wine by the color

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm always amazed at how many people do not have a mirror in their home. For instance, at the gym yesterday there was a woman wearing a catsuit. Which she had accessorized nicely with a beer belly. And no bra.

This nicely feeds into the few words I'll say about our trip to Disney World (I figured I should cover that before I leave for Ireland, which I do in about 12 hours) ... for many years, I have considered the New York City subway system to be the world's greatest people-watching venue. But Walt Disney World is a strong challenger for that honor.

The uncovered, unsightly body parts. The outfits. In particular, the matching outfits (seriously, if you're in Disney, do you need to wear matching Disney shirts? In fact, are matching outfits for adults EVER a good idea?). It was sensory overload. Even my niece, who is 14 months old, seemed captivated by the people watching.

Now, I understand not everyone possesses the same fortunate metabolism I do. But where is the common sense? Rest assured, if I ever completely let myself go and find myself in the neighborhood of 370 pounds, I will not be sporting a tube top. A TUBE TOP! There's nothing holding it up! It's just a flimsy sausage casing! It's dangerous! We had small children with us!

(Deep breath)

Poor fashion judgment by fellow vacationers aside, it was a great trip. The kids had a blast and it was fun to experience it through them. The crowds weren't too bad and the weather was perfect.

That Saturday, after a few hours at the Animal Kingdom, several members of our party returned to the hotel for afternoon naps. Crazy Nephew #1 had expressed an interest in visiting MGM Studios, which was odd because we had never mentioned MGM. But he and I snuck off to check it out.

MGM is great for hard-core movie fans but it doesn't have a ton of rides like the Magic Kingdom or interactive rides and exhibits like Epcot. So after a quick trip into a commercial for the new Naria movie, which they sneakily advertised as a ride, we walked around a bit, trying to find something interesting. It didn't take long for him to announce, "I'm bored." I didn't entirely blame him. So we meandered through the movie set streets, which led to the two highlights...

First, we came across a woman who I believe had fallen out of her wheelchair and landed on the street with great force. This led to a sizable pool of blood, and my nephew could not have been more interested. I believe the woman was part of the ridiculous crowds in the park for this, and I think she got knocked over while the throng was bum-rushing Michael E. Knight.

(Now, I could easily digress into a rant about thousands of grown women chasing after soap opera actors in a theme park. And I am not kidding when I say 'chasing.' But I was out late last night and have a ton of things to do today so I will save my energy. Just know that I did not approve and let's move on.)

So I dragged him away from that scene as he asked no less then 400 questions about the situation and what they were going to do about it. We turned the corner into a small, quiet courtyard area, where there were a few small crowds assembled. And lo and behold, there was Buzz Lightyear.

To give you an idea of his reaction to this encounter, imagine me turning a corner and seeing His Holiness. For the crazy nephews, Buzz Lightyear is their His Holiness.

We stood in the short line and waited for Buzz to sign his autograph book, and then he posed for a picture. You will simply not see a happier face on this child. Giddy smile, adoring gaze, almost unable to speak. A great moment (and one that made me almost not care that OSU was losing to Illinois at that very second).

I felt guilty that the other nephew missed this magical moment due to his nap, but the older one promised not to tell him. To my knowledge, he still has not mentioned it, which is incredible self-control for a seven year old.

Disney was also, as of Nov. 9, completely decorated for Christmas. As of Wednesday, so is Casa Magnolia. I wanted to get as much of the holiday tasks done as I could before I left the country, so the crazy nephews visited Wednesday and helped me decorate the tree. To thank them, I took them to the diner, which they referred to as a "fancy dinner place."

The older one, while at my house, was discussing my interest in a possible move (he came to an open house with me once and is fascinated by the fact I could switch houses). He expressed the wish that "maybe your next house could be closer to ours." I currently live 3.4 miles from them.

- - -

So sometime in August, my college roommate called and expressed her need to take a vacation. She asked if I would be interested in going to Dublin, which I considered for all of four seconds before saying, "Sure." So off we go. We haven't done a whole lot of planning except to research this and this. We're utilizing a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants approach for this one.

