Archive for March, 2015

Uh, Eritrea?

MapUSStatesthesizeofcountries

Glass Frogs have a translucent abdomen. Seriously, you can see through it. The Glass Frog is native to South America, but it doesn’t matter because the only thing anybody cares about is that you can see through it’s abdomen. Anyho, kids, Glass Frog.

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If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. A lamb’s face should look like one thing and one thing only – a lamb. Put a human face on any animal and I’m having nightmares for days. I swear I was waiting for this thing to look at the camera, point, and let out a bloodcurdling cry for help. Something along the lines of “Save me! S-A-V-E ME!” Chilling, man.

And I mean that literally. As a lot of you know, I attended high school back in The Stone Age, sometimes referred to as The 70’s. It was a fun time, what with the long hair (yes, I had it), bell bottoms (ditto), patched jeans (yep), and of course the somewhat looser social standards of the time. But although we were in some ways more uninhibited, in other ways we were very, very old school. At the risk of sounding like an old dude reminiscing about the “good old days” or complaining about “these damn kids today”, I thought I’d make just a few comparisons regarding the way things were done back in my heydey and the way they’re done today. And yes folks, I had a heyday, so stop it. Hell, I’m still in my heyday, so there.

I’m going to stay away from comparing the music of the 70’s to the music of the 10’s, but what I’d have to say might surprise you. Yes, we had some amazing music then, including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Queen and The Eagles. However, we also had Debbie Boone singing “You Light Up My Life”, stuff like Rick Dees singing “Disco Duck” and, well, disco. Now? Sure, we hear some terrible music coming from Bieber, Miley and One Direction, but we also have groups like The Avett Brothers, The Eels and Gaslight Anthem, who could hold their own with anybody, any decade. My point is that, music-wise, it’s been up-and-down since the beginning. But on to other aspects of life, other major changes I’ve noticed. I like to think I have a pretty good perspective on the subject since I both attended and taught school in southern Ohio for the past 50-years. Damn that sounds like I’m old. Weird, I don’t feel like it. You know, since I’m still in my heyday and whatnot. But let us discuss.

LETTERMAN JACKETS: THEN

Back in the day a letterman jacket was earned. Believe it or not, youngsters, nobody would’ve been caught dead wearing a letterman jacket before earning a letter in a varsity sport. And get this – after you earned a letter a jacket was given to you and paid for by the Athletic Department. One of the proudest moments of my high school career was when Mr. Johnson, our AD, handed me that jacket.

LETTERMAN JACKETS: NOW

Kids go buy a jacket if they want one. Doesn’t even matter if they play a sport.

SENIOR PICTURES: THEN

The summer before your senior year you went in and got a picture taken. A head shot. That was your senior photo.

SENIOR PICTURES: NOW

Students spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on senior pictures. They can order 4×5, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14,  16×20, 20×24, 24×30, multi-image framed photos, photo CDs, photos of you at several locations including but not limited to the creek, a field, leaning against an old car, laying in the woods, sitting on a hay bale, shucking corn, standing on a dead cow or posing with midgets. And trust me, because I’ve been through this. The photographers have you just where they want you because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, the pics all look great, and it’s your child!

CLASS RINGS: THEN

You bought your class ring at the end of your junior year, when you were reasonably sure you were going to graduate. The seniors all voted on what ring you would buy, and everyone got the same ring. It was a symbol of accomplishment, of something earned.

CLASS RINGS: NOW

Anybody can buy any ring at any time. I’ve seen 7th Graders wearing class rings. How they know they’ll still be in the same school, will graduate, or even be alive 6-years from now is beyond me. Mercy.

DATING: THEN

If you liked a girl, you called her on the phone and asked her out. If she said yes you’d set a date, go to her house, meet her parents, and go to a dinner and a movie (or the Drive-In if you were lucky).

DATING: NOW

You text a girl (or she texts you) and ask if she wants to do something. Then you meet her and her five friends at The Mall or somewhere with you and your five friends. Then you all walk around with your cell phones not talking to each other.

BREAKING UP: THEN

You met your boyfriend/girlfriend, sat them down, looked them in the eye, and told them it was over. I usually used the old reliable, “It’s not you, it’s me”, but that’s just because it was usually me.

BREAKING UP: NOW

You either text them or have a friend tell them. God forbid you have to look somebody in the eye and be all uncomfortable and stuff.

LISTENING TO MUSIC: THEN You went out and bought an album, brought it home, tore off the plastic cover, and poured over the lyrics and other information as you listened to the album on the turntable. It was always great to discover some gem of a song, usually buried somewhere on Side 2.

