October 31, 2005


Rev. Joe Kendall, star of the show "Pastor Cop" and 1996's Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year, sends along these photos from a Halloween party he had over the weekend.

Apparently he inducted some new members into The Sombrero Project (and its subsequent parts (Dos, Tres and Quatro and Cinco):


We are the :::slap-slap-slap-slap-COUGH::: THREE AMIGOS!"


Zorro can be so goddamn pushy.

Give someone a blade and suddenly they're judge, mayor and president.


Cornered again by Zorro in the kitchen and emboldened by the protection that the sombrero provides, suddenly a defensive line of karaoke springs forth as a warning:

"Shooting at the walls of heartache, bang-bang, I am The Warrior."


Some men know how to wear the sombrero.

And the ladies love them for it.

Posted by Jeff at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)

October 30, 2005


LincolnBraSmall.jpg You might remember a tale from last week in which our Labrador retriever, Lincoln, got his freak on.

After that post, I got an e-mail last week from a Salad reader that said:

A young fellow in our creative services dept. recently enlisted in the Army Reserves and is at basic training. (Yeah, we tried to talk him out of it - COUNTLESS times, but he had the "calling.")

Anyway, I digress. He has two labs and he - and well as a bunch of us he left behind in cubeville - are obnoxious Lab owners/Lab lovers. This story - if I can print - would be just the ticket to add to the weekly (print) newsletter we are sending to him. MAY I?

May I?

Always happy to support our men and women in uniform, I replied:

Giddyap. Have at it. Make sure you let me know what his reaction is.

Then I got an e-mail today with the following details:

We rec'd a letter from him today - in response to the first newsletter we sent him. He must have commented five times on how what a boost that was ... "It made me feel like me again." Good indeed since his first letter from basic training had to be "translated" for us by a vet due to all the friggin "code" words. Complete immersion in their system seems to be the military's strategy.

This guy (kid, really .. just 25-years old) had a "Lab Cam" going for a while this summer so he and the rest of us dog lovers could watch his two pups ransack his house during the day, "Oh look, Porter jumped on the bed... is that a stick of butter in his mouth?" Easily amused we be.

Anyway, your pup and his bra will be positioned next to our story - altered a bit of course - about the "Champagne Tower Suites" available at the Poconos (Hotel) Resort. Google that if you haven't ever seen - a sight to behold! It's interesting to note that the Champagne Towers don't have a weight limit. (We know, we called them once to verify. The adult version of "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" phone prank.)

Anyway, sure you get lots of mail so don't mean to take up too much time - just want you to know the story is MUCH appreciated.

We'll keep you updated on the soldier's reaction.

Posted by Jeff at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)



They beat the Bulldogs.
That's great. But the uniforms
Looked like gay pumpkins.

Posted by Jeff at 09:27 AM | Comments (5)

October 29, 2005


TheStew.jpg Please do me the honor of saying hello to The Stew, a close cousin of Side Salad.

This is an officially sanctioned, licensed and authorized food weblog I'm doing for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com.

Be kind. The Stew is only a few days old.

You'll get the same goofy, reckless and pointless hijinks you're used to finding on the Salad, only with a food theme.

Hopefully it'll fare better in the court of public opinion than previous ones have. If people are able to find it, that is.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Posted by Jeff at 10:53 PM | Comments (3)


I was trying to find a way to express my emotions about the glorious victory today by the Florida Gators over the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville by a score of 14-10.

Then I remembered something I saw on ESPN's College GameDay show this morning:


No, not Kirk Herbstreit. The guy behind him.


Yes. Him.


In case you missed it the first time.

That's classy.

How proud his mama and daddy must be.


Actualy, the backdrop of students vying for attention with their signs usually is more entertaining every week than the commentary that Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Chris Fowler provide.


See what I mean?

The First Commandment of Television: Every sports show can be enhanced by a sombrero.

Posted by Jeff at 09:33 PM | Comments (4)


Last week, I wrote about getting a CPR mannequin in the mail at work. I pledged that it would provide endless amounts of fun as we took it to various places around town.

So I decided it would accompany me to a staff lunch I held off-site.



Nicko's diner on Florida Avenue, which claims on the cover of it's menus:


"Elvis Ate Here."


Nicko's is a great place to eat. It's about as authentic a diner as you're going to find these days. Reminds me of the old Pelican Diner on St. Pete Beach, where we'd get club sandwiches and open-faced turkey sandwiches with hot gravy and fries.


Table for four, please. And one CPR dummy named Resussa (as in "resuscitate").


Resussa immediately made friends with our server Amanda, better known as Mandy.

Mandy was offered a chance to test her CPR skills. She considered the offer and then quite colorfully replied, "I'm not putting my lips on that thing unless it'll save my fat white ass."

We liked Mandy immediately.


Resussa's presence clearly stood in contrast to the sober nature of this establishment.


I couldn't hear what this patron was saying into his cell phone, but I imagined that he was placing a call to his broker in Tokyo.


The pressure of a new environment prompted Resussa to take up a dirty habit before lunch arrived.


Mandy was a great server full of charm and promptness.


Mmmmm. Greasy gyro platter.


Always conscious about her weight, Resussa ordered the cole slaw.


Partway through lunch, Mandy leaned over the back of the booth to show us her Burmese ruby ring, which she said was bequeathed to her. Seems her mother was a German countess who had lost her royal title by marrying an American. The ring, she said, was hundreds of years old and matched a pair of 10-karat earrings that she said were locked away for safekeeping. One day, she said, she might sell them for a car.

It was at that point we asked for the check.

Posted by Jeff at 10:44 AM | Comments (2)


RebaMcEntirePhoto.jpg Did I mention how much I enjoy the mail I get?

Picked up this ditty late last night about a posting on the Salad a couple months back from Rev. Joe Kendall about seeing Reba McEntire in concert.

It seems the writer, who went by the name "Anonomus" didn't much care for the tone of the posting. It mocked her leather wristband, her Muppet-like jaw hinge, her use of self-idolotry mechanisms.

But I'm guessing this line by Rev. Joe set the writer off:

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

"Just Say No To Country Camel Toe."

"Anonomus" then replies - 6 months after the posting and the concert, mind you:

Hey!!! Your a fag for sayin' this about Reba!!! She is a human being like anyone else! You should not make fun of people, especially nice people like her!!!! I think your being a real jerk to her. Why would u go to a concert if u only wanted to make fun of her??? huh??? Loser!!!!

There are so many balls of yarn to play with here. The Tourette's-like use of exclamation points... The knee-jerk homophobic accusation... The incorrect spelling that hints of partial cerebral hemmorage... The use of the informal Prince-like "u" form.

On second thought, "Anonomus" is right. We were a tad harsh in posting this commentary. Ms. McEntire is a talented, luscious singing piece of red velvet layer cake, a shining, dazzling aqua-marine sequin in the American Gown of the Arts. Please accept our apology.

Oh, and give our best to the guys and girls down at Polly Sue's Nail Tech Academy.

An update: I received this note from someone going by the name "i hate you."

u guys are mean and rude so stop it now idiots

Hmmm. With all that lack of capitalization and syntax and punctuation, you must be related to "Anonomus."

Posted by Jeff at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2005


One of the benefits of having a reputation for celebrating oddity and stupidity at every chance is that you are blessed with friends who feel the need to feed your head with such nonsense.

As such, I get the best e-mail in the world, this side of Fark.

Like this one from Katherine, who shares with me a fanatical devotion to The Superficial.

Katherine points to the story headlined "Celine Dion wants to grow another child":

Celine Dion, the source of almost all of Canada's shame before Avril Lavigne and Nickelback came around, has told a French magazine that once her contract with Caesar's Palace ends, she plans to have a second child through in vitro fertilization. Celine insisted that time is of the essence since she's approaching 40 years old and her husband is approaching whatever age it is where you spontaneously turn to dust in the slightest breeze. The couple plans to use an embryo that was left from the treatment that yielded their first child.

Wow, even Gwynnie and Britney are subtler with exploiting their children than Celine Dion is. With the 21 months notice and giving specific information as to when, where, and how she's going to conceive, it's obvious that she's just winding up to release yet another album full of songs about her damned baby, this time brought to you by Louis' Turkey Basters and Cup-o-Soup: Now With 30% More Fetus.

I'd call it shameless, but I'm pretty sure that for French-Canadians, "shameless" roughly translates to "crafty like a fox!"

I can't help but think of Ana Gasteyer's impersonation every time I see Dion warble.

Then I got an e-mail from Jolie, who forwarded me two photos, accompanied by this sentence:

Words. There are none.

What were the photos? Here they are:



The sad thing: I thought maybe it was another Kirstie Alley ad. I didn't get the oral sex connotation at all.

Then Amanda sent along this link to a guy who performs a one-man version of "Star Wars."

As his bio on the site states:

Best known as the mastermind behind the infamous One Man Star Wars Trilogy and One Man Lord of the Rings, Charles Ross is a Canadian actor who has followed his heart and his career from one side of the continent to the other. Since first performing his One Man Star Wars Trilogy in Toronto, Ontario in January of 2001, Ross has brought countless audiences, both large and small, to their feet with his surprisingly unique shows.

