December 31, 2005



Abraham Houck

So after a rousing lunch buffet at Quaker Steak & Lube with Rommie and Salad Boy, I drive the Crosstown home.

Phone rings. It's Salad Wife.

I get the usual questions. What are you doing? Where are you? What are your plans? And I am being very vague. Because I want to surprise her.

See, she wanted a second dog for Christmas, a golden retriever like our previous ones, Yuletide and Hobart. We have a black lab right now named Lincoln and we love him, but we've always wanted two dogs.

It didn't work out for the holiday. The goldens were either exorbitantly expensive or non-existent at the shelters. So I try to hide my plan to drop by the pound to see if there are any goldens there for adoption.

I've been dropping by a couple times a week for a month to no avail. Same thing at the Humane Society, where we got Linc. Struck out there as well.

I fess up and tell her my plan. And she appreciates the effort but tries not to get her hopes up. She's heard me say this before.

Salad Boy and I walk in and see an empty kennel run back where the dogs with kennel cough and intact procreative glands are kept. Then the boy sees him.

"Dad, a goldie!"

I see an empty kennel and am about to dismiss him when I see a dog trot in from its outdoor run. Salad Boy is right.


The dog's about four months old. Lanky to the point of being too skinny. But he's a carbon copy of our first golden.


We call Salad Wife. She says to check him out and call her if we think he's a prospect. We fill out the paperwork to check him out to a petting run.

And darn if the dog isn't perfect. He's dirty and skinny, but he's got the typical golden temperment and sweet disposition. He's yet to uncork a bark. He sits on command. He fetches a toy and brings it back. About a million times in a row.


Bingo. He's perfect.

And as the above photo shows clearly, his bowels are functioning properly.

I call Salad Wife and she comes to the pound to see him. She covers her face when she sees him at first, his likeness to our first pup is so strong.

We talk about a name. She has Solomon in mind. Something about him having an old name like Sol cracks her up. Salad Boy and I agree. We decide to adopt him and go out to the front desk to do the paperwork.


As Brian waits nearby, we are told that the dog only came in today, in the early afternoon, in fact. He was found chained to the outside fence of the pound. He has kennel cough and will need to be neutered, but we can pick him up in about 10 days.

Then we notice what's on the wall next to Brian.


Some things just seem like they fall together for a reason.

Later, when we get home and finish dinner, we talk about the name Solomon some more and joke about Sol. There used to be an old broadcaster on Channel 13 back in the day named "Salty" Sol Fleishman who did the sports and outdoors report while wearing a blue captain's hat.

"Sol just sounds like an old man's name,'' Salad Wife says.

"Yeah," I say. "Like Abraham or something."

"Abe is a great name for a dog," she says.

We both look at each other.

Abraham the golden retriever.

Lincoln the black lab.

Abraham Lincoln.

We dissolve into fits of stupidity bourne laughter.

And a dog gets a new name with his new home.

What, pray tell, does the new dog have to look forward to as a member of the Salad clan?


If he could speak, Lincoln no doubt would relate to his new compadre a litany of dismay over having to wear the Christmas Sweater of Shame this year.

Posted by Jeff at 12:12 AM | Comments (7)

December 29, 2005


Yes, I've been a bad blogger of late.

Didn't finish my Calendar of Santas. (Note to self: finish what you start).

Didn't post Bucs game photos yet. (Note to self: see above note to self).

But I'm on vacation, you see. And I wrote all my words for The Man before I went on vacation. And then I ran out of words.

I have proof. My story on 50 things we know now that we didn't know this time last year ran today.

And my New Year's Anti-Hhangover Drinking Guide ran yesterday.

So I've been busy.

But not to worry. You have not been abandoned. Not by me, anyway.

Posted by Jeff at 11:22 AM | Comments (3)

December 25, 2005


RonMexico2.jpgYou never know where you're going to meet someone who shares your values, your enthusiasms, your passions.

So it was with great glee that I encountered these gentlemen outside Gate D at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday.

Not only did they find great appreciation for sombreros, they used them to taunt Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick about his alleged sexually transmitted disease alter-ego.

That's some quality taunting, for my money.

Posted by Jeff at 03:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2005



Funny. Tampa don't like Atlanta either.

Good lord, what an amazing game. I'll post photos soon.

Posted by Jeff at 09:57 PM | Comments (1)


Going to the Bucs game today, courtesy of a generous gift.

The Bucs are in the hunt for the playoffs. It's Christmas. The team is mostly healthy. Things are looking up, if not great.

Which, you know, is nothing like last year.

Pics to come later.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Posted by Jeff at 10:14 AM | Comments (2)

December 21, 2005


HazardousHumps.jpgA month ago, I posted about how the song "My Humps" was wrecking my thought processes.