LISTENING TO MUSIC: NOW

You download a song from your computer to your cell phone. Nobody buys entire albums anymore, thus missing out on some great music.

WATCHING TV: THEN

We had 3-channels – 4, 6, and 10. Later on we got Channel 13 and thought we’d died and gone to heaven. Happy Days, MASH, The Midnight Special, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, it didn’t get much better than that. I also recall being thrilled when we got PBS because it had Monty Python and Benny Hill. Awesome.

WATCHING TV: NOW

Hundreds of channels, 99% of which is reality television. The Kardashians, Duck Dynasty, all that stuff. Sitcoms, although not dead (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, etc.), seem to be in an irreversible coma. Most of the good stuff is not on the networks, like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

GOING TO THE MOVIES: THEN

Ah, the Drive-In, which I mentioned briefly before. Kids have no idea what they’re missing. Everybody from all the local schools went to the Drive-In on both Friday and Saturday night, it didn’t matter that the same movie was playing. There was an unwritten rule at The Fiesta Drive-In that if you were parked in the back row nobody bothered you. And who can forget those dusk-to-dawn showings? And if you wanted to watch a movie indoors you could catch one at The Majestic or Adena Theaters, both old, beautiful places where the architecture was beautiful. And they had wrap-around balconies!

GOING TO THE MOVIES: NOW

Kids go, again usually in a group, to a local movie theater, which look the same no matter what town you’re in. You feel as if you’re watching a movie in Hitler’s concrete bunker. Bleh.

But hey, not everything was better back then. If you needed to research something you had to go to the library and actually, you know, read a book. Today you can Google it from your Smart Phone and have the answer in seconds. That is better, right? And back in the day you could leave to go shopping in Columbus and basically be out of touch with everyone all day unless you pulled over at a pay phone. Nobody could text or call you (gasp!). That had to be horrible, right?

I’m sure there are many more ways times have changed that I’ve not touched upon, so if you know any good ones gimme a holler. In the meantime I’ll turn on some music. I have a strange urge to listen to some Fleetwood Mac.

If you don’t know where the Giraffe Weevil gets its name you should be flogged about the head and shoulders with a bag of nickels. The Giraffe Weevil lives in Madagascar, where a lot of weird looking animals seem to reside. That is all.

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Cool.

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RIP Hot Rod Hundley

Posted: March 29, 2015 in Sports
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Hot Rod Hundley died on Friday.HotRod

For those who don’t know, Hot Rod is a bona fide basketball legend and a bigger-than-life personality if there ever was one. He was a star at West Virginia University back in the 50’s after an amazing high school career in Charleston, WV. While in high school he broke the state’s four-year scoring record in three years. He also scored 45 points in the WV-Kentucky high school All-Star game. In college Hot Rod averaged 26.6 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He scored more than 40 points in a game six times, which led to the Mountaineers scoring over 100 points in nine games. WVU was ranked No. 20 in the nation in 1955 and No. 4 in 1956. Hundley holds a varsity school record with 54 points in a single game against Furman and holds a freshmen team record of 62 points against Ohio University.

Hot Rod Hundley was Pete Maravich before Pete Maravich was Pete Maravich. He played with a flamboyant style way before his time. He passed the ball behind his back, dribbled between his legs and was known for his 15-foot hook shots. After college he was drafted #1 in the NBA Draft and had a pro career that was ultimately cut short by bad knees.

After his playing career he became famous for his broadcasting career. In the early 1970s he covered college games and I distinctly remember his style. In fact, he was Dick Vitale long before Dick Vitale was Dick Vitale.

Hot Rod was an original.

He went on to announce NBA games on TV and was the voice of the Utah Jazz from 1974 to 2009. He became quite a cult hero in Utah due to his wild and outgoing personality.

However, I remember Hot Rod Hundley for other reasons . . .

I was in attendance at a game in January of 2010 when Hot Rod was inducted into the West Virginia Athletic Hall of Fame. It was an amazing night. Hot Rod was an absolute rock star in Morgantown, a true folk hero. People just worshipped the guy out there.

Anyway, at halftime they honored Hot Rod and he spoke to thunderous applause. And as he walked off the court, somebody tossed him a ball. It was then the shouting began . . .

“Take a shot!”

“Shoot it!”

“Take a hook shot!”

“SHOOT IT HOT ROD!”

Now, what do you think a 1950’s gunner is going to do?HotRodHook

Yep. He took an 18-foot hook shot.

And of course, it went in.

As the crowd went absolutely bonkers, he just waved and walked off the court smiling.