Word of Ross's one of a kind talent has spread across North America, from Toronto, Orlando, Atlanta, and Boston, to Chicago, San Diego, and Vancouver. To mark the release of Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, Charles was honored to perform at Lucasfilm's official movie release convention, Celebration 3. Even the likes of Vin Diesel and Sir Ian McKellan have taken in his performances with rave reviews.

When Vin Diesel likes your work, you know you've left a stain on the carpet of society.

Survey says: Thorazine.

Then Rommie sent along a press release from Radar magazine, touting their next issue, in which they detail the payoffs that celebrities get for appearing at trendy bars and restaurants.

Included in the list:

Anna Nicole Smith
Writing her a check is the easy part. Getting her to show up is another matter. In February, the organizers of NW magazine’s Oscar party in Sydney, Australia, agreed to fly Smith out for 60 grand, but she missed her flight — then demanded $12,000 more to ensure she’d make the next one. Not only did Smith require a penthouse, a butler and chef on call 24 hours a day, and a suite for her four-person entourage, when she arrived, according to press reports, she insisted on a third suite for her lawyer, stylist, and two friends. Our sources say that several dress sizes ago Smith raked in about $15,000 per appearance. But now she averages about $30,000 — making her fee inversely proportional to her weight.

Then they punk the agent of Star Jones to fish around for what her bottom line price would be for an appearance.

An tasty morsel from the conversation:

Star Jones’s Agent Hi, how are you today?

Radar Hi, this is David Steven calling about Star Jones making an appearance at the Short Hills Country Club in New Jersey.

Agent Her appearance fee is $25,000. She also needs a car from New York. This is just for a meet-and-greet?

Radar No, it’s our annual Bring in the Fall gala. We’d like her to give a speech about why fall is the best season. Last year Leonard Nimoy did 25 minutes.

Agent On that topic? Well, if you’re willing to write it, make it as long as you need.

Radar Would she dine with the guests?

Agent I don’t know if she’d sit through a whole dinner.

Radar How much would it cost for us to have her for the entire dinner?

Agent Could she come for the cocktails, dine backstage, then come out for the speech? It’s hard to chitchat when you’re about to get up and give a speech.

Radar Let’s say we do the speech before dinner.

Agent Okay. Better.

Radar Would she come alone, or does she go everywhere with the people from The View?

Agent No, she’d probably be either by herself or with her husband or assistant.

Radar Now, there is a casino theme. What would it cost us to have her work as the guest dealer?

Agent Oh, probably another 10 or so.

Radar So, $35,000?

Agent Probably. Yeah.

Radar Would she dance?

Agent No. I mean, she might, but I wouldn’t put that in a contract.

Radar The dancing would cost more?

Agent No, no. [Laughs] How can you predict if somebody’s going to feel like dancing?

Radar Well, I mean, we’re paying her to speak for half an hour.

Agent She doesn’t get paid to dance.

Radar She won’t dance with her husband?

Agent She might. But what if she’s not with her husband? She might come with just her assistant.

Radar Would she dance with her assistant?

Agent No.

Radar Alone?

Agent I wouldn’t even ask that question. [Laughs]

Radar What if we added another $10,000?

Agent If you want to add that into the offer, you can. It’s an odd request.

Radar So we’re up to $45,000. A half-hour speech with dancing.

Agent Possibly.

Radar Would we have to pay extra to have her husband there?

Agent Yes.

Radar How much would her husband cost?

Agent I don’t represent him, but I understand he gets around $10,000 for an appearance. He has his own career.

Radar What does he do?

Agent You got me. I’ll make it really easy: Make her an offer at $50,000 and say, “In exchange for this we would expect the following: a) 30-minute speech, b) dinner with guests, c) bringing her husband, Al Rey-nolds, and dancing, d) participating as a celebrity guest dealer,” or, you know, whatever.

Posted by Jeff at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)


CameraToss.jpg I always said I shot better photos when I wasn't looking.

This Flickr blog takes contributons from shooters who are foolhardy enough to throw their cameras in the air during long exposures.

The results are interesting, but I can't help wonder about all those cameras flying around.

Posted by Jeff at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005


So as I mentioned earlier, I had the good fortune of eating at Cracker Barrel on Sunday morning before Hurricane Wilma came to visit.

Imagine my surprise when we walked outside and saw this:


Oh. Billy.

And it was for sale.

I turned to Salad Wife and said in my best Gomer voice, "Heyyy, hunny, lookie what I bought at Crak-er BARRell!"

Then a gentleman next to me said, "It's for sale."


That gentleman was Ray Brown, the owner of the truck. He said he switched jobs recently and doesn't need the hauling capacity that the 2004 Ford F250 Super Custom had to offer.

Ray said a friend of his in the graphics business did the Buccaneers logos for free, as a way of free advertising for his business.

"Pay off the loan and it's yours,'' Ray said. That amount: about $24,000.


The truck only has 40,000 miles on it.

He said he was going to put it up on eBay later that day, but that they charge such huge fees.

"How about I put it up on my Web site?" I offered.

And here it is now.


The showpiece of the truck is the rear detail, which includes:


Photo appliques of Mike Alstott and Joe Jurevicius...


...and of Simeon Rice and Derrick Brooks.


The back window features Coach Jon Gruden's Super Bowl trophy moment.


The truck also features (mostly faded) signatures by several Bucs, including Derek Deese, Shelton Quarles and this one by Derek Brooks.

Ray said he offered to sell it to the Bucs so that they could raffle it off for charity, but that he got no takers.

The truck set a'spinning the eyes of Salad Wife, who has developed into quite the fanatical football fan.

"I want this truck,'' she said. "Can you imagine, though, all the attention it gets?"

Ray said we wouldn't believe the way the truck attracts fans of all sorts.

The best part: he doesn't have season tickets. He goes when he can, but he just enjoys being a fan.

On behalf of fans everywhere, the Salad Bowl salutes you, Ray.

Those interested in the truck can e-mail him at eyesiceg40[at sign]cs.com or at ray_brown[at sign]mccullaghandscott.com.

Posted by Jeff at 07:40 AM | Comments (6)

October 25, 2005


On the whole, Wilma was pretty much a non-factor in the Tampa Bay area. I've had car washes that were more vigorous than the rainstorms we had on Monday.

The weird part was the cold air that followed the storm through the area. It's 53 this morning in Valrico. Given that it's late October, cold weather shouldn't be a surprise. But so close after a hurricane? That just feels weird.

Anyway, we're seeing the conga line of rescue and repair vehicles on the highways again. Early Monday, even while the storm was rumbling through the state's nether regions, vehicles like these were heading south on I-75:





The worst part of the storm: the lost workforce:


The schools were announced as being closed on Monday due to the hurricane, so that meant parents had to scramble to find care for them. Then some businesses had to juggle whether to bring their workers in that morning or keep them off the highways.


By the time 11 a.m. rolled around, there was no more rain to speak of in the Bay area. By about noon, skies were sunny and temps were in the high 50s. By sunset, above, it looked like an ordinary fall day.

Some 6 million people are reportedly without power. But this is no Katrina.

As one news story put it:

Unseasonably cool temperatures hovered over much of Florida early Tuesday, meaning the lack of air conditioning wasn't making a tough situation even more unbearable for those in Wilma's path.

Officials warned residents to boil water in parts of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. A water main breach in downtown Miami sprayed water 15 feet in the air.

"We've lived here 37 years and we've never had a hurricane like this," said Paul Kramer, 71, of Tamarac, in Broward County. "We didn't expect this. This one got our attention."

Uh, Paul, you never expect this?

Where do you think you've lived for 37 years?

Glad to see that after Hurricane Andrew, last year's hurricane season and this year's onslaught, you've been lulled into a sense of complacency while living only 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Posted by Jeff at 07:39 AM | Comments (1)


You might remember a certain "Shagadelic" Austin-Powers-themed party I posted pictures of earlier this year, including this one:


Well, one of its accessories needs a new pad.

I got this e-mail from a co-worker on Monday (the one above, left):


Hello, sorry to send out a gang email.

I adopted Mojo, a Sphynx, two summers ago thinking a Sphynx would be a good solution for my cat allergies.

(A Sphynx is a relatively hairless cat, they actually have a soft down).

Unfortunately, no fault of Mojo’s, I’ve been losing the allergy battle and am looking to find him another loving home.

He’s a super cool cat who plays fetch, well, with rubber bands and the like.

This breed of cat acts much more like a dog that his feline cousins. He’s very affectionate and follows me around the house. He even pays attention when he’s talked to.

If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail. Or just laugh at the cat's predicament. I don't care.

Posted by Jeff at 06:16 AM | Comments (4)

October 24, 2005


JasonLeeMyNameIsEar.jpg It's encouraging to see a lot of great writing on TV this season. I'm a big fan of "Everybody Hates Chris." It's just a brilliant show. Makes me laugh every time. The acting on it is great, too.

