Sunday, October 30, 2005


Yes, it’s finally D-Day! The day I purchased a new car!! Months in the planning! Years in the preparation! It’s over! Kinda like the Sox.

Somehow, I’ve ended up with yet another black car. Well, black with little blue metallic flakes. Kinda cool, like glitter.

There were so many other colors to choose from, I was having a very difficult time, but when it came down to it, the car in the showroom (and car dealerships are lit by the same experts who do the lighting in jewelry stores – magically the product looks ten times better in the display area than outdoors) just happened to have the huge wing spoiler I wanted and looked like a million bucks.

There was a Japanese teenager sitting in it when I arrived at the dealership Saturday afternoon. He was tall and lanky, with an earring and bored rich-kid attitude. He seemed to be buying that one, so I didn’t get too close. His family appeared to be speaking with the salesman so I figured it was a just-got-my-license present or something. I’m sure he’d truly appreciate it.

When you have to shoo away the fast and the furious crowd from your potential purchase, you have to admit your automotive tastes are skewing young. Face it, anyone my age buying this car is having a mid-life crisis. This doesn’t worry me, since I’ve been attracted to the same cars and music since I was seventeen. It’s just a sign of immaturity. So what?

Really liked my salesman, a young Hispanic man who was very knowledgeable about the product. He spent a great deal of time with us as I looked at every color permutation available. Gone are the days you could custom order a car. There were NO special packages or interior color combination choices to be had. They were motivated to sell something on the lot, of course, and that’s how we ended up talking about the black one.

Buying a black car is announcing to the world that you have way too much time on your hands. Those seven hours a night you spend sleeping? It could be so much better devoted to washing and waxing a car. It has the drawing power of a Black Hole to attract bugs, dust and grime. Yet when it’s clean -- it gleams brighter than any star.

We went back and forth on price for a while. I think I did OK. Not great, but I certainly didn’t let them call all the shots about price and was ready to walk at any moment.

It’s amazing how easy it is to drive off THAT DAY with something you haven’t paid for yet. They were like, oh, bring your title in, bring your check in, get financing or you can use ours. Very laid back. Little did they know, Betty Gooch is my grandmother…

She’s got 17-inch wheels, 6 speed manual transmission, 6 CD AM/FM Cassette with sub-woofer and leather seats. ABS. Hatchback. Massive spoiler. Plus heated side mirrors! (Not seats, darn)

Sunday was such a beautiful day – the last “Indian Summer” day we are likely to have. It was in the 60s and partly sunny. I took advantage of the situation and performed all the ‘new car rituals’.

Much like the naming ceremony in Roots, there are special protocols to follow when welcoming a new car. I didn’t have time to wait for the next full moon, as winter is approaching fast.

Baby’s First Photos: park car in various sites around the yard and photograph from every conceivable angle. (These are the photos you will use when selling the car five years from now.) Now you can send these to family and friends as a birth announcement. New development: Blog Posting.

Baby’s First Wax: determine best wax for car type and color. I only use Meguiar’s products and they have a great website to answer any questions you may have about car care. I’m using Gold Class wax. It’s ok to wax a new car immediately as new car parts are cured at higher temperatures than you could use on an assembled, finished vehicle. Meguiar’s recommends waxing four times a year, so I will log this in the service record along with oil changes, etc. If you’re the least bit anal retentive (does that have a hyphen?), you’ll want to buy a car from me. Included will be mountains of paperwork documenting every service item and expenditure.

Waxing is done in a clockwise rotation. Should I move to Australia, I will change to counter-clockwise. I have no explanation for this, except it just feels right. Which it should, I’m going to the right.

I notice some crows flying overhead. Are they cawing their approval of the color? Or merely noting: Fresh Target Sector 8?

Tomorrow: Showing off at work!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

All Greek To Me

EU: When it comes to feta, the Greeks stand alone

By Raf Casert
Associated Press

Published October 26, 2005

BRUSSELS -- The European Union's highest court finally settled the fate of feta cheese Tuesday, decreeing it a traditional Greek product deserving protection throughout the 25-nation bloc in a ruling that went against other European producers.

Thank goodness the EU court spent years researching this issue. I’d hate for them to be plotting world domination by unifying currency or something.

Germany and Denmark, backed by France and Britain, had challenged the designation of origin for the salty, crumbly cheese and turned it into a gastronomic fight lasting almost two decades and involving lobbyists, the European Commission and, finally, the European Court of Justice.

When’s the last time this crew agreed on anything? See why I’m uneasy about this whole ‘union’ thing? Waste all the time learning Spanish you want, I still feel Germanic languages are the way to go.

