Sunday, December 31, 2006


Here's a song any one can dance to New Year's Eve, drinking or no drinking. Chick or no chick. Stud or no stud. Dance alone. It's okay. Dance like no one is looking, especially to this song.

Okay boys and girls, take off those shoes, get down, get dirty, get dancing, this song is about Gloria. G. L. O. R. I. A.

This tune always brings a smile to the face of my brother.
I smile, too.

Gloria was real.

Gloria lived across the street.

Gloria was a most attractive older woman. Stone Fox.

Gloria boinked my little brother.

Gloria was 15 years older.

Little brother was in high school.

Today, Gloria would be on American's Most Wanted.

Back then, Gloria was a hero.

This song is all about GLORIA who lived across the street.



Turn up those speakers. Get dancing! Start smiling!

Looking back on starting the New Year every ten years for twenty years:

1997: Living in Anchor Bay on the California coast, working part time by choice knowing life on those terms could not last another year. We had just closed the Fruit Basket for the season with resounding success selling Christmas trees.

The Fruit Basket was an open air produce market housed in a large barn like structure behind a popular coastal hotel and restaurant.

Owning the Fruit Basket was Candace's dream job. I drove south to pick up fresh fruit and veggies twice a week. She sold what I brought in by truck. The Fruit Basket made very good money because people liked buying from Candace and because we sold only the very best of fruits and vegetables.

Knowing we had to leave the coast so I could continue in my profession (limited opportunities there), we sold the Fruit Basket early in 1997.

We welcomed 1997 with friends at a local restaurant.

1987: Living in apple country. At this time I was president of a local service club. We were busy with jobs, Candace with Ralston Purina and I with a local school district. Jobs and the service club kept us hopping.

New Year's eve to welcome 1987 was spent with friends at their home - a tradition for us for many years. Other friends would join the party. Our friends always sent invitations asking everyone to bring their own drink along with food to share with the following warning: "No chips, no dips" meaning cheap bastards should think twice before bringing them to the party.

Candace is down with a cold this year. We'll greet 2007 quietly at home.

In Cow Town more than a few think it's fashionable on New Years to take their fire arms outside and let it rip.

What goes up must come down. Maybe it would be a good idea to buy an army helmet. That way I'd be protected if a stray bullet came through the roof of the house.

Ah, resolutions. Do you make them? I try not to. If I were going to make any promises for what I'd do or not do in 2007:

#1 SMILE MORE: I've been practicing when I'm out driving alone, keeping a smile on my face for long distances. It feels good.

#2 HUGS: I don't like being touched or hugged unless it's coming from Candace or my dog.

Maybe I could go into Rehab for this problem. Everyone else is doing it so I might give it a try to rid myself of the no hugging me or touching me problem I have.

Someone once said that rehab is for quitters.

#3 DO SOME OF THE THINGS I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO: Is this the year that I buy the Corvette I've wanted since age 16?


#5 GET BACK TO EXERCISING: I did pretty well on the exercising scale this last year. I was in the gym 3-4 times a week for most of 2006. I've been a slacker in November and December.


#7 STOP BUYING NEW TRUCKS. I bought a new truck in 2006 and now I want to buy another new truck in 2007. This has got to stop!

#8 USE UP THE FREQUENT FLIER MILES: I hate flying. Maybe I should go into rehab for that, too.

#9 TRACE THE FAMILY TREE. I've never known anything about my father's side of the family tree. This is the year to check it out and maybe meet relatives I've never met.


If 2007 is anything like 2006 start to finish it's going to pass by quickly.

Enjoy the year, cherish each moment of 2007.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I've tanned and burned, burned and tanned all of my life. Sooner or later you pay for years of tanning and burning. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will in time.

I visit my friend Dr. Craig every 3 months. He's a dermatologist. We talk and I sit while he burns barnacles off of my body.

Most of the time the barnacles are nothing but that: Growths related to sun exposure or to age.

Sometimes the little bumps are basil cell carcinoma. That's when life gets a little more serious.

Usually all it takes to rid old Bob of basil cells is to dig and scrape deeply, send the tissue to the lab who usually says "All gone, you got it all" and that is that.

Burning barncles is not like the real fire burning. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze whatever it is Doc Craig wants to rid my body of. It comes in a cannister with a metal nozzle.

Technicallly the barnacles are frozen and not burned The treatments are more like you're getting frost bitten in the areas touched by the liquid nitrogen. If an area has a large amount of liquid nitrogen applied, it hurts. Usually tears run down my face when this happens. Can't help it. It hurts!

If I had it to do over again I would still spend the same amount of time in the sun, continue to never use sun screen and enjoy life on the beach or in the boat. I'd have less wrinkles and fewer visits to Dr. Craig if I had stayed out of the sun or at least used something to protect my arms, back, legs and face. I'd look 20 years younger, no doubt about that.

I visited my dermatologist two and a half weeks ago. I still have the marks to attest to this visit. In time they'll fade but for now the marks Dr. Craig left are an angry red. By next week the areas touched by liquid nitrogen should be finished being angry and look normal.

Using more sun screen or staying out of the sun will not be one of my New Year's resolutions. Getting out in the sun and having more fun is. I am one of those "some people never learn".

You see, an old dog can't be taught any new tricks.
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Friday, December 29, 2006


I just read that Saddam is expected to be hung soon, probably by Saturday. Since it's not nice to make fun of the dead, I wanted to put in my two bits before that happened.

Isn't there an alternative to capital punishment? There should be. Killing via death penalty seems so primitive even though it feels so good to get even.

Do you wonder if America lost the war in Iraq if our president would then be considered a war criminal? That would be something, don't you think?

