Queen of Wands

October 30, 2006

Queen of Wands, originally uploaded by rjschwabe.

Well, as long as there’s a precedence for this hair sort of thing. And it kindof ties into my current thoughts about the ponytail.

Anyway, this was taken from: http://www.queenofwands.net/d/20061023.html



Modern Journalistic Integrity 1

October 27, 2006

Journalistic Integrity 1, originally uploaded by rjschwabe.

Well, I don’t mean to multiple blog, but this one deserves it.

Screaming Like a Girl, and Hiding Under the Bed

October 27, 2006

Okay, not quite that bad.

But, we all have our phobias and fears, and then there’s the things that we just hate. Things that pop-up in life, that we don’t have nightmares about, we don’t freeze up, or tremble over, but just things we detest.

For me, that thing is mice. Specifically, mice that have invaded my house, and that I have to do something about.

I’m reasonably ok, with mice in a cage, or even bringing one out and letting in crawl in my hands. I’m not rushing out to do it, but if it’s someone’s pet, I’m sure I’d be okay with it. But when they come in my house, then it’s something different.

So, I go home yesterday, and I open the door to go to my makeshift pantry going down to the basement. And I see a small grey furry thing run down the steps.

Now, I don’t handle being startled well. And seeing a moving thing scurry down the stairs, startles me.

I go downstairs making a huge amount of noise, to scare the little buggers out of my way. And I go to see if I have any traps or poison. I have two traps and D-Con Mouse poison, that I don’t think works. (Well, I’m sure it works if the mice would actually eat the poison, but I see no signs of that, unless the mice are coming back later and cleaning up after themselves.)

So, then I have to set the old school springloaded mouse traps. This is worse than being startled by the mice in the first place. Because you first put the bait on the trap (peanut butter in this case). Then it’s tough to find the spot on the mouse trap, where the bar catches. And then, you have to slowly pull your hands away, not setting off the trap. Well, mister unsteady here, is not good at this, and half the time, I set off the trap, startling me, and spreading peanut butter on the floor. So I get pissed and startled at the same time, and now I have to do it again.

When I finally get the traps set, I’m startled because of the lack of reaction, which is even stupider.

(And yes, by the way, I sucked at Operation when I was a kid)

So I set two traps and caught two mice. So well worth it. I’ll just keep the memory of me huddled in my childhood blankie to myself.

885 Greatest Artists (Part 3)

October 24, 2006

Referencing my previous post here….

Well, the WXPN Greatest Artists countdown is complete. The Top 10 list was pretty predictable, but such is life. The Beatles is a popular band, so it makes sense that a popular band would be a popular pick using a popular way of determining artists.

The full list is located here.

Well, here’s how my picks did….

1. Bruce Springsteen (4)

2. Southern Culture on the Skids (379)

3. Richard Thompson (43)

4. Joe Satriani (640)

5. Garbage (448)

6. Buddy Guy (213)

7. Brian Setzer

8. Jimmy Buffett (116)

9. Meat Loaf (517)

10. Little Feat (110)

Honorable Mention: Tower of Power (456), Prince (39), Stevie Wonder (22), Billy Joel (48), Paul Simon (20), Sheryl Crow (183), Marvin Gaye (75), Sarah McLaughlan (101), Pink Floyd (9), Marah (584)

Other personal mentionables: Marc Broussard (865), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (826), Def Leppard (738), Weird Al Yankovic (737), Marc Cohn (729), Michelle Shocked (650), Wallflowers (543), Joe Walsh (495), The Chieftans (491), Raul Malo (489), Cracker (467), Trout Fishing in America (461), Five for Fighting (408), Cowboy Junkies (333), Train (278), Public Enemy (259), Cake (236), Al Green (229), Black Crows (190), AC/DC (180), John Lee Hooker (166), Muddy Waters (109), Stevie Ray Vaughan (60), The Clash (24), Johnny Cash (18),

Phenomenon Lost

October 19, 2006

Okay, we are three episodes into the third season of the television show, Lost. Over the first two seasons, I tagged this show as the best fully-serialized television show ever.

(And by fully-serialized, I basically mean that it is a show that you had to watch every week. On most shows, details change: characters get fired, clues get added to the conspiracy, and people fall in love. But you turn on the television, and the gang is hanging out in the bar, or the new case gets placed upon the desk, and the show starts anew)

Every episode had me eagerly waiting for the next week so more pieces of the puzzle could be added, more mysteries would be solved, and more intrigue established. I can’t say that anymore.

