Thursday, May 25, 2006

Asshat of the Week - My Nomination

Earlier this week Atilla The Mom nominated Los Angeles resident Michael Cohn for Asshat of the Week. It seems Mr. Cohn was cheesed off at not being given a complimentary Mother's Day totebag while attending a Los Angeles Angels baseball game last year. In fact, his pain and suffering was so great that he filed a class action lawsuit requesting $4,000 in damages for himself and each of the "victims".

While I believe Mr. Cohn certainly is a petty little man and perhaps even worthy of the title Asshat, I would like to nominate a challenger for this week's award. My selection for Asshat of the Week is Ms. Bethann Hiltson.

It seems that Ms. Hiltson, age 27, found the task of getting a job to support herself too troublesome. Instead she felt it would be better to force "her developmentally disabled half-sister into prostitution by telling her she would be sent back to a group home if she didn't give men what they wanted". According to the allegations, Ms. Hilston, who is her sister's caretaker and receives her Social Security checks, would set up "dates" for her sister and keep the proceeds for herself. She is also accused of posting nude photos of her sister on the internet and attempting to coerce others in her building to assist in her scheme. She is currently being held in the Ramsey County Jail.

It sort of makes Cain and Abel's relationship look pretty healthy in comparison.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Back Home Again

We are back from New York. We did a lot of sight seeing and the medical check-up went very well. I'll write more later but in the meantime, check out the pictures from our trip.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Leaving On A Jet Plane

We will be out of town for the week and will not likely have access to a computer so I wanted to wish you well before I go. We are going to New York for a follow-up visit with the doctors responsible for my wife's brain surgery. We anticipate good news but you never know until you actually get there. This will be the first time our kids have flown, their first time outside the Central Time Zone and their first time sleeping in a hotel. Since we will be gone to until Saturday and we only have to spend one day at the clinic, we have planned a fair amount of sight seeing as well. We already have our tickets for the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty which the kids are REALLY excited about. We also plan to spend some time in Central Park, FAO Schwarz and in Little Italy for pizza and cannoli.

While we're gone be sure to wish my parents a happy 47th wedding anniversary, say a prayer for FrankenKrsitin's aunt who will be having surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her kidney this week and tip a glass of Aquavit in honor of Syttende Mai commemorating the signing of the Norwegian Constitution and the successful attempt to wrestle our country away from those pesky Swedes.

Talk to you all when I get back.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

You Can Dance If You Want To

For years I have joked that I'm in a band because I can't dance. However, I think I may have found just the training video I need to catch up on all the moves I missed.

This may require a high speed connection...and speakers.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

C Is For Cookie

In honor of Atilla The Mom's post about the idiot woman in Maine responsible for helping her daughter and two classmates bake a batch of laxative-laced cookies as an anonymous "gift" for their teacher, I offer this recipe for Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies.


10 Cloves fresh garlic
Boiling water
-specialty stores carry this
1/2 c Maple syrup
1 c Butter, softened
3/4 c Brown sugar
3/4 c Sugar
2 Eggs
1 ts Vanilla
1/2 ts Salt
2 1/4 c Chocolate chips
1/2 c Chopped nuts
2 1/2 c Flour
1 ts Baking soda

Drop garlic cloves into boiling water for about 5 minutes until tender. Peel and chop garlic and soak in Maple syrup for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to cream mixture. Then stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drain garlic and add to cookie batter. Blend well. Drop cookie batter by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on racks.

I've made them several times, once for a Halloween party (ya' know, to keep the Vampires away), and they are quite good. But then I'll try just about anything.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Soft Drinks

I get regular E-mails from an organization called which include various drug and alcohol prevention news and resources. I have been staring at this article included in today's edition all day and I can't figure out what to make of it. Any thoughts?

Impotence Among College Students Attributed to Drinking, Stress
May 9, 2006

College clinics are hearing more reports of young men with impotence problems, and alcohol and other drug use plus a dose of performance anxiety are seen as culprits, the Washington Post reported May 7.

Problem drinking and drug use on campus are nothing new, but the new variable may be the forward attitude of many young women, who are increasingly likely to initiate sex. "I know lots of girls for whom nothing is off limits," said college junior Helen Czapary of the University of Maryland. "The pressure on the guys is a huge deal."

Anecdotally, health counselors at schools like Duke, Tulane, the University of New Hampshire, and MIT Medical Center said that reports of impotence have increased in recent years. Urologist Jon Pryor of the University of Minnesota said that 30 percent of his patients with erectile dysfunction are under age 30.

Causes can include diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but lifestyle is the root of impotence among many young men. More college students are taking antidepressants, which can reduce sexual function. Alcohol, smoking, and lack of exercise all can contribute to the problem.

