Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Oh, you serious serious?

Ramblings Post #396
I am firm believer in having to suffer the consequences of your actions. And while I understand that the universe is random, there is just something spiritually irritating when you see someone doing something you know is wrong, they know is wrong, everyone can see that it's wrong and they still come up aces. Especially when you've played by the rules and find yourself less than rewarded. As someone said, how do we convince the next generation to work hard, when all they see are rich criminals and broke college graduates?

Well damn.

I really had tried to stay out of the Sha'Carri Richardson discussion. I had feelings on both sides: first that it's a dumb, archaic rule that makes no sense at all given the circumstances or the world we currently live in OR the reason for the prohibition. But on the other hand, she definitely knew the rule, knew the consequences, and instead of perhaps getting drunk like so many others of us would have done in the same situation, she decided to light one up. Ultimately was a decision that she made that she knew she would have to live with. And all the arguments I've heard one way or another (some so nonsensical it hurts), they all seem to forget that while the professional and legal landscape for us civilians is shifting, the same rules don't necessarily apply to elite athletes. Just like we can run down to the store or lay out by a pool unbothered, it ain't the same for them. A burger and fries is cool for you and I, but may be off limits to them as it may wreck some optimal balance for peak performance. We different. Recognize how it is for us ain't always how it is for them. So while I didn't necessarily agree with it, I was okay with the short suspension. But then I was okay with that when I thought it meant that while she couldn't compete for the hundred yard dash she'd at least get hers at the relay.

Now they done gone and left her off the team.

Well damn.

Some of it, I imagine, comes down to space. You only have so many slots and if god forbid someone can't compete you don't want to end up short because one of your teammates is still under suspension. I'm going to call it a strategic decision. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I'm trying to not fault people just doing their jobs here. Still...., this decision just feels wrong. It's like being down by ten in a football game, and going for the kick first inside two minutes, inside the twenty. It can be justified theoretically. After all, you need the points anyway, now or later shouldn't make a difference. But it just feels wrong. This feels wrong.

Especially in light of the banning of the swim cap the black women used. Or the decision that the two African women's testosterone was too high to compete fairly. I'm not saying, but I shole does look...funny.

For Ms. Richardson however, there will be another chance in three years, god willing. I don't think this was fair, and between now and then it needs to be addressed. And I'll need someone to explain to me who cannabis is a performance enhancing drug in this situation.

Barkeep. Just nice Chablis. I have no idea why, but this just sort of calls for it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

You should try the chicken. We're out, but you should try it.

Ramblings Post #395
I've always been the one to try the local shops around wherever it is I reside. Because sometimes it's that little spot off the beaten path, where they cook with a touch of love and creativity, or in some cases are just very happy to be there that the true gems are found. A little cafe with four booths and eight stools. A place that puts the cheese on after they put the toppings on. That one joint where the box is so heavy you've got to carry it with both hands lest your goodies spill out.

So I tried this "new" spot. First, it's a wing spot with no wings. The girl complaining as she left said that, but I didn't know what she meant until I was inside. Then the cashier even gets snippy me, not even looking up from his phone and tells me there is a worldwide shortage and nobody can get wings anywhere. I decide not to explain that my regular fish spot I went to the week before had them. And that this other spot with the great fries also had them. It's all they sell. But it might be that his supplier lied to them and I don't want to get into it.

Wait, let me back up.

I've started eating out more lately after a long period where, due to that silly pandemic thing, I cooked almost every night. No seriously, my freezer was stuffed and I tried out a whole bunch of things I normally would not have. I made different cheesy baked pastas, made what I'm going to call Chinese inspired dishes, switched up my seasonings and flavorings, fried different kids of fish, experimented briefly with different rices (um, no), mixed up my veggies, made fresh hamburgers by mixing meats (really, that should only be done by a butcher) and tried a thing or two I finally ate because I was the one that made it. That along with lots (read 'too much') of cookies and cakes, ice cream and the rest.

But finally, I just got tired of washing the pots. Because while you can throw out paper plates, there are no paper pots that I know of. If you know of some, please holla at me. I eat a lot less now because I don't want to clean. So, not to starve out of laziness, I started seeing what around me was still open and where I go dip in, get something and dip out. Masked up of course.

If you want to know how bad the pandemic is, consider that in Atlanta, the Waffle Houses now close. As close the doors and don't serve after a certain hour. Waffle Houses stay open during hurricanes. I weep.

