of one mood over the other, that's an all together different matter ..."

"You're a pain in the ass, you know that?"

"I have my moments ..."

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Screaming For Ice Scream

The first time I had heard about the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) Chili I was in awe of the thing.

Rated as one of the hottest chili peppers known to man, the Ghost Pepper is a hybrid creation that stands behind only the Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers who are numbers 1 and 2 on the list of the hottest on earth. 

Translation: This little guy is nothing to fool with.

Regardless its #3 position, the Ghost Pepper Chili boasts an impressive 401.5 times heat rating over your everyday Tabasco sauce. Additionally, it tops more than 1 million Scoville heat units (SHUs). (The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency and heat of chili peppers and other spicy foods, rated as a function of capsaicin concentration).

I was first introduced to a story of this pepper via a story of an electrical worker who was on a lunch break. One of his buddies whipped out a container of home made salsa made with ghost chilis. The dude ate the entire container of salsa with chips (wisely, no one else would touch the stuff), then spent the next hour in the restroom.

When he emerged out of the lavatory, he went immediatel home.

And he didn't show up for the work the next day. 

Or the day after that.
Let's just say the guy learned his lesson.

So at dinner one night, my cousin who knows of my proclivity for hot, spicy foods presented a small container of ghost chili salsa for my perusal.

Now, it's well known I'm daring. But I'm not stupid. I opened the container and took a whiff of the stuff. There wasn't any noticeable smell other than that of any normal salsa but, still, I wasn't taking any chances.

I ran to a cupboard and grabbed a couple Trisket crackers. Back at the table I picked up a fork and dipped one of its tines into the stuff and deposited a tiny dot of salsa on the end of one of the crackers. And when I say "dot" I mean the size of a pin head. I chomped curiously at the cracker.

Almost immediately, I was rewarded with a tasty salsa flavor, bold and rich. And then the most interesting thing took place in my mouth.

The only way to describe it is like this: Have you ever been driving along early in the morning and suddenly come upon a fog? The kind of fog that starts out as wisps of clouds and quickly becomes so concentrated they obscure your view completely, forcing you to slow your vehicle to a crawl while alternating your headlights from low beams to high beams and back again several times to see what lends the best visibility? That's exactly what took place in my mouth. A sensation of "fog" began rolling over my tongue and proceeded along to the back of my throat enveloping it throughout. It was strange, not unlike when you get a shot of Novocaine from the dentist.

And then? I felt a slow heat begin to rise, methodically and persistently building over the seconds to the point I realized my taste buds might be in trouble. The heat built and built, I felt a wash of perspiration break out on my forehead and an inkling of panic set in. Would the sensation stop? Or was I going to have to run for some milk to quash the oncoming heat?

Though, seriously, if a pinhead of ghost chili salsa was affecting me with such overwhelming resolve, what good would milk really do?

I felt myself beginning to salivate, similar to the initial stages of throwing up. I didn't have need of upchucking but I was experiencing the preceding salivations. If the heat kept marching onward I knew I was in for a searing ride.

But then? The sensation began receding all of a sudden. The heat buildup just stopped and backed off in stages. The foggy feeling in my mouth remained, I still felt myself salivating, the sweat was still on my brow but the fear of my mouth beginning to sear from the heat of the peppers was no longer a threat.

I ate my dinner that night with my sense of taste somewhat muted.

Since, I've used the chili on several occasions to spice foods ... but not to eat directly. That little bugger is way, way too potent and a little goes a long way. As an underlying ingredient to give foods a kick it's terrific. And that's all it's good for.

A year later, recently as a matter of fact, I revisited Bhut Jolokia. This time? In the form of ice cream.

Yes ... ice cream.

It was being sold by a vendor, by both the spoonful and the cupful - $1.01 and $5.05 respectively. That same cousin was with me again and purchased a spoon of the stuff for me.

It was a warm day, ice cream was definitely on the menu. But Ghost Chili ice cream? Interesting concept. The sensation of the heat and the cold appealed to me. I had to give it a shot.

But, again, having experienced the pepper previously I wasn't going to be stupid about it. I started by licking off about an eighth of a spoon's worth of ice cream to catch my bearings. It was good stuff, cool and refreshing. Then, that sensation boldly came into play: The wash of mouth-fog, the revelation of approaching heat, the brow becoming damp. It really was an interesting experience and a different take on the ghost chili.

The down and dirty? I only got through a third of the spoon of the stuff. I wasn't going to jeopardize the rest of my day with the feeling of the roof of my mouth hanging in shreds.

