Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Twin Cities brush with fame

Hmm... Cool..?

Lady Sovereign hangs out at our local Gay-Club.

Minneapolis suddenly seems so Brit-pop-weird. I wish I liked hip-hop/rap. I wish I liked Lady Sovereign (saw her on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, and thought, "what a load of shite.")

Och weel...

Nice to know she's gay. I think I almost don't hate her anymore. The fact she's at least a little counter-culture makes her a more interesting person.

-- T

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Linky Day Wednesday, Monday Version

Well, I know that you're wondering why I'm being such a git, and using the "Linky Day Wednesday" thing once more, on a day other than Wednesday. Well, 'cause it's become a "thing" now. Deal.

Okay, here we go:
  • I promised I'd link to My Lady's Blog, and so I will. I'm actually meant to link to this particular entry: Michelle Bachman's different personalities, and depending on when you check her blog... both of the links above could be the same place, or not... Hmm... Weird. Quick explanation, Michelle Bachman is the new Representative for the sixth district of Minnesota in the House of Representatives. We don't like her. My wife is funny! Tee hee...
  • Too much free-time, and then I discover it's an advert for "restless leg syndrome." It's got to be an advert from the U.K. as we all know, Yanks don't get commercials like this one.
  • The American's Guide to speaking British Okay, so... Not all of this is right, they rhymed minger with finger, but... Beyond that... It's funny.
  • Okay, THIS is only the first page of the entire website, but damn, if it ain't apt.
  • Not as good as other "hand-signal" jokes I've seen, but... Soldier's Hand Signals is still good for a quick chuckle.
  • A rather fun "Liberal's Cartoon" that I found: Minimum Security. I laughed, I cried... It was better than Cats I want to see it again, and again, and again...
  • And finally... At the very bottom of this post, you'll see MY results, but why don't YOU play with the Warning Label Generator? 'Cause it can be fun.
I hope you find enjoyment in these links today... Oh, before I forget... Here's MY warning label:

Adiós, mi amigos!
-- Tuckmac

Thursday, January 25, 2007

YAY Britannia

People ask me quite often, "Why are you such an Anglophile, Tuckmac?" "What, don't you love your country?"

Yes, folks... I DO love my country. I don't actually like my country very much, but I have a deep love for it, one can't help that. If you're born somewhere, and spend much of your 'growing up' years in a place, it's bound to grow on ya.

That being said... I AM an Anglophile. I love Britain. The entire kit and kaboodle that IS the British Isles. I love the people, life-style, socialised health-care, pensions (even though they're in trouble), the BBC, Sunday roasts, well... Everything.

Politics. These are things that I also appreciate in Britain, compared to my home. I like the politics there. They have the same sorts of issues that WE have, a few 'warring parties' conservatives versus liberals, etc, et al... However, although they have many of the same issues that we have over here in the States, they also seem to have one thing that doesn't creep into their policy-making.

One thing... The one thing that tends to really f-up MY COUNTRIES political system... You know what I'm talking about here?


See, although the States claim to have separation between church and state, we actually DON'T. All sorts of weird ideas that have been simmering in an ancient and dusty tome, written by a bunch of dry old silly men who actually thought that living in and fighting over a DESERT was a great idea (and continue to do so), claims that most modern people would find reprehensible, these ideas creep continuously into each and every facet of law and 'order' that the United States exists within.

One of these annoying ideas, of course is Roe v. Wade (abortion). See, in 1973, abortion was made legal in the U.S. and for 34 years now, we've had crack-pots running up and down yelling about how a cluster of cells is a "baby" and frankly more interested in giving rights to UN-born beings than the people that are ALREADY born.

It's a "life" they say... Folks, it's a ZYGOTE, okay? It's not life yet. It just isn't. But because the religious people in my country control the politics so well... Well, it constantly rankles people.

You know, this whole Pro-life/Pro-choice thing actually HAS a bit of moral-ambiguity about it... I mean, hell I'M uncomfortable about abortion, and I think any non-religious, secular-minded person SHOULD be a bit worried about the idea.

