31 December 2008

Where the ducks walk on fishes

Last night I had a laugh at this NPR 'All Things Considered' story. I thought I'd share to end the year since it would be tacky of me to do any resolutions or top ten lists. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Please celebrate responsibly...

24 November 2008

Taking a Break

Apologies to my few faithful readers and friends. Redbeard is taking a sabbatical from blogging as he is not feeling the creative juices lately, hence the lack of posting. Instead of turning in sub-standard posts, I'm just quietly going to turn the lights out and walk away from blogging for awhile. Maybe in 2009 I shall be inspired and make my triumphant return to the blogosphere.

Those of you who know where else to find me online, please continue to do so by those other avenues. Until then, take care, and peace.

23 November 2008

Tyranny Is Dead. But Is Not Dead.

I originally wanted to write this on September 3 2008. This would have been the 350th anniversary of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector who died on this date in 1658.

Always the controversial figure, he bucked the system when the system was corrupt by waging war against the Catholic King, Charles I. Of course we all know Cromwell then became corruptible after overthrowing and beheading the King. The Rump Parliament failed whilst Ireland was pillaged, then of course he did the ultimate flip-flop and shut down Parliament and assumed a dictatorship.

I've had some post-election thoughts. Though I have high hopes and the utmost respect for President-Elect Barack Obama, how much are things really going to change? Of course I hear the conservative grumblings that government will be so one-sided. My answer to that is that they should have done a better job in the last 8 years, then things wouldn't have come to this. The nation spoke, like a New Model Army or a changing of the guard, and our new leaders will take us forward.

But how much are things really going to change? Government is still government. They will still spout the same rhetoric; the same problems still plague us along with new ones. That is why I say, Tyranny Is Dead. But Is Not Dead. I do not know if Utopia can truly be a reality, if the human condition continues with corruption and deceit. It would be a good ideal to strive for, but with so many variables I highly doubt it truly can be achieved.

04 November 2008

Election Day

Yes, I've already voted at this early hour.

We do have early voting in Vermont, but I just don't trust it. Plus I like seeing everybody else going out to vote, and I wanted to have something to write about, since I haven't blogged in a super-long time. Shame on me.

So I woke up a few minutes before my alarm went off, at approximately 5:52am. I got ready for my day and even helped The Girl get Sierra's diaper and clothes changed. I left the house about 6:35 and got to my polling place across town at 6:45.

It was unseasonably warm - no frost, about 48 F / 8 C, and the sun was coming up against a cloudless blue sky. Forecasts indicate a warm sunny day reaching up into the lower 60s F / 14 C, excellent for an early November. So many other election days have been cold or with a cold rain. But today I only needed a light hoodie.

I got a decent parking place about halfway out. The end of the line at the school was half way between the school and the parking lot, there might have been about 100 people in line already. Scanning the people, the demographic seemed mostly male, white, aged 40+. I feared that the McCain voters were out in droves, but I calmed myself remembering this is a blue state and that Republicans are early birds. I came prepared for a long wait with my mp3 player, but not even 2 tunes in...

The doors opened a couple of minutes early and already we were moving inside the building at about 6:55.

Since I'm registered in District 3, which is the more rural sparsely populated section of my town from when I first moved up here, I could avoid the long line for Districts 1 and 2 in the gym to the left and move right into the small room to the right for my district. The surprisingly young election official asked me my name and crossed me off the list. No ID, no address necessary. She handed me my ballot and I stood in line for just a moment waiting for a booth to open up. I look up and down the ballot, which looks like a scan-tron form for a test we took in high school, and there I found it, Barack Obama. It took a second, I wasn't expecting to see the name at the bottom, however it was organized alphabetically. McCain's name was in the middle. I was out of there by 7:11. No bubbles, no troubles.

Ok, so I know what you might be thinking but no, I didn't vote party line on everything. I did vote Republican for the state Senate, namely because I want the Circumferential Highway to be completed and I think they would be the ones to push that through after years of red tape and silly environmental protests. This highway would be fantastic for business, especially for IBM, the state's biggest employer in my town.

