Monday, September 29, 2008


I was food shopping last Sunday in the former Stop-'N-Shop that is now a Shoprite and while perusing the meat section, I found the bargain of the century.

I found almost a pound of Filet Mignon for 87 cents.

I am not making this up. There was a package of Filet Mignon marked $1.01 per pound.

Here is picture.

So I put it in my cart.

And that was all I could think about.

My 87 cent Filet.

I carefully chose a checkout line. No, not the sassy black lady. Not an older one. A young one.

I'm fifty, I have a good job, a good family.

I'm stealing meat.

In the check out line my conscience got the better of me and before my carefully chosen checkout girl starts ringing my order, I stop and show her the meat.

I tell her "This can't be right".

She looks at. Apparently this wasn't in the 8 hours of register training she had two months ago.

Often, in situations like this people say stupid things and that's what she did.

She looked at it and helped me with the math.

"Well, it's $1.01 per pound and .86 pounds so you're cool".

You're cool? Are you kidding me?

I ate the steaks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back to school night

Late yesterday I realized that back to school night for youngest son was at 7 pm that night.

We been doing back to school night for 13 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how it sneaks up on us. I mean it's not like it's a huge surprise, right? September, back to school. It was a choke-down chik-fil-a, what-is-your-schedule, race to the school, park a million miles from the school kind of night.

Just like every other year.

At least this year we didn't have two schedules to follow and it's actually kind of fun to walk the halls between classes seeing your friends.

We started with US History where the wise old teacher who has been through 36 back to school nights let his computer give his presentation. He had power point talk to us in a Steven Hawking voice for 7 minutes. He was a wise teacher. He has been doing this for years.

I loved the geometry teacher. He spent 4 minutes justifying learning geometry and you know every 15 year old he's ever met asked him "Why am I learning this?". I was thinking that I am 50 and I have never ever had the need for a proof. Good luck with geometry.

Youngest son later told us about when a student asked last year's algebra teacher "Why is this important?". His response? "It isn't, cooking and photography are". Smart guy.

We thought youngest son was loving foods class and were surprised when the new cooking teacher was cool to us and ambivalent about him. He loves to cook. Later it all made sense when we learned from him that we were in the wrong foods class.

And so another night of too small desks and hot classrooms was over. Two more to go.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Vortex

Our dishwasher broke this week. It made a noise and both of us looked at it strangely since in the X years we've had it, I don't think it made a peep. I say X years because we have no idea exactly how long we have had it. I thought it was pretty new until we thought about it. It must be over 10 years old.

Yesterday I worked at home and waited for the repairman to come and have a look to see it was something stupid. The something stupid turned out to be having the repair man out. It cost $80 to have him pronounce last rights. Oh, it can be fixed but the cost of replacing the pump and motor are about the cost of buying a new one.

So, off we go to the appliance store.

This is a slippery slope. I know. I've played before.

You start out replacing a faulty dishwasher and end up replacing the entire kitchen, the hall carpet, two pets and a garage door.

It goes like this.

You find the perfect dishwasher but it is stainless steel instead of black. It's a good deal. You buy the stainless steel dishwasher. Of course now it looks ridiculous with the black refrigerator and stove so it's back to the appliance dealer for new stainless steel appliances even though the fridge and stove are fine, they just don't match. You justify it by saying you need a fridge for the garage anyway and "I never liked that stove".

The stove arrives and behold! you need a new electric line run for the new stove. You hire an electrician who makes holes in the ceiling in the hall leading to the kitchen. You end up painting the hall a new color after fixing the dry wall. Well that new hall color can't go with that carpet so it's off the carpet store.

How can you possibly have that old floor with new kitchen appliances? Off the flooring goods store and so it goes - on and on until you find yourself at the garage door and you say enough!

I've also learned that you need to keep moving or you will get replaced as well. Try to blend in. It turns out the dogs aren't that quick.

Since we have no dishwasher that means washing everything by hand. This in turn leads to a "discussion at increased audio volumes" about actually how to wash dishes. Even though we have have had automatic dishwashers most of our adult lives, we both claim expertise in the area. Each presents the other with a resume of dishwashing experience.

"Well my mother never had a dishwasher when I was going up and they put in the one she has now after we were married" she says.
"You need a tub and drain board" I say.
"You need to rinse off all the soap or we'll get sick" I say.
"We don't have room for drain board!" she says.

I make a mental note "Buy plastic-ware and throw away dishes".

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dallas Sucks.