But you know the one place that REALLY yanks my chain, when it comes to some weird "religious philosophy" interfering with U.S. Law?


Homosexual rights.

People "playing" for the other team... Whatever you call it...

This issue REALLY chaps my hide.

Gays getting married? Oh no... That's the destruction of our moral western society!

Yeah, right.

Gays having children? Oh no... That's ALSO the destruction of our moral western society!


Well... Here's where my love of Britain pops up, (and I get to my original point, after rambling for a half an hour), Cabinet rejects exemption on gay adoptions. They've decided against the Catholic Church in Britain descriminating against adoption services for gay families. And you know what I have to say to that one? "Alleluia!"

See... Nothing like a good: Stick it up your robe-wearin' bum you weird religious-ers!

Sorry... I'm regressing to some sort of silly anti-religious nut job here, aren't I?

Well, I'm still nothing like Richard Dawkins.

Okay, I've had my fun... Smiles readers!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Damn, a bloody meme, AGAIN???

As with most bloggers, I find memes to be extraordinarily annoying. I do. However, I come across one, once and a while (more often now due to a certain friend's weird sense of humour), that frankly MAKES me fill it in. Damn. As I found this originally on "MySpace" please be ready for it to be slanted towards that particular genre. Cheers... Okay, on with the MEME:

Meant to be completed by those ADULTS out of high school.

Tired of all of those surveys made up by stupid high school kids?

'Have you ever kissed someone?'
'Missed someone?'
'Told someone you loved them?'
'Drank alcohol?'

Ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

Well, here are some questions for the people who are a little more mature. Pour a glass of wine, sit back with some good music, and enjoy this little adult survey.

The New Yorker or Harper's? New Yorker.

HBO or CSPAN? BBC America.

Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot? Merlot

Favorite vacation getaway spot? Lake District (England)

"A Love Supreme" or "Kind Of Blue"? I suppose Miles Davis anything.

Where's the best place to eat a romantic dinner? Anywhere, as long as I'm with My Lady

What's your favorite deducation that you claim on your 1040? Tech Gear (depreciating, baby)

Would you prefer a 30-year fixed mortgage at a 5.77% interest rate, or a 15-year fixed mortgage at a slightly lower rate? Well, if it's actually FIXED, I would have to go with the 30 year, simply 'cause I can't afford to pay a mortgage in 15 years. Variable rate mortgages "look" better, but tend to be a losing proposition in the end.

What were your thoughts on California Ballot Proposition 1D, the Kindergraten - University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006? It's a brilliant idea, however they haven't proven they have the funding for such a wide-reaching goal.

Do you feel it is responsible of the California State Legislature to appropriate money from the General Fund to pay off these bonds? It's better than MY governor "borrowing" money to pay for a crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Do you think the rattling noise your car is making is the CV joints, or do you think the engine camshaft is damaged? I didn't realise that my car had a curriculum vitae joint?

How expensive do you think it will be to fix it? One Million dollars and a blow-job for the mechanic at the garage.

Jesus Christ, you're kidding, right? Nope.

Do you know a good mechanic? Yes, he washes his dick really well right before I have to bend over and give it to him.

Which credit card are you going to use to pay for it? Capitol One, it's the only credit card I have. My GM Card was finally paid off, and I tore the puppy up.

Aren't you maxed out on that one? No, they keep upping my limit, the bastards. I could charge a frigging YACHT on the damn thing. Pay it OFF? No. But I could buy a yacht.

What do you dislike most about high school students, their terrible haircuts or their horrible taste in music? I'd say it was the sense of entitlement that they all seem to have.

Why don't they like good bands, like Fugazi or Versus? Or Hüsker Dü?

What's with this "emo" shit they're into? I haven't figured out what 'emo' is yet... For a while, it was "bad" to be "emo" and now it seems to be good. I remember when I was a kid, we didn't change definitions all the bloody time, god dammit!

What's their damn problem, anyway? I really don't know... Bastards.

There you go folks, a "MySpace" Meme from Andy Sturdevant. Thanks Andy...


Yesterday I went to work at eight o'clock in the bloody morning, in order to leave at one, to pick up the most wonderful – amazing – and gorgeous woman in the world, from the airport.