So many emotions today. I was able to vote for a president who wasn't an old white male. I didn't allow myself to get "swift-boated" by negative ads like I did in 2004. I am voting for positive change. I am voting for a better tomorrow for my child. I am voting for better education and health care. I am voting to help end the unneccessary war sooner rather than later. I am voting to stand up and be counted. I am voting to be a part of history.

20 October 2008

Missed it by THAT much

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It's only fitting that I end the Red Sox blogging season with a photo of Papi since I began the season with David Ortiz. The only exception being that instead of inspiring as the king of cool, after a lackluster injury-riddled season, he had struck out. Such is the game of baseball. After getting 2 more games than previously anticipated, our Sox were limited to one run in last night's 3-1 loss to the 2008 American League Champions, the Tampa Bay Rays. (Gulp, that sounds very odd and looks even odder in writing!)

But that's the reality of it. The Rays played like they have played all season. They have finally earned the respect of the American League, doormats no more. 10 years after their inception, they have earned their way to play in the World Series. My hat's off to them.

That doesn't mean I'll be rooting for them in the Series; I know where my loyalties lie. The Phillies will crush them in 5 games.

Thank you, Boston Red Sox for a fantastic season and for putting up a fight to the end.

18 October 2008

Keep Smiling!


AP Photo

J.D. Drew has a reason to smile. And all of Red Sox Nation is smiling with him.

Thanks to J.D. and his game winning RBI in Thursday night's historic comeback win, the Red Sox soldier on and play another decisive game. Do or die. Again. Backs against the wall. Again. Tonight, we take the battle back to Tampa, Florida with the faith of another miracle can get us through another game.

The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays can bite my tweeter. Johnny Cash says so too.

Peak Leaf Peeping

Just outside my door, looking down my street. Gorgeous in the early morning light as I head to the car.




Outside my window at work.



Drive-by photo of Camel's Hump from Bolton, VT.

12 October 2008

Near Peak


More love from the Mad River Valley in Central Vermont.






08 October 2008

The Lesser Known Beach Boys songs, as sung by John McCain

10. Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran*

9. Little Deuce Hummer

8. Be True to your Naval Academy

7. When I Grow Up (to be a Grumpy Old Man)

6. Help Me, Sarah

5. Arizona Girls

4. Let Them (Wall Street) Run Wild [b-side to Arizona Girls]

3. I Get Around (with Charles Keating)

2. Kokomo (Indiana, now nearly a battleground state)

1. Hot Fun in the Summertime (of Iraq for 1000 years)

----------------

*In no way do I condone bombing Iran. This is in reference to the deplorable joke McCain made that was brought up in last night's debate, which shouldn't even be joked about with war buddies. Like waterboarding. Senator McCain, you sir are not my friend, nor am I yours. Please stop calling me as such.

27 September 2008

Early Autumn in Vermont - Appalachian Gap

As always, clicky the piccy to biggy.


Heading up the gap on Vermont Route 17. Switchbacks ahead.


From the summit of Appalachian Gap looking west. Elevation 2375 feet, or 724 metres. In Vermont, the term "gap" or "notch" is used instead of "pass".




Radio tower also at the saddle.


The challenging gap is popular route for bicyclists. I snapped this brave fellow right before he crested, then he rode back down to his trailing mate to lend some support and crest the gap again.




Another lovely sunset from our third floor window, actually Sierra's room. She has the best view in the flat.

26 September 2008

Top Ten Stand-Ins for John McCain at Tonight's Debate

10. A cardboard cut-out of John McCain.

9. Sarah Palin (oooohh, that would be disastrous.)

8. Rush Limbaugh (do people still listen to this douche?)

7. Another Vietnam War POW (because that qualifies McCain to be president.)

6. A Ventriloquist. Is Howdy Doody still around? Someone call his agent, stat.

5. The Ex-Office Humpbacked Grinch.

4. Nothing for #4. Literally. The Empty Seat.

3. Curt Schilling.

2. Jeff Baker, the neo-con who brainwashed me into conservatism all those years.

1. A Rubber Chicken.

23 September 2008

Storming the Fort


*added to Doodle Week: Greed - I'm sure you're all ENVIOUS with GREED that I've met the illustrious Claire and Aerten*

Also, read Aerten's account here.