Tonight is the Eagles Dallas game on Monday Night Football and as a life long Philadelphian I can not begin to explain how much it is that we hate Dallas.

I'm not sure if was ingrained at me at home when I was young because I don't recall my father actually saying he hated them. I sure ingrained on my kids though. I taught them two things:

  • The words to Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road
  • The fact that the last line of that song "It's a town full of losers
    And I'm pulling out of here to win." is about Dallas.

It's a hatred that has developed over years of watching Emmit Smith run through gigantic holes for first down after first down. Years of Troy Akman throwing a fade to Michael Irvin for a TD. Years of the Cowgirls winning the division while we fought the Cardinals for last place.

I hate the Dallas Cowboys and nothing gives me as much pleasure as watching them lose to the Eagles and no coach has done it more than Andy Reid. I recall it was in this very room that I watched, mouth agape, as the Eagles kicked an on-sides kick to start the 2000 season in Dallas in the famous "pickle juice" game. They got the ball, marched for a score and then kicked off to "Americas Team" and on the first defensive play, Corey Simon sacked Troy "the robot" Aikman.

I loved it.

I remember Reggie White, chasing Aikman. It looked like bear was on the loose.

I remember Jimmy Johnson trying to cover up his finely coiffed head to avoid being hit by snowball. A snowball that may have come from someone that then Philadelphia DA Ed Rendall may have paid $10 to throw. I am not making that up. The now Governer of Pennsylvania admitted to giving some kid $10 if he could "reach the field". I think he hates Dallas.

It's difficult to explain to people that it really was OK that we booed Michael Irvin as he lay prone and unable to move on the artificial turf at the Vet. We hated Michael Irvin. God forbid it ever happen to TO but if it did, they would get out of the stands and beat him. We hate Dallas.

I actually went to a Monday night game against Dallas in 2005. It was the one that ended McNabb's season. I went with a friend who has season tickets and he brought two other friends. The parking was really bad that year and we had to park far away. We were walking the 7 or so blocks to the Linc and a another couple was walking beside near us, also headed to the game. She had on a Green McNabb jersey and he had a Roy Williams Dallas jersey.

At first the taunts were distant and muffled but as we got closer to ground zero, the ticket gates, the taunts became sharper and more clear. By time the poor guy was in the final line to get in the stadium, he was nearly crying.

They hated him because he was a Dallas fan.

Last year I went to the Eagles Miami game. Waiting in line, spurious chants of Dallas Sucks broke out. They were playing the Dolphins!

Yesterday I was at the Phillies day game with my Brothers, Father and Nephew. When Shane Victorino hit a 3 run homer late in the game, the TV cameras showed the above guy in a "Romo is Homo" shirt. We just snickered. At least it wasn't a national televised game.

I wish I had a shirt like that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In time for Monday Night.

Just in time for Monday Night, print this picture and tape a pencil to the back. Hold in front of face.

It may distract Romo enough.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm a chicken hawk.

Why was I wandering around my back yard this morning at 6:44 AM, scouring the bushes looking for a chicken carcass?

The short answer is "because its easier then looking for a chicken carcass with flashlights in the dark but it's a longer story than that.

On Sunday, as is my habit after 1 PM Eagles games, I cooked a whole chicken on the rotisserie on our grill at home. I've made these before and they are usually fairly fool proof. (By the way, what is it rotisserie chickens and Eagles blow outs?, the last time I wrote about this, the Eagles blew out Lions).

Anyway, a little olive oil and garlic on the skin, put the meat on the stick, turn on the rotisserie and come back in an hour.

What could go wrong?

I should have read my own blog before making my chicken because then I would have tied the legs together and put tin foil on the legs.

When I checked an hour later the poor bird was black, Especially the little legs, where the tin foil should have been. My best guess is that oil caught fire because the meat beneath the skin looked fine. The chicken looked like a blackened cartoon chicken, the burnt kind.

I served it anyway and it was pretty good. It was moist and delicious.

Usually these things make a mess when you cut them so I decided to cut it and we would eat outside. It was a beautiful day and setting up was easy. I thought the clean up was going to be easy too.

Take Chicken, place in trash can with liner.


Well I forgot about Provo and Lone and later that evening I came outside and found the trashcan knocked over, a sure sign that two schnauzers where in there, looking for a little something after dinner.

"they" say chicken bones are bad for doggies. I'm not sure how dogs survived all these years, avoiding chicken because the bones might crack and splinter. I'm not sure if this is folklore or true but it seemed wise to check the doggies out and look for the chicken.

