American Idle

It's kinda like American Idol, but only if you sing my posts out loud.

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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey, United States

Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Monday, January 30, 2006

Aw Shucks!

Sorry for the delay, but here's a Christmas picture of Matt that I've been meaning to post. The look is classic. Click on the image for a larger size.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Grade School Teachers of the World: American Idle thanks *you*

Wondering about the recent boost in my site traffic, I turned to SiteMeter's handy-dandy "location" tool to find out why. I discovered that, no, I've haven't really attracted any additional outside interest and that my blog is about as unpopular as ever...not really surprising since a) this blog has no theme and b) this has turned into a way for me to convey my sporadic rants to a far more reaching audience than mere emails ever could.

The reason is far more simple...with the hit show back on the air, no one seems to understand how to spell American "IDOL" and their searches land them on my site instead.

So thank you grade school teachers and principals (or is that principles?)...thanks to your ineffectiveness, my blog has gotten more hits than ever! While you're here, make sure you click on those little ads down at the bottom!

On a separate yet ironic note, I love how Blogspot's spell checker thinks "blog" is a misspelling.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Thank God this Ain't Snow"

**UPDATE**: The Sunday-Monday rain total for the Trenton area was .76 inches. Figure that in and the January total is up to 3.91 inches - or about 39.1 inches of snow if the weather was cold enough. I've said before, and will continue to say for as long as this unseasonable deluge continues.

For as grumpy as we tend to become on rainy days, we should be somewhat happy that, aside from that odd few inches we got the other weekend, we haven't spent any time this year shoveling our driveways, risking our lives on the icy roads, or battling the masses at the supermarkets for that last gallon of milk (even though it seems that 75% of central NJ drives SUVs).

So far in January...not including what fell last night...we've gotten 3.15 inches of precipitation in the Trenton area. The old rule of thumb states that one inch of rain equals roughly 10 inches of snow. So, using that equation, we'd have had to shovel out about 31 and a half inches of snow so far if the weather was cold enough.

That's right, almost three feet.

And again, this isn't including what we've gotten last night and continues to fall this morning...which may be another .5 to 1 inch of rain...maybe more. So factor that in and we're talking another 5-10 inches (of snow), which moves us over the potential 3 foot mark and closer to 4 feet.

Something to think about when you're bitching about the weather this morning.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fun with Woodland Critters

About two weeks ago, my wife brought an unusual sight to my attention. Apparently, her and her mother were looking out of our glass sliding door onto our back patio at about 8 AM when an unlikely creature sauntered by...a red fox.

Now, if we lived out in the sticks, this wouldn't surprise me. But we live out in the suburbs and, although there are SOME woods nearby, a red fox isn't something I would expect to see. I told my neighbor about it and he said that he also saw a fox in his back yard either last year or two years ago, so apparently these things aren't as uncommon as I'd have expected. Plus, he also noted that one of the local developments is named "Foxmoor", so maybe the name did mean something and wasn't just the brainchild of some cutesy developer.

But today I saw something that really made me scratch my head. I was on the side of my house, checking out the new siding that's in the process of being installed and I come across a severed deer leg laying in the stone bedding, right next to one of the contractor's cardboard boxes. No deer carcass...just a leg, about a foot and a half long. Could it be the fox and one of his meals? Something else?

Ruling out any bizarre contractor vinyl-siding ritual sacrifices (although I wouldn't be adverse to that if it improved the quality of work), I called my stepfather who spends every other weekend out in the woods hunting. He'd be able to offer some insight. He came over later in the afternoon and identified the leg as that of a doe and speculated that it was a recent kill by a local hunter (apparently, Saturday was "Doe day") and either a dog, fox, or coyote might have pulled it out of the trash.

Yes, I just said coyote. In Hamilton Square. What's next, bison? Red-necked wallabies? Mormons?

We don't have a fence and we have a 16 month old son who's going to be exploring the yard come March. So I think tomorrow I'm going to check out some of the hidden areas in my backyard to make sure there's nothing hiding out there. If you don't see my blog updated in two weeks, send out the authorities. (I'd say sooner, but I don't want to rule out general laziness)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Trenton's Most Popular Protest This Year

Growing up in a smoke filled house, but never having smoked myself, I'm kind of indifferent on the whole indoor smoking thing. Smoke really doesn't bother me and, with my background, if I haven't developed cancer from second hand smoke, I never will. Besides, I've always thought curtailing the tobacco industry...even though it's run by a bunch of unscrupulous bastards...would hurt the economy.

However, here's an indoor-smoking ban protest in Trenton I wish I had attended!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My Eyes!!! The Goggles Do Nothing!!!

Allright, maybe I should cut her a little slack is Melissa Joan Hart either right before or after she had her baby. Sure has come a come long way from this. For fantasy's sake, here's to hoping she regains her old form soon...

And what's up with that right eye?

Nothing like a live video game reenactment

Just when you thought you've seen it all, some high school (Japanese?) presents...Mike Tyson's Punch Out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

This just in: "Top Democrat troubled by Alito's answers"

Why is this news, let alone the headliner item on CNN's webpage?

