July 31, 2005


What's the standard measure these days to pause for reflection after a saddening family experience? One week? Five days? Three deep breaths?

Who the hell knows.

The simple truth: Last week was difficult for the Salad. (Yes, I'm writing in third-person inanimate). The tank with all the humor and playfullness is on E at the moment. What little I have is going toward professional use. Ha-has pay the bills.

I say this despite having plenty of material. I've got a penis carrot burial in the bag, just aching to be published for international acclaim here. I've got a brush with celebrity. I have plenty of sarcastic bon mots to toss around. I have unshared, moose-filled letters from Alaska and bike photos that need to be uploaded onto the site.

I just don't have the inclination at the moment. The Salad is mucho importante in the grand scheme of meaningless yawping into the electronic void, but bigger fish are frying in the pan.

I don't want to say the Salad Bowl is on a short vacation. It isn't. Plus, whenever I've done that in the past, I always yearn to post something later that day and, thus, I look ridiculous after making such an announcement.

So, I'll just say this: We'll be back when the quasi-dark little rain cloud goes away. That could be 20 minutes from now. It could be a couple days. Who knows. Someone just came to the door with a condolence card. Every time we think we get past the pain, someone's tender generosity fluffs it up a bit.

Please understand that the Salad crew appreciates your continued support and patience. That anyone tags along for the ride is an unending source of pride and astonishment. We won't be too long. We just need to catch our breath.

See you soon.

Posted by Jeff at 06:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 28, 2005



There hasn't been much to giggle about at Casa del Salad the past few days. (See previous post)

But last night, when laughs were at a supreme deficit, we clicked the DVR and punched up an episode of "Stella" that I had recorded off "Comedy Central."

It saved the night.

Salad Boy, who had been in an understandably mournful funk most of the day, started launching high-pitched chortles. His mother tolerated it at first, then threw in a few laughs. I kept shaking my head and uttering, "This is soooooo stooopid." But in a highly complimentary way.

It's not a show for everyone. We do not live in absurdist times. This might not be the decade where people get the joke that three simpletons in suits put on blackface so they can hide the scars of an assjacking they got from a band of juvenile delinquent paper boys. This is "The Hudson Brothers" only dumbed down - in a very smart way.

But it becomes funny once you surrender to the stupidity and let it flow over you. You'll probably feel a little dirty afterward, the kind of guilt you get when you laugh at graffiti on a bathroom stall or the reverse playback of an old man falling off a swing set and losing his teeth and trousers on "America's Funniest Videos." But it will happen. Trust me.

Anyway, I found an interesting Q&A from Newsweek with one of the cast members on the "Stella" site. Seems to explain the reaction to the show pretty well:

What are you trying to do with "Stella"?
Michael Showalter: We’re really just trying to make a funny show. We don’t have any real agenda or target audience or any larger thing we’re trying to accomplish. It’s a sensibility we’ve developed over the last seven or so years. It seems to have somewhat of a broad appeal. It’s really rooted in old-school slapstick comedy. Really it’s a love for silliness.

Dumb comedy dressed up in a suit, as your tagline goes. There is hopefully an intelligence to what we’re doing. It’s not just being thrown against the wall, but we’re not trying to be too serious about it.

What’s your take on feedback so far? There have been really mixed reviews. People seem to either love it or hate it.
It does seem to be that people are kind of taking sides, doesn’t it? Most of what’s been said has been really positive. There are a lot of people who say “I think it’s great but I don’t know if you will.” For a show that only just started being on TV, already there’s this debate: is this funny or not? And that’s such a funny debate to me. Of course it’s funny. We’ve been doing this now for a long time. I think the debate should be: why is it funny? I don’t think we know or understand what’s so challenging about this material.

Well you say yourself that over the years you’ve developed your own sensibility. In "Stella" that can come across as overly silly and inside-jokey.
Probably. That’s what was said about "The State," and that’s what was said about “Wet Hot.” I’ve only done this once—and once was enough: I went to Netflix to read the audience reviews of “Wet Hot American Summer,” and it’s either [five] stars or no stars. Nothing in between. Either people absolutely love it and think it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen, or they think it’s [an] absolutely unwatchable, worthless, completely unnecessary piece of film.

When you see stuff like that do you think “well obviously we’re doing something right?” I would imagine it’s hard not to second-guess yourself.
Of course. Part of me just has to throw my hands up in the air. It’s a strange position to kind of have credibility and yet to continually be in this place of having people debate the material that we’re doing. A comment that I heard from a friend about "Stella" that resonated for me was that a lot of the jokes need to be understood on a second level. A lot of the jokes need to be thought about. "Why was that funny?" That may be something that people don’t want to do. They just want to be made to laugh.

Can you give an example?
There is a joke where we see a flier advertising that there’s going to be an open house for an apartment. The flier is around the corner—we couldn’t have seen it from where we were sitting. I read something by someone who didn’t see it until the second time he watched the episode. So I think that there’s a lot of moments like that—there’s a joke that people don’t see the first time. In “Wet Hot American Summer” there is a scene I’ve heard people criticize where my character slips on a banana peel. Our joke is: we did a banana-peel joke. That’s kind of an esoteric joke. It’s a joke about comedy. That movie came out in the summer of 2001 and we’re now four years later and people are starting to really get it. It’s been a really slow build.

Does that mean it will take four years for people to get "Stella"?
I hope that’s not the trajectory for it. I hope people get it faster than that. There was one review that said in the year 2008 people will love this show. I hope people get it right away because it’s really funny.
Posted by Jeff at 05:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 26, 2005



Hobart Houck

If only the little guy's liver was as big as his sweet little heart.

We'll miss him greatly.

Posted by Jeff at 10:32 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005


No one on this planet who isn't an interstate trucker or an officer of the law or running from the law or retired Army has driven more for recreational purposes than my friend Jacqueline.

Care to dispute?

Check it out:


I rest, your honor.

She's back at it again, hauling her old, broken-into car to the family spread in Sheridan, Wy., from her Capitol Hill home in Washington D.C.

Armed with her favorite driving songs playlist (A pared-down version at 900 titles from the more than 3,200 at her disposal), and a battalion's amount of technology and Diet Coke, she headed west the other day, forging through bad traffic and Butterburgers. Oh, and she left her laptop power chord at home:

I arrived in Sheridan this evening, after 29.5 hours of driving time and 1,875 miles. In terms of driving, all went splendidly, no foul-ups, no nightmares, no excessive sleepiness. I'm quite proud of myself -- I wasn't sure that at my advanced age I'd have that level of driving stamina left in me. And to be here in Wyoming, even for less than two days, is always soothing to my soul.

The complete breakdown of my gadgeteria, though, is alarming. The lack of a laptop power supply means that I can't recharge my BlackBerry--but as it turns out, that's not that much of an issue, because they still don't have roaming GPRS/data delivery via cell out here. No wire alerts, no e-mails, no web browsing, no nothing! My BlackBerry has been turned into nothing more than a PHONE! At least Mom and Dad have a laptop here--if I were completely without internet access, I'd be going insane.... (I do have one laptop battery still with power, but I'm saving that for the trip home.) Oh, and I figured that two batteries for my camera were enough, and so didn't bother to bring the charger. I thought I had hit on a brilliant maneuver this afternoon when I found that the cigarette lighter adapter for my Roady seemed to work on the camera, so I just left the camera on and took scads of photos. And now--BATTERY EMPTY. BATTERY EMPTY. BATTERY EMPTY.

How do people who AREN'T geeks ever handle all of this?

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

July 24, 2005


Pop Quiz:

What does it mean when you see skies like this over Valrico, Fla.?


A. It's the summertime.


B. It's about 4:30 p.m.


C. I've spent three hours washing the Salad Vehicles in 99-degree heat and 100 percent humidity earlier in the day.



The answer is C.


Congratulations! You've won an afternoon of wasted effort!!!!

Posted by Jeff at 06:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack




USA's Chelsea Davis hits her head on the board during a preliminary round in the women's three-meter springboard diving competition at the World Aquatics Championships Friday in Montreal. Davis required stitches after hitting her head.

Posted by Jeff at 11:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2005



Ah, the things we say without words.

Posted by Jeff at 01:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



On the day of the last most important stage of Lance Armstrong's cycling career, his bike has an admission to make:

I feel sort of like Mark Felt on this one, revealing a long-held secret between Lance and me. But I think the time has come to let the world know. Call me Deep Tire.

You remember the famous stage in 2003 when Lance and I fell to the ground after some kid stuck out his bag and got tangled with my handlebars? Remember how Lance got back up and valiantly caught up with the field and pulled off a dramatic victory? It was pretty heady stuff.

Bet you’d never guess that we staged the whole thing. Sure did. It was my idea, too.

Lance and I were having a blast on that 2003 Tour. First, he faked a case of dehydration in the opening time trial just to make his rivals think he was weak. Then, I used a nail in my front fork to pop Joseba Beloki’s tire going down a mountain descent, allowing Lance to appear to ad-lib it on a little off-road adventure. We actually planned that little detour two months earlier when we scouted the route. “It’ll look great on TV,” Lance said conspiratorially. “Trek will love it.”

We were on a high from all the media coverage that little stunt brought, so I decided to do it again. When we were climbing up to Luz-Ardiden, I spotted the kid and his bag to my right. I swerved into him, snagging the bag with my right handlebar. Boom! Down with Lance, with Iban Mayo right on top of him. The rest is Tour de France history.

It did look great on TV.

I hope history will be kind to Deep Tire.

In more serious news, it is difficult to appreciate what winning seven Tour de France races means without understanding how Armstrong has taken advantage of his unique physiology:

Edward F. Coyle of the University of Texas-Austin found out about Lance Armstrong was that from 1992-1999, the year of his first of now six consecutive Tour de France wins, “the characteristic that improved most (was) an 8 percent improvement in muscular efficiency and thus power production when cycling at a given maximal oxygen uptake.”

Combining the increased muscular efficiency with a planned 7 percent reduction in body weight and fat leading up to each Tour de France race, “contributed equally to a remarkable 18 percent improvement in his steady-state power per kilogram” output, the Coyle paper reported.

In other words, he lost weight but gained muscle and improved his power. More muscle + less weight = demon speed.

Whereas the lab tests were held constant at 85 revolutions per minute (rpm) for comparison purposes, Armstrong’s “freely chosen cycling cadence during time trial races of 30- to 60-minute duration increased progressively during this year period from about 85-95 rpm to about 105-110 rpm.

This increase in freely chosen rpm when cycling at high intensity is indeed consistent with increase in type I muscle fibers because cyclists with a higher percentage of type I fibers choose a higher pedaling cadence when exercising at high power outputs,” the report said. “Although this may initially seem paradoxical, higher cycling cadence serves to both bring muscle fiber contraction velocity closer to that of maximum power and reduce the muscle and pedaling force required for each cycling stroke,” it noted.