My Lady is home. I am content. More to follow.

-- Tuckmac

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Um... Okay...

Although Cope is all about the "Google Analytics" thing, I tend to enjoy StatCounter for all my web-tracking needs on this blog.

That being said, occasionally one gets surprised. I was taking a look at my "recently came from" Stats from my Statcounter, and... I was drawn to this entry:

B$ The Fantasy Blog Stock Market.

Um... First, I had no idea that there WAS such a thing. (Although, heck... I just played an on-line version of the British Football Fantasy Sport's League, and no... I'm not going to link to it, as I bombed rather horribly.)

Secondly, I'm rather surprised that I'm being "traded" as I don't remember signing up to be traded. Seriously. I don't think I did this. My questions are legion: 1. Are you allowed to "trade" blogs you don't actually run? 2. Did I do something in an altered state (which I admit, I've been known to do)? 3. Who's trading me, if I didn't actually do this in an altered state? 4. As I write this, I'm worth B$6,996.42, according to the "B$ stock-market," is this "good?" 5. Okay, so my questions aren't "legion" but... They're still questions.

I like the whole "B$" idea, as it resembled "B.S." which I am not going to translate, and really shouldn't have to.


I don't know... All I DO know, is THANKS to StatCounter for drawing my attention to my "value."


I think I'm going to go consume some arsenic. I've heard that it has similar chemical composition to LSD, and thus, is a rather 'interesting' way to go, if you ignore the horrific pain that's involved.

Or not.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This day in History.

Fine readers, it's the 16th of January today, and, my birthday.

(Okay, I admit that was a naff first sentence, but, deal...)

I've never actually DONE this before, but, I went to "The History Channel" dot com, and checked the "This day in History" link for the 16th of January. Link.

What happened on my birthday? Well, you can check the link, but I'll throw a few highlights up there...
  • Susan Sontag is born. Hmm... I share my birthday with my own arch-nemesis. Why is she my nemesis? Well, she's dead now, so I suppose the "arch-nemesis" thing has ended... But the reason stems mainly from a quote of hers: "Photographs are the death-masks of imagery" When I wrote my MFA thesis, I used Sontag as a description of art-critics that make me sick.
  • Prohibition, passed as law earlier, takes effect. I mean, if there isn't a more "anti-Tuckmac" thing that exists???
  • The 1st Persian Gulf war begins. This one is uncomfortable. Especially when one considers today's 'shite' happening in Iraq. You know, "Daddy lost, so I'm gonna get 'em in Iraq, uh huh..." But I do have a funny story considering this puppy. You see, on the 16th of January, 1991 I turned 18 years old. In the States, on your 18th Birthday (as a boy) you're meant to "Register for Selective Service" which means the "draft." I went into the post office (that's where we do it, not sure why) to 'register' for the draft, the day THE WAR STARTED! The guy at the post office took the form from my hand, looked up at me, and said, "You've got to be kidding me." I ruefully shook my head and replied, "Nope."
  • Tuckmac the socialistic-liberal-tree-hugger is born, 1973. I was meant to be born on the 17th or 18th of January, but darn if I didn't want to get going! My mother felt her first labour-pains the evening of the 15th. Went to Hospital, and was told by the nurse, "Well, it's going to be a while yet, you're only at 1 centimeter. (Ten, for those of you not versed in birth-talk, is the 'whoo-boy' moment.) The nurse left the room... 30 seconds later my mother was pressing the button on the 'call box' yelling for the nurse to return. The nurse exasperatingly returned saying, "Jean, it's going to be a while." My mother argued, "No, it's right now." Because of her distress, the nurse took a brief 'look' once more probably to reassure my mother that it was still only at one centimeter, and discovered... You guessed it... Mother was at 10 centimeters. A process that usually takes hours, happened in less than a minute.

    Hey, like I said... I wanted to get going. I do have to say, that although the process began, like many first (and sadly only children) I took a while. I was born at 12:05am on the 16th of January on a very cold and frosty 'early' morning at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.
And, to end this rather BLATANT "cheese sandwich" blog entry, I give you:

Tuckmac, aged one year. I was actually sorta cute!

