April 28, 2005



Summer's coming. I can smell it.

Or at least I can smell the popcorn at the movie gigaplex.

Lots of films will be dancing in our laps for attention. Lucas and Spielberg will do battle. Madagascar is getting good buzz. Johnny Depp will weird things out as Willy Wonka.

My eye is on the Clooney-free Batman Begins. Hope the film is as good as the trailer. It's gotta be in order to rescue the series from the crap heap it had fallen into.[Link]

Posted by Jeff at 08:08 AM | Comments (1)


Someone has compiled a gallery of famous feet - most of which belong to musicians who were photographed in concert. They range from A-Ha to Neil Young. [Link]
People are such freaks.
Posted by Jeff at 08:04 AM | Comments (2)


Big news for you kids from the '70s:
Sid & Marty Krofft's sci-fi classic is available for the first time together on DVD April 26th. A sudden earthquake sent the Marshall family back to the days of the dinosaurs, and now you, too, can revisit the past with Rhino Home Video's release of ""Land of the Lost'' … Seasons 1, 2 & 3. The complete series debuts on DVD just days after Universal Pictures announces that it has acquired screen rights to ""Land of the Lost'' and will develop it for the big screen as a starring vehicle for Will Ferrell.
Um, Will Ferrell?
Please tell me he's playing a sleestak.
Just in case you forgot the words to the opening song [Here's a link to a sound clip [Link]:
Marshall, Will, and Holly,
on a routine expedition,
met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids,
it tossed their tiny raft,
and tossed them down a thousand feet below,
to the Lannnnnnnnnnnnnd of the Lost.
If you want to see the opening video, here's the link.
Posted by Jeff at 08:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 27, 2005


I see Josh over at D-42 is worth $1,954,894
I am worth $1,777,270 on HumanForSale.com
I always said I was a bargain.
Posted by Jeff at 04:43 AM | Comments (2)


Is this irony or coincidence? I always get them confused:
DELAND, Fla. - A skydiving cinematographer was killed after his legs were severed in a midair collision with the airplane he had jumped from, authorities said.

Albert Wing III had already deployed his parachute Saturday when he struck the left wing of the DHC-6 Twin Otter propeller plane at about 600 feet, a witness on the ground told police.

Posted by Jeff at 04:25 AM | Comments (0)


Rev. Joe Kendall, star of the show "Pastor Cop," 1996's Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year and an avid baseball fan who covered 2004 Spring Training for the Salad Bowl, sent me a few thoughts after going to see Reba McEntire in concert on Saturday night:


"Her Muppet-like jaw appears to be on a hinge."


"For some reason, she felt the need to wear a solitary fringed leather bracelet. While I'm sure it was intended as a fashion statement, I began to fantasize she had been forced by her manager to gnaw her way through a wrist restraint to get onstage.

Then again, maybe I just like the idea of her being committed to a psychiatric ward dedicated solely for WB sitcom stars."


"You might recall the scene in the movie "Dave" where the Secret Service agent played by Ving Rames looks at the fake president played by Kevin Klein and says, 'I would have taken a bullet for you.'

"Maybe I'm reading to much into his Wilford Brimley-esque laissez faire expression, but I don't think this security guy would have taken a bullet for Reba."


"When I shot this photo, I thought to myself:

'Thall shalt not worship false American idols.'"


"Seeing that she lacked musical depth beyond her nasal overvocalization, I went in search of any redeeming quality I could find in her. The best I could come up with was to use this photo on a poster adorned with the inscription:

Just Say No To Country Camel Toe."

Posted by Jeff at 04:16 AM | Comments (2)


Post Secret, a site that asks readers to send their darkest secrets by postcard. [Link]
A warning: Some get pretty dark. Read at your own risk.
A few favorites:
Posted by Jeff at 03:41 AM | Comments (0)


Please stand by. Technical difficulties are still being overcome.

A new (and hopefully improved) Salad Bowl will soon be available.

Thank you for your endless amount of patience.

