Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I love Memorial Day Weekend. Yeah, sure, there are the obvious reasons like cookouts, it being the "official" start to summer and a paid holiday from work, but I have another reason that I like it. World War II movies. I love old (and new) war movies.

This past weekend, I watched all or parts of Saving Private Ryan, Bridge on the River Kwai, A Bridge Too Far, In Harm's Way, The Great Escape, The Longest Day, Sands of Iwo Jima, and all 11 episodes of Band of Brothers. If you haven't ever seen Band of Brothers, I highly, highly recommend watching it.

Which brings me to my next thought: I own almost all of these movies on DVD, but I get really happy when they are on television. Why is that? I have the same question regarding music. I have a ton of CDs, but there is a special excitement that I feel when I hear a song on the radio that I really like, even if I have that CD. Am I alone on this, or do some of you feel the same way?

Moving along, I did a little BBQ practice this past weekend and learned that it makes a huge difference when I brine chicken for about 10 hours before smoking it. It adds tenderness and a little flavor as well.

I have also come to the determination that I am either the worst or the best neighbor in the world, depending on what you like in a neighbor. If you like a friendly guy that stops by to say hello, waves to you while you are mowing the grass and maintains his yard, then you would hate me as a neighbor.

People moved in across the street from us back in February and we still haven't met them. Sure, we've waved to them as they have pulled out of their driveway, but there has been no formal introduction whatsoever. And my lawn? It was knee high before I cut it this past weekend, but I have a good excuse. The deck belt on my tractor was broken, and I simply didn't have time to fix it until the other day.

But here is the good part of having me as a neighbor. I will never bother you. Ever. I'm sort of like Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets. I don't want to know my neighbors any more than I have to. I just want to coexist.

After re-reading this post, I have come to the determination that I am a lazy, antisocial hermit.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fired Up Friday, Part Deux

HARTFORD, Conn. -- High school football coaches in Connecticut will have to be good sports this fall -- or risk a suspension.

The football committee of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports, is adopting a "score management" policy that will suspend coaches whose teams win by more than 50 points.

A rout is considered an unsportsmanlike infraction and the coach of the offending team will be disqualified from coaching the next game, said Tony Mosa, assistant executive director of the Cheshire, Conn. - based conference.

Some states, including Iowa, continuously run the game clock in the second half if a team has a 35-point lead. The Connecticut committee rejected a similar proposal because members thought it would unfairly cut into backups' playing time.

This is a joke, right? The athletic conference isn't really trying to have an influence on the final score of high school football games, are they? Please tell me that I woke up this morning in The People's Republic of China because there is no way that this should be happening in America.

The premise, I must admit is a good one because there are some asshole coaches that intentionally try to run up the score of games by calling timeouts, continuing to pass or going for it on fourth down when they are already ahead by 30 points. But the score of a game should be decided on the field by the players, not in some conference room in Hartford by a governing body.

Besides, what is the purpose of this rule? To save a child's self esteem? This ruling will not help children, in fact, it may hurt them.

Let's face it, life is not fair. Sometimes in life, you will take an ass kicking, and you should learn that early on. It will build your character as you battle through it. I personally believe that you can never truly learn what it takes to win until you do some losing. And sometimes, the loss will be significant.

But you have to pick yourself up and move forward. It's these lessons that we learn early in life that help determine who we will become later. If a child is shown that someone will protect them from getting their ass kicked on the football field, then what is their incentive to actually try avoid getting the ass-kicking in the first place? More importantly, how is that child going to deal with getting laid off from their job later in life?

I have read that there are actually youth baseball and soccer leagues where they don't keep score and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the year. Many schools no longer reveal class rankings or name a valedictorian. What kind of a message does this send to our children?

Again, let’s face it, some children are smarter, more athletic, more determined, more talented, or more attractive than others. It's a fact. So why do we keep trying to make the other less intelligent, less athletic, less determined, or less attractive kids feel better by deceiving them? I don't get it.

As for the implementation of this rule, how does the coach tell a backup player to go into the game and not play to the best of his ability? This committee though it would be unfair to cut into a backup's playing time, but would it really be fair to tell him to go into the game and play at half his ability level? That is when players get hurt. And anyone that has ever competed in organized sports can confirm that.

Bottom line, I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. But don't deceive them.


*** You know that I am pissed about this because I really wanted to post today about it being John Wayne's birthday, and how you should celebrate it by watching The Quiet Man today on Turner Classic Movies. Errrrrrr.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You win some, you lose some....

So the competition part of the BBQ weekend didn't turn out as good as we had hoped, but I had a great time with the fellas regardless. We drank a bunch of beer, ate good food and cracked on each other and everyone around us for 36 hours. (BTW - Don't ever be the first one to fall asleep!!!)