Instead hanging Saddam why not make use of him? Saddam could become a member of the president's cabinet and advise Mr. Bush on how to end the war in Iraq. I don't think that he could do any worse than any of the advisors who came before him.

Or Saddam could do commercials. Take your pick. Viagra? Preparation H? Hair Club For Men? Jenny Craig? American Express. Or something better than those silly Citibank commercials - I just hate them. The list is endless of what Saddam could do in a commercial. I'd watch any of the commercials with Sadam in them.

Saddam could start a Rehab program for deposed dictators. "Hi, I'm Saddam and I'm a has been!" HI SADDAM!!!!

There's a lot of things Saddam could do in life that he will not be able to do in death. Except one thing, does he get in on that 70 virgin deal? Would all 70 be male 40 year old virgins? Worse yet, they'd decide that Saddam would catch and they would pitch.

I'll take life over 70 virgins any day. Gads, who would take 70 virgins by choice? Give me 70 party animal chicks. That would be fun!

I'll bet Saddam would take life if given the choice.

Killing anyone when unnecessary does seem like a waste of life. Even when it's Saddam Hussein, the worst of the worst.

We're a much better country than to kill people in the name of justice.

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Grace and her dad frequent Chuck E. Cheese (CEC). They love going to CEC.

Yesterday I suggested that we visit CEC. It had been years since I had set foot in one, the first and last being in Fairfield. It was on our way back from the family compound in Lake Tahoe. We needed a place to eat, it was late and CEC was an easy access off of the interstate.

There weren't a lot of kids at CEC that night. It was quiet. We ate. The kids played a few games. Chuck danced around the stage. We left. No big deal.

When we walked in the door the little hostess girl said, "Hi guys." and Candace said, "We'll there's one guy here and two girls. What does that make us?" Oh boy, here we go.

We ordered lunch. A small pizza for Grace and I with two toppings. A salad for Candace. Some french fries. Three drinks. 40 game tokens. 36 bucks.

I looked at one of the game tokens closely. It said "Where a Kid Can be a Kid". That along with what I just paid for a meal and game tokens should have been a clue for what was in store.

It was a little after 11 and people with their handfuls of kids started streaming in. Watching parents and grandparents spend their hard earned money at CEC for food and tokens reminded me of watching people who gamble at the local Indian casino: They're the ones who can least afford it.

We ate. The pizza was like cardboard -it had no soul like real pizza should.

Candace's salad for close to 5 bucks was a total rip-off. It was the smallest of disposable bowls - like made for a cup of soup.

Candace and Grace were soon off to play games while I sat content to guard the left over food, the purse and the jackets all the while watching mankind doing what mankind does best - co-mingle with other members of mankind.

Every once in a while Grace would race back to the table, tickets in hand, shouting, "I won, I won!" The tickets that are won can be cashed in for prizes. Grace was very proud of herself.

Our table was near the front door and where food was ordered. I could see first hand the initial responses of children and adults to the Chuck E. Cheese experience.

#1 Kids threw off their shoes as soon as they hit the inside of CEC. I guess this is part of being a kid.

#2 A few families bought one "all you can eat" salad dish along with a pizza. As one adult finished eating their salad the plate was wiped off by another member of the family. That person then scooted over to the salad bar to fill the plate up with another helping of food. Resourceful, I thought.

#3 CEC brings out the hyperactivity, attention deficit side of all kids, even adults. At CEC, they all act like their nuts. Kids, adults running from game to game, waving tokens and tickets as they move. Yelling, screaming, babies crying, games clanging/gonging/bonging - the noise, ohhh the noise!

#4 Some of the 20 or 30 something male adults still think they're teenagers. Hats worn backwards, pants below their butt cracks, adolescent gestures, shoes untied (what's that all about?), all trying to look cute. Mostly they looked unemployed and were not cute at all.

#5 A few of the moms and dads did what I did and observed the chaos from a safe distance. We were the smart ones.

#6 Other smart parents knew better than to eat at CEC well knowing the value of their hard earned money should not be spent foolishly. They bought a few game tokens, turned the kids loose and sat until the tokens had all been expended.

#7 You have to endure kids even though you're sitting at table away from the action. I had a set of twins sit right behind me with their mother and grandmother. They stood up and sneezed and coughed in my direction all the while pulling on the cord controlling the window blinds. I moved to the seat across from the table and immediately another mother sat behind me with her crying infant on her shoulder. There's no refuse for any living being in CEC.

#8 In some cases the games require little or no skill. You put in a token, pull a lever and you either win or lose.

Off handedly Candace has said to Grace more than once that she would have her February birthday party at CEC. As she sat down at our table to sip on her soft drink before leaving CEC Candace offered that there would be no February party for her at CEC this year or any other year. There were more than a few tokens left of the 40 purchased. Candace said that enough was enough and that she was ready to leave.

Grace could have kept going as long the tokens held out and didn't want to leave. I offered to leave her there and said to Grace that her mother could pick her up after she was finished with work. At four years of age I knew what her answer would be to an offer that I didn't plan on following through on.

I thought back to younger years and considered if my age had colored my opinion about the Chuck E. Cheese experience. At ages 15, 25 or 35 would I have enjoyed a CEC visit? I don't think that I would have. Sensory overloads have never sat well with me.

If nothing else, Grace enjoyed herself. I hope she will always cherish the memory of the one and only visit to CEC with her grandparents because there sure isn't going to be another.

Word to the wise if you must visit CEC: Most CEC's open every day at 9 in the morning. Hit it while the day is young and it's not yet too noisy or crazy. You'll be glad that you did.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006


This morning I said to the wife, "I'm thinking about having ham for New Year's. What would you like to have?"