But my favorite so far is "My Name Is Earl," starring Jason Lee.

It's been slagged as a sort of "Raising Arizona" ripoff, but the show is starting to find it's own sensibilities.

The premise, according to IMDB:

Earl is a low-life who finds a winning lottery ticket, only to get hit by a car, losing the ticket in the process. He then realizes in the hospital that his bad luck is the result of karma in which fate punishes him for all the rotten things he's ever done in his life; therefore, he then decides to dedicate his life to making amends to all the people he has hurt in his life.

So Earl draws up a list of all the wrongs he's committed and sets out to rectify his place in the world.

Characters include his ex-wife, Joy (Jaime Pressly), his buddy Randy (Ethan Suplee) and Catalina the hotel maid (Nadine Velazquez).

Last week featured a great exchange. In the episode, he tries to make up for all the foreigners whose accents he's mocked by teaching a conversational English class to immigrants. The best he can do is teach them all how to say, "My name is Earl."

One Vietnamese woman in the class, Kim Lee, lives a few trailers away from his ex-wife. Which only angers her.

The scene opens with Earl scooping debris from the pool of the hotel where he stays. There are a myriad of beer cans and leaves floating on the top of the algae-filled pool:


JOY: Hey asswipe! I don't know who the hell is on your "Touched By An Angel" list that's making you teach people English, but you need to stop.

EARL: Excuse me?


JOY: You got a Chinese girl in your class named Kim Lee?

EARL: She's not Chinese. She's Vietnamese.

JOY: I don't care if she's Vietnamese, Chinese or Chuck E. Cheese. She don't need to be learning no English.

EARL: Why?


JOY: Because it's going to cut into my premium nail decoratin' business.

EARL'S VOICEOVER: My ex-wife Joe owns a premium nail decoratin' business out of her trailer.

JOY (to customer): Now, did you want me to paint the zodiac signs on here? I mean, there's 12, but I could paint the last two on your big toes.

EARL'S VOICEOVER: Business was good until Kim Lee opened a similar operation three trailers over.

EARL'S VOICEOVER: Joy hated competition so she had to find a way to give herself an edge

JOY: Look, Earl. You can't teach her how to talk. I got kids to feed.

EARL: These are good people, Joy. They have a right to learn whatever they want.

JOY: No, they don't! There is nothing in the Bible that says people have a right to learn stuff. I have read it.

Pressly is hilarious in her role as the white-trash ex-wife. Later in the show, she attempts a little retribution by teaching Kim Lee how to say, "I do good job," and "I give you big infection."

Posted by Jeff at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)


NosePicking.jpg Brad over at Spelled Melk doesn't post very often, but when he does, it's comedy gold:

It was Friday morning, and I'd spent the last ten minutes in my car, waiting in line at a stoplight to turn left onto the highway. After listening to the same CD for the 27th time in my car over the last week, I was getting bored. I needed something to keep myself awake until I got home, and being stuck in Traffic Purgatory wasn't exactly helping.

Irritated, I sat and tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. Then, I turned and looked at the BMW stopped in the thru-lane on my right. I looked closer, focusing lazily on the woman driving the Beamer. To my amazement, this lady had her finger up her nose, wriggling it with with such veracity that I think she was itching her frontal lobe.

Jackpot! Now that's entertainment.

Thre's more, but I'll let you follow the link.

I guess it's true what they say; everyone has one nose-picking incident in their past that they can't forget.

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


HurricaneWilmaRadarImageCentralFlorida1024at705am1a.jpgScott, a friend and former colleague who now works on Wall Street writes this morning from Noo Yawk City at 6:53 a.m. asking about Hurricane Wilma (I guess it really is the city that doesn't sleep.)

Being from NYC, he's generally curious about Florida, although in a specific kind of way. He's always pelting me with questions about "bikinis" and the relative amounts of clothing being worn at any given point of the year. And I always tweak his pervy nose hairs by replying, "We're down to loin cloths and sandals now, Scott."

I don't have the heart to tell him that three-quarters of the state is full of people he used to live with in New York. They're all pasty and fat and obnoxious and, I can say gladly, bikini free.

I love to taunt him this way, remembering that at the remote outpost where we once worked together, he kept a manilla file folder of lingerie his girlfriend sent him from back home. At strategic moments, like when I'd be on the phone trying to pelt a state official for information that was embedded like a wisdom tooth, he'd bust open the file cabinet, spring open the folder and wave a white, see-through bustier like a national flag. If I possess any level of professional inflappability, all credit goes to the training I got from Scott.

Anyway, he sent me this missive a couple minutes ago:

From: Scott
Subject: 'Cane

Lots of rain and limited wind damage in your nabe, eh?

Hope so.

And my reply:

Buttload of rain at the moment. Give it a few hours, though. We'll have sunshine by noon. No foolin'.

And, you know, that pretty much wraps up the report here at the Side Salad Doppler 9 Million Weather Center.

Sure, it's plenty ugly outside...


... but it's not the end of the world.

If anything, I have greater respect for the folks in the weather biz. They told us Wilma would take this weird little path, jog over the Yucatan Peninsula (Or "YUCK-uh-tan" as some half-wit on Fox News called it, right before I switched the channel in rage), then bounce improbably like a billiard trick shot across lower Florida before scampering out to the Atlantic.

And you know what? It's doing just that. They said we'd get a couple inches of rain, and we are. (See photo and chart below.)

Amazing stuff, really.


I was awakened at about 5 a.m. by the sound of wind whipping through the screen on the porch. Rain was blasting the bedroom windows. And a thought occurred to me:
I didn't take in the basketball hoop.

I'm such a tool.

I cavalierly announced to anyone who would listen the past few days that I wasn't going to do a damn thing to get ready. I might bring a few things in from outside - maybe some plants or decorations - but that was it.

So I got the adrenaline rush I deserved at 5 a.m. when my subconscious matched the force of the real wind blowing outside with the imagined consequence of a portable basketball hoop landing on top of the truck or the car. That kind of horrific thought tends to get your head off the pillow in a hurry.


So there I am, in the dark, running in torrential rain as I back both vehicles out of the driveway. I'm soaking wet. It's blowing like, well, a hurricane.

And then the transvestite puppy wakes up. Which means he has to go out or else his levee will break and his bladder will flood our home like Orleans Parish.

So he trots merrily to the front door, and I quick-step behind him, trying to get him to a blade of grass before he moistens the floor. I open the door and a gust forces it out of my hand. The dog, standing inside, winces and bows his head from rain pelting his face.

To cut to the chase, I'll ask this: Have you ever walked a puppy in a hurricane? The experience holds exquisite treasure.

You become part beggar, part negotiator, part bouncer just to get the dog to even consider going outside.

Not that I blame him. I'd have a hard time with my excretory functions if I was releasing my innards while naked on the lawn as rain pelted my rectum at 40 mph.

I was reduced to trying a rainbow of techniques to cajole him to do his bidness:

Method No. 1: You lie to him like Nixon and try to brainwash him into thinking it isn't that bad.

Method No. 2: When he fails to succumb to Method No. 1 and he refuses to go out, you run out to show him how bad it isn't outside. End result: You're soaked again and he's still dry.

Method No. 3: You wait for a lull in the storm to show him that everything he hated about the first two methods has gone bye-bye. Unfortunately, that lull never comes.

Method No. 4: You try a new exitway. You take the dog out through the garage, guessing that since he runs like Papillon whenever you open that door, he might have temporary insanity and ignore the wind and the rain and run to freedom.

The Good News About Method No. 4: It works. The dog runs out into the yard a couple feet and finally releases a torrent upon the lawn, turning his head away from the horizontal rain the way a heartbroken Ingrid Bergman turned her chin away from Bogart at the end of "Casablanca."

The Bad News About Method No. 4: Opening a larger door during a hurricane only exposes everything behind that door to hurricane conditions. You essentially drain one problem but load up on moisture for everything else you own.

So, that's what things are like this morning at Casa del Ensalada.

It's not Noo Yawk City, but we'll take it.

Posted by Jeff at 07:06 AM | Comments (1)

October 23, 2005



Forget what I said.

Wilma's here.

Posted by Jeff at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)


HurricaneWilma1023Radar547pm.jpgSo they tell us there's a 105-mph hurricane headed relatively our way, one which just dumped 64 inches of rain in parts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

That's nice.

Right now there's barely a breeze outside. It's overcast and muggy as all hell, but it's nothing like the precursor to a 'cane. Which, you know, is good. Please don't read anything into my lack of esteem for the

I will say, though, that I heard my first "HUNKER DOWN!" today at 2:18 p.m. on the radio. Jack Harris, host on 970 WFLA-AM, uttered those immortal words.

Oh, and so did our governor:

"I cannot emphasize enough to the folks that live in the Florida Keys: A hurricane is coming," Gov. Jeb Bush said. "Perhaps people are saying, 'I'm going to hunker down.' They shouldn't do that. They should evacuate, and there's very little time left to do so."


We're taking the storm very seriously. So much so that Salad Wife and I had an emergency breakfast at Cracker Barrel (more on that surreal experience later).