Posted by Jeff at 02:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005


As if I needed more convincing lately that the Amish are the smartest ones on the planet by eschewing electronic tools of torment, I continue to have problems with my blog software.

Please be patient, dear reader. (That means you, mom.) I'm very much at the moment like the title character in "Marty," bumbling like a hulk of manflesh with a mouthfull of spaced-out Chicklets, careening from one ignorant technological moment to the next. I may have to divorce and remarry to a woman named Tova to make the Borgninian transformation complete.

Anyone know a MT expert who can throw me a frickin bone here, people? I feel so cold and I long for their embrace. I keep calling baby, baby, pleeeeeeease.

Posted by Jeff at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)


Everyone needs a goal. And everyone can use a lava lamp. I have one such lamp on my desk at work, in fact.

One day a colleague came strolling by my desk during a particularly bad afternoon for me in late January.

"What's the substance floating around in that lamp?" he asked.

"It's my bile,'' I replied.

He slowly backed away.

But not everyone considers lava lamps to be a metaphor for professional angst.

A young squire in Soap Lake, Wash., appears to be succeeding in his efforts to relocate a giant lava lamp from Times Square to a Target store in his town.

Here's how the Web site spells it out: [Link]

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Seattle has the Space Needle and Soap Lake has the Worlds largest Lava Lamp!

Soap Lake, a once bustling spa town due to its unique mineral lake (presently being studied by NASA and the National Science Foundation) is located in Eastern Washington State, USA and is in need of renewed tourism and re-development.

The concept of the Giant Lava Lamp, conceived by Brent Blake, and assisted by friend John Glassco, is an appropriate theme structure for the community.

Soap Lake has always been a healing and art community, and the lava lamp is soothing, calming, healing and an art icon. The lava name is unique because the region is one of the last areas of earth to have had massive horizontal flows of lava that is today a beautiful geological wonder. After 14,000,000 years, lava has returned to Soap Lake.

"People will come from all over the world to see this structure of AWE," says Blake.

"Think of the interest this structure will have on people. It is an active, mesmerizing, vividly colorful and always changing kinetic structure. What other theme structures in the world possess such features? Visitors will be thrilled to see such a wonder and will be rewarded by its scale, show of light and constantly changing, oozing and flowing goo!"

Posted by Jeff at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005


Sorry for the technical problems, folks. Looks like someone hacked my site and destroyed the innards.

Mad props, shout-outs and general double-secret-probation handshakes of thanks go out to Eric on the help desk at Hosting Matters for helping me resolve the problem.

You guys rock.

Posted by Jeff at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2005


You were our first baby and our best friend.
Yuletide Houck
Posted by Jeff at 03:59 PM | Comments (12)

April 15, 2005


A while back, we reported that the NFL was censoring the names they would agree to put on the back of customized football jerseys.
Add another name to the list: Ron Mexico. At least if you're going to an Atlanta Falcons game.
Posted by Jeff at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)



Because mistakes were made. Errors in judgment took place. Foolish behavior ensued. And it was all captured on camera.

Witness Bad Mistake Exhibit 1:

Purchasing Jell-O Shots. Jell-O is for snacking, not for drinking.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 2:
Buying them is one thing. Consuming them is quite another. And no one has ever looked glamorous or educated with a blue Jell-O shot in their mouth.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 3:
Little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane. And Diane's very close friend Marge.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 4:
If you're going to be driving past midnight, don't try to photograph a traffic stop while an officer of the law is doing his bidness. It tends to attract attention.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 5:
And by all means, don't shoot a second photo after your friend makes a U-turn.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 6:
Remember ladies, there was only one Princess Di.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 7:
The sins being committed here are worth closer examination:
Bad Mistake Exhibit 7a:
If you're going to dance close enough to rub paunches, at least hold your date's hand.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 7b:
It's not polite to stare. Especially when you're wearing a wig and a macrame top at 59 years of age.
Bad Mistake Exhibit 7c:
Dance floor no-no: Doing the "White Man's Overbite."
Bad Mistake Exhibit 7d:
It's a dance floor, pal. Not a Heimlich convention.
Posted by Jeff at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)