Jeez... what happened?

Tuckmac, aged 33 and 11 months (older photo), not so cute.

Have a great one folks... I am.

-- Tuckmac

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Newspapers, Internet, et al...

About two weeks ago, our Minneapolis/St. Paul newspaper, the Star Tribune was sold to an investment firm; our local "weekly's article" about it. Obviously... It's pretty big news.

What's really interesting, is the kerfuffle that I've been noticing IN the StarTrib and how the issue is leaking into all sorts of commentary, and articles, and thoughts by the "talking heads" of the Twin Cities.

You see... A big reason for EVERY newspaper in the States to be nervous, is the proliferation of the Internet as a "news source" for so many people. I admit, as a blogger who enjoys his "rants," that I use the Internet as a source for at LEAST 75% of my news-gathering. Newspapers are facing an uphill battle, as readership recedes due to the ease and sheer amount of "data" that is available on-line.

Many of the articles in the newspaper these past few weeks have been making points like: "Well, yeah, you get your 'news' from on-line, but generally, it's ON-LINE NEWSPAPER SITES from which you are receiving the news!

Somewhat true.

I personally scan the New York Times, the The Guardian AND my local Star and Sickle for my main news. However, in defense of others, I spend quite a bit of time on the Beeb and Reuters for a LARGE proportion of my linking habits, which I'm sure my readers have noticed.

Today in the "Star and Sickle" a favourite of both My Lady and myself, Garrison Keillor (by the way, if you follow the next link, you'll discover that they don't actually RUN the column on the on-line version of the StarTrib. This is a blatant example of Newspapers sticking it their readership, and trying desperately to maintain a PAPER sale) wrote about how newspapers are all about style, and being online is 'un-cool'. I'll excerpt the first half of the first paragraph here, and hopefully won't get sued, but it's great writing, so... there:
    It seems to me, observing the young in coffee shops, that something is missing from their lives, the fine art of holding a newspaper. They sit staring at computer screens, sometimes with wires coming out of their ears, life passing them by as they drift through MySpace, that encyclopedia of the pathetic, and check out a video of a dog dancing the Macarena.
He goes on from there... But anyhoo... To give you the gist, Mr. Keillor believes that there's something magical about holding a newspaper. Scanning the news, knowing the news, and well... Appearing to MAKE the news is a stylistic choice that youngsters don't get. But I digress, Mr. Keillor's column today is simply another: "save our newspapers from the evils of on-line news-gatherers."

Perhaps it's due to my being in the "in between" generation as a young "X'er." But I LOVE newspapers. I buy one whenever I can. I subscribe to the StarTrib, and I USED TO subscribe to the New York Times. However, cost is always an issue, innit? I love 'em though... The feel of the print, the ability to take in news that you find interesting, all the while getting nasty inky fingers... Awww, the beauty of it! I also LOVE on-line sources of news! It's on-demand, I get news from all over the world, many sources, many viewpoints, and in many ways.

I like BOTH ways of news-gathering.

So, I understand the stress that newspapers "all-over" are going through. See, the really great demographic for advertising is that coveted 18-25 year-old group... And folks... 18-25's (or Generation NEXT, which still bugs me as a label) are ON-LINE GROUPIES! My wife RARELY reads an actual paper. She is ALWAYS on-line however, absorbing news from home (Britain) or from around the U.S., what-have-you.

But there's a nice "middle ground," folks... I enjoy being firmly within this zone and I'm going to give you an example of it today, ending my column with that example.

I was reading the Entertainment section of the Star and Sickle today, when I ran across THIS, but on the printed page. Chris Riemenschneider, one of the music critics at the StarTrib, plugging Beth Orton and M. Ward's new version of the old Dylan song, Buckets of Rain. Well... I read it, saw it was the "$.99" option (Brits would probably call it the £.79 option), and quickly jumped onto my iTunes music store, and bought the puppy.

It's a great song. I read about it in the newspaper, went on-line (not to a music store) and bought it.