Oh, and we're painting.

You know how it is; you go into a weekend hoping to tackle the world of interior design. Then you look at your budget and realize painting is a more realistic probability.

So you go to Lowe's and Home Depot and Benjamin Moore a few thousand times until you settle on a color: Crocodile Tears.

Then you dismantle your home.


You start with a test corner, just in case you fight with your spouse and it leads to divorce and then a selling of the house. It's much less expensive to repaint a corner that way. Plus, it leaves some extra cash for alimony.


One way to prevent divorce: strategic cropping that neither shows your bride in a compromising position nor with a lack of makeup.


Designating a non-important wall for the offspring to attack also leads to familial harmony. Sometimes.

That's Salad Boy, a future graffiti tagger if I ever saw one.


And, before you know it, half a room has a first coat. No blood has been shed. No slurs have been uttered. Nary a raised voice has been leveled, except for at the dog, who, you know, deserves such treatment for being a spaz about paint.

More weather and painting updates as they become necessary and relevent.

Posted by Jeff at 05:35 PM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2005


You find out a lot about someone when you shack up for a couple months. Some of the things you learn... let's just say you'd rather go around like blind fox in a field full of hounds than be exposed to the truth about their foibles, fetishes and weaknesses.

LincolnTheBlackLabradorRetrieverLookingPensiveInTheTallGreenGrass.jpgIt's no different when you bring a puppy into the home.

You think after a few months that you know the dog. You observe his behaviors, his reactions, his impulses. You see him dart after dragonflies in the back yard and you think it's cute as hell. You see him go apeshit chasing a glimmer of light on a wall and you fall into adoring hysterics. You laugh at his miniature gaseous emissions and you shudder to think of the harbinger of things to come, about what it might mean when he triples in size and the gas becomes more adult and mustard-like and pungent...

You learn when he wants to eat and when he needs to bomb China outside and when he wants a piece of dried chicken. You try to gauge the opportunities when his brief periods of calm allow you to scoop him up and love on him. You delight in the moments when the matchstick of playfulness within him ignites on contact with the discovery of a new toy.

And then one night, when you're locked inside your home on a Friday night and the lights are dim and you're nestled in front of the plasma watching a movie, he walks out from your bedroom headed for his bed in the living room while dressed in your wife's padded brassiere.


You try not to laugh too hard. There's the chance, after all, that he might take the response as a positive reinforcement. It crosses your mind that there might be a future party at the house during which the dog will loop his head through the arm through a slinky little Wonder Bra and prance through the crowd of invited guests, consumed with pride in his fancy adornment. This is not a behavior you want duplicated.


Then he puts his head down. Does this signal boredom? A crushed soul? A breast fixation? A combination of all the above?

Could be. Beyond me rushing to get the camera to snap these photos, we have neither approved or reprimanded.

Damn if the dog doesn't look crestfallen.


He attempts to go about his normal routine of sniffing and scratching and generally looking for things to gnaw.

But the straps are binding. They trip him as he tries to walk. Clearly he's not ready for "The Show." Perhaps a training bra would be more appropriate.

The frustration on his furrowed face is palpable.


He finally gives up. There is no sense of normalcy for him, no chance that he can pull this off. He blinks with blank reservation in his eyes as we begin to pelt him with insulting nicknames like, "Tranny" and "Lingerie Lincoln" and "Rocky Horror Retriever Show."

Even though one of the cups appropriately settles around his chest, any chance at assimilating this into any sort of a normal lifestyle for him as a dog is now obviously out of the question. His eyes beg, "Remove this from me." We do. He settles back on his bed. He releases a deep, pained, mournful sigh.


His spirit diminished by at least one-third, Lincoln finds solace in the only place he can: the warm embrace of his surrogate's arms. The world is a cruel place for a puppy. Only an instinctual move toward maternal love can rend this seam in his heart.

Posted by Jeff at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005


PabloCruise.jpgPegged to the announcement that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting a baby, T-shirt Hell is launching a new shirt. They always have the best stuff.

I'll give the loving couple a cool $49.78 if they name the baby Pablo. Boy or girl.

Posted by Jeff at 06:36 AM | Comments (1)


SombreroGlassFromAl.jpg What is wrong with the world? Where will the prejudice end? Is there no Flying Spaghetti Monster?

I find myself staring into the abyss after reading a story sent to me by the Rev. Joe Kendall about a new restaurant planned for New Paltz, N.Y.

The words uttered by the owner chilled me to the core:

Adios, Ariel. Hola, Blockheads

NEW PALTZ – Goodbye, Ariel. Hello, Blockheads.

If things go as planned, the space that has contained Ariel Booksellers for 34 years will become a Mexican restaurant called Blockheads next spring.

Ken Sofer, co-owner of a string of five smaller Blockheads restaurants in Manhattan, said he and Ariel owners Dean and Susan Avery have reached an agreement for the restaurant to be the new tenant in the heart of the village.

In a community that once boasted four independent bookstores, Ariel's replacement is a sign of the village's changing times. What once was book heaven has become what one local booster calls restaurant heaven.

Sofer, who lives in West Park, described his plans for the 3,500-square-foot space as a place that will cater to families, with moderately priced entrees ranging from $8 to $11.

He described the cuisine as "San Francisco-style" Mexican fare set in a decor that won't shout its name.

"We won't play mariachi music on the sound system," he said. "There won't be sombreros hanging on the wall."

If I were you, I'd prepare yourself for bankruptcy, my friend. Brace for a possible wave of bad mojo-inspired e. coli infections among your customers. Plan for the health inspectors to descend upon you every day you turn the key on the front door.

You might think you can mock the mariachi and get away with it, but shun the sombrero and only misery and woe will follow you until you do right by it.

Consider yourself warned.

Posted by Jeff at 06:20 AM | Comments (1)


... is a plush Cuddly Rigor Mortis doll.

tikiplushsm.jpg At first I thought the mummy doll, the skeleton or the creature from the black lagoon models would be best. They looked the coolest of the bunch.

But then I noticed the tiki version, complete with grass skirt.

I'm such a sucker for grass clothing these days.

Posted by Jeff at 05:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005


I'm blessed to work at a job where people send you weird things at absolutely no cost. Like a pink wig, a feather boa and mask and mullet attire. Oh, and mud bath mixture to promote a girl-fighting video game. Not to mention the Wizmark advertising urinal cake.

The best, though, came in the mail this week:


A CPR mannequin. With simulated nipples, no less.

Oh, lord, the fun we'll have with this. It won't likely reach an Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall level of ecstacy, but it'll be a blast.

I can forsee doing shots of Jagermeister and Slice with strangers outside of Bucs games. Maybe even a trip to dance night at Barnacles. It possibly could accompany me on a crap safari or two.

The possibilities are endless.

And of course, it will forever be preserved through the use of...


A moist mannequin towelette.

Manikin Wipe?

Band name!

Posted by Jeff at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)


BurgerKingMask2.jpgHalloween started a little early yesterday for Juan over at LazyFat.

The hyper-plastic, ultra creepy, Barry Gibb-like Burger King mask he ordered arrived in the mail.

I mean, think of all the liquor stores you could rob with that thing.

As Juan wrote:

Royalty has tapped my shoulder with the royal burger sword, and I'm ready to be up and down Florida, trick or treating my royal ass off with my plastic Burger King Halloween mask.

Simple pleasures really are the best.

Posted by Jeff at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)


Funny bit about fantasy football last weekend from Lewis Black on HBO's "Inside the NFL":

LewisBlackDoingTheStupidPointyFingersSchtick.jpg "Fantasy football is out of control. The same guys who used to stuff me into lockers and taunt me about my troll collection all have pink-rimmed eyes, gawking into computer screens, refreshing every two minutes for real-time stats, purchasing NFL television packages for access to every game.

"Now, when I try to watch, there is so much scrolling and popping up that I can't see the play on my television. I don't care that LaDainian Tomlinson has two receptions for eight yards in the first quarter of another game that I am not even watching.

"There's a reason why people watch TV … because they don't want to read."

No shit. I mean, look at this graphic from last week's Bucs game:


Um, pardon me for caring, but can I please see the play?

Holy hell.

Anyway, I say all this in order to block the pain triggers firing in the synapses of my brain due to the bad news that's afflicted The Side Salads fantasy football team. We've dropped two in a row, the first a 143.00-128.50 stunner to Free Wins Here. (Their only win this year: against the Salads. They're so bad, they've changed their names three times. They're now the Minnesota Vikings.)

Then the Salads lost a hotly contested matchup with Jack 'n' Coke, during which the ruffage went into Monday Night Football with a healthy lead.


This result took place despite the Cokes having lost most of the team's major offensive weapons.

The Salads, which only two weeks ago led the league, are now dropping like a brick:


I have only one question:

Why didn't FEMA prevent this from happening?

This week's opponent:


Posted by Jeff at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005


For much of the NFL season, we here at Casa del Ensalada have been watching numerous games on the plasma officiated by a head referee who, it would appear based upon his physique, just came from wrestling in the latest WWE Smackdown.