"Nothing", she replied, "I am soooo over food for a while. You get what you want to eat."

I have to agree. Prime rib Christmas Eve. Turkey and everything that goes with turkey on Christmas Day. We've eaten high up on the food chain this holiday season.

I will never be over food, not even for a little while. What me eat bunny food? Defined as all greens and veggies with nary a piece a meat on the plate.

If I were a prisoner of war and the bad guys wanted me to spill the beans, all they'd have to say, "Bunny food for a month or else!" I'd be a gab, gab, gabbing!

We used to drive at least every two weeks if not every week to a little Italian place. The drive was nice and only 15 minutes from our door.

Negri's was a nice place to unwind from a busy day, enjoy a little wine, a little antipasta, then dig into a salad, a bowl of soup, a plate of pasta and maybe chicken or steak.

When we moved from this area to Cow Town we soon found that replacing Negri's with a another Italian restaurant of similar quality was not going to be easy. Actually, it's been impossible. There's only one Occidental California with its Italian restaurants. Without a doubt there is only one Negri's.

With Candace not wanting any more holiday food it would be nice to eat at Negri's New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. She could eat her bunny food. I could gorge myself with the Italian food I crave and drink any beverage of my choosing. Candace would be happily under-fed. I would be happily stuffed.

That's not going to happen. There's nothing like Negri's even close to Cow Town.

I thought about driving to Negri's for dinner and then driving 5 hours home. That would be nuts. How many sobriety check points would I have to pass before I hit the front door of our home? How many times would I have to say, "Well no officer, I've not been drinking." And how many times would I hear, "Please step out of the car." I can do without that.

Home we'll stay. Maybe an early dinner out New Year's Eve would be fitting instead of a 15 course ham dinner at home. Maybe this is the answer to the she doesn't want to eat anything but bunny food, he wants to eat like a pig, maritial, keep peace in the family question.

Whatever we do for dinner that night, it will be good to put 2006 away and look forward to the year 2007 as being another new beginning.

Still, driving to Negri's is appealing. We could eat. We could dance the night away. It would be like coming home.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I know what you're thinking. My dreams are not filled with that kind of wind.

Wind that pushes sailboats this way and that, those are the things dreams are made of.

It's been too long without a sailboat. Way too long.

The first picture is of the boat I want but can't find. No one wants to sell their used Catalina 25 that has the equipment essential to great sailing. I've looked and looked. Two years or more of looking for that special Catalina 25.

I'd drive to Texas to buy the right boat.

Sailboats have differing types of keels. Therein lies the difficulty in finding the right boat. Some Catalinas have centerboard type keels with waterballast to help steady the craft.

Other Catalinas have what's called a swing keel - a long piece of lead that can be cranked up into the belly of the boat. This feature is helpful to getting the boat on and off of the trailer. It's also a great thing to have if you want to beach your boat.

The third type of keel is called a fin. It's long - 3-4 feet, it will not retract and generally is not suitable for lake sailing. If your fin keel hits a rock or encounters shallow water, that's pretty much it for the day. A fin keel also makes loading the boat on and off the trailer a chore. The trailer has to be sunk to a depth deep enough to float the boat onto it - usually about 4-5 feet or more. Not fun.

My keel - the ever illusive keel - called a wing keel. Shaped like a wing and attached 24 inches from the hull, a wing keel makes for great sailing and you don't have to sink your trailer to deep depths to launch or retrieve it.

You're thinking, why not buy a new boat? 38k is why I'm not buying a new Catalina 25.

I found this picture on the Internet. The boat is just like our last one. A Macgregor 26'.

It was a good boat but had a centerboard and water ballast. It handled poorly in heavy winds. I love sailing in winds over 20 or 30 knots. This is not the boat for that type of sailing.

Below deck our boat had a galley, a port-a-potti, a queen bed. We'd spend days sailing and nights hanging off of the stern swimming, barbequeing (a propane bbq was attached to the aft railing) and watching the stars traverse the sky.

After a day of sailing we anchored the boat in a quiet little bay where the waves were gentle enough to rock you to sleep.

We'd wake in the morning to a flock of pelicans who were swimming around the boat. They would be there most mornings. Apparently they were as fond of the little bay as we were.

The morning would continue with coffee consumed on the deck, breakfast rolls and listening to a San Francisco jazz station on the boat's radio.

It doesn't get any better than this.

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Monday, December 25, 2006


Taken a few minutes ago from the on-line edition of the Oregonian, their editorial for Christmas Day.

A day to hold people close

Monday, December 25, 2006
The Oregonian

Christmas is always a search -- for meaning, for family, for gifts, even for just the right thing to say to the people you care about most.

But on this Christmas Day, after weeks of watching the brave, tear-stained faces of the families and friends of James and Kati Kim and mountain climbers Kelly James, Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke, the search feels more urgent than ever.

Maybe you don't know where to look, where to start -- or even, exactly what you're searching for this Christmas. But you can find it. Start with the families and close friends of the missing that Oregon looked so long, and so hard, to find nearly all month long.

Look at all that the family and friends of the Kims did to help rescue James and Kati and those two little girls. They raised money, rented helicopters and launched Web sites, they prayed and hugged and gave strength to each other.

Look, too, at the deep love and enormous faith that Karen James showed for her husband, Kelly, standing in a driving, cold rain on Mount Hood, thanking searchers and telling reporters, "My husband proposed to me on Mount Rainier, and we're planning our 50th wedding anniversary there. . . . I know he's coming off this mountain."