Interpretation: Lance pedals 20 percent quicker than he used to - and quicker than most cyclists. And instead of it tiring him out, it actually makes better use of a specific type of muscle that operates more efficiently.

Coyle said increased muscle efficiency means that “for the same amount of cardiovascular and lung stress Armstrong is producing 8% more power, and yet producing less heat. These results have shown us how to improve already highly trained athletes by aiming at efficiency, which is a muscle phenomenon. But it’s also nice to know,” he added, “that as you get older that your body becomes wiser in how it does its job and less wasteful in energy usage.”

In conclusion: Holy Crap.

Not only did Armstrong pick the absolute premium sport for his body type, his body got better as it aged.

When you factor in his almost volcanic will and motivation to win, no one ever had a prayer to beat him. Not even on his worst day.

We'll never see another athlete like this during our lifetime.

Posted by Jeff at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005


Death has been confirmed. All is lost.


Mitch's Penis Carrot is no more.

Sentiments have been overwhelming. The affection for this carrot is so strong, Al brought in a miniature casket for the thing.


It was a lovely gesture, really. The carrot fit perfectly into the capsule.


We're not sure where to take it from here. Rommie suggested a Viking burial ceremony, in which we'd float it down the Hillsborough River. Someone else mentioned a funeral pyre.

I guess we could always prop it up with a beer, the way they buried that Steelers fan who wanted to be buried in his Barcolounger.

We'll figure out some sort of dignified farewell, I'm sure.

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


Been a while since any significant work was done for The King Project. One reason: the Elvis glasses broke.

But they're all better now, and they're ready for action.

Such was the case yesterday when Valerie, a co-worker came by my desk and remarked, "I like your Elton John glasses."

:::A pause while I compose my emotions:::

Okay, better now.

After I explained that they were Elvis glasses, the lightbulb finally went on above Valerie's head. At that point, I explained that her lack of accurate identification meant she'd now be forced to put them on and pose.


I don't know that The King was ever so loaded that he put his shades on over his regular glasses, but I guess it was possible. Nevertheless, Valerie did just that.

But when I asked her to make an Elvis pose or to curl a lip, she replied, "I don't know what Elvis did."

:::A pause while I compose my emotions:::


Apparently, Valerie thought it was called the Jagger Project.

Hmmm... gives me an idea...

Posted by Jeff at 08:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Got an e-mail alert from the Archie McPhee catalog today:


Do your fiestas all turn in to siestas? This electronic sombrero is just what you need to spice up your party. The rim of the hat is filled with chips and when you are ready to dip them in salsa, you press the button and the top slides open to reveal salsa! The best part? A happy Mexican song plays. A really irritating song. For a long time. Then, the lid snaps shut, protecting your salsa until you just have to hear that song again.

Only $16.95

Could have used it to eat this nice plate of ceviche we had at El Taco Nazo yesterday:


To hear the song the bowl plays when you hit the button, click here.

Sure beats the stuffed slug and the walking wind-up sushi.

Posted by Jeff at 07:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2005


Saw this yesterday driving south on Armenia:


Huh? What's the sign say?


Ah. I see.

If you need your teeth blinged in an emergency and you're not flush with Benjamins to spare, this would appear to be the dentist of choice for you.

Posted by Jeff at 08:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The slow, morbid decline of Mitch's Penis Carrot continues. It's reaching Schiavo proportions now, with curious onlookers filing by his desk asking to see what little remains of the once plump and juicy vegetable.

And, gentleman that he is, Mitch always obliges.


His face is a cocktail of pride and overwhelming sadness, really.


This is all that remains on the carrot's port side, while on the starboard...


...it has turned grotesque and almost gangrinous.

Interestingly, it appears to have created a new orafice at the base of the appendage.

Necessity really is the mother of invention.

To see how much lustre the mighty carrot penis has lost, you can compare it to a photo shot just a few days ago:


A fall from grace of this magnitude is never attractive.


Many have filed past to pay their respects, much in the way the teeming masses feel compelled to see a head of state one last time.

Oddly, Mitch feels the need to inhale the faint aroma of vegetable death, to keep the memory alive, to remember all that was great and good about a carrot cut down in its prime.


Some people just have a hard time letting go.

Posted by Jeff at 08:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


In April, I introduced a new concept to the Salad Bowl - the compilation of an enemies list.

As I explained at the time:

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.

Since that time, I've had a fairly tranquil summer, one that's been full of fun and frolicking.

But summer temperatures have reached a boiling point. And so have I.

The source of much of that heat comes from advertising.

For the past three weeks I've been unable to get the Fanta jingle out of my head.

Want a Fanta, Don't you want a... Want a Fanta, Don't you want a... Want a Fanta, Don't you want a... Want a Fanta, Don't you want a... Want a Fanta, Don't you want a... Want a Fanta, Don't you want a...

It's all so artificial and maddening and very, very Euro trash. And apparently, I'm not the only one that despises the campaign.

And since it's all impersonal and impractical to hate on the Coca-Cola company, mother ship of the demon Fanta brand, I'll just hate the spokesqueens, Kiki, Capri, Sophia and Lola.

As Low Culture says, "The Rich (and the Fantanas) Are Different From You and Me."

Dear God, let's hope so.


Ladies, bring your glasses of ice over here for a big, tall drink of STFU.


Enemy No. 1: Matthew Lesko

Posted by Jeff at 07:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005



What is a "pee net" and why is Google driving traffic my way for having that phrase on the Salad Bowl in a language I don't understand?

Check that. I don't want to know.

Nor do I want to know why one of the site's photos is the fourth one found under the search term "Hollywood hooker."

And I don't want to consider why I'm even in the ballpark for the phrase "spanked by Johnny Depp."

Posted by Jeff at 07:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Drudge. Bubbe....


...you might want to brush up on your astronomy.

Posted by Jeff at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Looks like somebody's got a case of the Mundays.

Posted by Jeff at 07:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005



Saw this joker yesterday while looking for a spot outside the Regency 20 movie theater. Had to stop for a photo when we noticed this:


Dude, you drive an Explorer, not a Deathmobile.


Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.

My other car is a rocket-propelled grenade.

Live long and prosper. In an Altima.

Just two good ol' boys.

Asshats aplenty.

Nicotine is my crash helmet.

Jazz hands moms.

Ugly lug nuts.

Pretty ballsy.

My honor student can kick your ass.

Garfield mudflaps.

Horse and buddy.

Posted by Jeff at 08:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


My Uncle Pete, (yes, the one who was in the paper posing with a potato he grew that was shaped like a moose), reports by e-mail that the salmon holocaust continues on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska:



This work FISHIN is for the birds. Yeah, I wish those eagles would leave the dump and clean our rivers of these pesky red sockeye salmon. Can you believe, we got 61 of those pests? I also I got a 61-pound King Salmon. My FISHIN buddy Ben had to clean that King Salmon. He has a sharp knife.


Those fish got my boat a mess... had to pressure wash all the blood and slime out of it. Sometimes I think it isn't worth all the work!!!!!!

The other Lad is Neal Hammond, one of Ben's wood carvin buddies.

As I said last time, I'm not jealous at all.


Fish tales. Big time.

The Last Fuzzy Slipper Frontier.

There's a bar in them thar country.

Flowers are a-bloomin'.

The fog rolls in.

Moose intruder.

On their way home.

Sunsets, salmon and civil ceremonies.

Volcanoes, churches and halibut.

Eagle tree, limb by limb.

A fantasy RV for The Last Frontier.

Heading north to the homestead.

Publicizing moose-shaped tubers.

Posted by Jeff at 08:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Valrico, Fla. 6:35 a.m.

For a larger version, click here.

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Finally got around to seeing "Batman Begins" yesterday.

I have to say I really enjoyed it, but a few things struck me:

ChristianBale.jpg TimMatheson.jpg

Christian Bale should play Tim Matheson's Otter character if they ever do a remake of "Animal House."

Cillian.jpg Spader.jpg

If Cillian Murphy fails to make it into the next Batman flick, he can always start doing James Spader's creepy oddball perv roles.

* Um, it was really freaking loud. It's hard for me to appreciate the sound design of a movie when I'm bleeding from my cochlea. My senses had been so overwhelmed by the end of the film, I had to use echo location to find my truck in the parking lot.

* In between character roles, has someone been square dancing in golf spikes on Morgan Freeman's face? Every time I see him in a closeup I feel a compulsion to take a marker and connect-the-dots on his face. The longer he acts, the more his mug looks like a bowl of Dippin' Dots. I might be wrong, but I could swear I saw the constellation Virgo on meat of his left cheek.

* Katie Holmes... babe... get a sweater. Either that or name one of your boobs Celcius and the other one Fahrenheit. They're that distracting. "She has the smallest, pointiest nipples,'' Salad Wife said, stifling back hysterical laughter at the end of the film. Apparently Scientologists really go for that sort of thing.

On second thought, Katie, forget the sweater. Your nipples are better actors than you are.

* The new Batmobile.


Posted by Jeff at 07:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 16, 2005


When inanimate objects are "writing" them:


And especially when this is the typical type of posting:

Lance just has no sense for drama any more. I mean, we’ve got a week to go in this race, and the big guy goes out and extends his lead today. I can hear TV sets clicking off all over the world when people hear that we’ve got a 101-second cushion over some dude they’ve never heard of.

Me? I’m all about exposure. I want to keep ‘em guessing. Keep ‘em tuned in. Make ‘em a little nervous — you know, like there’s some chance we might not actually win this thing.

Remember, Lance, I’ve got the brake pads, and I do know how to use them.

What's next, a blog by Lance's saddle sores? His water bottle? His extracted cancerous testicle?


Posted by Jeff at 06:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005


I have very sad news to report.

Mitch's penis carrot is... gone.

I was out of the office on Wednesday and got a call on the cell from Rommie.

"Dude, you're not going to believe what happened."

And with that, he told me that the well-hung carrot had been irrevocably damaged in a freak Ziploc absorbtion accident.

When I returned to the office on Thursday morning, I asked Mitch to show me the damage.


He gently pulled the impressively endowed carrot out of his desk drawer, where he had been lovingly storing it in a cradle of absorbant paper towels.


No greater love hath any man for a penis carrot than Mitch.

Could there be a greater compliment?


The best we can figure is that when Mitch stored it in the Ziploc with the other disfigured food items, Long Dong Carrot's moisture made the Siamese jellybeans ooze their black coloring. The phallic vegetable then absorbed the stain and started an irreversable chain reaction of decaying horror for the nippled m&m, the flagellated pork rind and everything else in the bag. That in turn accelerated the growth of mold spores, which only further marred the orange flesh of the carrot.

