Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Well, Poo!

"I'm just a little black rain cloud
Hovering under the honey tree"

Ok, that's not the poo I'm referring to.  Pooh is Number One.  This poo is Number Two.

What did he say?  I'm going to have to think about that.

As you probably know by now, I'm not a coffee drinker.  A few years ago I heard about a new coffee from Thailand called Civet Cat Coffee.  If you've never heard of this coffee, what I'm about to tell you probably won't encourage you to run out and buy some.  First off, it's expensive.  The online retailer Dean & Deluca sells Civet Cat Coffee through the Kopi Luwak brand. One 50 gram bag is $55.  Using the magical Google calculator to convert it to something I understand, it comes out to just under $500 per pound.  Yes.  $500.  Per pound.

Next, what makes this coffee so special?  According to Dean & Deluca, the beans (or cherries) are "digested and fermented by wild civets".  Now, to my internal thesaurus, "digested" is another term for "eaten" and "fermented" means "sits in the intestines until pushed out".  So, the civet cats do all the hard work, climbing the trees, then picking, eating, and - ahem - cleaning the beans.  The farmers just shovel up the forest floor, wash them off, and package them in little bags for gullible foreigners to buy.
Thailand's answer to Juan Valdez
Seems to me the cats do all the hard work.  I guess it's so expensive because there's not that many cats that prefer coffee.  If they'd hire more cats, maybe it wouldn't cost so much.
Well, if that wasn't bad enough, now a Chinese entrepreneur has ventured into my purview with a new product called "Panda Poo Tea".  When I first heard about it, I imagined Kung Fu Panda giving tea plants the civet cat experience before they're dried and packaged for sale.  Fortunately, that is as wrong as it is stomach-turning. 
Panda Poo Tea comes from tea plants grown in a compost bed of panda droppings.  Now, it takes a lot of tea plants to make a pound of tea.  That's a lot of acreage.  A lot of acreage would require a lot of panda scat.  Apparently, that's not a problem.  The average panda creates some 44 pounds of panda poo per day.  44 pounds.  A day.  Every day.  That's enough to make a LEET-speak geek exclaim, "0# $#17!," and rightly so.
He hopes to sell the first harvest of this new tea variety for 22,000 pounds per pound.  For us colonial revolutionaries, that would be a mere $44,000 per pound.  16 ounces.  $44,000.  Now that cat-excreted java seems like a bargain, doesn't it?
I'll stick with a nice Assam, or Lapsang Souchong, or a good English Breakfast.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chrismas Time is Here

Bonus points for me if you can't get Charlie Brown's Christmas out of your head now.

I've been a little out of sorts this past month or so.  I'm sure you're dying to know why, so I'll definitely share, but first the backstory.  I have to share the backstory. I think it's an unwritten blog rule.  After all, what's a blog without a backstory?  That's right, a paragraph.

In 2008 I was down-sized from a company I'd been with since graduating from college.  It was the only full-time job I've ever had.  Since then, I worked two jobs for two years to try to come close to replacing our income.  Then, out of the blue, the second full-time I've ever had gave me the opportunity to further my career elsewhere.  They were gracious enough to keep me on for three months after telling me - basically to train my replacement (technically, he wasn't my replacement, he had a different job title, since giving him the same title might've left a door open for litigation - he just did the same work I was doing).  But, if I hadn't gone through all that, I wouldn't have discovered Awesome Vendors.

Oh yeah, also in the last year of that job, my Sweetie also was down-sized from her full-time job.  Providentially, she found a part time job before my full-time job ended, so we were still ok - after downsizing the family budget to match.  Her new job is in retail, and since it's not Chick-Fil-A, they're open on Sundays.  Sundays that she basically works two on, two off.

Bear with me, I'm about to come to a point.

About that same time, the church we were attending closed it's doors, and my Sweetie working half or more Sundays in a month provides a convenient excuse to lack the initiative to find a new one.  I want to avoid any awkwardness there might be with me visiting some place alone.  "We have a great adult singles ministry." "Are you divorced?"

