Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What's on the grill? Veggie Night.

The first thing one might notice is that my grill, being substantially smaller than Mike's grill, is jammed edge-to-edge with food. The older the boys get (and the fatter I get) the more grill real-estate I seem to need.

Anyway... another simple night. Kabobs were pre-kabobed from Kroger, which I don't really recommend. Nothing wrong with Kroger, but the kabobs I've made have always been much better. Corn in the husk at the direction of my wife. Squash and onions were marinated in and then brushed with a sauce made of butter, garlic, and white wine.

In the end, I ate four times as many veggies as I did meat... not my usual M.O.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


My friend Dave Collins recently ranted about disrespectful idiots at a baseball game. This morning my wife, my sons and I all got up early and went to Dayton National Cemetery with the Boy Scouts to assist in placing flags on all of the grave sites there. If you've never been to a National Cemetery, it is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.

Immediately as we arrived in the area of the VA, I was struck by the multitudes of cars and people flooding onto the grounds. I had expected to see several dozen scouts. There were hundreds and hundreds of scouts there:

In contrast to the morons Dave witnessed at the baseball game, these young men and ladies made me extremely proud. Shortly after I took this picture there was a short prayer. Heads were bowed, and everyone was quiet, even though we could hardly hear what was being said. Next was the Pledge of Allegiance. Hats off, proper salutes, and respect all around. There were some not-quite-short-enough speeches, followed by a bugler playing taps. I wish I had a photo of the line of four generations of old soldiers and young Boy-scouts, all lined up at perfect attention, with perfect salutes and serious faces. Hundreds of kids and adults stood in the hot sun and you could have heard a pin drop while the bugler played taps. It was amazing.

I was told that there are approximately 35,000 headstones at Dayton National Cemetery. As the staff distributed the flags, I looked with some amount of trepidation at the scores of young boys and girls, and expected pandemonium to break loose at any minute. I should have known from the kids' demeanor during taps that I would be wrong. The kids and adults fanned out with their flags, and within 25 minutes there was a flag at all 35,000 headstones. As I followed along carrying an armload of flags for the boys, I teared up when I realized that my son Zachary was very quietly and reverently saying the name on every headstone as he gently pushed a flag into the ground.


As it turns out, Dave, there is hope.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Things Not to do in a Job Interview

Having been involved in one way or another in the hiring process at work for several years now, I have had ample opportunity to witness first hand some of the most incredibly stupid behavior on the part of applicants. Recently when a dear friend asked me for some help preparing herself for a job interview I thought to myself, "Self, others might benefit from your wealth of experience in this area." I quickly agreed with myself and added, "Self, you should blog this." So here I am.

I should note that my intention here is not to write a blog helping to prepare you for your next interview. If you want interview tips, a simple google search should yield a plethora of information. If you are too lazy to google, check out the DOL website. If you found this blog whilst looking in earnest for some hot interview tips, you might be at the wrong place. If, on the other hand, you read interview tips at those other places and find yourself wondering, "Is it OK to show up to the interview talking on my cell phone?" (Because those other sites didn't specifically forbid it...) Then perhaps you are a complete idiot, and perhaps you should read my tips below.

Eric's list of Things Not to do in a Job Interview:

