Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cheap booze reviews? Seriously? Seriously!


For some reason, I’ve run across a couple of sites lately that do nothing but review the cheapest, nastiest wine and malt liquor on the planet.

While other “booze review” sites tend to portray a sophisticated image, and go in the opposite direction. Those sites, of course, stick with the nastiest hooch they can find and gleefully review it.

Let’s take a look first a BumWine. If you haven’t hit the link to head over there yet, you really should – the banner alone is worth the price of admission. Rarely has a take-off on the illustration representing the evolution of man been such a hoot.

The entire site is knee-slapping funny, in fact, as the folks at BumWine review some of the worst wines imaginable. Yes, Night Train, Cisco, Thunderbird, MD “Mad Dog” 2020 and Thunderbird are all given the “this stuff is cheap and nasty, but we love it” treatment and the reviews and features will provide a heck of a lot of entertainment.

I’ve got a great Night Train story, by the way. When I was in college, I drove to the liquor store with a couple of friends of mine. One of them bought two huge bottle of Night Train and he chugged one in the back seat of my Subaru before we got back to campus.

“Hey, shut the hell up!” I demanded.

“Take it easy on him, man,” my sober friend in the front seat said. “This is his first train ride.”40oz

The other site – – sticks with reviewing cheap  wine’s raunchy sibling. The reviews over there are a heck of a lot of fun, too, and I particularly appreciate the occasional videos in which one of the site owners knocks back a bottle of malt liquor and describes the experience in great detail.

Again, I’ve got another great story about malt liquor from my college days. See, we adored Olde English 800 (and cheap wine, for that matter) as we did like to drink a little bit. Back then, you could get a 40-ounce bottle of 8-ball for around $1.25. If you drank one of those, you were feeling OK. If you drank two, you forgot where you were, who you were and how to walk. That’s a lot of damage done for $2.50.

I’m mentioning all of this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I just think those two sites are a hoot. Second, they do remind me of my drinking days back in college.

When I think back to those, I recall the time I went with some friends to an off-campus party. One of those fellows decided he was going to keep up with how much he drank, so he brought along a pen and decided to make a mark on his arm for every beer he drank.

At the first of the evening, the lines were neat and vertical. As the night wore on, those lines got larger, more horizontal and downright impossible to count.

I am certain that we couldn’t abuse ourselves to that extent and get away with it these days – we’re just too damned old. Still, nostalgia is a good thing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tell Me Thursday – Michael’s broken arm

Michael and arm

Welcome to the “The Hawg is a moron” edition of Tell Me Thursday!

Why is The Hawg so dumb? Because I lost track of the days somehow and put up my Wordless Wednesday post on Thursday and am now writing my Tell Me Thursday post on a Friday.

Works been, well, slightly hellish as of late and I lost track of the days somewhere in all of that. Perhaps just a nice, relaxing weekend will help set things right. I’m also using my fall-back excuse – I turned 40-years-old this year and I’m inclined to forget things as a result (that’s the only thing I like about turning 40 – I can whip out the “old, tired man” thing from time to time).

At any rate, the lad in the picture I posted above (and in my Wordless Wednesday post) is my 12-year-old son, Michael. The poor fellow broke his arm at school while (apparently) goofing off. He’ll have to stay in that cast until sometime in October and the thing itches like crazy every now and again. I feel bad for the boy.

Still, he has learned some valuable lessons from all of this. For example, casts are really hard and can do some damage when you hit people with them. Also, just because you’re sporting a cast does not necessarily mean you’ve gotten out of mowing the lawn (hey, I’m not going to do it – that’s one of the things I love about having a son who can mow it for me).

Michael’s been a trooper throughout his broken arm ordeal and will, hopefully, heal up just fine so he can get rid of that cast next month.

As for me, something I learned years ago has been reinforced – when it comes to kids, you just never know what those little rascals are going to do.

This post is part of the famed Tell Me Thursday event. If you participate in Wordless Wednesday, then you should certainly consider taking part in Tell Me Thursday so you can tell the story behind that Wednesday post. Head on over to the Tell Me Thursday site for more details.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – poor Michael!

Michael and arm

This entry is part of the famed Wordless Wednesday event. Click here to see the other entries or (better yet) submit something of your own.

The sewer rat!

sewer rat

As I’ve probably mentioned on here before, my dad was a middle school assistant principal for years.

He’s retired now so that whole experience seems – to him – to be a lot funnier than it was when he was grinding through it. Dad has a lot of stories to tell – everything from almost being hit in the head with a pickle when walking out of his office one day to a troublemaking kid saying his biggest ambition in life was to go on welfare and have folks like my father pay for it all. Education be damned, right? What a little punk.