Judging in these contests is so subjective, and unfortunately it was very inconsistent as well. All entries are judged in three categories; appearance, tenderness and taste. All of the scoring is done on a scale of 1-9 and is weighted; tenderness is worth twice as much as appearance, and taste, twice as much as tenderness.
Well, my boudin entry for received three 9s, two 8s and one 3 for appearance. There were discrepancies in scoring for all of the teams, so its really not sour grapes on my part, just a reality that we had to deal with. Overall, we finished 10th in grilling and 15th in BBQ, unacceptable by our standards.
Now is the fun part. We get to plan and practice our new recipes for the next contest in New Hampshire June 10th & 11th. I'll keep you posted on what I am making, but I think that Mango Habanero Chicken may be on the menu.

In keeping with the BBQ theme, here is a little humor…


After the long months of cold and winter, we will soon be coming up to summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking, as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved. When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events is put into motion:

1) The woman buys the food.
2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:

More routine....

5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks' her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.

Important again:

More routine.... .
8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.

Important again:

Routine again ......
10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women....

Friday, May 19, 2006

Swine Fever

This is it! The weekend for which we have been waiting all winter!

Tomorrow is the Second Annual Rhode Island State Barbecue Championship, the first competition of the 2006 NEBS season. My team will be entering both the grilling and barbecue competitions, and we plan on taking home some cash and hardware.

It's a two day event, with teams competing in a grilling contest on Saturday and the barbecue portion on Sunday. The grilling categories are Grilled Appetizer, Foods of New Orleans, Seafood and Country Style Ribs. As usual, the barbecue categories are chicken, pork shoulder, beef brisket and pork ribs.

Though it is a group effort, we each take a grilling category and make it ourselves. I am making the "Foods of New Orleans" with a homemade Shrimp and Andouille Boudin.

For those of you that think this is some kind of a joke, I assure you that it is not. We take this very seriously. Well, at least as seriously as one can take staying up all night with the guys, drinking beer and cooking delicious food.

These contests are my only break from reality this summer, unless I can somehow score some Buffett tickets for August. It is the only time that I can hang with the fellas and kick back sans Mrs. Flounder and baby Jake, so I intend to live it up.

The best part of the contests is the extra food. See, we make like three whole pork shoulders, totaling around 20 lbs. We turn in the very best looking and tasting portions, and have the rest for lunch or to give out as samples. The same goes for the ribs, brisket and chicken. Needless to say, I am a very popular guy in my office on a Monday morning after a contest!

Thankfully, the weather outlook is good for this weekend, so we shouldn’t have any reasons to complain. Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


A guy that I work with uses the phrase "turned around" a lot. It's really annoying, and conversations with him usually go something like this…

So I went to the movies the other night and I turned around and got in line for tickets. Then I turned around and bought some popcorn before we turned around and went into the theater. This kid in front of me wouldn't stop talking so I turned around and slapped him on the back of his head. We turned around and got in a fight and the usher turned around and threw us out.

There are a few phrases that I say ever day, catch-sayings that I've either made up, heard from someone else or stole from a movie. They are pre-determined responses to which I default at any time, and they probably annoy some people, too. Anyway, here are a few Flounderisms…

How's that working out for ya? – Stolen from Dr. Phil, I use this phrase when I already know the answer, and things are bad.

I'll take that under advisement. – There is no way I'm going to do what you just suggested.

Go get your shine box! – In my opinion, this is the greatest disrespectful comment that you can throw at someone. I stole it from Goodfellas, and you probably won't get it unless you've seen the movie.

I'd rather die than… - This usually prefaces something that I would dread doing, ranging from the harmless (take out the trash) to the potentially life ruining (go down on Camryn Manheim).

Yeah you are! – this usually follows someone saying something like "I'm gonna get us a couple of beers"

Look who you're asking. – This is my response when someone asks a stupid question like "Do you want another beer / slice of pizza / pulled pork sandwich."

Make it happen captain. – Simply means lets do it.

I love it when a plan comes together. – Line stolen from Hannibal of the A-Team. I use it when something good, but completely unexpected happens.

That's not gonna happen. – Self explanatory

That'll be the day. – Stolen from the Duke, John Wayne. Means essentially the same as the previous entry.

You're shittin me. – Means, are you serious?

I'm sure that there are many, many more, but I can't think of any right now. I also have a tendency to call everyone by the same moniker at times, like "Hey Bubba, wasssup?" Or "How ya doin Buddy?" Thankfully, I am not in one of those ruts right now, but it could happen at any time. It's usually when I meet a bunch of people and can't remember names.

So, do you have any sayings that are unique to you?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


This is what you get when you don't have anything to write, but feel obligated to throw something out there...

(Thanks to Bill & Spinning Girl)

10 Favorites
Favorite Season: Spring
Favorite Color: Gray
Favorite Time: Morning
Favorite Food: Veal Parm
Favorite Drink: Amstel Light
Favorite Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby
Favorite Place: Jersey Shore
Favorite Sport: Ice Hockey
Favorite Actor: John Wayne
Favorite Actress: Maureen O'Hara

9 Currents
Current Feeling: Bored
Current Drink: Cold coffee
Current Time: 10:41 AM
Current Show on TV: Off
Current Mobile used: Nextel I-90 (POS)
Current Windows Open: Outlook, Word, Palm Desktop
Current Underwear: Haynes Boxers
Current Clothes: Levi's Jeans, Grey "Big Dog" t-shirt, black Wolverine boots
Current Thought: Is it really only 10:41am?