Salad Wife affectionately and somewhat lustily calls him "The Buff Ref."


Come to find out from Rommie that his name is Ed Hochuli. I'd never really paid that much attention before, but when it looked like his pipes were growing from his shirt sleeves to such an extent each week that he might Hulk-out and burst through his uniform, you start to wonder who this guy is.

A story earlier this month in the Palm Beach Post explored the Buff Ref's appeal:

Hochuli — who is not allowed to be interviewed during the season per league rules — has said he is a little puzzled at the attention he receives.

"Sometimes I want to think that you're watching too much football if you recognize me," Hochuli told NPR last year. "All I am is the referee. I'm not the game."

The most obvious reason for Hochuli's celebrity status in his 16th year is his unusual, bodybuilder-like physique. Not bad for a 54-year-old father of six who's a grandfather five times over.

"When the locker room door opened and we walked out onto the field, I always felt like Superman coming out of the phone booth," Markbreit said. "Well, Ed not only feels like it, he looks like Superman."

And how the (middle-aged) ladies love their black-and-white Clark Kent. Hochuli, whose early morning workouts are legendary, gets as many hoots and hollers as the cheerleaders. Be warned: Don't ever mention steroids. One Web site felt his wrath in the form of three lengthy, angry e-mails for joking that he's on the juice.

On the field, Hochuli takes in stride the ribbing he gets from the players.

"Guys say stuff like, 'What's up with this old guy with those big old arms? Who's he trying to impress?' " Dolphins defensive tackle Kevin Carter said.

"That dude is jacked up," fullback Heath Evans said. "Guys always wonder, 'Does he want to ref or play?' "

Well, he used to want to play. After lettering in four sports in high school, Hochuli was a 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker at Texas-El Paso from 1969 to '72. But his football dreams took a back seat to his education, which led him to his full-time job as a trial attorney in Phoenix.

"That doesn't shock me," Carter said. "He's got a calm, cool demeanor. He's pretty much in control no matter what's going on. The players respect him."

The Law & Order secret life might explain why Hochuli once needed 91 words to explain an illegal motion infraction.

Hochuli even has inspired a line of "What Would Ed Hochuli Do?" T-shirts at Cafe Press.

He's also generated interest from TV announcers during the game. The gay sports Web site Outsports.com, noticed last year that Phil Simms made comments that they described as being homoerotic:

Simms seems to have a special thing for referee Ed Hochuli and was in top form Sunday during the Rams-Patriots game.

The cameras focused on Hochuli, who we call “Guns” because of his impressive biceps. Said Simms: “Ed is looking pumped today, isn’t he? He’s gotta be the most in-shape referee in the history of the NFL.”

After announcer Jim Nantz said they saw Hochuli the night before carbo-loading at an Italian restaurant, Simms said: “I’ll tell you what -- I promise you that before he comes out to the game each week, and I mean this as a compliment, he’s probably knocking off a couple hundred pushups in the locker room.”

Simms wasn't alone, Outsports noted:

We love watching Ed “Guns’ Hochuli, the buff, baritone-voiced referee. He calls a great game and the announcers always talk about his muscular arms. So it was a shame when Guns was stuck calling the Green Bay game (temperature in single digits) and had to wear long sleeves. It prompted this exchange between CBS announcers Dick Enberg and Dan Dierdorf:

Dierdorf: “You know it’s cold when Ed is wearing long sleeves.”
Enberg: “You can’t see those triceps. Ed Hochuli likes showing them.”

--More Ed. Thanks to our friend Brent, who caught this exchange a week ago between announcers Gus Johnson and Brent Jones:

Johnson: "We like to talk about Ed Hochuli guns"
Jones: "Look at the guns on the big official!"
Johnson: "It looks like Ed has been spending even more time in the weight room. You better be careful in criticizing the official because he'll come up and smack you down!"
Jones: "I'm scared of Big Ed! I'm getting on the plane out of here!"

Anyway, Salad Wife was all atwitter that Buff Ref was working the game Sunday while Salad Boy and I were in the stands.

And Buff Ref didn't disappoint. Although most people thought he was signaling penalties, I watched the game with the sound off and saw them instead as indicators of his workout routine.

Allow me to interpret:


"I do one set with 12 reps."


"First, I do right-side isolated lat pulldowns."


"Then I do them on the left."


"Then I turn back into an attorney."


Whether you're trying to build your muscles or you're just curious about some symptoms you can read lots of medical information regarding your health on a good medical search engine website.
Posted by Jeff at 08:08 AM | Comments (6)


In April, I announced the compilation of a Side Salad 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.

Enemy No. 1: Matthew Lesko.

It felt good to do it. It felt right. It felt pure. So in July, I went after the Fantanas. The response was enormous. Billions of TV viewers, haunted by the hypnotic adver-chant rose up in anger to beat these plastic spokesbitches into carbonated oblivion. Or something like that.

Today we add another name to the roll: Sabine Ehrenfeld, that annoying woman from the Overstock.com commercials.

sabineehrenfeld20.jpgYou know her. She's the one who does the less-than-subtle "It's all about the O" commercials against an all-white background. (I almost forgot, according to one commercial, it also can be, at intermittent times and for unpredictable amounts, "all about the gold.") These things carpet-bomb the tube, pelting shows with seven, eight, 43 repetitions per half-hour episode. They're toxic and soulless and as entirely addictive as crystal meth.

:::pausing to wretch:::

There. I'm better now.

She came into my living room over the weekend again with a second round of ads that were as equally annoying as the first.

They start out innocently enough, with her parading through an all-white kitchen in an all-white outfit.


This woman couldn't be any whiter unless she was Edgar Winter. Or Johnny Winter, for that matter.

Things turn as soon as she saunters over to a living room set, whereupon she absentmindedly forgets she's wearing a plunging neckline with a gold medalion dangling in the middle and commences to...


...showing us her O(verstock) face.

As if the sexual underpinnings weren't overt enough, she sits back in her chair and...


...brazenly exposes a naked shoulder.

I mean, come on. This kind of thing would work if it was 1978 and you were a gap-toothed and radioactively hot Lauren Hutton. But it's not. And you're not. And there isn't any way I'd click on your site full of secondhand, dollar-store, found-under-a-table-at-a-flea-market crap if you were the last quasi-naked Sabine on earth.

Unsurprisingly, the spots have generated a fan site. And, always on the lookout for the truly esoteric mass-destruction tools among us, the ever-vigilent NPR even did a profile of her.

Thankfully, Slate's Ad Report Card skewered the ad series:

5) It's all about the mesmerizing babe. The moment you've been waiting for—the lowdown on the Overstock hottie. I talked to her by phone last week. (Jealous much, gentlemen? Ad Report Card talks to all the fine ladies.)

The lovely Sabine Ehrenfeld (pronounced "Sa-BEAN-uh") was driving back from a snowboarding trip with her children, on her way to casting calls the following day. Still, she found time to chat in a delightful and disarming manner. I learned the following:

In addition to German and English, Sabine speaks French and Italian. She is proficient in basic tactical pistol skills, because she thought it would be a fun thing to learn. She also has a private pilot's license and 350 hours in the air. After reading the Richard Bach book Biplane, she was inspired to fly solo—in an old-style, aerobatic tailwheel plane—from California to Montana. With camping gear in the back so she could land along the route to sleep and refuel. I am not making this up.

Overstock.com's Simon was looking for "a 38 year-old brunette" to play the part (that's Overstock's demographic—about two-thirds of their bargain-hunting customers are women) when she saw Sabine (who is in fact 41) on television (in a Kotex ad). It was love at first sight. Sabine is gorgeous, but in a non-threatening way. Men find her approachable, women think she's friendly. "We didn't want someone that the gal in rural Minnesota couldn't relate to," says Simon. I guess she means the Minnesotan gal who flies aerobatic planes and speaks four languages.

Welcome to the Salad Enemies list, babe.

Posted by Jeff at 06:53 AM | Comments (5)

October 18, 2005


The wins haven't been pretty. Most have relied on luck. Some on the misfortunes of opponents. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are way ahead in the win column this season. It's been a nice change from the last two years when misery and woe were constant companions.

A friend gave us two tickets to the Miami Dolphins game on Sunday, so I took the Salad Boy.


He insisted, of course, that we wear our grass hula skirts.

Who was I to refuse him?


Across from Raymond James Stadium, some tool was handing out water bottles with his mortgage company's name on the outside.

If it had been vodka, he might have made a few sales.


Lord knows the LaRue sisters - Droopy and Puffy - would have appreciated additional adult beverages.


Oh, wow. A pirate to greet everyone at the gate?

Plus 10 points on the Cool-O-Meter.


Wait. He's a recycling pirate?

Subtract 10 points.


Ah yes. The dreaded and controversial pat-down at the gate.

I don't want to say that the method isn't an inhibitor to terrorism, but I haven't been touched that slightly since my junior high school dance.


I now know the temptation a seagull feels.


You can't buy a beer before noon in Tampa on Sunday, but you can sure as hell display a satanic back tat.