At any rate, one of my dad’s favorite stories involves a kid who ran off from school one day. I’ll call the kid Jerry because I can’t recall the boy’s real name. Besides, he died doing something stupid years ago (apparently) so I don’t see that it matters all that much.

Young Jerry, see, decided to wander around town instead of going to school on this particular day. While he was at it, the kid broke into a house that was near the school, stole a dog and took to the sewers.

Dad became aware of all this when the cops showed up investigating the break-in. For whatever reason, young Jerry was running through the sewers near the school and was quickly discovered by the cops due to the barking, stolen dog that was with him.

None of the adults could get down in the sewer, seemingly, without calling in someone from the city to pull a manhole cover off somewhere – I rather doubt anyone regarded that move as anything but a last resort. You can see their point, right? Who wants to run around through a sewer after a troubled kid and a stolen dog?So the police decided to track Jerry’s progress and yell at him when they could.

Dad said he managed to strike up a conversation with Jerry as the kid and the dog were running through the sewers.

“Jerry, get out of there!” dad demanded.

“Oh, no,” the kid replied (I imagine that dog was barking, too). “I’m never coming out.”

Jerry did eventually surface, the dog was returned to its owner and the police likely filed something somewhere with the juvenile court in an attempt to convince Jerry to see the error of his ways. Everything was fine, right?

No. No. Of course not.

A few days after Jerry was running through the sewers, his mother showed up in my dad’s office and was outraged.

“The kids keep calling Jerry ‘The Sewer Rat’,” she fumed. “You’ve got to do something about it!”

“Ma’am, I hate to tell you this, but your son is probably stuck with that name through high school,” dad replied.

Great stuff. Sewer rat. Heh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy ‘Anomaly’ day!

After a mere 20 years, Ace Frehley has finally released a new album.

That’s right – Anomaly is now in the stores. Actually, it’s a pretty good album – my expectations were too high after so long a wait, but that little album I initially viewed as fair-to-middling has turned out to be pretty good. It seems that the former lead guitarist for KISS still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

To find out more information about the new disc, watch the “electronic press kit” above or head on over to Ace’s site –

By the way, I’ve had the urge to pick up a guitar with humbucking pickups in it since I started fooling around with recording tracks on AceFrehleyLesPaul my computer. I love my Fender Deluxe Stratocaster, but those single coils just can’t crank out the “chunka, chunka, chunka” distortion I’d like to get from time to time.

Like any red-blooded American boy who was raised on the likes of KISS, I’ve always wanted a Gibson Les Paul.Sadly, those are quite expensive and I can’t see running out and buying one until I can at least learn how to play worth a damn. Furthermore, I’ve always loved the Ace Frehley signature series Les Pauls, but those are even more expensive than the typical ones (I believe one of those went for $3,500 the last time I checked).

I ran across a Chinese company, however, called Zxcmusic that makes an Ace Frehley model Les Paul that looks pretty darn great. You can find out the details about that particular guitar by clicking here.

The thing costs a mere $219 plus $100 for shipping. That’s one of those “too good to be true” prices and I suspect that’s exactly the case. Still, I’ve read a couple of good things on the Internet about that company.

If anyone has had any experience with the stuff Zxcmusic produces, I’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, rush out and buy that new Ace Frehley album. Any old time KISS fan will love it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Monday – 'Clint Eastwood' by the Gorillaz!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apparently, people are still willing to buy compact discs


Since the days when Napster and those “music-stealers” that used it were in the news, we’ve heard about the forthcoming demise of compact discs.

Compact discs appear to have some life left in them yet. Just last week, all of the Beatles studio recordings were released in both mono and stereo formats and the things have sold like crazy.

That’s really no surprise. The Beatles are – after all – the greatest rock band of all time (in my opinion, at least, and I’m not alone) and the band’s catalogue was completely remastered. People have demanded such a remastering job for years and they’ve finally gotten it – it’s no shock these two boxed sets have sold so well.

Ah, but there’s something about these collections that also points out why so many people love stealing music through torrents or anywhere else they can find it. Here’s the deal – the stereo box set costs $260 and the mono boxed set costs $299. Wow.

Hey, the remasters sound great and you do get a lot of albums in those sets (the original British studio albums plus volumes 1 and 2 of the Past Masters series in the stereo set, a little bit less in the mono edition) and the remasters do sound great. But the price seems a bit steep.

That’s particularly true for those of us who bought all the CD remasters that came out in 1987, and more expensive still to those of us who bought albums and tapes before the catalogue was put on CD. Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black referenced “having to buy the White Album – again” and I know exactly how he felt.

I’ll probably wind up buying the stereo remasters, but one has to wonder – how many times do we have to pay for the same songs over and over again? Those music pirates may have a point.