Instant freaking gratification, thanks to both the printed page, AND the magic of the Internet.

Folks, we live in a weird, strange, and wondrous world. Let's try to enjoy it sometimes, huh?


Saturday, January 13, 2007

You know, Mr. Shrub... I got an idea:

The Shrub says critics must offer alternatives to his "troop surge" plan, and you know what? I got one right fricking here, bud:

Get the fug OUT, and admit that we've lost!

There you go, shrubbery, that's your fugging alternative to killing more of our husbands, wives, sons and daughters by sending them over to Iraq!

See... The people of our fine country gave an overwhelming response to your Iraq War in November of this past year. We. Don't. Want. To. Stay. There.

What part of that don't you and your fugging neo-cons (which have been dropping like flies, I notice) understand?

You keep harping on "Victory." Shrub, there IS no bloody victory to be had in Iraq. Okay? You fugged that one up a LONG time ago. There will be no democratic government in Iraq. There will be no "collision of parties made up from separate sects of Islam" agreeing to govern a democratic Iraq, there will BE no PEACE, Mr. President, in Iraq.

All you are doing is continuing the same PROVEN losing strategy, with which you began the war. See, the strategy hasn't worked. "We will work with the Iraqi government, and assist them in dealing with the insurgency." If you haven't BLOODY NOTICED the right-wing Muslim cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, is a HUGE PART of the bloody freaking coalition Government in Iraq, and his PERSONAL MILITIA is responsible for the largest Shi'a insurgency in Baghdad!

There are millions of things about your so-called strategy that have been PROVEN to not work in the past four years, and simply repeating the same daft and murderous plan over and over is ridiculous.

Shrub, perhaps you haven't heard this one, but... A definition of insanity is attempting the same action over and over, and expecting a different result.

Does that shed any light into your freakishly moronic brain?

Here's the alternative to your troop surge:

1. Begin staged withdrawals of our troops from Iraq.

2. Begin staged withdrawals of our troops from Iraq.

3. Begin staged withdrawals of our troops from Iraq.

4. Admit to the American people, and TO THE WORLD, that you were wrong to go to Iraq.

5. Make an apology to the American people, the American Military, and the entire world, for lying, cheating and forcing an American populous to fool themselves into believing you were RIGHT to go to that place, and also...

6. Admit that America is at fault for causing untold pain, torture and torMENT to the peoples of the Middle East, and say (and fugging DO) you'll pay for the rebuilding of an Iraq that MAY JUST NOT LIKE US ANYMORE, and do it with a conciliatory smile.


There's your plan. This critic has given his alternative to your fugging INSANE plan for "victory" in the hell-hole that is Iraq.

Any more bloody questions, Shrub?

-- T

Friday, January 12, 2007

Linky Day Wednesday, on FRIDAY

Due to my extreme stress of being a "wifeless-husband" this week, my blog titles are failing me rather horribly.

Och weel. As you guessed from the title, I'm doing a Linky-day post today. It's gonna be a short-un, as I must CALL my beautiful wife in the next 20 minutes or so.

  • As if we don't have enough problems, the U.S. Embassy is attacked by the Greeks! What the? Anastasia, what's up with that? Wait, you're living in Britain. Okay... Sofia, what up? ;-) I think it's rather amusing to ask my Greek friends why folks in their country are attacking my country's embassy, 'cause like... They wouldn't have any more of an idea as to why right-wing nut jobs are attacking people, any more than I understand why my government is still killing our troops and others in Iraq!
  • I missed this "call in show" on the public radio today, but it's funny. Understanding people under 25. I really should'a caught this one, as My Lady and wife is one of these people. There are a few times, in my marriage, where My Lady and I come to a rather strange place of mutual-misunderstanding. See, I'm on the very bottom end of the X'ers, and she's in the "Next" generation now. I really don't get that. What happened to the "Generation Y" folks? "Millennials?" What... Generation NEXT? Please.
  • Like most Apple-techie geek type people, I've been gushing over the new iPhone from Apple. See, I'm on Cingular, I have always WANTED a PDA, but have a Mac... And also, my iPod was one of those "early ones" where my battery stopped working, pretty much right after I opened the bloody shipping box from the AppleStore. I need a new iPod, my current mobile-phone is a bottom end "flip-phone" and I'm working in I.T. now, and rather need something a bit more portable than my 17" Powerbook G4 Laptop. This stupid iPhone thing, is my dream. I mean... I actually DREAMT about the bloody thing last night! (Had a nice dream about My Lady too, but that's not appropriate for a family-friendly blog like this one.) Anyhoo... Now that some of the "Tech-orgasms" are calming down, I found a really interesting article on Wired-Magazine's web-site. iPhone calling the future. Living dreams of being connected to a web-streamed version of Nirvana, with my life/apps/and communications buzzing around me in a field of electrons is rather exciting. Och weel... The future is bright, but IN the future.
I'm off to call My Lady...