Well, the damn thing continues to gather steam. If only in the parody world.

The a capella version by the Dog Eyed Welders is pretty hilarious. Especially when it's synched to the video.

That triggered a repressed memory for me of a site called The name tells you all you need to know about the photos featured therein.

But for some multimedia explanation, here are some of the better examples:




Posted by Jeff at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)



Posted by Jeff at 08:50 AM | Comments (1)



...there resides Curtis.

Posted by Jeff at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005


I told you that I’m crazy for these cupcakes, cousin!

It's The Chronic of Narnia Rap from Saturday Night Live.

Fo’ shizzle.

Posted by Jeff at 02:14 PM | Comments (5)

December 16, 2005


It ain't no Chub Puppy, but I have to admit that the Dog-Headed Pork Chop is quite a find:

The item in question is officially called "Smiling Pork Chop Dog," and in the plethora of weird items for sale on eBay, the online auction site, it has managed to rise in the ranks of the bizarre.

This is no easy feat, considering that the dog head of pork is competing against a shower drain hair clog from New York, a human soul on a bar napkin from Illinois, and a Maryland item simply listed as "a box of smell from my house."

So far, the month-old pork chop from a Boca Raton Winn-Dixie has drawn a lot of gawkers, but no potential buyers.

"It's too nice to eat," Goodman said. "It's more like art."

Posted by Jeff at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2005

DAYS 10-15

The calendar for the past two years has had its ebbs and flows, its yins and yangs, it's Justins and KFeds. But it has never - ever - had such huge gaps in between postings. This one sets a new standard for negligence. And, you know, I couldn't be more proud.

The reason I can tell that the neglect has hit an epic levels: the FOS (Friends of the Salad) have been kind enough to send me e-mails with suggested Santas. Which, you know, I really appreciate, but after about 6 days, I start to feel like they're acting more like greeters at the finish line of the Special Olympics.

My name is Jeffy. I make the fwies.

DING FWIES ARE DONE! Would you like an apple pie with dat?

Anyway, I appreciate all the help. Y'all are invited to continue as my spotters in the great Santa benchpress. It's not you, it's me.

So to start things off for DAY 10, we have this suggestion from Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935:


Macabre Santa display in NYC draws stares
Mansion scene includes knife-wielding St. Nick, Barbies with severed heads

NEW YORK - It’s usually easy to tell where a person stands in the culture wars, but whose side is someone on when his Christmas decor is a blood-spattered Santa Claus holding a severed head?

Joel Krupnik and Mildred Castellanos decked the front of their Manhattan mansion this year with a scene that includes a knife-wielding 5-foot-tall St. Nick and a tree full of decapitated Barbie dolls. Hidden partly behind a tree, a merry old elf grasps a disembodied doll’s head with fake blood streaming from its eye sockets.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Krupnik explained that his family thought it would be a fun way to make a comment about the commercialization and secularization of Christmas.

“It is a religious holiday, but they have turned it into a business. And it shouldn’t be,” he said. “We didn’t put it up to offend anybody. It was just something that came out of our imagination.”

More than a few people passing by the brownstone were a little puzzled about the message behind the massacre.

Peter Nardoza, 81, of Manhattan, shook his head and chuckled. “Sick, sick, sick,” he said. “What kind of a world is this that we live in?”

And Santa said, "On Slasher, On Dahmer, On Gacy, On Bundy!"

For DAY 11, Jolie the psycho supergoddess offered this interesting take from the New York Times on a Jolly Old Elf that smells like tuna:


Where Sleigh Bells Gurgle, Santa Swims With Sharks

NEWPORT, Ky., - Calvin Freeman, age 4, has a question for Scuba Santa. "Do you only have nice sharks in there?" Calvin asks, pointing to a toothy, 270-pound tiger shark swishing past Santa's underwater sleigh. "Because some sharks chew people's legs off. They're bad sharks."

"Ho-ho-ho!" Scuba Santa laughs, then sucks a low, bubbly breath of air from his tank. "Ooh, yes, these are all very nice sharks!"

And that shark there, Calvin... her name is Judith. She's swimming next to Howell the hammerhead... He's the one with Jason the suckerfish on his back....

Sorry. Couldn't help the inside-baseball New York Times-in-turmoil subreferences.

We'll hit the oxygen tanks and resurface the Trieste now.

For DAY 12, we turn a tad interactive. If you define helping Santa and his elves fart out the melody of "Silent (but deadly) Night" on a rooftop as interactive.


So tender and mild.

Which brings us up to DAY 13 (thanks, Kasey Kasem).


If this Santa asks if you want a bear for Christmas, answer in the negative.

DAY 14 takes us to the world of greeting cards:


I love how the reindeer has to "hold it." Because, you know, that's what reindeers do. They also stand up when they go.