These families and friends never gave up. You must keep searching, too. Look back, and you will find clues in the determined, exhausted faces of the dozens of search and rescue volunteers who tried to find and save the Kims and the climbers. You could hear it in the breaking voice of Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson, who announced the discovery of James Kim's body.

It doesn't come in a pretty package. You can't fit it under a tree. It never goes on sale at the stores. But it's there in the compassion, the strength and the commitment that people showed for one another in an awful month when so many people came up missing in Oregon. It's also there with the many Oregon families who are missing loved ones serving in Afghanistan and Iraq this Christmas Day.

It's love. It's family. It's hope. It's what people are doing today, coming together in their homes, gathering around Christmas trees, crackling fires and overloaded dining room tables.

So pull your loved ones extra close on this Christmas Day. This is a day for fierce hugs, for saying the things that never quite get said. You've seen just how easy it is to lose someone. One wrong turn in the darkness. One misstep in the mountains.

It's been a sad and frightening time in Oregon. But we've also seen the powerful love of family and friends.

Don't ever stop searching.

But on this day, celebrate all that you've found.

Wondering what is the meaning of Christmas? Here's what it's all about.
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Sunday, December 24, 2006


Jill knows how to celebrate the season. Nothing like a nice dog cigar after a meal of kibble. Yum.

This picture is not unlike Jill. She often carries about her bone in search for a place to sit and chew.

Don't you just love this dog?
Grace and I have started having cake for lunch. Bad habit. Grace can stand to put on a few pounds. Her 31 pound bod needs some meat on it.

Papa's bod needs nothing but working out.

I buy like a 1/4 of a cake at the local supermarket. It's more than enough to last the two us for three or four days. Candace slices the cake mighty slim.
This is Grace's almost step-sister, Hannah. She's 16 months old.

So that Grace's mom and her boyfriend could Christmas shop, we took both of the girls for the evening.

We had the girls for about four hours. When they left I asked myself why men my age marry very young women and have a second and sometimes third set of kids. Not only do these guys have a very young lady to educate there's 18 or more years of child rearing duties ahead of them.

What are they thinking? Or were they thinking?

More things to wonder about.

Thank goodness for an empty nest.

I'm listening for the sound of reindeer on the roof tonight. I've been a good boy this year.

Last year I wasn't such a good boy. Santa left a rock in my sock. That wasn't the first time. Nor will it be the last.

The stockings are hung on the chimney with care. Old St. Nick, will you soon there?

Ho, ho, ho!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


When youngest son Max was a wee pup, much like the age of his niece Grace Helen (here with Candace), he loved the game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. It had been a Christmas gift from Santa.

His friends would come over to spend time. On most of their visits Tommy, Damon, Loren, Chris and Max would all take turns pounding on the Hungry Hippo levers to see who would end up with the most marbles in their cups.

When I saw the new and improved version of Hungry Hippos on the shelf of Target I couldn't resist but place it in my shopping cart.

The three of us often play games together. Cooperation, sportsmanship, dexterity, critical thinking skills - all stressed to Grace during game playing.

Grace delights in winning. I delight in losing when we play Hungry Hippos. "I lose! I lost!! I'm a loser, I'm a loser!", I chant.

Grace looks at me like I'm nuts and her look tells me that she's thinking that Papa has another screw loose. Keep 'em guessing, I always say.

For Christmas this year Grace has asked Santa for a mermaid make-up set . . . is it Arial, the cartoon character that this set is named after? How can mermaids keep their make-up on as they swim the high seas? One more thing to wonder about.

This is the first Christmas that Grace knows exactly what's going on. Her excitement is intense as she waits for Christmas Day.

When we visited with Grace yesterday the first words out of her mouth were, "Only three more sleeps until Santa comes!"Oh to be four years old again and to be able to take in the sheer magic of the season.

On the other hand, Grace has been taught well about the reason for the season. She can tell you all about the nativity scene we have next to the Christmas tree. Last year Grace would often kidnap Baby Jesus, spiriting away the figurine to her bedroom for closer inspection. She'd walk around the house cradling and singing to the Baby Jesus. When Grace went home the hunt would be on to find the missing figurine. We'd find the missing BabyJesus in the darnest of places.

Sitting here and blogging in my pajamas is not getting anything done this morning. There's more shopping to do, more people to bump into who block the aisles of the department stores who shop with their finger in their ear.

'Tis the season.

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Friday, December 22, 2006


Food TV's Rachael Ray has an excellent recipe for pasta.

We prepare her pasta recipe about once a month and have enough left over for three or four meals. Yes, we have pasta once a week.

Note that the recipe calls for ground veal and ground pork combined with hamburger and hot sausage. I usually can only find only the ground pork and hamburger but not the ground veal. Not using veal doesn't matter.

If you can't find hot sausage use regular sausage and add some red pepper flakes.

I made a batch of Christmas Pasta last night. Damn, it's good!

Christmas Pasta

Rachel Ray/Food Television Network

We eat fish on Christmas Eve, no meat allowed. After Midnight Mass, all bets are off! We make this sauce for Christmas Day: you can't fit another meat in the pot!

As many times as you reheat it, it just gets that much better, so if people are coming and going throughout the day, cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time -- half a pound for every 3 people.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic,

crushed 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

1/4 pound pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (Italian cured pork, ask at deli counter) Bob says: We use Prosciutto instead of pancetta. It has less fat.

1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage

1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery,

chopped 1 large onion, chopped

1 cup good quality dry red wine

1 cup prepared beef stock, paper container or canned

2 (28-ounce) cans chunky style crushed tomatoes

1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

A handful chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

1/4 teaspoon (a couple of pinches) allspice or cinnamon

Coarse salt and black pepper

2 pounds penne rigate or spaghetti, cooked to al dente Grated Pecorino Romano, as an accompaniment

Fresh, crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, bay, and pancetta bits and brown for 1 minute. Add meats and brown and crumble them for 5 minutes.

