Archive for the ‘Weekend Nonsense’ Category

Senior Citizen models

The expanding image of the typical American has broadened as a trending topic on a large scale.


Yeah, I get it. We have gotten fat.


As we travel the world, our image—as our bellies—have grown yet another trait that identifies us in a not very complimentary manner.


Speaking of our manners, that is exactly what birthed the concept of the Ugly American. Going back to the 50’s, many a foreign resident viewed us as being,

“…loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless, ignorant, and ethnocentric…”


Thanks to fast foods, high fructose corn syrup, and 24/7 digital distractions, we have added our girth (literally) to that litany of negative credentials.


I feel it every time I get stuck in the middle seat on a nine-hour transatlantic flight, with some overweight guy bulging well into my personal airspace.


Of all the thoughts that go through my mind in those instances, that this guy is really the new image of a sexy body is not one of the top ten that I think about. Not even on the top one hundred.


Of course, truth be told, I need only look in a mirror to see that guy might be me, especially if the wife-person keeps baking plates of incredible sweet treats, like the amazing dark chocolate dipped, marzipan-tasting, almond cookies I found on a plate on the kitchen counter.

(Which, I later found out were for her club meeting the next day…oops.)


The result of all my high calorie grazing is, now that I have topped 60, my weight keeps inching up, along with my belt size.


I have been thinking about doing something about this, which is not to be confused with actually doing something about this.


Now it comes out that I don’t have to do anything about this; I could have gorged myself on the entire plate of treats.

(Hey, I was already in deep doo-doo.)


What momentous, life-altering event changed the world view of my physical condition?


Thanks to Breaking News from Jon Stewart, I learned that it was no longer necessary to suck in my ample gut whenever I was in sight of the fairer sex.


If this story was legitimate,  I could breathe out knowing that my ample belly was now considered not only desirable, but even—gasp—sexy. The news goes that I am packing what is a highly desirable manly bulge above my beltline.


According to a recent story in the New York Daily News,

Women are lusting after dudes with “dad bods” — a little extra gut around the middle.”


Even Hollywood heartthrob megastars have been seen sporting the look.



           dicaprio on boat dad bod



Kristen Schaal, on the Daily Show segment said,

“You don’t have to be a dad to have a Dad Bod, you just have to be really lazy.”


Schaal even claimed that,

…women are lining up at the Dad Bod buffet.” 


Well, I’m here to tell you that either the story is bogus, or I have been lining up at the wrong buffets.


I have tried three Old Country Buffets and two Sizzlers and I keep getting the same looks of disdain from all the women I parade by. This was especially unexpected, since I was sporting my outfit of yoga pants and a lycra top.


In the meantime, the wife-person has started to get suspicious why I want to go eat at yet another buffet, and more worrisome, why I keep strutting up and down the buffet line over and over.


I was starting to get skeptical, but even Jimmy Fallon acknowledged the Dad Bod phenomenon in his Pros & Cons segment. Here are a couple of them:

PRO: No longer worrying about what you see on the scale.

CON: Because your gut is blocking the view.

PRO: Being comfortable of having a soft, flabby body with zero muscle tone..

CON: Realizing you still need to lose 75 pounds to attain that [Dad Bod] physique. 


Well, since this news is on the internet, it must be true. So, maybe I will go try a big slice from that berry pie I saw in the refrigerator.


I’m sure she made it for me.

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trailside flower

“It’s only a little bit further to the falls,” we were told.


“You’re almost there,” the next hiker promised.


It is amazing how your perspective for distance traveled and difficulty of passage improves when you are headed down the trail, with the key word being “down,” as in downhill.


We, on the other hand, were headed up.


I was up in Reno this past weekend to retrieve the family pooch after the wife-person and my two-week road tour of Ireland. Number 2 Daughter was kind enough to house our canine kid, to be kept company by hers.


The wife-person opted to remain home to nurse a bad cold that is often a de rigueur result of multiple days of bus travel, followed by a long airline flight across the pond from Europe. (I see sick people.)


Off-topic for a moment: given the crammed seating on our United Airlines flight, I have decided that the much maligned torture technique of waterboarding is a walk in the park compared to being stuck in the middle seat on a plane loaded with the current crop of full-figured Americans.


Holy shit, where did all these fat people come from?!?  We’re talking about hipponormous being the norm nowadays.


I’m not talking about simply overweight. Hell, I am overweight as indicated by a closet of pants that no longer fit well, and by fit well, I mean I can only get them closed if I lay flat on the ground while sucking out every iota of air in my body.

No, we’re talking about 250-pound plus blobs wearing stretch pants and Velcro-closing leisure shoes.


Back to my Reno rendezvous with the dog. 

 trail dogs

After a fortnight of gluttony, I figured a short hike in the hills might begin to put a dent into the “few” extra inches of waistline I brought back with me.


For our intended short hike with the mutts, Number 2 Daughter and I drove up to the Washoe County, Michael D. Thompson Trailhead for the Hunter Creek Trail in the Mount Rose Wilderness in the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest.


Yes, all these exact names are actually posted on the signs for this hiking path. No wonder the government has trouble doing things the easy way. Hell, a few more names and the description would be longer than the trail.


Speaking of the length of our walk, we started out with very little water, no food, no map, no idea of an intended destination, and, oh, did I mention, very little water? Once we got going we learned about this supposed spectacular waterfall, “just up the trail,” with “just” meaning, just you wait how far and steep and rocky and dry it is to get there.


I did mention our general lack of drinking water, didn’t I?


We eventually found out that the hike was about six miles. Given that I just returned from a trip to Ireland, I was still thinking in metric, so I figured it was about 10 kilometers. Wishing to convert it back to miles, I simply used the conversion of 1.6 dollars to Euros, which I think meant we went 16 miles.



    trailside tree


Add to that, was the fact that this trail started in the mountains above Reno, which is already a high-desert locale, and it went up and up from there. I knew this was a significant gain from what I was used to being at sea level in Ireland, although I am not really sure of the elevation of sea level over there, since they drive on the wrong side of the road.


If I knew how far six miles is when measured on the slope, I probably would have forgone this four-hour march. But given male ego and trying to prove what my running friends used to say about me (“What he lacks in brains, he makes up in stamina.”), I forged on.


Besides, I could not show weakness around Number 2 Daughter, even though she is at a level of superb athletic conditioning, and half my age.


I don’t know if it was just that Christmas and her birthday are coming up, but I heard her say more than once to folks we encountered along the trail,

“My 61-year old dad is kicking my ass.”


How could I not continue on with encouragement like that? So we did and, thankfully, it was worth it.



     Hunter Creek Falls


     Hunter Creek Falls pool



The waterfall is, indeed, magnificent, but the problem is once you cool off in the refreshing pool, you have to hike all the way back to the pickup truck, over miles of a dry, rocky trail, which is exposed to the full sun.



      The long, hard road to Reno



And, I should mention…we really did not have enough drinking water.


I am told this sometimes causes one to repeat themselves.



             Can we go home now?

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I can only take so many hours behind the wheel on those monotonous miles of interminable highway, even with all the texting, tweeting, and Facebook postings.


(Don’t worry, fellow road warriors…I have the car safely set on cruise control, with BOTH knees on the steering wheel.)


We were returning from a wedding worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, and while the wife-person was semi-dozing over in the passenger seat, I had just finished a small snack-sized box of raisins, as much for a hoped sugar rush to alleviate road lethargy as to ameliorate hunger.

 raisin box kazoo

As I drove down the highway fidgeting with the empty box, from somewhere deep in the recesses of my primordial male mind, I recalled how I used to be able to coax a cacophony of interesting sounds by simply blowing into one end of the open, empty raisin box, while gently squeezing the other end.        


As I reacquainted myself with the narrow range of random, somewhat screeching sounds possible by blowing into an empty snack box, the wife-person shot me an extremely annoyed glance while claiming,

“That must be a guy thing.”


It got me to wondering, was this a lost art from my youth, back in the days when radios had tubes and the telephones were wired to the wall?


And was it only something that a mindless male can muster?


Au contraire, mon amie!

With only a quick Google gander, I found a plethora of links to raisin box kazoos, including the YouTube clip below, of someone neither male, nor ancient, and who is clearly pleased with herself in the squeaks and sounds she is able to produce.



I will admit, whether anyone might construe those sounds as musical is somewhat subjective. But, I suggest there are more of you who—at least if under oath—would admit using a tiny trash-bound cardboard box as a kazoo.


Whether you would do it where it might be at least a little annoying to those within earshot, well that might, in fact, be a “guy thing.”

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While I’m still surfing the wave of memories of all my Fiji fun, there are just too many tales to tell today.


   Must be time to go home.


I don’t want to wear you out before your weekend, what, with all of your Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo plans.


Do they even make a tequila-based mint julep?


So, in the meantime, here is me modeling the latest (and probably the oldest) of Fijian headwear. But, for some reason, none of our wonderful Fijian hosts seem to be wearing one of these. As a matter of fact, no one else is wearing one of these.


    Coconut nut inside? SPF 100?


Maybe it has something to do with all the liquid that used to reside in that bottle in the picture above.


And, after your wild weekend of revelry, should you awake with a super-sized headache, you can always blame it on the additional 14% of gravitational pull on your gray matter as a result of this Saturday night’s Super Moon.


Let the merrymaking commence.

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Phobos Grunt debris


It appears that the reported upcoming end of the world is getting a head start, at least if the weather is any indication.


While the ski resorts of the western United States are more brown and dry than white and fluffy, small towns in Alaska are sagging under the weight of mega storms that have left towering snow dumps 50 feet in height.


Cordova snow


I’m packing for a trip from sunny California to the Wasatch mountains of Utah, which typically have some of the best skiing on the planet this time of the year.


Instead of ski boots and a parka, I’m packing sandals and sunblock.


It’s not that I haven’t been doing my part to prompt the snow gods to open the skies and coat the ski slopes with something other than dust. I’ve been looking skyward, just hoping for a hint of winter to finally fall.


Phobos Grunt

And then I heard from the highest authority that basic cable has to offer that something called a phobos grunt is supposed to be falling to earth today.


Something about a fourteen-ton Russian spacecraft with 11 tons of toxic rocket fuel on board.

And to make things really interesting,

“Experts admit they have no idea when and where it will hit.”


What the hell?!? Is this what the beginning of the end looks like?


Well, at least that is what Stephen Colbert is telling us


End of the world as we know it?


Maybe we should all just stay inside and catch the football playoff games du jour.


Or, at least, don’t look up.

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  A few years back we went to Gothenburg, Sweden to pick up our Volvo wagon.


No, we did not drive it back to California. This was part of their overseas delivery program, where they discount the new car and give you a free trip to the factory, then the car gets shipped back home to your nearest dealer.


It was March and there was still snow on the ground and ice in the river.


That may explain why we never saw any drunk animals stuck in the trees.


drunk moose

Apparently, this is a problem there.

“A seemingly intoxicated moose has been discovered entangled in an apple tree by a stunned Swede.”

“The animal was likely drunk from eating fermented apples.”

“…neighbors…had seen the animal sneaking around the area for days.”

“Johansson said the moose appeared to be sick, drunk or half-stupid."


“Half-stupid?” Hell, I’d say all-smart.


The animal snuck around, found a place to get drunk, and ultimately hid out in a tree to sleep it off.


Who among us guys can say that has never happened to us?


   tree dog

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Get your own damn cash.

The wife-person left me with three dogs over the weekend to fend for ourselves while she and daughter #1 went brewpub hopping up in Portland, Oregon. They claim they were doing a meet-up with daughter #2 to attend a wedding, but every phone call I got from them was from one brewery, or another.


So for me, staying home alone watching hours of a bunch of guys wearing skintight spandex bike shorts pedaling all around France was not an option. If I spent that much time touring the French countryside it would be in an attempt to visit as many world-class wineries as humanly possible.


As the skilled world traveler that you know me to be, I was able to squeeze in a taste of Ireland, a bit of Belgium, and even pay a visit to a pyramid, all in just over 24 hours.


While I won’t admit as to how many beers it took to get me through that much traveling, I would have to say that my pub stops may have involved more crawling than hopping.


And I was able to accomplish this without suffering any jetlag, whatsoever, so I am pretty sure this Monday morning headache might have an altogether different causation. 


Since, unfortunately, I do not personally own a Gulfstream G150, I was forced to do my internationally inspired tankard traipsing closer to home.

 Drinking in the good ol' days.

My first stop was at the paddle-wheel riverboat Delta King bar and grill, which is permanently moored at Old Sacramento, where they host my new favorite Irish drinking band, Stout Rebellion.

The video I posted below does not do justice to this high-energy, crowd-engaging group of entertaining performers.


The next evening found me just down the street at the Sacramento locale of the Pyramid Alehouse for the release party of their tasty Juggernaut Red Ale.


While the excellent brew was worth the visit, the depressing unemployed, divorced guy to my left, and the—giving her the benefit of the doubt— middle-aged woman to my right, who definitely seemed overly intent on striking up a friendly conversation, was enough to get me back on the road to my next stop on my global beer tasting adventure: Belgium.


It was off to Davis for the second annual Clips of Faith outdoor film festival inspired by…well, I’m not sure.


Bicycles seemed to be a common theme, but given that the event was sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, who makes Fat Tire Ale, which is a beer that references a bike, and the local gathering was hosted by the BikeDavis advocacy group, who undoubtedly were there to sample some of the 18, or so, beers being offered by the brewing company, whose logo is a bicycle…well, now you know my confusion.