Smiles and Kittens,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You know, it's funny...

Since I've been working evenings, I find that I miss quite a bit of T.V., and also important things, like the Shrub, blathering on about how he's going to try really hard to destroy the America I love THIS time.

(Still on my resolution... That's a substantial sentence with which to start a blog today, innit?)

I missed Mr. Shrub's address to the Nation last night. And, strangely enough, I am not currently upset about that.

I had a fleeting moment, of, well... Something like, "Oh, wasn't HE on tonight?" But really, that was it.

I got home (still with the mom - 'rent, except she's nice and all, so it's cool) and my Mother was actually rather incensed. It was kinda cute. She kept going off on what he said, and then she'd say something like, "And another thing..." and she'd keep going, and say, "And what REALLY pissed me off..." and she kept going...

You get the point.

The whole thing is... During this 'rant' time, I just wasn't.

Yep, you read that correctly... I wasn't upset at the Shrub's speech. There's several reasons for this, and I'll list them here:
  • First, they've been saying WHAT The Shrub was going to say, on the news, for the past three days. Thus, lightening any shock that I may feel.
  • Second, look... The Shrub is doing his best to end all life on earth. It's quite obvious. So, nothing the guy says really takes me aback anymore.
  • Third, people that ARE angry about his speech keep saying stuff like: "But, the Bi-Partisan Iraq Commission said this." or "The Military Commanders said this." or... Well, you get the point. Folks, for the LAST frigging time... The Shrub is THE DECIDER! He's already proved that no matter WHAT people tell him, he's going to "DECIDE" to do the exact opposite. It's really not his fault... He can't help it, he's just darn-ornery. If all the generals told him that the war would be lost if we ADDED troops, and the Iraq-commission told him that "Don't you DARE speak with Iran and Syria" Hell... He'd cut troop levels and begin to have a weekly coffee-clatch with Ahmadinejad 'cause... (play along at home now...) "He's the Decider"
So, really... Come on... We all knew it was coming. The Shrub has spoken... All hail the Shrub.


Okay, so as to NOT end on a sour note. (I'm trying to be positive, at least occasionally...) I have a few photos.

First, on January 8th, I made this photo. A few things. One: I live in Minnesota. Two: It's friggin' January. Three: Did I friggin' mention it was BLOODY WINTER HERE??? Okay... Take a look see:

A FLY, on my car, in January, in Winter, in MINNE-freaking-SOTA! (glove for scale)

Just so's you know... No. The poor thing was NOT really moving around much, so obviously it wasn't going to "fly away" or "be normal" or anything. But it's still spooky that I had a fly on my car in JANUARY.

And just so you all can see my work-space at work... Here's a little image. I've added a photo of My Lady and myself at Melrose Abbey from almost three years ago, now. Awww... Yep, still missin' her. Her gallivanting around London and the South-East, whilst I sit here at my desk workin' hard, and stuff...

Tuckmac's Desk at L.O.L.A.U.

Well, my wee little chickens!

See ya,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Big time "Cheese sandwich" today...

I'm having a fine day today, a Friend gave me a bit of guff for not blogging a tonne lately, and yeah... I've been a bit busy.

Well, My Lady is currently galavanting around London. Yeah, I miss her. So...