Chop carrot, celery, and onions near the stove and add to the pot as you work.

Cook vegetables with meat 5 minutes and add wine.

Cook for 1 minute; add stock and tomatoes to the pot.

Stir in parsley, allspice, or cinnamon and season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10 to 15 minutes minimum before serving. Reheated sauce only improves.

Toss pasta (cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time: half a pound for every 3 people) with a couple of ladles of sauce to coat, then top bowl with extra sauce.

Top pasta with lots of cheese and pass bread at the table.

The sauce will cover up to 2 pounds of pasta.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006


There's a business in Cow Town that gives out awards to their employees for doing great stuff. When you do great stuff you get recognized.

For anyone lucky enough to get this award you get to wear a Cheesehead hat at work for a month. I wanna get a job in that place. This is totally cool.

If I got that award, I'd be wearing the Cheesehead to bed, to church, to confession (I'd probably have to say 10 Our Fathers and 6 Hail Marys for wearing a Cheesehead to church) and a lot of other places.

I've been given the Shithead Award. There wasn't anything to wear on my head when I got this award. I wish they would have given me a shithead hat.

Sometimes I'm a dumbshit. There's no award for that.

I don't think I can ever be what it takes to be a Cheesehead and get that award unless I move to Green Bay Wisconsin, home of the Packers and home of the Cheeseheads.

You can wear a Cheesehead in Green Bay without being a super cool rat fink employee where you work. In Green Bay you can drink beer on the job (they do that in Wisconsin), wear your Cheesehead hat to work, get a paycheck and life would be as good as it could get.

I could move to Green Bay. I would be a Cheesehead if I moved to Green Bay, sit in zero temperatures, watch the Packers play what used to be called Vince Lombardi football (now it's called something else but I can't say what it is here) and wear the Cheesehead hat. Life in Greenbay Wisconsin is very appealing, especially the part about being able to drink beer while you work.

I could easily trade living in Cow Town for a life in Cheesehead Village.

Now if I can just convince the wife . . .

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There's a Mexican restaurant close to where we live. I like eating there. They open at 9 in the morning and serve anything but breakfast. I hate breakfast.
The other morning about 10 the wife and I decided to have Mexican for breakfast lunch and drove to our downtown spot. As we walked in the door we noticed a large nativity scene in the front corner of the restaurant. It was complete in every way except for one thing: There was no baby Jesus to be seen anywhere.
Thinking that someone had five-fingered Baby Jesus we asked, "What happened to Baby Jesus?
"Oh nothing", was the response from our Mexican born waitress. "Baby Jesus hasn't been born yet. Come back on Christmas Day if you want to see Baby Jesus."
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


The house was being cleaned the other day so I decided to load one of the dogs into the truck, head for the post office and then have a quick meal at Jacque in Zee Box. I didn't want to mess up the kitchen after it had been so nicely cleaned by the housekeeper.

I ordered, sat and waited for my meal.

The truck was parked in a place where I could keep an eye on the dog. She knew exactly where I was and what I was doing. The dog was not happy that she had to sit this meal out in the truck.

Soon enough the meal was ready and I retrieved it from the counter. The woman at the counter said that I had an opportunity "to win money" if I took a phone survey. The number to call, she said, was listed on the receipt. Okay, I thought as I saw that the grand prize was $10,000. Lady Luck may smile on me if I made just one phone call.

While munching on my burger I checked out the recipt for what I had to do to enter the $10,000 contest drawing. I also wanted to check the receipt to see why the cashier knocked fifty cents off of the total.

Let's see now,

1 Jumbo Jack $1.59
(No mayo)

1 Monster Taco at $1.29

1 small soft drink cost $1.29 - wow, as much as a Taco and almost as much as the Jumbo Jack!

Next on the receipt came SENIOR DISCOUNT!! - and fifty cents was deducted.


With tax it all came to $3.94.

When I got home I hung my head and handed the receipt to Candace. "What's happening to you?", she said in misbelief that once more I was given a senior discount.

What is it? The way I comb my hair? The way I dress? Do I smell like a senior citizen? I wonder.

Dad used to tell me that when he got older that he'd appreciate it if I'd tell him when he began to stink. Funny thing, when dad got much older and began to stink I told him and he really didn't care.

I'd love to have a light sword just like the ones in Star Wars.

If I did have a light saber I'd fight with Jack over getting another damn senior discount.


That would be me.

People! Knock off those senior discounts, hear! Posted by Picasa
Life Can Turn On A Dime

The tragedy of three climbers losing their lives on Mt. Hood this week, all due to unusually bad weather and the injury of one of the climbers touched a nerve.
Whether sailing the ocean, mountaineering, hang gliding, or any hobby having an element of danger, death or serious injury can happen to anyone.

Sailing alone I have remind myself that a sudden jibe may result in the boom snapping about quickly and hit me on the head. It's not unlikely that I'd either be knocked out and/or tossed overboard leaving the craft to head down wind without its skipper.
Then what? Good question with no answer, at least not today.

"Nothing is going to happen to me" nevertheless remains a constant for those stepping outside the boundaries of Mother Nature.

Four fishermen were lost Saturday when their large commercial fishing boat capsized while attempting to cross the Rogue River sandbar into the ocean. They were an experienced crew who had crossed the Rogue River sandbar hundreds of times.