So, back to being out of sorts.  I miss being in the middle of a congregation and belting out Silent Night, Joy to the World, Angels We Have Heard on High, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas... (What? Your church doesn't sing about hippopotami?)  Our church was modern church, so we didn't always do the traditional Advent-y things - which I missed long before this year - but I really miss the extra fellowship that seems to come with the season.

To fill the void, we've had our cable set to the Holiday music channel.  The music channels all display bits of trivia at the top and bottom of the screen.  Most of the time it's even relevent.  The holiday channel stretches the definition of relevant. Learning the minimum size for the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide is interesting.  Pointing out that Jim Carrey's character in Dumb and Dumber was named Lloyd Christmas, is dubious at best.  While I uttered a verbal, "Huh!" when I read that Play-Doh was originally created as a wallpaper cleaner, I'm not sure what it has to do with Christmas.

The one piece of trivia you won't find there, is originally there was a reverent version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  My Sweetie and I first heard about it when we heard Twila Paris explain that she'd be singing it a little differently from what was introduced way back in Meet Me In St. Louis.  She said the producers wanted two words changed (the all-knowing internet oracle Wikipedia says there were more words than that).  Instead of "if the Fates allow", it should be "if the Lord allows".  So, anytime we hear that song, we sing the right lyrics and roll our eyes at everyone who sings it wrong.

I'm looking forward to Christmas Sunday.  We'll be in Oklahoma City, and we'll go with family to their slightly-Charismatic-mega-church and be able to join in with hundreds of people who've possibly been to church even less than us, allowing us to still have someone to look down our sanctimonious noses at.

If I don't post before then, Merry Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Awesome Vendors

I have to create a quick post during lunch here at work just to proclaim that we've got the best vendors in the world.  None of the places I've worked in the past had such generous - and dare I say loving? (ok, maybe that's a little too carried away) - vendors who lavished cornucopian tasties upon us.  (Still too much?  Ok, just a little hyperbolic.)
I have no idea who they are, or what exactly it is that they vend for us, but every day for the past week they've plied the IT Department with goodies.  One day it was festively decorated doughnuts.  Another was banana bread.  One brought bags of pre-popped popcorn (mmm, caramel covered popcorn).  One went healthy on us and brought a box of pears.  Sadly, there was no partridge.  They must have left it in the tree.

Today, it's a variety basket of crackers, cheese spread, nuts, dried fruit, and TEA!  10 glorious bags of English Breakfast tea.  I was courteous and only took one.  English Breakfast is one of my favorite blends, so it's amazing the box hasn't yet found its way into my desk drawer.  All bets are off if it's still there tomorrow.

The octagonal tin had peanut brittle from yesterday until it was finished off before 9:00.

Speaking of tea, I'm totally stealing this from another blog I follow, but I was so impressed I had to share.

I hope you enjoy it, too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Random Thoughts for a Friday

Here's just a few things that have been on my mind, but none of them warrant an entire post on their own.

I saw another car that fits into the same category that I wrote about here.

I followed an Angry Bird home.

Things have been a little weird in Oklahoma this year.  I was there to experience the 5.6 earthquake on Nov. 5.  Since then they've had aftershocks on the same day as tornadoes, flash flooding in places strangled by a drought, and earlier in the year they experienced new state records for snowfalls, hail stones, low temperatures, and wind!  You can read more about it here (unless you've lived it, then you may not want to).

Speaking of weird, Earl Grey tea.  Bergamot oil - 'nuff said.

I've thought about this a long time, but have never had a platform to express it until now.  Isn't it ironic that the bread manufacturers spend all that time and energy to get the bread to the grocery store so it's as fresh and soft and moist as possible, for us to bring it home and dry it out in the toaster.

A tea blog I follow, The Devotea, recently had an entry about Politically Correct tea.  It humbled me to be reminded that the (often) amber liquid I love (not Dr. Pepper, it's caramel colored) is picked and produced by people who most likely make less in a day than what I spend per ounce on some tea varieties.

Speaking of tea, if you're ever in middle Tennessee, and you like tea, be sure to stop in at Franklin Tea in downtown Franklin.  Jan is the owner, and she is the nicest person you'd want selling you tea leaves.  (Which reminds me, I still have a post in progress about a tea tasting My Sweetie and I attended.  It's taking awhile because I don't want it to be boring. No comments about that never stopping me before, thank you.)