But anyway the other week I found this spot, the name of which I'm not going to mention, on social media. The write up indicates one of the things that is different about the spot is that it hosts a small urban museum.  Which is a neat idea.

It's not too far from me, so after I've finished up my ranching duties I roll over that way and check it out. First, the music is loud. Like we're in the club loud. In a restaurant, and it's still daylight outside. There are no tables or chairs, duh, pandemic, but the art is still there. Only, the art didn't agree with me. What was billed as art proves the old adage 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' Okay, admittedly I grew up in the country, but my version of the "urban experience" is usually slightly cleaner. And would involve a lot less police tape. But it's really more down to personal preference and experience. And the artist was trying to make a statement. I guess. So there was that. Then we get to the aforementioned lack of wings in a wing spot. Then the cashier acting as though I was bothering him by showing up to get some food.  

Seriously, the wings thing bothers me. I could almost understand if we lived in say.... Chicago or maybe Butte, Montana. Because in Georgia, where I reside there are multiple chicken processing plants within reasonable driving distance. Multiple. The very idea that yard bird is not available around here borders on absolute lunacy. This is where the truck would stop first!

How is a wing spot out of WINGS?

So, they really didn't have any wings. But they did have chicken fingers. And I was trail busting hungry. So I got the fingers and a coney.

Okay, there really was only one good place to get a chili dog in Atlanta. Well, Marietta really. I used to go by every so often and get two with onions and fries. The chili wasn't too watery, the bun was warm with the seeds on it, the fries were crisp. It was all Chicago up in there, and swear that old guy behind the counter was always there. He must have slept in the walk-in freezer. Well, there was a spot in Sandy Springs but the sum of the parts didn't really make the whole. They tried valiantly, but it just wasn't it.  Sigh. Anyway, I would go up to Book Nook on a slow Saturday and spend a hour or so, then stop by the hot dog spot and enjoy my new finds. Memories.

You know what, I'm gonna let that coney go and just going to say the wing sauce was pretty good. I normally have to get my wings plain and sauce them at home - seriously. For the curious, Buffalo flavor is NOT medium. It has more butter. Their sauce, on the chicken fingers was pretty good. Tangy with just a taste of fire. I actually saved them and made a sandwich for lunch the next day.

So, bottom line? I still gotta try the wings. So I don't know.    

Barkeep. A Stella and book. Something bouncy. Do have anything with Calvin and Hobbs?

Monday, June 21, 2021

Plugged In

Ramblings Post #394
I love music. Music sets the vibe. The right song can soothe the soul. The right song can set a party off. The right song can make a quiet, intimate evening head in the right direction, if you know what I mean. The right song can move a crowd and change an empire. The right song can bring THAT memory and suddenly you're transported to the time and place. And the wrong song can sit in your ear for hours, circling and distracting, muddling your thoughts to no end, because you know it's in there...somewhere, you just need to remember it. Music has power.

So, I few weeks ago I guess, I stumbled across a video snippet of a UK rap group that took me by surprise a bit. It was good. I'm talking way better than a lot of the stuff I hear on radio. And me being me, I took a trip through ye olde internet and found the group and watched the whole video. It was very very good. So I good i actually paid for the song with iTunes.

Note: Most of what I buy through iTunes is what I call Work Jazz, because it provides lively background music without words to sing along too, something I tend to do without even realizing it, so to trick my brain with sound its got to be all horns, strings and drums. Lively, but it allows me to concentrate.

In any case, I popped on YouTube to look up something else, probably game related I don't really remember, and in my suggestions were some reaction videos to that particular song's video. Now I've been very bored on occasion, and watched some reaction videos. There are couple of young fellas I watched a couple of times who announce that they like to get into that old stuff, then will play something I used to listen to when it first came out, for instance, House of Pain's Jump Around. Not to hate on them, but damnit, why you trying to make me feel old with that. I mean, it's not an old song. It came out when? ....Don't make me knock this whole thing over. 

In any case, I clicked on one because I was curious, and I wanted to see what other people thought. And down the rabbit hole I went. 

I have watched maybe twenty five or thirty since I started, and they follow a general pattern. The reviewer is hype, click subscribe, join the family, and now they've been sent a link or request to look at this, or they've heard it's hot and want to see for themselves. The beat comes up first while the screen is all black, and the person generally stops video to ask what the sample is. (It's the Fugees, which sampled it from Enya I think). The video starts with the producer looking smug and it cuts to the artists in studio and then it happens. Most of the time one of two things happen: The reviewer stops the video and asks the camera "is this a joke?" or they pause it and look at the screen for a few seconds puzzled.