What really tips this off as being unrealistic: He's standing too close to Santa. A real reindeer would give himself a good five feet of distance between himself and Santa.

It's a guy thing.

Anyway, we arrive at our procrastination destination: DAY 15.

Remember kids...


...guns don't kill Santa. High-powered rifles with night-vision Bushnell 12x scopes do.


DAY 1:
Santa gets his gin 'n' juice on.

DAY 2: Can you hear me now?

DAYS 3-6: Smack, robbery, whack, Alice and Nuge.

DAY 7: Give the Jew girl toys.

DAY 8: Santa at Budokan.

DAY 9: Not exactly like hanging mistletoe.

Posted by Jeff at 07:36 AM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2005


LifeCeral.jpg Life Vanilla Yogurt Crunch Whole Grain Oat Cereal.

Fortified with eight essential adjectives, of course.

Honorable mentions: Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper; Diet Caffeine-Free A&W Root Beer

Posted by Jeff at 03:34 PM | Comments (1)


Last week, we did the roundup on how cupcakes were coming back.

One variation on the trend that we missed: Spam cupcakes.

We regret this sin of omission.

To compensate, we hereby reprint the recipe from the Spam Web site:



For Cupcakes:
2 SPAM® Classic (12-ounce) cans
2 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup milk

For Glaze:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon water

4 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes
Snipped fresh chives for garnish

(15 grams or less of carbs per serving)

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Directions Preheat oven to 350°F. For cupcakes, in large bowl, grate SPAM®. Add eggs, oatmeal and milk; mix well. Lightly spray a regular size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each muffin tin two-thirds full with SPAM™ mixture. Using the back of a spoon, lightly press mixture into tins. In small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and water. Lightly spoon glaze mixture over SPAM™ mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until mixture is set. Meanwhile, prepare 4 cups of instant mashed potatoes. Remove cupcakes from oven. Place oven rack 2-3 inches from heat source and heat broiler. Top each cupcake with potatoes. Return muffin tin to oven. Broil 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned. Garnish with fresh chives and serve. Tip: For best results, let cupcakes stand 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Nutrition (per serving)
320 Calories
0 ug Vitamin B12
5 Grams Fat
11 Grams Protein
80 Milligrams Cholesterol
22 Grams Carbohydrates
1,060 Milligrams Sodium
425 IU Vitamin A
0 Milligrams Thiamin
2 Milligrams Iron
0 Milligrams Vitamin B6
0 Milligrams Zinc

Bon Appetit!

Posted by Jeff at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)


GucciIceTrays.jpgIf they're making Gucci ice cube trays, can Fendi Frankfurters be far behind?

Posted by Jeff at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)


BaconAlarmClock.jpgMmmmmmmmmmmm, a bacon-cooking alarm clock.

Nudge me when they invent the Cinnabon I.V. drip, would you?

Posted by Jeff at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)


Some people don't know when to wake up their Julia Child and put their inner geek to sleep.

Like these Swedes who built a gingerbread computer motherboard.


Unless you can translate the phrase, "I följande text kommer ni att få ta del av resultatet, det vill säga från idé till förverkligande," then don't bother clicking for any useful purpose. Just let your mouse stumble around on the page like it's drunk on egg nog until you click on something that takes you to more photos.

Posted by Jeff at 07:12 AM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2005


TBS - yes, the cable channel - has started a pretty funny online home dedicated to amusing yourself at work. Because, you know, the company ain't gonna do it. Why the hell do you think I baked a Thanksgiving dinner in a Easy Bake Oven at work?


Anyway, they have some fun features, including an oldie-but-goodie "panic button," office origami and a blog, The Daily Flog, which just went on my Bloglines subscription.


Because it linked to this video of Christmas lights synchronized to music. And I am slackjawed and stunned. Even more than I usually am. And that's saying something.

Hat tip to Katherine, who knows about hellish working environs.

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


Rev. Joe Kendall, star of the show "Pastor Cop" and 1996's Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year, filed a dispatch Monday after the Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade last weekend.

The Rev. noticed it was a "holiday" boat parade and adorned himself accordingly:


On a cool Saturday evening, I launched the Green Hornet canoe with my friend Cindy as part of the holiday boat parade on the mighty Hillsborough River. It was a motley crew -- in the most lieteral sense -- of boats that made up this armada; about a half-dozen canoes with holiday lights, another half-dozen motor boats, and even a few kayakers.

We headed up the river from the Lowry Park boat ramp and glided underneath Florida Avenue, Interstate 275 and Nebraska Avenue before turning around in Hanna's Whirl in the Seminole Heights neighborhood behind Circle Park road. It was wonderful to see the land from the vantage point of the water instead of the concrete and asphalt.

As for as head gear, I was ready for the night's action.

This is Rev. Joe Kendall out.