I've mentioned that most of the time there's just two of us in the house now, right?  I called home to let Sweetie know I was on my from work, and a deep voice answered.  It caught me off-guard - did I dial the right number?  Who's home with My Sweetie?  Then I realized it was our son.  His university is close to a military base, so they don't have classes on Veteran's Day.  He surprised us by coming home.

Another blog I follow is Stuff Christians Like.  It's author, Jon Acuff, is a humor-filled guy who works in Dave Ramsey's office.  He's written a book called Quitters, that's next on my want list.  It's about quitting your job to do something you dream about.  The first step is Don't!  As in, don't quit your day job without preparation for the next step.

I've been slightly obsessed recently with a term that I'd heard before, but never really thought much of until Jon wrote about it -- the Jesus Juke.  If you've never heard of a Jesus Juke, it goes something like this.  One person will quip, "Don't you hate how expensive Starbucks is?"  and another will respond with something like, "Yeah, think how much good we could do all that money went towards overseas missions."  Usually it stops all conversation and leaves most parties feeling guilty - when the person doing the juking was probably either trying to be profound or funny, and no one is sure which it is.  Anyway, on Facebook I saw a status that said something like, "I sure miss my husband when he's traveling."  One of their (obviously single) friends said, "Be thankful you have a husband to miss."  Would that be a Spouse Juke?  A Secular Juke?

Why do we enslave ourselves to these creatures who seem most concerned that their food bowls are empty?
Cat wanting to be fed - at least she was until she ran off while I got the camera
Well, I better feed the cats instead of blogging about feeding the cats.  They'll love me more for it.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we don't typically store our cereal in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Well, it is cereal, and it is on the kitchen floor, but it's there to keep the dog from opening the pantry and getting to the cats' food dishes.  He's trained like elephants, who don't escape when held by loose ropes.  We had something heavier there, and now he doesn't go in with something light blocking it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Jack

(This is a little late.  I started composing it before going to Oklahoma, and then tried to finish it while there, but I'd already loaded my pictures to the home computer.  Those puppies were worth another 5,000 words, you know.)

Saturday, Oct. 22, was the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue.  This is one of the, if not the, biggest BBQ competitions in the country.  Teams must qualify to enter by winning another major competition.  It's not like anyone can just show up with a little Coleman grill, and a couple of racks of ribs, and their grandmother's "secret" sauce (that she probably got from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook anyway).
Me with a Jack Daniel's themed Barbecue Grill

There were teams from all over the world.  40 United States were represented.  Squeal-on-U-BBQ came from Alaska, and Up In Smoke made it from Hawaii.  There were 18 international teams.  The largest contingent was from our neighbor to the north, eh.

Walking around and seeing the names of all the crews was half the fun.  We got to see teams like I Smell Smoke!!! (Malden, MA), Hog Tide BBQ (Bentonville, AR), - they had both University of Arkansas and University of Alabama banners hanging from their tent - 4 Smokin' Butts (Millstadt, IL), and Chix, Swine & Bovine BBQ (Jessup, MD).  The last one's logo is a chicken, a cow, and a pig all dressed like businessmen.  This is serious stuff, but they have a  lot of fun doing it.

This overgrown house was interesting.
That's not a trellis next to the satellite dish.
That's a flag pole.

My favorite team had to be Motley Que Crew from Grosse Pointe Woods, MI.  They by far drew the largest crowd of the day.  One of their crew members is Guy Fieri.  If you don't know Guy, you need to.  He has a couple of shows on the Food Network.  My favorite is Diners, Drives, and Dives.  He puts a rockin' spin on cooking.  His spiky blond hair, two-toned gotee, and his tattoos and bling let you know he's not another Emiril or Julia.