Of course, this is our best guess. There is no CSI: Penis Carrot episode to rely on for a forensic roadmap.


Mitch was truly a shell of a husk of a pawn of a man by the time I saw him Thursday. Only 48 hours earlier, I had seen him almost walking on air at his discovery. Now, he was somehow a smaller man, reduced by his shriveling, emotionally harpooned spirit.

As I took the above photo, I half expected him to mirror Don Corleone, standing over the bullet-ridden body of his beloved asassinated offspring, Santino.

"Look... look at how they massacred my penis carrot."

Posted by Jeff at 08:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


So it's clear that the Salad Dog is not fond of the leash.

How do I know?

Subtle, non-verbal communication between species.

I hooked him up to a stake in the back yard the other day. He immediately went all Steve McQueen on me by walking to the end of the leash and sitting down so that his head would apply constant pressure:


Okay, Papillon, I get it.


If he could have lit the house on fire, he would have.

And when I went to let him off the leash...


...he went Cujo on me.


Or at least as Cujo as a 11-week-old puppy can.


In the end, we reached a very brittle detente'.

I can live with that.

Posted by Jeff at 08:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Last time we checked in with My Muse, he was pulling a Michael Flatley and generally being a slave to the rhythm.

You might remember that the Muse has a way of morphing into just about any character I need him to be, from angelic icon to dainty middle-aged princess. He's even gone cowboy on occasion.

This week, he got a press kit in the mail with yet another head adornment:


"I'm Darlene!" "I'm Cubby!" "I'm Zolofty!"


The sad thing is we couldn't get the damn ears off him with crowbar, a cutting torch and some blasting caps. He's that enamored of them.

You have no idea how disconcerting to be working on something serious and then turn to see him sitting like this at his desk.

Posted by Jeff at 08:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


So the the Salad Family is taking a knee last night, doing our usual "Thank you"s and "please bless"es at the end of the day. It's our nightly ritual. Salad Boy lays in bed. Salad Dog romps around on the Buccaneers bedspread, thumping the top with his rubbery tail. Salad Wife sweetly sits next to the bed and I as Salad Man find some reclining position, barely holding off unconsciousness.

We each take our turn and then the boy absorbs an avalanche of kisses before pulling the covers over his head.

Last night, we finished with prayers, started to leave and they boy pipes up, "Oh, and God, thank you for the NHL coming back."

If ticket sales are any indication, this has been mentioned a time or two in prayers around Tampa Bay the past day or so.

Posted by Jeff at 07:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005


Brace yourself: There'll be a shortage of red bow ties and white bucks on July 23rd in San Francisco.

They'll be celebrating the third annual Paul Reubens' Day.


What's on the schedule?

The first event is the Paul Reubens’ Procession/ pub crawl (Bring I.D.!). It will begin at 1pm at a location yet to be disclosed (it will be announced 2 weeks before the event). The PRD procession is free, however bringing cash for drinks and transportation (muni, etc) is strongly advised. Pee-wee and/ or Paul Reubens related attire is incredibly necessary.

Sounds good. What else?

Don’t forget your tissues!


The second event will be the Paul Reubens’ Day Pornographic After Party, and will explode between 8 and 11pm at the Center for Sex and Culture (398 11th street at Harrison, ring the buzzer marked 303)

Oh. Tissues. Got it.

The admission to the party will be $10, sliding to $7 for those in Paul/Pee-wee related attire. The party will be a benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture (www.sexandculture.org) and will feature zany live DJs, Miss Yvonne Beauty Contest, Best Costume Contest, Biggest Spooge Monger, Raffle conducted by Surprise Celebrity guest star, Bizzare Burlesque, Pee-wee’s Play Room, Wishes granted by Jambi, Pee-wee Kissing Booth, Word of the Day, Paul Reubens Trivia Contest, Tequila Dance, Spooge Cannon and EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE OF THE OF THE VERY PORNOGRAPHIC FILMS PAUL REUBENS WAS ARRESTED FOR WATCHING ON JULY 26 1991.


You had me at Jambi.

You lost me at the Pee-wee Kissing Booth. Not to mention the spooge cannon.


I think I'll pass.

Posted by Jeff at 07:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


After pre-clenching our buttocks yesterday when we heard that the tropical depression in the eastern Atlantic had muscled up quickly into Tropical Storm Emily, Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, sends along this comforting note from the Side Salad Weather Center:


Hey guys:

The forecasters are saying that TS Emily will be a major hurricane by Friday. And they're pointing out an oddity that will probably enhance its development.

Usually when a hurricane has to plow the same water as a previous storm, it gets less fuel because the earlier storm has churned up the water and cooled it down. That's what happened to Dennis when it got into Cindy's wake.

But this time, the forecasters say Dennis spread warm water farther west in the Caribbean -- straight into the track that Emily is expected to take. There's also minimal wind shear, so there's not much at the moment to impede Emily's development.

As of today, they're saying Emily is likely to head for the Yucatan Channel and threaten the peninsula and perhaps Texas or Mexico.

I'm not sending this because I enjoy scaring the bejesus out of you guys. It is scary, but it's also fascinating.

On a personal note, the producer who's started filming for the documentary based on my book had to find other things to do for a couple days last week because (a drum roll for the punchline, please) she got chased out of the Keys because of the evacuation for Dennis.

This is truly shaping up to be the hurricane season from hell.



Posted by Jeff at 07:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Rommie and I came back from lunch today at Jimbo's Barbecue to find Mitch grinning like a fool.


"You want to see something?" he says, clutching his hands together.

Of course, we say.


"You sure?" he asks?

By now, he's so full of joy I suspect he might let loose a submissive piddle.


"This is the ultimate, man," he tells me and Rommie, who, as you can see, is equally as bemused by the mystery.

What is it?


A carrot with what looks to be a penis.


Here's a better look.


Mug shot, hanging right...


...and mugshot left.

(I added the quarter for scale.)

After witnessing the spectacle, we all immediately go into hyperactive "you've gotta sell it on eBay" mode, after which we take a million photos of it for posterity and potential sale.

But then that would require it to leave our presence. And that would be wrong, because it belongs in Mitch's Pantheon Of Disfigured, Disgusting and Otherwise Odd Food, such as the Ore Ida Penis French Fry that co-worker Karla found while making dinner one night last November and brought it in for our examination:


Mitch keeps most of the Pantheon in a Ziploc in his desk. The various items are becoming quite an impressive collection, although it has diminished in recent months due to decompsition:


To review, the Pantheon includes:


The M&M with a nipple.


The diseased, flagellating pork rind.


The Siamese jellybeans.


And the slice of crustless bread that has yet to mold after almost three years of exposure.

Posted by Jeff at 12:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005


Avid Salad reader Mike Horgan fires off this e-mail:


Have you seen this one yet? Too funny!



I had not seen this.

What's the tag say?


Ah. Reminds me of that Joan Osbourne song...

"What if God was one anus..."

Which reminds me, I saw this Blazer on the way home the other night:


Oooh, Custom graphics. The epitome of cool.

What's on the back?


A sea foam green Chevy logo with electric dusty rose accents. Tres chic!

What's that above it on the back window?


Uh, someone get the Amber Alert ready... Those are the symbolic icy pink skulls of Hansel and Gretel in his palms.


My other car is a rocket-propelled grenade.

Live long and prosper. In an Altima.

Just two good ol' boys.

Asshats aplenty.

Nicotine is my crash helmet.

Jazz hands moms.

Ugly lug nuts.

Pretty ballsy.

My honor student can kick your ass.

Garfield mudflaps.

Horse and buddy.

Posted by Jeff at 11:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



My Uncle Pete, (yes, the one who was in the paper posing with a potato he grew that was shaped like a moose), sounds the e-mail alarm that it's salmon season on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska:


Hi there,

We worked hard getting these fish. We caught them in the Kenai River. It took us about 3 hours.

That's not much fun, it wears you out hauling them in.

Hope you appreciate my sharing them with you, then I at least will think it was worth all the work.

Boy it's tough!!!!!!!!


Anyway, The Young Lady is Sandy Hecht, and the other Lad is Ben Keenan my FISHIN buddy, and if you count them there are 42 Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon --(Reds).

My jealous, green-with-fish-envy heart bleeds for you, Uncle Pete. Really, it does.


The Last Fuzzy Slipper Frontier.

There's a bar in them thar country.

Flowers are a-bloomin'.

The fog rolls in.

Moose intruder.

On their way home.

Sunsets, salmon and civil ceremonies.

Volcanoes, churches and halibut.

Eagle tree, limb by limb.

A fantasy RV for The Last Frontier.

Heading north to the homestead.

Publicizing moose-shaped tubers.

Posted by Jeff at 11:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Michelle poses an interesting question:


She writes:

Of course, my first reaction was Star Wars. To see that again, fresh and unknown, would be like seeing it through the eyes of a child. The whole opening sequence with the Star Destroyer coming into view - I'd love to relive that as a new experience. And in the same vein, I'd like to choose Revenge of the Sith simply because it was one of the best movie going experiences of my life, and that moment when the music started and the opening crawl appeared on the screen and yea, I had tears in my eyes - that's not something that happens to often in a movie theater - I'd love to experience that again.

And then I thought..no, what about Airplane! - to laugh at all those jokes as if it were the first time I heard them; to practically wet my pants at "The tower, the tower, Rapunzel!" - that would be sweet.

OR Army of Darkness, to experience the sheer joy of seeing comedy mixed with horror to such satisfaction, to hear all the cheesy lines for the first time, to see the movie without quoting the thing in its entirety as it plays out.

If I had to name one, I'd have to choose...

Private Resort.jpg

I mean, check out this all-star cast:

Ben...........................................ROB MORROW
Jack.........................................JOHNNY DEPP
Patti...................................EMILY LONGSTRETH
Dana.......................................KARYN O'BRYAN
The Maestro..............................HECTOR ELIZONDO
Mrs. Rawlings...............................DODY GOODMAN
Reeves........................................TONY AZITO
Shirley...................................HILARY SHAPIRO
Bobbie Sue............................LESLIE EASTERBROOK
Scott......................................MICHAEL BOWEN
Alice........................................LISA LONDON
Curt.........................................ANDREW CLAY
The Barber.....................................RON HOUSE
Mike..........................................GREG WYNNE

Alas, it would be the last time Morrow would be billed above Depp.

Released in 1985, this movie was one of a rash of sexploitation movies in the 1980s. It fell in the gap between the softcore of "Porky's," the gore of "Friday the 13th" and the inanity of "Spring Break."