Last week three experienced climbers perished during inclement weather on Mt. Hood.
A year ago while visiting Sacamento Candace and I paused at a crosswalk and waited for the light to turn green. As the light turned green I started to step off of the curb and into the street when I felt a firm tug on my jacket pulling me back to the sidewalk.

Just then a car passed within inches of where I was about to walk having shut shot a red light. Had Candace not pulled me back onto the sidewalk I hate to think of what would have happened. The good Lord and Candace were watching over old Bob that day.

"Nothing is going to happen to me?" Life can turn on a dime and it does, even when crossing the street.

The pictures posted of Mt. Thielsen in Oregon are here for a reason: Candace and I are planning to climb Thielsen this summer, a goal we've had on the "to do" list for a while.

It's a 9-10 hour climb to Thielsen's 9,182 foot summit garnering an increase of 3,782 feet in elevation from base camp to the top.
Thielsen was once a volcano. Glaciers removed much of the volcano formation.

She's old lady, Mt. Thielsen. At 290,000 years of age, she's called the Lightning Rod of the Cascades. The very top of her is mostly glass created by rocks fried with every lightning strike.
There's a box at the summit of Mt. Thielsen for all successful climbers to leave their name and a handwritten message. With each lightning strike, I wonder if there's anything left of the box. Must be made of Kryptonite.

They say there are no markers for the trail to the top of Mt. Thielsen. We'll need to strew bread crumbs along the way to the top to insure a speedy and safe return to base camp.

The last 200 feet of the climb is hand over hand because of the rock debris and the steepness of this part of the mountain.

Candace and I will climb until we hit the top of Thielsen or stop when it feels that we're at the limit of our endurance or skills. Safety first.

Our lives are not going to turn on any dime. And there's no crosswalks on the mountain so I have to worry that a car is going to run a red light.

This week's loss of three lives on Mt. Hood brought to mind something that naturalist John Muir said a very long time ago:

John Muir said:
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine blows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
Right on, John baby.

Those who climb the highest see the farthest.

Come August, Candace and I will do a full assault, as they say, on Mt. Thielsen.

I can't say that I won't be thinking of the three men lost on Mt. Hood when we make this climb because I will.

As we traverse the trail up the mountain I'll also be thinking of my cousin Mark. He climbed Thielsen alone a dozen or more years ago. At a very young age, Mark took his life.

Following in Mark's footsteps will make the climb even more special. I have a sense that he'll be with me every step of the way. Posted by Picasa

You've gone out to dinner. Whether a Doggie Diner or a fru-fru place, no doubt the wait person has greeted you, "Hi guys!" First words out of my mouth in return, "We're not guys." because the wife is definitely not one of the guys.

If I had one of those same sex marriages, "Hi Guys!" would be okay. Same sex marriage would never happen to totally hetero Bob. It's hellalot better to pitch than to catch.

Last month I had the oil changed on one of the vehicles. It wasn't long before I was being referred to as "Bud" by one of Oil Can Henry's finest.

Bud? I wasn't a "bud" to this 20 something year old man-child.

Soon afterwards I wrote a letter to the owner of Oil Can Henry's complaining. For a worker child to refer to a customer as "bud" was unacceptable.

The owner was very apologetic in a return letter. His worker had no idea that calling a customer BUD more than twice his age was offensive. The manager understood and said it would never happen again.

Never happen again? Well, not at this place of business.

I've been called "dude" a couple of times while shopping this past month.

These people mean well. Yes, they want to be friendly. But they know nothing about appropriate greetings.

We had dinner out last night at a place that you could call fancy for Cow Town. Real table cloths. Waiters in tuxedos. It would be a nice place anywhere.

First thing in the door, "Hi guys, do you have reservations?" Cringe. Yes, but we're not guys! The host could have said, "Good evening" instead of "Hi guys!".

Is this another indication that our culture is going to hell in a handbasket or is it just me being a snob? I've always been one to respect anyone older than me. Calling that person "dude", "guy", "bud" or whatever never seemed as being appropriate.

If a lot of people objected to being greeted this way I suppose these types of greetings would eventually stop. Instead they're becoming more common place.

I had a nice sirloin dinner last night. The other "guy" with me also known as Candace, had chicken marsala. House wine was horrible. After sending the first glass back and tasting another, I said to hell with it and let it sit. My martini before dinner was good (hard to ever screw up a Blue Saphire that is shaken and not stirred).

For a couple of "guys" we had a good time.

Next time a service person calls you guy, dude or bud, what's going to be your comeback?

I know what mine is going to be. . .

P.S. This is Blog #125. Happy anniversary, BUD!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


When I was a teacher one of my little guys, Mitch Starkey, used to bring sardine sandwiches to school for a mid morning snack.

During snack time Mitch would come up and intentionally breathe in my face and say, "Good morning!" knowing how much I hated the smell of his fish sandwich breath.

Mitch would then flash a "fish eating grin" complete with sardine inbetween his teeth and run off to play.

It was pretty horrible.

I wonder if Mitch still eats sardine sandwiches? I wonder if Mitch's wife likes sardines for lunch? I wonder if eating sardines is grounds for divorce. I should call Mitch's mom and ask these things.

I've never liked cooked fish but I love sushi. Go figure. I could eat sushi all day long. Allllll day long. Frankly, I think it tastes better than cooked fish.

The first picture is of a favorite place of ours, Isobune restaurant in San Francisco. You can see people seated around a counter. Look closely and you'll see that just forward of where they're sitting is a moat that is filled with water. In the moat are little boats that go around and around and around the counter. They're carrying dishes of sushi.

There's no waiting to eat. Take what you want off of the boat and go for that sushi experience. Often I don't know what it is that I'm eating because there's nothing to identify what I've just taken off of the boat. Sushi? It's all good.

