Saturday, June 26, 2010

Horsey Sauce: The King of Fast-food Packets

No matter how hard I crunch the numbers, it looks impossible to get rich by saving ketchup packets.

Let's say you are an avid ketchup user and use 10 bottles per year that cost $1.99. If you hoard ketchup packets from fast-food places, then - voila! - an annual savings of $19.90 will come your way. ... Jackpot!

But not so fast. Fast food has its own cost. And chances are, you likely will have a ketchup bottle on hand in case company comes over. Why not keep one ketchup bottle and constantly squeeze the packets into it? The hoity-toity company would never know!

However, if that plan happens, I suspect you would have a reaction while squeezing the packets into the bottle, similar to how a hitman must react as he dismembers a body. "What a minute! What the heck am I doing here? Is this really worth it?"

Ketchup packets are on my mind because I recently went to Arby's and had roast beef sandwiches. I rediscovered this fact of life: Horsey Sauce packets are the best fast-food condiments in the world.Where would the roast beef sandwich be without Horsey Sauce? I simply would not eat it without that glorious white sauce.

Yet here's the problem that keeps me up and night, pacing and nervous: Why doesn't Horsey Sauce work on any other food except Arby's roast beef sandwiches? Man, that is a riddle I simply cannot solve.I seriously can think of no better condiment in a packet than Horsey Sauce. I do respect Taco Bell for attempting to be funny with the sayings it puts on its hot-sauce packets. Unfortunately, I have never laughed because of the Taco Bell packets.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer is ready when you are

Summer is not a season. It is a state of mind.

Thus, someone can experience summer in December, or summer in the snow. I elect to experience summer mostly in July and August and a little bit in June.

That's one of the myriad things I've learned from the chick band, the Breeders, in the single "Saints" with the slick lyric "summer is ready when you are." In my estimation, the Breeders are "the best chick band of the Snooze Button Generation and perhaps of all-time."

Now, the top selling female performers tend not to be rockers. Of the 15 female groups that have sold at least 10 million albums, none can be considered rock stars. The top three, by the way, are the top Spice Girls, TLC and Destiny's Child.Common answers for finding out "the greatest chick band ever" are the Bangles or the Go-Gos. But those bands simply don't rock hard enough.

Other common answers for the best female rocker are Patti Smith or Joan Jett. Not bad. But they might predate the Snooze Button Generation and are solo artists, though Jett's Runaways might be part of the conversation.L7 rocks, too, and I guess so does Hole, even though Courtney Love is so annoying. Some people like Bikini Kill and riot grrrl bands, but I don't know many guys who like those bands.

In other words, with twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal leading the way, the Breeders might very well be the "best chick band ever." Their latest album, "Mountain Battles," is solid, too.

Others might argue that, wait a minute, there are male members in the Breeders. Blah, blah, blah. Long live the Breeders! Cannonball!
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

XMan named 'World's Greatest Dad'

The XMan has been named the "World's Greatest Dad," according to a study by the Snooze Button Generation released today on Father's Day.

Although there are 6.8 billion people in the world, the XMan was an easy choice for "World's Greatest Dad" because of his love for his family, enjoyment of life, dependability and sophistication.

"This is a prestigious award, and I love the XMan," Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens said. "With 6.8 billion people in the world, I would estimate that there are 2 billion dads out there. X simply is No. 1."
Sources say a potential controversy with XMan's title of "World's Greatest Dad" is that the award is subjective and he is Stevens' father. Sources also say a better choice could be a well-known humanitarian or philanthropist who happens to be a dad, such as Nelson Mandela.

But was Mandela a world-class little league baseball coach and family gamer? Mandela might have been instrumental in ending apartheid, but could he have founded the Polish Olympics? And what kind of dad spends 27 years in the hoosegow as a political prisoner?

The XMan and I share a lot of indisputable philosophies that guide us and have helped us live great lives. The Xman has told me:

"We are all going to die!"
"Don't wear a golf glove when you putt. It's like ****ing with a ******."
"Your mother is a saint."

I couldn't agree more with all three of those guiding philosophies. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big wine glasses make me feel tiny

I love when time stops at nice restaurants. The server insists on someone trying the wine to make sure it is acceptable. Then, it's all eyes on the person with the glass.

The person trying the wine typically does one of two things: 1) Look like he really knows a lot about wine, or 2) look like he is used to the drill of trying the wine. La ti da!

I guess I am used to the drill, but I find it a perfect time for jokes and/or putting down the wine.

"You expect us to drink this rat urine?"
"Ooh, my favorite part was the sentiment!"
"I like it. It reminds me of gasoline."