Daring? Yes, I am. But daring only to so many SHUs ...

.......... Ruprecht ( won't ever STOP being daring )

Monday, August 25, 2014


Tell me, someone ... anyone: How does this work?

It had been a long day of manual labor and I looked forward to being done. The workload was minimized to a point of manageability and, with just a few more hours' effort, the project would be complete.

I got an e-mail indicating a little surprise I wasn't expecting until sometime next week had suddenly come in: The Godfather Collection I ordered through my local library was at the ready! All three films plus bonus material. Boom!

The Godfather
is one of my favorite films. Part 2 is right behind it on that list. And while I'm not thrilled with Part 3 ... if it comes piggybacked in the collection? I'll take it. And! Bonus material, too! I've yet to see any of the extras so surprise, surprise! I have something to look forward to on a Saturday night!

I finish my work, jump in the shower and it's off to the library to collect my spoils.

"Good afternoon. I was notified some DVDs came in for me today?" I asked the lady behind the counter at the library.

"I'll get them for you" she told me.

She returned after a moment with an over-sized, see-thru DVD package. But it appeared there was only a single disc inside it. I picked it up and opened it and that's all it was: A single DVD.

And it wasn't The Godfather.

It wasn't The Godfather Part 2.

It wasn't even The Godfather Part 3.

It was the bonus disc of the collection. That's it.

"This can't be right," I noted to the librarian. "This is just the extras for The Godfather Collection. No films at all. Are there more DVDs you might have missed?"

"No ... I think that was all being held for you. That's all you got?" she asked. "Wasn't it supposed to be The Godfather Collection?" she asked me. "Let me check ... just to make sure ..."

She left and came back with nothing more than a frown. "I can't believe that's all they sent. Let me see if I can get the others gathered together. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get them until sometime next week ..."

I figured that from the moment I saw the bonus disc.

.......... Ruprecht ( never even got the chance to STOP the movie )

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stopping Alzheimer's Cold

For years I've been operating under an incorrect assumption. (And yes ... for lack of a better term, I will call it "an incorrect assumption," a proper term for what I've supposedly known it as and used it as all this time.)

I'm talking about one of my hated foes of the English language, acronyms.

More to the point I'm talking initialisms, not acronyms. But, in reality, I'm talking both. It's taken me half my life but I finally know the difference.

A friend of mine - Jim Fitzsimons - called me out on my use of "damned acronym" during an on-line discussion recently when, in fact, I should have said "damned initialism." The term in question I was referring to was "TANSTAAFL," something of which I hadn't the faintest clue. I would be duly educated on both the term and what it was, however.

Now to be fair, up until being corrected I didn't know the meaning of "initialism." Oh, I'd heard the word before but I'd never used it, either in speech or in writing ... until being called out, that is. Come to find out, I've been referring to initialisms as acronyms for a long, long time.

Having damned TANSTAAFL, I was immediately warned by Jim he was about to ram a pedantic moment down my throat. Now while I appreciated the fair warning he supplied me with, I was doubly appreciative of the educational moment there in more so. That was when I learned the difference between an acronym and an initialism, courtesy of a Penn & Teller video he provided. (Later, I topped what I'd learned with additional research on both terms along with some information gathered on "TANSTAAFL" itself.)

I'm a big believer - and advocator - of life-long learning. I try to learn something new every single day. (It's a not-so-secret bent of mine that, in so doing, I will effectively thwart any intimations of Alzheimer's disease wishing to take up residence inside my brain in my later years. Yes, I might be deluded about such prevention ... but why tempt fate? If you know me, you know I can use all the help I can get.)

So ... I *hrumphed* while coming to the conclusion I didn't know what I was talking about when it came to what I thought I knew to be an acronym and my obliviousness to initialisms, but I am all the wiser now in knowing the down and dirty on both.

Thanks, Jim. Keep foisting your pedanticalness on me. 

Someone's got to watch out for me and call me on what I think I know.

.......... Ruprecht ( 's ignorance was STOPped cold in its tracks with a little help )

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Strange Brew

It's no secret I love my morning coffee. That fresh aroma assaulting the senses when a new container is cracked open. The waft of brewing Joe as it makes its way through the morning air. That first sip caressing the taste buds. All thoughts to make you smile. 
I don't obsess about coffee by any means. I simply enjoy my morning cup or three.

But this might be the first time I've ever dreamt about coffee.

