wine by the color

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Here's the biggest problem with the tree in front of Casa Magnolia being gone...

For years, whenever I'm not sure what the day's weather will be, my routine has been to quickly step outside onto the porch after exiting the shower to determine the temperature. Towel, wet hair and all.

So I just decided it was time to get dressed (yes, it's almost 1 p.m, what of it. I'd still be in my pajamas if I weren't going to Home Depot. And maybe Bed Bath & Beyond. If I have enough time.) and I realized that henceforth, should I employ the same system to check the weather, I will be giving a daily show. The porch is now competely exposed to the parking lot and the building across the street.

Yep. I definitely miss the tree.
I have a musical soft spot for Beyonce and Mariah Carey. I'm not proud, but what can you do. Lately, I've found myself singing loudly to Beyonce's latest, a joyous ode to the single ladies.

But I'm pretty sure I won't ever again listen to the song the same again:

Hey, look. I am always dancing around Casa Magnolia. There's nothing wrong with busting out a move to a good tune. But when you throw a leotard around your hearty self and start the camera rolling, you're just asking for trouble.

And there is no better example of how quickly I can go from being amused to horrified. While watching that debacle, I was laughing so hard I experienced minor chest pains, but was at the same almost unable to watch.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last night, I watched a 93-year-old legend captivate a jazz club with music and a solid dose of shtick. It was fantastic. If I happen to live to be 93 (so unlikely), I hope I'm still tossing around shtick and salty language. The musical talent is obviously out of the question.

This video purports to be from 1997, but the scene was essentially the same last night at the Iridium...


After a brief hiatus, I have apparently resumed sending myself wacky e-mails at work. Excellent news - we have a challenger to "Make her grotto wet of pleasure" for top honors in the self-spamming contest...

Today's offerings:

-not sissy, but real man
-your value arises so high
-another size, another life
-you see, they like large ones
-your strength is your length

and my new favorite...

-more man's meat for laughable money

Hey, if I'm going to be spammed, at least amuse me. Well played.


Casa Magnolia has served as my home base for 12 years. When I moved in, the trees in front of my abode were small and insignificant. Over the years, they have grown to the size whereby they completely block the front of my building, which thus cannot be seen from the parking lot. I could dance naked on the patio and no one would have known, so protected was the front of my building. Not that I utilize that option, of course, but it's nice to have.

Upon my arrival home this evening, it took me 0.06 seconds to realize the large tree that stood between my patio and the parking lot was no more.

I'll take a better look tomorrow, as it was dark when I arrived home. But I'm pretty sure I don't like this development.


I rented "Tropic Thunder," which was amusing (of course, I fell asleep, which should never be considered a barometer of anything since I doze off watching everything except sporting events). After viewing, I visited IMDB to see how long it has been since Tom Cruise appeared in a movie I really enjoyed. He is absolutely hilarious in "Tropic Thunder."

For the record, the last time I enjoyed a Tom Cruise picture was the year I moved into Casa Magnolia - 1996, "Jerry Maguire."


I found a box of Good & Fruity in the candy aisle of a discount store. Such a rare find. Why is it you can find Good & Plenty everywhere, but Good & Fruity remains so elusive?


Apparently, all the kids are posting old photos of themselves and their friends on Facebook. Not one to miss a hot trend, I'll be doing so over the next few days. I can't wait to pull out some of the old pics - back when I had big, brown, curly hair. That should come as quite a shock for my Facebook friends who have only known me in the 21st century...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I give up. I'm officially excited. The Jets are good.

When the Jets started their two-game road trip, at the hated Patriots and undefeated Tennessee, I think most fans would have been happy to see them win one of the two. Taking both wasn't a dream most fans wouldn't have dared to consider.


I was uncharacteristically quiet as I watched the game today, too nervous to allow myself to get fired up. Even in the fourth quarter, as the game got out of hand, I withheld any real celebration until the Jets built their lead to 21 points. Then I finally exhaled.

Let's enjoy a terrific day in photos, shall we...

"Eight and three. We are going to be eight and three! Do you hear me, bitches?"

Oh, what I wouldn't give to be Brandon Moore...

Or Nick Mangold...

Or Shaun Ellis...

"I am The Man."


The Jets have now doubled their win total from a year ago. I expect the stadium to be absolutely rocking next Sunday, when the Jets return home for a game against Denver.