Guy Fieri and the Motley BBQ Crew (he's drinking the water)

I don't think we'll be on TV since we were behind them.
 The highlight for me, though, was visiting the Squire "tent" at the Jack Daniel's Distillery. 
My son and me at the Squire Tent
 It's a privilege to be a Tennessee Squire. Jack Daniel's definitely treats their squires right. One can only become a Squire by being nominated by another Squire. It has nothing to do with how much you partake of the golden liquid. My predecessor (? sponsor? nominator? Squire Father?) only tasted JD for the first time last year. His predecessor, on the other hand, well, we joke with him that he doesn't need to be embalmed after he dies. Also, we all know it would be catastrophic if he were to be cremated.As for me, I imbibe every once in awhile.  I'd much prefer a glass of Dr. Pepper, but Jack and Coke, or even better, Lynchburg Lemonade, definitely have their times and places.

The trip was a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to going back next year.  BBQ anyone?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011



That's what happens on computer/geek/technical message boards to keep a message thread active.  They're usually sorted by the latest post, so bumping a thread brings it back to the top of the list.  I felt the need to bump my blog. 

Not a whole lot has been going on.  Oh, except that we got a new car for the eldest child over the weekend.  (Did I get any pictures? No-o-o-o...)  She drove it back to school yesterday.  It made it - that makes it a successful purchase.

My Sweetie and I attended a tea tasting last week.  I took pictures, and I'm composing a blog entry, but it's taking too long to come together.

The weather is "cold."  I still didn't wear a jacket today, but the temperature dropped about 15 degrees from the time I arrived at work yesterday and when I left.  Brisk is an apt description.

Oh, another thing distracting me from blogging is the Major League post-season.  After nothing except one lone, playoff loss about 10 years ago, the Texas Rangers made it to the World Series two years in a row.  They play Game 1 of the World Series tonight in St. Louis.  I've followed them since the early 70's, watching them have 2/3 of a good season, with the other 1/3 always wiping out any success from the majority of the season.

That's about all for now.  So, there. 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

End of an Era

Yesterday we lost an entreprenurial genius, and a tech-geek legend. 

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a big fan of his products.  I've never owned any Apple products, and I can probably count on my hands and feet the number of times I've used Apple products.  In fact, it wasn't until about four years ago that I allowed my kids to install iTunes on their laptops or purchase an iPod.

With that said, it's undeniable the impact he leaves on the world of technology.  He didn't invent the personal computer, but he helped make it marketable.  He didn't invent the mouse, but he saw its potential and drove his development department to incorporate it.  In fact, Apple didn't invent the cell phone, the mp3 player, touch screens, or tablets, but almost every household (except mine ) has at least one iPhone, iPod or iPad.  (OK, so my son has an iPod, and my wife won an iShuffle).

That doesn't even take into account that the started, or helped build, three different companies -- Apple, NeXT computers (which was eventually bought by Apple), and a little animation company purchased from George Lucas, called Pixar.

I first heard the name "Jobs" back in college.  The computer professor was from Korea, and I thought something had to be getting lost in the translation.  "Jobs" for a last name?  Ri-i-i-ght....

I first heard of Apple when that same year the college set up a classroom full of Apples (Apple II?).  All we could do was stare at them through the narrow window in the door and be amazed at them.  They were purchased without any curriculum to go with them.  Somehow the image of a horse pushing a cart comes to mind.

Anyway, even a non-Apple bigot like myself can admit that what he did was pretty awesome, and the world has a void in it today - not unlike their logo.

I think this is a spectacular tribute to him.
From Jonathan Mak

 RIP, Steve Jobs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life Imitates Animation

I’ve hit a dry spell lately for blogging ideas. I guess that’s an indication of how uneventful life has been lately.

I’ve been enjoying reading the blogs I follow (I was going to include links, but I don’t want to leave anyone out, and that would mean a LOT of hyperlinks).

As I’ve been driving to and from work the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a trend in vehicle designs. Maybe it’s the new generation of automotive engineers, maybe they’re bored with the same ol’ – same ol’. Possibly, they’re trying to market to a younger generation, or even the nostalgia that Baby Boomers have for days gone by.

I posted this awhile back on Facebook.

Pikachu, I choose YOU!

Remember the Banana Splits?

Those Mazda 3s always remind me of the second character from the left.

And one more:

Looney Tunes?  I always liked Sam the Sheepdog.  Not enough that I'd want to drive a car that looks like him, though.

Isn't that odd, or is it just me?

Yeah, I think I know the answer to that question.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goodbye Danny Tanner, Hello Dr. Weston

Our house
(From The Parenting Weblog)
Shh!! Listen… Hear that? That’s the sound of house devoid of children. No stereos/iPods/MP3 players, no Xbox noises emanating from bedrooms, no refrigerator doors being opened, no milk being poured, no cats trapped in the bathroom for “company” while showering. No cries of “(S)he started it”, “Do I hafta?”, “What’s for supper?”, or “Can I go to ...?” That silence is also the sound of the electric meter not spinning like a top.

But, there’s also no sounds of “Hey Dad, watch this”, “Love ya”, smooches, hugs (they can be real noisy, you know), no satisfying sounds of life imparting from their rooms, either. Those are the sounds that are being missed.

We got the youngest moved into his dorm room a week ago Thursday. Surprisingly, there were no tears from any of us. We went through the same exercise two weeks today with his sister, but it’s old hat with her, so there wasn’t any expectation of trauma that day.

I keep expecting a big emotional surge to overwhelm me at the most inopportune time, but so far, I’m like the guy who fell out of the skyscraper. As he passed the 40th floor someone yelled out, “How’s it going?” He replied, “So far, so good.”

If Empty Nest is supposed to be processed like Grief, I feel like I must have used an “Advance to Go” card and skipped right to Acceptance. They’re gone – ok. Time to make supper – better set out two pounds of hamburger – oh wait, we only need one. Wow, that gallon of milk has lasted four days. I hope it doesn’t go bad. Now that there’s no one here during the day, I can adjust the programmable thermostat to not run the air conditioner in the morning. I’m a dad – I think it's genetic for me to think in terms of money.

I know what will happen.  One day I'll pull the couch away from the wall to retrieve the remote, I'll find an errant sock behind there, and I'll have to wash it again after I've soaked it with tears.

 (Oh, and as their mother read the work in process, I brought her to tears. Mission accomplished?)

And the title?  Everyone probably remembers Danny Tanner was the dad on Full House; Dr. Weston is from Empty Nest. (Don't go beyond the titles - the analogy falls apart really quick.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kites on Ice

This is an amazing video!  I've seen quad line kites, but I've never flown one.  Quad line kites have four (quad) lines attached to them, on the top and bottom of the right and left sides.  They attach to handles like so:

The beauty of quad line kites is that they can hover, back up, spin in place, and do other amazing tricks.  If kites were birds, they'd be the hummingbirds of the species.  Very expensive hummingbirds.

I never would have thought to combine kites and skating.  This couple makes it look so effortless.  If I could stand up on ice skates, I'm sure I'd end up tangled in the lines, the personification of Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today is the anniversary of Elvis' passing (alleged passing, that is).  This is one of those moments where "I remember I was ____ when ____."  I was traveling down I-35 in a two pickup caravan headed to Dallas, TX.  It was an FFA trip to Six Flags before my Freshman year started. 

The other vehicle called on the CB that they heard a news report that Elvis died.  We couldn't believe it.

I wasn't old enough to fully appreciate his contributions to music.  To me he was just an old singer that my sisters liked when they were growing up.  It wasn't until later that I came to understand how important he had been.

What better way to commemorate his death than with a pun.
I'll freely admit this isn't original - I'm lifting it from a friend's Wall on Facebook.

Six months after Elvis passed away, a fan, not believing Elvis was dead, broke into the grounds of Graceland and dug up the grave.  When he opened the casket, he found Elvis fastidiously erasing sheets of music.
He said, "Elvis, what are you doing?"
Elvis replied, "Decomposing."

Thank you! Thank-you-verra-much!

Are you old enough to remember what you were doing Aug. 16, 1977?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)

I heard this song as I was channel surfing the radio driving home from work this week. I can’t remember ever hearing it before, even though, according to the Internet Repository of All Knowledge, it’s almost as old as me.
 Some of the blogs I follow have posted questions to answer from this site, so this idea isn’t original, but I decided to see what I could come up with for the questions posed by the Beach Boys when they were still boys on the beach.

Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?  In some ways, yes, but others, no. I still like the classic horror movies, but not the new ones. They don’t leave anything for your mind to envision.
Chinese food, check. Mexican food, check. Dr. Pepper, big check. But, now I also enjoy Thai food, asparagus, and multiple variations of tea.

Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn't done what I did?  Back in high school there was the party I attended to make sure I was one of the cool kids. I was standing holding a full cup of a 3.2% beverage that none of us were old enough to have. I didn’t like the taste, so I was just standing there holding it, doing my best to look cool. I had my foot propped up on a log when someone moved the other end causing it to roll, and me to lose my balance, cutting my thumb on the log on my way down, definitely not cool. Of course, everyone thought I was - literally - falling down drunk. I have a scar on my thumb to still remind me of that night. That’s the only incident I’ll admit to in a public forum.

Will I joke around and still dig those sounds? I still like rock music, but I’m more sensitive to their lyrics (did I really sing “Cat Scratch Fever” at the top of my lungs?). When songs were being chosen to sing at the high school graduation ceremonies, I still remember thinking, “What is this strange song titled ‘My Father’s Eyes', and who is this Amy Grant person?” Suffice it to say, Christian music has matured as well, over the years. Instead of KISS, I more Skillet. I still love to rock ‘n roll all night (well, maybe just ‘til midnight), but Monster and Hero are what give me goose bumps now.

Will I look for the same things in a woman that I dig in a girl? I think that's true. While I’ll admit to owning a Farrah Fawcett poster – what boy didn’t have one – I was really more into girls who made me laugh, were fun to hang out with, and accepted me for who I was – the band geek who never played on any of the sports teams and was “like a brother” to all the girls. Today, I’m married to a wonderful woman who, 25 years into our marriage, still makes me laugh, is fun to hang out with and loves me for who I am (most of the time).

Will I settle down fast or will I first wanna travel the world? If traveling from Oklahoma to Michigan counts as “the world”, ok. Then I went back six months later, got married, and took her back to Michigan.

Will my kids be proud or think their old man is really a square? They may correct me, but I like to think I’m a pretty cool dad. There are things I would’ve done differently, but as they become adults, I think they’re just as proud to have me for a father as I am to have them as my kids.

When they're out having fun yeah, will I still wanna have my share? I’ll let them have their Ultimate matches (think football with a Frisbee) and their Panera Days, but I still like for us to go to movies, amusement parks, and to play WiiStation 360 video games.

Will I love my wife for the rest of my life? I refer you back to the “settle down” question. We both agree that it wasn’t a marriage contract we entered into, it was a marriage covenant. Those aren’t entered into lightly, nor are they broken.

In a lot of ways, I still feel like that skinny (relatively), fresh-faced kid who spent probably hundreds of gallons of gas driving 1.1 miles dozens of times a night -- you know, "dragging main."  Society tells me I'm in mid-life.  I'm still waiting for the crisis, if that's true.  I still think I've yet to reach that point.  Reading an article about the bad eating/living habits of old people, I think I've got a long way to go.  Maybe I'll revisit these questions when I actually do grow up to be a man.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When the Chips Are Down

Our "baby" is going off to college in less than three weeks.  We threw a party for him and his friends that was a graduation/off-to-school soirée.  We told him to invite a "few friends".  We were thinking 30 max.  His invitation list through Facebook was 42.  That didn't include the spouses of some of the parents, either. 

Two years ago we did kind of the same thing for the first-born, but we sent out invitations with the graduation announcements, we had no control over the RSVPs, and it was billed as a come-and-go open house.  We planned for 75, and got a lot less. 

Plus, the first time around, we ordered all the food from a local Mexican restaurant, because 1) Mexican is cheap, 2) most everyone likes it, 3) we could lay it all out and people could assemble it in whatever combination they wanted (nachos, burritos, tacos, with or without beans, etc.), and 4) it was easy.

As I said, we planned for 75.  We ordered food for 75.  They delivered what seemed like enough for 150.  We fed everyone that day.  We sent some with a couple of friends.  We ate on it for a week.  We took the rest to a family gathering and fed 20 people two meals with it.  So, I'm not kidding when I said we had a lot of food.

So, you'd think we'd learned out lesson, right?  Originally, we ordered for 30 people.  Two days before, as we watched the Facebook replies surpass that mark, we decided to increase the order to 40.

Just a few chips
This is the left over chips.  in case you can't tell by the drawstring, that's a "tall kitchen bag" size trash bag that we're storing them in.  We also have a gallon-sized ice cream tub full of queso, and a 1 pound margarine tub of salsa to go with them.

Plus, with all the beef, chicken, beans, and rice, we haven't been lacking for meals this week.  We froze the remainder so we wouldn't have to throw it out.  I may trade in my normal caps for a sombrero before it's all gone.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

If Looks Could Kill

The owner of this cat better be sleeping with one eye open...

I WILL kill you in your sleep.
 From the Random Cat Picture website.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Go Fly a Kite? OK!

As the URL for my blog indicates, another interest I have is flying kites. Generally, I prefer dual line stunt kites, but I recently purchased what's called a parafoil kite.  It's a single line kite, so I can't wait to try it out.

Parafoil Kite
I first became interested in this hobby while exiled to the Great White North, aka Michigan, where it was easy to find wide open spaces with what's called “clean air”, unobstructed by hills and buildings. The downside was a relatively short season – you see, a key requirement to flying kites is wind – which is also found in the term “wind chill.” Michigan also had lots of that. I never found flying kites in gloves and woolen hats all that enjoyable.

Since relocating to Tennessee, I haven't gone out as much as I'd like. While there's less times of the year affected by wind chill, as the kids got older and more involved in school activities, it's almost like waiting for a nine planet convergence, so to speak - when there is enough wind, the temperature is warm enough, there aren't any school activities, I'm off work, and the kite/s is/are in working condition. Plus, I have to search more for clean air. Hills and trees cause turbulent (dirty) air. There's an abundance of both in this area.

As the kids go off to college, that will take care of part of the equation – no extra-curricular activities that we're committed to regularly attend. I've got the new parafoil – it's never been out of its pouch, so it better be in good condition. I'm only working one job now, so I've got more free time.

Now, if the weather would just cooperate! Call me a cream puff, but as much as I dislike wind chill, I also dislike extreme amounts of heat about as much. We haven't been as scorched as Texas and Oklahoma – our hot streak hasn't been in triple digits – and we've gotten some (not a lot more) rain, but 95+ degrees is still hot -- oh, wait, we're having a cool spell. It's only going to be 92 this weekend.

As an addendum, probably the last time I flew my kites was during a visit to Oklahoma. No lack of wind, that's for sure. I remember breaking the spine of one kite because the wind was too strong.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not Undecided, Just Waffling

Every once in awhile I'll fix waffles for breakfast, and of course, that means I have to be an ass, well, I have to paraphrase my favorite non-Biblical talking donkey and say, “It's morning. I'm making waffles!!”

Today was such a day. But, I didn't make just any ordinary waffles, I put a special touch on them.

Waffles and tea.

No, the special touch isn't the peanut butter. That's normal fare. So is the non-high fructose corn syrup-free corn syrup. Most people grow up putting the normal, boring butter and maple syrup on pancakes and waffles. I was raised on butter, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Actually, if you'll read the ingredients on your average so-called “maple” syrup, corn syrup is generally the main ingredient above maple flavoring.  So, most likely you use corn syrup, too.

But I digress. This isn't about what's topping the waffles. Not special.

The tea alongside is a little special. It's Vanilla Rooibos. Mornings generally mean lots of caffeine-bearing tea. Rooibos isn't what I call a “real” tea. It's derived from a South African bush, not Camellia sinensis that produces what we commonly know as tea – black, green, white, etc. It's an herbal “tea”, a non-caffeinated herbal tea.

I still digress. It's not about the difference between Camellia sinensis and (ahem) non-teas. Not special today.

What made this breakfast special is how the waffles were made. The rooibos isn't just served alongside the waffles, it's actually in the waffles. I infused a pot of the vanilla rooibos, cooled it down, and instead of plain water, I used the tea. It turned out very tasty, if I do say so myself.

It was suggested by our first-born offspring that next time maybe try Berry Blend or Jackfruit, or even the sweet, yet spicy, Berried Treasure. All these come from our favorite tea shop, Franklin Tea, lovingly served by Jan Erickson.

I've used ground Lapsang Souchong leaves as a dry spice, and the brewed version as the foundation for marinating brisket.

I invite you to experiment with tea in other uses besides just drinking. Anywhere a recipe calls for water, consider using tea instead.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Will and Kate Thus Grate

I know I said this is to be about puns and tea, but this is on my mind, and it's been bugging me for weeks. Tea and British. It fits, so indulge me while I rant.

What's with the media and the familiarity they have with Britain's royalty? Everywhere you watch, listen or read, someone has a news story about “Will and Kate”. "Will and Kate recently visited America;" "Will and Kate attended a polo match;" "Kate went shopping." Do the news outlets who report the news – as opposed to comment on the news, ever talk about “Lizzie and Phil”, or “Barry and Michelle”, or “Chuck and Cammy?” No, it's, respectively, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, President and Mrs. Obama, and Prince Charles and Duchess (or Lady) Camilla – okay, I'll admit it's usually Charles and Camilla, but at least it's never Charlie and Cam.

Calling her “Kate” when they were dating seems somewhat more acceptable, but now, shouldn't they both be given some respect and correctly referred to as Prince William and Duchess/Lady Katherine? Yes, they're young, but they're still royalty. The prince is second in line to the throne!

They're not America's royalty, but neither are Prince Philip and Princess Charlene of Monaco. No one calls him Phil. Even leaders who arguably don't deserve it get our respect, such as Moammar Khaddafi, and Fidel Castro.

I think it's a matter of trying to bring them to our level, not so much a lack of respect. If it was about lack of respect, then the media would be talking about “Big Daddy, JC and The HG”. Oh wait, for that to happen, they'd actually have to talk about them in the first place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm A Lumberjack and I'm OK

Alright, I know what you're thinking.  "Tea?!?  Are you kidding?  Wayne, I thought you were a man!"  Yes, I drink tea, and I'm proud of it.  So proud, in fact, I bought this shirt from


Tea! the gentleman's coffee

When you think tea, you probably either have images of British people sitting around drinking with fine china, wearing fancy clothes, and eating scones, all while with an extended pinky.

No, when I drink tea, I drink with my friend Bubba.

Bubba - he's the one on the right

52 ounces of goodness!  I know this isn't the preferred method, but in our house Mr. Coffee has been repurposed into Mr. Tea ("I pity da fool!").  The first pot of the morning fills up Bubba, and then a second infusion of the leaves is used for iced tea.

I could go into all the benefits of tea over coffee, and the differences and non-differences black vs. green tea, but not today.  Gotta save something for future posts.

In case you're wondering about the title, you're obviously not a Monty Python fan.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Don't "Teas" Me With Your Puns

Welcome to my blog. With the inspiration of a long-time (not old) friend, I've kicked around the idea of writing a blog for quite awhile now. The problem for me has always been two-fold. First, what to write about. I liked the idea of a blog of nothing but puns, however, that always seemed unsustainable for a long time, so I knew I needed something more. Another area of interest has been tea. Not just plain ol' sweet tea massed produced in all the Southern restaurants, or run-of-the-mill grocery store tea grown and sold in bulk; I mean the good stuff, bought from tea shops, with intriguing names like “Breakfast Assam”, “Iron Buddha Oolong”, and my all-around favorite, “Lapsang Souchong”.

The second obstacle was finding just the right name. Since the blog would deal with puns, it had to be extra punny, phunny, humorous. I kept wanting to go with an Ali Babba theme, something like “Oh Pun Sez Me”, but it just seemed too cliché. Finally, inspiration came while reading about the O-Cha Japanese Festival in TEA: A Magazine.

So, I hope you like what you read, even if some of it makes you utter a low, guttural groan while shaking your head in disbelief. Please drop in from time to time for (this is when you slip into your best Cockney accent), “a spot of tea,”a laugh or two, and even an occasional deep thought.