I have been unable to get this song out of my head for the past two days. [Link]
I know it's old. Spongmonkeys are so 2004.
But I am weak. And this is strong.
Posted by Jeff at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)


A cat going all Buddy Rich on a toddler's melon. [Link]
Posted by Jeff at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005



From the BBC: 100 things we didn't know last year this time.
(I'm a little late on this one - it was an end-of-the-year story published in December.)
Still, it's a fun concept. Some highlights:
7. The heat generated by a laptop, and the knees-together pose needed to balance it, can damage a man's fertility.
38. Yoda was based on Albert Einstein.
26. The full names of Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc members are: Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Scooby "Scoobert" Doo. Shaggy is actually Norville Rogers.
87. One gigabyte of information - about a quarter of the memory of an iPod mini - is the equivalent of a pick-up truck load of paper.
94. A cruise ship can put more than 130,000 litres of sewage into the sea each day.
97. Matt Groening's father - the inspiration for Homer Simpson - has only complained once about his alter-ego's actions. It was an episode in which Homer badgered Marge into walking some considerable distance on a hot day to fetch him something.
Posted by Jeff at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)


Airport Monitor lets the public in a handful of metropolitan areas see where in the skies planes are flying in their vicinity. You can even click on the various planes to see what type of aircraft and at what elevation they're flying. [Link]

The one for St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport is on the list. [Link] Back it out to about 40 miles to get a true picture of what the airspace over Tampa Bay is like:


Posted by Jeff at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005


What's the definition of viral marketing? For Nike, it's when someone does your advertising for you and it doesn't cost a dime.
It was only a matter of time, really.
Some jamoke posted a homemade commercial using footage of Tiger Woods' chip shot on the 16th hole of the Masters. [Link]
Here's the 60-second version, (which took forever to load): [Link]
For those of you with a life to lead, here's the 30-second version: [Link]
Posted by Jeff at 06:50 AM | Comments (1)


What did I tell the person who sent me this link? [Link]
" You might want to pack some loose clothing, lots of cotton. You’re going to Hell for this one. And it’s mighty warm there."
Posted by Jeff at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)


Rev. Joe Kendall, star of the show "Pastor Cop," 1996's Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year and an avid baseball fan who covered 2004 Spring Training for the Salad Bowl, sent me a missive from a Tampa Devil Rays fourth game of the season the other night.
Seems the right reverend was a little cranky after his most recent outing:
As a goof, I bring my old college ID thinking I'll pay three bucks to hit a Rays game. It's college night and admission is three dollars. I show up around the second inning and this 20-something working the ticket window near the big round orange plaza is only too happy to accept my three singles.
"It's college student night, right?"
"Yes -- here's your ticket."
Once in, I visit with my pal Mary-Ellen, the Pasco County lady who works the credit card table outside section 108. She still has that shrill voice that draws new credit card meat. People are real suckers for a free towel. They sign up for the plastic, and walk away with a towel with a Rays logo on it.
Mary-Ellen tells me they're expecting 6,000 fans. The image is going through my head -- what does 6,000 fans look like in the place? I walk through the vomitory and there it is -- rows and rows and rows of empty seats, with a smattering of fans fanning out from behind home plate down the lines.
Gawd, it was depressing. Fourth home game of the season. Oakland A's, playoff team. And a crowd that easily could fit into the spring training stadium by the water. It was a beautiful night and it would have been wonderful to watch the game with the sun setting beyond the outfield walls.
With my $3 Beach section ticket, I stroll down to row J, eighth row from the field, just beyond the infield dirt down the left-field line. I'm happily watching inning after inning, with a slow doze setting in, though. Then, in the top of the eighth inning, Vince strikes midnight -- some usher tells me to get out of my seat and leave the section.
I tell him the game is so boring and the atmosphere so downright depressing that I was about to nod off anyway.
I head home and as I'm crossing the bay, some new guy named Green hits a broken bat single to drive in the winning run in extras for the Rays, according to the new guy on the radio from Chicago who keeps on using the word, "here," in his broadcast. It's annoying. Rays win, 3-2, and I get home 10:30 p.m.
Still, he was nowhere near as cranky as Rays owner Vince Naimoli, who had a New York Mets scout booted from the Trop for unauthorized use of the potty in his owner's box and then screamed back at a fan that mocked him for his tight-spending ways.
As Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune writes in his lights-out, on-target column about Good Vince vs. Bad Vince:
We have come to understand that if we'll just wait long enough, Vincent J. Naimoli will play the part of the clown. He never lets us down, and it is always entertaining.
Posted by Jeff at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005