(As I was typing this update, during halftime of the NBC Sunday night game, Cris Collinsworth just predicted a Giants-Jets Super Bowl. And with that, I passed out. I was hoping to post the photos from Cincinnati and my trip to the Gulf Coast, but that will have to wait as I now have to lie down.)

The original plan for one of my favorite days of the year - the OSU-Michigan game - called for running the Turkey Trot in Manasquan, which would have put me in the bar just in time for kickoff. I subscribed to my usual pre-run "training regimen" - a week's worth of carb building with Girl Scout cookies, pizza, donuts, Guinness and the like.

But thanks to the first few words of this story, the plan changed. I may do dumb things but I'm not stupid and running five miles in blustery winds and freezing cold just seemed stupid. So I skipped the running part and went straight to the bar. A much better way to spend the afternoon, particularly given the ass-whipping OSU proceeded to put on Michigan.

Given the intensity of the rivalry, I enjoyed every second of it. But I would almost prefer a closer game. Rivalries remain intense when they are hard-fought, bitter affairs. That said, it has now been 1,828 days since Ohio State lost to Michigan, and I'm just fine with that.

And so it's on to today's Jets-Titans game. I'll admit it. I'm excited.

Someone alerted me to this story in the NY Times Play Magazine. It's from a few weeks ago, but it's an excellent read, mainly about the influence Favre has had on the team.

“Since Brett came in, it’s been a complete different atmosphere,” the wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery says. “Everybody’s just having a blast.”

That includes the fans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So much to talk about, so little time...

I'll tease you with a photo and two quotes (both of which were said at 11:30 a.m., on consecutive days) and a promise to get cracking on a variety of updates soon, starting with last week's trip to Cincinnati.

For now...

1. "Here's a deal for you ... if you do a shot of tequila, I'll give you a free shot glass."

2. "You know, I think we're probably less than an hour from New Orleans from here."

Friday, November 14, 2008


To: Jersey Girl
From: Jersey Girl


Before you completely lose your mind with excitement, I implore you to get a hold of youself.

Yes, the J-E-T-S are alone in first place in the division more than halfway through the season. And not a single soul saw that coming.

I know, the excitement is contagious. His Holiness was slapping butts after the game. Mangini actually cracked a smile during his post-game press conference. TWICE. You've gotten a wave of e-mails and text messages from fellow fired-up fans.

But football, as you know, is a fickle mistress. Things could fall apart at any moment. You've been a Jets fan for a long time.

So before you run out and buy a Dustin Keller jersey, I beg you to sit down and catch your breath. Enjoy it for a little while, then pull yourself together. You're not as young as you once were. You're just asking for a major health ailment. You've always been blessed with low blood pressure, but let's not overdo it. Stop going to the NFL's home page to check the playoff schedule (which, I know you were delighted to discover, does not at all interfere with your January vacation plans).

By the way, enjoy your time in Mississippi this weekend. Let's try to avoid incarceration for trespassing, shall we?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where was I...

Oh yes, waiting to board a Delta flight that was due to leave Cincinnati at 5:45 p.m. (two hours and 40 minutes past its original departure time of 3:05 p.m.) and arrive at EWR around 8:00 p.m.

How did that go?

Well, as advertised, we boarded at 5:45 and were in line for takeoff by 6:05. And at 6:15, they announced we weren't going anywhere.

Realizing there was no way I would be home for the start of the Jets' game, I called my mother to walk her through the process of remotely setting my TiVo. During our conversation, I may have referenced being held hostage by Delta. I also mentioned that should my luggage not be at baggage claim after the flight that my next phone call would be coming from a Newark prison, after I was arrested for wrapping my hands around someone's throat.

At that point, the flight attendants, realizing we were going nowhere, proudly announced they would immediately be providing a food and beverage service. Thank goodness, I thought, we are getting dinner.

And what was dinner?

Lest you think it couldn't get any worse, let me assure you it COULD...

That's right. Not only do they consider a tiny bag of peanuts and a package of biscotti cookies to be supper, they imprint their logo on it, serving as a not-so-friendly reminder of just who is screwing you out of an actual meal.

(Might I mention the guy sitting across the aisle from me was giggling as I photographed the food. I think I made his day.)

Anyway, we finally took off at 7:22 p.m. and landed in Newark at 8:53 p.m. I was in the car, luggage fortunately in tow, listening to the game.