Posted by Jeff at 07:52 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2005


I got a note today from my buddy and former neighbor Drew, who is now Side Salad's Pacific Bureau Chief.

Seems that the family has enjoyed the Burger King Christmas jingle, not to mention a particular set of photos.

From: Meyerowich Family
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2005 1:05 PM
Subject: You're Mocking Me...

Imagine my surprise when I checked the Salad to see what the latest news in Area of Operations EAST (AO EAST) was only to find Family Houck all wearing Farmer Teeth.

What is alarming about this is the fact that during that same evening, just prior to my Web Visit to your home, we were doing the following:





Curtis did not partake of this activity due to the fact that it took place at his Football Banquet and he was doing everything in his power to avoid association with us...

Drew and I share a common understanding of the following question: What is our purpose on this planet as parents if not to embarass our families?

Posted by Jeff at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2005


The secret is out.

Someone has discovered the winning combination:

Sombreros + Football = victory

An NBC station in Charlotte, N.C. sponsored a touchdown dance contest. The prize: Tickets to this weekend's Carolina Panthers game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Seems that a certain accessory, used in conjunction with shaking maracas over a spinning pigskin, was the driving force in their win:

The sombrero dancing guys are the winners of the WCNC/Charlotte Observer 6 for 6 touchdown contest.

Contestants had six seconds to show their best six point touchdown dance before Sunday's Panthers game. Wiewers went online to cast their vote all week. Chris Cranston, Jackson Price, Brian Ottinger and Sean Haggerty received 38.31 percen of the vote. They won tickets to the Panthers vs. Buccaneers game December 11.

To see the winning video, click here.

Guess I'll have to bust out the Victory Sombrero on Sunday.

Posted by Jeff at 10:48 PM | Comments (2)


The funniest comedian who ever lived died today:


Richard Pryor


I'll never forget seeing his concert film, "Live On The Sunset Strip." It was the film he did in 1982 after he had recovered from burns across 50 percent of his body inflicted while freebasing cocaine in his home. The concert blew me away. This passage in particular:

When I was in Africa, this voice came to me and said, "Richard, what do you see?" I said, I see all types of people." The voice said, "But do you see any niggers?" I said, "No." It said, "Do you know why? 'Cause there aren't any."

For my money, there isn't a funnier bit than the skit he did with Chevy Chase during the first season of "Saturday Night Live."

ChevyChaseRichardPryorRacistInterviewSaturdayNightLiveSNL.jpg Interviewer: Alright, Mr. Wilson, you've done just fine on the Rorshact.. your papers are in good order.. your file's fine.. no difficulties with your motor skills.. And I think you're probably ready for this job. We've got one more psychological test we always do here. It's just a Word Association. I'll throw you out a few words - anything that comes to your mind, just throw back at me, okay? It's kind of an arbitrary thing. Like, if I say "dog," you'd say..?

Mr. Wilson: "Tree."

Interviewer: "Tree." [ nods head, prepares the test papers ] "Dog."

Mr. Wilson: "Tree."

Interviewer: "Fast."

Mr. Wilson: "Slow."

Interviewer: "Rain."

Mr. Wilson: "Snow."

Interviewer: "White."

Mr. Wilson: "Black."

Interviewer: "Bean."

Mr. Wilson: "Pod."

Interviewer: [ casually ] "Negro."

Mr. Wilson: "Whitey."

Interviewer: "Tarbaby."

Mr. Wilson: [ silent, sure he didn't hear what he thinks he heard ] What'd you say?

Interviewer: [ repeating ] "Tarbaby."

Mr. Wilson: "Ofay."

Interviewer: "Colored."

Mr. Wilson: "Redneck."

Interviewer: "Junglebunny."

Mr. Wilson: [ starting to get angry ] "Peckerwood!"

Interviewer: "Burrhead."

Mr. Wilson: [ defensive ] "Cracker!"

Interviewer: [ aggressive ] "Spearchucker."

Mr. Wilson: "White trash!"

Interviewer: "Jungle Bunny!"

Mr. Wilson: [ upset ] "Honky!"

Interviewer: "Spade!"

Mr. Wilson: [ really upset ] "Honky Honky!"

Interviewer: [ relentless ] "Nigger!"

Mr. Wilson: [ immediate ] "Dead honky!" [ face starts to flinch ]

Interviewer: [ quickly wraps the interview up ] Okay, Mr. Wilson, I think you're qualified for this job. How about a starting salary of $5,000?

Mr. Wilson: Your momma!

Interviewer: [ fumbling ] Uh.. $7,500 a year?

Mr. Wilson: Your grandmomma!

Interviewer: [ desperate ] $15,000, Mr. Wilson. You'll be the highest paid janitor in America. Just, don't... don't hurt me, please...

Mr. Wilson: Okay.

