Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Letter

Here's a suitably spooky Stephen Fry with a spine-tingler of a tale.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here's another spookophonic tune from 1985, The Damned's "Grimly Fiendish". The song takes its title (although misspelled) from a character - Grimly Feendish - The Rottenest Crook in the World - in the UK children's Wham! and Smash! comics from the 1960s. Grimly was an evil and generally incompetent and child-like criminal mastermind, who was often shown wearing a long, black coat.

Seriously Scary

Today's second video, this time from the late great Lux Interior and pals.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do The Lurch!

Here's today's scary clip. Everybody do the Lurch!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Try It, You'll Like It.

I was thinking today about food (What a surprise!). No, seriously. I'm a waiter at a busy chain restaurant, and I meet people all the time who don't like this vegetable or that condiment, and I thought to myself, speaking solely as someone who likes pretty much all food, what is it that makes a person not like certain foods? The ones I hear most are cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and cheese ( in salads) and mushrooms (in entrees and sauces).

Well, let's start with my food likes and dislikes. When I was a kid, I didn't care much for tomatoes and cheese, and I especially didn't like parsnips. Well, I grew to love cheese and toms, and when I was in my early 20's I was challenged about my parsnip dislike, so I tried one, and found that it was actually good. Nowadays the only things I don't care for are things that are too strong or spicy, or things that are pickled, and even then it's not all the time, just if I'm in the mood. I do believe that pickled jalapeños are a travesty, though. A jalapeño is a perfectly lovely, if a little hot, pepper. Pickling it not only robs it of its flavor, it adds another nasty dimension to pickling. So why a restaurant like Subway, whose tagline is "eat fresh" wants to use jalapeños that taste like butt is a mystery to me.

The mushroom one gets me. People come in and ask for things that come with mushrooms and ask to 86 the mushrooms. Mushrooms are delicious. I don't get it.

And then there's the good ole Southern cuisine. Specifically, greens. Collard or otherwise. If you have to cook it forever and add half a pig to it to make it taste the way you like, then perhaps it's not worth eating in the first place.

Another food thing that ticks me off is the pictures that fast-food restaurants use in their advertising. Why is it that these pictures, plastered all over the windows of these establishments, bear almost no relation to the limp, soggy, small and lukewarm items that you get served when you order them? Let's take Taco Bell as an example. The first time I saw the picture of the 'Mexican Pizza' I thought it looked awesome. So I ordered one. The tiny little disc I got in its place was gone in about four bites. Sad.

Anyway, it's time for today's Halloween music. Here it is in all its spooky glory.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Frying Tonight!

While we're on the Halloween theme, I thought I would take time to talk about one of my favourite scary films, which is actually a comedy-horror spoof (and one that hasn't really been seen much in the States due to its innate Englishness), the great Carry On Screaming, the twelfth in the Carry On series and named #30 on Channel 4's Top 100 Scariest Movies Of All Time. It's a spoof of the 1960's Hammer Studios horror genre, lots of mood lighting and campy dialogue. The studios' output is at least partly responsible for the popularity of such luminaries as Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed and Christopher Lee.

It stars Carry On regulars Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth. It guest stars Harry H. Corbett, Fenella Fielding, and also includes appearances by Jon Pertwee (Dr. Who number three), Frank Thornton (best known in the USA as Capt. Peacock from Are You Being Served?) and Angela Douglas. The plot is based around the disappearance of young women in Victorian London, and the later appearance of store mannequins bearing striking resemblances to those who vanished. The bumbling police investigation finally yields a clue in the form of a hairy clawed finger where the last young woman vanished. The police then search the nearby woods. The creature, searching for his finger, is disturbed by the arrival of the cops; one of whom is guarding the sergeant's car. They notice a terrible smell in the air, and Constable Slobotham passes out when he sees the monster. As he lies unconscious, the creature trashes the car and leaves. Sergeant Bung finds Slobotham and they drive to a spooky manor house named Bide-A-Wee Rest Home, where he meets the sinister Dr. Watt:

Det Sgt. Bung: Now then, your name please.
Dr. Watt: Doctor Watt.
Constable Slobotham: Doctor who, sir?
Dr. Watt: Watt. "Who" was my uncle.

