The Holes Keep It From Exploding

Two nights ago, I was tasked with baking potatoes to go with dinner. Having never cooked a potato before, I decided to use Google to see how long to bake a potato in the microwave. Surprisingly that’s not an easy question to answer. Google returned hundreds of links, and no consensus on cooking time.

One site listed “10 Steps to Bake a Potato in the Microwave.” Step 1 was “pick out the right potato.” What? I’m about to cook a potato, let’s assume I’ve already picked it out. This isn’t speculative potato cooking. I’m not planning for the future. No one reading an article about cooking a potato needs to be reminded to get a potato. There is literally only one ingredient.

vacation 055
What’re you lookin’ at, ya hockey puck?

I’m not going to list all the steps, for reasons, but one of them was “place the potato on a microwave safe plate.” If this was written in 1983, I would expect an explanation of what makes a plate microwave safe, or maybe a referral to another article on microwave safety. I assume, however, because I found this article on the internet, that it was written after the invention of the internet. I also assume that anyone who has ever used the internet, ever, has at least fifteen years experience using a microwave. Furthermore, the presence or absence of a plate has no impact on anything related to the cooking of the damn potato!

The article didn’t get to cooking time until step 6, and it said, “Choose a cooking time that is right for your potato,” with no reference chart. I’m not making any of this up. Why would you do that? Why would you a) write a stupid ten step process for baking a potato in a microwave, and b)not include the cooking time.

So here are the steps you actually need, if you ever  want to bake a potato in the microwave:

  1. Wash a potato and poke it a few times with a fork.
  2. Nuke it for five minutes. Turn it over and nuke it five more minutes.

Alternative cooking directions:

  1. Wash a potato and poke it a few times with a fork.
  2. Put it in the microwave and push the button marked “potato”

Feel free to bookmark this site if you’re worried you’ll forget. If this were an actual cooking blog, you could refer to the comments section for examples of people who substitute lemon soaked cauliflower for the potato or prefer to use a Dutch oven on stones heated in a conventional oven in lieu of a microwave. This is not that kind of blog, so keep your opinions to yourself.

Thirty Days of Thanks… You’re Welcome.

Ba Da Ba Da Da, I’m lovin it!!!

Day 1: I am thankful for fat Asians. I hope to live to see fat Indians and fat Africans.

Day 2: I am thankful for candy corn. Until I eat a second piece of candy corn.

Day 3: I am thankful for that old man I saw at the Post Office who was wearing ladies spike heel dress shoes. Let your freak flag fly old man!

Day 4: I am thankful that Sasquatches are so good at hiding.

Day 5: I am thankful for that commercial where the guy just keeps saying “enchiladas” over and over.

Day 6: I am thankful for rhymes to help me remember which kind of snakes are venomous.

Day 7: I am thankful that XM Radio won’t start playing Christmas music until Nov. 17. So you can all just calm the hell down.

Day 8: I am thankful that I went bald from the top down and not the bottom up.

Day 9: I am thankful that someone put the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube. For years I thought I’d dreamed that.

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now / From up and down, and still somehow / It’s cloud illusions I recall / I really don’t know clouds at all” – Joni Mitchell

Day 10: I am thankful for a cloudless day. Why are ALL clouds shaped like penises?

Day 11: I am thankful that Siri converts all of my spoken requests into something that would require a Navajo Code Talker to translate.

Day 12: I am thankful for one hour every two years for those signs that say “watch for ice on bridges” all year round.

Day 13: I am thankful that we don’t live on the timeline where the first President to control the atomic bomb was a vicious man-beast called Hairy Ass Truman.

Day 14: I am thankful for children, without whom all of my cool electronics would be made by giant ham-fisted adults.

Day 15: Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor!

Day 16: I am thankful for TV shows that suck after the first season for allowing me to take my free time back. I’m looking at you True Blood.

Day 17: I am thankful for The Neil Diamond Christmas Album. Not just because I love Neil Diamond, but because a Jewish guy singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is a special kind of selling out that should be celebrated.

Day 18: I am thankful that in a cave somewhere, there are two Templars who still know how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.

Day 19: I am thankful that they started playing Christmas music on the radio last weekend. Happy ThanksChristmas everyone!

Day 20: I am thankful for thongs most days, but the one I’m wearing today is riding up.

Day 21: I am thankful that Rick Perry is ready to leave Austin and start his new career as the front man for the Journey Christian cover band Don’t Stop Believin’.

Day 22: I am thankful that all the times in my life when there was only one set of footprints in the sand happened a few hours after I’d eaten a bunch of refried beans.

There is a man a legend tells/ who stands for what is right/ Like Wyatt Earp he never shirks/ or cowards from a fight.
Lobo means wolf.

Day 23: I am thankful for 23 of the 38 episodes of Sheriff Lobo.