"The court upholds the name `feta' as a protected designation of origin for Greece," the Luxembourg-based court said in its ruling.

Monaco lose the coin-toss to host court?

Danish and German producers had hoped to be able to continue producing such cheese and call it feta to maintain the product's marketability. They argued that what made feta specific was the technique of making it, not the geographical origin.

See also “Big Champagne Fuss”

"Our efforts have been crowned by success. The European Court issued a historic decision, declaring finally and irrevocably that the feta is not for common usage and is exclusively Greek," a jubilant Greek Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos said.

And to think I’ve been duped by inferior imposters!

Danish producers were outraged.

That’s just them.

"The ruling is grotesque and political," said Hans Bender of the Danish Dairy Board. "What will be next? Will the Italians demand that pizza become a protected product that no one can make?"

Grotesque and Political? So’s our current administration. What’s your point?

Name changes, though, will be inevitable.

Fake-A? I Can’t believe it’s Not Feta? Vel-Feta? Feta-Whiz?

"Our feta production will continue. However, we will sell under other names," said Astrid Gade Nielsen, spokeswoman for Arla Foods, a Danish company that produces 25,000 tons of the cheese a year.

What does Wisconsin produce? Do they do Feta? Green Baya?

When the European Commission gave feta its protected designation of origin in 2002, it argued that natural, geographic and human factors had combined to give the cheese its specific Greek character. It said the extensive grazing of special ewes and goats on Greek terrain gave the cheese its specific aroma and flavor.

By any other name, it still stinks as bad…

And don’t get me started on the Special Ewes and Goats.

I can tell you one thing – You won’t see me sneaking that Danish stuff on the same plate as genuine around Mr. Right! Because he can tell the difference, Right?


But what greater evil lurks?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hauntingly hilarious


It's almost Halloween! I best get busy making the Taffy-Onions for the neighborhood kiddies. The looks on their little faces is just priceless! Of course, there haven't been many brats back to my place after the big raw broccoli giveaway of 2000, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Seatless in Chicago

Lacking the desire to sell a kidney (but have I got a low-mileage liver I can let you have a chunk of cheap) I did not attend either White Sox World Series home games.

Not like I'm bemoaning the fact that I didn't get to sit outside in 48 degree rain, it's just a general statement of longing to see a Chicago baseball team get a grand slam in in a series game. Love those fireworks!

They are losing badly right now. Not like I'm worried. It's all rigged. Designed to get the maximum advertising dollar from the consumer. Remember how the Bulls won their later championships on the road after there were disturbances in Chicago after wins? Just a coincidence? Yeah, right.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bitter Unpublished Blogger

Nice to know the US Cellular field is under a tight security watch during the World Series. Unlike poor Meigs Field when da mayor tore it up. Can’t help but think the Sox are participating due to a marker Daley has called in…

I have to take just a second to explain I will be working extra the next two weeks and will have to reduce posts somewhat. Expect expanded coverage after that, as the weather here is horrible and I’ll have more time to devote to writing.

Saw a magazine article about the “Sexiest Cars of 2006” and the Corvette wasn’t even on the list! Heretics. The Z06 is one of the most awesome cars ever made. Instead they put the Mazda Miata on the list. Popular? Good Value? Slight restyle? Yes, but all can be said of the Corvette. But really now, which would you rather show up to your High School Class Reunion in? Have a soul, people.

Compelled to mention how awful the book The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd is. (You may recall her debut The Secret Life of Bees was
also reviewed on this site). This smarmy romance is making me sick. Is this what passes for literature these days? Do women really want to read this crap?

It’s a Harlequin romance by a writer too talented to be wasting her time with a story about a bored middle-age housewife who doesn’t know what to do with herself now that her only child is in college. Despite her wonderful, perfect husband who adores her, the woman falls in love at first sight with another man. A monk. Who conveniently lost his wife and child in a horrible accident, and, what do you know? He falls madly in love with her at first sight as well. Yeah, right.

At least the Thorn Birds had some sweeping multi-generational exotic locale plot lines. That book I enjoyed. Mermaid is reminding me of two other very popular romance novels I absolutely hated: The Horse Whisperer and The Bridges of Madison County. If this is what sells, it’s no wonder I haven’t been flooded with book offers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The More Things Change

Very excited about the prospect of seeing the new Pompeii exhibit that will be at the Field Museum from October 22nd to March 26th!

I love studying ancient civilizations. Ever wonder what it would have been like to live in times of emperors and gods? Hey, wait a minute!