Dr. Watt's pet project is to re-animate the mummified King Rubatitti. He is financing this venture by using his hairy pet creature Oddbod to spirit away young women so he can turn them into mannequins and sell them to unsuspecting stores. The plot gets further complicated when Emily (Joan Sims), the wife of Sgt. Bung, disappears and later turns up as a mannequin.
The movie is littered with send-ups of different horror characters, bad puns and wordplay, and of course, saucy humour:

Det Sgt. Bung: A young lady has disappeared and we're anxious to trace her whereabouts.
Dr. Watt: Oh? Whereabouts?
Det Sgt. Bung: Hereabouts.
Albert: At ten o'clock.
Det Sgt. Bung: Or thereabouts.
Constable Slobotham: In this vicinity.
Det Sgt. Bung: Or roundabouts.
Constable Slobotham: We're police officers.
Albert: Or layabouts.

Constable Slobotham: Sarge, she's as hard as a rock!
Det Sgt. Bung: You don't have to tell me that, I've been married to her for fifteen years!


Det Sgt. Bung: I've been up till half six looking for a woman.
Emily Bung: That should be something you're good at, looking for women.
Det Sgt. Bung: I wouldn't say that, last time I tried I found you.


Valeria: Why don't we do what they did to your friend Dracula, drive a spike through his heart.
Dr. Watt: No , I don't really feel like driving tonight.

One of my family's favorite characters was Charles Hawtrey as Dan Dann. My mother's maiden name is Dann, and this added to the hilarity of Dan Dann the lavatory man:

Dan Dann: I am the cloakroom attendant in the One by the Park and you can see me any time, at my convenience.
Constable Slobotham: I'm a police officer and I must warn you that I'll take down anything you say.
Dan Dann: Alright then, trousers.

Finally the truth is discovered and women regenerated; and Dr. Watt gets his come-uppance as he revives King Rubatitti:

Have a spooky day!

Salmay! Dalmay! Adonay!

So I was just finding an appropriate video to post as today's musical Halloween-themed tune, when I came across this classic from 1971. Looks like they went all out with the budget on this clip from a German TV show. And spared no expense on the tassels. That's pretty scary too, along with the hair.

Now I'm going off on a tangent (which I'm sure you all know by now, I love to do) and thinking about witches and wizards in particular, and finding there are some scenes from movies I'm going to have to try and locate. While I'm busy doing that, here's a clip of my favorite (slightly incompetent) wizard, Catweazle, from the first episode. If you remember, Catweazle was trying to escape the Normans in 1066 when his spell went wrong and he found himself transported 900 years into the future:

Ah, that was good TV.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grimly Fiendish

Alright, folks, it's time to get serious. We are not nearly prepared enough for All Hallows Eve! So in order to get us all in the mood, may I present to you one of the scariest movies ever?

Here, in all its glorious creepiness, is F.W. Murnau's classic 1922 movie Nosferatu.

Kill The Wabbit!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hallo-not-so-weenie Music.

Time again for another Halloween tune, this time a real belter from The Cult.

Zounds! Sounds

I was just reminiscing about computers. My post yesterday about burning CDs got me to thinking about how far we've come in the last few years.

My train of thought went like this:
Before I had access to a computer with a built-in CD burner (which was a Gateway, btw), I could download MP3s and play them in Winamp or Windows Media Player. The only reason I knew about MP3s or Winamp was because I had worked for a short time at Circuit City, now sadly defunct, and a co-worker had brought in a CD full of MP3s and used Winamp in full-screen mode to play them on one of the display computers.

Before that time I had used only Mac computers, and would use System 7 sound files to play sound clips in AOL chat rooms. "Atomic Dog" and the like.

When I first moved to the States, my first wife had a Macintosh Plus computer which had some sound clips on there that you could assign to be your default sounds. They were mostly clips from cartoons. The ones I remember were:

* Curly from the Three Stooges saying "I'm trying to think but nuttin' happens!"

* The witch from a Bugs Bunny cartoon singing "Rockabye rabbit, in the hot oven / Into my mouth for dinner I'm shovin'"

* Fred Flintstone crying out "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!"

* An unknown character, from a Looney Tunes cartoon, saying "Look, ugly - plunkem me once more and it's your last plunkem!"

* The Twilight Zone theme.

I remember when I was still actively recording demos back in the mid-'90s I recorded a techno-ish track which utilised a few of these sounds. I still have it on tape somewhere. One day I'll find it, rip it to MP3 format and post it here. Don't hold your breath though. I have to get a hold of a cassette deck first, and these days they are few and far between. I miss tapes. I'm so retro. However, I can post some of my oeuvre, my back catalog, so to speak.

 ::UPDATE:: I made this video for the song last year... awesome, no?

