Thursday, November 30, 2006
I'm sure you've heard of this ex-Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, who was a critic of Putin's, getting poisoned and then dieing just before Thanksgiving. Another prominent critic of Putin, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead in Moscow in October and no one has been arrested in the killing. As if that wasn't enough to write a bad '40's set spy novel, an ex-Prime Minister of Russia, Yegor Gaider has seemingly been poisoned. However, he wasn't a critic of Putin's. Is poisoning coming back into vogue?
Fantasy football is winding down and yours truly is finally in first place in his own league. The league has been together for about four or five years, and I've never won it.....really not even close. So this year is quite a coup. This week is the last week before playoffs start and I'm pretty pumped. All the early season smack-talkers have taking a fall from grace and are oddly quiet now. Speak softly and carry a big stick.....that's what I say!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
- Really cheap looking wrapping paper
- Witch Hazel (16 oz, what the hell is this stuff anyway and why do I need 16 oz of it?)
- Sweat pants, sweat shirts, sweat underwear and I think sweat-spaghetti, but I'm not sure
- Jesus clock (wall mounted)
- Jesus clock (mantle)
- Jesus and Mary clock (wall mounted again)
- Many, many copies of a DVD of Bela Lugosi versus The Brooklyn Gorilla (I swear, even I couldn't make this shit up)
I wandered in there while my car was being serviced....never again.
--Last night I went out to see my folks and my visiting aunt ($59 airfare one way!). My mom served up some Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Really, really tasty stuff. Here's the recipe:
That last line is Boil and simmer for 30 minutes. That's it! Gawd is it good.
--Buy your tickets to Sweden everyone!! According to a report I heard on the radio, they (whoever they are) are building an ABBA museum in Stockholm to be finished in 2008. Sweet. I'm a huge ABBA fan and I'm not afraid to admit it......however, it doesn't help my street cred any.
--Does anyone remember the television series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or The Prisoner? Came up in conversation yesterday. Good stuff, though I don't remember UNCLE as much as I do The Prisoner. When that rover started coming after him.....just chilling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner
--Many people ask me why all the links to Wikipedia and do I have some relationship with them. Nope, they are a legal not for profit entity which accepts donations and operates due to the support of several privately funded grants and donations from every day people. No ads on the site, but a wealth of information. I love them!!
--Finally, it's 60+ degrees and rainy in Chicago today. Tomorrow, mid 30's and snow. Ugh. Hello winter.
Monday, November 27, 2006
My picture of the day is an autographed photo from the Big Red Machine era in baseball: Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose. Recently aquired on Ebay, I bought a frame and matting today and hung it up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Red_Machine
It's another Learning Tuesday, so here we go:
My old friend Wikipedia has some good information about DLP, Plasma and LCD televisions. I bypassed the history portion and went to the pros and cons sections. Good stuff. I'm going to head out to a new Grand Appliances (on North Avenue) which is advertising a 50" Plasma, LCD and DLP. Hopefully they'll be physically sitting close to each other so I can compare them. Here are the links:
And where are all my readers? I expected a throng of comments on things from televisions to Christmas trees to my mysterious black paper. Are you all shopping online instead of visiting my blog? Can't really blame you.....buy me something nice!!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Plasma, LCD and DLP.
Plasma can have a brighter picture, has a glass screen and is more available in the 42-60+ inch size
LCD's are good in the mid-range sizes (42 inches and under) and are better if you have a lot of overhead or natural light in a room because it doesn't have a glass screen, hence no reflection.
They didn't cover DLP well, except anecdotaly to say it's expensive and you should check to make sure you have a fair number of HDTV programs from your provider otherwise it's not worth it. Hmmmmmm, mildly helpful. Still interested in your thoughts.
After much deliberation (and spending several nights at home for the first time in a while), I've decided to get a big-ass TV. Currently I'm thinking something along the lines of 50+ inches. Does anyone have a TV in that realm that they like and would recommend? How about just comments on TVs that you've seen? It doesn't have to be flat panel as the place I'm putting it has plenty of room and it wouldn't be along a wall.