8 Firsts
First Nickname: Weems
First Kiss: Bobbie P (a triplet)
First Crush: Michelle G
First Best Friend: Josh
First Vehicle I Drove: Ford Granada
First Job: Paperboy
First Date: Michelle G (a few years after the crush)
First Pet: A goldfish named Chico

7 Lasts
Last Drink: That damn cold coffee
Last Kiss: My son while leaving for work
Last Meal: Fried egg and cheese sandwich
Last Web Site Visited: ESPN.com
Last Movie Watched: The Godfather
Last Phone Call: My boss
Last TV show Watched: CSI:NY

6 Have You Ever...
Have You Ever Broken the Law: daily
Have You Ever Been Drunk: yes
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: yes
Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire: only a gun I was firing
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: yes
Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart: I don't think so

5 Things

Things You Can Hear Right Now: traffic, other keyboards being pounded, humming of the A/C system
Things On Your Bed: Sheets, pillows and probably a dog
Things You Ate Today: Fried egg & cheese sandwich, potato chips
Things You Can't Live Without: Family, Friends, Computer & Sportscenter
Things You Do When You Are Bored: Blog

4 Places You Have Been Today
my house
my office
gas station
Dunkin Donuts

3 Things On Your Desk Right Now
Bag of chips
cell phone
Newton's telecom Dictionary

2 Choices
Paper or Plastic
Chinese or Mexican (lunch)

1 Place You Want To Visit

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I've got questions people...

One of these days I'll get back to a real post, but for now, I have a few questions. Feel free to comment...

Why does one medium sized load of baby clothes produce more lint in the dryer than 5 large loads of my clothes?

And while I'm on the subject, why did my sons NY Jets jersey with its iron-on letters and numbers cost more than my Jets jersey with stitched-on letters and numbers?

Why have oil prices risen only risen 28% over the last year ($57/barrel to $73), but gasoline prices have increased by nearly 70% ($1.77/gal to $3.00)?

Why has Volkswagen gone from those cool Un-Pimp Ze Auto commercials to the ones that nearly give me a heart attack?

Does anyone really think that Barry Bonds didn't take steroids and human growth hormones? (Just look at that melon. It's like Sputnik.)

Isn't $400 a little pricey for a softball bat?

Just how long will it take for a little "prison justice" to be inflicted on Zacarias Moussaoui?

What is it with the Kennedys and driving cars?

Whatever happened to customer service in this country?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

President Flounder

My Fellow Americans

I stand before you a man with a plan. A plan to end all of the problems of not only the United States, but of the entire world. Once my plan is executed, America will once again be known as a great friend to all nations, and goodwill will abound.

This plan will affect every area of the average American's life, from transportation to social security to homeland security. It will help to decrease your taxes and will stimulate the economy, and most importantly, it will lower the price of gasoline and home heating fuel.

The answer to all of these problems lies with utilizing our illegal alien population to serve America. The potential of this workforce is truly untapped.

In Phase One of my plan, we will reach out to all 12 million illegals and offer them a way to legitimately gain US Citizenship. Each respondent will be tested for intelligence and skill and classified accordingly.

Phase Two will putting those workers in a position for which they are qualified. Those with the highest test results will be given jobs in the Department of Homeland Security. I estimate that we will employ approximately 50,000 illegals to perform cargo container inspection. Each will be equipped with radiation and explosive detectors, and drug sniffing dogs. Not a single container will enter our ports without being inspected. They will each be paid the Federal minimum wage, and will be taxed like every legal American. They will even contribute to Social Security which will help to fund that program for another 50 years.

Some skilled-labor illegals will be employed to build things, starting with a wall on the border of Mexico and the US. Some will be employed by the oil companies, and will build new and oil and ethanol refineries. Other skilled workers will work for the Federal Transportation Authority and will construct roads and bridges. And again, they will be paid the federal minimum wage.

Finally, unskilled workers will have a job too. They will be put to work in the fields of America, growing excess food that we will give to the poor and hungry of the world. Farmers will pay them minimum wage with the subsidies that the government will provide. These subsidies will replace the ones that we have been paying them for years not to grow crops.

As for those that do not respond, they will be rounded up and sent back home… the first time. If they are caught entering this country a second time, they will be sent to Iraq to assist the military with mine detection. Let's see if they can get through that desert!

In Phase Three, these workers will be granted their citizenship. There will be a 10 year waiting period total, with each working earning two years credit toward that figure for every year that they worked. So if they work for four years, they will get their citizenship in another two years. This provides them incentive to stay employed.

So there you have it. My plan will increase tax revenue, make our country safer, and feed the world. Gas prices will go down, and no Americans will lose their jobs because these are new jobs that we are creating.

Now aren't you glad you elected me?

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