I haven't been able to locate it online yet, but I will.
Consider it a quest. (Note, see updated link below.)
If you didn't see the last round of the Masters golf tournament yesterday, you missed one of the truly great TV sports moments in history. Even if you don't like golf or know the players, the chip shot that Tiger Woods hit on the 16th hole at Augusta was one for the ages.
From just left of the hole, on the fringe of the rough, about 5 feet lower than the hole, Woods hit a chip shot that looked like it was headed toward Atlanta. Then when it bounced on the green, it hit the brakes, made a sharp right turn and drifted agonizingly slow toward the cup. The ball came to a complete stop on the lip of the edge of the rim of the precipice, decided to recite the Gettysburg Address as the TV cameras lovingly came in for a closeup of the Nike logo, and then dropped slow-motion into the bottom of the hole as delicately as one of the Augusta azaleas lining the green.
My finger couldn't get to the TiVo remote quick enough to watch it over and over like some sort of Nicklausian version of Pavlov's dog.
For me, that shot ranks up there with seeing the USA beat the Russians in Olympic hockey. It's up there with Larry Bird stealing the ball in 1987 against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals one point down with five seconds left and then unhesitatingly feeding a cutting Dennis Johnson for the winning basket. And it's as sweet as the reverse-shovel relay flip by Derek Jeter to catcher Jorge Posada in Game 3 of the 2001 Division Series against the A's.
Here's how ESPN.com's golf writer put it: [Link]
If you haven't seen his chip on the par-3, 16th hole, you will -- about a million times. All he did was bump the ball onto the granite-hard green, and then watch as it rolled to cup's edge, hang there for a full three seconds, and drop into hole. Maybe it was the weight of the grass stain on the ball that made the difference. Maybe it was the karma of an old man sitting in a rental house.

"Under the circumstances, one of the best [shots] I've ever hit," he said later.

UPDATE: Here's the video of the chip in question, courtesy of Drew, aka Mr. "You Want A Piece of This?": [Link]

Posted by Jeff at 08:02 AM | Comments (3)


Word is that last week's Bernie Mac Show might have been the last one for the series. If it is, it would be a shame. He's still making some awsome episodes. It's the only show that I've considered buying the DVDs for. It's that good.
But if it was the last show, he did himself proud.
He deserves an Emmy for just this clip of him drinking a glass of tart lemonade. It's Lucy Show-quality stuff. My family was talking about it all week. [Link]
Posted by Jeff at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005


So for all that I made fun of it, turns out Slash did a pretty good job with the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays: [Link]
TORONTO (CP) - Slash was doing a show with his band Velvet Revolver in Toronto recently when he decided to play a couple of bars from O Canada.

"The whole place went nuts," the rock guitarist recalled Friday. "I was like 'OK settle down, just wait for April 8.' I just gave them a taste of it. It was cool though, they started singing the words and I was overwhelmed by that."

The fans went even wilder for the real thing Friday, when the former Guns N' Roses star performed the national anthems before the Toronto Blue Jays' home opener, a 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

A record home opener crowd of 50,560 began chanting "We want Slash," and roared wildly as he played the Star Spangled Banner and O Canada on his electric guitar by the pitcher's mound. They yelled even louder when he added a riff to the end of O Canada.