Early this morning, I had a vision of being in the kitchen getting ready to prepare a pot. I opened a coffee container and scooped out the proper amount to put into a filter. Then, strangely, I opened the lid to a large crock pot sitting on the counter to get water for my coffee. Why I was getting water out of a crock pot I have no idea. In the dream it wasn't a concern, there was nothing wrong with doing so.

As I took the lid off the pot, I noticed it was filled almost to the brim. I pulled some sort of utensil from a drawer to extract water but, before I did, I saw something begin to float to the crock pot's surface.

It was a packet. A packet of Ramen noodle seasoning.

It was still sealed and hadn't contaminated the water in any way so I reasoned the water was still good to go.

But then another appeared. And another. And yet another.

Suddenly I could tell there was more than just seasoning packets in the water. I spied one containing horseradish beneath the others. And I thought I saw one made of see-thru plastic with mustard in it. There was a soy sauce.

All of a sudden a thick, intertwining mass of half-cooked noodles slowly began to break the surface. Still, this didn't seem that strange to me. I figured the water could still be used to make my morning brew.

It was only when an obviously opened parcel of Indiana Jones Spicy Mix (whatever that was) trailing its contents into the liquid and around the noodles did I finally come to the conclusion the water wasn't going to cut it ...

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP )
Despite this morning's dream, Rupe is drinkin' Joe ...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hot And Hotter

I'm known as a stickler when it comes to the news. 

So make certain you have your facts straight and up to date when you shoot information out to the public. 

It's not that I'm trying to be difficult or the ass of the day. Far from it. I just feel if you're serving the general public you have a duty in getting the information you report correct. The reasoning behind that speaks for itself: You're more likely to be thought of as reliable, timely and believable. 

Even if it's nothing more than a 3° differential.

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP mistaking 2 digits for 3 digits )

Friday, July 11, 2014

Euphemisms Are Us

I'm skeptical so I call "euphemism" ...

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Passing Of Calvin And Hobbes

When Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes came out in the mid-1980s, I immediately gravitated to it. Watterson's artwork conveyed rhyme and reason and enjoyment throughout the 10 year run of the strip.

It was with great sadness I saw the strip end 10 years later. It was a daily joy to pick up my beloved Los Angeles Times each day and head for the comics section of the paper to see what Calvin was up to, what trouble he got him self in.

I was especially pleased when my favorite characters were present in the strip: hordes of snowmen - sometimes marauding, sometimes decapitated, sometimes menacing, always hilarious - and Moe, the schoolyard bully who always had it out for Calvin. And Spaceman Spiff ... who didn't want to be Spaceman Spiff ... ?!?

There have been hundreds of well-written articles on the characters and the strip. Quite a few accolades. Discussions and analysis and documentaries all dissecting what made the comic readable, funny, touching. Calvin and Hobbes was like no other strip before it and there hasn't been one like it since.

And then this piece came out a few days ago. Reading it, it brought tears to my eyes, not only because of its content, but also in remembrance of all those strips that came rushing back, strips which will forever be engrained in my mind and loved for the lessons and humor they taught. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?"

In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes, God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did ... did you ... find him?"

"Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic."

Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.

"I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.

"Thank you, Susie." Calvin said.

A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.

"Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him."

"All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon."

Susie kissed her husband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said.

"And I love you," said Susie.

Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door. Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?"

Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. "It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes.

"You haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled.

"You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly.

Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all."

There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.

"So ... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always liked her."

"Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.

"Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited.

And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause.

"You know ... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said.

"I know."

"But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin's voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.

"You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes.

Calvin broke down ad sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!"

Hobbes stroked Calvin's hair or what little was left of it. "But you didn't."

"What do you mean?"

"We were always together ... in our dreams."

"We were?"

"We were."


"Yeah, old buddy?"

"I'm so glad I got to see you like this ... one last time ..."

"Me too, Calvin. Me too."

"Sweetheart?" Susie's voice came from outside the door.

"Yes dear?" Calvin replied.

"Can I come in?" Susie asked.

"Just a minute."

Calvin turned to face Hobbes one last time. "Goodbye Hobbes. Thanks ... for everything ..."

"No, thank you Calvin." Hobbes said.

Calvin turned back to the door and said "You can come in now." Susie came in and said "Look who's come to visit you."

Calvin's children and grandchildren followed Susie into Calvin's room. The youngest grandchild ran past the rest of them and hugged Calvin in a hard, excited hug. "Grandpa!!" screamed the child in delight.

"Francis!" cried Calvin's daughter, "Be gentle with your grandfather."