The movie follows the antics of two young men at a summer resort in their pursuit of women. The boys also cross the path of a thief out to steal a priceless diamond.

Along the way, they see lots of naked flesh, including Elizondo's magnificent bald pate. Hijinx ensue. There are bouts of cross-dressing, religious desecration and even a gun battle.

Hard to beat that combination.

Posted by Jeff at 08:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Is your lady hard to buy for but loves fashion accessories?

Consider this:


A Mil Mascaras Mexican wrestling mask purse.

Be a bitch to find matching shoes, though.

Then again, maybe not.

Posted by Jeff at 07:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Jamie sends along this tender news nugget:

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. - Three strippers and two nightclub managers have been arrested for allegedly spanking a trucker at his 31st birthday bash and severely bruising his backside.

After his friends paid $25, Keith Lowery was handcuffed and
spanked with a 3-foot-long paddle and a belt while one of the
strippers restrained his head with her legs, investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said.

Kelly Eslick, 21, a stripper at Sensations nightclub in
Jacksonville admitted to police that she used a paddle drilled with holes for less air resistance while the two other dancers, Lisa Nolen, 23, and Charlene Smith, 23, used the belt.

The three women were charged with misdemeanor battery and they and two other club employees, James Daugherty, 31, and Dena Mitchell, 30, were charged with participating in an obscene performance at a live public show, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Investigators said the club has agreed to discontinue all spankings. All five club employees were arraigned Friday and received an Aug. 4 court date in Pulaski County District Court.

Just remember, strippers of the world, even if a horned-up trucker asks to be spanked, no always means no!

Posted by Jeff at 07:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005



The Pensacola News Journal says this morning that Hurricane Dennis spared the area catastrophic damage. It's bad, but not as bad as it could have been:

Randy McKee, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Mobile, rode a roller-coaster Sunday. It started when Hurricane Dennis, the most potent July hurricane on record, was two hours away from steam-rolling downtown Pensacola with 145 mph winds.

Instead, at 2:28 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Dennis sawed across Santa Rosa Island between Pensacola Beach and Navarre, packing sustained winds of 115 to 120 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported.

"It was still a strong (Category 3). I don't think people who were in those areas where Dennis struck will feel like they dodged a bullet," McKee said Sunday night as Dennis pounded central Alabama. "We still have a lot of damage to assess. But it could have been much, much worse."

Here's what happened:

· Dennis weakened as it churned over cooler waters that had been stirred up by Tropical Storm Cindy when it pushed ashore last week.

· The compact, still-powerful hurricane, veered north and cut through less dense residential areas in Santa Rosa County.

· The powerful northeast quadrant missed Pensacola. A 121-mph gust was measured in Navarre. At Pensacola Regional Airport, the wind reached 93 mph.

McKee is waiting on damage assessments -- mainly from Santa Rosa County where a large field of violent, 120-mph winds was measured on Doppler radar. Some residents reported tornadoes, but powerful straight-line winds likely caused devastation, McKee said.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center marveled at the speed that Hurricane Dennis achieved after it spent 10 hours over Cuba and weakened to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday.

Dennis feasted on warm Gulf waters, wrapped itself into a tight coil and aimed at the Gulf Coast. At 4 a.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center called the storm's overnight intensification "insane."


The Pensacola Beach Beach Blog hasn't been online since the storm.

Right before landfall, PBRLA wrote:

Farewell for Now

The Boardwalk pier on Pensacola Beach, rebuilt after Ivan, is now well under water. Water and power were shut off to the beach several hours ago.

Near midday, wind gusts over 65 mph are beginning to be felt on the mainland. Trees are being bent by the stronger gusts. Electrical brownouts are playing havoc with power in various mainland neighborhoods.

At 11 am EDT Dennis was 100 mi SSE of Pensacola. According to the National Hurricane Center "earlier intensification has ceased" and the storm is now speeding over waters that are not quite as warm. Dennis "is moving rapidly enough that only modest changes in intensity are likely."

The center of the storm therefore is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 or 4. Hurricane force winds will be experienced on the mainland by early afternoon and will likely persist well into the night.

Signing off for now. Back when the power is restored, which may be several days to a week -- or even longer. In the meantime, tune to live Internet Radio at WUWF-FM .

The evil twin of Ivan now has the stage.....

We'll keep the eyes peeled for an update.

Tampa Tribune reporter Tom Krause wrote on his blog from Pensacola that:

As early as sunrise here, the winds were picking up fast. It's getting worse right now. We hear we might be feeling hurricane force winds later this morning.

Last year, during Hurricane Frances, a photographer and I were on Riviera Beach as the winds were howling. An SUV pulled in front of us and two TV reporters got out. The photographer started to complain that the TV guys were in his shot. I went to talk to them and realized one of them was Geraldo Rivera.

This morning, I got an e-mail. Geraldo, I'm told, is on the way. It must be a real storm now.


Meanwhile, the Pensacola News Journal Storm Team says that at least so far, it appears Escambia County "dodged a major, major bullet":

Reports are incomplete, but a 5 p.m. briefing of Escambia County emergency planners indicated that damage from Hurricane Dennis was greater in the north end of the county.

Sheriff Ron McNesby said there were probably tornadoes through the north end as Dennis came through.

If Hurricane Ivan was a 10, Dennis graded out as a 3 or 4 for Escambia County, according to Buck Lee, head of the Santa Rosa Island Authority.

That's even though the island was washed over by the Gulf, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

The Three Mile Bridge is open to traffic. Perdido Key is open. The Bob Sykes Bridge is closed, but an inspection will begin first thing Monday morning. The Interstate 10 bridge, also, remains closed, but Florida Department of Transportation engineers will begin an assessment of it at first light Monday, as well.

Touart said Pensacola Beach could be re-opened as early as late Monday, but probably Tuesday morning. There is no water, sewer or electricity on the beach.

There is a boil order for water for customers of the Escambia County Utility Authority because power was lost at a number of pump stations. The Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant is out of power, but did not have operational damage.

A curfew for Escambia County remains in effect, beginning at 8 p.m.
There are 450 state law-enforcement officers headed this way, 200 of them to be staged in Crestview tonight. Another 700 members of the Florida National Guard are also on the way.

Reports from various agencies was a roster of heartening news.

At least 100,000 Gulf Power customers have no electricity.

Officially, the company says it could be three weeks for restoration. "Privately, I can assure you we don't expect that," said Gulf Powers' representative during the briefing.
No damage at hospitals.

Posted by Jeff at 07:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2005



...say a prayer for the Florida Panhandle. They're going to get Ivan all over again.

Posted by Jeff at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


If it's another hurricane season, Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, must be producing great copy for National Geographic.

His latest dispatch is sobering:

Forecasters have predicted that the 2005 hurricane season will continue a decadelong cycle of active seasons. (See "'Active' Hurricane Season Predicted for U.S.") Four named storms have already formed. Hurricane Dennis began as a tropical depression in the eastern Caribbean Sea on July 5.

Phil Klotzbach, a meteorology research associate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, said the formation of an intense hurricane in that part of the Caribbean in July is an unusual event.

This is the only known hurricane season to have had four storms form so early in the season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Powerful July hurricanes formed in 1909 and 1926, but both storms lost much of their intensity before making landfall in Texas and Florida, respectively.

Meteorologist Stu Ostro of the Weather Channel said the 2005 season is shaping up to be an unusual one. The formation of Hurricane Dennis, however, isn't necessarily an indicator of what the rest of the season will be like.

"What happens early in the season doesn't necessarily mean a thing for later on," Ostro said. "In 1997, for example, things got off to an early start with a bunch of storms in June and July, including a U.S. hurricane landfall. But then there were very few storms the remainder of the season, and none hit land, either in the U.S. or Caribbean."

Ostro attributes the diminished activity in 1997 to the presence of El Niño, an occasional weather phenomenon that alters atmospheric conditions in the Pacific Ocean. The presence of El Niño typically reduces hurricane activity.

Ostro expects 2005 to be a busy season, because there's no El Niño effect.

"All signs point to a continued active season," Ostro said.

Posted by Jeff at 11:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


An offshoot of letting your OCD control the TV clicker is that you get to watch wayyyyyy too many interviews with locals who have had personal items and property damaged by the storm. TV crews with round-the-clock airtime to fill are like moths to the flame when it comes to downed trees and cars crunched by debris.


After a while you notice a pattern: The only people who are affected by hurricane damage are the people who are unprepared for TV interviews.

As a result, you get to sample the entire genetic boulliabase in a weekend's buffet of closeup shots.

Like this guy, whom I'm affectionately nicknaming The Bump.


In case you missed the source of his nickname...


...there you go. That about covers it.


Wait. I forgot that he then started to rub The Bump...


...and then he showed off his fingertip, as if the cranial volcano had erupted some sort of Bump Lava.

An aside: The National Weather Service announced that, based on current projections, The Bump is increasing in size in the warm waters of his forehead and will make landfall at his hair line sometime around 2 a.m.

You all can hate me later for this. It's okay.

Anyway, The Bump, who seems like a very lovely man who reacts quite calmly under stress, starts talking about "a loud noise, like a train," as if he's reading from a fresh set of Disaster Preparedness Cue Cards. He then says The Words.

"Hunker down."

Yes. The two magic words of hurricane season. Every time I hear someone innocently utter "hunker down," I feel compelled to scream it back at them in a loud, train-like, "I'm-Biwwy,-I-Make-The-Fries" kind of mighty yawp.

It's Pavlovian. After four hurricanes last year, I had said it almost as a mantra.

So when The Bump said it earlier today, I lost control of my bowels and yelled it like a man trying to signal a rescue helicopter from the bottom of a crevasse.

Now I'll not only associate "hunker down" with yelling. I'll also connect it to The Bump.

This kind of neurosis is like a black hole, accumulating mass as it spins through the universe of my brain.

Posted by Jeff at 06:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Well, Dennis is officially, officially here.


The strongest band of showers yet is passing through Bloomingdale and Valrico at the moment. I'm guessing there are gusts of 25 mph.

Where was I when it hit? At the grocery store, of course.

I would have been home in time to beat the monsoon, but The Slowest Woman In The World And Her Daughter And Her Daughter's Two Friends were taking forever to check out and get out of the goddamn store.

I stood there, and so did a handful of other shoppers, literally, for two minutes waiting for each of them to weigh themselves on the scale by the door. Couldn't move their cart, of course, until they were all done.

So, that meant I had to unload all the groceries in a downpour.



Our neighborhood is remarkably dry, despite the downpour. The "dry pond" in the back has some standing water from neighborhood drainage, but not too much.