Yes, there is a real photo that this stick figure drawing is based on, but you'll never see it. See, I promised Claire aka CRPitt from A Little Piece of Me that I wouldn't post the photo, but I never said anything about doodling it!

I've been a follower of her blog since June something or other, and when she announced she was coming to America, more specifically the Northeast, I thought there could be a chance that I might meet this lovely English beauty.

She had already planned a couple days with fellow blogger Aerten in upstate New York, as well as some time in Boston, which put her within 3 hours driving time from my residence in Vermont. That was certainly doable. When she mentioned that they would be making the scenic drive up to Fort Ticonderoga in the Adirondacks on Lake Champlain, along the New York-Vermont border, I almost wet myself, putting them 1.5 hours away. Very doable.

I then decided to take a mental day off of work, made the obligatory sick call into my co-worker who would tell my supervisor for me (ah... pressure is off), then it was off to run some errands before we got the text saying meet us there in 2 hours.

Sierra and The Girl accompanied me and the wee one behaved herself very well. We took the fort tour, then wandered around the exhibit, discussing everything from "what would the British side of the history of the fort be?", "but wikipedia is the BIBLE!", my woes of my computer temporarily dying Sunday night (only to spring back to life Tuesday morning), and inevitably Claire's near Liverpudlian accent, which did sound quite akin to that of Sir Paul McCartney's.

After seeing pretty much everything there was to see of this smallish fort, the five of us headed to lunch in the small town of Ticonderoga at a small country diner called The Hot Biscuit for some country home cook'n. Actually pretty good for this sort of rednecky frontier small town of 5167 souls.

Our quick 3 hours had come to an end and we reluctantly parted ways, but our day with Claire and Aerten will not be soon forgotten. Also, I will now be a regular follower of Aerten after meeting her and her very interesting wit and weirdness (I mean that in the best possible way!). All in all it was a fantastic day - the weather was beautiful, Sierra was well behaved and slept all the way back home, and the only downside was losing my computer for the day.












*Ticonderoga was the hometown of one of my first girlfriends when I was 12. I once rode a bicycle that summer the 50 miles all day over mountains along Lake George to Ti in an effort to visit with her. Alas, she was spending the night at her grandparents after getting wisdom teeth pulled, and her parents drove me the hour plus back home to Glens Falls after midnight. It was the same day as SummerSlam 88.

17 September 2008

Catching up...



That's what us Red Sox fans have been looking at for the vast majority of the season - Tampa Bay in first place, Sox in 2nd. Personally, I thought they would have started slipping from that number 1 spot back in June before the All-Star break. But it never happened. We had the chance to retake that spot last night with a dead-lock tie for first, with 12 games left to go.

The other day, I actually saw a Tampa Bay fan up here while shopping at the supermarket. I felt like saying to him "SERIOUSLY. You're kidding, right? No - wait, you're wearing that ironically, right? You're trying to jinx them so they'll lose, yeah? No? Well do you remember where you are?" I had to snicker to myself.

Despite the 2 wins, the post-Tom Brady era isn't all that exciting, and one of my 2 fantasy teams has suffered for it, having picked Randy Moss in the first round with the 3rd pick overall. Grrr...

In other news, it's been great getting out of the house for boys night out the last couple weeks. D, who was the best man in my wedding, whom I thought I had a falling out with about a year ago, is now back in touch. Nothing like some male camraderie when you're around a bunch of women all day. Even at work, I only have 2 other males in my department, the other 4 are women, outnumbering us.

Have some random pictures from the last month or so.




07 September 2008

Go Pats!



Professional football has always been a part of my life. Sundays on the couch with my dad were the norm in my house as a kid growing up, and throwing the pigskin in our conveniently gridiron rectangular shaped backyard was commonplace. I remember my dad teaching me different passing routes, the difference between an out and an in, a post and a slant, a button-hook and a hail mary. He would bring home pick sheets from work and I would make my picks, usually the favorites because they had a better chance of winning.

Though my favorite teams have changed over the years (Giants, Bills, Packers, and now the Patriots), my love for the game hasn't changed over the years.