In the days preceding the show, Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said reaction to Slash was mixed, with younger fans pumped and older people giving him the thumbs down. But Slash was respectful in the renditions, not straying from the tunes while giving both a hard-rock twist.

"I've listened to a bunch of different versions of (O Canada) just to make sure I try and stay true to the melody that was written in 18-something-or-other," he said.

The performance wasn't unprecedented for Slash, who is famous for strumming wildly with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and wild streams of black curls jetting out from under a top hat. He has also played the Star Spangled Banner before a Los Angeles Lakers game.

"That was pretty nerve-wracking, just standing there in the middle of centre court, just having everybody stare at you all by yourself," he said. "This situation is even bigger, I'm pretty frozen at this point. Once you start playing you're fine."


Then there was this little bit of chunky goodness:

Catcher Gregg Zaun, right-hander Justin Speier, lefty Scott Schoeneweis and first baseman Eric Hinske, who took pictures of Slash with his cellphone, were among the Jays watching.

"I used to listen to them all the time,"' said Hinske. "It's pretty cool."

Zaun later got Slash to autograph two guitars in exchange for a catcher's mask.

Red Sox centre-fielder Johnny Damon checked things out from the batting cage before returning to the clubhouse and yelling: "Slash is just rocking."

Posted by Jeff at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005


As if we needed any further proof that Google is going to devour the universe, they've unleashed their latest gem: a version of their map search tool that allows you to see a satellite view of the location. Some of the photos are better in more populated areas than others, so the quality is spotty. But I was truly unnerved when I saw some of the photos. Like the one above, of my house. (Only the pointer is indicating my neighbor's house. Ooops.)
Anyway, I took it out for a spin to see what I could see from space. The results were amazing:
My place of employment
My elementary school, St. Jude Cathedral School
Pass-A-Grille, FL, one of the towns where I grew up. My great grandfather built the red-roofed building and the white-roofed one right below it.
Shell Island, a small spoil off Pass-A-Grille
Raymond James Stadium
The Tropicana Dome, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Downtown Los Angeles
The Empire State Building (I had to flop the photo so it would be easier to recognize.)
Fenway Pahk.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Ground Zero
The Statue of Liberty (You can see people walking along the shoreline sidewalk.)
The Washington Monument
Wrigley Field

Posted by Jeff at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)


One of the auxilliary benefits to having the reputation I have is that I often don't have to go far for tales of stupidity. My legion of friends feel compelled to fill my melon with plenty of oddities they find along their way.
Frequently - sometimes twice or thrice a week - I'll receive multiple copies of the same story from acquaintances and amigos from far-flung parts of the world. And I am always glad for their missives.
In a sense, they consider me somewhat of a repository, a safe haven for their darkest e-mails, the ones that make them laugh when they shouldn't.
These are esteemed colleagues, people of great import and talent like Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Willie writes so often, he's spawned a Salad Bowl mini-series.
His latest e-mail arrived this week:
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 9:02 AM Subject: Oops

Has Fox heard about this? I'm surprised they didn't try it first.

Error puts strippers on public access TV

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Viewers expecting to see the latest local meeting on their public access channel got an eyeful recently when Cablevision played a tape of nude dancers accidentally.

The mistake affected customers in parts of Dutchess, Ulster, Putnam and Orange counties.

Hopewell Junction resident George Morton returned home from Palm Sunday Mass and turned on his television to see a striptease contest.

"I thought, this is terrible," Morton said. "I don't get HBO or anything like that."

Cablevision said Thursday it was not a public access program and that a "program switching error" occurred.

"When it was detected, the programming was removed immediately," Cablevision spokesman Bill Powers said. "We have taken appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again."

Morton said he planned to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.


Where was I? Oh yes. I am Jeff, the quicker-picker-upper of stupidity...

Anyway, in a metaphorical sense, I have become Neo from "The Matrix"; I absorb the energy from their potentially deadly bullets as a way of sacrificing myself for their greater good and, thus, I become stronger in spirit as a result of their contributions.

So it only stands to reason that my friend Scott in New York City would send me this:

Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 10:48 AM
Subject: Brilliant!