I understand how people can get caught up in the testosterone-choked environment of the football game. I know how some can lose themselves in the game, feel like they're part of the team, like they're sacrificing their bodies for the common good.

But seriously, dude...


...take the escalator next time.

Looks like a python is trying to throat an alligator under his calf.


Witnessing that sort of thing can take the wind out of your hula skirt.


The giveaway this week was a tote bag that turned into a backpack.

That seemed pretty cool until I learned what last week's giveaway was:




In what has to be considered the largest postal stunt ever, cheerleaders put a stamp on the field and tried to mail it to Pittsburgh.


Unassisted by oxygen tanks or traction-gripping crampons, thousands of us instead relied on Sherpa Larry to guide us along the summit ridge to our seats in the third deck.


Sideline passes just aren't as easy to get these days for LL Cool J.


That's Brian Griese at quarterback, moments before he was lost for the season. He tore his ACL, his MCL and just about every other consonant and vowel you can put before the letters CL.


Bucs fans sitting in front of this drunken Dolphins fan considered giving him a beat-down for spilling two beers all over them. Then they reconsidered. Being a Fins fan was punishment enough.


The LaRue sisters certainly enjoyed the afternoon. Puffy LaRue danced in her seat for the last three quarters of the game, while Tanya LaRue proudly displayed her size 14 Wrangler shorts.


A tremendous faux pas: After defensive back Will Allen scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown, thousands of fans reflexively gave the White Power salute.


Enjoy that drive back to Miami, ya'all.


"You suck."

"Up yours."


Not long after the final whistle, members of T.T.B.H.A.B.T.S. (Teams The Bucs Have Already Beaten This Season) commenced their meeting behind a dumpster in a vacant lot.

Posted by Jeff at 06:11 AM | Comments (6)


I admit it. At about 10:15 a.m. on Monday, I did the Fred Flinstone yell when I heard about the possibility of Hurricane Wilma hitting Florida.

I'm not proud I did it. I felt dirty and unwashed, like a bad impressionist on "Open Mike Night."

But it's out of my system. This room is clear now.

There are plenty of cartoon characters I'd prefer to substitute with Wilma. Bam Bam seems more appropriate. Hell, Wilma's no-neck mother looks like she could pack a wallop. There'd certainly be no joy in losing my home to Hurricane Gazoo. Or Hurricane Drooper from The Banana Splits.

Truth be told, I'm still recovering from the idea that Fred and Barney were caught up in the Great Animated Gay Witch Hunt of 2005. fredbarney.jpg

I'm not a big Andy Borowitz fan, but I did laugh a little when he suggested in a fake news item that conservatives were saying Fred and Barney should be banned because they are virtually inseparable, are never seen wearing pants and live together in the suggestively-named town of Bedrock.

I don't care who you are, that's funny.

Posted by Jeff at 04:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005


Well, this was quite a heartening post.

Not surprising, mind you. Just disheartening.

Posted by Jeff at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)


BurgerKingMask.jpg Am I the only one who thinks that this guy looks a little like Barry Gibb after too many chemical peels?

Anyway, LazyFat has a brilliant post about buying one of these masks for Halloween.

Posted by Jeff at 07:17 AM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2005


Yeah, I do too.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. It isn't because I don't care. It's because I occasionally run out of words.

Seriously. It happens.

I've been writing my tuckus off at work. Like the interview I did with southern cooking maven and Food Network queen Paula Deen. And the love connections I've made between recipe seekers and recipe suppliers.

So you can understand why the consonants and vowels have just run dry. Rather than throw up bogus ramblings and a crapalanche of links, I've chosen silence until the words come back.

And now they're back.

More to come later.

Posted by Jeff at 05:27 PM | Comments (6)

October 09, 2005


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

Hey guys: If you need any more evidence that this has been a strange hurricane season, here it is: Hurricane Vince has formed.

Vince would be an oddity simply for the fact that it's the 20th named storm of the season. That makes 2005 the second-most active season on record. The most active was 1931, when we had 21 tropical storms (they didn't name them back then).

But what really puts Vince into the category of bizarre is the fact that it formed 614 miles west-southwest of ....Lisbon, Portugal. As far as I can tell, that's the first time a hurricane has formed in in that part of the Atlantic since at least 1851.

Vince isn't likely to be much more than a meteorological oddity. It's headed east-northeast, more or less, toward France, the English Channel and colder water. It's expected to weaken. But still ... what a season.



I appreciate you dropping the knowledge on us, Willie, but your skills must be slipping.

Hurricane Vinnie hit Tampa Bay hard today after forming off the New Jersey coast. This after we got rid of a terrible Vince only two days earlier.

Need proof?

Here's a photo taken at the epicenter of the disaster:


Remember when Vinnie told the Bucs that part of his interception problem was due to the fact he was colorblind?

Yeah. Doesn't seem to bother him now.

Posted by Jeff at 11:42 PM | Comments (5)

October 06, 2005



So after reading about the 13-foot Burmese python that tried to make a snack out of a 6-foot alligator in the Florida Everglades - unsuccessfully, I might add - I have one question:

Why didn't FEMA prevent this from happening?

I have no idea what that means.

Anyway, as a result of the big honkin' snake story, I can't get these Frank Zappa lyrics out of my head:

My python boot is too tight.
I couldn't get it off last night.
A week went by,
And now it's July.
I finally got it off and my girlfriend cried
"You've got stinkfoot.
Stinkfoot, darlin'.
Your stinkfoot puts the hurts on my nose.
Stinkfoot! Stinkfoot! I ain't lyin'!
Can you rinse it off, do you suppose?"

Clearly, the fact I only got 4 hours of sleep last night is taking its toll.

Posted by Jeff at 07:10 AM | Comments (3)





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


Heel.jpg I'm always floored when someone takes the time to write me after tiptoeing through the Salad. When they then want to link to it on their blog, I'm even more astonished.

The variety of my blog friends is even more remarkable. I've met a fashion/celebrity photographer, an Air Force spouse and mother of a Marine who is pregnant again at 40, a book fiend from Seattle with a wicked wit and a systems administrator who lives in the area.

Those linking to me include a right-wing news aggregator, a Capricorn from Belgium and a gay libertarian.

So imagine my surprise when I got this e-mail:

Hi Jeff,

I was browsing through blogs when I came across Side Salad, and I think its fabulous! That inflatable globe would take up most the space in my apartment.

I have my own little blog I've been writing at for a year A New York Escorts Confessions. Maybe you could check it out, and if you think it's equally fabulous, we could do a link exchange. Let me know what you think :-)

So I checked it out and found some tasty writing there. I'm not in the habit of cruising escort or sex blogs - lord knows I couldn't write one without giggling madly - but I know good writing when I see it. Like what used to exist at Pornblography [It's no use linking. Carly is long gone]. I like to think I can appreciate someone who could write for an adult movie magazine and use press kit sex toys as pen and pencil holders.

Alexa's site is a fun read, if you can put your prejudices and preconceptions aside. For me, it was a fascinating glimpse into a life that is very foreign from my own. Kind of like the guy who blogs from Antarctica. Only with less alcohol and more sex. Sometimes.

There is no parsing or diluting of the topic at Alexa's. It's mostly full-contact sex talk all the time. Don't click on the link if you're easily offended by such things.

So anyway, I agreed to reciprocate the linkage with her if she answered a couple questions. She heartily accepted.

Q: You have only 10 words; Describe what your site's about.

A: Smart, sexy, sophisticated escort writing about sex, life, and everything in-between. (okay 11 words :-)

Q: How did you get into your line of work?

A: Too long to print here, but I wrote a post about it here.

Q: What's the biggest no-no for a client? What do you absolutely hate for them to do?

A: Asking for something I have previously stated I wouldn't do. Having too much to drink when we go out.

Q: Boxers or briefs?

A: Boxer briefs!

Q: What's the biggest misconception people have about your line of work?

A: The biggest thing I have found is that most people tend to think of escorts as being unintelligent.

Q: What's your stance on the designated hitter?

A: Being a Yankee girl, I'm for it. Could you imagine Randy Johnson at bat?

Ah. I should have known she'd refer to the Big Unit.

Posted by Jeff at 07:02 AM | Comments (4)

October 04, 2005


iPodNanoBeingRunOverByACar.jpg You might remember the post where Rommie tested the integrity of a waterproof iPod case. With the iPod still in it.

Katherine passes along this link to a posting where someone discusses what it takes to destroy an iPod Nano.

They try throwing it, running it over with a car, stepping on it. You name it.

She writes:

Rommie may enjoy this one.

Uh, yeah. Because it isn't his iPod.

The story sets up this way:

Because of our initial apprehension about the breakability of our tiny new friend as well as reading about similar apprehension from many potential iPod nano buyers online, we decided to abuse our precious little nano for the sake of science. We wanted to stress test the nano in various real-life situations where iPod users have proven themselves to be a little less than genius in the past to see how the nano could handle the abuse. To break the nano in the most scientific manner possible, we would need 5 or 6 nanos and a high-tech laboratory built for this purpose. Unfortunately, all we had was a single 2GB black iPod nano and a giant parking lot, so we had to make do. What we get is a great idea of how much abuse this little guy can take.