One of my favorite (sports) columnists is Bill Simmons, and he once talked about the first season of Friends. He said that basically, the first season of Friends didn’t try to be a sit-com, it went beyond that, showing the true inter-personal relationships of people who hang around each other too much. That once it tried to be a sit-com, it became more mediocre.

(He said it much more eloquently than that.)

But you can say the same basic gist is true for Lost. The first season was tremendously exciting, because neither the writers nor the show actually told you what type of show this was: survival television, science fiction, action-adventure, psychological thriller… it left you guessing.

The second season successfully was all of these at once. And it was really thrilling, until the last few episodes.

This season and the last, you get the feeling that the writers and creators of Lost, didn’t like the direction they were going, or felt like they were painted in the corner by the current direction. So, they tried their best to ‘fix’ these things, and in the same time, focus on one specific aspect of their story, “The Others”.

Okay, so over the last 3 episodes, the show has become a total action-adventure show. In fact, it has not only ignored these other genres and stories, it has gone away from the one thing that truly made it unique, the ensemble cast: the past three episodes has focused on small groups of the survivors, rather than the group as a whole.

And the previews for next week, seem to be more of the same.

So, is this a cry stating that I’m never going to watch the show, that it is terrible, how the mighty have fallen, and how the shark has been jumped…


It is still a good action adventure show with some mystery elements thrown in for good measure. But the phenomenon is over. The edge of your seat riding, unique, television phenomenon is done. I don’t think they can get it back.

I will enjoy it. I probably will be pulled in by cliff-hangers that one day make me wait in anticipation for the next episode, but that initial love has fallen away.

It’s just a television show.



Regional Food

October 17, 2006

Culturally, I consider myself a Philadelphia guy. The sports teams I follow are from Philadelphia. I watch Philadelphia television and radio stations, even when there’s a New York or Baltimore alternative. When I say, “the city”, I am referring to Philly, tho usually I say “Philly”.

In truth, my allegiance is to the Delaware Valley, which is influenced by Philadelphia, Wilmington, Trenton, and (to a lesser degree) New York.

My cuisine is influenced by this region, and it surprises me that many local foods have never extended themselves beyond the region. The Philly Cheesesteak is well-known, as well as the Hoagie (basically a Sub). But there are a few less-known favorites that never made it out of the region, that surprise me tremendously:

  • Scrapple is a favorite by those in the know. And if you’re gonna get it, get Habbersett. But also, and more surprisingly Pork Roll is very regional. I say surprisingly, because Scrapple is an acquired taste, but if you like ham or canadian bacon at breakfast, you’ll like pork roll.
  • Tastykakes are tremendous. I’ll never know why they haven’t moved beyond the region. My current favorite is probably the Chocolate TandyKakes, but traditional favorite Butterscotch Krimpets.
  • Spiced Wafers. It is not fall until I get a box of Ivins or Sweetzels. Basically ginger snaps, but better.
  • According to Wikipedia, Birch Beer is a northeastern thing. But, the most popular one, to my knowledge, is Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. It’s more similar to Sasparilla than Root Beer.
  • Yes, there’s there’s a hoagie, there’s a sub, there’s a cheesesteak, but you haven’t lived til you had a Bobbi from Capriotti’s.

And then there’s soft pretzels. Basically there are now four types of soft pretzels sold in the region:

The classic SuperPretzel soft pretzel. No different than what you find in the freezer section, around the country. Golden outside, totally white dough inside. Really good if you can find them on a pretzel carousel on the boardwalk or at the snack counter at Target.

The overly caloric, Auntie Anne or Pennsylvania Dutch Soft Pretzel. These things are evil. Convered in butter, when properly done, it drips out of your mouth. Only found at Auntie Anne stores or local Amish Farmers Markets, like the Reading Terminal Market.

Then there’s the two types of traditional pretzels. These are easily identified, because they were cooked in a slab of pretzels and torn apart from each other. The first ones are the crunchy oven baked kind. They have a slight burnt taste to them. Sold primarily from Philly Soft Pretzel factory or in vendors outside of sports games.

Finally, there’s the evil pretzels. They are heavy, dense, and ‘sweaty’. Similar to the ‘burnt’ kind, but somehow they gain moisture due to the salt extracting the moisture. But when they are still fresh and good, these tempt me tremendously, even though I prefer the others. Cause you’ll know for several hours that you ate one of these monstrosities, cause it’s laying in your stomach that long.

Okay, enough of the regional food tour.



A Something Positive Moment of Zen

October 13, 2006

SP5, originally uploaded by rjschwabe.

In two months my wife will severely beat me for this joke. Oh well, enjoy it til then. Link to the full joke is at: http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp09222006.shtml