Happy New Year!


I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve.

2010 set a high water mark for me that will be hard to beat, so 2011 has it's work cut out for it. But then I think, "My life gets better every day," so maybe 2011 will be filled with more awesome than 2010.

Sorry I've been out for the last few weeks, but I'm catching up, and I have some great posts planned for ya'll in the coming weeks. Thanks for sticking around and doing your part to make 2010 a year I will always treasure.


A Moving Tale of Trust for Boxing Day*


In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty four years later, Mbembe was walking through the
Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant looked at Mbembe as if could see straight into his soul.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

* Yes, this is a repeat of from the last two Christmases
. But I have to keep up the tradition.
I hope you are had / are having a very merry Christmas.


The Bond Of The Rings

He gently stroked the golden ring on his left hand. An outside observer would think that he was doing it absentmindedly; a nervous tic.

They would be mistaken.

About the ring. About the man. About everything.

The Mage sat in the restaurant among "the Norms" caressing his ring and eating his French onion soup. None would guess that the golden band was Elvin made, imbued with magix by rites, runes, and rituals that were ancient when this world was young.

Along with it's mated pair, the rings bound the wearers in a far more profound way than merely as symbols and tokens. Thru "the Bond of the Rings" as it was known, they were truly soul mates. Able to sense each others' moods and feelings even when separated by a vast distances.

And she missed him. Deeply. She longed to simply be held by him. But those feelings were comingled with feelings or excitement, and of anticipation with the knowledge that soon he would be joining her. So he caressed his ring, sending her calm and reassurance thru the very resonance of the Universe.

He was going to be a little late, but they would be together.


And, through the "Bond of the Rings", they were never really apart.

I had to settle for texting Cora, to tell her I loved her, and that my flight was an hour late taking off.

Sometimes, this Universe sux just a little.

FYI – My plane has landed, and Cora and I are together in Seattle. Merry Christmas!


This Cannot Be Unheard


I know this is old.

I know this is politically incorrect.

But so am I.

Old.  Politically incorrect.

Today is my 45th birthday, and I will be flying out to Seattle after work to see my Cora.  The hug and kiss that await me on the other side of security @ Sea-Tac will be more than enough of a birthday present for me.

Others sharing a December 22nd birthday:
244 – Roman Emperor Diocletian
1962 - "Lord Voldemort" Ralph Fiennes
1975 – M. Jenks of Vita Brevis


47 Seconds – Lost Forever

You want your 47 SECONDS back for watching that?  Stop complaining, I want my 47 MINUTES back creating it.


A Little Winter Escapism

No, this story is not about my wife and (step) daughter running off as the family's advance party to prepare Seattle for my visit. Or something like that.

No, this is the story of some other escapees.

Saturday, while I was out at the doctor's office (nothing special, he just happened to have an open slot on Saturday morning at an office not far from my house), is when it must have happened.

I think they must have gotten the idea a few weeks back when we watched "Toy Story II" & "Toy Story III".

My brass monkeys escaped.

I tracked the slippery simians to the nearby park.

Snow-Monkeys-01I warned them that it has been unseasonably cold this December, but did they listen…

Snow-Monkeys-02"Don't look at me, Boss, I didn't take them."

Snow-Monkeys-03"These them?"

Snow-Monkeys-04 "I'm cold. Can we go home?"
"Hi 'Cold', I'm 'Pretty', nice to meet you."
"No, I'm the pretty one!"


Who Wrote This? Even Steven?

At first I saw this commercial a bunch:

And I thought, "Wow, that's gonna piss Apple off." But then I saw this ad:

Seriously? Do the people at the ad agency also make sure that their kids get the same number of presents for the same value?


He Said – Fool Moon

Over Thanksgiving Saturday, while down visiting my parents, Cora, Gwen, Mom, Dad, & I went over to the village of East Davenport, Iowa. It's a quaint section of town with little shops. It includes and art / frame store, Woodland Gallery, where my mom & dad have done some shopping.

They have gotten a few P. Buckley Moss prints framed, including this one:

Der Weiss Homestead

They also had a fabulous picture of a young Native American woman, refreshing herself in a mountain pool with a big water fall behind her. It was a bit like if you merged these pictures:

Girl at Waterfall Girl at Waterfall - 5 Girl at Waterfall - 4

I kept telling Cora we hadn't decorated our bedroom yet. She wasn't buying it. In any sense of that phrase.


While we were in there shopping, Cora kept picking up this Christmas ornament and admiring it.

She kept looking at it.

Laughing about it.

Showing to every one.

Putting it back down.

Well, the shopkeeper distracted her with a box of Pixies, and a plan formed in my brain. While she and and Gwen were off looking at pictures in one section of the store, I casually walked over to my dad, and said, "Don't say anything, just hand me the keys."

Keys pocketed, I grabbed the ornament box, and tried to find the another one so that if she went back, my secret wouldn't be blown.

No luck. This was the last one. Bauble in hand, I went to the owner, and told him that it was a gift for my wife, and I needed to get this done FAST before she missed me. After he rang me up, I hustled the gift out to my bag in the car, safely stashed.

I'm a sneak.

I returned to the store, and she didn't notice a thing. Whenever we were back in that section of the store, I positioned myself so that she would not really walk past the end of the table where it had been. Eventually, we left the store, and I had pulled it off.

Sunday, when we got back, I snuck the Fool Moon onto her tree. (Yes, there is "Her tree", "My tree", and "Gwen's tree". You got a problem with that?) I was going to wait for her to see it, but I couldn't hold out.

I'm weak.

With the goose hanging right below a mini version of an arcade Pac-Man, I called Cora over to show me how to make it work. She looked at me a little confused. Like she could smell that I was up to something, but couldn't exactly make out what I was up to. So, she fiddled with the Pac-Man, pushed a few buttons, and the famous little Pac-Man ditty started up.

And then I asked her to do it again, but to look 2 inches down and to the right. (Taken out of context, that sentence sound a bit naughty, doesn't it?)

This was followed by a couple little jumps, hand claps, and a sustained squeal of joy.

Papa done good. :-)

To read Cora's take on this, go to HER BLOG.


A Thanksgiving Turkey For Scope?

While down at my parent's house for Thanksgiving, we met up with my sister and her family on Friday evening, and the whole mess of us went bowling.

The bowling alley was this little place with 6 lanes in a small farm near use. The "kitchen" wasn't open per se, but they were able to cook some frozen pizzas.

Only my brother-in-law and niece (who had the flu) were really bowlers. The rest of us hadn't really bowled in years.

The first game I bowled a 103.

The second game, my mom was 2 pins behind me from the 4th frame. Neither of us could pick up a spare. 9. 9. 9. I couldn't lose her. (Just a little competitive.)

Then came the 10th frame.

I'm up first. I've got to at least get a spare so I can get to my bonus ball. I can't leave the door open.

I fire my first ball straight down the lane…


First one I'd gotten all game!

Second ball goes rocketing down the lane…


Oh man, one more strike and I'll have gotten my second "turkey" ever.

Third ball, hurtling down the alley, on a date with destiny.

But Destiny must have been washing her hair, because when the pins stopped flying, the 5 pin stood there like the alley was giving me the finger.

Happy, but disappointed at the same time, I walked back to the seating area where my father consoled me with, "And that third one was the best ball you threw all night."

Thanks Dad.


Hot Dog!

DOG-04 A few weeks back, the girls and I were watching the Food Network's 'Meat and Potatoes', and we saw a feature on a place called "Franks & Dawgs" in Chicago. When then showed the joint, I knew I knew it. It just took me a bit to figure out where it was. It was back in my old neighborhood, but was an Italian beef place called "What's The Beef!" when I lived there.

Anyway, it was right across the street from the Bed Bath & Beyond that we registered at, so one night, when we need to do some shopping down there anyway, we stopped in.

Now, this isn't just your ordinary hot dog joint. (And Chicago is a hot dog town filled with hot dog joints.) This one boasts homemade sausage and a 5 star chef. A sign inside said that even the line cooks had attended culinary school.

Gwen had the simple hot dog. Hot dog. Bun. That's it. She likes her food simple.

I had a dog with andoiulle sausage, and some carnitas on it.

Cora had the brunch dog with smoked bacon, maple mayo, and a fried egg.

And for the table, and an order of chili fries.


  • The bun – More of a mini loaf of bread vs. a standard bun, it is a thick, tasty, artisan roll, grilled in butter. I want to find out where they get these rolls and I want to use them in French toast.
  • Gwen's plain dog – She finished it off and seemed to enjoy it.
  • Cora's "Brunch" dog - "I loved it. The actual dog was, *nah*, okay, but the star of the show was the bread," to quote the wife.
  • Andoiulle sausage – Nice, mild flavor. Good snap on the casing.


  • The chili – Flavorless meat & beans. No sauce. No heat. I wouldn't call it "chili".
  • The fries – Even though they are "twice fried," they just weren't there for me.
  • The rest of my sandwich – Loved the bun. Thought the sausage was pretty good, but the the rest of the sandwich had no real flavor.

While I'm not sure I would normally give a place a good review just based on the bread (wait, I guess I did it HERE), but I will definitely go back and try another one of their dogs.

DOG-06And then I took a slight detour on the way home and took the girls to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. 'Cuz that's the kind of dad/husband I am.

And speaking of hot dogs, this never happened to me in college.