A COMBINATION of 36 cockroach bombs and an oven pilot light has blown apart a Thai restaurant in Perth, injuring three men, two seriously.

A massive explosion rocked suburban Duncraig today after chemicals released during last night's do-it-yourself fumigation ignited, blowing out the back wall and lifting the roof off the Tamarind restaurant.

The blast caused an estimated $500,000 damage, fire authorities said.

And to think I was planning to order Thai takeout tonight. Gracias, amigo.

Posted by Jeff at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)


I've been watching the papal funeral this morning. It reminds me that the one thing I enjoyed when I was a practicing Catholic was the ceremony of it all. Something about attending high mass or assisting as an altar boy at a formal funeral always filled me with solemnity. There is a great deal to be said for ancient ritual bringing you closer to your spirituality. Immersing yourself in the rites of the church makes you feel like you are part of a divine tradition. You hear the sonorous tones of the choir. You breathe the swirling incense. The sounds of the bell tones fill your ears. There is a difference between the emotion generated by the formality of, say, a mass said in Latin and one that more resembles a high school production of "Godspell.''
It's clear from the tearful reaction of those in Vatican Square and around the world that this was a man who touched many lives. Revisionists already are chipping away at his astounding legacy, attempting to do to him in death what they could not do during his life: namely make him conform to their view of the world instead of the view he felt the world should have.
Some are making the case that that the pope should be someone from a country even farther from Rome than the Eastern Bloc:
Of the five countries with the largest Catholic populations, only one (Italy) is European. Forty-six percent of the world's Catholics are in Latin America and there are more Catholics in the Philippines than in Italy. In 1955 there were 16 million Catholics in all of Africa, today there are 120 million.

If we’re lucky, the divine Holy Spirit shall descend upon the college of cardinals and deliver us a successor who truly inspires the faithful and frees us from the bondage of sin and death.

Or they could just elect this guy:

Posted by Jeff at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)


Want to learn how to be a great writer? Read good writing.
I especially enjoyed this passage by New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley, who in the process of covering the announcement by Peter Jennings this week that he has lung cancer, was able to deftly dissect the events around him and put his talent in perspective:
Mostly, what will be missing while Mr. Jennings undergoes treatment is his uniquely dry delivery: on the air, he is tart, sometimes supercilious, but always smooth, calm and, most of all, never mawkish. His aplomb was especially missed in Rome this weekend; normally crisp anchors somehow lost their bearing covering the death of John Paul II: the desire to match the solemnity of the moment and the mood of mourners brought out some of the most cloying prose in television history. Mr. Williams and CNN's Aaron Brown began sounding more Catholic than the cardinals, and Diane Sawyer went into the kind of transports usually associated with St. Teresa of Ávila. (One exception was Larry King, who on Sunday asked Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," to assess the pope's chances of making it to heaven. "Jim, you think he's with Jesus now?" Mr. King wondered. "We only have 30 seconds.")

Posted by Jeff at 06:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005



Four months ago, I introduced you to Scotty and Eileen at Home Sweet Road. They were about 165 days away from embarking on a 365-day road trip to... who knows where.

The goal was to soothe their souls after a devastating loss of twin babies during induced labor. Being on the road, they found, brought them a peace they had been unable to find. Following that peace, they decided a road trip was in order.

They started getting equipped. They saved money. They prepared for the venture.

Then something changed.

The prospect of packing up our life, of leaving our friends and our city, has changed us profoundly in ways we never expected. Turns out we have a pretty good life here in the nation's capital. We've just had a hard time seeing it through the mist of depression and heartbreak.

And now I must sheepishly report the following: there will be no year-long road trip.

There are many reasons for our decision, and many of them are good and reasonable ones. But really, it all comes down to a simple change of heart. In preparing for the trip, it was impossible not to notice the signs: the procrastination on trip-related tasks, the sentimental clinginess to old routines, the fact that both of us seemed more focused on life before and after the trip (and not the trip itself).