After the game I was lucky enough to be invited to a get-together honoring Hot Rod in the bar of a hotel in Morgantown. After the crowd thinned a little I ended up having the pleasure of sitting at the bar with Hot Rod, shooting the breeze and sharing a few adult beverages with him. Of course I picked his brain and man, did he have some great stories to tell.

The place was roped off to keep the fans at bay, and people were constantly sending in napkins and scraps of paper to be signed by the legend himself. After awhile (and a few more beverages) Hot Rod’s shooting hand got really tired so he asked for some help. Of course I readily agreed because hey, it was Hot Rod Hundley.

End result? There are a few Hot Rod Hundley fans out there with autographs signed by someone who was not Hot Rod Hundley. And that someone was me.

HotRod3Do you know what I remember most about that night, though? The thing that Hot Rod Hundley was most proud of wasn’t all the points he scored, the Hall of Fame induction or the broadcasting career. It was the fact that in 2000, 44-years after he left West Virginia University, he earned his college degree. Of all his accomplishments, to him that ranked at the top.

As the night ended and everyone was saying their goodbyes, Hot Rod Hundley stopped, turned around, and walked back to me. Then he leaned in and whispered this:

“My hand was killing me in there tonight. Thanks for the assist.”

My pleasure, Hot Rod. My pleasure. And may you rest in peace.

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If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. If you get on a bus in South America or India you’re out of your mind. Those things are either falling off mountains or into rivers on a daily basis. Check out this one. Sinkhole City, man.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Single A minor league baseball team, now has new menu item at its concession stands. It features a hot dog inside a glazed donut covered with raspberry jam and bacon. I’m guessing a slab of butter is optional. They haven’t name it yet, but I humbly suggest “The Artery Plugger”, “The Heart Exploder” or possibly “This Motherf***er Will Kill You”. Check it out:

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Behold, the Biscuit Taco!

Posted: March 26, 2015 in Food, Things I Love

Taco Bell’s new Biscuit Taco is a flaky taco-shaped biscuit filled with eggs, cheese, sausage or fried chicken, paired with a jalapeño honey dipping sauce and a few drops of angel tears. Sweet Lord almighty that looks good.

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Sweet Jesus.

I have a suspicion more guys feel this way than we know.

Turns out The Cowsills still have the magic. Who knew?

Nick Young is an NBA player. He plays for the Lakers, who are terrible. His number is 0, which incidentally may also be his IQ. Nick Young acts as if the Lakers are good. Nick Young gave himself a nickname, “Swaggy P”, which goes against all common decency because you can’t give yourself a nickname under any circumstances. Here’s Nick Young celebrating a supposedly successful 3-pointer. Keep in mind it was not a game-winner, simply a regular run-of-the-mill 3-point shot. In conclusion, Nick Young is an idiot.

Listen, I’ve never understood the fascination with these basketball trick shot videos. I mean, you get a couple guys who film themselves taking crazy shots over a period of a few days, then take out the 1000-misses and leave in the 5-makes. Why is that amazing? It’s all in the editing, folks. That’s why I like this video. It puts all those asshats in their place. Nicely done, kids.

Just a brutal takedown by the dog, huh? Just a diabolical hit. No worries, though, the toddler’s just fine. You know, other than a knot on his forehead the size of a cantaloupe.

Remember this guy?

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! RUN FOR YOUR . . . wait. Deep breath . . .

Today’s entry in the Cool Animal of the Day is The Giant Isopod. Predator, anyone? You know, the movie? Never mind. Giant Isopods live way down in the ocean and can grow as large as 4-pounds and 30-inches long. They also possess the ability to curl up into a ball, where only the outer tough shell is exposed. You know, like an armadillo. Sort of. On a related note, for the life of me I can’t imagine why anything would attack this ungodly beast. They’re distantly related to shrimp and crabs, but it’s been years since they’ve been invited to family reunions. Anywho, there he is, kids. What a cutie.

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Thanks to Jason Vesey for the heads-up. Finally, a worthy contribution from the Babe Magnet.

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Preach it, brother!

This map shows the place where reported missed connections occurred most often in each state.

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No, this not some creature from prehistoric times. It’s an Alligator Snapping Turtle, and it resides in these here southeastern United State of America. Good Lord almighty, look at that bad boy. He’s the heaviest freshwater turtle in the world and is given his name because of his immensely powerful jaws and long spring like neck, as well as distinct ridges on its shell that are similar to the rough ridged skin of an alligator. The largest Alligator Snapping Turtle ever caught weighed, wait for it . . . 249-pounds. If you’re not terrified enough already, it has one of the strongest bite forces of any animal and eats anything it can, including unsuspecting male swimmer’s penises.* They try to attract fish and other prey by sitting quietly at the bottom of murky water and let their jaws hang open to reveal their tongues, which look like small, pink, worm-like lures in the back of their gray mouths, and literally lure the prey into striking distance. Good God. Anyway, have fun at the old swimmin’ hole, kids!