As I write this, there's going to be a story on Fox news about HDTV's, so maybe that will help. I went to Best Buy's site and found some helpful information. It seems like the problems with "image burning" in the plasmas is no longer an issue, but I'd still like to hear your thoughts.
Also news related, there's a story on how to sell your house faster by using an "accredited stager". These people basically just rearrange your furniture and stuff to make it more appealing. Fine, whatever works, but who the hell is "accrediting" these people? Please don't tell me they have an actual organization or something. Good Lord.
Bears lost today, so I'm feeling a little down on this Sunday evening. On top of that, the weather is supposed to turn sour later this week, which is going to mean a very, very cold tailgate at the Bears game on Sunday. I'll be able to counter with a brand new heater that you throw on top of a propane tank though. Here's a pic:
I bought the double heater top. Picture courtesy of Cabelas.
The double can throw off 28,000 BTU's of heat! Sweet.
Do you have your Christmas tree up (or Festivus Pole http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus )? I was wondering when it's appropriate to put it up and if this week is too early. I've seen a bunch of cars with trees strapped to their roofs though, so it's probably all good. Just curious: real or fake? How much did you spend if you chose real?
Friday, November 24, 2006
However, his autograph is no where near as valuable as Julius Caesar's ($2million)
http://www.ubersite.com/m/43348 check out #252
or Shakespeare (probably in the same ballpark since only 6 copies exist).
Compare those to this link which has the cost of autographs from living people:
Ok, now on to a selfish item. My mother, you can see her on yesterday's blog, dug out a pack of these sheets that are half the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. I have no idea what they are for, but they are from the Revell company back when they were in Valencia, CA. Revell makes model cars, planes, etc. now, though I'm not sure what they used to make. Here's a scan of one of these sheets:
Anyone recognize what it's for? My first thought was a Lite-Bright sheet for the older models, but it's too small. Both sheets combined are the size of half a sheet of notebook paper. Even if you don't know what it's for, let me hear your guesses!
Searching for the answer led me to this link:
make sure you look at the full window, not just what pops up. To help you out with designs, check out this link:
Back when games were much simpler......enjoy.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Sweet potatoes. Was I the only one eating the sweet potatoes? I don't care, they were great!
Christmas wreath strudel pastry.
Notice the disposable plates. We Sutton's are nothing if not lazy about dishes!!
Ma making the spuds! Always a favorite.
I could go on and on about interesting statistics (including the first Thanksgiving being attributed to a meal held in 1621 between the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims), so instead I'll just show you a link and let you adventure yourself:
Bee mentioned that she heard on the WBBM radio that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to why.
Two interesting Friday references I've come across the last two days: Black Friday and the possible origins of Friday the 13th. Black Friday is the name for the Friday after Thanksgiving in which stores have their busiest shopping day in terms of customer traffic and is so named some speculate, because their performance on this day will determine if they will end up in the black (good) or red (bad).
Second, the possible origins of Friday the 13th, can be found with this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar_legends#Friday_the_13th
Sounds cool at least! You should actually look up Knights Templar on Wikipedia prior to seeing The DaVinci Code if you have the time and inclination. It's out on DVD now and a decent rental.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
A side note about someone we all lost: Maurice Graham. Don't worry, I didn't know him either, but he's a king! That's right, during his life, Maury was named King of the hoboes five times at the annual hobo convention in Britt, Iowa (which has a hobo museum by the way) and in 2004 he was named Grand Patriarch of hoboes. Maury started riding trains at the age of 14 in 1931 and didn't stop riding trains and living in hobo camps until 1980. Maybe you think this is kind of a silly thing, but there is no modern equivalent of the true hobo and I wonder if there ever will be again.