Not too long ago, I was at a restaurant with over-sized wine glasses. Are they classy? I don't think so. But I will say this: They make me feel tiny.
Some might say over-sized glasses let the wine breathe and allow the imbiber to experience the full aroma of the wine. Blah, blah, blah. I just think they make me feel small.

Those big glasses are the opposite of 7-ounce Little Kings Original Cream Ale bottles, which made me feel like a giant. Yeah, I haven't seen Little Kings in a long time, not sure if they exist in California. But those 7-ounce bottles, known as "pocket rockets" or "little killers," make any alcoholic look cute.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

'They can't seem to get control of the ball!'

I am not the best pinball player in the world. But I am in the top 10.

At least, that's what I used to say in the mid-1990s when I was an avid pinball player and multiball specialist. I still love pinball but rarely play. In Long Beach, Calif., hardly any pinball machines are in town, and nearly all of them are broken down. I suspect that's the case in the majority of America's metropolises.

Pinball was patented in Cincinnati in 1871, and it had a lot of popularity in 1950s and '60s. But the best machines came out in the 1990s.

I am thinking about pinball again because of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which isn't really about soccer. No, like all World Cups, this year's World Cup is an homage to the 1994 Bally pinball game World Cup.

Dang, that World Cup pinball machine was smooth, exciting and my favorite of all-time. Others might say Twilight Zone (1993 Bally) and Addams Family (1992 Bally) were the best of all-time, and there is even an extensive list that claims this as fact.

While Twilight Zone and Addams Family are cooler than World Cup, they don't play better. However, I must admit there is a chance the World Cup game can be immediately eliminated from all conversations because of the goofy-ass dog in it, Stryker, the 1994 World Cup mascot.But, no, World Cup is the best pinball machine ever because its purpose makes sense (beat the other teams and win the World Cup!) and there is no wasted space. Pinball is about three senses - vision, hearing and touch - and the sounds are especially good because a sports announcer critiques the play.

"How did he make that save?"
"They can't seem to get control of the ball."
"What a shot! What a powerful shot!"

After World Cup, the best pinball machines ever made are Star Wars (1992 Data East), Theatre of Magic (1995 Bally) and The Shadow (1994 Bally).

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Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm out in the real world now

I must confess. Although I am happy to be done with school, teachers' crazy rules, tests and waking up so early, I am a little scared to go out into the real world.

I graduated from high school yesterday, and emotions are swirling around me. Ultimately, I feel elated. But I also feel bittersweet and scared.

One of my astute students said, "Aren't you already in the real world? I mean, you're a teacher, have kids and weren't you a writer for a newspaper?"

"Let's not get hung up on technicalities," I responded. "I'm pretty sure I'm graduating here. ... Yeah! Seniors!!!"I wasn't sure the emotions I would feel as the first students I had as a high-school writing teacher graduated. My goal was not to cry because I have never seen James Bond cry in public. The hard part was that I know some of the turmoil many of my students overcame to graduate.

Both parents in jail, murdered friends, moving to the U.S. at 13, having two babies in high school - the stuff some of my students went through to graduate is no joke and hardcore. Yeah, my goal was to be tough and not shed a tear in front of them. That didn't happen.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

High school rocks at age 36!

Most people graduate from high school when they are approximately 18 years old. I prefer to graduate every 18 years or so and will graduate from high school again on Thursday.

Just like in 1991, I am participating in a lot of graduation fanfare that gives closure to my high-school career. In this case, it gives closure to my second high-school career (though I plan on still teaching next year).

This past week, I went to a banquet then a senior picnic at a glorious water park called Raging Waters, where I rode water slides approximately 20 times. Later in the week, I attended prom.Graduating from high school is a lot different when one is 36 than 17 or 18 because I am much more comfortable and relaxed. I guess I'm having more fun this second time, so I highly recommend an extra high-school graduation to everyone in their 30s.

As opposed to graduating from the esteemed all-boys St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, this time I am graduating from Firebaugh High School in Lynwood, Calif. Technically, I am a teacher at Firebaugh, but I have made a conscious decision to participate in senior activities and have fun. And, man, I am having a blast!

This upcoming week, I will be a part of a senior assembly, senior breakfast, graduation and then something called "Grad Night" at Disneyland. I am likely going to skip the senior yearbook party because I am too cool for that.I guess the real reason why I am a part of all of these activities is because of how much I care for my students. I taught juniors last year (They're seniors this year.) and then juniors and seniors this year. I know a lot about my students, have a strong affinity for them and think they're on the path to great lives.

My students have taught me a lot about life, and even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with my first graduation in 1991, I have been loving my 2010 graduation. Heck, I can't wait until 2028 when I graduate again.