What we could not have imagined is that 24 hours prior to her stepping on a plane in Columbus, en route to meet me in Newark, she would be laid off from her job. A job she has done extremely well for 13 years, a job she has lost purely because her big-business company decided it needs to save money and thus eliminated her position. So that's gotten things off to an interesting start. As if we needed an excuse to drink more while in Dublin. I should probably add "Buy more Tums" to today's to-do list...

This has been a long-winded and rambling post. Enjoy it, because it will be the last one for at least a week. I'm not bringing my computer to Ireland. Instead, I'll be carrying around a notebook so I can capture any important thoughts.

I'll be sure to tell Bono you all said hello.

Uh oh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When I walked out of the office this afternoon, it marked my last appearance in the workplace until at least Dec. 10. Given the upcoming absence, the last two days were quite busy.

But while not working, I have managed to get a good deal of cyber shopping in done, trying to get the holiday gift-buying done before I leave the country. While doing so, I also checked out a few things for myself...

I decided to buy a winter Jets' hat for the last two games of the season. I usually wear an OSU hat, but given Nugent's ongoing consistency issues, it can be dangerous to wear that one.

Not only did I find a nice Jets' hat on their official web site, I also found a few other practical apparel items:

That has Gate D written all over it.

And in the spirit of equality, so as to not only offer ridiculous get-ups for the ladies, they also offer these...

I love my fellow Jet fans, but I can assure you there aren't many parading around the Meadowlands who I'd want to see squeeze themselves into either of those.

Speaking of Nugent...

And finally, apparently I have a limit:

That's right. Even I wouldn't wear this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Giving Him The Business Down There"

The last time I mentioned one of the greatest calls in NFL history, I could only find audio. Now, there is video as well, which just adds to the joy thanks to the gestures that accompany the ref's call.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

The very essence of volunteering is helping others.

So while wrapping gifts at the local bookstore this evening for my favorite charity, would it have been out of line to tell one of our customers that an appointment with an experienced waxer could take care of her stunningly robust beard in just a few minutes?

I mean, I had her best interests at heart. And I was there to help...

By far the highlight of the evening was when a young woman asked us to wrap this. I thought my co-volunteer, a straight-laced woman in her 50s, would choke on her tongue.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm watching the Macy's parade and I need a little help with something...

Can we do a little poll to help me decide which of these is more annoying:

1. The horrifying lip synching?
2. Matt Lauer's obligation to insert promotional/advertising verbiage into most of his introductions?

I thank you in advance.

Would anybody like some cranberry sauce?

For some sad reason, I can't find Steve Young's legendary Thanksgiving appearance, so this will have to do.

Hope everyone enjoys a day filled with family, friends and good food.

For me, it's an embarrassment of pigskin riches - His Holiness in the early game, followed by Gang Green.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have to get rid of this raging illness so I can get back to the office and get away from this television. I've already had my stomach turn to Jell-o; now I'm afraid my brain is going to follow suit.

I just finished watching two hours of the 40 Greatest Reality Moments 2 on VH-1. And I got angry at the results. There's no way Clay Aiken surprising a Clay Aiken wanna-be on American Idol was a greater reality television moment than Verne Troyer's infamous shenanigans on the Surreal Life 4. And nothing from Being Bobby Brown on that list? Blasphemous.

Shamefully, I have also watched more than a few minutes of the Vanilla Ice cinematic tour de force, "Cool as Ice," which seems to be on at least one HBO channel every other hour this week.

In addition, I have watched a few episodes of Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel. The show follows Samantha as she travels around the world. I like the show a lot - she goes to some terrific places and does some really cool things.

But her speaking style makes me almost angry. She looks like she comes from somewhere like Des Moines, but speaks with an affected accent, like Madonna during her British aristocracy phase. In a recent episode, Ms. Brown referred to papier-mâché and so over-pronounced the words that I almost threw something at the television. But I continue to watch.