More Scary Music

Hi there, it's time for another Halloween track, and I'm trying to do at least two a day before the big day as there are a lot to fit in! Here, from 1982, is a track by the lovely Toto Coelo. In the US they were known as TOTAL Coelo in order to avoid confusion with the band Toto. Silly American people. Who could possibly confuse a bunch of cute women prancing around with a group of ex-session muso soft-rockers? Ah well. The point is probably moot.

A Bunch of Halloweenies

Back when I worked at LensCrafters I was fond of burning CDs for us to play in the lab. I have always believed that music plays a vital role in the workplace. In fact, I've just been reading an article that supports this. It seems that many studies have been conducted on this topic, and the findings are just what were expected - music in the workplace contributes to productivity by keeping workers alert and lifting their spirits. Well, duh. I also read that in 1942, the song "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" was banned in some factories because of the handclapping section which encouraged employees to momentarily stop and join in with.

Any road up, I occasionally would 'theme' my CDs... I did a 'rain' one, a 'summer' one, several Christmas ones of course, and a Halloween CD. Containing all the usual suspects - The Munsters, The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone, Ghostbusters, Thriller etc. But it wouldn't be a Jeff CD if there weren't some oddball obscurities on it. I now would like to give you one of those rarities.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Everyday Is Halloween

Well, it is fall for sure now, and I am really getting in the mood for some Christmas tunes. However, we haven't even got Halloween out of the way yet. So, I am going to post some Halloween music from now until then. Let's start with this little beauty, shall we?

There ya go. Hope it gets you in the mood.

Repost: A Fun Musical Excursion (With Food!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Fun Musical Excursion (with food!)

For those not in the know, Stevi B's is a pizza buffet place, a really good one, and they had just opened a brand spanking new one in Gainesville. Hot diggity!

So we went in and we oohed and we aahed, for this was one fine and spiffy looking (not to mention large) restaurant. We loaded up and went to get drinks.

Well, the first thing I noticed was that the drink fountain offered Coke Zero. Oh yeah, baby. Rock On.

The next thing I noticed was that the staff were all extremely friendly and cheery. Not a sour expression among them. They constantly were coming by our table asking if we needed refills, if we'd like to try the Taco Pizza (yum!) or the Loaded Baked Potato pizza (double yum!). We were being really well looked after. The place was clean, clean, clean clean clean, too. Oh yeah.

Once ensconced in a comfy booth, I noticed (as I tend to do in most restaurants, or shops, or - well, you get the idea) that the music being piped over the speakers was of the "extremely groovy indeed" variety. A veritable smorgasbord of 80s classics. Here are some of the choice cuts we were treated to:

Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls. Now I've been a big fan of the Petties since Neil Tennant was just a writer for Smash Hits magazine, and since I knew all the words, I had to sing them. It's the rules.

Billy Ocean: Get Out Of My Dreams (And Into My Car). Nice slice of 80s danceability. Even my daughter Emily commented that it made her want to dance. Speaking of Billy, have you seen him lately? Here's what he used to look like.

And here he is now.

Wow. Different huh? Same teeth though.

The Cure: Lovesong. 'Nuff said.

Men At Work: It's A Mistake. That whole "Cargo"
album had so many good tracks on it that should have been monster hits.

Genesis: Turn It On Again. At the point this was playing, the girls were done eating and had gone to the game room to check it out. I was in heaven, a slice of Mac-n-cheese pizza rolling around in my cakehole, belly full of Coke Zero and
Genesis on the speakers - what could be better? I was drumming on the table and my kick-drum foot was going, when I noticed a trio of Mexican girlies at another table (why is it that Mexican women, no matter how trim or supersized they may be, seem to think that the best they can possibly look is if they wear clothes that are three sizes too tight? If you have VPL, backfat and cameltoe showing all at once, you might want to go UP a couple sizes. Just sayin'.), and they were staring at my Phil-Collins-induced rhythmic happenings, so I thought, "Ah well - let's give 'em a show." So I started lip-synching. All I need is a TV show... that, and a radio.

So after Phil and the boys faded we had to experience the game room. We played a few games, got some tickets, and came away with a wristband and a whoopee cushion. As we were leaving, the music playing was
Wang Chung's Dance Hall Days.

So we left Stevi B's, bellies full, and wandered down to Big Lots which always is fun, but it's hard to get out of there without spending a hundred bucks. Anyway, I spent just over $10 in there tonight, showing amazing restraint, and listening to the muzak in there playing
Billy Joel's Don't Ask Me Why. As Alexei Sayle once said, "Style is something you can 'um as you walk down the street."

If that's true, and I think it is, then Billy, you've got style.

