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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Brother, can you spare a PS2?

As if my vacation couldn't get any worse, my Playstation2 also broke while up in NH and can't read the two games I actually play (but I found out it will read older games and DVDs). Since I only play two games (one religiously), I can't justify buying an Xbox 360 and then having to go out and buy those games again on a new platform, nor do I feel like waiting and buying a PS3. Frankly, I don't feel like spending $400+ on either one, either. And since I ALSO don't want to spend $130 on a new, soon-to-be-obsolete PS2, I think my only option is to find someone who has a PS2 they no longer use, probably because they bought an Xbox.

Anyone? Anyone?

Friday, October 27, 2006

We went to New Hampshire but it was closed

I don't usually channel W.C. Fields, but it doesn't get more appropriate than this.

We did our annual fall foliage trip this year, but we wanted to try out New Hampshire instead. By the time we booked it, the best we could do was the third week in October. A little late by New England standards, but hey, we weren't in it solely for the leaves, we do it to chill out and take little day trips to tourist traps in the area. Besides, it was a nice roomy place at an off-season ski lodge...our favorite situation.

Well, apparently, as soon as the leaves hit the ground, the local businesses shack up for the winter. I should have warned of the bad path this trip was going to take by the foreboding signs we received on day one. After we arrived it started pouring. When we woke up, it stopped pouring. When I noticed the odd silence, I looked out the window to find out that the rain was now snow. Big flakes coming down hard. We were probably the only people to ever stay at a ski lodge to complain about snow. We checked the weather report for Lincoln, NH...more rain today, snow and rain Tuesday, more of the same on Wednesday, mostly cloudy on Thursday, then more precipitation on Friday and Saturday. Greeeeaaaaat.

But we soldiered on. Hey, I wasn't going to sit around and mope all day. Besides, have you ever tried to contain a 2-year old inside who's been deprived of 15/16th of his toys for a whole week? On with the heavy coats and off we went. But then we started to find that almost everything that was on that local cartoony-style map that shows all the tourist attractions was closed for the season. Clark's Trading Post with a railroad and trained bears? Closed. The Flume Gorge? Closed. Not only that, the Old Man of the Mountain crumbled three years ago, so we couldn't even see that. Christ, even the towns themselves seemed devoid of people like a bad horror movie.

Our only possible redemption was a moose sighting, so we asked the person working at the front desk who gave us a good spot which supposedly had a 90% success rate if we went at dusk or dawn. Well, despite following all the direction and using our unique moose calls (Heeeeeeere moosey moosey moosey!), we fell into the tenth percentile who came up empty on moose sightings. Maybe the moose left for the season too.

Since our next planned destination was Kittery, Maine, instead of going 2.5 hours south only to have to retrace our steps north before eventually doing it all again on the way home, we decided to cut bait on New Hampshire. We found a hotel outside of Salem, Massachusetts (45 minutes away from Kittery) and decided to stay there for the night, hitting Salem the next day (during Halloween season!) before heading home. It turns out Kittery and Salem were the best parts of the trip.

So in summation, New Hampshire sucks. It may be a nice place to stay in the summer, but don't bother going there after September. If you want to do the leaf thing in the fall, go to the Berkshires area instead (including southern Vermont) where everything is still open.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A hearty welcome back to everyone's favorite celebrity nut job

She's at it again.

There was Streisand, enduring a smattering of very loud jeers as she and "George Bush" -- a celebrity impersonator -- muddled through a skit that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot.

Though most of the crowd offered polite applause during the slightly humorous routine, it got a bit too long, especially for a few in the audience who just wanted to hear Streisand sing like she had been doing for the past hour.

"Come on, be polite!" the well-known liberal implored during the sketch as she and "Bush" exchanged zingers. But one heckler wouldn't let up. And finally, Streisand let him have it.

"Shut the (expletive) up!" Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause. "Shut up if you can't take a joke!"

Here's a clue for Streisand and all other angry left entertainers. First of all, people don't want to hear your political views on stage. They want to hear you sing. Every now and then people tolerate your opinions because they're usually brief and only a minor distraction. But when you go out and hire a Bush impersonator to be part of your act...which, by the way, doesn't involve comedy...then you should prepare to be criticized.

Second of all, outbursts like this only go to prove that many Democrats...supposedly the more tolerant of the two parties...are usually only tolerant of people with similar views and extremely intolerant of those who oppose them (for additional proof read the "Hitler", "sexless" and "I hope Ann Coulter dies" comments in those fields below). Sure, she was being heckled at her own concert, but her response seems to be a good indicator of her personality.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Can someone come to an agreement on how to make a pot of coffee?

One thing I've found is that you can never please anyone while making coffee. You like yours at a certain strength, while others like theirs weaker or stronger. Finding a common ground (no pun intended) is almost impossible.

For four cups of coffee (that would be as in "fill water reservoir to the '4' line on my auto drip coffee maker"), I usually put in about 1 and 3/4 scoops of coffee. The scoop is technically one tablespoon and I stopped using tablespoons because of how arbitrary the mound of coffee was while using it. But of course, that's always too strong for other people. One family member uses 1 and 1/2 scoops for every 4 cups. Another, 1 and 1/4.

So I go to the internet for assistance and their recommendations are even worse. recommended a "heaping tablespoon" for every cup. What the hell is "heaping"? That ambiguity is why I stopped using tablespoons to begin with. So I figure I'd lean on Starbucks' advice from the back of one of their bags o' coffee. They recommend a ridiculous TWO scoops of coffee per cup. Going by their advice, I'd have an unbelievable eight scoops for every four cups of water. If my family complained about my coffee being strong with 1 and 3/4 scoops, I can only imagine what they'd do with eight scoops.

At least that would explain why I can't drink Starbucks without some sort of flavor concoction in it.

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