Although Publix was crowded, there isn't much in the way of visible hysteria. As I pulled out of my neighborhood onto Culbreath Road, there was a neon green "ESTATE SALE" sign in the ground outside the development ajacent to ours. When I rolled back through a half-hour later, the sign read, "ESTATE SALE, 1/2 OFF!"

The message: There may be cataclysm afoot, but we still have heirloom product to move.

Down the road a bit, I noticed some recycling bins that hadn't been picked up, loaded to the brim with beer bottles. They'll make a tasty batch of projectiles if the wind picks up.


The projection still takes the eye far to the west of us, but at the moment, it doesn't really matter. We're getting enough wind and rain to get our attention. Both of our mothers have called to inquire if they should take plants and stuff off their porches, since a twister not far away lifted off someone's screen enclosure. That's how casual everything is as this point here.

Posted by Jeff at 01:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005



I'm a sucker for stories about P.R. gangbangs that go awry. I've been part of too many to say that I can enjoy them in person, but I'm always keen to hear when one falls to pieces despite the best efforts of publicists to shine the penny as much as possible.

Case in point: The Fantastic Four movie premiere on Liberty Island the other night.

Rule No. 1 in publicity: Unless you really like who you're going to spend the evening with, don't imprison them with you on an island in a rainstorm:


The Great Fantastic Four Premiere Debacle

Last night's Fantastic Four premiere, ambitiously slated for Liberty Island (perhaps inside the Statue of Liberty's head?), could have used some superhero help as it went up in flames (or down in the rain).

Members of the press were herded in Battery Park, then boated to Liberty Island. A red carpet parade happened. (For the record, Seventeen editor Atoosa Rubenstein's name appeared on the tip sheet of celebs. It's not that Ms. Rubenstein isn't famous, but... well, it's a bit like listing Mr. Pibb alongside Coke and Pepsi, if you follow. Still, to the organizer's credit, snacks were even provided for the reporters, which is something The Transom has never, ever heard of.)

Most of the press, of course, were not allowed to actually attend the film, so they were put back on a boat to Manhattan. But ten minutes into the screening, which was delayed until shortly after 10 p.m., apparently the projector broke. A note from our reporter Adriane Quinlan:

The reporters on the boat were treated to the sight of screening attendees scrambling below to board the press boat, so as to not be stranded on Liberty Island for an unknown amount of time. "Forget them, pull the plank!" said a publicist. Meanwhile, celebs themselves crushed unhappily onto the press boat, which took off promptly, leaving flurrying celebs below like so many Titanic victims. Jessica Alba stood bravely in the prow of The Transom's boat, unwilling to speak to the hordes of media types who surrounded her.

Then there was this bit of snarky goodness:

Fantastic Four: Julian Is Not Wearing Hugo Boss

The red carpet at last night’s Liberty Island screening of the Fantastic Four was sopping wet. When the film’s cast finally walked off the dock, they were a few hours late, having dragged their kitten heels through mud.

Alice Evans, a leggy blonde who has dated Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) for five years, hobbled about in a broken Jimmy Choo heel. Jessica Alba couldn’t talk to the press—she was seasick, according to her publicist. And when asked how he felt on this grand occasion, Mr. Fantastic himself replied in one adjective—“Moist.”

Hoping to calm the livid reporters who they had literally stranded on an island, one well-intentioned publicist ventured on the red carpet to give a statement: “To anyone who this concerns, Julian [McMahon] is not wearing Hugo Boss, he’s wearing Ted Baker.”

Press: "Okay. Thanks."

Two second pause.

Raucous laughter.

“Who cares?”

Twenty minutes later, the fireworks display started—of course, they had been scheduled to pop off after the film, not before it. Since the first ferry had been arranged to head out after the fireworks, those who felt a bit antsy were overjoyed. And the bangs were grand! After a heartbeat-paced shower of stars, in a pause, a photographer hastily clapped. When the show started up again, he could be heard above the gunshots: “You lied to me!”

Indeed, the mood was somber when the finale went off: fireworks in the form of—are those fours?—exploded in the night sky. But the majority of fours were backwards, aimed to resemble fours to, perhaps, those safe, dry, lucky people who were still on a much larger island—Manhattan. Reporters giggled. And Jessica Alba was probably wishing she hadn’t worn a barebacked Gucci gown. The chairs were soaking, and the only food was ice cream.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the toys associated with the movie are getting hazed as well.


Children are not idiots. Okay, most of them are idiots. Nevertheless, children still deserve our respect. Okay, they don't deserve any respect. But even so, I would not wish the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!) toy on my worst child enemy--and, believe me, I have many. Why? Because of the thousands of movie tie-in toys produced in the world every year --from Batman action figures to Darth Vader helmets to Lord of the Rings crossbows -- there has never been a more ridiculously stupid and insulting toy than the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!).

And this is why:

The Human Torch has no need for an "All-Terrain Vehicle" -- because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can fucking FLY.

Has anyone told the Human Torch that it might not be safe to sit on top of a gas tank when one is on FIRE? Nice message to send the kids, assholes!

As you know, the Fantastic 4 lives and works in New York City -- where driving an ATV is ILLEGAL. According to section 4-14, subsection 1 of the NYC municipal traffic code: "In order to provide for the maximum safe use of the expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges, and thruways, and to preserve life and limb thereon, the use of such highways by pedestrians, riders of horses, and operators of limited use vehicles [ATVs] and bicycles is prohibited." (Yes, I actually looked this up.)

The Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV also has "light-up headlights!" Good thing, because there's nothing more useless than "dark-down headlights."

What does the freaking Human Torch need with headlights anyway? HE'S ON FIRE!

ATVs are exclusively for assholes and rednecks. I know, this has nothing to do with the Human Torch riding an ATV, but this guy who lives down the block from me is constantly ripping around our neighborhood on one of these stupid four-wheelers--and without a helmet, no less! So basically, this is just to let him know, I think he's an asshole and a redneck.

The Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV has Spider-Man™ hubcaps. Hey toymakers, if saving money by recycling an unsuccessful Spider-Man ATV is all you're interested in, why not just line up the children of the world and piss in their mouths?

And Spider-Man doesn't need an ATV, either!!

Posted by Jeff at 11:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



The first thick band of weather from Hurricane Dennis passed over Hillsborough County at a little past 6:30 p.m. tonight. As you can see from the photo above, things got a tad dark and stormy.

Oddly, no one really is panicking with a Category 4 storm about to skip past the coastline. Of course, that track could jog east and wipe the snot out of us, but everyone is trying to absorb the best possible news about this beast.


I don't care how much they play connect-the-dots with the forecast track, I won't fee safe until it's well past us.

A certain nervousness and lack of trust is kind of standard-operating procedure in this part of the state. A little farther south, nerves are still frayed from the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, which bitchslapped Punta Gorda Ike Turner-style.

Great story today by Baird Helgeson in the Tampa Tribune about the psyche there:

PUNTA GORDA - Some residents call Punta Gorda the town of lies.

Hurricane Charley tore up this small Gulf Coast community in August, and many residents continue to wait for roofing materials, building supplies and workers to finish the job.

Residents often hire contractors to do repairs, usually with a promise that work will begin in a week. But a month passes and no one shows, or workers show up for a day and vanish.

``There are so many broken promises,'' said Linda Messer, owner of Heidi's Hair Designers. ``Everything people tell you is a lie. It's what this town has become.``

Behind the quaint facade of Punta Gorda is a town filled with residents nervous about their future and questioning their desire to stay. Charley, they say, revealed a truth no one expected.

``It wasn't the storm that ruined us, it was the rebuilding,'' said Sheri Stewart, an assistant Punta Gorda city clerk. ``We are going to hear the hammers for many years to come.''

Posted by Jeff at 10:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Memo to self: Rent from Avis next time:


Avis offers Hummers with built-in DIRECTV

If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon this summer, why not do it in a military-inspired SUV pimped out with satellite TV to keep the kids from getting antsy? That’s the deal being offered by the Avis office at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, where you can rent a Hummer H3 with built-in DIRECTV service (powered by a TracVision A5 low-profile receiver; no need for a rooftop mega-dish). Of course, all that video is going to cost you; the H3 with DIRECTV rents for about $120 per day. But that seems like a small price to pay to avoid having to subject the kids to those boring old breathtaking vistas.

Of course, you're seriously screwed if you bring the behemoth back with less than full tank of gas. Might as well buy the vehicle off the lot right there.

Posted by Jeff at 08:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Hmmm. Why does this seem so familiar?

Oh, that's right. Because it is.


MORANT BAY, Jamaica - Hurricane Dennis swept away a bridge and peeled tin roofs off homes in Haiti, killing at least five people as it strengthened to a Category 4 storm and headed straight for Cuba. Forecasters said it could reach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Sunday.

The Hurricane Center in Miami said the eye was swirling over water about 100 miles south of the Cuban coast and moving to the northwest at about 15 miles an hour.

The hurricane's winds neared 135 mph as it sideswiped Jamaica on Thursday. Forecasters predicted the storm could hit the United States anywhere from Florida to Louisiana by Sunday or Monday, raising fears that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would be disrupted by the fourth storm in as many weeks.

The hurricane center's lead forecaster, Martin Nelson, said it was the first time the Atlantic hurricane season had four named storms this early since record-keeping began in 1851. The season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Last year, three catastrophic hurricanes — Frances, Ivan and Jeanne — tore through the Caribbean with a collective ferocity not seen in years, causing hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage.


I had a friend named Dennis. He cost me thousands of dollars. I don't think this particular Dennis will bring any more happiness to my life.

JD had a great rant about Dennis and his possible ramifications on the price of oil. She's a bit of an alarmist, God love her. She's also rarely wrong:

Those of you who took my hint of a few weeks back (hi Ed!) to watch Oil Storm will now be recognizing the above scenario, because it's precisely how the movie started, with a tropical system in the Gulf causing enough damage to shut down the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port for 18 months.

And, if you're Matthew Simmons (bigshot oil industry analyst, and sometime energy adviser to Messrs. Bush and Cheney), you're thinking this:

Oil prices could rocket to $100 within six months, plunging the world into an unprecedented fuel crisis, controversial Texan oil analyst Matt Simmons has warned.

After crude surged through $60 a barrel last week, nervous investors were pinning their hopes on a build-up in US oil-stocks to depress prices in the coming months.

But Simmons believes surging demand will keep prices bubbling well above $50. 'We could be at $100 by this winter. We have the biggest risk we have ever had of demand exceeding supply. We are now just about to face up to the biggest crisis we have ever had,' he said.

Aren't you glad I came up from the bunker long enough to share this with you?

In other happier news:


Officials from the NOAA National Weather Service praised central Florida's Indian Harbour Beach for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being declared the first TsunamiReady community along the nation's East Coast.