To simulate everyday accidents that could result in a broken iPod, we came up with a few situations that we felt would ultimately leave the nano lifeless:

* Sitting on the iPod nano

* Dropping it while jogging (4-6mph),

* Dropping at various speeds: 8-10mph (slow bicycle), 15-20mph (fast
bicycle), 30mph (slow car), and 50mph (fast car)

* Dropping the nano from various heights.

Posted by Jeff at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005


RitaSmile.jpgWillie forwards this e-mail photo, titled, "Why Texas didn't have looting."

He writes:

Hey guys,

Is this a great country, or what?



It is indeed, Willie.

Which reminds me... I better go get my Glock. My neighbor Rich just got back from the grocery store, and I'm kinda hungry.

A clarification: Willie sends along this e-mail, just so we know where this all comes from...

Hey Jeff:

I didn't make this clear earlier, but, um, just so you know, I don't exactly identify with that group of jolly vigilantes in Texas.

Although I will, by god, put my gun experience up against anybody's.

Grew up in the rural South with guns, got my first .22 rifle at the age of 12 and first shotgun at 16. My dad raised three kids to adulthood with two loaded firearms hanging in plain sight on a gun rack in the den. They were still hanging there and still loaded when the house caught fire and burned down in 1989. Luckily, none of the volunteer firefighters got hurt when the flames reached them and set off the ammo.

When I did my hitch in the Army, I earned an Expert marksman's badge with the M-16. That's the best you can do, the same as Lee Harvey Oswald earned in the Marines, by the way.

And yes, there's a gun in my house now -- a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun -- because if someone breaks into my house, I don't intend to carry on a debate with him about whether he should be here.

So I'm totally comfortable around firearms. But the "shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later" crowd, the "shoot-'em-all-and-let-God-sort-it-out" crowd, the "political-power-begins-at-the-muzzle-of-a-gun" crowd, give me the creeps. It's one thing to be prepared to defend your home, if necessary. It's another thing to gleefully brandish your firearms in public and imply that anyone seen on the streets after a hurricane -- or maybe just on the streets after dark -- is going to be subject to interrogation at gunpoint and possible lead poisoning.

The guys in that photo are scary. I could write a 5,000-word essay on why they're scary, but I'll spare you. Just wanted to make sure that you understood that when I said, "Is this a great country, or what" that I was being sarcastic, sardonic, ironic, smartass, etc. It is a great country, but not because we allow morons to go armed in the streets.



And as I told Willie, I was being sarcastic as well.

I mean, do you really want this crazy S.O.B. around with these kind of gun-handling skills?


No. No you do not. And why his friend to the right is smiling, I have no idea.

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



Okay, that's overstating things a bit.

But consider what has taken place either in Tampa or to teams from the city:

* World title fight between Antonio Tarver of Tampa and Roy Jones Jr. of Pensacola in Tampa.

* Tampa Bay Devil Rays play the role of playoff spoiler this week to the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

* Manager Lou Pinella announces he will accept a buyout on the last year of his contract with the Rays. His departure makes national news.

* Tampa Bay Buccaneers go 3-0 by beating the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wisc., for the first time since 1988. Running back Carnell "Cadillac"" Williams becomes the only rookie rusher to average 100 yards per game for his first three games. His gloves and cleats are displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Bucs take on the Detroit Lions today in an attempt to go 4-0.

* The University of South Florida Bulls stun the 9th-ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Bulls lose Saturday to the Miami Hurricanes, but not before heaps of respect are showered upon the team in the week prior to the game.

* The Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa, losing 5-2 in a preseason game.

Pretty heady week, all in all.

Posted by Jeff at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)


Things are looking very good for The Side Salads in the Wasted Sundays fantasy football league. Going into Week No. 4 of 17, we're not only undefeated and in first place but we have the most points in the league:


The Noodly Appendages, though, are nipping at our heels.

Final scores last week:


The Fighting Salads had quite the banner week of production from it's talented team, including a career day from Ledanian Tomlinson.


Gaudy numbers, I know.

This week's opponent?


I say, "This shit is is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S."

Speaking of which, there's quite the hilarious dissection of the inanity of Ms. Gwen Stefani's improbable hit song. O.C. Weekly absolutely skewers the tune. And rightly so. Consider this passage:

Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” is one of the most baffling pieces of music of the modern age. It’s got something to do with cheerleaders—that much is clear, judging from the chanting and the marching band that’s honking and tooting in the background. Beyond that, good luck deciphering the song’s ambiguities. We were so vexed by the mystery that is “Hollaback Girl” that we have devoted countless hours to its study. Our conclusions are below. The first thing you should know, though, is that Gwen is not singing “I ain’t no Harlem fat girl”—at least, we don’t think she is.

Uh huh, this my shit
Gwen is introducing us to her shit.

All the girls stomp your feet like this
This talk of shit and stomping has nothing to do with actually stepping on feces. But what does it mean? From a reading of the later text, we can conclude that the song takes place in the world of high school athletics, and that Gwen is apparently leading the girls in a calisthenics exercise. The “shit,” we surmise, is what she calls the exercises she’s teaching the other girls.

A few times I’ve been around that track
So it’s not just gonna happen like that

Here, Gwen exhorts the girls to try harder as they jog around the track, reminding them that physical fitness is “not just gonna happen,” but must be worked at.

Cause I ain’t no hollaback girl
I ain’t no hollaback girl

These lines are the most confusing, but their meaning will become clearer later.

Oooh, this my shit, this my shit
Gwen repeats this four more times. She wants to make sure that we are well acquainted with her shit.

I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it

Gwen has been the victim of some slanderous high school gossip, and she doesn’t appreciate it. Gwen is 35 years old sliding into MILF status at this point, but we’ll grant her some poetic license.

People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack

Gwen is going to round up a “posse” of her girlfriends and retaliate against the person who’s been talking “smack” about her.

Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out
Gwen is going to beat up the person who wronged her, after she completes the cheerleading routine that will inspire the football team to score a touchdown. Gwen has interesting priorities.

That’s right, put your pom-poms down, getting everybody fired up
It seems the entire cheerleading squad is going to beat up the person who spoke ill of Gwen; they have put down their pom-poms, and they are now “fired up” to exact swift and terrible vengeance on Gwen’s behalf.

A few times I’ve been around that track
So it’s not just gonna happen like that
Cause I ain’t no hollaback girl
I ain’t no hollaback girl

Gwen is apparently the captain of the cheerleader squad; she is the girl who “hollas” the chants, not one of the girls who simply “hollas” them back. Given that the squad is preparing to beat somebody up on Gwen’s behalf, she’s picked a strange time to remind them that she is their leader and they are her sheep-like followers. Gwen obviously rules her squad with an iron fist.

Oooh, this my shit, this my shit [repeated four times]
Again with the shit.

So that’s right dude, meet me at the bleachers
No principals, no student-teachers
Both of us want to be the winner, but there can only be one
So I’m gonna fight, gonna give it my all

We learn that it was a “dude” who gossiped about Gwen. She challenges him to a fight at the bleachers. If he imagines it will be a fair, one-on-one fight, he is sadly mistaken. Gwen and her aforementioned “pack” will pounce on him like rabid wolves.

Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you
That’s right, I’m the last one standing, another one bites the dust

Gwen’s pack of furious cheerleaders leaves the boy a quivering, bloody heap behind the bleachers for the groundskeeper to discover the next day.

Posted by Jeff at 08:47 AM | Comments (1)


Numbers never lie. This fight certainly supports the Tarver win.

You can read the story I filed here:


Jones: 320
Tarver: 620

Jones: 85
Tarver: 158

Jones: 27
Tarver: 25

Jones: 113
Tarver: 279

Jones: 11
Tarver: 51

Jones: 10
Tarver: 18

Jones: 207
Tarver: 301

Jones: 74
Tarver: 107

Jones: 36
Tarver: 31

Posted by Jeff at 12:08 AM | Comments (2)

October 01, 2005


Crowd piles into the ring. Handlers, advisors, promoters, friends, family, everyone but the French Foreign Legion. It looks like a riot with no violence.

Judge No. 1, Paul Herman: 116 to 112.

Judge No. 2, Michael Pernick: 116 to 112.

Judge No. 3, Peter Trematerra: 117 to 111.


Tarver wins in a unanimous decision, retains his belts.

Posted by Jeff at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)


They touch gloves, Buffer announces the round.

They trade jabs. Crowd is on their feet.

Jones bows Tarver over the top rope with a combination. Jones looks a little bleary, but has energy.

Tarver is on the defensive, since Jones senses he needs this round for the decision. They eye each other carefully. Tarver goes to the Jones' body on the ropes. Backs Jones into his corner. They clench.