The dogs seemed fine but the chicken......

The chicken was missing. A burnt chicken carcass was gone. No grease stain near the scene of the crime, no bones, no chicken - no nothin'.

We turned the giant flood lights on and searched. Yes, two middle aged reasonable people were out on a beautiful night, searching for a chicken.

We were even asking the dogs. "Shad, where is the chicken?", like she was going to answer. We know she did it. She always is the one that goes in the trash.

We got flashlights out and searched for the chicken carcass to no avail. It was gone - without a trace. A team from CSI wouldn't have been able to find this. Usually when the doggies steal some food it shows up in one of two places in the yard and both of them were clean. Also, you would think that since there aretwo of them, that they would have fought over it, leaving chicken parts everywhere.

Not a trace. It's as if the doggies were magicians. It would not have surprised me at that point if Provo had pulled a quarter out from behind my ear.

It's now 24 hours and the chicken has not turned up.

It's a mystery.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Parade Watch: Eagles 38 Rams 3.

This time of year in the NFL its difficult to tell after a blowout like the Eagles had today if your team is really really good or if the opponent is really really bad. I think today's game showed a little of both but it sure was fun to watch.

Deshawn Jackson, who will officially be known as Uno Cero on this blog had an unbelievable first game, someone was McNabulous, the Defense came within three of a shutout and even the special teams were, uh special. Fun game.

Oh and the Phillies won and are a game within first and play the Mets again tonight.

Except the part where the guy I was playing had McNabb, it would have been a perfect day.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A different kind of fall.

Its kind of a different fall for us with no Marching Band, Soccer or Scouts. Tonight for example instead of rushing home and making a pizza and running out the door for the weekly scout meeting, I am sitting and watching football in HD. This weekend is going to pour and be windy and I won't be putting up tents, spending the night listening to hurricane force winds blow branches out of the trees nor will I be holding up a 25 foot barn in a car wash.

Oldest son is off at college and seems to be having a good time, yesterday he called after going to Times Square for pizza. His roommates are good (so far) his classes are good (so far).

We get updates from facebook. We're so hip.

Speaking of HD, we finished the redecorating of the family room before Labor day and bought a nice 52 inch LCD HD set. We did zero research. Well we did some research. We asked the guy at Circuit City which one he liked and could we open a credit card.

Compared to the 32 inch tube TV that we had, which seemed OK when we had it, this is unbelievable. You find yourself watching anything that is in HD. Heck the other night, I watched Phil Collins in concert in Rome. I hate Phil Collins. Extreme Alaska? If it's in HD I'm there. We sat mesmerized by Spiderman 3 and Transformers.

But NFL football is unbelievable and so is Baseball. You find yourself looking at people in the stands, watching what they are doing.

Well football is on so I am going to get back to that now.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Why are these lights sticking out the top of shades?

We've taken our first steps towards going green, replacing three incandescent 75 watt light bulbs with fluorescent ones.

We were in our home away from home, The Home Depot, (because that is were we spend just about every weekend) to "pick up a few things".

We found ourselves at the lightbulb aisle checking out "green" light bulbs.

The first thing we noticed was that these lights last 8000 hours compared to about 800 for standard incandescent ones. I figured this would mean they would last until the next Clinton administration, the Chelsea Clinton Administration.

They also use much less electricity. The ones we were looking at were comparable to 100 watt bulbs and use 23 watts. This is a no brainer, right?

We were trying to determine what the difference is between "soft white" and "daylight" when I remembered my last adventure with these bulbs.

The eyeball lights in the family room.

These were on a dimmer and in the ceiling. Every time you turned on the lights, they would hum like a chorus getting ready for a concert.

And buzz. And the light was dim until they "warmed up".

Eventually they went in the trash.

This time I was prepared and demanded that we use the "dimmable" fluorescent lights.

These cost $8.97. I bought three nine dollar lightbulbs, thinking that I had lost my mind. Nine dollar lightbulbs? These bulbs had better make electricity at night for that price.

Then I replaced the other bulbs and found out that they stick out of the top of the light compared to the old bulbs. Ok, that's not great but let's see how much they save.

I figure the nine dollar light bulbs actually pay for themselves at about 1000 hours.

With three of these bulbs, at my current electric rates, I save about 2.7 cents per hour. Divide the cost of three bulbs plus tax by the 2.7 cents and you get about 1075 hours. The next 7000 hours are all gravy and this does not take into account the fact that I would have to replace the old ones nine times during that 8000 hours.

That made the lights sticking out the top a little more bearable.