But, here's the really great news ... I will be back at EWR in less than seven hours. I am doing laundry and have yet to pack. It's also quite possible this Jets game could be the death of me.
Pop quiz…who can tell me what is shown in these two photos?

If you guessed the inside of the cab I took in Kentucky today, give yourself a prize. A smoky, dirty prize.

The top photo shows the cigarette-butt-filled ashtray in the rear of the taxi, while the photo on the bottom depicts the debris on the floor of the car. For a special treat, click on the bottom photo for a better view. You can see ashes on the floor on the carpet and what I believe are burn holes on the back of the driver seat.

Without question, it was the filthiest professional transportation vehicle I have ever seen. I wanted to place newspaper on the seat before I sat down to protect my clothes.

When I expressed concern about the smell of smoke, my driver immediately started spraying Resolve car cleaner throughout the vehicle. That led to an open window for the duration of my journey.

She had, it should be noted, sprung for what was likely a four-dollar latte from Starbucks. I had to bite my lip to hold back from recommending that four dollars might have been better spent on a good interior cleaning for her tenement on wheels. I mean, how much can it cost to clean a car in Kentucky?

I should have known that was a sign of things to come. Bad things.

Upon arrival at Cincinnati Airport, which is, of course, actually in Kentucky, I went to the Continental self-check kiosk, where I was unable to check in for the flight. Why? Because my flight, due to leave at 3:45 p.m., had been canceled.

The Continental representative helpfully informed me they had put me on the 6:21 p.m. fight back to Newark. But oh, by the way, that flight was delayed and would depart no earlier than 8 p.m. That prompted me to share my standard line when dealing with my friends from the airline: “Well, that is just unacceptable.”

So after asking if there were any options from Columbus (a solid 90-minute drive if going 100 MPH), I marched over to Delta to investigate the options there. Lo and behold, they had a flight to Newark scheduled to depart at 3:05 p.m. Within two minutes, I was switched to that flight.

But before I sing the praises of Delta, I should point out it is now 4:47 p.m. and I am still sitting in Kentucky. Their latest guestimate is a 5:45 p.m. departure.

Outside of spending an extra few hours in Kentucky (problematic enough), I have two concerns: I am due to return to EWR for a 7:30 a.m. flight tomorrow for a girls’ weekend, and tonight's Jets-Patriots game starts at 8:15. If I am to arrive in N.J. in time to listen to or watch that game, we need to leave now.

I'm not optimistic.

(Should this delay continue much longer, I'll probably post the photos from yesterday's adventures at the Great American Ball Park. So while I will be bitter and disgruntled, at least I'll be productive.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When I started writing this post, I planned to express my excitement about doing something new today - walking from one state to another. Then Freakgirl pointed out that I have in fact done so - walking from Lambertville to New Hope (NJ to PA, for the three readers who don't live in our area). I'm an idiot. I have made that walk at least 100 times, mostly during the two years I worked on the Jersey side of that exchange.

So you can scratch the uniqueness of today's stroll off the list. But I did walk over this bridge from Kentucky to Ohio, which has to count for something.

I'm here for a conference, which is being held at the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame. Most of our sessions are being held in the stadium, which is completely empty outside of our small group. I won't say that's the first time I've been in an empty stadium because I KNOW I've done that previously, at the Toronto Sky Dome during a meeting there about 11 years ago. But, still also cool.

Tomorrow, the schedule includes "batting practice." Should that come to pass, I assure you that will be a first. I know I've never taken batting practice in a major league stadium.

Finally, I don't want to harp on this, but today's spam yielded an instant classic: Make her grotto wet of pleasure. I was sitting in a conference session when that one hit, and I snorted with laughter.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So I continue to send myself junk e-mail at work. Let's review today's offerings, shall we?

The only site with free samples

Oh, how I want to open that one. Who doesn’t like free stuff.

Make sure she doesnt need dildo.

Why are apostrophes so difficult for so many? No matter what you're selling, if you can't get the punctuation correct, you're going to be hard-pressed to close the deal.

Your neighbor complaining on you

Now, this is entirely possible. There’s only one way to play music within the confines of Casa Magnolia – LOUDLY. And I am a frequent offender of the "no laundry or dishwasher after 10 p.m." policy. Fortunately, my neighbor is extremely hard of hearing. Well, fortunate for me.