Good night folks. Later.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What's Been On My Mind Edited version

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's Been On My Mind?

It's been a good three days since I last posted anything and although this is a new(ish) blog I hate to leave my "fans" (for want of a better word) without a dose of Jeffness.

There's been a lot of crap happening in the world recently. Some notable celeb deaths going on, and I don't just mean Patrick Swayze. It's funny, even though we all knew he was sick with cancer, even though we'd all seen the photos of him on the cover of the tabloids looking all drawn and haggard and still smoking(!!!!) every time we went to the grocery store, it still shocked me last night when I heard the news. He was a good actor and he will be sadly missed.
Yesterday, I was looking on at recent deaths (because that's the sort of thing I do - when you reach a certain age and all the people you liked on TV and in music when you were a kid start popping their clogs, you start to use such a tool. "Hmmmm, let's see... who died today?") and was shocked, but not altogether surprised due to their great age, to see that Iain Cuthbertson and Felix Bowness had died.

Iain Cuthbertson was a Scottish actor, probably most well-known to American audiences as Col. Waterbury in the movie The Railway Children, but probably more well-known to UK audiences as Charlie Endell in Budgie and Scunner Campbell in SuperGran. He had this lovely distinctive rich gravelly voice. Strangely enough, the co-creator of Budgie, Keith Waterhouse, also died on Sept. 4th, the same day. Weird little coincidence.

Felix Bowness was a funny actor most well-known as Fred Quilly, the jockey, in the TV series Hi-De-Hi! which poked fun at British holiday camps (Butlin's, Pontin's and the like) in the late fifties/early sixties. Our family went to Butlin's at the Bognor Regis location for hols pretty much every year from 1973 to 1983. A lot of the stuff at the camp was a throwback to those days and we used to watch the show all the time and could see where they got a lot of the material from.

I just have to make a quick observation re: Serena Williams, Kanye West, TeaBaggers and Rep. Joe Wilson, and that is... what the hell is wrong with you people? And as for Pastor Steven Anderson, you are an ignorant asswipe.

Alright, later. Take it easy.


Wildhair said...

I really like TO WONG FOO .... What is it about men in drag? Just great stuff.

Anonymous said...

A great read jeff!

Repost 9/11

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memories of 9/11

Well, here it is. What has Jeff the fat limey got to say about 9/11?

Actually, I don't really have anything deep or meaningful to add about it. What I can write about, though, is my own personal memory of that day in history.

Firstly, I should mention that 9/11/2001 was my 2nd wedding anniversary.

It was just another ordinary workday. I got up, showered, had a cup of coffee (natch) and got ready to go to work. I did not listen to the radio or watch TV before leaving for work, and I listened to a CD in the car, so I was blissfully unaware of any global strife. I worked at LensCrafters at the time, in the Colonial Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. I was a Lab Technician. I hadn't eaten breakfast, so I stopped by the Atlanta Bread Company for a brekky sandwich.

While I was making my purchase, I overheard two guys chatting, saying something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and the way they were talking, it sounded like some ignorant twot had lost control of a single-engined Cessna and smacked into a skyscraper. "Whatever next?" I thought, and left the ABC, brekky in hand, and went to work.
When I got there, I was let in by Glen Carter, our Retail Manager, and I remarked to him, "Hear about that plane crashing into the World Trade Center?"
"Two planes, I heard" says Glen.
"Two planes?" I replied, incredulous.

While setting up the lab for a day's eyewear production, I turned on the radio for a bit of news. I was surprised to hear Tom Brokaw. Evidently the radio station was re-broadcasting the TV news. Gradually it was ascertained that this was a terrorist attack.

As the morning wore on, and glasses were made, Glen would pop his head round the door every few minutes for more updates.

"The south tower's collapsed!"

"Some plane hit the Pentagon!"

Then, "Now the north tower's collapsed!"

We were all shocked, of course, and trying to focus on our jobs, but our hearts weren't in it. Long about noon, the mall management decided to shut down the mall for the afternoon. We finished up what we were doing, shut everything down as if it was 9pm, and eventually got out of there shortly before 2pm.

I had been considering getting a cellphone, and had decided the day before to run by RadioShack and look at some. Now remember, at this point the only news I had been exposed to was what I had heard on the radio. The sheer scale of it was still not apparent to me.

When I walked into 'the Shack' and saw what was on all the TVs I nearly fell over. Constant re-running of footage of the collapse of the towers, in slo-mo and breaking news about the attacks and footage from someone's camcorder. I immediately decided to wait until some other time to check out cellphones and go home to my wife and babies. When I got there she was sat on the sofa watching it, clearly numb from it all.