Because the group is Pete & Bas. And Pete is wearing a pork-pie hat and Bas has a suit on. Oh, and they're both white. And Pete is 70. Bas is 74.

Probably should have mentioned that earlier.

Honestly, Pete looks like the guy who runs an independent garage, the kind that will put a new transmission in for $500 if you don't ask where the transmission came from. And Bas looks a no-nonsense version of Batman's butler Alfred. Basically couple of old villains from a Guy Ritchie gangster movie. Yes, Bas has on three Rolex watches and gold chains. Pete looks like he keeps a kneecapper under the bar. But if you've never seen them before,  there is a moment of pause. A lot of people thought this was a parody group and it was a comedy riff of some sort.

Then the reviewer starts the video again, going back a bit of course, and the song starts. The beat is infectious, and before you know you're bobbing your head. And Pete starts, his raspy voice fits his rapper's braggadocio perfectly, as this pensioner tries to pick up a girl at the bar. Reviewers suddenly shouting, "Wait, they got bars" is the a regular comment. Most people agree that Pete can go, as he bellies up the mike and lets loose. Every now and then a review will pause the video and immediately declare "He didn't write this," as though that's a disqualifying act. A number of rappers don't write their own stuff. Big names too. And I understand that these guys do write there own stuff, but that their grandchildren help them with the slang. I'm not getting into that.

Then Bas comes on and his voice is like butter. And he explains that a woman is after him, and tells her what time to come through. This usually raises some eyebrows and howls of appreciation. And because now that I've heard the song about 50 times, i know that they're not even getting started. Some reviewers try to translate the UK slang, other stop and go back multiple times perplexed at how well the lyrics and cadence go together. Quite a few bars cause people to pause and go back and appreciate the wordplay. One or two reviewers even got up and started dancing.

Then, when they switch off, Bas takes off his jacket. Some reviewers, already into it, start getting really excited.

Watching them is kinda funny. They don't bop around like regular rappers, they look stiff and a little bit off. But then, they are in their 70s and their bodies don't work quite the way a younger mans' would. And although from the ease in which they apper to do it, they haven't been rapping since the 80s. I understand that they only having picked it up in the last four years or so. According to Bas in an interview they shot after making this, if he wasn't doing this he figures he'd be sitting around waiting to die. So I applaud them for getting out of their comfort zone and having a little fun.

The duo apparently have albums. And a number of videos. One of the vids has Pete golfing with hand grenades and Bas in a gilly suit.  Another could have been a scene from a Guy Ritchie film. They have following. They're damned good rappers, better than a lot I've heard.

And by the way, when Bas takes the jacket off...he really does go in.

The hardest song of 2021 so far is by two grandfathers. Damn. 

Barkeep. Some of that good good from the back. Why does everyone note when Fumez the engineer spills his drink?

Monday, May 31, 2021

A Venture Out

Ramblings Post #393
I'm going to have to go back and actually finish Red Dead Redemption 2. I just realized I did the same thing with GTA V the first time. At some point I just stopped playing. Work, other things came up and then I picked the controller back up one day and was like...okay what am I doing here? I think I may have gotten more into PC gaming - strategy and the like as of late - but there is still some much more game in there I know it. Does that put it on my backlog list though?

I got my oil changed for the first time in a year a few months ago. It was then I realized that the travel and going out thing wasn't really sourced from the lockdowns and stay at, "suggestions." (Because every other person I knew rolled out at some point. Except me apparently) I had gotten my oil changed last March right before the pandemic first came out, and in the interim I had put less than 1500 miles on my car. In twelve months. I was when I got the notice that I only had a few more payments left and that I had owned it for the full 60 months did I realize the weight of the issue. 

I bought the car with 15K on it. I have not yet reached 62K. 

I don't go nowhere. 

I used to roam the streets of Atlanta. A dive bar here, a odd eatery there. Sometimes just to see what they had. I'd drive halfway across the city for a bookstore or an odd computer part. I've driven to parties in Stockbridge and north of Kennesaw, quite possibly in the same night. 

Now I look at what's in my fridge and say "eh, I'll go to the grocery store tomorrow." 