One last thing, since my fun evening plans fell through last night and since I didn't get invited to TomKat's wedding (another thing Oprah and I have in common), I rented MI-III. It was the first action movie that actually fast-forwarded through a good chunk of. Ugh. At the end though, Cruise stops his heart with electric shock and has his wife restart it with no significant side effects. Ok, fine, I was fast forwarding at this point, so it wasn't that long. Wait, how long was it? I went back and timed it, yes, this is the crazy shit that I do, and it was 2:35. That led me to the web to look up hypoxia, lack of oxygen to the brain. Apparently, you can go 5 minutes before brain cells start to die. Good news for us as real people, bad news that we may have to put up with another Cruise MI film.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Something changed though, not entirely sure what event triggered it, and I started to care more about my day-to-day clothes and appearance. Suddenly I'd find myself shopping at Nordstrom's or Marshall Fields and considering buying nicer, more expensive clothes. Nothing too noteworthy for a blog though huh?
Well, I recently went shopping on Michigan Avenue and stopped in at an old and new favorite store, Eddie Bauer. They've gone through some changes there and actually have some pretty nice clothes. Immediately upon entering the store, my eyes were drawn to a sweater sitting on a table. Relatively simple: crew neck, light blue, 4-5 horizontal stripes crossing the chest varying from white to gray to black. Perfect for me to wear with turtlenecks. Great. But these things never look as good on you as they do on the mannequin. Never. Except once in a while, you'll find something that just looks awesome on you, like it was made just for you. As it turns out this sweater was THAT sweater. Couldn't be happier. My closet has about 25 sweaters in it and this year, I'll be lucky to wear half of them. Especially now that I have this one.
Ok, time for learning Tuesday:
I was reading the paper and since the Sudoku was a level 3 and the main clue in the crossword puzzle was "Olin Miller quote"(seriously, who the hell is this guy? I found one freakin' quote attributed to him! Hardly justifies a crossword clue.), I decided to actually read some of the articles before going to bed.
There was an article on Papua New Guinea and how they want to attract tourists. It's worth checking out some info on this group of islands in far eastern Indonesia.
The thing that jumped out at me was that they have 582 airports! They only have 5.6 million people and it's been called one of the least visited tourist spots in the world. So tell me, if they don't have that many people and no one goes there and unemployment in urban areas reaches 80% (wow!), why the hell do they need all of those airports? And why doesn't some of that 80% move their asses over to one of the airports and get a job?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Wellllll, the event was nice (business casual, but we had blazers on) and I'm sure much money was raised. They had silent auction items and Rich and I were bidding on all sorts of things including: autographs of Reggie Jackson and Tank Johnson (no not together!), a White Sox package, Cubs tickets, bottles of wine and a seven day rental of a ski lodge in Jackson Hole Wyoming that sleeps 6 (thought we were going to win that one, damn). It's amazing what a little wine will do to loosen up your wallet. Ok, a lot of wine.
And even more wine. And then some more. They had appetizers and even a little spread on a table, but nothing that would (or should) replace dinner, which both Rich and I neglected to eat. Not good. Fortunately, we were still in good shape.....until the after party (actually part of the charity event by the way) at La Passage. The unfortunate thing is that I don't really remember being there, so I had to have Rich fill in the details for me today.
Apparently, Rich went up and bought us Heineken's, which I really don't like. So back he went to buy a whiskey and Seven. Had I been sober at this point, I'm sure I wouldn't have mixed wine with whiskey, but clearly I was three-sheets-to-the-wind already. A couple of drinks later and it was time to go home.....at least that's what the security guy thought.
Next thing I know, it's 7 a.m., my radio alarm is going off, the lights in the hallway are on and the bathroom faucet's on. Not a pretty picture. All of my clothes were hung up though! Still not sure whether I took a cab home or the bus.......ouch.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Today's entry is below!
A nice segue into my topic for today. If you watched The Colbert Report the other night (as I do every night), you may have caught a very quick reference to my blog subject, so I want to make sure I credit him for the idea. How many people signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence? 56.
Nobody should really know that, but some might.
But one thing you REALLY shouldn't know is that Button Gwinnett signed it. Yes, THE Button Gwinnett.