My uncertainty grew when I happened to see a travel article about the Fat Tire bike tours of Paris, which apparently does not have anything to do with New Belgium brewing; has more to do with wine than beer; and is not even necessarily held in Paris.


In any regard, you still have a number of opportunities to figure all this out for yourself, as the Clips of Faith travels to many more cities across the country.

Why yes it does.


But today, it’s time to getting the house back in shape for the return of the wife-person


I suppose I should at least load the dishwasher and make the bed, not to mention spend a couple of hours picking up all those squishy tootsie roll-looking objects the dogs have been leaving on the lawn for the last few days.


That is, if I don’t want to find myself spending my upcoming days…and nights…out in the yard with those dogs.




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I don’t spend a lot of time in bars. No, really.


I understand that if you read what I write, I might imply that I have a real taste for the drink, but, like Newt Gingrich, don’t believe anything that I represent as fact, to actually be fact.

“Anybody who quotes what I said…is a falsehood and because I have said publicly, those words were inaccurate.”


(And, like Newt, the quote above is almost accurate.)


But, on the rare occasion—and by rare, I mean not quite on a daily basis—I do consume a pint or two in excess, I may sometimes see things that I am not entirely certain are really there.


Take, for instance, a horse walks into a bar…

        But is he over 21?


Yes, that is the opening of an ancient bar joke, but it actually happened just the other day in Wales, Great Britain, and since I will be visiting there in a few months, I thought it important to learn the local customs, such as,


Is it appropriate if I ask the horse, “Why the long face?” or would that just saddle him with more problems?


Cue drum rimshot, “Baduboom!”


What worries me is that this particular horse might have a serious drinking problem, as yet another report covering this story carried the quote,

“The animal was caught on CCTV waiting in line at the reception desk at Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s emergency department.”


Maybe it was the guy in tow with the animal that had the serious drinking problem requiring medical attention, which of course would be…wait for it…wait for it…“A horse of a different color.”


Cue audience moaning in unison.


(Admit it…you smiled at least a little bit.)

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Not Barbie, but quite possibly a good human representation.

And I was so looking forward to my date with that divine doll.


The story in the Washington Post broke the bad news:

“Mattel decided to shutter its massive, pink-themed Barbie flagship store on Shanghai’s fashionable Huaihai Road.”

“The three-story, 36,000-square-foot store was a veritable pink shrine to All Things Barbie, with 900 display cases, a cocktail bar, spa, a makeup studio and a runway where young girls could imagine themselves on the catwalk.”


You may question if Barbie is even old enough to allow a cocktail bar on the premises. I know she looks barely legal, but in reality, she is pushing 52 years of age. (Which is a resounding endorsement of the body work she must be getting at her spa and makeup studio.)


An architectural website described Barbie’s home in China:

“[It] holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Barbie dolls and licensed Barbie products, as well as a range of services and activities for Barbie fans and their families.


That website went on to describe the entrance where,

“Visitors are enveloped by curvaceous, pearlescent surfaces of the lobby, leading to a pink escalator tube that takes them from the bustle of the street, to the double-height main floor.”


     Whatever could they have been thinking about?



I found this somehow suggestive of something else…hmmm…


(No, I’m not touching that, no way, no how.)


Yes, I’m sorry Barbie couldn’t have waited for me, but, hell, if I’m going to fantasize, it probably won’t be about a woman who got her AARP membership card years ago.


Well, Angelia is only 39 and, currently, she’s not officially married. And, at least in certain movie roles, she sure seems quite Barbie-esque.

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In referring to the torrential deluge of rain we have witnessed as of the last few days in Northern California, my older daughter said it much better than I ever could have,

“Holy moly schmoly!”

The following picture is of the local creek that runs behind our place. The flow is actually more than we get most of the summer and fall, when it is typically 100% dry. That’s mostly sand and gravel, not water you are looking at.

           I only wish it flowed like this all summer.


As early as last summer, the weather guessers predicted La Niña weather conditions for the coming winter—as in the one we are just wrapping up—that would manifest itself in early heavy precipitation, possibly followed by an extended period of not much more rain for the remainder of the winter.


Oh boy, were they wrong.


Well, we did get a whole bunch early in the season, which thrilled us skiers and snowboarders, to no end.


And we did get a stretch of awful nice weather, in which the lack of fresh powder was pretty damn awful.


But this weekend?!?…Again, in the words of my daughter,

“This isn’t even rain. It is a lake falling from the sky.”

The next picture is of the same creek taken pretty much standing in the same spot.



        Cache Creek Huffs Corner high water



You’re damn right, “holy moly schmoly!”

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