Of course, there were some practical concerns. My master spreadsheet revealed some shocking, if obvious, truths: little things cost a lot when you buy them for 365 days. This trip was going to be expensive, real expensive, and we'd be stealing from the future to escape the past. Career momentum was another concern, as were the staggering logistics of packing a houseful of possessions on ice for a year.

But again, it isn't about that stuff. It's about this: we're excited again about our future here in D.C. Five months ago, excitement seemed impossible. But the psyche heals, and while time is probably the better part of the cure, I think planning this trip helped a lot too. It forced us to take a long look at our life, to contemplate saying goodbye to it, and to expend huge quantities of time and energy in doing so. And when it came down to it, a lingering reluctance permeated our household. We were stalling. And for no justifiable reason.

Sometimes you have to see a sign for a sign, and this one was neon and blinking.

There will still be trips, Scott reports. Only they won't require a year's devotion to the road. And then there is the residual photo bug being purged at Scott's auxilliary backup photoblog, Straymatter.

Between that one and Home Sweet Road, I can guarantee there will be plenty of thoughtful posts, road trips or no.

Posted by Jeff at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005


The sign of a great song or a great songwriter, for me, is when your view of the world changes after just one listen.
Lyle Lovett's "If I Had A Boat" did it for me. So did "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I can remember where I was when I heard both of those.
Same thing happened the other day when I heard "The Great Hank," a new song on the upcoming album "What I Really Mean" by Robert Earl Keen.
I pulled this off the freebies table at work, popped it into my CD player and bathed in the weirdness.
I first came in contact with Keen's stuff through Lovett's CD "Step Inside This House," a collection of covers of Lovett's favorite Texas songwriters. Keen and Lovett were roommates at Texas A&M back in the day. They even co-wrote the song "This Old Porch," which is featured on Porch.
Anyway, Keen is known for writing some twisted scenerios into his music. So it was with great satisfaction that I tripped over "The Great Hank." [Click here for an unsatisfying sample of the tremendously long, horse-trot-rhythm intro.]
Here's how he describes the album and the song:
Generally, it's a little bit more on country side. It's got a lot more steel guitar on it, but in some ways it's a lot more wacky and colorful. For instance, I've got a song on there called, 'The great Hank Williams' which is about me going into this bar and seeing a guy up on stage that is a transvestite dressed up as Hank Williams with lipstick and singing his songs and he's got this whole commentary on Hank Williams and country music. It's really fun. We did it in this really great traditional country style with a 'from beyond the grave' voiceover and it's unbelievable. It probably won't ever get played on the radio two times, and I'm not asking anybody to, but it's damned interesting."
Posted by Jeff at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005


I wonder if Axl Rose is going to enter this contest: [Link]
Here's your chance to see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre for the 2005 Home Opener! One lucky winner will receive a pair of tickets to the Red Sox-Blue Jays game on Friday, April 8 at 7:15 p.m. plus two (2) Velvet Revolver CDs, a Blue Jays jersey signed by Slash and an opportunity to watch one full inning with Slash in his private luxury suite at Rogers Centre on Opening Night! So, enter today before the entry period ends at 2 p.m. ET on Monday, April 4!
Nah. Prolly not.
Posted by Jeff at 08:18 AM | Comments (2)


Everyone is in full-on pope overload. There's a lot of sameness to what's being written and said. Very little of it is interesting or personal.
When he started his papacy in 1978, I was a 13-year-old Catholic schoolboy. When he finished it, I was neither Catholic nor a schoolboy.
Still, I feel an affinity toward him. Not sure why. Maybe it's because he once wore a sombrero during a papal trip to Mexico. Maybe it's because I high-fived him when I was 17 as he sped through St. Peter's Square during one of his regular Wednesday afternoon addresses. (I'll try to post the photo later this week.) Maybe it's because once you've been a practicing Catholic, it never really leaves you, even if you leave the church. Being Catholic is like buying luggage; you never really get rid of it.
The overkill of samness to the reporting and broadcasting is why I enjoyed the article by Bill Gallagher, "On Drinking With Pope John Paul II." Nothing like rapping with the man over steak sandwiches and a bottle of Beaujolais before he becomes The Man, you know?
Posted by Jeff at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)


The creep has been slow, like watching a glacier move down a mountainside.