Life comes at you....well, I think it's got to come at me now because I given my choice me and Netflix doesn't sound that bad at all.

Barkeep. Apparently I'm not driving anywhere. Everclear and two cubes of ice. And a cot in your back room. 


Monday, May 10, 2021

A Visit Home

Ramblings Post #392
Life changes tend to sneak up on you. A lot of times we make small shifts over time and before we know it our new normal isn't what we think it is. I made deliberate efforts to stay home and safe last year. And I filled my laptop and TV with distractions and other entertainment. But as this starts to wind down....we hope.... the changes which before were a chore now feel comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable. Changing back may mean giving up these Oreos and the spot on the couch shole is comfy. Hopefully what comes next is a getting it together montage before the big, well, something or other. I hope the music is thrilling.

Home isn't a place, it's a feeling. And despite being put out by the travel in the past, I have long missed the feeling of being in the presence of my folks. Sometimes aggravating, sometimes a little overbearing, but always with love, my folks. So now that I'm properly vaxxed up, and they have been for a few months now, I loaded up the Pacer and for Mother's Day weekend got on the road to see my Mom.

Now my mother is a practical woman. Last year when before I even broached the subject of coming down despite the pandemic she quickly headed me off at the pass. She said the phone worked - both ways - and wasn't no need to risk our health with all that riding up and down the road. They weren't planning on going anywhere so we should just wait it out. And during the Great Homestay of 2020 I did speak to my people frequently, sometimes two or three times a week, way more than I did usually. So it wasn't like I was out of touch. But the phone is different than actually seeing someone in person. 

So I gassed up Friday night after work and got on the road early Saturday morning, driving straight through. I don't usually like to do that because that was my father's habit when I was kid. Okay he had three fairly hyperactive children with him so maybe he had some purpose. But now when I take a road trip, and I drove more this past Mother's Day weekend than I drove pretty much the last nine months of 2020, I'll stop at a spot on the side of the road because I'm the driver and I can. Stretch my legs if you will. Or anyways, I used to do that, in the before times, in the long, long ago. No, this time once the car got rolling it didn't stop again until I rolled up in my parents driveway.

My parents looked older. I guess they've looked older every time I've seen them, it's just that it's becoming more noticeable. But they're alive and kicking so that's all that counts. My mother even cooked, something she swears she doesn't do very often anymore. And we ate, and talked about the past and remembered better times. I washed dishes, hung pictures and fixed computer issues. We caught up and just were together.

I also forgot that my mother's house contains THE harshest mirrors on the planet. There is no forgiveness in those babies. I mean swore I had been losing weight lately until I saw myself in her mirrors. I was feeling good, getting my steps up, then bam! The mirror in the bathroom I grew up in could even be considered cruel. Might have to go back to wheat bread and brown rice.

Since last year's lockdown, I had been three places other than a grocery store or a drive thru: My brothers house twice, to my old Running Partner's spot where we sat outside in the driveway and to Spanky's house. Other than that, and to get my vaccine shots I have been home. Luckily I was able to find a ranching gig that let me work from home so I can keep the lights on and the phone working. Going to see my parents felt good. And not just because of the hours in the car seeing the countryside for the first time in a while.

Life needs to get better.

Barkeep. Yes, I've been vaxxed up, now give me a tall cold beer. Yes, I have my card....

Saturday, April 24, 2021


I kinda hate to do these so close together, but they say it comes in threes.

I have much respect for Shock G.

Or Humpty Hump.
Or Mc Blowfish.
Or the other names he called himself. 

Honestly the album Sex Packets almost could have been on an 8-track, it was stuffed with goodies and flow and just played like what it was...a concept album. I must have jammed the crap out of it. Now, these were days before everything was gangsta, back when guys could just get super creative. And they did. The videos were half concert, half party. The guys wore silly outfits and did silly things. And Shock G was their leader. 

By the way, the reason we were all confused about if Shock G and Humpty Hump were the same person was because they did occasionally appear together. No shit (it's at minute 3:20). That and we didn't have twitter to leak the truth.

Now, Digital Underground wasn't considered a top tier group by most, but they were up there. And remember this is where the legendary Tupac got his start. With a bunch of guys who engineered songs like "Dowhatchalike", "The Humpty Dance" and "No Nose Job." And long before Drake they were the guys that sang with "Kiss You Back."

They weren't just a rap group, they were artists.

Damn, everybody is going too soon.