Day 24: I am thankful for the ever present and unexplained connection between rednecks and wolf iconography.

Day 25: I am thankful that I never saw my Mommy kissing Santa Claus. That’s just really, really wrong.

Day 26: I am thankful that alcohol helps me understand for a few hours how regular people think all the time.

Day 27: I am thankful that “No Shave November” has made Thanksgiving as ugly as it is tasty.

Day 28: I am thankful for pumpkin pie for distracting everyone while I eat the pies that don’t suck.

Day 29: I am thankful that Santa Claus has proven that obesity is in no way linked to mortality.

Day 30: I’m thankful November isn’t 31 days long. Maybe next year we can do this in February!

Love and Marriage and Friends and Food and Booze

The Inn at Craig Place

Lisa and I are driving to San Antonio tomorrow, or as they say in Larry McMurtry novels, Santone. (I’m not telling you this so you can rob our house while we’re out. Only seven people ever read my blog. So if we get robbed, it’s going to be a pretty short suspect list.) We’re going for the wedding of one of my oldest friends. He and I both come from Fort Worth. He lives near San Antonio now. The place he and his fiance chose for their wedding, coincidentally happens to be the same Bed and Breakfast Lisa and I were married in mumble mumble years ago. When he told me they were getting married at a B&B in San Antonio, I asked which one, just out of curiosity. When he told me, I had to search my mental records to be sure it was the same place. It was a it’s-a-small-world moment. (Not the ride… that would be a crappy moment.)

I’m actually looking forward to this wedding. I usually hate weddings, but I prefer them to graduations. My preference for social gatherings goes in this order from most to least preferable; adult parties, weddings, funerals, graduations, children’s birthday parties. The ranking is influenced by the presence of alcohol, cake (wedding cake is far superior to birthday cake) and children. If you’re weird enough to want me at your child’s birthday party, you’ll be required to host an open bar and significantly decrease the number of children attending. You’ll also have to live with the knowledge that I’d rather be at your funeral.

Going to San Antonio is always a treat. If I can’t be at home, and I can’t be at Disney World, I’d like to be in San Antonio. If I was going to live any other place it would be there. Lisa and I used to go down there a few times a year. I proposed in Gruene, and like I said already, we were married in San Antonio. We’ve been to the Alamo a few times. We got drunk at the bar in the Menger Hotel where Teddy Roosevelt recruited many of his Rough Riders in 1898. And we’ve spent hours on the River Walk and in the Mercado.

I’m also looking forward to is seeing two of my oldest friends. We’ve put some miles between us, so we all get together very rarely. And as we get older the occasions of our reunions aren’t always happy ones. It’ll be nice to see them at a celebratory time, to share a few meals and a few drinks and a few days. Speaking of meals and drinks, Lisa and I have been living la vida low carb for a few weeks. So it’s going to be blissful to binge on carbs and booze for three straight days. I intend to get diabetes and cirrhosis by Sunday.

Most of all I’m looking forward to hanging out with my wife. I know, weird, right? I work with a man whose job requires him to be at work from  8 to 5 weekdays; however, he comes in as early as 6:30 or 7 and stays until 6:30. He mentioned the other day that he gets up at 3 every morning to go for a short run on the treadmill and do his other morning stuff (without knowing what else he does, let’s assume it’s chronic masturbation) and get to work early. His wife works from home and they have no children. His self imposed unnecessarily onerous work schedule would indicate he doesn’t like to be around his wife. He’s up and out the door so early she can’t possibly be up yet. And if he’s getting up at 3 every morning, he can’t be staying up late. So he’s getting in nearly in time for bed. Did I mention he golfs? Yeah, he goes golfing on the weekends. You’re wondering what this has to do with me and Lisa hanging out together. It’s this, my life couldn’t be more different. Lisa is my best friend. I look forward to seeing her every day. I look forward to hearing about her day. I like hanging out with her, whether it’s just around the house, on the town or in a car for five hours. I get excited when she texts or calls. We joke all the time about how we don’t have any couple friends. She says it’s because we’re antisocial. Just reading that sentence, you know that can’t work. We can’t be antisocial. Our love of each other disproves that. The fact is we’re a couple of happy introverts. Yes… and I’m antisocial.

What I wish for my friend is a marriage like mine. I hope this weekend that he says his vows to his best friend. I hope he rushes home from work to be with her. I hope he looks forward to their routine trips to the grocery store. I hope their love fills every hole in his life. Also, I hope the cake is good.

Origin Stories

“My God, this is boring! I sure wish cool things would happen to me.”
-A. Lincoln

You know what I hate? Origin stories. I love reading biographies, but do I really need five chapters of great grandparents through parents and their immigrant stories and high lights and low lights of their lives. If you’re not awesome enough to have someone write your biography, you might at least score a paragraph in the biography of your awesome descendant, No. You didn’t earn it. Get out my books!. Also, do I care about some lame story from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood? No, I do not. Here’s how every Lincoln biography should start. Abraham Lincoln was born. He got really tall. And BOOM it’s the 1850’s and stuff is happening.