Calvin's daughter turned to her dad. "I'm sorry, Daddy. Francis never seems to behave these days. He just runs around making a mess and coming up with strange stories."

Calvin laughed and said, "Well now! that sounds just like me when I was his age."

Calvin and his family chatted some more until a nurse said, "Sorry, but visiting hours are almost up."

Calvin's beloved family said good bye and promised to visit tomorrow. As they turned to leave Calvin said, "Francis. Come here for a second."

Francis came over to his grandfather's side, "What is it Gramps?"

Calvin reached over to the stuffed tiger on his bedside and held him out shakily to his grandson, who looked exactly as he did so many years ago. "This is Hobbes. He was my best friend when I was your age. I want you to have him."

"He's just a stuffed tiger." Francis said, eyebrows raised.

Calvin laughed. "Well, let me tell you a secret." Francis leaned closer to Calvin. Calvin whispered, "If you catch him in a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich as bait he will turn into a real tiger."

Francis gasped in delighted awe. Calvin continued, "Not only that he will be your best friend forever."

"Wow! Thanks grandpa!" Francis said, hugging his grandpa tightly again.

"Francis! We need to go now!" Calvin's daughter called.

"Okay!" Francis shouted back.

"Take good care of him." Calvin said.

"I will." Francis said before running off after the rest of the family.

Calvin laid on his back and stared at the ceiling. The time to go was close. He could feel it in his soul. Calvin tried to remember a quote he read in a book once. It said something about death being the next great adventure or something like that.

His eyelids grew heavy and his breathing slowed. As he went deeper into his final sleep he heard Hobbes, as if he was right next to him at his bedside.

"I'll take care of him, Calvin ..."

Calvin took his first step toward one more adventure and breathed his last with a grin on his face.

- tickled

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Here's a fundamental truth:

"You've got to give a little to get a little."

It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter your background. It doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter your station in life. Black or white, short or tall, male or female ... it works across the board.

"I earned my vacuuming badge today."

"Why do men always want points or badges for housework? My husband always wants some kind of bonus points!"

"Same reason women want acknowledgement from men when they talk to us about things they already know the answer to ..."

"Seriously? If I asked for points for everything I did I would always be asking for points. I ripped the entire living room apart, edged everything and kicked the living crap out of it. And I cleaned the vacuum out before I did it because that rarely seems to get done. If there was a Boy Scout badge for that chore I would have earned it today."
"The fact of the matter is: Everyone wants acknowledgment in some way, shape or form. Question why someone wants it and you doom the person from doing it again for you. Accept it, acknowledge it with a little pat on the back (verbally or in badge form) and be on your way. Look at it this way: You win, no matter what."

.......... Ruprecht ( won't STOP earning points, either )
Acknowledgments to Mr. Bailey

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I'm lost. Care to help me out here?

< rant >

Just when did the terms 'Murica and 'Merica become acceptable uses for "America" ... ??? 

Last time I checked (and that was just a few moments ago) America is still "America." Somewhere along the line it got shortened. Short shrifted.

I don't care who you are: If you live here it should be spelled properly when used: "America." Or "The United States Of America." An acceptable abbreviation is "USA" or "U.S.A." 

It's a matter of respect.

It's like the word "cop." I know it's a shortened form of the word "copper," probably derived from "to cop" meaning "to seize or capture" (and, erroneously "constable on patrol" - did you know that?) but I don't use the term. In my eyes it's just this side of disrespectful. They're "police" or "police officers" not "cops." They've earned the title.

America? America is America. Nothing less. 

It's definitely earned the respect.

< /rant >

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP using disrespectful terms for "America" )

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th Of July

Not only beware of danger but let's be aware of it, too. 

Happy Independence Day. And boom.

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

And Now? The Time Has Come ...

Update: On Tuesday, August 26th, 2014, I successfully imported all previous posts at Rupe's Value Added Services to the Redux site without that annoying "surreal.cgi" bug that kept popping up over there. Everything over there is now up and running on Redux.

.......... Ruprecht

This is the final entry for this blog.


Because I'm now at Rupe's Value Added Services ... Redux.

"Well ... that kind of tells me why ... but not really, if you know what I mean ..."

You're right.

So go read the initial posting over there and your question will be answered, already.

.......... Ruprecht  ( STOPped putting new entries here. You know why if you followed directions )

surreal.cgi My Ass

That image above?

It's a screenshot of the pain in the ass "bug" that pops up every time I open my Rupe's Value Added Services blog. (You could comically comment it's one of the "value added services" I get.)

