Well aint this a blogographical oddity, three weeks from everywhere!

Sorry for the long delay on this here old blogosphere, and a happy new years to you as well.

The holidays have passed, the new years is upon us and I made a cake.IMG_1988

Pineapple upside down cake. No biggie. Box cake mix. I grew the pineapple though.

I wish I could give you some exciting news. Like I had beers with the President, saved an old lady from a burning building or found Jimmy Hoffa. Alas, I can only attest to spending time with family, taking an editorial end of year rest from the blog and finally back here ready to take on another year of what you have come to expect of me. No one ever knows and whatever happens to strike my fancy.

Today a personal favorite, music.

The other night was the annual Grammys award show. Its shit and crap and I didn’t watch a single second of it. Caught some high lights from the mornings news and its about what I expected. Blah.

Black Sabbath, and Paul McCartney with the assistance of Dave Grohl and the remaining members of Nirvana won a Grammy. Thats cool I guess. As I have pontificated on this blog numerous times in the past, music today as a whole to me seems like crap. We have been trying to find the next big “thing” musically for about the last ten or so years if you ask me. I mean lets face reality for a second. If you’re Paul McCartney you can record yourself taking a good dump and if you can get Dave Grohl to stand around while doing it, you’re going to win a Grammy. I don’t blame the artists one bit. The industry that brings us music has been in such a state of flux the last fifteen years with the advent of file sharing, iTunes, internet radio that the lazy corporate music business model has been trying to find a way to screw us financially which is harder and harder to do in this day of instant sharing of information. Its not about musical talent any longer. Its about how many likes and shares and You Tube views you can get by teenage girls that dictates what we get to listen to.

Super Bowl is coming. Seattle wins. Heard it here first. Ok maybe you didn’t hear it here first, but I would like to see Seattle win. Frankly I’ll probably spend more time thinking about what kind of food to make and eat during the game then either of the teams involved.

Where were you on this day in 1986? I should back up a bit. Remember this day in 1986? Space shuttle Challenger blew to smithereens during blast off due to bureaucratic management bullshit about making a decision and owning up to it. None the less as I recall I was a freshman in high school sitting in a biology class. Word spread fast, Ronald Reagan said something about “Slipping the surely bounds of earth and touching gods face” or something close to that and a few years of investigation. Only to have the exact same problem with a lack of leadership and management decisions to be the leading cause of destroying the Shuttle Columbia on re-entry some years later. Some lessons are need to be learned more then once.

So thats about it really. I hope this finds you guys in good health. Oh yea Dragline and Coconut head say whats up.IMG_1995 Let ‘er rip tater chips.

Mother do you think…

…she’s good enough…to me?
Mother do you think she’s dangerous…to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart?

First things first. TGIF! Another week down and another start to weekend freedom. Hell yeah!

Its funny how something in life whether its a smell, sight, or even a mood will trigger something in your head to recall a particular song. Then once that song becomes the daily ear worm and you sing or hum it for the twenty-seven thousand time, it will bring you back to a memory of a time of your life.

I can remember the very first time I learned about Pink Floyd and The Wall. Where I lived, where I went to school, the color of my bicycle. I can recall where I was in high school when I actually bought The Wall on cassette tape and the car I drove and where I worked after school.

I wouldn’t necessarily even consider myself a big Pink Floyd fan. There is no denying the masterpiece of The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon. I was just never a huge fan, but you have to admit when a song can stick with you and make such an impression that lasts throughout your life, I guess as a creative artist you have done your job well.

Jesus, now that I think about it, Wish You Were Here, is like my  personal kryptonite. It’s like the movie equivalent of the ending of Forest Gump. I’ll listen or watch each one a hundred times alone, but not with a girl or any other person in the room. Just cant get through them. Sorry, not sorry.

Moving along.

I was going to wait until I blogged about this next bit but I cant. I am currently reading the book Life After Death, by Damien Echols. (Amazon Link). The name may sound familiar to you, if not thats ok too. I’ll help you out.

Damien Echols is one of the West Memphis Three. Damien spent 18 years on death row for the wrongful conviction of murdering three small boys in West Memphis, Tennessee. Damien’s case became the subject of three HBO documentaries, and countless high profile supporters such as Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and others who took up the cause to see that justice was served in freeing Damien and his other two friends from their wrongful convictions.

In a nutshell and long story short. The West Memphis Three were three high school kids who were convicted of murdering three eight year old boys, without a single piece of physical evidence linking any of them to the murders. They were your typical minority, goth-ish, emo-ish, different kids in school.  Nothing more. Well a little more, they were poor and in one of the cases of the three mentally handicapped and being easily manipulated into a false confession.

Want to see just how much our legal system can come off the tracks and do harm? Look no further then this case.

Anyway, last year the three kids (now men) were release from prison. New DNA evidence was collected that showed none of the convicted were at the crime scene at all. The only DNA that was at the crime scene was that of one of the dead kids step fathers, and another person whom was providing the step father an alibi whose testimony later is refuted by a number of eyewitnesses stating he was seen with all the victims an hour before the murders took place.