My favorite kind of sushi is a piece of fish on top a slice of sushi rice. Ahhhhh soooo, very good eating, Grasshopper.

Your bill at Isobune is determined by the dishes. Every dish has a dollar meaning connected to it. I've seen people eat a lot more sushi than I could ever think of eating and have a stack of dishes a foot or more in height. Big bucks.

Here are the little boats. Cool place.

Have you read that the ocean is steadily being overfished? I believe that. When was the last time you've seen swordfish on the menu of any restaurant? Shark is becoming scarce. How about red snapper?

I just read that tuna is fast becoming a thing of the past. What was it, 2012 or was it 2026 when it is predicted that there will be insufficient supplies of tuna.

Sorry, Charlie. The Chicken of the Sea is going to be no more.

When there are no more fish to eat in the ocean what will we eat for sushi?

When there's no more fish in the sea I'm thinking that cow, seagull, pig, squirrel and roadkill sushi will take its place.

What a thought.

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Monday, December 18, 2006


You're not surprised, neither am I. When was the last time you ordered fast food and you didn't think that the cashier wasn't a shit.

You can find more fast food cashier shits in places other than Cow Town. In Cow Town 88% of the population are white anglos. Our fast food establishments are mostly staffed by white trash kids or 35 year old live at home "kids" who want to live a champagne life on mom and dad's buck.

In other places where fast food cashiers have not perfected the English language, shit happens. So does attitude. I find myself, in response to a cashier's question, saying, "Huh? What'd you say?"

I read the other day where one fast food chain is outsourcing the ordering of food via the fast food squawk box. You pull up, someone takes your order only it's from someone not in the restaurant, connected to you from distant locale (Hello India?) via satellite communication.

I can hardly wait to see one more American job be outsourced to a foreign country in the name of making a buck.

Have you thought about the word "shit". After seeing this sign I started thinking about all of the ways that we use the word shit these days. There's a bunch. Shit is very much in the English language whether you like it or not. For example:

"What a dumb shit." This has nothing to do with bowel movement aptitude.

"Holy shit!" Not related to the sermon your pastor gave on Sunday, this term is used when someone is surprised or scared. When that semi truck swerves into your lane of traffic, what do you say?

"That's some bad shit." This could mean several things: Like good or very bad as in horrible. In college I heard that term often. Then That's Some Bad Shit was a good thing.

"You're not shitting me, are you?" Not meant to mean anything but "are you kidding me?" but in those terms.

"You shit head!" No double meaning here, the person you say this to is very dumb or has done something very stupid. Their head does not have shit on it but you'd like to place a pile right on the tippy top of it.

"He has a shit attitude" usually used by employers to note that the handwriting is on the wall and that this guy is going to get the boot come Friday.

"I'm not taking any more of his shit!" It's not like you're actually handling someone elses shit but taking nonsense or flak from them. Taking someones shit, in literal terms, would be very stinky not to mention the mess.

"There's some bad shit coming down." is not something workers in a sewer say to each other when they hear a loud gushing sound coming their way. They probably say something else, like "HOLY SHIT!" The word shit usually associates with bad things and this meaning that something not very nice is going to happen.

"Shit happens." The law of gravity and digestion - what goes in has to come out. This also means that problems happen no matter how well you plan.

"I've got to get my shit together." or "Get your shit together!" Not meant to describe loose bowels (although it could be recommended to do that by your physician) this means for someone to get their life, their act, their marriage, their job or whatever back on track. Wives usually say this to their husband after he does something stupid.

"This smells like shit!" Who really knows what shit smells like other than moms or dads who change diapers. I'm so far removed from changing diapers I don't know what shit smells like. In medical terms, there must be good smelling shit from healthy people or bad shit from sick people or those who eat shit food (there's one more for you). Most people don't know the difference between good and bad shit smells. There has to be a difference.

"Shit sticks!" There is so such thing as shit on a stick. People say shit sticks when they're mad or frustrated instead of using the F word.

"I wasn't doing any of that shit! It was some other dude!!" said to law enforcement officers when they find a meth lab in their backyard. In the game of life (or Monopoly) this statement gets you a go straight to jail card and do not collect $200. "Some other dude" is responsible for 80% of all of the crime in America.

"He's got a shit life." or "Your life is shit!" Usually is about someone who's life is in the toilet, it's all messed up and stinky.

"She's a real shit!" or "You're being a real shit!" Meaning the person has done you wrong, done something that was stinky, horrible and something that others don't do to others. This has nothing to do with the person's expertise at moving their bowels.

"You piece of shit!" meaning the person has no value to you but you really love them with all your heart.

"This place is a real shit hole!" Used to describe a young boy's room by his mother.

"This tastes just like shit." Who would know what shit tastes like? Have you had a taste of honest to goodness shit lately or ever? But we still use this phrase. It must mean that whatever it is that tastes horrible that it's the most horrible of the horriblest.

"This thing is running like shit!" People use this phrase to tell the auto mechanic what they think is wrong with their car. Running like shit tells the mechanic all he needs to know: This person knows nothing and I can charge them double to fix something minor.

"He's shit out of luck or "SOL" Someone falling on hard times or one who made a mistake that cannot be recovered. SOL is used typically in the miliary.

"I don't give a shit" does not refer to being constipated. It usually means that someone does not care. I don't get how this phrase came to be used so much when it literally doesn't make any sense. If someone doesn't care why would they not want to shit or give some shit to someone else?

"He doesn't know shit from Shinola". Wow, who knows what Shinola is these days? Shinola can be brown and used to shine brown shoes. Shit can be brown. It's good to know the difference between the two. If you don't know the difference you'd be hearing that comment. But this is usually said about someone who has no clue about life and who stumbles throught their existence not knowing what end is up and if he's just used shit instead of Shinola to shine his shoes.