Interviewer: [ relieved ] Okay.

Mr. Wilson: You want me to start now?

Interviewer: Oh, no, no.. that's alright. I'll clean all this up. Take a couple of weeks off, you look tired.

[ fade ]

Posted by Jeff at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005


Jacqueline and I have been friends for 20 years. One of the similarities that we share is an OCD complex when it comes to chronicling stuff and keeping mementos.

So it struck a nerve when she posted about the concerts she's seen. Her first one: John Denver at Washington D.C.'s Capital Centre in 1978.

She duly noted:

As for entry #1, it was my parents' idea. That's all I can say.

That got me to thinking about the most embarrassing concert ticket stub that I still own. I sifted through my pile and came up with this beauty:


Upon further review, this one didn't really count, since I did it for work purposes.

So I dug a little deeper.


Now, I love me some Kinison, but this was the wrong concert to take a date to.

During this tour, Kinison would call the ex-girlfriend of some random guy in the audience and scream at her that she was a bitch. The arena turned into this raving, bloodthirsty frat house in an instant.

It didn't make for the most romantic evening.

So I dug a little deeper.


Ah. There it is.

Isn't that a thing of beauty? Really defines the era. It was bad enough that I went with a buddy of mine to that concert. We thought we'd go and hit on women in the lobby after an evening of smooth jazz stylings. Instead, we just looked kinda gay.

Worst of all: I had to drive from Gainesville to the Floridian armpit of Jacksonville to see this assclown. And then drive back.

Bad music. No women. Long drive. Trip from hell.

Three weeks later, I met the future Mrs. Salad.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; She saved me. In every way a person can be saved.

Posted by Jeff at 08:28 AM | Comments (3)



... the Mayor of Crazytown. Population: 1.

Hat-tip to Tiny Little Dots for e-mailing that bit of psychological detritis our way.

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


I'm really looking forward to Christmas. Not because of the presents, but because of the family members who will gather at my house.

I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with this crowd?


Give everyone a pair of farmer's teeth from Wal-Mart and their true personalities shine.


That's the sister-in-law who can never keep her eyes open in photos.


My nephew just happened to have on his person and in his possession these Elvis glasses with sideburns attached.

You can't tell we're kin, can you?


"Y'all got any 'maters?"


Something about crooked teeth makes an astigmatism look much worse.

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

DAYS 8-9

Time to play catch-up again. My apologies.


Santa, they want YOU to want THEM.

For Day 9's entry, Rev. Joe Kendall, who is always busy with his multidenominational celebrations during the holidays, sends along a link to this story:


Neighbors leery after Miami Beach resident hangs a bound and blindfolded Santa

MIAMI BEACH -- In one South Florida community, a man's holiday decorations are causing holiday fear for local children instead of creating holiday cheer, news partner NBC 6 reported Wednesday.

Residents called police and complained to the city that a house near West 50th Street and Fifth Avenue had a life-sized, blindfolded Santa Claus doll hanging on a tree with its hands tied and its mouth gagged.

Parents are afraid the decoration will cause a nightmare before Christmas for their children.

"I'm not sure what his reasoning is, but a lot of little kids are upset by it," one parent said.

The owner was not at the house, but NBC 6's Tom Llamas found him at his primary residence off Lincoln Road. The man said the Santa Claus was an artistic expression.

Some residents say the damage is already done.

"He might be the Grinch. He might be friendly with the Grinch," resident Joanie Stein said. Stein, who has lived on the block for years, said the dangling Santa sickens him. "It's a beautiful neighborhood and I think it's just weird. I've never seen anything like this here."

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mundays.

To see a video clip of Santa dangling, click here. It's local TV news at its absolute worst.


DAY 1:
Santa gets his gin 'n' juice on.

DAY 2: Can you hear me now?

DAYS 3-6: Smack, robbery, whack, Alice and Nuge.

DAY 7: Give the Jew girl toys.

Posted by Jeff at 07:45 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2005


Ever since I saw the Santarchy site a couple of years ago, I've been bewitched by the idea of organizing a massive, obnoxious Santa rally in Tampa. I even batted the idea around with some friends about doing it this year.

Turns out, someone already does it. On Friday night, the Santa Pub Crawl kicks off at Gaspar's Grotto in Ybor City. It's all for charity, of course.

So with that in mind, I asked Rommie if there was a good costume store that might sell Santa suits.

"Dude, I still haven't taken you to Features?" he said.

The incredulosity of his tone bespoke not only disbelief but a level of disappointment in his own negligence.

We of course had to make a run.


Housed in an old South Tampa theater, Features has any costume you could ever dream of.

I'm not exaggerating.

From floor to ceiling, shelves are crammed full of accessories, costumes, everything you could put on your person to look goofy.

I walked in and felt like I had arrived at Mecca.


In the very rear of the store - did I mention how cavernous this place is? - was all the Christmas and holiday attire.

There was something immediately hilarious about seeing a handful of dismembered snowman heads sitting on the corner. It was like a serial killer crime scene outtake from "CSI: North Pole."


Santa costumes, Santa helper costumes, elves, snowmen, you name it. They have it.

This year, Santa suits run about $65 a night for rental. To buy one runs about $115.

I'm seriously thinking it over.

To many of you who know me, please do not be alarmed by this brief moment of restraint. It will soon pass, I'm sure.


Features can also put you into a comfortable pair of curly-toed elf shoes for a very affordable $45.99.

While I pondered the expenditure, we decided to browse.


Sometimes you feel like Mephistopheles, sometimes you don't.


Can you imagine the cleanup on this aisle?


Some universal gravitational force drew us to the prosthetic boob and asscheek display.

Rommie seemed quite taken with the "Brown Sugar" model.


This one just scared the hell out of me.


Rommie and I wandered the store separately. Then he found me in another aisle.

"Dude, this is just sooooo wrong."



If you're dressing up your dog in a bikini top and a wig, get help.


Only slightly more acceptable: A Yoda getup.

I wonder how many versions they went through before someone thought to cut out a spot for the dog's crank.


::::waving hand::::

This is not the Vader costume you're looking for.

Posted by Jeff at 07:55 AM | Comments (2)


M&M.jpg Someone figured out a way to work around the censors at the "create your own candy message" generator at the M&M site.

Click here to make your own.

Posted by Jeff at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)


HushPuppies.jpg Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, saw the previous post about the priapic hush puppy and wrote in from Side Salad's North Carolina Weather Bureau to defend the honor of the delicious southern delicacy:

Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 5:29 PM
Subject: deformed hush puppies

Hey Jeff:

Hush puppies are a delicacy here in North Carolina. They are not trifles. They are the gestalt-like result of what happens when you take corn meal dough and dunk it in a deep fryer. The result is not to be believed, i.e. the taste of a properly cooked hush puppy makes it hard to believe that it's just deep-fried cornmeal, i.e., the sum (that is, the taste) is greater than the parts (cornmeal, deep fried), so it's a gestalt thing. How could such simple fare -- deep-fried cornmeal -- taste so good? I don't know. It just does.

Maybe the inventor of the hush puppy was divinely inspired, so maybe the hush puppy is a true miracle. Maybe priests and pastors should start offering hush puppies with communion instead of wafers. If they did, I'd probably show up in church more often.

Some folks down in St. Mark's, Fla., (Gulf Coast, south of Tallahassee) claim they invented the hush puppy, but I've heard stories about Confederate soldiers making a cornmeal batter and then using their bayonets to dunk the batter in sizzling fat, and the result was called sloosh. Maybe sloosh was the ancestor of the hush puppy.

Hush puppies are the perfect accompaniment to North Carolina-style chopped barbecue, which is so good I don't think there's a doctor on the planet who could make me stop eating it, I don't care what my cholesterol count might be.

If that slightly deformed hush puppy had landed on my plate, the only thought that would have flashed through my mind before I popped it into my mouth would have been something like, "Oh, boy! A little extra!"

So I suggest you use that hush puppy the way it was intended to be used and eat it. They're good even when they're cold and two or three days old.



So noted, Willie. So noted.

Posted by Jeff at 12:36 AM | Comments (1)



What would happen if poets and playwrights wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names?


Posted by Jeff at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2005


Whew. Only a few minutes left to get in under the wire...

This one is an audio-visual entry and comes courtesy of Rommie.

It's a doozy.

It's got just about everything you'd need to offend: sacrilege, Nazi accusations, self-hating Judaism, blasphemy, slurs.

SarahSilverman.jpg Those who know about Sarah Silverman's comedy will understand that this holiday song, "Give The Jew Girl Toys," is right in her wheel house.

Too bad it's so damn funny.

If you're easily offended, don't click.

If by the end you find yourself more intrigued about her comedic stylings than repulsed, click here to read an outstanding profile of her in the New Yorker.


DAY 1:
Santa gets his gin 'n' juice on.

DAY 2: Can you hear me now?

DAYS 3-6: Smack, robbery, whack, Alice and Nuge.

Posted by Jeff at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)



Had lunch yesterday at one of my favorite barbecue spots: Jimbo's Bar-B-Q on Kennedy Boulevard.


I like Jimbo's because the food is consistently good and the atmosphere is low-key. The service also is very quick, but not rushed.


One of the homespun touches: anyone can help themselves to a bowl of dill pickle chips or some marinated peppers perched on the old Coca-Cola freezer.


Customers at midday range from business lunchers to retirees looking for a bite.


This is pretty typical of the decor in the dining room.

We have a soft spot for pig sculptures.


Chopped pork sandwich platter with beans, fries and cole slaw.



We also got a side of hush puppies.

If you looked at this one just right, it resembled a sombrero.

If you looked at it another way...

JimbosBarBQ6.jpg looked like something completely different.

For obvious reasons, Rommie named this the "Chub Puppy."

And given our penchant for food that looks like nasty stuff, we had to bring this puppy back to the office.


Mitch, finder of the Penis Carrot, and Karla, finder of the Ore Ida Penis Fry, were mightily amused, if not downright impressed.


Sensing a growing repulsion to the Chub Puppy, we did our best to clean up our act by shooting a forced-perspective photo that made it look like Rommie was wearing a hush-puppy sombrero.

Our ruse was not convincing.

Posted by Jeff at 07:57 AM | Comments (2)



If you don't live in Tampa or if you didn't get to see WFLA NewsChannel 8 the past few weeks, you've missed stories by Bob Hite and Keith Cate done while they were in Afghanistan and Iraq earlier this year. The Tribune has also run a couple of print versions of their stories.

(If you missed them, you can see the stories in a multimedia report on

Anyway, it's pretty clear that they're using the package to groom viewers into seeing Keith as Bob's successor when - or if - he decides to step away from the anchor desk.

The station already made a push earlier this year and late last year to elevate Cate's profile as someone with hard news credentials, especially in tandem with their CrimeTracker reports. They ran a promo commercial that showcased all the stuff he went through while attending the police academy.


Still, it pained me to watch what Keith had to endure all in the name of video journalism.


I have to ask myself: Would I be willing to have Mace sprayed in my eyes for my job?


What about wearing an electric-shock belt that's normally used to transport dangerous prisoners?


I would have to answer in the negative on that one.

Nope. Nada. Not. Gon. Doit.

Gotta give Keith props on jumping off that high dive.


On behalf of viewers, I have to say I wasn't ready to witness Keith's electrically charged "O" face.

Posted by Jeff at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)


I swear I'm not making up this holiday TV listing:

LegendOfTheChristmasFlower.jpg DEC. 18

10 a.m. - "Legend of the Christmas Flower" - EWTN - A boy's dream of a sombrero leads to the true meaning of Christmas.

Posted by Jeff at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005


DingFriesAreDone.jpg Lobster Messiah reminds me how much I love this holiday classic.

A tip: You'll want to play this at work. Real loud.

Posted by Jeff at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

DAYS 3-6

BadSantaMug.jpg One of the dangers in starting a daily calendar of Santa Claus pictures: sometimes life gets in the way and you can't punch these puppies out every day.

Consider it a hazard of the premise.

So to make up for lost Santas, here are four that will fill in the gaps:


Wild horses couldn't drag Keith Richards away from being Santa this year.


It's beginning to look a lot like armed robbery.


Santa had been very naughty. Or at least that's what the young lady said.


"And now Alice and I would like to join Ted in a holiday rendition of "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang."

DAY 1:
Santa gets his gin 'n' juice on.
DAY 2: Can you hear me now?
Posted by Jeff at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2005


Something about this press release from the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota reminds me of the guy doing the robot in the Geico ad. Either that or Pimpbot 5000 from Late Night with Conan O'Brien:

Chocolate Robot Showpiece

Standing over 7 feet tall and composed of 170 pounds of Swiss chocolate, The Ritz-Carlton tradition of Christmas has meet modern day technology. This chocolate robot was created by members of the Pastry Department over a 3-day period. Every aspect of the chocolate robot is completely edible from the head all the way down to the feet.


Many different techniques were used in the creation of this chocolate giant. Single use molds account for a good portion of this showpiece, all coming form the heating and cooling section of Home Depot. Various plates, ring molds, pots and pans were also molded in chocolate to create extensions of the robots body.

Gelatin molds were used during this project to create the lifelike nuts, bolts and screws seen throughout the piece. Stencils were cut free hand to create the shoulder and chest area. The hands were created by casting chocolate into a rubber glove, then allowing it to set in a lifelike position. Lastly a 10 gallon water jug was cut in half and molded in chocolate to create the hip and stomach section.

The final piece has been sprayed in bronze and red coco butter to give it a mettle appearance.

All of which is very, very cool, but why did they feel the need to send a photo of the robot's groin?


What is he, Joey Buttufucocoa?

Posted by Jeff at 06:47 PM | Comments (1)



For about a year, I've been threatening to buy The Hurricane pizza from Trio's on Buccaneers game days. I have an admitted weakness to things that are self-described on their menu as "7 pounds of Good Eatz."

One deterrent: Each 16-inch pizza costs $24.95

On Saturday, when we drove by the pizza shop, I vowed that we would be purchasing one.

"Life is too short to keep putting this off,'' I announced.

Of course, I ignored the fact that life considerably shortens after eating one of those beasts, but I was not to be denied my bliss.


The restaurant I went to on Lithia-Pinecrest Road (which one friend mispronounced one time as "Labia-Pinetree") was nice and clean, and the staff was very nice.


I will say, though, that the color scheme in the dining room bore a striking resemblance to Panera Bread.


I walked in, just as the beast was emerging from the oven.

It was the sexiest non-human thing I'd ever seen.

Not that I go around judging the sexiness of non-human things, mind you.


The guy behind the counter said they dress the pizza once, run it through the oven, then dress it with more toppings and run it through again.

What's on this manhole cover?

The menu reads: "Italian sausage, onions, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, Canadian bacon, cheese, pepperoni and even more cheese (well over a pound of our great cheese)"

This kind of pizza pulchritude almost makes you feel... dirty.


This was decidedly a fork-and-knife affair, although the crust was wonderfully crispy and light. And flavorful, too.

We liked the thinly sliced green peppers. And the whole slices of fresh tomato.

When you consider what you'd pay for two pizzas - which essentially is what this is - and that you get a 2-liter of Pepsi with it, the cost can almost be explained away as a pragmatic expenditure. Especially since four of us ate on this thing and we still had slices left over.

Posted by Jeff at 08:02 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2005


I think it's safe to assume that my reputaton in the neighborhood is now firmly cemented.

Posted by Jeff at 08:43 AM | Comments (8)


Yesterday we kicked off our annual holiday feature with a photo that depicted a scene that could best be described as Santa Having A Nap.

Today's Santa:


Santa Claus. :::annoying chime::: Get more.

DAY 1:
Santa gets his gin 'n' juice on.

Posted by Jeff at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)


Went to a holiday party yesterday.

What was the theme?

Mardi Gras.



Next year's theme: The Donner Party.

We'll be having finger sandwiches.

Posted by Jeff at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)



Rubber Johnny

I may not sleep for a week.

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


A colleague sent me an e-mail on Thursday. Seems that a friend of his from the Carolinas had visited a couple weeks ago and left a toothbrush at his house.

He wrote:

I brought it to him at Thanksgiving. This morning, I sent him this photo.

This was the photo:


Damn. Why haven't I thought of that before?

Posted by Jeff at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2005


In 2003, the Salad bowl inaugurated a holiday feature: The Calendar of Disturbing Santas.

The gimmick: to showcase daily a Santa that didn't exactly fit the Currier and Ives mold.

Some were silly. Some were repulsive. Some truly were disturbing.

But best of all, they filled up space on the blog. And you can't put a price on filling that sort of basal requirement.

Lacking the same amount of creativity in 2004, we did it again.

Now it's just an albatross of a tradition. If we didn't do it, someone would bitch that it ruined their holidays. And we can't have that.

So without further ado, here goes Round Three:


I warned you; this could get brutal. I figured I'd start heavy and work from there.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Jeff at 07:48 AM | Comments (3)


Best wishes go out to Leland Hawes.

As Steve Otto wrote yesterday in the Tribune, Leland is being bestowed an honorary doctorate on Dec. 19 for his contributions to Tampa history. In a town chock full of history, Leland is like a walking Smithsonian with a nose for news and the talent for telling a story well.


Leland is a wonderful man, a southern gentleman in all respects. I was luck to work with him for a couple years at the Tribune before he retired earlier this year. On the days I knew he was coming in, I'd try to put on a pot of decaf for him in the kitchen so he wouldn't have to bother. He's the kind of guy you want to do that for.

As the USF Libraries page explains about his background:

Leland Hawes was born in 1929 at what was then Tampa Municipal Hospital (today's Tampa General Hospital). His family lived in Thonotosassa where his father was in the citrus business. Mr. Hawes attended public schools in Tampa and graduated from Plant High in 1947.

Mr. Hawes started a weekly newspaper, "The Flint Lake Diver," for Thonotosassa in 1940 when he was 11, (Thonotosassa means "Lake of Flint), and he edited the yearbook at Plant High, which led him to the University of Florida where he majored in journalism. He was a campus correspondent for The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa's afternoon newspaper. When he graduated from UF in 1950, he went to work at the Times as a police/hospital reporter. In August, 1952, he went to work at The Tampa Morning Tribune (as The Tampa Tribune was known then) where he has covered most of the news beats, written editorials, been features editor, Sunday editor and night editor.

They named the newsroom library after Leland at the Tribune when he left in January. We had a lovely lunch for him and editor Janet Weaver gave him a plaque. Still, that doesn't seem enough to honor this modest man. Maybe the doctorate will help fill the gap.

To see a multimedia report about Leland, click here.

Posted by Jeff at 12:56 AM | Comments (1)