Hmmm... Let's see...a highly cultured city wiped out forever because they ignored the little pieces of lava raining for hours beforehand...

Villa of Papyrl

Downtown Pompeii

What do you mean, I can't take my dog?

Is this where I'm supposed to catch the FEMA bus?

Nero and Pliny the Younger deciding what to tell Tacitus

Feeling Lucky?

Mr. Right bought a lottery ticket for a drawing worth almost 300 million dollars.

I asked him if he planned to blow all his winnings on Sox tickets....

Monday, October 17, 2005

And You Thought It Was Just ME



My kind of place! Finally. A hotel worthy of my tourism dollars. Where's my passport?

Hotel plans to ban kids

LINZ, Austria (AP) - An Austrian hotelier has come under fire for his plan to ban children under 12 from his inn starting next spring because they disturb his adult guests, although dogs are welcome guests.

Roland Ballner, who runs the Hotel Cortisan on the shores of the picturesque Wolfgangsee in the province of Upper Austria, announced Thursday that he will only take in guests older than age 12 beginning May 1.

Ballner justified his unusual decree, saying young children were running around the hotel and grounds screaming and marking walls and new furniture with felt pens.

But his decision was condemned by regional officials, who said it would give the area a bad reputation, and by Sepp Schellhorn, the head of the Austrian Hotel Association, who called it excessive.

Ballner said he's convinced he'll still make money by refusing to let youngsters check in. Adults are welcome to bring their dogs, he added.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Take This Fun "Get A Life!" Quiz


Town gets family on feet
Down on their luck before Katrina, a Louisiana couple and their kids start over with help from Local Area

There's a chocolate cake on the kitchen table, a mini-van in the driveway and a new computer whirring in the corner of a four-bedroom cabin--all of it provided for free.

A) I’m getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from this story already!
B) I’d really like a new computer myself, but I’m too busy paying for heat.

Even as Name Withheld describes his recent good fortune since fleeing the devastation in New Orleans, two volunteers are installing windows on his new home.

A) Isn’t it wonderful how Americans all pull together?
B) Wish I could get some of that cheap evacuee labor to wash a few windows around here…

For the former felon from Louisiana, his wife and four children, life--so far at least--has turned out pretty well in the northwest suburbs, where they have become the self-proclaimed "hurricane family of Local Area."

A) How beautiful! A deserving family getting a fresh start.
B) Apparently law abiding citizens don’t rate articles or TV shows, isn’t that right, Martha?

"We go out to dinner, and people recognize us," said Name Withheld, 32. "They pick up the tab. It's unbelievable."

A) I’d do the same.
B) I’d be afraid if we went out to dinner and people recognized me, they’d spit in the food.

A little more than a month ago, Name Withheld, his pregnant wife and children were crammed into a rented three-bedroom trailer, tucked in the woods on the outskirts of Slidell, a New Orleans suburb. He said they were living "paycheck to paycheck."

A) Those poor babies!
B) Who told them to have all those kids?

Then Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, battering Name Witheld's mobile home to pieces. Trees crashed through the roof and smashed the bedrooms. The family's banged-up 1995 Dodge Dakota was wrecked. After staying in motels and with relatives, they were picked up by Name Withheld’s uncle, who lives in Local Area and drove 16 hours one way to retrieve them.

A) I’d do that for a family member.
B) I’d drive 16 hours to avoid a family member.

Although the killer storm wreaked havoc throughout the Gulf Coast, claiming more than 1,000 lives and destroying livelihoods, it afforded Name Withheld and his family, he said, the opportunity to start over with new stability, new comforts and the support of a whole town.

A) I’m sure they will make the most of this chance and prove worthy of our trust.
B) Oh, are they gonna screw this up…

The most recent chapter in Name Witheld's life has been provided largely by Local Area's residents. For starters, the home at YMCA Camp Local Area has been provided gratis for at least the next year.

A) Our community is so generous!
B) Tell that to the guy who has lived under the local bridge for years.

"The whole community has pulled together to help them out," said Community Pillar, a volunteer and regional director for the Local Area Jaycees Association. "It's been remarkable to see so many people together. The cabin was in rough shape. Now it is a home."

A) Bet they give it to another needy family when they are done.
B) Let’s see what kind of shape it is in after the year is up.

Unemployed for the last six months in Louisiana, Name Withheld was given a job at a local heating and air-conditioning company. He received a cell phone and a Plymouth mini-van with insurance. The family even has a computer with Internet access, a "luxury" Name Withheld said he has never had before.

A) He’ll use it to look for a job.
B) Think he’ll Google himself and find this blog? I know, I’ll remove all names.