In the world of partisan politics, it's a given that whoever the guy in charge nominates is going to be opposed by the opposite party. Especially nowadays where Bush could race into a burning building, rescue 20 orphans and their puppies, and still get criticized by Democrats. ("Why is he putting his life at stake?" "Why didn't he rescue the kittens?" "Twelve of the orphans were white, why weren't more black orphans rescued? Why not more black puppies?")

Wake me up if Alito gets unanimous approval from BOTH parties and stop bothering me with partisan non-news bullshit.

UPDATE: You've probably figured this out, but at the time of submission, "Top Democrat troubled by Alito's Answers" was the's since been modified by CNN.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

♫ It's Myyyyyy Cassssshhhh ♫

NJ is thinking about paying a quarter million to use a crappy Bon Jovi song in an upcoming advertising campaign?

I wonder if John Linnell gets these kind of offers?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Enough Wine to Choke a Transient

**UPDATE** - here's my wine/champagne stock
Nando Chianti Classico 2003
Nando Pinot Grigio 2004
Galasso Trebbiano D'Abruzzo 2001
Luna di Luna Merlot-Cabernet 2002
Luna di Luna Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio 2003
Sutter Home White Zinfandel 2004
Sutter Home Chardonnay 1996
Chateau La Salle Blanc
Avery Lane Merlot 2001
Leonardini Chardonnay 1998
Forest Glen White Zinfandel 2003
Tomasello Cranberry wine
Paul Laurent Champagne
Moet & Chandon Champagne

Well, now that the holidays have come and gone, the wine cellar at Dubé Bidet Vineyards has expanded again.

Some people get fruitcake for the holidays. Others get ugly sweaters. I get wine.

I can't complain too's a nice really's just that neither Debbie nor I are wine drinkers. We get them as occasional gifts from co-workers and on the rare occasion we throw a party, we wind up receiving more wine than we consume.

This past New Year's Eve I was hoping to at least go through a bottle of champagne that's been sitting downstairs for about three years, but then we had to back out of plans with my sister. I'd have talked Debbie into plunging into a bottle ourselves, but she doesn't like champagne. So the bottle sits downstairs for another year, next to the other bottle of champagne we got two years ago. Maybe I'll get lucky and there'll be something to celebrate that'll require me to open a bottle or...zounds...perhaps both! But, in reality, they'll both be there on 12/31/2006. And then plans will fall through again and they'll continue sitting there, with the Don Ho bubbles slowly losing their will to escape, until one day I'll realize the champagne is too old and I'll have to throw it away...which will probably be in 2012 when everybody will be over and then I go to open my six bottles of champagne (trust me, I'll receive more by then) only to find all of them flat.

But the champagne is the least of my problems. I'm up to about a dozen bottles of wine. And the worst part about wine is that you can't just easily open one up, have a glass here and there, and let it sit in fridge for a few months. You have to drink it all relatively close to the time you open it. And I'm an impulsive guy. Knowing all this, if I see an open bottle of wine in the fridge, I'll start thinking "Boy, I really should drink that before I have to throw it out". And the next thing you know, I'll be sitting around the house drunk in my underwear and a wife-beater T-shirt while my lawn grows out of control. Wait. I do that already...just with a Winnipeg Jets T-shirt and a coffee buzz.

So I don't know what to do. I'm not even enough of a wine connoisseur to be able to tell if that 1998 White Zinfandel is good enough to drink, or if it's become vinegar. If I knew that, I might at least be able to ditch a good portion of my stock now...maybe even regift the rest while pushing the values of a 1999 Corbett Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon ("I'm telling you Dave, you just can't find those around anymore!").

I might even just have an impromptu party where the theme is "Drink all my wine, goddamn it!"

And the first one who brings another bottle of wine as a present will discover why it's called Dubé Bidet Vineyards.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Oil Change Blues

Being about 900 miles past the due date for my next oil change, I call Toyota's service department on Friday to see if they happened to be opened today (1/2), which is usually the celebrated holiday when the actual one falls on a Sunday. They say, sure, they're open from 7-7.

So I get up early this morning and head on over since previous experience has proven that it's best to get there as soon as possible. I show up at 7:10 and a Toyota guy in the parking lot tells me the service department doesn't open until 7:30. I went to the door and confirmed the 7:30 opening time. Not that big of a deal...I'll just go to McDonalds or something and get me some breakfast.

So I come back at 7:30 as the doors are opening and check in the car. The guy at the counter then proceeds to tell me that no technicians come in until 8.

What the fuck? I guess I can see opening at 7:30 so that people can drop off their car before they head in to work, but since people frequently get their oil changed at the dealer you think you'd make the 8 AM time abundantly clear to people who are planning to wait for their car to be serviced.

Well, neither I nor Debbie are working today, so fortunately there's no real harm done. But, man, I could have slept later.

At least they have free coffee and wi-fi!

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