Well, I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of it popping up, I'm tired of having to cancel the damned thing out each time it rears its ugly little head. It's some sort of none-invasive glitch that has set up a comfortable home over there and it's decided it's not going anywhere while all comfy and cozy. I've been messing about for ages trying to find out how to eliminate it and I haven't come up with a way to do so. 

It hasn't done any harm. It's simply annoying. Several visitors to that blog have noticed it appears, but only on occasion. It hasn't done anything to them, either, outside of be annoying. And it only shows up sporadically.

My solution? I've transferred to a "redux" version of the blog at a new address (you're here right now!) and put the word out of the new digs. No, I'm not going to switch the 300+ blogs I have at Rupe's Value Added Services to this one, but I did add a link at the right so anyone curious can access all those little gems as they see fit.

So here you are, at the new Redux of the blog. Please continue to enjoy and comment and share and call me on stuff.

.......... Ruprecht ( came up with a solution to STOP "surreal.cgi" ... and now you're reading it )

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cheese Substance

How many times have I told you: "Use Velveeta, go to jail?"

(At least once. Here.)

And, really ... if you need a reason to avoid Velveeta (you don't - commons sense should dictate that), verbiage use such as this will do the trick: 

"No illnesses have been reported in connection to the underpreserved cheese substance.

Reason enough. 

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP abusing cheese, don't use Velveeta )

Friday, June 13, 2014

What Part Of "Barq's" Don't You Understand?

Two weeks have gone by and - Wouldn't you know it? - I find myself back at Chick-Fil-A once again.


Not my choice of a quick dinner while on the go. (As a matter of fact, the next time we're out, I'm picking the eatery for a change of pace.)

You know ... I never have understood the attraction of Chick-Fil-A. I've frequented their locations a handful of times - the majority in the last year - and I haven't yet had anything that strikes me.

Well that's not necessarily true. When there those few weeks ago I included a side of coleslaw with my order. It would have been completely unremarkable except for one thing: Chick-Fil-A shaves their slaw into such small particles it has the consistency of chewing grains of sand. It's barely coleslaw; it's more like eating flavored shavings. Yeah, that was the impression the stuff left me with. At least, I can say I've tried it. And no need to go back to it again.

Anywho, everyone else had ordered and I was last up. I requested the same thing as previous, a spicy chicken sandwich meal. This time noted there was hot sauce available as one of their condiments. I could make the sandwich taste as if there was a bite to it being the description ("spicy") was deceiving. (Interesting Side Note: This time around I was asked by the service person what type of cheese I wanted on the sandwich. The image displayed and stated on the menu board plainly states the item comes with pepper jack cheese. Being given a choice point blank upon ordering leads me to conclude Chick-Fil-A simply enjoys messing with my head.)

Understand: As far as fast food joints go, the place isn't bad. It's just, well ... dull. There's nothing that stands out about it. (And even that's not completely true. The employees? They're overly nicey-nice. They exude a kind of suspicious scrubbed-clean fakery to the point they lean toward a somewhat creepy side. They're kind of like a clean version of "children of the corn" - you know they're going to show up at your doorstep in the middle of the night to do you harm. (Of course, I jest ... I think ...)

At any rate, my order put in, I was asked what drink I wanted with my meal. "Barq's, please" I responded.

"What?" the service kid asked me quizzically.

"Barq's" I said once more.

The kid leaned closer to me obviously befuddleded and asked again. For the third time I said "Barq's." I was speaking English and I know I was speaking loudly enough for him to hear me; I wasn't privy why there was a disconnect. He looked at me with a bit of a crinkle in his brow, appearing not to want to ask a forth time. 

"Barq's Root Beer, please" I explained.

"Oh! I'm sorry! I didn't even know that's what it was called," he fumbled.

Inwardly I sighed to myself, but didn't say anything. My drink was filled and given to me. I thanked him and went on my way.

"Why didn't you just tell him you wanted root beer?" I was asked by a member of my dinner group.

"Look: The founders of Barq's have done a hell of a job branding their product and establishing a niche in the soft drink arena. I would be doing them a huge disservice if I called out Barq's with the common terminology of "root beer" ... which their beverage isn't precisely. Not to mention if there were any Cajuns within earshot they would have lambasted me ... and understandably so with regard to my lack of respect toward the product ..."

I was rewarded with an eye roll.

Yes ... I know: Sometimes I'm a freak.

.......... Ruprecht ( will not STOP calling it "Barq's" ) 629