But there definitely is creep.

One by one, friends I know have been jumping into the blogging pool. And rather than castigate them with a finger wag and a, "What the hell took you so long?" I choose to welcome them into the club and promote their efforts, following in the model of Dave, who did the same for me.

In this case, it's a new blog by my friend Jolie, with whom I worked many moons ago. (Could it really be almost 5 years???)

She's hilarious and brilliant and a great writer. She's also the inspiration for the little-beloved, much-misunderstood Your Moment of Britney series.

What can you expect when you visit her aptly named "average everyday sane/psycho supergoddess" blog? Why, lots of pop culture, a hint of Boston attitude, a pinch of sports and pearls like this, of course:

my tush is expanding as I type this...

Listening to Jennifer Lopez's entire ouvre. I have the sudden urge to bully a man into buying me bling.

And this:

my weekend prayers

It was a spiritual kind of weekend, what with goings on in Vatican City & Opening Day - all told I believe I watched about 550 hours of Papal coverage & Ken Burns Baseball. I did, however, catch a snippet each of the Trashiest Girls on TV: Gastineau and Power. How do these people live with themselves? The horror, the horror, the bleach-blonde horror!! I can only handle about 79 seconds of each show before breaking out in hives and maniacally reaching for the remote, but it did occur to me that someone should call FOX and suggest a Gastineau/Power Girls You're-Not-A-Celebrity-Despite-Your-Best-Efforts-To-Convince-Us-Otherwise Mud Wrestling Smackdown.

Better yet, invite Victoria Gotti and we'll make it a threesome.

Enjoy, folks. You might want to bring your Entertainment Weekly and a couple cans of Diet Doctor Pepper to keep up.

Posted by Jeff at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)

April 02, 2005


I've decided something crucial to the evolution of the Salad Bowl: It desperately needs an enemies list.
Think about it; every notorious figure of our time has had something of a running tally in his head of someone or some group that he'd really rather not exist, if a perfect world could be created.
Like Richard Nixon.
Here's how Wikipedia explains the phenomenon: [Link]
Nixon's Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of the Nixon administration's major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as "Opponents List" and "Political Enemies Project." The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel's Office, was to "screw" Nixon's political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating "grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc."
It didn't exactly work out for Nixon. He took his list and became so fixated on reaping the benefits of such a fevered agenda of poltical elimination that he never could quite keep his upper lip free of tyrannical flop sweat. Then when news of the list came out, it gave his critics even more ammunition to attack him as the petty, paranoid bastard that he truly was. He was brilliant, but he was a total and complete nutjob.
Then again, news of Nixon's list when it broke did bolster the careers of many of those whom he hated - namely newsman Daniel Schorr and columnist Mary McGrory. If I can bring positive change through hatred, I'd consider it somewhat of a bonus.
Now, if I had to be honest, I'd have to say that I'm not the kind of person who harbors much of a grudge, other than the one I've had since 1982 because Joey Gaeta tried to co-opt my nickname by putting it on the front of his diarrhea-brown house-painted Fred Sanford pickup truck.
But I digress.
I'm not the kind who exact tolls or contemplates elaborate schemes of revenge. But that doesn't mean that I can't harbor great cesspools of hatred for various persons and entities. I'm a human being. I'm imperfect. I have personal fatwas tumbling through the laundromat dryer in my head, just like the next guy. And so I've decided to feed that weak link in my nature by putting it on display here so that others may learn and gain enjoyment from my example.
So it is with great pride and fanfare that I introduce the first entrant on the official Side Salad Enemy List:

The screaming, rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth Dagwood Bumstead of infomercial hell: Matthew Lesko.
Here's a big cup of STFU, buddy.
Posted by Jeff at 06:34 AM | Comments (1)