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For those of you who aren't busy cleaning all the global warming off your driveways in the mid-west.........
We've done this classic Drifter's rendition of White Christmas in the past (animation by Joshua Held) and also want to offer many thanks to all of you who have sent me the link this season, most recently Ken F.
You can see a full screen and very cool flash version of it here.
On another note I'm trying to get used to this new, ergonomic keyboard. This thing has more curves than the Victoria's Secret catalogue. Not sure, but ergonomic might be overrated--although my icepick fingers are beginning to find the right places. Try finding the insert key though.
Back in the day of TWC's perpetual floating website that masqueraded as as an email newsletter, TWC always included three randomly changing quotes. When we moved to a fixed site three years ago we incorporated that into the site as it was always popular. I have a suspicion though, that many people don't notice that little box down on the left that says Notable Quotes and therefore I decided to throw a few out for your perusal.
In the old days, it was
not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to
church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went
to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say
'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out
for the wall!'
Continuing with the TWC Twelve Days of Christmas Tuneography and there is not a whole lot left to be said about this tune. The quintessential So Cal mid-century experience (omigod, does that term just want to make you puke?) was the Beach Boys. Prolly should have said mid-sixties? Or early sixties?
TWC quite fully bought into that myth. There was a girl with a tan of golden brown waiting on the beach for me. But we kept missing each other because every time I went to the beach she'd gone home for lunch. And I went to the beach a lot. [shrugs]
Show of hands. Guys. Who remembers the first time you hugged a skimpily attired girl on the beach? Knocked yer socks off. Eh?
Can't see the video? Tough. Just kidding, it's here.
And a particularly nice cover.....
Okay, if you can't see that neither, look right here.
Here's one item the House Blond won't find under the tree this year.
Word has it the Wal-Mart yanked the offending undies off the shelves in the adolescent department after parental complaints. That would be the key I suppose--on your wife? Cute. On your thirteen year old daughter? Not so much.
To be sure, Wal-Mart is free to offer goods for sale and is also free to withdraw said items from public sale after potential customers burn up the phone lines with invective.
Cue the tedious outrage in 10, 9, 8.......
For days to come we'll hear how this outrage evidences the latest moral decline of America's vagrant youth into the bottomless abyss of lipstick parties and designer drugs, hastened by our evil corporate culture where the only concern is turning a buck.
The other guys, who routinely beat up Wal-Mart for having (gasp) cheap prices that allow poor people to buy cool stuff, will temporarily switch sides to finger wag about cultural conservatives and how closed-minded censorship is forcing reactionary moral values onto the entire society in the name of protecting the children.
Not sure I'd work up the ire to complain but I dang sure wouldn't buy any for my daughter.
TWC has not ever chopped down a Christmas Tree (or anything else) with an ax, much less with a hatchet, yet on a chilly late Sunday afternoon, That Boy did the deed for us.
Oh. The kids love the Christmas Tree plantation. Acres of trees, Mini Cooper sized climbing rocks, bon fires in 55 gallon drums (for hand warming), and free hot coffee (using the term coffee loosely). Yes, even The House Blond has a cup.
Bonus: For about the same price as you'd pay the local big box hardware store for a tree, you get to hand select your own fresh Yuletide Tree and fell it.
Real Men cut their own trees.
Real Men also fetch the tree home and are chivalrous enough to allow the ladies to ride.
And now, finally, So Cal has fallen into a normal winter weather pattern. Typically eases in with high pressure over Utah, that translates into a few breezy balmy evenings. That fades into a cold, rainy, windy storm surge from up north that produces the high surf that's been in the news. On the heels of the storm comes clear, cold, breezy days with scudding clouds dancing on bright blue skies. Then it starts all over.
With God on our side, we'll be free of the dreary marine layer, swaddling the southland in a gray blanket of puick that's enough to set a body to huntin' for razor blades and a hot bath.
If every day was like Sunday, well, I'd stop complaining about traffic and crowds and the government for a couple of hours. I mean, look at the snow on Mt Baldy. BTW, that's looking across Lake Mathews from the Casa at San Antonio Peak, which is about 45 miles away.
Mrs TWC and Michelle packed a truckload of cherubs off to the local Christmas
Tree Lane last Saturday. It was late when they got back and Michelle took pity on my sorry backside and sent
Mrs TWC home with some from-scratch chicken soup that was, hands down, the
best ever. Deeeee-licious. You know the kind I mean, with actual chicken. Now that's what I call The Christmas Spirit, man.
I'm with Der Bingle, it's..........
Ladies and Gents: That was Bing Crosby, 1954, and did you hear that part about the five and ten? And the pistol that shoots? Times do change, eh?
The Anderson Valley (Mendocino County) is home of Edmeades Vineyards, many of which are truly old vine, including the oldest vineyard in Mendocino County. Old vines tend to produce smaller, more intensely flavored fruit with limited yields. In theory, and often in fact, that makes for better wine, particularly with respect to Zinfandel.
Although this 2006 is not one of Edmeades specialty wines (single vineyard) it is a remarkably good wine nonetheless.