I know, I know, you're sitting back with your cup of coffee thinking, "Really? Ol'Button signed the Declaration of Independence? I thought he was just an English Reverend's son turn plantation owner in the U.S." Nope, he actually achieved some notoriety (and not just for invading Florida). In fact, according to Wikipedia, ol'Button's signature is one of the three most valuable signatures in the world (along with Shakespeare and freakin' Julius Caesar). Caesar for crap-sake!!! The Roman ruler who lived from 100 b.c. to 44 b.c. YES, B.C. That's 2000 years ago!! It's not like they had a ton of Bic pens laying around for people to use. And this Button freak's signature, who lived between 1735 and 1777 (a mere 230 years ago), and of whom you had no knowledge until you read this blog, is worth almost as much money! Unbelievable.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The game was very close, though OSU was up 10-0 after three quarters. Michigan tied the game in the fourth and even missed a field goal late as the game came to a conclusion. In an event that couldn't happen now because of overtime being instituted in college football, the game ended in a 10-10 tie.
"Who gets to go to the Rose Bowl?", the little boy asked.
"Well, we'll have to wait and see.", said the father.
And they did.
The next day the Athletic Directors of the 10 schools voted, anonymously, and it was determined that Ohio State would represent the Big 10 by a vote of 6-4.
When the little boy heard of the news, he asked,"Why does Ohio State get to go?"
"Because they had fewer players carried off on stretchers.", the father answered.
For years that comment stayed with the little boy, not really knowing what it meant other than to take it literally. At the time, he also didn't know about the vote of the Athletic Directors.
It only took 33 years and a blustery November morning for me to figure it all out. This morning I read a recount of the game and circumstances in the paper and finally understood. The Michigan quarterback, on the final drive which ended up in a field goal to tie the game, broke his collarbone and had to leave the game. So the decision on which team to send was much more clear: between equal teams, do you take one with a healthy quarterback or one with a second string quarterback (potentially, assuming the collarbone wouldn't heal)? In an era where it was the Rose Bowl or nothing for Big Ten Champions, it seems obvious that the vote for OSU would emerge.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
One of my favorite pics. Ha!
Monday, November 13, 2006
And here’s the helpful hint of the day:
I’m just here to make your life easier and, perhaps, a little more interesting.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Supposedly I went south over the weekend (to Texas), but the temperature sure didn't feel like it! Brrrrrr. At night the temps were in the 40's, which was great for sleeping and sitting by a make-shift fire, but it made me glad that I packed a sweater and some warmer clothes. During the day it was in the 60's, but sunny and that made a difference. A very nice weekend though and I thank my hostess here on my blog. Thank you!!
What is going on with the Bears? They played like crap for almost the entire first half, looking lethargic and giving the ball away like Halloween candy. Then, as if Virginia McCaskey herself threw a switch, they drive the ball down the field and score a touchdown to pull within 13-10 by halftime. So even though they were completely dominated in the first half, they were only down by three. In the second half, the Bears outscored the New York Football Giants, 28-7 to win 38-20, including the longest play for a touchdown in NFL history (a 108.4 yard return of a missed field goal). Unbelievable. Many pundits had this game penciled in as a lost for the Bears and if I were a pundit, I would have penciled it in too. Now we're 8-1 though and we go right back to NY next week to play the Jets. Should be another good game. The Jets beat a very good Patriots team 17-14 in the slop in New England.
Food of choice for this game: thin crust pepperoni pizza from Chicago's Pizza. Good stuff.
So how was YOUR weekend?
Friday, November 10, 2006
On a completely unrelated and much less philosophical topic, has anyone noticed that virtually all of the Seinfeld story lines fall apart if they just had a cell phone? It's bizarre. Next time you watch an episode (before season 7 certainly...1995/96), just take note of what wouldn't happen if the characters had cell phones like they do today. You'll be surprised.
Decided to have a big breakfast today since I'll be traveling and had to get up early to get some work done. No yolk incident this time. See, even someone like me can still learn! Lower heat for a longer time. I'm constantly setting the heat too high while cooking. Is "charred" technically a flavor?