They walk over Tarver's corner and trade blows. Both are attacking. Thirty seconds. Crowd roar increases to a crescendo. Fourteen seconds left, they trade body blows. Standing ovation now, huge airplane-level roar. Round ends with Tarver raising his hands and jumping on corner ropes, facing the crowd. Jones lamely raises his right glove to shoulder height and makes and small pump.

Posted by Jeff at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)


Eleventh round: Tarver opens with a flurry, starting two separate combinations. Tarver chant comes up and Tarver clearly wounds Jones. Roy wobbles.


Tarver lunges so hard, he almost falls out of ring next to Jones. Jones comes back after his head clears. Tarver gets his bell rung. Crowd is bloodthirsty now. "Come on Roy, pull the trigger," someone behind me yells. Round is probably a tie, but Tarver inflicted the worse blows. Crowd gasps at the replay on the big screen above the ring after the round is over.

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


Fifth round: Lots and lots of punches. Jones goes all showman, at one point slapping his right glove on his raised thigh, hopping on his left, then throwing his punch. It's all show and no power. He's playing to the crowd instead of the judges.

Sixth round: Tarver takes a couple of combinations from Jones, backs up. More showman stuff by Jones, bobbing and weaving. They trade punches, lots of Tarver punches. Tarver is tired, flicks jabs at Jones. Jones looks for a spot to throw, drops his left. Again and again. Tarver clocks Jones in a neutral corner. Tarver is now droppping his right at times. They are eyeing each other. Jones connects and head butts. Tarver looks to referee Tommy Kimmons to complain. Kimmons does not respond. Tarver won the round, but it was close.

Seventh round: Tarver throws a left hook to ribs, Jones mocks him with a weird waggle and shuffle. Jones comes off the ropes crouching. He is playing the boxing smartass. Chants are now of, "Tarver, Tarver." He responds by boring in on Jones. Jones comes out of the flurry smiling. Tarver chant comes up again. Tarver tries to start something to no avail. They're bobbing now, then Tarver pins Jones on the ropes. Jones drops his left.

Eighth round: Stalemate in Jones' corner, his left hand is dropped. Chants of, "Tarver, Tarver" are deafening, and a real surprise considering how much he was booed before the fight. Combination erupts from Tarver in Jones' corner. Jones starts to dance around the ring to escape Tarver. Tarver connects several times. Jones hits Tarver in the body. Stalemate again before Tarver lands a hard left. Booing starts from the crowd as few punches are thrown. The boos go away after a few jabs come in, but they return 30 seconds later.

Ninth round: Tarver starts hard early. Jones jabs lamely, then drops the left. He connects with a hard right to the body. Tarver lands some hard head blows in Jones' corner. Tarver throws a left hook that misses wildly. Crowd oooohs. No showman stuff from Jones now. Jones dances away before Tarver lands some with Jones on the ropes. Chant of, "Let's go Tarver.'' comes up. Sounds just like, "Let's go, Lightning.'' End of round, Jones tries to swing but does not hit.

Tenth round: Trading jabs at first, Tarver lands some shots against the ropes. They stalk each other warily, then Tarver again punches. Jones eventually throws some body shots. Chant of, "Roy, Roy, Roy!" comes back. Tarver swings wildly and both fall side by side into the ropes, eyeing each other. More "Let's go Tarver." Minute left, Taver bores in on him in Tarver's corner, crowd goes nuts, Joes looks tired but not shaken. Jones connects against the ropes and sends Tarver bending back against them. Crowd applauds wildly at end of round in appreciation.

Posted by Jeff at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)


Tarver is wearing white trunks with blue stitching on them. Antonio-Tarver.com is accross the butt. "Magic" and "Man" is on the back of each leg.

Jones is wearing black trunks with "JONES JR." on the waist in white letters. He also is wearing black-and-white Air Jordan boxing shoes with matching black-and-white tassels.

First round: Mostly just dancing, parrying, bobbing, weaving. Getting a feel for each other. They clearly can't stand each other. I'd say it was a draw.

Second round: Tarver pinned Jones in Jones' corner, landing some body and head shots. Advantage Tarver.

Third round: Serious punching on both sides. Jones is dangling his left in front of him, almost taunting Tarver to go after him. He does these chicken moves, immitating the chickens at his family's farm outside of Pensacola. It looks reckless and stupid. Tarver is looking to take adcantage.

Jones, though is landing hard combinations, although nothing that has stunned Tarver yet, but he's not on the attack as much this round. Round ends with fans chanting, "ROY, ROY, ROY.''

Jones is the clear favorite here. Before the fight, he came out to wave to the crowd during an undercard bout. The fans erupted as he mouthed the words, "I'm home. I'm home.''

Every time Tarver came on the screen, an avalanche of boos erupted.

Fourth round: Flurries on both sides, but this time Jones is the winner of the round. He's pressing Tarver, pushing him where he wants him. The crowd erupts wildly with every connection.

Posted by Jeff at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)



I'm posting this from the fourth row of the Roy Jones Jr.-Antonio Tarver boxing match at the Forum Which Dare Not Speak It's Name.

I'm actually here to cover the Andre Ward vs. Glenn LaPlante undercard fight. Ward is from Oakland, so a friend at the San Jose Mercury News asked me to cover the bout. An advancer I wrote for the fight can be found here. (Registration, blood and urine samples and a body cavity search required)

I covered just about every major type of sport while I was covering sports business for FoxSportsBiz.com - from the Daytona 500 to the NFL Draft and NCAA National Championship football game, but I never got around to boxing.

A few observations so far:

* There must be some direct correlation between the Sweet Science and the affection fans feel for Hummer H2s. I lost count at more than 15 that I passed on the way through the parking lot.

*The fashion show tonight really is something to behold. You should see the silk leopard print shirt on one playa in the audience. One musclebound man in a white wifebeater that looked like it was painted on had enough gold around his neck to start a treasury department. I've also viewed the first Panama hat I've seen in a while. Favorite shirts of the night: A guy in dreads wearing a long, white Too-Tall-T-shirt with huge words "GHETTO SUPER" printed in red letters. Next to him, another guy in dreads and bling with the words, "RICH NIGGA" on an identical white T-shirt.

* HBO's Jim Lampley sits right next to the guy who rings the bell during each round. In between fights that he's announcing, he talks amicably with fellow announcer Larry Merchant and ring announcer extraordinaire Michael Buffer. Two minutes ago, he stopped by to wish well the reporter next to me, who took in family members from New Orleans, one of whom died.

* Apparently there are men here who have not seen a scantily clad woman before. Everytime ring girl goes in to walk around with the card announcing the round - usually wearing a small top and barely a skirt with high heels - the place fill swith whistles and catcalls. It adds to the already testosterone-choked atmosphere. Even Lampley says something as one of the ring girls passes. She winks at him and keeps teetering on her stratospheric heels.

* The guys who tend the corners for the fighters carry an assortment of supplies (towels, water, compresses, Vaseline) in various Rubbermaid buckets. You can tell how high the boxers rank on the evolutionary scale by what type of bucket their corner guys use. A regular old bucket: a guy just starting out. A bucket with two slots: an up-and-comer. A bucket with a toolbox: a champion fighter.

* It's a little odd to see a ring security guy in a full suit and tie sitting on the floor of the arena wearing latex gloves for protection against bodily fluids, and using those hands to eat a Snickers bar between bouts.

* I've now heard my first heckling during the "National Anthem." An R&B singer (I didn't catch the name) climbed into the ring and started to sing along with a pre-recorded music track, a la the way Marvin Gaye once did before the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. Clearly, this guy is no Marvin. First mistake: He asks everyone to wave their arms in the air. You know, wave them like they just don't care.

The audience immediately groans and starts to boo. The guy next to me, in between shouts of, "Shut the fuck up!" later comments, "That ought to be worth two years in Levenworth."

* Heavyweights Vinny Maddalone and Brian Minto each disrobed to display "GoldenPalace.com" on their backs. Minto makes an excellent billboard, if only because he's as white as a ghost. The black ink absolutely jumps off his skin in contrast. Plus, Vinny's scrawling is marred by a huge tattoo in the middle of his shoulder blades. Not to mention Vinny is bleeding above his left eye like a stuck pig. That tends to diminish your abilities as a Web site promotional whore.

* Two celebrity guests are announced before one of the undercards. The first, Michael Jordan.MichaelJordanTarverFight.jpgJordan comes in and sits down - eventually - with former teammate Charles Oakley. The oxygen in the room disappears instantly. Everyone is on their feet craning to get a look. Of course, no one can see him. Then the big screen shows a shot of him making his way to a seat. The crowd erupts. Jordan gets an introduction that lasts almost a minute. You'd think he was getting ready to start an NBA Finals game, they way the anouncer is prattling on.

The second celebrity they introduce: Mike Tyson. People crane their neck long enough to see whether or not he's sitting next to them. Once safely assured he is not, they go about their normal lives, comfortable in the thought that while he is near, he's not close enough to fondle or assault.

* Michael "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" Buffer got a huge standing ovation after being announced into the ring.

That's right, it took an announceer to bring on... an announcer.

More posts later. (And photos of all this tomorrow.)

Time to go make some money.

Posted by Jeff at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)