The unexpected opportunities created by the hurricane have given Name Withheld the chance to put his troubled past behind him and start fresh, he said.

A) It’s so great to offer someone a fresh start.
B) Guess Barbara Bush was right.

"I needed something stable, and now I have long-term prospects," he said on a recent afternoon. "This is my chance."

A) You Go, Name Withheld!

The new lifestyle is a stark contrast to the one they left as the hurricane bore down on Slidell, about 30 miles northeast of New Orleans, one of the hardest-hit communities.

The family was receiving food stamps and other aid. Name Withheld said he foolishly had quit his job as an assistant manager at a fast-food chicken chain six months earlier. He had worked there on and off for 15 years and said he wanted to try heating and air-conditioning work.

A) What an incredible outpouring of support, the way he was offered a job in the field he wished to pursue.
B) Um, excuse me? If a hurricane blew away my house, would anyone offer me my dream job? I think not. I’d be waiting tables and working at Merry Maids.

Name Withheld said he loves Louisiana but won't miss what he left behind. Over the years, he has had at least three criminal convictions for offenses that include theft, assault and forgery, he said. A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections said Name Withheld was released from probation in 2004, five years after pleading guilty to theft. He did not serve prison time.

A) Anyone can make a few mistakes.
B) Is there going to be a follow up to this story in a year?

As Name Withheld started his new job Monday, Camp Local Area is getting ready to house four more evacuee families this month, director Helping Hand said. Volunteers at the 118-acre camp, located on property owned by the Local Area Conservation District, are refurbishing a large cabin to accommodate the additional families.

A) We have the resources to help so many more. Helping feels good.
B) Hellooooo…you there, under the bridge. Still hungry?

"This is not a shelter," Helpind Hand said. "This is their new home. It's a new beginning for them."

The outpouring from the community has been remarkable.

A) I’m so proud of everyone.
B) Perhaps we’re putting a little too much pressure on these poor folks? Perhaps they feel uncomfortable being pet causes?

More than 400 volunteers, including electricians and plumbers, chipped in to prepare the cabins and provide supplies, ranging from food and toiletries to toys and a television.

Local Businessman, owner of Custom Heating and Air, installed heating systems and air filters in the cabins. He also gave Name Withheld a job.

"The door is wide open for them," L.B. said. "The whole community is helping out."

The donated goods take up nearly all the space in a separate camp cabin. Crates of clothes are stacked nearly 5 feet high in a room that resembles a "mini-mall," as Helping Hand called it.

The pantry holds more than 50 cans of pineapple chunks, peas, pears--all stacked ceiling high. A local company is donating a cow to be butchered, H.H. said.

The outpouring of help has made Name Witheld's decision to stay an easy one, he said.

His children One, 9, Two, 6, and Three, 4 are attending local public schools and preschool. His wife, Mrs. Name Withheld, is caring for their newborn, Four.

The place already feels like home, he said.

A) Tell all your friends!
B) Just be glad I wasn’t a Supreme Court nominee.

But still, "nobody knows who cries behind closed doors," Name Withheld said. "It's tough. But we are putting a smile on our face. And we are very thankful."

A) We know you are.
B) Just live up to it, ok? (But no pressure, really)



All A’s: How did you stumble into this site? It’s much too coarse for your delicate sensibilities. Please remove any cookies from your browser and lie down in a darkened room for a few hours.

Mostly A’s: Do you know me? Or did someone else refer you here? You are much too kind to be reading this site. Go back to while you can.

Mostly B’s: A regular reader, right? I’m saying the things you don’t dare. You secretly admire me.

All B’s: Call me! I have a few world-domination theories I bet you’d like to discuss…

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Can You Hear Me Winning Now?

If the Sox win the world series, will we have to change Wrigley Field
to Verizon Wireless Field to break the Cubs' curse?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Florida’s Illegal Alien Problem Continues…

Bit of a handful

Out of Hand

OK, how many times am I going to have to tell you letting

unwanted pets loose into the wild is a bad idea?

As usual, the invader is decimating local wildlife populations, not tourists. Darn.

Would You Like Literature With That?

There's two O's in Books...

Hmmm. Seems a local library is seeking to attract more male patrons.

...Library staff members are looking for a few good men.
To help library officials with the process, the library has been awarded a $38,500 grant to buy materials and conduct programs that would draw more men and boys into the library. The Illinois Secretary of State's Library Services and Technology Act awarded the grant, reference librarian Martha Hansen said.