Currently, I'm flipping between Secrets of RV's and "Cruel Intentions." I clearly need sleep. And a throat that is not swollen shut and thus allows me to return to work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm not certain, but I think when the nurse told me to watch what I ate for the rest of the day to give my stomach some time to recuperate from what it had been through in the past 24 hours, the skillet queso with ground beef and nachos at Chili's might have been just the sort of thing she was warning me about.

Ah well. Live and learn.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My plan for yesterday was simple: enjoy a low-key tailgate, watch the first half of the game, pay homage to Curtis Martin during the halftime festitivies, and call it an early day. It was freezing, and I was willing to break our strict "no leaving before the game's over" code rather than getting sicker while watching the Jets get blown out.

Much to our collective amazement (not to mention the dismay of the thousands of Steeler fans in the stadium), it turned out to be an excellent game. So we stayed for the whole thing. Not surprisingly, after spending eight hours in the bitter cold, my throat was swollen shut when I awoke this morning. I was already planning to take the afternoon off, so I just extended it to the entire day.

Why the planned half day? Because my body continues to fail me in little ways, I have to spend today evacuating every drop of life out of my system in advance of some fun with my gastroenterologist tomorrow. So the rest of the day will be spent watching the entire series of "Undeclared" and slurping all the chicken broth and Jell-O my system can handle.

Try not to be too jealous.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hearty cold? Check.

Awful football team? Check.

Atrocious weather?


At least no one can accuse us of being fair-weather fans...

(Sorry, Wendy.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's been another long week around here and seems to be concluding with a cold that is quickly gaining strength. So I could stay in tonight and rest up for what will be a busy, social weekend, featuring Crazy Nephew #1's birthday festivities, the OSU-Michigan game and Curtis Martin Day during what will no doubt be Gang Green's ninth loss of the season (as a sidebar, the Jets' winning percentage is currently .111 and they are not last in the division ... unbelievable). Or I could head over to the Freakgirl's house armed with two bottles of red wine and the just-arrived alumni yearbook from our high school.

I think you know how that's going to turn out.

A complete Disney round-up is coming soon. I'm having a hard time finding time to cover everything I need to, starting with the inadvisability of wearing a tube top when your weight is not measurable on a normal scale. But I'll work on it.

In SICSAW news, while I was unable to open this, I had no problem opening e-mails with subject lines of "incur a overlarge dick" and "Celine Dion In Concert." Both of which I found quite disturbing.

There's not much you can do about Celine, but couldn't the folks responsible for the other one have taken the time to correct it to "an overlarge?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

After almost a week away from the computer, I had a lot of internet reading planned for today. Unfortunately, during this five-day absence, the powers-that-be at my office made such literary pursuits a little more difficult.

This has been building for a while and apparently finally reached a crescendo during my absence. During the past few months, it has been decided that many web sites are not acceptable viewing for those in the office. Some such sites - like MySpace - I completely understand. But other blocked sites just don't make sense.

For instance, what's so bad about Modern Drunkard? Someone sent me this and my interest in reading it was high (as a sidebar, I have accomplished, if that's the right word, 11 of the 40 items listed. I don't know if I am to be congratulated for that or sent immediately to rehab). But it was not to be. I also can't access the fanhouse content at AOL. And currently, I can read e-mails sent to my hotmail account, but cannot reply to them.

But nothing is more annoying than my inability to get into two sites: You Tube and Blogger. The scenario with You Tube is highly frustrating - I can access the site and call up videos but cannot actually watch them. And the Blogger embargo includes not only posting but reading and making comments, which really puts a crimp in my day. Many times, I'll see something and think, "ooh, I need to inform the numerous (ahem, all seven of you) faithful readers of WBTC of this" but cannot. It's not for a lack of effort, I assure you.

So I'm introducing a new feature at Wine by the Color ... Shit I Couldn't See At Work (henceforth to be known as SICSAW). I will compile a daily list of things I unsuccessfully tried to read and post them later in the day. We'll see how it goes.

One thing I would have mentioned today were I able to access blogger ... a new Mexican joint opened around the corner from the casa. I'm completely unfamiliar with Moe's, but a quick look at their online menu alerted me to the existence of a burrito named the Triple Lindy and a quesadilla named the John Coctostan.