1. Do not show up to the interview dressed like a busboy.
2. Do not make fun of one of the interviewers for being bald.
3. The reason you want the job is not, "For the money."
4. Spit out your damn gum!
5. Related to the above: your grade-school teacher's admonition, "Did you bring enough to share with everyone?" does not apply in an interview setting. Don't offer me a stick of your gum.
6. Also related to #4 above: I meant for you to spit out your damn gum before you enter the room. Not in the interviwer's trashcan.
7. No matter how cool it was in 1982, your best matching jean jacket, jean shirt, and bluejeans are not appropriate interview apparel.
8. When asked why you left a previous business, the response, "It was retarded" is generally a poor answer.
9. "Nothing, really." is not the best response to the question, "What do you know about our company?" If; however, you decide to impress the interviewer with facts you know about the organization, make sure your facts are correct.
10. When asked if you think the position you are interviewing for, "sounds like something you could do..." a little more enthusiasm than, "I could try" is in order.
11. You probably shouldn't tell the interviewer that you want the job so bad you called in sick from your current job so you could attend the interview.
12. Incessantly repetitious nervous laughter doesn't put me at ease. As a matter of fact, it makes me think you are nuts and need your lithium.
13. I know your divorce was probably a painful experience for you, but do you really need to share that with me in a job interview?
14. When I go to the lobby to escort you in, don't say, "Just a sec..." while you wrap up your cell phone call.
15. Don't call me by my first name. We're not friends, and it's quite likely that even in the off chance you get the job, we still won't be friends.
16. Name dropping. It might be best if for a personal reference you don't drop the name of someone the company recently fired. YMMV, however.
17. Yes, the young lady who is assisting with the interviews is attractive. It would be nice if you broke eye contact with her breasts on occasion, though.
18. Don't wink at me. I'm straight. (That's for the guys only. No woman would ever consider winking at my ugly mug.)
19. Ladies: dressing like a tramp won't endear you to the interviewer. Unless of course you are interviewing for the position of, "tramp."
20. "I think smoking is disgusting..." might be a rather strong statement. Don't get me wrong, so do I; but someone on the panel is likely a smoker.
21. Speaking of smoking, do not show up smelling like a stale ashtray.
22. Speaking of smelling ... don't.

I'm sure more will come to me later... I might have to add to this list slowly over time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What's on the Grill? Beer Butt Chicken

Nothing exciting.
Not really a culinary feat.
Not very hard.
But always moist and yummy:

It looks a little burnt in this photo, but it's just blackened from all the wonderful hickory smoke that was goin' on in the grill. Very simply take a whole chicken and prepare in your favorite way (this one had a chipotle pepper rub (which is why it looks so orange) and then shove a half can of your favorite beer up it's arse. Two hours later: moist yummy birdy.

The hardest part is not burning the hell out of yourself when extracting the scalding can of beer from the clamped-down sphincter of a pugilistic bird.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lawnmower Wheels

Apparently Mike isn't the only person who hates the lawnmower wheels on grills... I saw this guy taking his ugly lawnmower-wheeled grill to the dump today.

(sorry for the crappy took-it-while-I-was-driving cell phone pic...)

Personally, I don't see what the big deal is... I don't cook with the wheels!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Mystery Package

The other day a strange box was delivered to my house by DHL. It had my name scrawled in sharpie on the outside and had what seemed to be an excessive amount of tape sealing the box. Having not ordered anything lately, I was immediately suspicious. Always aware of the possibility that I might be a very high value target for Al Queada, other terrorist organizations, Moveon.Org, People for the Ethical Treatment of Asparagus, or other men's crazed & over-bearing wives, I immediately considered the possibility that the box was a bomb.

Shrugging, I flipped open my always-present knife and began cutting into the box. The box made a funny metallic clang, which stopped me in my tracks and again made me wonder about the possibility that terrorists had found me in my safe house. Checking the label, I saw that it purported to be shipped from a business in Columbus called Automation and Control Technology, Inc. "From where do I recognize that name?" ... I wondered in perfect English. Inside was a treasure beyond the imagination: a 1938 No. 8 1/2 Erector Set!

Sorting through the inside of the sturdy metal case, I marveled that it appeared as if nearly all of the pieces were inside, including the electric motor (which I tested... it does work.) and the square girder, which (according to the manual) was apparently a unique item:

My sons both decided it was pretty cool, for old folk stuff, and decided that they wanted to build something. Flipping open the instruction manual, I found this greeting:

Snickering to myself at the myriad of jokes swarming through my head that only a former sex-crimes detective could appreciate, we flipped through the manual for a while.

We haven't had time to try and build anything yet, but I'll post some pictures of my, er I mean, the boys' first creation as soon as it's finished.