"Indian Harbour Beach should take great pride in having gone the extra mile to provide its citizens with the measure of protection TsunamiReady affords," said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, USAF (Ret.), director of the NOAA National Weather Service.

"We are continuing to expand the nation's tsunami detection, assessment and warning system, but a timely warning is meaningless if our citizens don't know how to respond to it. The TsunamiReady program is designed to help ensure that residents understand what actions to take."

While no community can be tsunami proof, Indian Harbour Beach now has the means to minimize the threat to the public," said Bill Proenza, director of the NOAA National Weather Service's southern region. "A tsunami may not strike for many generations, but then again, it could happen tomorrow.

Well, they've got that going for them, which is nice.

Now there's only 8,000 more coastal communities to go.


Posted by Jeff at 07:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005


Saw this headline over at the always fabulous Wonkette:


Very cute. But also very over-used as a cliche (hence the name), if my Google searching is any indication. The best part: very seldom is the comparison actually true:

Fake is the new real.

Small is the new big.

Apple is the new Microsoft.

Awake is the new sleep.

Google is the new Yahoo.

Orange is the new black.

The actual is the new virtual.

Morality is the new race.

Why 40 is the new 30.

Simple is the new black.

Hate is the new love.

Porn is the new crack.

Nonsense is the new sense.

Capitalism is the new Comunism (Wonkette again...)

Small is the new big.

Quiet is the new loud.

Conversion is the new acquisition.

Mental illness is the new normal.

Glam is the new metal.

The threat of terrorism is the new Red Scare. (People in London today might not agree.)

Clarendon is the new Helvetica.

Podcasting is the new Napster.

Knitting is the new rock 'n' roll.

Green is the new black.

Small is the new big.

Spam is the new Amway.

Vegan is the new black.

Baltimore House Music is the new Dylan.

October is the new June.

Love is the new hate.

Bono is the new Pope.

The Drug War is the new Jim Crow.

Fat is the new thin.

Real estate is the new dot-com.

Movie piracy is the new Plague.

Poverty is the new slavery.

Natasha Lyonne is the new Courtney Love. (From Wonkette's cousin Gawker)

Fark is the new Slashdot.

Awkward is the new black.

Twelve is the new zero.


If you own a truck and you're looking to buy some accessories, such as side steps or new nerf bars, then shopping online for those and more, like truck steps, could help save some money.

Posted by Jeff at 07:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack



Na, na, na, gonna have a good time. House of Cosbys.

Posted by Jeff at 07:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Some press releases - and the photos that accompany them - just speak for themselves:

Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Subject: U.S. Air Guitar Championships

The 2005 US Air Guitar Championships

Thursday, July 14, 2005
The Key Club
9039 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA

The 3rd annual US Air Guitar Championships are completing the search for America’s next air guitar master. Regional heats were held this year in New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston and Asheville, N.C.

The seven regional winners are competing in Los Angeles next week for the American crown.



David “C-Diddy” Jung

The U.S. Air Guitar Championships has grown from two cities to seven. The event has been covered in numerous TV, radio and print outlets, including CNN, Newsweek, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, Rolling Stone, the BBC and many more. Champions have appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Howard Stern, ABC’s Switched! and more.

A feature documentary about the US Air Guitar Championships is being produced by Magical Elves, producers of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and HBO’s “Project Greenlight”; Adirondack Pictures; and Anna Barber.

Winners of each regional market will be flown to LA next week to compete for the title crown of US Air Guitar Champion, where he or she will compete against the other regional champions for the right to defend America's honor in the World Air Guitar Championships, held in Oulu, Finland in August.

This year the USA is at the verge of making global air guitar history. In their first two years, the US national champs won the Air Guitar World Championships, held every year in Oulu, Finland. With another win, the USA will become the first nation to “three-peat” this exciting event.

Last year, Brooklyn native MiRi “Sonyk-Rok” Park captured the US title and went on to defeat the world’s best – including her mentor and 2003 US champ David “C-Diddy” Jung – in Finland. “In a time of global uncertainty, we are demonstrating that there is at least one area in which the USA can dominate without controversy – air guitar,” said event co-founder Kriston Rucker. “But now that we’re on the map, all the other national champs will be gunning to relieve us of the crown.”

Fellow founder Cedric Devitt added, “As the competition enters its third year and adds more regional events, it seems that American air guitar is coming out of it’s infancy and is finally being accepted as a serious competition.”

Contestants perform for one minute to a song of their choice and are judged on a combination of technical prowess, stage presence and “airness.”

“What we mean by that,” said Devitt, “is really that elusive quality of transcending the imitation of an art form – i.e. playing guitar - and creating a new art form – air guitar.”


You can dance if you want to.

LeeAnn, I hope you dance.

Putting the P in P.R.

Potty training month.

Huckleberry Fink.

Mama, we're all crazee now.

That not-so-fresh feeling.

"It's not a 'Karaoke Kevin' album.''

Posted by Jeff at 06:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



I know this is so very late-June. Jolie had it more two weeks ago, not to mention posting a hilarious follow-up link yesterday.

But the video clip still makes me laugh. So here you go:

Tom Cruise kills Oprah.

Posted by Jeff at 04:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005


Playing a little catch-up:


We finally got around to blowing up some dandy fireworks on Monday night, to the amusement of the new neighbors.



And for the grand finale?


The Junk Yard Dog, courtesy of Patrick.

Suffice to say, it made a lot of noise.


To the appreciation of the audience, of course.

Posted by Jeff at 07:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


By request:



Posted by Jeff at 07:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


We've been too absorbed in all things puppy, hurricane, Live (H)8 and Hudson Valley cycling of late.

Reminds me that we overlooked a significant passing last week, that of civil war historian Shelby Foote.


Well, devoted southerner Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, tried to remind us.

Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 5:52 PM Subject: Shelby Foote's death

Hi guys:

In a few minutes, when Jane and I sit on the front porch for our daily "sundowner" session, I'll raise a glass of whiskey to the memory of Shelby Foote, who died yesterday.

For a while after the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War aired on PBS 15 years ago, Foote briefly became something of a minor cult hero. He projected a remarkable presence, calm and as certain of his facts as if he'd been taking notes while he witnessed the whole thing. And he told us the story in that great Southern drawl.

I bought his three-volume history, The Civil War: A Narrative, in 1978, and I've still got the original dust jackets on those books, though they're getting pretty tattered now.

What a magnificent writer this guy was. He took perhaps the most complex, sprawling and important event in our history and turned it into prose that just sort of took you by the hand and led you through the story. It was an amazing feat.



I thought about Foote and the effect his work had on me as I toured Arlington National Cemetery two weeks ago.

The cemetery sits on a Virginia hillside rising above the Potomac River and overlooking Washington, D.C. At the pinacle stands Arlington House, a 19th-century mansion with 250,000 military grave sites around it now. When construction began in 1802, the estate was intended as a living memorial to George Washington, was owned and constructed by the first president's adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, son of John Parke Custis who himself was a child of Martha Washington by her first marriage.

George Washington Parke Custis and his wife, Mary Lee Fitzhugh (whom he had married in 1804), lived in Arlington House for the rest of their lives. On June 30, 1831, Custis' only child, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married her childhood friend and distant cousin, Robert E. Lee. Lee was the son of former three-term Virginia Governor Henry ("Light Horse Harry") Lee and was himself a graduate of West Point.


Lee's West Point portrait can still be seen hanging over a mantle in a first-floor room at Arlington House.

Lee and Mary Anna lived at Arlington House until 1861, when Virginia ratified an alliance with the Confederacy and seceded from the Union.


Lee resigned his Union commission in an upstairs bedroom at the mansion, saying he could not fight against his native Virginia in a war. He would not return to the mansion.

I'm posting all this is because Shelby Foote was the reason I cared. The way he breathed life into history and showed the humanity behind the inhumanity contributed to my appreciation for things like a mansion on a hill above a cemetery.

Then on the Fourth of July, Willie forwarded this notation posted Friday on Slate. I thought it was a rather interesting take:

Our nation's obituarists responded to the death of the Civil War historian Shelby Foote on Monday night by splitting, roughly, into two familiar camps: those above and those below the Mason-Dixon line. Foote was universally recognized for his three-volume history The Civil War: A Narrative, which he published beginning in 1958, and more recently for his star turn in Ken Burns' 1991 PBS documentary. The tenor of the Northern praise was respectful, occasionally admiring, but restrained—at least compared to the Southerners, a number of whom had reverential firsthand tales of droll conversations and shared bourbons with the elegant, puckish Mississippian. One columnist from North Carolina called Foote's history of the Civil War "the Iliad of our nation," while a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lamented, "we've lost a modern day Homer." One Washington Post writer boldly ventured that with Foote's passing now the Civil War could "finally be over."

Foote, who had a self-deprecating wit and a love of irony, would have surely found these pronouncements amusing. But what is Foote's legacy, anyhow? Were the comparisons to a modern Homer just the result of too many mint juleps?

The academy never wholly embraced Foote (who, for his part, never considered himself a professional historian or a military expert). Some historians complained that Foote didn't pay enough attention to the political and economic factors behind the war. Others were offended that he'd dare to write history without footnotes. Looking back, was it merely a case of Northern empiricism scorning Southern charm? Part of what made Foote so beloved in his native region, and a folk hero for millions of PBS viewers, was that he seemed to embody the Old South: an erudite, liberal-minded Rhett Butler with a Robert E. Lee beard and a courtly drawl.

In reality, Foote, like the Old South, was far more complicated. He was a reasonably successful young novelist who had turned to writing history only because his editor at Random House, Bennett Cerf, suggested that he try his hand at a short centennial history of the Civil War while between novels. That short history ended up taking 20 years and a million-and-a-half words to write — a tad longer than Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Foote was also a dyed-in-the-wool Southern aristocrat (his great-grandfather, a Confederate cavalry commander, had his horse shot out from under him at Shiloh but survived), yet he once told me that he ultimately found Robert E. Lee boring. He allowed that he was a Ulysses S. Grant man, a heretical statement for an old-line Southerner to utter — not all that far from, say, preferring Saddam to Tommy Franks.

He also had a maverick view of history. Foote once told a Paris Review interviewer that he subscribed to the Roman belief that "history was intended to publicize, if you will, the lives of great men so that we would have something to emulate." Nowadays, that sounds hopelessly old-fashioned. Apart from the whiff of patriarchy and a notion of self-improvement that sounds quaint to contemporary ears, most modern historians concern themselves with how economic, political, and social systems act upon individuals, not the other way around. Foote came to history out of the tradition of the Southern storyteller, but his achievement as a researcher and archivist shouldn't be overlooked. He wanted to recreate the war in all its immediacy — he went so far as to camp out at battlegrounds on the anniversary of battles so he could capture the exact conditions of fighting.