* I totally made that up but admit it, that’s what we were all thinking, amirite?

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Looks more like Roger Daltrey to me.

Daily Mirror – After a small landslide in the San Francisco area of Putumayo in Colombia a likeness of Jesus has appeared in the landslide scar.  The newspaper reports that the apparition is attracting hundreds of visitors – enough to need the presence of the police to control the crowds.

There he goes again, just popping up right and left everywhere you go. Heck*, I remember a couple years ago when somebody saw Jesus on a dog’s butt.

*I don’t know, “hell” just didn’t seem appropriate today.

I searched up “Face of Jesus” on The Goggle and found that HE has appeared on an Ikea Door, a roast, mold, various walls, drainpipes, a Chinese takeout box, bread, a cider bottle, a bruise, a ham sandwich, a chicken, and yes, on a sock. Not even kidding. Check ’em out:

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You know, I’ve never understood the insanity surrounding this “Face of Jesus” phenomenon. People just go nuts flocking to see them, falling to their knees and praying, just losing their gourds. But what’s the big deal, really? I’m sure I could find the face of Elmer Fudd everywhere if I looked hard enough. And why would Jesus make his face appear on a potato chip in the first place? What’s the point?

Then again, maybe Jesus just has a great sense of humor. Perhaps he’s up there just messin’ with us. I can see it now . . .

“Hey angels, watch this. I’m gonna put my image on this Cheeto and see if Harvey Weinbaum notices. Wait . . . wait . . . dang it! He ate it. Didn’t even look. Shoot. Let’s try it on Georgette Hugglesworth down in Mississippi. I’ll put my face on some grits. Here we go. What the heck? She chugged it down like a slurpee at the state fair. Holy cow.” 

And so on . . .

Seriously, if I was Jesus I’d appear during the Super Bowl. I’d be 20-feet tall and just pop right up on the 50-yard line. I’d do a moonwalk and the splits right in front of the world like a boss. Then I’d twirl, take a bow, zoom back up to heaven and watch everybody run to church and pray for their sorry souls. But have my face appear on a banana peel? Not so much.

Note: I once saw an image of Kate Beckinsale on my shower curtain but that’s neither here nor there.

I didn’t think Sparky could surprise me anymore, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t do just that.

Anybody who has read my Sparky stories knows how smart he is. The little dudeSpark1 does things that boggle my mind, and my mind is not easily boggled. However, recently he’s been doing something so amazing that I’ve hesitated telling anyone other than my most dog-loving friends for fear of being viewed as a lunatic. Here’s the dizzle . . .

One cold winter’s day a few week’s ago I was driving down the road as Sparky lounged on the passenger seat. Suddenly he got up and began rooting around the dashboard area in front of the gearshift, like he was looking for something. I thought maybe he smelled some food or something that had fallen into a little storage area there, but alas, nothing.

He did this a few other times, just poking around for no apparent reason. I was confused because he was sort of poking his nose at the dash. It was weird.

Then, one day it hit me, but my suspicions were so outrageous that even I couldn’t believe them. No, surely not. No way. Impossible.

But I had to find out.

The next frigid morning Spark and I hopped into my Jeep. Well, I climbed, he hopped. Anyway, he got into his spot in the passenger seat as I watched closely. Soon he rose up and poked around the lower dashboard area again, just like he’d been doing. At that point it happened . . .

As I watched, I witnessed my dog press his nose against a button on the dash.

The button that turned on the heated seats. The seat on the passenger side. His seat.

He’d apparently made the connection between seeing me hit the button and the seat getting warm. He’d decided to take matter into his own paws, so to speak.

Listen, I know some of you are questioning my sanity, but I don’t really care. This is a dog, after all, that puts the windows down in the car when he wants to and helps keep our house tidy by putting his toys away with regularity, all on his own and without being taught. He also wakes me up occasionally by dropping various items on my face, but that’s another story.

So anyway, yeah, my dog has been turning on the seat warmer in my car so he’ll be more comfortable. Man, that sounds really weird when I actually read that sentence.

Just another experience in my life with Sparky.

Note: And yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’d been warming his side all winter, that’s how he made the connection. Why would I warm the seat for a dog, you ask? Because he clearly liked it and would lie down on his belly ever time I turned it on. Hey, I love the guy, what can I say?

Laugh-out-loud funny.

Hard to be menacing when you’re taking a header.