Oh, and the picture of the day (not that this is going to be a regular segment, though who knows?):
They are going to tranquilize him and take the bucket off. The story's on CNN.
Next week, after Monday, my posts might be a little sporadic, but back to normal by the end of the week.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
When we last left Rat Tales: Basra, T-Rex II was killed in the line of duty, fighting them over there (in the neighbors yard) so I wouldn't have to fight them again at home (just like Bush!). Well, two days ago the landscapers came back to the neighbors yard to clear out all the brush and flowers in Basra where T-Rex II was deployed. I never mentioned it, but I only ever found half of T-Rex II. It haunted my dreams to know that the other half of T-Rex II might be down one of the many rat holes in the area (never leave a man behind!!). After the landscapers came in though and raked up the dirt and debris, there was the other half of Rex. I buried him alongside his other half in a tomb fitting of the successful fighter he was.
In loving memory
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Back to what I was going to post yesterday. As I mentioned, my cleaning lady came in on Monday (a sweet 60+year old Guatemalan woman) and did her usual thorough job. However, in her thoroughness, things get moved around and "put away". The toothpaste, in my mind, is "put away" when it's in the bathroom. I use the shit 2-3 times a day, so what's the point of tossing it in the medicine cabinet (which is a total disaster by the way)? That's the least of my troubles though since I know where she puts the toothpaste. The bigger problem is when bills get stacked with magazines and other documents. And my shoes. Who puts shoes in their closet? How the hell am I supposed to find them in there? That's the last place I'd look.
The day after my cleaning lady comes in is spent, in part, straightening all of the pictures in the house. For some reason, maybe it's to let me know she dusted them, every single picture frame is askew. Is this a common thing for cleaning women? Are picture frames on the walls in their own homes askew? Is it a cultural thing? I don't know....all I know is it was tough enough for me to get them straight in the first place.
Another beautiful fall day in Chicago......crappy day to be inside working. Yech.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Since everything seemed positive, I decided to cook a nice breakfast instead of the usual cereal, mostly out of leftovers from the tailgating event on Sunday. Maple sausage, egg mcmuffin sandwich and a big cup of coffee. Finished cooking it all (but not before being interrupted by the Fedex man with MORE work for me to do) and went to read the paper and receive guidance on for whom I should vote. Took a bite into my sandwich and hot yolk shot not only onto my hand, but up my arm a good 4-6 inches! It somehow managed to get under the cuff in my shirt. What the hell?! Guess I didn't cook the egg as long as I thought. The rest of the meal, thankfully, concluded without incident.
Then I came downstairs to hop on email and squelch any fires before voting and to write this blog (which had an entirely different topic only an hour ago). Only to find that a really nice weekend I had planned with a young lady (from out of state) was being cancelled. Ugh! Me thinks I'm going back to bed. I can't risk going to physical therapy. My freakin' leg might fall off or they might diagnose me with Lupus or something. (Seinfeld reference for those who missed it)
Get out and vote!!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The 10 people who were going to join me at the tailgate, quickly dropped to 6 as four of the guys had tickets to a buffet inside the stadium so they didn't partake in my fare. And what good fare it was! Passersby are normally pretty interested when they see I'm actually cooking breakfast instead of brats or burgers. But today they also took particular interest in my bacon-wrapped goodies and the guacamole. Of course my neighbors were offered samplings, but you can never tell if a passerby is a Bear's fan or a visiting team's fan in disguise. In my best Soup Nazi imitation, "No samples for you!"
One good thing about a poor performance (or a huge blowout) is that a lot of the tailgaters take off before the game is over. By about 4-4:30, you can start tossing the football around without drilling cars or other fans accidentally. I turned the grill over to the guy who brought steak sandwiches and instead ran patterns and threw passes in the lot. That lifted my spirits a bit as I haven't been able to get much exercise while I'm rehabbing some strained muscles in my leg.
Another long week of work in the forecast!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
By the time most of you read this, the Bears will be 8-0.....I hope. Sunday is Bears day around the Sutton Household ( I like to say that even though it's just me), though when they are playing at home, I'm not around the Sutton Household much. Tailgating starts at 9:30 in the parking lot and goes until about 5 (two hours after the game ends roughly). It's a blast, filled with eating, drinking and catching up with friends. Sunday's menu is breakfast of egg mcmuffin-like sandwiches, maple sausage patties and bloody mary's. After a break, we'll heat up some appetizers: bacon wrapped dates, figs and shrimp. It's optional to have a hamburger at this point, just before the game. Oh, I'll pull out the guacamole and chips here too. Good eating!! After the Bears win, more drinking and either burgers, Italian sausage or steak sandwiches (which is what we're having tomorrow). An outstanding day of eating and drinking!!!
Friday, November 03, 2006
In the Tribune, the difficulty of the puzzles are ranked 1 through 4 with 4 being the hardest. Anything past a 1 has been beyond me as I feign an effort to solve the puzzles before falling asleep and after reading the comics (a nightly event for me if you didn't know). The other night however I magically solved a level 2 puzzle! Unfortunately, I was pretty excited about solving it and that made it difficult to fall asleep. The solution to my dilemma? Start working on the crossword puzzle. Three across: "Start of Evan Esar quip"...........yawn.......
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I finished off my last cup of coffee last night (decaf because it was late) and went to throw out my well used Starbucks cup. The garbage can by my desk was full, so I went over to another, larger can across the room. Full too. Upstairs I went to the kitchen garbage can (I had to go up there anyway). Full. That's it!! Time to clean the house. That was the last straw. Empty this, pick up that, clean that surface, put that stuff away......on and on.
It's a little odd for me to have these fits since absolutely no one sees my place and I have a cleaning lady come in periodically. Hell, my coffee machine is probably going to burn the place down anyway. Even my neighbors can't look in because my blinds go up from the ledge instead of hanging down from the top of the window (maximum sunlight and privacy!). Well, whatever the reason, my home is relatively clutter-free once again....except for THAT room.
How do normal people know when it's time to clean (you neat freaks in Door County can't comment here....you know who you are!)? When your significant other requests it? Laundry requires it? The roaches tell you it's time?
As many of you know, I go to Starbucks every day, twice a day, religiously.....actually more than religiously because I've missed more than a few weeks of church (due to Bears games which I DO attend religiously). But I digress. So they've started randomly selecting customers (the cash register does it) and you get online and take this survey and they give you a free drink of your choice. Fine. I was selected twice, even better. So yesterday I get an envelope in the mail from Starbucks and I'm thinking, "Great, here comes the marketing crap." Nope. It's a letter saying the 8-cup Barista Aroma coffee maker that I purchased from them is defective and could result in "..smoking, burning and melting of parts...." Nice. Fortunately, as I said, I GO to Starbucks twice a day. Living alone, it doesn't make sense to use the coffee machine unless I have guests. The part that burns me is that the 12-cup model is fine. The solo cup model is fine. Even the black and white 8-cup models are fine. Only the stainless steel model, the one I purchased because it went soooo well with my kitchen, is defective. Thanks guys.
On a completely unrelated note, let's talk the Super Bowl. No, I'm not making my reservations for Miami.......yet. I looked in the Trib today and they had the teams ranked by some sort of "power ranking" methodology.....just someone's opinion no doubt. It appears clear to me that one of the teams who are 5-2 or better is going to win the Super Bowl. There are 9 teams that currently qualify in that category. So I'm thinking, if you put $20 down on each team, some will have bad odds (Bears, Colts, Patriots) which are probably....what....5-1 maybe? So if one of them wins it, you lose money ($180 spent, $100 won). Outside of those teams, the odds have to be better than 10-1 I'm thinking at this point in the season. If anyone has a bookie or is going to Vegas and can find that out, let me know.
That's it for today, busy work day.