Of course, Foote had astonishingly rich primary materials at his disposal. As Edmund Wilson wrote in his introduction to Patriotic Gore, the "period of the American Civil War was not one in which belles letters flourished, but it did produce a remarkable literature which mostly consists of speeches and pamphlets, private letters and diaries, personal memoirs and journalistic reports. Has there ever been another historical crisis of the magnitude of 1861-65 in which so many people were so articulate?" Much of the considerable power of Foote's epic comes from the way he — drawing on his novelistic instincts — wove together all the these disparate voices into one seamless narrative.

Here is but one small example. Foote describes Gen. Winfield Scott, the hero of the Mexican War and, at the time, the country's most distinguished military leader since George Washington. Scott has just been unceremoniously relieved of command of the Union Army by Abraham Lincoln, and he's been replaced by his former deputy, the young dandy George McClellan, who, in a Brutus-and-Caesar moment, has just seen his former superior off at the train depot.

McClellan returned to his quarters and his bed. Rising for the second time that morning, he found his mind so impressed by the farewell at the depot a few hours ago that he took time to describe it in a letter to his wife. After forwarding Scott's greetings to her and the new baby, he philosophized on what he had seen. "The sight of this morning was a lesson to me which I hope not soon to forget. I saw there the end of a long, active, and industrious life, the end of the career of the first soldier; and it was a feeble old man scarce able to walk; hardly anyone there to see him off but his successor. Should I ever become vainglorious and ambitious, remind me of that spectacle."

And then Foote adds, as a postcript:

The old soldier had faded away — had gone, in fact, to live for a time at Delmonico's in New York, where he could get his fill of terrapin; "the best food vouchsafed by Providence to man," he called it, admiring a steaming forkful held six inches above his plate.

This scene has tremendous pathos, and the postcript is the kind of quietly devastating flourish one might come across in Chekhov. Foote's epic history is filled with thousands of such small moments. They make the Southern obituarists' claim that Foote's opus is the Iliad of our nation seem not quite as outlandish.

A Foote Note: For those who care - and, hell, especially for those who don't - NPR put together a nifty retrospective, including audio clips of interviews done with him over the years. If you ever came in contact with Foote and his work, you know that hearing his melifluous tones only enhanced the experience. You can hear them by clicking here.

Posted by Jeff at 06:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack



I wish I had something to write that was as odd and perplexing as the Sugar Bush Squirrel site.

Alas, words fail me at this moment.

Tip of the hat to Katherine. Again.

Posted by Jeff at 05:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005


Wonder if I should have bought a generator instead of a dog this week...



Tropical storm heads toward Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS -- Scattered rain fell along the Gulf Coast on Tuesday and officials took precautions as Tropical Storm Cindy headed toward land, while another weather system gained tropical storm strength in the Caribbean and could hit Florida later in the week.

Cindy, which had crossed Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical depression, grew to tropical storm strength early Tuesday and had sustained wind of 50 mph by 11 a.m. The second storm became Tropical Storm Dennis as it developed wind of 40 mph. The minimum for a tropical storm is 39 mph.

Dennis was centered about 355 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moving west-northwest at about 18 mph.

It was on track to reach Haiti on Wednesday and South Florida on Friday, said hurricane center meteorologist Trisha Wallace. Tropical storm watches were posted for parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

July 5 is the earliest date on record for four named storms to have formed in the Atlantic basin, the hurricane center said.

Great. Just marvelous.

Posted by Jeff at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Please welcome the latest addition to Casa del Ensalada: Hobart Samuel Houck.


He's 10 weeks old and our second Golden Retriever. You might remember that we said goodbye to our sweet and amazing friend Yuletide in April.

We bought this pup from a Crystal River breeder who had eight puppies for sale. To keep from having to drive 90 minutes to Crystal River to meet the critter, the breeder chose a spot off Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa that she was familiar with: a Golden Corral parking lot.

It was kind of a weird arrangement, but not weird enough that it dissuaded us.

We got there and saw her family's truck parked in the shade out back. Around it, a handful of golden puppies were scampering.

Well, all except one. This one.

Instead, he had crawled under the back bed of the truck and was asleep underneath, his head propped up on a parking curb.

"That's my dog," I said, pointing at him. "He's our speed."

We played with the other males, Remmington and Jake, just to be sure. Even scratched behind the ears of a couple adorable female pups. And eventually the sleepy one came out to toddle around. It quickly became apparent that this was our guy.

So we signed the check, collected our registration papers and health certificates and carted him down the road.

Thirty seconds after which he went entirely narcoleptic on us.


He slept almost the entire way home. Then he'd wake up for 5 minutes. Then he'd go all Captain Randy on us again. There wasn't anything alarming about it, really, since he's a pup, but he did show a certain aptitude for slumber, a talent I really have to say I admire.


Even after I got home from work today, he wasn't what I would call perky. I picked him up to take him out (pictured above) and he went all boneless on me. He was relaxed the way Willie Nelson must be after a bale of hippie lettuce, entirely happy for me to be driving the bus while he luxuriated.

Anticipating that all this sleep might later turn into early morning awake time, we drug him out to see fireworks last night, thinking all the noise and screaming children might wear him out.

Didn't work. Dog woke me up at 2:30 to take him out. (Good boy, Hobart.) And I'm still awake. But it beats cleaning his kennel in the morning.


Firecrackers? Mortars? Explosions?

Explosions, schmosions. There was sleep to be had in the cool, tall grass.


The oceans of sleep were interrupted by brief bouts of activity, spent mostly dragging his rudder through the grass.

Hey, I'd do it too if I could get away with it. Who am I to criticize?


All that stimulation, though, can wear a dog out. He looked so satisfied and satiated, I thought about lighting him a cigarette after he was done.

Posted by Jeff at 03:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 04, 2005


Belated Happy Birthday wishes go out to Brian's great grandmother, Grandma Chick, who turned 93 last week.


We had a big shindig for her yesterday to celebrate, during which be broke out the family photos.


This photo of Chick and her daughter AthLee was taken in the late 1930s.


This is Chick with her beloved husband, Oscar. To say they were in love and adored each other would be to understate the situation wildly.


Fur coat. Tasteful bag. Matching shoes. Horn-rim glasses.

The woman was a portrait of style.

Posted by Jeff at 08:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Longtime readers of the Salad Bowl - again, this means you, Mom - know that we celebrate the Fourth of July in a big way around these parts. Roman Candle duels at 50 paces. Bottle rockets aimed at small children. Singed leg hair, corn cob throwing, the works. It's been a real large time in our neighborhood for the past couple years.

And you also know that our major co-conspirators in explosives, friends Drew and Susan and Mike and Autumn, moved away last month.

That doesn't mean we can't still have fun.


Patrick and Autumn and Grace and I thought it might be fun - since I have to work today - to throw together a little shrimp boil/corn-and-burger-palooza to welcome the new neighbors Saturday night. It was a rousing success.


Not only did it give us the chance to meet some new friends, it gave Patrick the chance to christen his turkey fryer pot with four pounds of boiling shrimp. (My pot is in the foreground, choked with summer corn.


Between our families, the new families and a couple neighborhood waifs looking for a free meal, we fed about 15 people. Not as many as our previous outings, but a solid start nonetheless. (That's Charlie, The Perfect Baby on the right.)


And McDuff, The Perfect Dog came by for a visit.

I was heartened to learn that McDuff now has his own blog. A sample entry:

I am the type of guy who loves PIZZA, when my master and his wife have pizza, I sit and stare at the PIZZA, my mouth waters, and I get to watch them eat it. Well last night, they had Pizza, and left me out. So I waited until THEY finished, hoping they would give me some. No luck. They ate almost all of the PIZZA and then left the room. Well I decided that this was my chance to make the big raid on the table and get MY OWN PIZZA. I went in to the kitchen and STOLE a large slice of PIZZA, right out of the box. They didnt know it untill I walked into the Front room chewing something. They Found out I had PIZZA, so I was caught. I was found guilty of stealing PIZZA. I was sentenced to 1 Hr. of time behind bars in my kennel. The only thing I learned from this is that I will do it again. So why dont they just give me pizza.
After reading this, I think every dog should have a blog, really.

All of this makes us miss our friends, so it's always good to hear that a compadre and his clan are settling in nicely in Hawaii:

Hey Guys;

All is well here and we are almost settled into a rouine. We are awaiting our last shipment that should arrive some time next week. All the other "Stuff" has been unpacked (thanks to Susan) and the house looks great.

The holiday weekend is upon us and you all will be noticeably missing from our festivities. That coupled by the fact that we can not have personal fireworks on base will make my 4th of July very quiet... and safe!

The Commanding General has a BBQ that day which we have been invited to. After that, we will watch the Base fireworks which also include an Artillery Firing Battery for the national salute. All of this within walking distance to my house!!!

Will write again soon...


Drew also sends along this photo of his boy, Curtis, going all Greg Brady on us.

On behalf of the Salad Bowl, I'd like to extend hearty wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July, no matter where on the globe you are.

Posted by Jeff at 07:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Pulled through Dunkin' Donuts for a cup of coffee the other night outside Baltimore to see this sign:


For the record, the staff at Side Salad asks that you do the same.

Editor's Note: This photo was shot as La Madre de la Ensalada was attempting to heed the sign's warnings while we were waiting for our coffee. She got out of our rental car, took about 20 paces to the west and took a couple drags off a Parliament filtered.

A few seconds later, she noticed something laying upon the broken asphalt.

Then she proceeds to yell.


No response. I was in full coffee mode. Also, I tend to ignore my mom when she makes wild vocal getsiculations in public.

"JEFF," she screams again.

This time I cannot ignore.


She then whispers something that was inaudible from 40 feet.

I turn to ignore her.

"JEFF!!!!" she screams for the third time. By now, the horses at Pimlico can hear her.

"WHAT????" (The extra question marks are intended to denote a lack of patience)

And she returns to inaudible whispering.

It is here that we start to resemble the retarded.

It isn't until she returns to the back seat and closes the door that she announces that she had "found a fatty" in the parking lot.

"I didn't want to pick it up, though,'' she says. "I mean, what if the cops had put it there and were waiting for someone to pick it up?"

I've heard that Hippie Lettuce makes you paranoid. But it usually requires that you smoke it first.

I considered going back to at least get a photo of Sleeping Doobie laying dormant on the ground, but reconsidered. After all, maybe the cops put it there hoping someone would drive through, make fun of a sign about liquid and cigarettes and then spend three minutes performing the worst two-person mime act in a parking lot before driving away and then coming back to photograph the source of the stupidity.

Of course, that might have just been the java talking.

