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Old Man Gripes

November 2nd, 2015

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I’m an old man now. It’s time to start publishing my gripes.

Gripe #1:

These two DirectTV commercials, which attempt (poorly) to make fun of merging cable companies. I’ll post the first one. I know there’s at least one more, wherein the guy from all of those mockumentaries dumps boiled shrimp and ice all over the conference room table.

Read On...

Mandeville Sailing

October 29th, 2015

Saturday and Sunday, it rained like hell. We’ve had nothing but beautiful weather for as many days as I can remember, and I especially can’t think of when it was as wet and as ugly as it was this weekend.

But the weekend before was the last in a long line of absolutely perfect weather.

We decided to sail to Mandeville, a town that’s usually four or five hours from our home dock. It’s a nice little town, with a publicly funded wall fitted with water and power that’s absolutely free to the visiting sailor. Once there, you have a playground for the kids right there, the yacht club ( = bar for mom and dad, plus another playground), and many other places to eat or drink within an easy lakefront walk. It’s certainly worth an overnight trip.

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Summer Pattern

June 9th, 2015

This is the third week since schools let out in Baton Rouge, and the city is firmly situated into the rhythms of Summer. Traffic is better, people are out until late, and packs of camp kids broadcast noises from unexpected city blocks.

After being mostly away the past two weeks, our kids started camps this week. Vanya is doing dance, arts, and music at a camp that he seems to be enjoying quite a bit. Kolya is going to one that seems pretty similar to preschool. Let’s face it, though. Preschool is a day-long session of dicking around in fun ways that also happen to be educational for little kids. Drawing, Play-doh, songs. It’s a pretty good day compared to yours and mine.

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Gotcha 2015

May 29th, 2015

Today is Vanya’s gotcha day, so happy day to a wonderful, kind-hearted, enthusiastic kid who has an amazing ability to make people smile.

Our tradition is that the kids get to do pretty much what they choose, including a trip to the store to pick out a toy. Sometimes, this process is even hilarious.

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Purging My Innermost Complaints

May 28th, 2015

I keep hearing something that is turning me into a deranged, foamy-mouthed lunatic. I’m not sure if this has just started, or if I’ve just started noticing. But I keep hearing people say “bolth” instead of “both.” Are these maniacs stooges for the “L” lobby?

It started out on radio shows, where I shrugged it off as an oddity of a local accent somewhere in these United States. But then, I heard it more and more. I even had a friend who kept saying it one weekend when we caught up, and it was all I could do not to strangle him in front of his children.

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The Skinny on theskinny

May 20th, 2015

A year ago January, a momentous milestone passed without notice. The 10th anniversary of theskinnyonbenny.com.

This year, I moved the site to a new web host for the first time. Since theskinny was the very, very first thing I ever did on the internet, it’s chok-a-block full of pages that were developed really, really wrong. That means that pretty much every page, feed, menu, and link broke when I moved domains.

A sunset swing during
Easter Weekend (untouched photo, beautiful night).

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Old Man/Young Boy

March 26th, 2015

Here are three related things that happened today, all of which indicate that I’m older than dirt.

  • While brushing my teeth this morning, I tweaked my back. For you youngsters who don’t understand that terminology, the muscles suddenly (and somewhat violently) seize up and become painful and tight.
  • To sooth my back, I turned on the seat heater for my morning drive. This wasn’t uncomfortable, because despite being about 70 degrees, it was windy and overcast, and that felt a little cool.
  • When I got up around lunch time, my back was really quite stiff and sore. I decided to walk two blocks to a convenience store to pick up a pack of Aleve. I walked down, fixed a big giant diet coke, picked up a pack of Cheese-its for good measure, and totally forgot about the Aleve.

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Drive Tunes and Thoughts

March 16th, 2015

Here’s something that I thought (but didn’t) tweet this morning:

If SiriusXM has a counter for play count, I hope they used a BIGINT field to store it.

Too nerdy to actually post, but here’s the joke: A normal integer field (type INT) stores numbers up to about 2.1 billion. BIGINT basically uses two int fields together to store the number, so you basically get a number that’s more than 2 billion times 4 billion. For those of you who are mathematically disinclined (Shelly Williams), that’s a lot more than even eight billion!

(You get to double the 2nd one up to 4 billion because — well shit, no one here cares why. You can always read this if you feel you must. Also, this link is my signal to the real nerds that I don’t care to quibble about the little mathematical details that I’ve omitted.)

The song that brought me to think that a play count of 2 billion might not be enough is this:

It was one of those songs that both Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and I bought independently, thus burning up $1.09 of our children’s future inheritance. Then, I almost never play it, because any time I want to hear it, it’s already on the radio:

I’m ready for a full blown cover, in the style of a self-important piano bar singer in a swanky hotel lobby. Can someone do that for me?

There were several times in my youth where a group of us went to Pat O’Brian’s piano bar in the French Quarter and loudly demanded that they play the Three’s Company theme song. We could shout it for hours, filling their tip jar with our sweaty singles, and getting more and more obnoxious about being ignored. It never occurred to me then that they might not know how to play it.

Would it be true that anyone who is good enough to play in the Pat O’s piano bar is good enough to play the Three’s Company theme song by ear?

I imagine that today’s pianists might not even be able to bring the Three’s Company theme song to mind.

Let’s go ahead and embed that one too.

Unrelated, except that it was also a drive-time musing:

I passed a big truck marked “TMI Transportation” the other morning. I like to picture their drivers, standing around the dispatch office trying to kill time while their trailers are readied.

Driver: “You know what? The wife slobbed my knob this morning.”

Dispatcher: “Cool. I just made a bowel movement shaped like a pretzel!”

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