Oh, I rechecked the label closer and the box had come from my cousin Brandon. (Actually, I think it's "first cousin once removed" but we always just went by "cousin.") Thanks, Brandon. Drop me a line and tell me where you found this gem!

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's a conspiracy !!!

It appears that one by one, every single one of my former places of employment are being smashed into dust... here's how the Salem Mall looked this morning:

For some reason they smashed the entire mall to hell, leaving only this twenty foot sqare patch of building with crazy shirley temple style rebar hairdo (which appeared to be one of the restrooms at the old theater) standing.

(By the time I worked there I was up to $7.80/hr ... security guard wages!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What's on the grill?

My little brother had an ongoing blog running called, "What's for dinner?" I think I'm going to steal from his idea somewhat and start occasionally posting "What's on the Grill?" posts here. Keep in mind that little brother is a trained chef, and I'm just a fat surly guy who likes the taste of cooked flesh. Don't expect much.

For our first installment, we simply have good ole' American cheeseburgers with what I call "Mike & Zoe's Damn Good Grilled Asparagus."

The burgers were a simple concoction of sirloin ('cause I can afford that sort of thing) Italian sausage, an egg, some bread crumbs, and whatever spices caught my eye as I twirled the spice rack in circles. My lovely wife prepared the asparagus for grilling, trying with all her might to match the wonderful taste of "Mike & Zoe's Damn Good Grilled Asparagus." Tarragon, olive oil, and kosher salt brought the final result as close to Mike's as we've been able to recreate thus far... and it's the only way the kids will touch asparagus ... they begged for more when it was all gone.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

How to embarass your teenage daughter...

Actually, I could start a whole new blog with this theme, but this one in particular was incredible, and I can't even take credit for it...

Today my almost-sixteen daughter and I went shopping for flowers to plant in front of the house. The entire time we were at the nursery she was noting all the "cute guys" who were there working as flower-waterers or whatever. After we roamed around and selected our fifty dollars worth (!!!) of flowers, we went up to the register to pay for our stuff, and I told register-lady that I needed two bags of cow poop and three bags of mulch, too. The lady rang us up and then asked, "What are you driving? I'll have someone bring your mulch and manure to your car." I described our new Range Rover to the lady, and she picked up the P.A. and said: "I need two bags of manure and three bags of black gold for the..." (pausing as she looked at my daughter and I, sizing us up) "... young couple with the pink and purple hanging basket coming out to the Range Rover."

My daughter was completely mortified at the idea of being confused as her fat, ugly dad's wife or date...

Nice to know that I still look like a young stud...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fox news rocks...

And the award for greatest headline of 2007 goes to foxnews.com:

(Oh, the rest of the story is on foxnews.com but it's not nearly as good as the headline splased on their front page.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

One more reason my life is charmed...

Life is good.

Question: What do you get when you saute onions, then stir in some dry white wine, a splash of red wine, and reduce before mixing it in with a 70:30 combination of sirloin and ground pork along with a mish mash of other stuff?

Answer: The best damn burgers I've ever had...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Career Down the Drain...

I've always had a second career lined up in case I ever did something stupid enough to get me fired from my job... which I don't think is very likely: you pretty much have to be brain dead and/or try to get fired, but I digress. I had some previous training in this other career and was very successful in the career for two years before moving into my current career path. Today I found out that my "backup career" is over with. Finished. Kapoot. Gone.

Yes, it's true. The very first place I ever received a paycheck from is gone. They demolished my old Taco Bell on Main street... never again will I be able to re-live the glory days of saying into the drive-thru mic, "Welcome to the border, can I take your order?" No more can I hope to return to Taco Bell and resume my place of honor as mexican fast food's answer to Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. (I used to be able to flip the meat scoops and bean trowels behind my back like on the movie... I was quite a hit with customers and team members alike, if I do say so myself.)

Goodbye, old friend... I'll miss the $3.35 an hour you paid me...