Posted by Jeff at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005


T-Shirt Hell is back to its usual tasteless self, this time pegged to the case in Aruba of missing American teenager Natalee Holloway.

Their new shirt:


That's really not funny.

Then again, I was struck a couple weeks ago by this display at Gap Kids in the Westfield Shoppingtown Brandon mall:



Is that irony or coincidence? I can never tell.

Run away, Batchelor!
Coke is it.
He chutes, does not score.
Light one up, dude.
Posted by Jeff at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



So Mrs. Salad and I are driving with Salad Boy through Tampa yesterday when we come to the intersection above along MLK Boulevard.

As we go through, she grabs my forearm and yells, "TAKEAPICTURETAKEAPICTURETAKEAPICTURETAKEAPICTURE!!!"

Like I need that level of prodding.

Once I realize what it is she wants to shoot, I buttonhook around from another side to get a better angle.

Then, when we don't get the shot the first time, I go around. Again.

What is it that has her so hyped up?

A bus stop bench.

Okay, not just any bench.

It's a bench with a vasectomy ad.


What's it say?


Ahhhh. The gentle touch. Makes all the difference.


Wait... I thought it was about outcome.


Catchy Web site name. Very helpful.


The nurses sure are accommodating.


Sorry. But now all I can think of is this.


So, this is the good doctor...

No offense, but I don't want a guy snipping on me who looks like this guy, or this guy.

Update: Over at Seminole Heights, David sees funny stuff along the roads in Tampa, too. Like this and this.

Posted by Jeff at 10:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 02, 2005


I'm gonna go out on a limb here.

The Live 8 concert broadcast is little more than an infomercial intended to feed the fevered egos in Hollywood and the music industry.

No money is being raised. None. Nada. Never was the intention.

On one level I can understand why. When Band Aid and Live Aid generated millions, it was an accounting nightmare. When Geldof went to distribute the food his proceeds bought, it was a logistical quagmire. Trucks broke down. Bandits hijacked food. In the end it amounted to less than a teardrop extracted from an ocean of woe. (How's that for a metaphor?)

So within that context, I can understand what the reasoning was for merely assembling a series of concerts to "apply pressure" on the governments of the eight biggest governments.

But what I'm seeing today is an abomination for anyone other than the people onstage. Past 100 yards from the performers, the people in the audience look like zombies. If the message is getting through, it's hard to see how.

The message. Ah yes.

The message here is that although governments like the U.S. have already forgiven billions in debt, the goal should have been, according to Sir Bob and Pals, to give them money beyond what was owed by the "developing" countries.

A moment to pause: We're supposed to give billions more to governments - many of which are corrupt and some of which are genocidal - that have up to now been unable to handle the money they've been loaned.

Sure. Whatever.

Wait. What's that Madonna said? What did Brad Pitt just tell me when he snapped his fingers, all high and mighty? Did Bill Gates just come and lecture me?

Nevermind. I'm much too blinded by the bling on Mariah Carey's fingers, rocks that she's got that could feed hundreds for a decade.

Sorry. I'm distracted by bright, shiny objects.

On the broadcast, the VH1 and MTV hosts are doing very little to dilute my opinion that they don't have two brain cells to rub together when it comes to discussing third-world proverty and famine. In between their yakking - did I really need the glib and talentless Jimmy Fallon to school me on social activism? - ads for fast food and cosmetics and automobiles that almost no one can afford are filling the gaps between artists.

As for the music, we're getting snippets, and very little of it is fulfilling the promise of the "live" in Live 8.

The only one raising money here? VH1 and MTV.

What a sham. What a disgrace. Tomorrow this all will be the equivalent of a small belch the morning after Thanksgiving dinner, reminding you of how guilty you feel for pigging out on all the wrong food.

Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, sends along this e-mail:

Hey Jeff:

Re. your Live 8 posting, you might find this interesting. It's clipped from Eric Alterman's blog, "Altercation," and was posted yesterday on MSNBC. He thinks that Live 8 is just an excuse for rock stars to feel morally superior:

This just in: I’m an idiot, I know, but I just figured out that Live 8 is not raising any money for famine relief or malaria cures or AIDS treatment in Africa. It is just designed to “pressure” G8 countries into doing what’s right. Thing is, guys, the G8 doesn’t, (and shouldn’t) care what Madonna, Elton John, U2, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, R.E.M., Coldplay, Bjork, Sting, Dido, Justin Timberlake, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Celine Dion, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill think about anything, particularly if they won’t put their own riches where their big mouths are. (Ditto Pitt, George Clooney, Will Smith, Natalie Portman and Salma Hayek.) I am in favor of harnessing the power of celebrity for global good but where’s the good in this? Good God, this is a moral crime. All that money available just for the asking—all those lives that could be saved by people who won’t miss the money -- and these guys won’t even bother to ask? They won’t even allow charities to canvass the audience. Turns out the concert is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING but moral vanity, and the exploitation of starving, sick Africans, by pampered, rich as**oles and their self-interested corporate sponsors rather than their potential salvation. This is really unspeakably shameful.

I couldn't have said it better.

Posted by Jeff at 07:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Okay, I've been watching the Live 8 U.S. broadcast for a half-hour.

So far, we've seen McCartney and Bono singing "Sgt. Pepper's," The Black Eye Peas singing with the Marleys, a montage of stuff that already happened in London, Will Smiff snapping his fingers, the Declaration of Independence coming out to take a bow and...

...an assload of commercials and VH1 talking heads with wayyyy too much product in their hair.

This is pissing me off.

Either broadcast the music or don't even bother, for crissakes.

At this point the 8 in Live 8 represents the seconds of actual music broadcast.

Posted by Jeff at 12:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


So the Live 8 concert is today. Don't know why, but I've already got it loaded up on the DVR to record. Even cleared out some space on the hard-drive for it.

Not sure why I give a damn. Maybe it's because I didn't get to see much of the original Live Aid concert broadcast. I remember going on a first date that night and the girl I was going out with wasn't that into watching it.

I should have known right then she was trouble.

Anyway, Drudge is reporting the following set list and playlist. Given the number of typos in it (I've tried to correct) I'd say it's probably bogus, but who knows...


2pm GMT Start

Paul McCartney/U2
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


Bono Introduces Coldplay

In My Place
Fix You
Bitter Sweet Symphony, With Richard Ashcroft

Little Britain introduce Elton John

Elton John
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Bitch Is Back
Children Of The Revolution, With Pete Doherty

Life For Rent
White Flag
Thank You


The One I Love
Losing My Religion
Imitation Of Life
Everybody Hurts

Ms Dynamite
Judgment Day
Redempton Song

Everybodys Changing
Somewhere only we know

Why Does It Always Rain On Me

Annie Lennox
Walking On Broken Glass
Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves
Sweet Dreams


Snoop Dogg

Somewhere else
Golden Touch

Like A Prayer
Ray of light

Snow Patrol

Joss Stone
I had a dream
Super Duper Love

Scissor Sisters
Take your mamma

Velvet Revolver

The Killers

Message in a Bottle
Desert Rose
Every Breath You Take

Mariah Carey
Vision on love
Make it happen

Robbie Williams
Let me entertain you
Rock DJ

The Who
Won't get fooled again
Baba O'Riley

Pink Floyd
Comfortly Numb
Wish you were here

Paul McCartney
the Long and winding road

Posted by Jeff at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005


I've been wading throught he 600-plus photos I shot in Washington D.C. and getting them ready for uploading into an online photo album.

In the meantime, I found a couple interesting shots I forgot I had taken:


As I said yesterday, the prospect of terrorism never enters your mind while touring the nation's capital.

Never. Ever. Not even for a moment.

Why would it?


The Lincoln Memorial is a place of great reverence, a hallowed hall where the great works and the great words of a wise and compassionate leader can be contemplated and assessed for the impact they had on...

Wait. What's that say on the guy's shirt?




Ah... a tranquil scene along the banks of the Potomac in Georgetown. A group of friends gathering to enjoy the end of the day's sunset glow amid the hectic world of the big city and...

Wait. What's that one woman wearing?


I've heard of cut-offs, but cut-ups?

What is she, Bruce Banner?

Posted by Jeff at 07:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


LeeAnn the Cheesemistress has included me in her reindeer games, throwing a couple questions at me as one in her series of ill-advised interviews.

So here goes.

1. In your illustrious career as a bigtime newspaperman, what is the most newsworthy story you've personally written. Did it involve a potato shaped like a moose?

I’ve covered the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I’ve covered the Daytona 500, interviewed the heads of the NFL and NASCAR. I’ve interviewed presidential candidates and movie stars. I’ve swapped questions with Garth Brooks about orange candy circus peanuts and stood in minus-70 windchill on the last night of the Iditarod.

But I have to go with the story of Bingo, a stray dog who stole dozens of newspapers in an Anchorage, AK, neighborhood for almost a week straight and piled them in front of his owner’s house – and none of them were from the lawns of homes in a 10 block radius. You’ve got to admire a dog that industrious.

The story made CNN, all the wires, you name it. People love rogue animals.

2. The world ends. Civilization as we know it ceases to be... except for Walt Disney World. Who do you do first, Snow White or Cinderella? Please show your work.

So the choice is between a narcoleptic and a shoe fetishist? I’ll pass.

Not that this would be my choice – nothing about Disney strikes me as erotic or even vaguely sexual - but something primal lures me to Daisy Duck. Think about it: pumps, makeup, no pants… not to mention that saucy bow.

Jesus. I gotta lay off the Absolut.

3. Which celebrity eulogy would you love to give? Give us a sample...

Are you kidding? Britney all the way, babe.

I've always wanted to use the phrase, "no-talent, lip-synching, white-trash-marrying ho-skank" in a eulogy. Without it relating to a relative, of course.

4. We've all seen the sombrero series, and we all dig the sombero series. But honestly, is it the size of the hat, or the size of the man in the hat what truly makes it a sombrero-worthy moment? And in a more prurient note, have you ever worn the sombrero on the (ahem) southern head? Did it stay on? Without JLo double-sided tape? Are you available for birthdays and bar mitzvahs? Please?

An even better question: Is it the brim that makes the sombrero or the pointed top? It’s the entire package, of course. The right sombrero on the wrong man (here, I’m thinking Richard Simmons) does not redeem the man.

As for whether the sombrero has made it “south of the border,” all I have to say is, “No hablo inglais.”

If I did choose such an adornment, I think it would look a little like this:


5. Imagine: in a sudden flamboyant fireworks episode, your mustache and suave goatee are singed completely off. Do you brazen out the growing process with tales of gallantry and derring-do, or do you color it in with a magic marker? What color?

Two words: Chia Goatee.

Posted by Jeff at 07:20 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack