Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dear all undecided voters: What the hell is wrong with you??

I don't understand people who aren't going to vote for Barack Obama or are undecided. I mean really, what is wrong with you? I hesitate to ask whether you're stupid or not, but are you stupid? Or not? Or just uninformed? Do you know what real leadership is? Even when it's in your damn face?

It's time to get PISSED, my friends.

What presidential qualities could anyone possibly see in John McCain? Obama's opponent is an old-ass man. Dude would be 72 if elected. Two terms would make him 80 --- eighty! --- when he's out of office. God bless the oldies of the world, but my lord, this is not an old geezer's job. Plus, look how pale and corpselike he appears:


One side reason why George Washington --- a real leader --- inspired so much confidence and awe was because he looked incredible riding a horse. Appearance is no small thing; it's a component of leadership. So do you want the above crypt-keeper leading your government??

And here's a good question: how does being in a Vietnamese war camp 40 years ago qualify you to be president in 2009? By my estimation, that merely qualifies you to endure hard physical and emotional stress ... FORTY years ago. Guarantee McCain couldn't do it now. I suppose people think this P.O.W. experience shows how loyal he is to his country but is it really so above the call of duty? Can you imagine any normal person being shot down and then happily denouncing their country for a bunch of dog-eating* commies who worship some old man with a fu-man-chu 'stache as a god? Why does that take any courage above and beyond what anyone in McCain's position would've done (or not done)? Someone has to say it. Said.

Experience. I can't name a US presidential administration MORE experienced than the one currently led by Cheney, Bush and their wonder boys. So we're all supposed to shut up and trust the assholes who've provided the "worst presidential leadership the US has ever had"** because they're "experienced"?? Please. Just shut up about experience.

And we won't forget the past either --- no we won't. Can anyone say Keating Five?? We're not forgetting that "McCain received $112,000 by 1987 from (Charles) Keating and Keating's relatives and employees to McCain's Senate campaign, more than any of the other Senators." I guarantee the reason McCain took up campaign finance reform in the 90s was because he wanted to save his skin and be able to maintain a political career. What happened to the other four of that Five? Oh yea, the scandal cost them their jobs as politicians.

Just a Friday afternoon rant. Donate to the Obama campaign here, you lazy sack.

* They do eat dogs: I was in Hanoi, Vietnam last summer. This makes me angry not just because I have two dogs, but because in Vietnam, the dogs are tortured before being killed for food because it's thought that the bruises in the meat and pain-induced adrenaline make the dog flesh tastier. Many people in Hanoi will pay more money for a dog that has been beaten and tortured for a longer period of time. I can't forgive any culture who does this to any animal.

** Quote from my wife's 84-year-old Republican grandfather. He's lived under presidents since Herbert Hoover

Monday, June 23, 2008

One gallon of Chipotle Tabasco sauce: FINISHED

My wife and I began consuming a one gallon jug of Tabasco Chipotle on September 12, 2007. As of June 7, 2008, that jug was empty.

I did the math on this. There are 128 ounces in a gallon and it took us 264 days to finish it. That means my wife and I swallowed 0.48 ounces of Tabasco Chipotle per day. There are six teaspoons in an ounce, so that means that we each ate an average of 1.5 teaspoons of this hot sauce every single day for the past nine months.

I'm not sure people believed me when I said that Tabasco's Chipotle sauce was the best hot sauce on planet Earth. Now it's been proven to any doubters.

And you should consider my opinion on this matter worth its weight in peppers. I've been eating hot sauce since I was hardly able to walk; in fact, Tabasco was the very first hot sauce I ever tried. My parents often have told and re-told the story of when I was a few years old and came screaming to them right after I'd tasted it for the first time. I've been smitten ever since and now the good people at the Tabasco company have created this nectar of the gods, Chipotle.

I'm not sure I ever want to live a life WITHOUT Tabasco Chipotle playing some role.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Three Photo Sets from the Guy's Sailing Trip

For four days, me and four friends sailed around the Chesapeake Bay without using GPS --- only steered by compass, chart, parallel ruler, grease pencil, and binoculars. Remember those things? The implements sailors used in the days before navigating a sailboat was more like playing Atari than having to actually look at one's surroundings? We did it. And I think that's worth bragging about. Here's the Flickr photo set of us sailing from near Annapolis down to Smith Island, Maryland in the daytime.

It took a damn long time to get to Smith Island so we had to sail nearly all night. We had to use red-tinted headlamps to not screw up our night vision on the way down. If you sail and have not sailed at night, I'd highly recommend it --- especially without GPS. It hones your sailing skills like hell. But I'm not a total Luddite; we did use the 3-million-candle-power spotlight near shore. Now I understand why large ships ran aground all the time at night in the olden days. Here's the Flickr photo set of us sailing all night.

