Category Archives: Random

sandbucket

Happy Fourth of July Y’all!

Hard to believe it’s been 237 years since John, Ben, Thom, George, James and all the rest started their little experiment in constitutional democracy. Not that long in the grand scheme of things, but in the wake of recent global turmoil, can’t help but be glad it’s lasted as long as it has. So, all due thanks to you gents (and probably your wives and moms, too). Now let’s go to the beach and burn some burgers!

My hotel rating system

We all know about the Michelin guide and the AAA guide, with their four stars and their five diamonds. But I have decided to rate hotels based on the quality of their hangers. That’s right, hangers. The hangers in the closet. The durability, count, and mobility of the hangers is a sure-fire indication of the quality of the hotel. To wit, my hotel rating system:

Zero hangers
Literally, no hangers at this establishment. If you are the kind of person who has clothes that need to be hung up, you probably shouldn’t be staying here. While there may be a  closet, or a metal rod of some kind, in the room, it is unclear for what purpose the device was intended.

One hanger



In this lodging you will find one or two wire hangers — dry cleaner style. Most likely left behind by previous occupants. But at least the housekeeping staff had the common courtesy to leave them in the room.

Two hangers



Here we have the case of the decapitated hanger. An unremoveable “O” ring is fixed to the closet hanging rod, into which the detachable hanger body is inserted with a small “t” bar. The hanger itself is decent, usually substantial and made of wood, but its overall construction betrays the hotel’s lack of faith in its customers. They are quite sure their customers’ main purpose in life is to steal hangers, and are saying to them, “Good luck using this one back home.” Apart from the unpleasant whiff of suspicion associated with this type of hanger, there is also the immovability factor. You can’t even use this hanger anywhere else in your hotel room. Want to steam out wrinkles in the shower? Not with this little stumpy-necked bastard. Want to leave tomorrow’s outfit over the back of a chair in the sitting area? Sorry, suckers! Better get back in the closet.

Three hangers



Ok, now we’re starting to get somewhere. Here we have a fully functioning wooden hanger, maybe with a double bar for slacks or clips for a skirt. And being a one-piece hanger, it can be taken out of the closet and hung somewhere else. But wait! What have we here? The hook of this hanger only fits over the miniature-diameter rod in the hotel closet. Its tiny hook size will clearly render it useless once you have stolen it and tried to use it in your home closet with its now seemingly gigantic hanging rods. Fail! Mistrust fail! However, mitigating factor if the tiny hook also fits on the hotel’s bathroom shower curtain rod for aforementioned de-wrinkling procedure.

Four hangers



Normal-size wooden hangers, with normal-size hooks, that can be removed and hung about the hotel room at your pleasure. Quantity above eight, especially in hotels that cater to couples and families who tend to stay for more than two nights.

Five hangers



Aaahhh, hanger nirvana. About a dozen standard-size, removable hangers. Now here is what separates the men from the boys, the “just fines” from the “outstandings”: there should be a variety of hangers — some with skirt clips, some with slacks hangers, some just for suit jackets, and some with padding for blouses and ‘delicates’. These five hanger establishments have decided that, given what you are paying for the room, you are aware that — should you ‘accidentally’ walk away with a hanger, or a delightful terrycloth bathrobe — you will be charged for it, and you will not raise a fuss.

It’s the unspoken pact of so-called civilized society.

Sorry, Charlie Sheen

Many years ago I was seeing a fellow from Los Angeles. Let’s call him Don Draper. Apart from his being a decent guy, one thing I still remember about Don was that he said he had been to a few parties that Charlie Sheen also attended. Which is different from partying with Charlie Sheen, it must be noted. Not that I would judge if Don had partied with Charlie Sheen, something to tell the grandkids about, after all. And Don, who was in all respects a clear-eyed assessor of situations, reported that “Charlie Sheen was the drunkest conscious person I have ever seen in my life.” He said it was sad. And that people were laughing/aghast at the the spectacle. Now if D., who was not in the entertainment business, had seen this, then hundreds if not thousands of others must also have seen it. And this was way before Denise Richards and the third wife with the knife and the adorable little kids. (But apparently not before the porn stars … ahem.)

Now if Charlie Sheen were a struggling, say, bicycle messenger or assistant librarian or homeless guy, his story would be tragic. Pure and simple. In fact, if Charlie Sheen were someone I actually knew, his story would be tragic. But given the safe remove of celebrity and the fact that Sheen has millions of dollars and every resource imaginable, there is something awfully, terribly, ironically comical about his situation — and let’s not deny it schadenfreude-able.

Maybe it’s better to just think of Sheen as someone for whom money has distanced “the bottom” that everyone else hits so much sooner. Sorry, Charlie. Really.

It rained but there was surfing anyway

stokedIt didn’t rain all day, but it looked like it was going to … so this was a big day for On Demand movies. First, I watched a Sundance-y movie called “Easy.” Pretty good, except I kept wondering what the characters actually did for a living that enabled them to live in adorable houses but never have to commute to anything.  Then I watched a documentary about 15 year-old boys who were training to be pro surfers. They were so cute, plus they got “stoked” an awful lot. My favorites were the soul surfers. They didn’t really care about the competitions. They just wanted to be good at what they did and free surf and meet cute aussie girls. Not to mention the movie was narrated by Gary Busey.  Bonus.

Chocolate Beer Cake

chocolate beer cakeI was really hoping this cake, made with a generous helping of stout, would taste a little like beer. Hey, I’m a grownup. I can handle it. (Maybe just a tinge of hoppy, bitter, acidity …) Sadly, this cake doesn’t deliver any of that. But it’s still a delicious, moist chocolate cake, and I love the concept of the cream cheese frosting on only the top — just like top of a poured pint of you-know-what. Here’s a link to the recipe

A tribute to never giving up

whatI just want to take a moment to pay tribute to the two older gentlemen who sit outside my Starbucks every morning, at the table right by the door, talking about their Mercedes’ or their boats or their investment strategy or whatever other imaginary stuff they’re involved with, while they watch everyone who comes in and out, and who, without fail, fall utterly silent every time a female enters or leaves the shop. Here’s to you, Statler and Waldorf! I salute you.