This time of year has always been my favorite - autumn's coolness replacing the heat of the summer. Schoolyard pickup games on weekends were a great way to get the guys together and flag football was played in PE. Defensive pass rush counts were heard: One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi...

Welcome to the 17 weeks of NFL Football.

PS: Kudos to my fantasy football mate Rob who named his "team 18 and OH NO". I know this Colts fan is snarking on our Pats but it is worth a giggle.

And I Quote... (I)

But the leaders of the free world
Are just little boys throwing stones
And it's easy to ignore
Till they're knocking on the door of your homes

Passing the gun from father to feckless son
We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young
Passing the gun from father to feckless son
We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young

-Elbow, "Leaders of the Free World"

Special thanks to Dawn for the idea for quotable posts.

05 September 2008

No such luck...

...for the game running over on time on McCain. That was stitched up quite nicely, it couldn't be more obvious that the NFL and NBC had their marching orders, however isn't it funny how nothing has been mentioned about it? Similar to the ECONOMY NOT being mentioned in McSame's speech? (Yes, I sat through the lameness that was. Clearly I laughed the whole thing off while trying to withhold my contempt for the septigenerian.) But right on for Code Pink for disrupting the speech. Bravo.

Anyhow, WTF Strahan? Has the NFL been taken over by the WWE and/or Hollywood? I have never seen anything like that opening. So surreal. But by far the quickest game I've seen, the time clock seemed to move right along. Shocking.

In other news, with Comcast retracting analog stations off their basic cable (basically having people pay the same for less service as stations migrate from analog to digital - I'm not affected in the living room as I have full digital there, but on the other 2 TVs I don't have digital boxes), MSNBC was removed from analog service. FOX NEWS was not. I smell conspiracy. Comcast, shame on you.

04 September 2008

Are you ready for some football?

First, read this.

I sooooo hope tonight's NFL football season opening game goes extra long tonight, thwarting McCain's network manipulating plans to cash in on viewers. So if you're reading, Eli Manning, throw lots of passes, keep it close; Refs, throw lots of yellow penalty flags; and coaches throw lots of red flags for challenge replays. America is counting on you! Defend this country from the right-wing crazies!

30 August 2008

Labor Day - one month to go in the baseball season

video

With the Yankees' season finally dead most likely, I've compiled this video, hope you enjoy. Happy Labor Day weekend! I'll be heading to NY to spend time with my family and enjoy one more shindig before the end of the summer. I haven't seen them since May and the new baby must be getting so big. Lots of photos to come, for sure.

25 August 2008

Doodle Week: Sunflowers

It's time for another Doodle Week!

I need to bust out of this creative slump, so I thought I'd really give some effort and replicate Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers.



And here is the original, care of Wikipedia:

The Blame Game


(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
Red Sox' Coco Crisp comes to the aid of RF Jacoby Ellsbury after making a catch crashing into the outfield wall.


All work and no blogging makes Redbeard a dull blogger...

Apologies for the extended absence, I've been suffering from blogger's block, plus Saturday I focused my energies so that Nothing But The Girl would have a nice post. Also now that a lot of my Red Sox bloggy buddies are on Facebook, we've been whooping it up over there. I could also blame the Olympics, that's also sapped a portion of my interest, sadly leaving the blog to hang out to dry.

Then there's also my fantasy baseball team tanking and mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, 2 fantasy football drafts (one autopicked so I'm scrambling to make changes before next Thursday), not to mention domesticity. There is much to contribute toward my blog delinquency.

I will get cracking on a cracking good post for tonight or tomorrow, hang tight!

Oh, and did I mention, I really hate John McCain and his divisive Rove-like tactics? I truly hope that you, the voter, can see through this thinly-veiled rouse.

18 August 2008

This world is way too small...

So I get an order for processing this afternoon from one of my colleagues. I looked at the name on the order and did a double take. Looked at the address on it, sure enough, that's got to be him.

I went over to my colleague who took the order and collected the information and said "This is too funny, you're joking with me right?"

He looked perplexed.

"See this address? This is where I went to college. And this name? He was one of my professors - Western Civilization, freshman year."