"We get reports of increased stress levels starting at younger ages," said Thomas Jarrett, chief urologist at the George Washington University Medical Center. "These are kids living on the extreme, drinking caffeinated Red Bull and beer and working very hard."

Sometimes, a failure in bed can lead to reflection on other parts of a young man's life. GW sophomore Peter Schneider was "torn up inside" after a string of disappointments with his girlfriend during his freshman year. Then he began looking at his lifestyle, which included use of marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol and Adderall, with little or no exercise. With the counsel of a close friend and an understanding girlfriend, Schneider got his libido back.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Sunday Trumpet

This week The Admiral challenges the challenger with his review of The Da Vinci Code. Poke around his review and see what all the fuss is about.


Think you've got what it takes to blow the Sunday Trumpet? Become an official Sporadic Gasbag today.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Totally Rockin' Eclipse of the Heart

I've mentioned this before but I sing and play guitar in a (very) part-time cover band. It started as many do, in high school when, like nearly every other red-blooded adolescent male, I was looking to find a way to meet girls. That was 1985. We never tried very hard so it eventually became nothing more than a hobby and an excuse to get together with friends.

Although we have had a revolving Spinal Tap-like cast of drummers, three of us (Spam, Fish and I) have been friends and playing together since high school. In recent year, mostly due to the introduction of children, the number of gigs we play each year can usually be counted on one hand. Aside from the annual gig "up-north" the only reason we still do this is to keep in shape for the class reunion every five years. Our 20th is coming up in September and we will be the featured entertainment on Friday night.

During our college years we took a half-hearted stab at playing original music and even played a few shows as an all original band. I still have the VHS to prove it although time may steal that from me if I don't transfer it to digital soon. Nowadays it's strictly covers and as with most cover bands we play - and are sick of - the typical cover band standards (Brown Eyed Girl, Mustang Sally, Gimme Three Steps). While we have added newer songs to the setlist we rely pretty heavily on 80s music as well as the local bands we grew up on (with a little alt-country thrown in for good measure).

What really makes being in a cover band worthwhile is taking a well known song and completely changing it around, or in our case destroying it beyond repair. We have been known rip through a punk rock version of "Country Roads" by John Denver, given "Here For The Party" by Gretchen Wilson and new set of balls and rendered people speechless with our ballad rendition of "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne. Turning Brown Eyed Girl into a polka is the icing on the cake.

As such I am always on the lookout for new and interesting cover songs. To that end, I hope you like Hurra Torpedo's take on the classic Bonnie Tyler tune "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as much as I did. Enjoy.

This may require high speed connection to view.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You CAN Always Get What You Want

Whenever I talk with high school students about drugs and alcohol inevitably we come around to the "where do you get it from" conversation. More often than not, students will admit that they have older siblings buy for them. In fact research data identify older friends and siblings as one of the most common ways for young people to obtain alcohol (along with stealing it from home) and something about which we are constantly educating parents. Apparently my son Luke has already figured this out too - if you can't get something you want, have someone else get it for you. Thankfully, it's not alcohol - but books.

You see, Luke was an early reader. His sister Emma taught him how to read when he was 4 and she was 6. He quickly took off and although he is only in kindergarten, he is able to read at a 4th grade level, the same as Emma who is in second grade. He's already read Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach and Little House on the Prairie. Recently he has become quite a fan of the Magic Treehouse series and is working his way through all 28 books as well as the 7 books in the Merlin Mission series.

Last week he went with his class to the school library to get a few new books, as they do every week, and was told by the kindly librarian that he couldn't check out Haunted Castle on Hollow's Eve because it was a "third grade" book. So rather than be disappointed he tracked down his sister in school and asked her to check it out for him. I found out when we were having quiet time and I asked him what he was reading.

"Haunted Castle on Hollow's Eve" he replied. "They told me I couldn't check it out because it's a third grade book and it would be too hard, but I'm not having any trouble at all."

"Where did you get it?" I asked.

"I had Emma check it out for me."

When my wife and I finally finished laughing we decided to mention this to his teacher. She agreed that Luke would have no trouble reading any third grade level books and most fourth grade books as well. She was also willing to notify the librarians that he should be allowed to check out any book he chooses.

BTW, He finished it in two days. All 112 pages. He takes after his mother in that respect.

The Sunday Trumpet

Atilla the Mom proves this week that two heads aren't necessarily better than one with her review of Full Speed by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes. If the author's letter to her readers is any indication of how well the book in written, I think I'll be heading Full Speed in the opposite direction.


Think you've got what it takes to blow the Sunday Trumpet? Become an official Sporadic Gasbag today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy May Day

Hooray! Hooray! It's the 1st of May.

Outdoor nookie begins today!