That's about all I remember from that day. What we did for our anniversary, if we did anything, I have not a clue.

It certainly doesn't seem like it was 8 years ago. It seems so fresh in the memory.

Let's hope it never happens again.

Bring the boys back home.

"The logic of war seems to be that if a belligerent can fight, he will fight. That leaders will not surrender until surrender is academic. How is a national leader to explain the sacrifice of so much for nothing? Well, relax, I can explain, I don't want to die!" -- Frankie Goes To Hollywood, War

Repost: The Times They Are A-Changin'

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Times They Are A-Changin'.... or, It's No Fun Getting Old

I'm a geezer.


I have been trying to convince people of this for years, ever since my first wife, Kristin, and I had a preschool in our house and hired a couple of high school girls to help us in the afternoons. I remember distinctly sitting on the playground and having a conversation with one of these girls, a young lady by the name of Shadie Lane (yeah, I asked... she didn't know) and for some reason the subject of music came up. I don't know how Blondie came up, but she'd never heard of them, having been born in 1980, just when their star was on the wane.

As you may or may not know, I work at Outback Steakhouse in good old Gainesville (or G-Vegas as it is known) and if you are familiar with Outback, much as with any restaurant of similar style, there is constant muzak playing in the background. Sometimes it's not so much in the background. It can actually get quite loud. The same couple of hundred songs are in constant rotation, and every so often, a couple will disappear, to be replaced by a couple of new ones. Who decides what gets played I dunno, but I want that job.
Anyhoo, I recently noticed a couple of startling changes. The first one I noticed was the addition of Rock The Casbah by The Clash. It is just one of those songs that you can't help singing to yourself, from the boogie-woogie-influenced piano opening (played by none other than ex-Squeeze keyboardist and now late night talk show host Jools Holland) to the wonderful chorus (Sharee-ee-eef don't like it!). That it was now muzak in itself was not surprising, it's catchy, it's upbeat, but what about if they decide to add more Clash songs? What if you're walking down the grocery aisle and suddenly you get assailed by WE'RE A GARAGE BAND!! OH-OH-OH!! or CAREER OPPORTUNITIES! or LONDON'S BURNING!

Then I noticed the addition of Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up". Strangely ironic that should be on the muzak, since it contains the lines "Listen to the muzak, thinkin' 'bout this 'n that".
God, that's one of those songs where you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard it. I was sitting on the back step of my Grandmother's kitchen with the portable radio, waiting for the Top 20 to come on, and listening to the Anne Nightingale show on Radio 1. Suddenly this divine sound comes out of the speaker, and I knew I had to have that record.

And now it's muzak. Designed to create ambience. Atmosphere.

The freakin' 80s are everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I love the 80s, but I did not realize they were making such a big comeback.
I recently found myself, for some reason, in Dots and rue21.

In rue21 there's practically a whole section of the store packed with big venetian-blind sunglasses, Madonna belts, dayglo leg warmers and funky neon hi-tops.
Then on to Old Navy, more of the same, and 'Sign Of The Times' by The Belle Stars on the muzak. I love that song, and it did my heart good to hear it, so I totally embarrassed the children
by singing the entire thing loudly as we walked around the store. I didn't care. I am proud to know all the words to it.

Anyway, it's just so weird to find everything you cherish from your formative years being recycled in this way. I'm off to work now to see if 'Anarchy In The UK' is on the muzak.

Another repost

Monday, August 31, 2009

I know I sound like an anti-Southerner, what with my referring to Georgia as 'the arse-end of the free world' and 'armpit' and other such epithets, but I feel I ought to perhaps explain my rationale. It is therefore with great pleasure that I present to you my

10 Reasons I Hate Living in Georgia!

10) No friggin' sidewalks.

The distance between where I live and where I work is not too far, but if I wanted to walk to and from work I would probably have to set aside a good couple of hours each way. the reason? No stinkin' sidewalks and too much of that bloody kudzu stuff. Haven't you people ever heard of Roundup?

9) The heat and humidity.

I'm sorry, but I cannot be the only one who thinks that sweating for no reason is wrong. If you're sitting still, doing nothing, and you can feel the beads of sweat forming in places you didn't even know you could sweat from, then it's too damn hot!

8) The traffic.

I've mentioned the insane traffic in a previous post, but I forgot to mention that even though it rains fairly often, nobody seems to know how to drive in the rain. When I used to work at Red Lobster, I would sit outside after my shift and wait for my ride. If during my wait it started to rain, I would only have to wait about 3 minutes before I would hear sirens and see police and fire and medical vehicles rushing to the aid of some dingbat who had hit a pole or skidded into a ditch.

7) That whole 'Southern Hospitality' myth.

We've all heard this one and it's a lie. People here are as rude as they are anywhere else. Some of them are ruder. The reason this myth perpetuates is because these genteel Southerners cover up their rudeness by saying things like "Bless your heart" after the insult, which somehow makes it alright. This especially used when talking trash about someone else, as in "She's a crack whore, bless her heart."

6) The rebel flag.

I especially hate seeing this offensive item hanging from a front porch or on a custom-made flagpole in the back end of a pickup truck (American made, of course), replete with drunken rednecks going "Yeeeeeeeehaaaaa!!". You lost the Civil War - get over it!

5) All the damn fat people.

Now, I'm not the world's skinniest guy by a long chalk, but I daresay people are fatter here than I've seen anywhere else. Georgia is not the fattest state, it actually ranks 14th for adult obesity, but it ranks 3rd for percentage of obese children. Go to any southern Wal-Mart and people-watch. You will see what I mean. You'll see women so large wearing white shorts that you could show movies on their butts. To quote comedienne Carrie Snow, we're talking Cinerama with Dolby here. What gets me is this: how does one even become obese in a state where you can break a sweat just by opening your front door? I fear the answer may lie in my number 4 pick...

4) The, ahem, 'cuisine'.

If you can call it that. The problem here is not the actual dishes themselves... many of them are very tasty. The problem is that 90% of the populace of the state cannot cook worth a toot, but they all seem to think they can. And a disproportionate amount of those people actually work in restaurants. So for a lot of out-of-towners, the first experience of "real Southern home cookin'" may be a butter-laden greasy fryfest with veggies that have been on the boil since Lee surrendered to Grant.

3) Suburban Sprawl.

I have lived here not quite ten years, and the place doesn't even look close to what it did when I first got here. There is not a square inch of land here that they won't tear up, rip all the trees out of and build a subdivision or strip mall on.

2) Sweet tea.

This is just plain wrong. Tea is supposed to be hot, and it's supposed to taste like tea, not syrup. No wonder there are so many toothless fatties around.

1) NASCAR, primer grey Camaros and bright orange Mustangs.

Okay, firstly, I don't dislike NASCAR. I can enjoy motor racing as much as anyone, but when the fans are so rabid and fervent, almost like British soccer fans, and the sport is so basic, just driving around in circles with no twists or turns.... come on. The only fun part is when there's a really spectacular crash. And all the little boy racers with their souped up pieces of crap on the roads... why is it that primer grey and bright orange are the colors you pick for your tricked out hunk o' junk? Ugly is not the word.

There are actually a few more reasons, but I'll post them later. If I posted them now, it wouldn't be a Top Ten, would it? Also, please don't think that there are NO reasons to like living here. I have some great friends here, and they all know who they are.

Cheers everyone!



Wildhair said...

I was informed that *I* was responsible for destroying Southern Hospitality.
I had only been working at the LC in G'ville for 3 weeks or so. I was doing an adjustment when the lovely woman remarked about my accent, or lack thereof. "You ain't from 'round here, are yee?"
To which I replied no, but I was loving the Southern Hospitality (a lie, but I was shmoozing). "Well, with all you damn yankees coming here, it's being destroyed."
Dropping a beat I replied, "Bless your heart!"

One thing that bugged me about Jawja was that every woman from every walk of life considered herself a Southern Belle. How's the saying go about southern women telling you off and you'll thank them for it.. I can't remember. I refused to conform.

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F Is For The Fatness

So last night, I once again hit Stevi B's pizza buffet. I'm not sure what it is about buffet restaurants that suppresses kids' appetites, but it seems every time we go to one, be it Ryan's, Golden Corral, Cici's Pizza or even the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday, they're suddenly "not very hungry". Last night was a case in point... we get in there and pay, grab our plates, they load theirs up, I load as much pizza as I can get on mine, we head to the table, they eat about six bites and say "I'm not very hungry."

So I said, "Well, why did you want to come here then? It's... a... BUFFET."

See, when I was growing up we didn't have much money, and after my parents split up and it was just us and Mum, we had even less, so I was raised to eat whenever there's an opportunity to eat, because you never know when the food might run out. I was also raised to eat what was offered and not complain, unlike kids these days, who think they can just turn their nose up at what's on offer and some kind-hearted sap will go fix them something else, or worse, will run up the street to Mickey D's or whatever and buy them some fast food. Ugh. This is why we are a nation of fatties. Here's a little illustration to prove this point.

By the way, the title of today's post is to do with a Father's Day card I received from my son Charlie when he was in Kindergarten or first grade wherein the word FATHER was made into an acronym and the kids wrote down something about their dads that started with each letter. I get mine, open it up, and read the first line, "F is for the Fatness..."

Obesity, it should be said, is not a euphemism for being overweight. It means being so fat that one’s health is affected. You are defined as obese if you have a body mass index of 30 or over (with a bmi of between 25 and 30, you are merely overweight). The US is the most overweight nation in the world, with over a quarter of the total population being obese. Obesity is a global phenomenon, however. It was recently reported that for the first time in history, there are now more overweight than malnourished people in the world.

Maybe the kids have the right idea.

Bargains, bargains, bargains!

So tonight I decided to go to Ryan's - we hadn't been in a long time and I had a coupon - in fact, a bunch of coupons - so I clipped one. The coupon was for 2 free kids' meals with an adult meal, which worked out great. Dinner for me and two ravenous kiddies came to $10.37 with tax. You can't beat that!

See, I'm a born bargain hunter. If I can get a bigger size for the same price, or find something on clearance that fits, I'll do it. Most of the records I bought growing up came from the bargain bin or second-hand stores or rummage sales. I had a pristine copy of Madness' album 'One Step Beyond' including the free promo 12" of "In The Rain" that I picked up for 50p (about a buck) at a jumble sale, along with a Harris Tweed jacket that just needed new lining for 10p (about 20 cents). So my whole day was centered around bargains. One of my private pleasures is to go into Publix and head straight for the closeout section. This morning I headed to Publix, because I needed a box of Band-Aids (or sticking plasters, as I should say in my English voice). Why, you might ask, did I need a box of Band-Aids? Because yesterday, I was busy chopping up cabbage to make some slaw with a big knife (more like a machete), and the tip of my thumb got in the way.

Ever tried to staunch the flow of blood from your thumb while trying to open a wall-mounted first aid kit, remove gauze and open it (this was NOT a band-aid situation) and then apply it and start some tape, cut it, and stick it to your thumb, all the while trying not to howl loudly? And then get right back on with chopping? With a clean knife, naturally.

So... I went into Publix, availed myself of first aid items for the home, and headed to the closeout section, to see what I could see. Lots to pick from, but my choice? A box of 6 (count'em!) SoyJoy bars, Mango Coconut flavor, for $3.00. Yum-O!

Later, I went into a thrift store and picked up a Christmas CD (yeah, it's October... the mood is starting to strike), actually a double CD with a bonus CD-rom entitled 'The Perfect Christmas'. Perfect? Well, I'm not sure about that, but it does have some great tunes on it, including but not limited to The Barenaked Ladies' version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', Sarah MacLachlan's 'Song For A Winter's Night' and Tony Bennett doing 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'.Well worth 3 bucks, I trust you'll agree. I also picked up an old copy of Real Simple magazine which had articles about.. guess what? - getting things for free.

I admit it. I'm a cheapskate.

Reading Makes You Hungry - repost

Just recently I was at the library.

I know you're all reeling from the shock of that first statement, but it's true. I was there the other afternoon, when I espied a little nook with the words "Used Book Sale" on a small sign which had been posted on the wall.

So I went back there and there were about five or six shelves full of books, priced to go - 10 cents each! Well, you know me, I love a good bargain. So I went into full 'rooting-around-like-a-truffle-hunting-pig' mode, and finally ended up with seven books. They were:

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,

A Pizza The Size Of The Sun by Jack Prelutsky,


Madeline's Rescue,

So You Want To Be President,

The Kid Who Ran For President,

and lastly, a fantastic book from the 80s called Passport To Great Britain. I HAD to have this one! It has some lovely dated hairstyles and such in it. It was published in 1985 so you know it's a hoot. Has such great pics in it as this one, of some typical teen mags.
I remember that Frankie issue.

And this one:
Yes, the TVTimes, the equivalent of TV guide for the independent channels, which at the time were ITV and the still-new Channel 4. The show advertised on the front, Roll Over Beethoven, was thankfully short-lived but starred the ever-lovely Liza Goddard (phwooaarr!!) and Nigel Planer (better known as Neil from The Young Ones).

I turned to the page about Shops and shopping and saw this delightful picture of typical Brit food circa 1985, which took me back, I must say:
Note the bottle of milk, delivered to your door, now sadly becoming less and less common. Also the Arctic Roll, back there between the paper towels and the Corn Flakes. This wonderful invention is basically a cylinder of vanilla ice cream with a cakey outer layer. Mmmm! On top of the paper towels is a box of 4 frozen Beefburgers. Basically hamburger patties, but we Brits usually grill these and eat them sans bun. In front of the Campbell's Soup there is a Bowyers Pork Pie. What is a pork pie, I hear you cry? Well. let's take a closer look at one, shall we?

As you can see, a pork pie consists of roughly chopped pork and pork jelly sealed inside a pie crust known as a hot water crust. How they make it, I dunno, but it's delish. It is served cold. It is a cousin to the Gala Pie, which looks like this:

Basically a big pork pie made in a large loaf tin, with hard-boiled eggs embedded in the meat so that when you slice it you get some egg in the middle. Mmm protein! Yeah baby!

So when I saw this picture it inspired me: Let's talk about food! (It always comes back to food, doesn't it?) What are some of the typical British foods that perhaps we can't get over here on this side of the pond? What are my faves? What do I miss? And what are some British-food myths that need clearing up? Well, to explain British meals: Breakfast is breakfast. Lunch is dinner. Dinner is tea. Got it? No? Yes? maybe?

This is a ready-made trifle. Normally I would make one myself, but really, if it was just for one person, I see no harm in getting your trifle on at Sainsbury's.

Ambrosia Creamed Rice. Rice pudding in canned form. It's actually delicious, even though the premise sounds suspect. I used to eat it cold, straight out of the can. No added toppings or flavors needed. I am a rice pud purist.

This, my friend, is a Wagon Wheel. A wonderful conglomeration of cookie, marshmallow and chocolate. And it's pretty big, too. One usually was able to find these in large numbers at the local chippy, which was perfect, as you needed something round and chocolatey to finish off the meal of cod & chips. Here is a typical chip shop:

As well as fish, chips and Wagon Wheels, one might also find here saveloys, which are kind of like a big hot dog, mushy peas (a Northern favourite but one of mine too), small meat pies such as Steak & Kidney or Steak & Mushroom, pickled eggs, and pickled gherkins (aka pickles).

Now, let's talk bacon. In Britain there are basically two kinds of bacon - streaky bacon, similar to the anorexic little rashers you get here in the States:

And back bacon, infinitely better, a lot more meaty.

They don't make this one anymore, at least not in the UK. Chocolate with rum flavored raisins. Fantastic. Note the price.

Toffo is basically toffee in little round individually wrapped pieces. Almost like Rolo without the chocolate.

Jamaica ginger cake is just beyond-words good. Rich, dark, moist cake with a ginger kick. Mm!

Yes, they are pies in a can. Lovely. Just open the top with a can opener and pop them in the oven. Lovely flaky pastry.

This sexy vixen is advertising Cadbury's Flake. These ads were very popular in the 70s. Anyone who has known me for more than a little while is likely to have heard me occasionally warble a tune or two from TV's yesteryear, and this is one of them. "Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate/Tastes like chocolate never tasted before."

Cresta was an amazing soda, this really did have a creamier foam than regular fizzy drinks. Hence the tagline.

Smiths Crisps, one of the biggest names in snacks in the UK. Here is a pack with a picture of Slade on it, for some reason.

Here's a table groaning with vintage 70s potato chip-type stuff. Is your favourite in here? Mine is. Rancheros.

Now, a lot of people claim to not like Christmas pudding, but I say what's not to like?

There's nothing so refreshing on a hot Summer's day like a tall Pimm's. Makes you feel like you're at Centre Court, Wimbledon, watching the finals, or at the Henley Regatta. Pimm's No.1 Cup is a gin-based brew containing herbs and citrus. Generally it is mixed with English-style lemonade (usually R.White's) and served on ice with various fruits and a sprig of mint.

Marmite. a very interesting spread, quite strong in flavor, one of those things that you can never quite decide whether you like or not.

Alright. Tea. This is a Brown Betty, pretty much the 'official' teapot of the UK. I would tell you how to make a proper pot of tea, but I feel it is something better experienced and learned hands-on, reverentially, than reading a set of instructions. Making a proper pot of tea is an almost religious experience.
I will say a word or two, though, about some common misconceptions concerning tea. Tea the drink and tea the meal are not the same thing. Tea refers to the early evening meal, but some call it dinner or supper. High tea also means the late afternoon or early evening meal, but most people just call it tea. In the USA High tea has come to mean formal tea or tea party, but this is not used in Britain.

Alright, carry on.
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