Now mind you, I didn't go to a large school, we only had about 1200 students maximum at any given time. But after 9 years of not hearing that name took me aback.

Another colleague had overheard this and said "Maybe you should 'lose' this order."

I said, "Well, he may have not have been my favorite teacher but he wasn't the worst one. I'll give him fair treatment."

Just another random chance meeting.

17 August 2008

More on McCain



Care of TheRealMcCain.com and Brave New Films Youtube Channel.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

16 August 2008

Separation of Church and State?


courtesy of someecards.com


Exactly what does God or religion have to do with running the country?

Tonight there will be a "forum" at the California megachurch Saddleback, home church of the Reverend Rick Warren and 23,000 of his mindless sheep. Here is an article.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

At any rate, it's going to happen. Obama really needs to shine here and frustrate McCain to the point of showing McW's need for anger management and inability to calmly and rationally lead a country, amongst other misgivings. By now those of us in this country have all seen the audacious and incredulous ads McCain has blanketed us with. You would think it's a no-brainer that Obama should win the election in 3 months. However there are still some small-minded ignorant individuals who are in need of enlightenment, like Hillbilly Willy or the asses at Free Republic, where if you have a differing opinion, you will be ridiculed, zotted, and your IP banned from the server. How American. As the title of Michael Moore's book asks, "Dude, where's my country?"

[I can't believe I've linked those 2 horrible places on the net, but I'm just doing it to prove a point that these kinds of people still exist and cannot be reasoned with. I know, I was brainwashed by one for about 4 years. Yes, I'm looking at you, Jeff Baker of Pennsylvania.]

13 August 2008

Just Because... More Distractions



Thanks to Claire for sharing this lovely little tidbit. Llama llama duck!

12 August 2008

Top 10 Albums Ever, IMHO, a distraction.

To distract myself from what's going on around me (see yesterday's post just below), I'm going to list my top 10 albums. Something simple, but maybe it will create some interesting comments or you can even list your top ten if you so desire. I won't judge you.

1. Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism
2. Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
3. Cure: Disintegration
4. Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair
5. Sigur Ros: Takk...
6. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Raising Sand
7. Barenaked Ladies: Gordon
8. Depeche Mode: Violator
9. The Smiths: Meat is Murder
10. Coldplay: Parachutes

Thank you to all the well-wishers, I am feeling a little better today, but who knows when the next wave will hit me. Anyone who's suffered grief before will understand - I compare it to treading water in the open ocean. You may or may not see land nearby. You can be treading water just fine, then a huge wave will suck you under, then you resurface, just trying to keep afloat, keep it together. Even for those of us some people consider "the strong ones", it's still the same. Tomorrow I will see the family and I'm sure it will happen all over again.

My/our supervisor who is blissfully unaware and out of the country - I'll be the first familiar face she sees when she comes back (I'm storing her vehicle at my place), and I'll have to break the news to her, and I've been thinking about how to do that. I won't have to do that until next Monday, and I'm sure all the same things will hit me all over again. Maybe not quite as hard or in a different way, but it will still hit me all the same.

Thanks to The Girl who made us a fantastic breakfast this morning, I was not expecting that. Thanks to her for putting up with my zombie ass.

11 August 2008

This isn't how I wanted to start my Monday.

The kind of coffee I usually get coming into work wasn't available.

I slammed my hand into the counter.

Small potatoes, those are nothing compared to what's really troubling me.

This morning I've come to find out the co-worker who happens to sit next to me, a part-timer, passed away this weekend. He was only 22. What I didn't know was that he had a heart condition. It was quite sudden by all accounts. Also his mother works here full-time, also in my department, actually my partner-in-crime as I like to refer to her as we work together on most of our projects. The poor woman... I've known her for the last 2 1/2 years. Her son I've only known like a year, maybe less.

I'm still trying to take it all in and just get through the grieving process so if I seem a bit off in the next few days to come, please understand. Thanks.

08 August 2008

What I've Learned From "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain



Ok, I'm going to wrap all this China/trout stuff together.