Oh yes. If you want to refer to flicks like "Back to School" and "Fletch" on your menu, I will most certainly try your food.

A recent look at the statistics of the Wine by the Color readership yielded the discovery that I have a reader in Hawaii, which is pleasing given that the Aloha State is without question my favorite non-NJ place. That said, new reader, I am a little uncomfortable that you found this site via a google search for "Linda Cohn Close Up Neck." This is not that kind of site.

Well, not yet, anyway.

And finally, to the folks at the local supermarket ... I am not one bit sorry I knocked over your large, fancy display of nuts and raisin canisters today. If you want to clutter your aisles with crappy displays, you can't be surprised when someone knocks it over. Not to mention, why was this display in the cereal aisle? It should have been in the snacks aisle. I don't go in the snacks aisle, so it wouldn't have happened there.

So don't blame me for not only knocking over your display, but also refusing to replace the items in the display, instead choosing to stack them on the floor. I was really just thinking about the next person to wander down aisle six and saving them from meeting my display-destroying fate.
It's hard to tell who enjoyed the weekend more:

We'll discuss both soon...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Before I go...

Sports Illustrated has ranked all the stadiums in the NFL in terms of the fan experience. Number one - Lambeau. Thanks to my visit last year, I can completely confirm that's an accurate ranking.

On the flip side, bringing up the rear, number 32 of 32 ... your New York Jets.

It's really hard to argue with any of that. However, it comes as no surprise to this Jet fan that the team received its highest marks for tailgating.

Despite the fact that there "isn't really any regional cuisine," this is a "very underrated" scene. "You can have your typical burgers or dogs" and "a lot of high-quality Italian-style barbecue." Some "class it up," though, with everything from a "rib eye steak with roasted red pepper mayonnaise" to a "lobster boil" to "filet mignon" to "shrimp cocktail." Classy or classic, "the parking lot fills up early" with "plenty of tents" and "the smell of charcoal." "A lot of interesting vehicles" also make the rounds, be it "a renovated school bus" or an "extravagant RV." Considering "food selection in the stadium is poor and the prices high," "tailgating is a necessity," and an event in which the "friendly" participants willingly "throw a beer or burger your way if you are alone or with a date." Unfortunately, the Jets also are throwing something this season -- large groups of fans out of lots now dedicated to the construction of the new stadium. Remote lots a few miles away offer a place to park, but not a place to tailgate, as local police will frequently remind you. With the rush to leave the game creating a traffic "nightmare," "the post-game tailgate also is becoming a staple" for those lucky enough to have a prime spot.

Amen to that.

While the team ranking of 1 of 10 is not good, although altogether accurate, at least we avoided a ranking of zero, something the Rams accomplished (but still finished five spots ahead of Gang Green).

Ah well. As has become the mantra for the season, at the tailgate, we're all winners.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The entire clan is headed south tomorrow to spend five days with Mickey Mouse and friends. So posting will be light (if any) for the next few days.

The last time I visited Disney World was December of 1992. My college's football team was in Orlando for a bowl game and I was sent to cover the team as part of the university's official party. My college roommate, the Beckster, came with me, and all these years later it's hard to remember all the shenanigans that ensued during our time there. I do recall: an encounter with Dennis Rodman in our hotel's elevator; drinking with our team's QB, now a commentator for the Evil Empire, at a Church Street Station watering hole; and spending New Year's Eve in a hospitality suite at Sea World, drinking beers meant for this man, an evening that ended with another country star drunkenly sharing unsolicited relationship advice with us in a hotel lobby around 4 a.m. A mere five hours before I had to report for duty at the Citrus Bowl. That was a looong day.

I expect this trip will be slightly tamer than that one. I've been to Orlando for an annual meeting every January since I started at my current outfit but have never returned to the Magic Kingdom so it will be nice to get back there. I hope.