Once we got to Smith Island and I'd run the boat aground for an hour motoring in, we rented a house from this artist woman who lived on the island. Smith Island is like a foreign country. I always say the true mark of a 3rd World country is one where the citizens burn their trash on the side of the road; that was the case with Smith as you'll see in the pictures. Smith's only industry is crabbing and that's declining. Only 200 people live on Smith Island year 'round. These same families have lived there for hundreds of years and linguists claim you can detect a bit of Elizabethan in their accents left over from the original settlers. Here's the Flickr photo set of us spending 24 hours on Smith Island, Maryland (if you click the "i", you can get info about each picture).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Air Guitar in the Middle of Chesapeake Bay

Just returned from my annual 4-day sailing "guy's trip" and I am now considering competing in the US Air Guitar Championships.

I always thought air guitar --- and especially a "championship" for it --- was stupid until I found myself on a sailboat in the middle of an open body of saltwater, hot sun beating down, lime and rum in me belly, Zeppelin rocking the stereo, the pop-top up, and the sails full of wind. Judge for yourself below. Props to Chris D's ambidextrousness for playing air drums AND picking up the air guitar solo at minute 1:35:

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Home Bar is Complete

“Serving good drinks, like producing anything worth while, from a poem to a motor-car, is troublesome and expensive.” - Kingsley Amis

I should've smeared my entire body with latex adhesive before starting to lay my commercial dark green and tan vinyl tile in a checkered pattern on my basement floor. The result would've been the same either way: most of my skin ended up sticky with dirt-encrusted latex.

But now the pain and GAAD DAAAMMIT!s are done and I have a proper man cave to retire to when the day's work is done. I'd like to thank Jim W. for helping with the drudgery involved in building my fun room.

Anyone care to join me for a cocktail?

Before (Feb 28, 2008):

After (today):

Here's me at the helm:

Those shelves behind the bar are the slats that connected an old bed headboard and footboard that I found covered in sawdust in my old man's garage; that map is of Smith Island in the Chesapeake that the former owner of my sailboat left onboard; the lantern was given to me by a friend who visited Japan; the bull horns are from my brother-in-law who lives in Wyoming; that green weird table/chair is a 1960s telephone chair I got at an antique shop down the street for $40; those bar stools I got at Target; and the floor is cheap commercial vinyl I bought at Lowes and laid myself:

No self-respecting home bar doesn't have a beat-up swordfish on the wall. I got it at a pawn shop in Luray, Virginia for cheap:

My bitters collection has its own shelf:

Of course, I had to break in the new bar with a few guests later that evening. I had finished the tile that same day:

My wife, doing her part to break in the home bar with a lil' karaoke:

Servin' up drinks behind the stick. Finally:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Shark Fishing with a Black Kite

On Saturday I went shark fishing in the Atlantic Ocean (off Norfolk, Virginia) with some friends.

Woke up at 4AM in a $60-per-night Days Inn which was located between a trailer park and a housing project, and conveniently for me, across the street from a decent raw bar.

I was reminded again why my first choice of water vessel is a sailboat, not one powered by a 225 horsepower outboard engine. I love to fish --- would never turn down an invite to go --- but motoring at 22 knots in six to eight foot seas is a jaw-rattling multiple crash session for hours on end; as the boat comes off each wave, the hull pounds onto the trough of the next wave and feels like falling six feet onto hard pavement inside a fiberglass box. I had to concentrate on bending my knees with each slam to absorb the shock --- kind of like skiing mogul fields. The ride is MUCH smoother on a sailboat traveling in lumpy water (my hull speed is a max of 7 knots).

But damn, it was fun. There's nothing like warm wind and salt spray coming at your face while hunting the tigers of the sea.

Fishingwise, we didn't do so great. We landed the above bull shark but it was too small and we had to throw it back. Also had to deal with hauling in and unhooking half a dozen pesky skates --- like cranking in rugs up through 60 feet of ocean water.

The skipper of our boat was interesting; he spent seven months working for the US Navy patrolling the Euphrates River in Iraq. We didn't ask him about tramatizing war experiences but he did tell us about the time he was motoring at 40 knots in a 40-foot patrol boat and slammed into a sandbar covered by an inch of water. That experience alone gave him more injuries than anything else while at war.

He had a unique method of fishing for sharks that I'd never seen. He connects a black kite to the end of one of the rods and flies it out over the water 50 yards away until it hovers 30 feet over the water. Then, he connects a sliding clip to the kite line and runs another fishing line (connected to a separate rod) through it with a live bait fish on the end. This system puts the bait fish dangling far from the boat but swimming just below the surface.

Here's the skipper letting out the kite. He's still feeding the line out but when all was done, it was over 50 yards away.

Here's one of the many skates we caught. They were difficult to unhook because they often swallowed the massive metal hook. For one of them, we had to do some serious surgery to get the hook back.

We would run six rods at a time while fishing for the sharks.

We also used bluefish heads as bait. Remember, big bait equals big fish.

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