Awesomest show of the decade, No Reservations, featured either on Food Network or Travel Channel (I can't remember which - maybe both!), had a wonderful episode a few months ago. It featured Anthony in rural China, fishing with fisherman in the boats on whatever river it was in those funky looking mountains that look like something out of a fantasy novel or Lord of the Rings.

Except these fisherman had no fishing poles. None in sight. Instead they used an ancient method used in some societies around the world which used partially domesticated cormorants. Fishing with birds. The birds dove (see what I did there?) off the boat, diving to deep depths for what seemed to be an eternity. Suddenly the cormorant would surface on the water, the fishmonger would grab the fish from out of the cormorant's gullet. It was amazing to watch...

Ok so it shouldn't be any surprise that birds have been domesticated for ages. But placed in cages. Most people don't trust birds outside of a cage, you know for that whole flying away thing. Even used in occupation - the canary in a coal mine, those were caged. And what's preventing the cormorants from swallowing the fish for their own? I was so transfixed on this faraway place and the ancient time-tested traditions.

If I was in China, that's what I'd want to do, not inhale the nasty Beijing smog... I'd rather work in the rice fields than in a factory...

Have a marvelous weekend!

07 August 2008

Hey, where's that trout that stole my comments???

Is anyone else having issues with disappearing comments? Because in the Striped Bass post, 2 comments disappeared. Not marked 'deleted'. Just GONE.

06 August 2008

Brown Trout

Beware of the Brown Trout...



aka Phoning It In...

05 August 2008

Trout Bass Week!

The best way to catch a salt-water striped bass is to use a hot dog as bait. True story. The Girl's 8 year old cousin did it off the Maine coast earlier this year.


Obviously not the 8 year old cousin. Photo by massbayguides.com.

04 August 2008

Trout Week!



Ok so I bet you're asking yourself, what does Moxie have to do with trout? Well, I'll tell ya.

This week has been declared Trout Week by the lovely and also Canadian Cake, and she has delivered a very punny trout post today. So I thought of the only trout story I could think of.

With camping week still fresh in recent memory, I'll tell you a camp / fishing story.

There's this fishing hole some distance away from where we camp where one of The Girl's uncles takes the kids. All the kids are sworn to secrecy and I've never been there, so I can't tell you exactly where it is other than it's in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

It's on private property, I can tell you that. Uncle brings a whole gaggle of kids once or twice a year during the camping trip to this fishing hole. Uncle tells the kids there's just one price for admission to this coveted fishing hole.

A SIX-PACK OF MOXIE.

Soda. Fizzy drinks. Non-alcoholic. This man loved his Moxie.

Now if you're not familiar with Moxie, let me tell you. Moxie is one of the most vile concoctions ever produced. It can only be found in New England shops. It's like liquid marmite in a can. I've tried it only once, and only once is all you need.

Uncle and kids give the gentleman his Moxie, and he shows them the way to the fishing hole. Uncle and kids come back with about THIRTY Brook Trout (affectionately called Brookies around here), all about between 8 to 12 inches in length. Evidently fishing here is like shooting fish in a barrel. Just drop in your baited line into this small stream, and a bite is just moments away. Unreal. These are quality fish too, not some farm raised fatty fish. I ate at least three of these little guys last time they brought fish back.

So moral of the story is:

Almost in Jesus-like miraculous fashion, you can turn 6 Moxies into 30 Brook Trout and feed the multitude.

02 August 2008

Happy Blogoversary, DrowseyMonkey!




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A little over a year ago, I began on my own blog venture. On June 10, 2007, I took on the Redbeard persona originally as a baseball journal. It didn't take long for all other aspects of my life to take over the blog, which has made it more of a personal / humor / sport / music / political / mixed bag type of blog. As the cliche goes, life is what happens when you're making other plans. Now here I am on the eve of my 150th post! (I didn't post very often in the beginning.)

Little did I know shortly after I had begun my blog, so would a happy-go-lucky Canadian that goes by DrowseyMonkey. We had only met just a short month ago or so just before I went on vacation and just before Doodle Week.

So here's to you, DrowseyMonkey! :lifts glass: Cheers! Salut! Slainte! Tops and Bottoms...

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