My only goal, outside of general merriment, is to set a new personal record for most times riding this. During my visits there as a youth, I must have ridden that thing at least 25 times. I hope I still find it magical. It'd be highly disappointing to find I am no longer captivated by that wondrous little tune and the beautiful little dancers.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When the Lovely Lady of Sheboygan and I visited the Mars' Cheese Castle during my visit to America's Dairyland last year, I must have added my name to the mailing list. Last week, I received their 2007 Wisconsin Catalog.

The timing was beautiful as I'm working on the holiday shopping, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't love to receive salami in the shape of a beer bottle. In particular, that has my brother written all over it.

In the middle of this fabulous catalog there is a helpful list of frequently asked questions. My favorites:

Q: What if cheese becomes moldy?
A: Under normal conditions merely wash off cheese with hot water or cut off moldy portions, as the remainder of the product will be edible.

(We have, in the recent past, given my father a very hard time for doing that very thing. So, Dad, we're sorry. You were right.)

Q: What if cheese remains unrefrigerated for an extended period of time (1 week or more), is it still good?
A: Yes, merely place the cheese into the refrigerator for a few hours and it will be ok to eat, under most circumstances.

Q: Why do Swiss cheese packages sometimes swell or expand?
A: Swiss cheese has the characteristics of a gaseous type product and it is normal for Swiss to emit gas when temperatures vary; the product will remain edible.

Upon reading that, I turned to the Swiss cheese offerings. Sadly, nowhere is "Farty Swiss Cheese" mentioned. That seems like a missed marketing opportunity.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Upon opening my junk e-mail this morning, I found one message titled, "Dear Beloved in Christ" and another with a subject line of "Meat in Your Pants."

I found them equally disturbing...

And while watching the Evil Empire very early this morning (damn time change), I became so annoyed with Chris Berman that I went to Wikepedia to check his age. Unfortunately, he's only 52 and thus probably won't be retiring any time soon. Perhaps someone could Go Gillooly on his vocal chords.

You might be surprised to hear me say I enjoyed a day in which the Jets fell to 1-8 and the Patriots beat the Colts, but I really did. The attendance at the tailgate was robust despite the lure of a one-win team facing a squad that lost by 45 points the prior week. It was a beautiful, sunny day and really, when your breakfast consists of Italian sausage on a hard roll with a side of red wine, things can't be all bad.

As for the game...

The fine folks at The Jets Blog just listed their mid-season grades for everyone associated with GanGrene, and it's hard to argue with this assessment...

DC Bob Sutton (F-): Worst defense when it counts in the league. I just created a new grade for Sutton. I can’t imagine that Sutton will stay on as DC this coming year.

But all was not lost. I actually watched the game, unlike last week, when I spent more time reading the gameday program than watching the on-field action (or lack thereof). The Jets' new QB was not awful. I spent the third quarter chatting with the guy who sits behind us and learned he lives less than three miles from me. Traffic was very light getting into and out of the parking lot.

And as the Jets were losing in overtime, the Professor, his father and I were arriving at a sports bar to spend the next four hours watching the Pats-Colts, eating more crap, enjoying a few more adult beverages and wondering how many times the senior member of our trio could refer to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, the city of Boston, Peyton Manning and Phil Simms in derogatory terms (quick answer = easily more than 800).

While I didn't agree with all of his angry ranting, it's hard to disagree with his thoughts on Belichick. Seriously, what a dickhead...

And finally, saving the best for last, His Holiness threw for 360 yards and the Pack is 7-1.

Regarding the revival of both the player and his team, I turn to the immortal words of Clark W. Griswold: "If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Did you ever get the feeling your parents might have lied to you about something really important? Because I'm starting to think my parents might have lied about my birthday.

For example, this was my horoscope yesterday...

"You've been so sweet lately that it wouldn't hurt to alow yourself a snide quip - a slightly less-than-gracious retort while you pay attention to your own needs for a moment."

I mean, who are they talking about?? I'm the queen of the snide quip. In fact, I think that might become the new subhead for Wine by the Color. I was thinking about "Ain't no Sin to be Glad You're Alive," but "Queen of the Snide Quip" might be just the ticket.