Only 25 percent of library patrons are male, Hansen said, and less than 50 percent of cards issued are to males. Hansen said the library planned to buy more items geared toward men and boys, such as graphic novels and anime films. Possible programs the library is considering include an antique-car show, a visit from an athlete,and a men's book club. Plans also are in the works to form a men's advisory council.

"We want to focus on our male clients and put in library materials they'd be interested in checking out," she said. Hansen said the library also would need volunteers to help with the planning because 98 percent of the staff is female.

Budget Proposal:

$1500 Graphic Novels
$1500 Anime DVDs
$500 Orange Short-Shorts (Staff Uniforms)
$35,000 Plastic Surgery for staff, so they get ‘checked out’

Result: Only the male librarian gets wait listed

Exciting Weekends, Part 1

Sorry I haven’t written, but the action around here has been non-stop! OK. Maybe not. Because then you’d be reading the UGOTTALIFE blog, and we both know that’s not happenin’ any time soon. (But perhaps I should reserve the name just in case…)

Went to the southern part of the state for a wedding last weekend, and decided to fish the lovely Lake Shelbyville on the way down.

Mr. We’re Here For Muskie, Right rented us a little boat with a 9 H.P. motor in which to try our luck. As the boy at the dock scooped rainwater out of our luxury liner I couldn’t help but look longingly at the more expensive rental alternative at the next pier over. There sat a bass boat with real chairs powered by a forty horse motor. You wouldn’t catch any more fish in that boat, but your back would hurt less, and you could annoy more people zooming along. If Mr. Right really loved me, he would have gotten that one.

Thank goodness it was a beautiful day and there were lots of pretty birds to watch, because in about five hours of non-stop casting, we failed to get even one bite. No ‘throw-backs’, no ‘one that got away’. I’m talking NO BITES.

Why? My lure was shiny and attractive. Silver fish head with a rubber sparkly transparent red tail trailing behind. Looked great. It motivated me to buy it off the clearance rack at Wal-Mart, didn’t it? The package said ‘scented tail’, so there I am in a boat putting a 2 inch treble hook dangerously close to a nostril and saying, “I don’t smell anything. Do you smell anything? Do you think it’s too old? Why aren’t we catching anything? Are you sure there’s fish in this lake? What time is it? We should have packed a lunch. We sure aren’t going to catch it…” I’m real cheery to fish with.

The boat had to be returned at five, so I concluded the fish around here don’t start to bite until six. As we putt up to the pier for boat return I consider asking for the “Not a Damn Nibble” discount. Dejected, we headed back to the car and continued our trip southward.

(Note my approximate age upon success)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Party is So Over

This is the coldest weekend in 21 weeks!!!!!!!!!!! I’m dying! One day it’s 85˚, the next 42˚. Yes, my heat is on. Yes, my fireplace is blazing. I hope all you humidity – haters are happy. See you in April, nut cases.

I Have No Idea What You’re Talking About, Officer…

This wasn’t me! Honest! Not like I’m promoting vandalism or anything*, but this is exactly how I feel as well. It’s so nice to know at least one kindred spirit was pushed to the point of expressing themselves** with a can of spray paint in a public display of defiance. I’m sick of development. I’m sick of growing populations.

Of humans, that is. Pandas, yes. People no. You never see anyone plant a big bamboo forest in the hopes of attracting some Giant Pandas to the neighborhood, do you? Hey, let’s scrap that water park idea and just fill a big tank with salt water and try and breed some green sea turtles because that would better the earth! Yeah. Hear that one all the time. Of course, that’s because sea turtles would pre-emptively invade the Great Lakes to meddle in an ecosystem they don’t understand to export materials they possess the technology to do without anyways. Can’t trust those cagy chelonians.

*Wink, wink…but if you really like seeing your work on the internet, call me – if you spray paint the houses erected, I would be willing to give you at least a dozen 800 x 1200 pixels…

**could we just call this one Civil Disobedience? That sounds so much nobler.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm Back Blog

Too tired too write tonight, but I will fill you in on my little adventure to the southern regions of our state. In the meantime, I would like to point out that my blog now allows anonymous posts! So if you’ve been lurking in the background but just dying to say something, please do! No one will know who you are. Except me of course. With only 4 readers, I can pretty much figure out who you are by your grammatical errors. But post anyway.

Real quick – where does Bush keep finding these spinsters? I thought the whole Janet Reno thing was an anomaly. Guess not. And what about that boat that capsized, killing twenty-one senior citizens? Sounds like a new Medicare initiative to me.

Can the weather get any better? It’s October 4, and 85 degrees! Yes!!!!!!! May it always be this way. Because I Blog So.