Don’t let your neighbour satisfy your wife.

Well, then I’d have something to complain about.

Your private life is compromised.

I did a fine job compromising my own private life, thank you very much. I don't need any help.

We received your home video by mistake.
A shame on your home video.

Any home video that came from Casa Magnolia would indeed be a mistake. And a shame, for that would be four minutes somebody isn't getting back...

Cindy McCain cheats her husband.

This one piques my interest. Is this another example of poor sentence structure, and is it actually “cheats on” her husband? Or is she cheating him out of something? See how important good grammar is? And, as Freakgirl is fond of saying, it costs nothing.

Now, while I'm still curious as to what sort of firewall breakdown has led to this recent spam onslaught, this situation is seemingly being run by nuns compared to the spammers who have my gmail address. The first three e-mails I saw upon opening my account tonight were: Hot amateur sex tape horny couple fucking during private filming now leaked on net; When you work for Mrs. Gold and she wants you to fuck her; and Crazy Dumper.

(And somewhere, my mother sits home, shaking her head, wondering where her real daughter is...)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On eight Sundays each fall, I am certain of a few things. I know I will spend the day in a parking lot in East Rutherford for four hours of grilled meats, cocktails, and shtick and conversation with a tremendous cast of characters.

It's what happens after those four hours, once we actually enter the stadium and the game starts, that has been less enjoyable for much of my tenure as a Jets' season ticket holder.

And that's what makes an afternoon like today even more delightful (sorry - couldn't pick just one story about this 44-point victory, the largest in Jets history). That the Jets were playing the Rams, as woeful a team as I've ever seen (with apologies to Joe Pendleton), did nothing to mitigate our joy.

My cell phone rang at halftime and I picked it up to hear my brother, without saying hello, exclaim: "Forty to nothing?!?"


During a stoppage in play in the second quarter, with the Jets deep in St. Louis territory and threatening to score again, the Jets Flight Crew was doing its thing in the end zone. One of the Rams' defensive backs, standing in the end zone waiting for play to resume, was dancing along with them. It was just that kind of day in the stadium, where even the opposing players got caught up in the excitement.

The mood was so joyous that we fired up the grills again and resumed tailgating after the game, something we don't usually do. But we wanted to enjoy the day for as long as possible. To call the mood in our crowd giddy would not be overstating matters.

Now, I have been a Jets fan long enough to know that we need to savor this while we can. That the Jets have six wins (and should have seven if not for that debacle in Oakland three weeks ago) and are tied for first in the division 10 weeks into the season is certainly a surprise. But with three tough games in the next three weeks - at New England Thursday night, then at Tennessee before returning home to face Denver on Thanksgiving weekend - we're well aware the Jets could be 6-6 at the end of the month.

But I'm not going to think about that right now...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My mother bought my dad a sweet 16g iPod Nano for his birthday a few weeks ago. There was just one problem - a joint lack of technological skill in their house that would result in music successfully being placed on the new toy. So I volunteered to do it, figuring I would save myself 380 phone calls.

When I asked what music he wanted on it, he listed four artists: Otis Redding, Elton John, John Fogarty and Elvis. Imagine his surprise when I gave it back to him today and there were 896 songs on it. His four requested artists were well represented, along with about 120 more, from everyone from Peter, Paul and Mary and Bruce Springsteen to the Ohio State marching band.

Fortunately, with the difficult music-loading process handled, I should be able to handle any future tech calls from their seaside compound.

I spent the day with Sweetie Pie Princess, a lovely way to pass an otherwise gloomy, rainy day. We drove down to my parents' house and went out for lunch. While driving down, we were listening to one of New York's dance stations and she was just rocking out to the tunes (including a disturbing enthusiam for New Kids on the Block). I have to get her on video. She is a pisser.

Quick pop quiz...which of the following occurred earlier as I made a chocolatey dessert for tomorrow's tailgate:

1) I burned the chocolate during the melting process.
2) I burned my hand as a result of the burning chocolate.
3) I flooded the kitchen while trying to quell the burning pots situation.
4) I threw out the first attempt and started over.
5) All of the above.

Oh, you know the answer...


Some random thoughts for a quiet Saturday night...