You would think after falsely accusing then convicting three innocent people for these crimes and after eighteen years of incarceration the state of Arkansas would want to make amends? Not quite. The state of Arkansas after ruining these kid lives for eighteen years, took one more swipe at them. In a very rare circumstance the state of Arkansas made the West Memphis Three take what is called an Alford Plea. The three had to basically plead guilty to three counts of murder, but maintaining their innocence and they would then be released for time served. This allowed them to get out of jail, but not be able to sue the state of Arkansas for the false conviction. Had they not taken the plea deal a new trial could have lasted another five years.

Damien, who was thought to be the ringleader of the three and sentenced to death, has written a book about his childhood and death row experiences. When I tell you Damien wrote the book, I mean just that. No ghost writer. Its his words 110%. When I tell you I have been a voracious reader the last twenty years of my life I’m seriously not kidding. If it wasn’t for an Amazon Kindle I would have twenty bankers boxes of books instead of the eight in the garage now. Damien can write and he does it well. No not well, its damn good. No wait, not damn good, this guy can fucking write and tell a story.

We all have problems and issues we have to overcome in life. Damien shows us what real problems are and how he overcame them.  Damien illustrates how he survived death row and is now moving forward with an incredible outlook on life. Want to read a great story of hope, survival, and perseverance? Read this book! I got the book last night I am halfway through it. I can’t put it down. Its that good, seriously.

You guys have a great weekend. I need to go finish this book. I also need to make a chocolate peanut butter cake to show off to one of my bakerella friends. She thinks she owns the baking heavyweight title belt because one time she stacked a bunch of stale chocolate chip cookies together and called it cake. Ok the cookies werent stale and homemade, but damn it, I am the Rocky Balboa to her Apollo Creed when it comes to desert and cake and she is going down for the count!

Ding Ding!

I’ll meet you any time you want

In our Italian restaurant. 

It is another Monday. Beware of the suckage. So far mine isn’t too bad and the weekend was nice.

The dinner club met again this weekend hosted by my friends Amy and Allen with six of our other close friends to even include a few associated children.

A funny thing, Amy was concerned that this meet up couldn’t be classified as an official “Dinner Club” assembly because she invited eight people, when in the past it was only been four of us. I explained to her that it was nonsense and it still counted as “Dinner Club” and that the more people the better. My home is a little smaller and I had set the precedence in the meet ups to four people, but as I think about it more and more I can feed and entertain more then four and I am going to do it next time. At least I’ll extend the invitation. Folding chairs and a TV tray around the table here I come.

Amy and Allen made one damn nice dinner. Sausage and peppers over spaghetti, garlic bread, and Cesar salad. Dessert was a lemon cake with whipped cream topping. It was an excellent meal, with a great group of friends.

There are a few thoughts I came away with from the dinner club meet up from last night. The first being, as a single middle aged man, my home is decorated or should I say lack of decorating in a very appropriate manner. I am not sure how I feel about it either. I am not messy, or ultra neat and my tastes are pretty utilitarian. There is no warmth here. The house is mine and its home but there is admittedly no woman’s touch. I don’t have an eye for decorating. I can spot good color combinations, good furniture and arrange them in appropriate ways to use space wisely and efficiently, but beyond that I am useless and have no idea. Pictures, plants, window treatments, table-scape, and I am like a politician is to honest. Just not there. It is not that I don’t want or wish my home had the warmth of a discerning eye of a great woman, its just I can definitely see that my home lacks it for certain.

The next thing I came away with is the reinforcement of the meaning of friendship. My refrigerator like most in the free world is a place for pizza, pest control, and other associated magnets. These magnets hold pictures of things I enjoy looking at. My nieces, goddaughter, and my dogs. A few years ago, Amy, Allen and myself would take our dogs (Lucille and Tucker) out on Amy and Allen’s boat to the intracoastal / sandbar and let the dogs swim and run all day. Amy took some pictures of Tucker and Lucille a few years ago and those pictures have been on my refrigerator ever since. Last night at dinner, Amy pointed out one of the same pictures of Lucille and Tucker on her refrigerator. Now I know for a fact Amy has had this picture of Tucker and Lucille on her fridge for some time. I have seen it there before. Last night however when Amy pointed out the picture to me, I dawned on me that these are friends. Lucille not only lives on in a pictures in my house with her buddy Tucker, but she also lives on in the thoughts of Amy and Allen too. All too often in our busy lives we forget and take for granted small things like friendships and people in our lives. All it takes is a simple picture on a refrigerator to remind you of that goodness. Last night I was reminded of that goodness again. When I thought no one was looking Tucker got a piece of my lemon cake right from my fork that I happily used after to keep eating the cake from his mouth to mine.

Today I am making turkey pot pie from scratch. I’ll post the recipe and writeup in the recipe section later. Its a good way to get rid of a lot of crap in the kitchen. You’ll enjoy this one.

Today I am also going to set up the end grain cutting board ordering page come hell or high water. I almost had it done Friday, but I broke the database with the application I had for the online ordering and spent most of Friday fixing what I broke. After some research and simplification I will try again.

Stay tuned.