Aromas of black cherries, spice, violets and cola berry are the most prominent; but raspberries, salted apples, coffee and
cedar chest are also layered into the profile. Flavors are full, soft and supple, with good intensity of fruit flavors. The
berry and cherry flavors linger on the palate until you taste it again; the tartness of the finish goes from cherries, to
stronefruit, to minerality. The 2006 vintage has a softness on the palate which is a result of the higher PH and lower
acidity in the wine; easy to drink young, or will grow more complex with three to five years of cellaring.
The wine is medium bodied and you'll find an earthy feel with black fruit, spice, and mild pepper on the palate. I was a little dubious of the label claim of raspberry s'mores. I'm thinking: Raspberry S'mores? What? Are they marketing this wine to Girl Scouts? Do the Junk Food Nannies at CSPI know about this? Well, the raspberries are in evidence, which I find to be an interesting touch. And the s'mores? Not so much.
From the first sip to the dregs, this wine is a pleasure. You may want to pick up two bottles because after the first is empty you'll wish you had another. You'll find this wine in the $15.00-$20.00 price range.
I reviewed Red Truck originally here and since then skipped it altogether. A 2005 came into my possession recently so I figured I may as well pop the cork and get it out of the way. It was that or I'd be forced to re-gift it, which just wouldn't have worked out because the wine is just okay.
Red Truck was pricier then and I don't remember Cline Cellars hanging a vintage on it. Today the cost is down to around $8.00 (California money) and the wine is better. It comes off a little sickly sweet on the first sip but the air tones that down a bit. The icky sticky sweetness stays on the nose for a while longer (you can smell it but you can't taste it as much) and eventually fades.
Cline Cellars makes a decent old vine Zinfandel but the best thing about this Plain Red is still that really cool label. A little unfair to be sure, because the wine is drinkable. Well, Spectator's lowly 85 might make you think twice about whether the wine is ACTUALLY drinkable. Yet it might work fine for a mid-week supper of pasta with red sauce, garlic bread, and Caprese.
I just now paid my county property taxes online. It's a convenient process that makes it easy to part with tons of long green right at the peak of the Christmas shopping frenzy. The second installment is due April 10, 2008, a date no doubt chosen for its proximity to April 15. It's a process that I like a little less than a root canal, which, interestingly enough, is also cheaper. The root canal, not the property taxes. Yet, I digress.
Those of you without an impound account who can also afford to pay both halves of the county property tax, can accelerate a deduction into 2007 by paying both halves of the property tax before 12-31-2007. However, doing this only benefits you once and if you don't pay both halves next December, you'll end up losing the tax break for 2008 by dragging it forward into 2007. Still, there may be some merit in doing so.
Those of us who reside in the Golden State are faced with a minimum payment of half the annual taxes and that payment is due December 10, 2007. Don't miss that deadline.
Taxpayers paying estimates can use a similar strategy by paying the January 15, 2008 STATE estimated tax payment by December 31, 2007. IRS payment doesn't matter, it isn't deductible.
If you plan to pay the January house payment early to bulk up your mortgage interest deduction you better do it now. Lenders are slow to process at year end and many times I've seen January payments paid early yet still not show up on the annual mortgage interest statement. Sure, the bank got the payment on the 28th but it wasn't processed until the new year. But try proving it.
I can't get within 100 feet of the Viet Nam War Memorial. Mostly that's because if you get closer than that you can read the names. I was in DC when the Holocaust Museum opened but nixed that as well. I don't do funerals, except now and again. And, that's probably why I'll not see the USS Arizona up close and personal neither. I suppose I might have to take the kids some day, but it better be on a day when my allergies are giving me fits.
All them planes'd make you barf nickels wouldn't it? I was going to use the other term, but this is a family show here. A lot of people proved their mettle that day. I think it counts for something. God might too.
Don McLean was right. So was Patton. At the rate things are going, my kids will be fighting in Iraq a decade from now. Armageddon anyone? Pass the tinfoil hat. Thankee.
Speaking of dorks and Samurai's, I almost cut my thumb off with a Samurai sword Thanksgiving night. The sword is real, taken from a dead Japanese warrior and smuggled back to the US by Wayne Weber's uncle. It was bequeathed to me by an accident of death. Actually, it was bequeathed to my custody until such time as my son is old enough to take care of it properly.
As I picked the dam thing up to show it to my friend Stevie Crown (the spy for the Dark Side), I tipped it down toward the floor and it started to slide out of the scabbard (because the locking mechanism is old and doesn't work right). I reflexively grabbed this HEAVY STEEL SHARP-EDGED MOVING OBJECT with my hand. Bright boy.
Doh. One of those things where you know immediately that you have miscalculated and your brain is saying DON'T GRAB THAT but it's too late because your automatic reflexes overrode...... Lisa said I had a big OH-Oh look on my face.
It needed stitches but I could not bear the thought of five hours in the ER with a bunch of illegals and assorted sticky sneezy children. Taped it up good. Used butterfly bandages.
It's not healed yet, but it's at the really ugly, scabby, nasty, itchy stage where you know you are out of the woods but you're just wishing it was done.
Stoopid me, I tried to re-enact the idiocy and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how in the hell I cut it the way I did [shrugs].
There is a lesson here, Jacob my son. This is how people get accidentally shot to death. Pay attention Boy.