It is impossible to watch Justin Long in those Mac commercials now and not think of his appearance in "Zack and Miri." Glengarry Glen Ross, indeed. Oh, and as a public service announcement, should you wisely opt to view the porn movie, do not leave when the credits start. And prepare to be gloriously offended.

I can't say it broke my heart to watch Penn State lose today, although I do feel bad that some of my favorite people are sad tonight. But this probably assures that the Big Ten will not have to suffer the embarrassment of another BCS championship blowout.

My younger nephew headbutted me square in the nose this morning and I cannot remember the last time I was in so much pain (including the burning chocolate debacle). I tried to underplay it because he felt bad enough. But more than 12 hours later, my nose is still sore and a bit swollen. Long-time WBTC readers know I'm no stranger to nose injuries, but this was a doozy.

Now that a six-pound bag of Nestle's chocolate chips is sitting on the counter, I realize it's comically large. That's what happens at Costco. You walk along and think, Wow, what a bargain. Of COURSE I'll use six pounds of chocolate chips in the next few weeks.

I can't explain why, but my work e-mail has been sending itself a variety of spam lately. Some of the subject lines: Amaze her with your hot rod; Make love, save the future; We got your home video; Michelle Obama cheats with McCane (sic); 1000 watts of pure pleasure. At least I'm amusing myself, even as I risk getting myself fired.

There is an excellent story in this week’s Sports Illustrated. It’s a letter from SI’s great baseball writer, Tom Verducci, to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, with some suggestions on how to fix the World Series. Verducci hits the nail on the head repeatedly, and I particularly enjoyed his eloquent recommendation to "Screw neutral sites." That is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard and Selig should be put in front of a firing squad if that ever happens.

I have had some highly enjoyable Friday nights lately. A few weeks ago BAM and I went out for happy hour and wound up closing the establishment, and last night I met a group of girlfriends for dinner, which turned into a boisterous, four-hour affair.

And that is one of the reasons that although it's not 10 p.m., I have to go to bed. I have been running at full throttle lately and I am exhausted. And I have a date with His Holiness and several hours of grilled meat and cocktails tomorrow...

Monday, November 03, 2008

You may recall my recent trip to NJ's adult playground, an outing that introduced me to the magic of live boxing.

Given the inherently violent nature of boxing, one might think it would be the last place you'd find a tug-at-the-heartstrings sentimental story about friendship and the human spirit. But you'd be wrong.
"I didn't throw a touchdown pass. At least to us."

Moments after His Holiness threw his 300th career interception, which was returned for a TD to make it 23-17, I changed my Facebook status to read: Jersey Girl knows she should just turn the Jets game off now, to save herself the torture. I had visions of a 24-23 heartbreaking loss, my blood pressure and heart rate spiking and something getting thrown at Casa Magnolia.

But no! A nice drive and field goal later and the Jets had their fifth win, already surpassing last year's total.

Of course, there's no better example of how frustrating it is to be a Jets fan than to watch Gang Green lose to the woeful Raiders, then two weeks later go to Buffalo, where they never play well, and earn a win over a solid Bills team. And then the Colts held on to beat the Patriots and the next thing you know the Jets are tied for first in the division. Will wonders never cease.

After the game I met the Joker, Sandman and the Sandman's sister for dinner at the Union Plaza Diner, a fine Jersey establishment with a menu that features almost as many pages for cocktails (5) as it does food (6).

That was a fine warm-up for an evening at the cinema, when our quartet took in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." You've no doubt seen a trailer or read a little something about Kevin Smith's latest. But most have not seen the real trailer...

(Now, if you are averse to foul language, porn, toilet humor or about 25 other things, I would steer clear of this. I'm obviously addressing my mother here but I know curiosity will get the better of her, so don't say you weren't warned. And trust me, I'm not joking)...

I scanned the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and this sums it up nicely: "A romantic comedy that's both as sweet and as obscene as anything you'll see this year."

This movie isn't for everyone. In fact, it's probably not for a lot of people. But if you like romantic comedies about porn, I would highly recommend this flick.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Big day here at Casa Magnolia. While the crazy nephews are frequent overnight visitors, they have never been joined by Sweetie Pie Princess. Until tonight. After dinner at Friendly's and a quick trip to Borders, we arrived home and promptly put SPP to bed.

And after more than two hours of singing, laughing and talking to herself in the dark, she has finally fallen asleep.

At 10:55 p.m.