The worst offenders by far are writers or screenwriters who are planning to create a series. The best series of books or movies are always the ones that were meant to be a single piece, but were so awesome, that the creator made sequels. I just finished listening to “Wicked” on Audible. It was clearly intended to be the first part in a series, as the whole book was back story. If you’re thinking of reading it, I’ll save you some time. The wicked witch of the west was born green, which is unusual. She’s misunderstood and also water makes her melt. If I’m the author of that story, I’ve now got 700 blank pages to fill with an interesting story.

The same goes for super heroes. Boy, does it ever! Everyone knows the back stories for Superman, Spiderman and Batman. There is absolutely no reason to to retell the origin story in each new comic line or movie. Are we to believe there is an audience member out there who doesn’t know Superman came from Krypton as a baby, and they find themselves at a Superman movie saying, “Wait minute. Why can this guy fly?” Really? Do directors of superhero movies just plan for a trilogy immediately, knowing they can basically plagiarize the whole first film?

The entire first hour of the last Spiderman movie and the the first one in the prior trilogy can be replaced with the following exchange:

Villain:  “Holy Crap. You can crawl up walls like a spider.”
Spiderman: “I was bit by a radioactive spider when I was in high school, and badda-bing, spider powers.” 

Then we spend the rest of the movie watching action happen.


The movie that got this right was “The Incredible Hulk”, the one with Edward Norton. (My mind is now visualizing Art Carney as Ed Norton as the Hulk.) That movie starts with Bruce Banner in some third world country trying to deal with being the Hulk. When he hulks out in the first act, no one said, “Wait. What’s happening here?” Everyone said, “Yeah, Hulk Smash!!!”

And in the end, that’s what we all want. More smashin’ and less yappin’.

Secular Funeral

While I plan on becoming immortal in 2045, there is always an outside chance that I could die before then. I’ll be 73 in 2045 and anything could happen between now and then. I could be killed in auto accident on the way home today. note to self: click on “publish” before leaving work today. If that happens, I want to make it clear to [all three of] my readers that I want a secular funeral.

It has always unnerved me to go the funeral of a, shall we say, less than religious person and find it to be little more than a church service held over their dead body. Which, by the way, is likely the only way they would have attended a church service. I’ve said before that I support organized religion, but I don’t necessarily buy what they’re selling. After I’m gone, I don’t want anyone living their life in the false hope of meeting me again on some far distant shore. I fully accept that we live in an 11 dimensional universe, and that we only observe 4 dimensions. So I won’t discount the limited probability that human consciousness may somehow be able to exist in a non-corporeal trans-dimensional form, but I’ve never heard that mentioned at a funeral.
So if I bite it before downloading my mind into an android, here’s what I want in the days following. First, there needs to be a wake. Not a sad-ass-everybody-crying wake, but a proper drunken celebration of my life. There should be lots of food and alcohol. There should be stories, both funny and sad. At this time everyone should remember that had I been invited to this party, I wouldn’t have shown up, because, let’s face it, I’m a little anti-social. The party should be held at someone’s house so my body doesn’t have to be there.

Next, the funeral. Rather than a preacher, I’d like to be eulogized by someone who knew me. (In order to know me, the eulogist must have either gotten drunk with me or shared an adverse experience with me.) We go to church and we have a preacher, but he doesn’t know me from Adam’s off ox. When we joined the church, he introduced us as “the Pratts” even though our name was written on a paper he had in his hand. I guess no one ever said religion is the opiate of the literate. If I were a proper religious person, I’d suspect this is some sort of game the devil plays, where you can’t be saved if the preacher says your name incorrectly. I’ve known, and even been close friends with a few preachers in my life. If one of them shows up and wants to do the eulogy, make them read this first.

There should be music, but no hymns. Music is such a big piece of the human experience, but you usually get just three songs at a funeral. Here are my three songs. For the Processional, “Never Been To Spain” (Elvis, from An Afternoon in the Garden). For the Hymn of Meditation,”Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (Willie Nelson, from Red Headed Stranger). And for the Recessional, “That’s Life” (Frank Sinatra, from That’s Life). These are not my desert island top three favorite songs. That’s a post for another day. This is just my funerary pick.

Finally, what to do with my remains… I don’t care. I have absolutely no investment in what to do with my body once my brain has been deactivated. Bury it, cremate it, defile it, give it science. Do whatever is the most expeditious thing.

Hopefully this will be the most useless thing I’ve ever written. I’ll be sure and delete this entry when I’m a robot.