I'm out of shit. I can't believe all of the shit statements I came up with this morning, even on a Monday.

Enough of this shit blog and Bob's stupidity today.

Comment if you have any more shit saying to add. I'd like to hear from you shit heads out there who never comment about this blog.

Even if you don't, I give a shit!

I'm off to get my shit together.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


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There will be no exhange of Christmas gifts in our house this year. Nada. Zero. None. It's time to Peace Out, be Peaced instead of Peaced on.

'Cept for Grace Helen. Christmas should be just for the kids. I can hardly wait until she's old enough to hold a BB gun rifle. Then we'll have BB gun wars together in the backyard.

Speaking of BB gun wars remember the western hero Red Ryder? He had a BB gun named after him. Okay if you remember him, then who was Red Ryder's sidekick? His sidekicks name, can we call sidekicks that name anymore?

If I were Red Ryder, for real now, I'd have Brittany Spears, Pamela Anderson or maybe Scarlet Johannsen as my sidekick. They would fit Red Ryder's sidekick's nickname. Okay, okay, my dream chicks are not your dream chicks, what's the big deal? What if I said my dream chick was Hillary Clinton . . . you'd think I was nuts. Well, she's not. Settle for the first three choices and get over it. Candace says I deserve better than those three. Okay then, who?

Alright, I'll trade the most used up of my three choices for Beyonce`. How's that for a trade? Better yet, all three for Beyonce` who would be the one, the only sidekick. How's that for a male pig statement? Oink, oink!

I hope sidekicks can cook.

And if you don't remember the name of Red Ryder's sidekick I don't know what I'm going to do with you!

If I want something, I buy it. If Candace wants something, she buys it for herself. We need nothing. In fact, we need to get rid of most of this crap we call possessions. How much is enough when it comes to things that we own?

Most everyone we know along with our kids has everything they want. If they want something, they put it on their Visa card and then suffer for the next 24 months as they pay it off. That's life. We've all been in credit card hell at one time or another.

If someone wants a gift this Christmas and they're over the age of 18, they'll have to settle for that bag of shit mentioned in an earlier blog.

They say Christmas should be everyday, 365 days a year. Christmas is a state of mind. Why not feel Christmas in your heart and mind everyday? Is that possible?

This year what we would have paid for gifts for ourselves, our kids and others in our lives will go to charities who need a hand-up and not a hand-out. Time to walk the walk and stop our bleeding heart conversations about what's wrong in ths world.

Charity #1 Darfur. The real everyday killing field. Last week rebels aligned with the government killed 30 in a refugee camp. 85% of the victims are women and children. Bastards! Why? For the hell of it? For the aid supplies? For what?

There's a charity who provides solar ovens for families stuck in these camps. There are no utilities, no fuel for a fire, nothing to cook food on. This charity is also creating a center to offer counseling to victims of sexual assault. We're sending this charity a check.

Last night I was channel surfing and found the 1960's film TheMagnificent 7. It was cool, Steve McQueen, Yule Brenner and 5 other guys helped people in a village in Mexico rid themselves of a gang of bullies who regularly helped themselves to anything in the village.

I could do that in Darfur. AK-47 in hand, 6 mean dudes with me. We'd peace all over those rebels.

That's not going to happen. We're sending a check to help the refugees instead of a Bob with an AK-47. That way something will get done and Bob won't come home in a box.

Darfur Peace and Development, PO Box 5743, Fort Wayne IN 46895. There's a small article regarding this charity in the December 2006 Good House Keeping magazine. Page 114.

Charity #2 Another Chance Animal Welfare League, a local organization dedicated to the foster and permanent placement of animals without owners. They have a "no kill" doctrine and every animal is found a home. Another Chance is a group of people with kind hearts and open wallets.

We're helping Another Chance, a check is in the mail.

Another Chance Animal Welfare League, PO Box 308, Millville CA 96062.

Charity #3 The Good News Rescue Mission. Their doors are open 365 days a year for a hot and a cot for those with no place to go. The only hitch is if you want a hot and cot that you sit through a sermon.

They have other programs at the Mission. An educational program to help the homeless earn a GED, become computer literate, assist with reading skills and so on. Medical servies are provided for those in need. The Mission has a food pantry. On Thanksgiving they feed anyone who walks in their door. This year it took 500 turkeys to feed everyone.

We don't support the Mission's food pantry or their meal at Thanksgiving: There are those who don't need this kind of help who come for a Thanksgiving meal or a bag of food which in my opinion is a hand-out and not a hand-up. Our check will go to the day-to-day function of food and shelter for the homeless. Definitely a hand-up.

The Goodwill Rescue Mission, 3100 S. Market St, Redding CA 96001.

We're walking the walk because 'Tis the season to set our priorities straight this December and for every month of the year. Right now.

You can bet that there will be peace and Christmas in our hearts January through next December through the help we'll give to charities one through three.

Time to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk by doing something. Anything!

That goes for you, too! Are you feeling just a little bit guilty? If you're feeling peaced on then start walking!

The home in the picture? Not ours. For what it takes to light the exterior of a home like this the owners could have made a difference somewhere else.

Red Ryder's sidekick? Little Beaver.

Who played the part of Little Beaver in all 23 Red Ryder films? Actor Robert Blake. He named his horse Papoose. Can you believe that?

Check these sites more information about Red Ryder.

When I was a pup, Wild Bill Elliot as Red Ryder was the real deal.

Read this dam blog everyday and you'll learn something.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States