Anyhoo, I'm just trying to get work done at my job, etc... It's a great job, lots of strange balancing of time/order/schedules and messing about. But it keeps me on my toes.

I've decided to "detox" myself for a while while My Lady is gone. We tend to do a bit of the "tipping" during the year, and for the next few weeks, I'm off the alcohol. My Brit friends may think that I've gone insane, and it's probably true. But I'm on my second day in a row with not a drip/drab/dram/or drink. I feel a bit funny... ;-)

The Lease is signed! and both My Lady and I are very excited. I just can't wait. Fi and I also have been "buying stuff" for the flat, and we just bought a wonderful "Oriental Style" rug for the living room, and we've been looking at "paint chips" for the walls. Yay.

I've also (and you read it here first) decided to attempt ONCE AGAIN to (dum, dum, daaaammmmm) QUIT SMOKING!

Yep, you read that correctly... Tuckmac, the veritable "Smoking Chimney Stack" has decided to attempt to become a "non-smoker" type human. The "quit date" is on the Ides of March. Why so far away from right now? Well, frankly, it's 'cause I'm really going to have to work myself up to this sort of thing. So...

Any and all friends of Tuckmac... During the month of March, and probably a good portion of April... I'm going to be a bloody f-ing BASTARD! Be ready, you have been warned.



Sometimes, I really shouldn't "blog" as I really don't have much to say at the mo'. Sorry readers...

Thanks for the link in the last round of Comments, Abi...
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Excellency Tuckmac the Mystical of Larkhill under Porton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

-- T

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Okay, I have to weigh in on this one...

Okay, so Polka-dancing Cope sited his friend Monica's Blog's "List of Strange Things" comparing British-ish stuff to American-ish stuff.

I found her blog through Cope's, about two years ago, and she's "added to the list" since I last read it. So... Thanks to Cope for reminding me about it, and thanks to Monica for actually DOING it. It was a brilliant idea, and damn, I wish I had thought of it.

That being said, like most people, I'm going to throw up a truncated listing of things that Monica thought was weird, as I basically agree with her. The funny thing, is that if you read the comments (at the bottom of her "list") a lot of Britishers got a bit arsey with her. Now, as a Yank who makes fun of his OWN country, much more often than making fun of Britain, I want to tell all those folks to calm the heck down! Okay... So, here's a few of the highlights from her list that I also found extremely strange, whilst living in Britain. (Little note, she thought "whilst" was a 'strange thing,' which obviously, I do NOT. I love that word.) Okay... Here we go:

Strange Thing #1: People here are so nice it's almost scary!

I didn't find this. Not that some people WEREN'T nice, but they tended to resemble my fellow Minnesotans... "Nice" on the surface, but tending towards the passive-aggressive.

Strange Thing #3: They call "juice," "squash!"

Poor Monica got HAMMERED on this one in the comments. People from all over Britain took the piss saying "juice is fruit juice, not squash" which in my experience is true. Funny thing... In Canterbury, squash was made with a concentrated fruit-like syrup, and was either called "squash" or "cordial" Usually you MADE a squash out of cordial. My wife (from Scotland) called the syrupy stuff "diluting juice" and continues to argue with me when I call it cordial. So... Semantics are important, I guess.

Strange Thing #6: They drink Aftershock.

I rather liked Aftershock, but usually only after I was already in the "drooling on myself" phase.

Strange Thing #10: There are two types of light bulbs here. And if you are unaware of this fact, and try to fit the wrong bulb in, you will short circuit your brand new lamp and cause the fuse to blow.

I hated the freaking light-bulbs! There are MORE than just two, and I always bought the wrong one when I tried to replace a bulb. There's BIG-bayonet, LITTLE-bayonet, BIG-screw and LITTLE-screw, and it annoyed the PISS out of me.

Strange Thing #11: Text messages in this country are the primary mode of communication.

Well, texting WAS pretty 'in' in Britain. And at first, I found it strange... But now I continuously bother my "Yank-friends" by texting them, rather than calling them. Hey, habits are hard to break. That being said... I was looking for one of my "Student Workers" at my job, and I sent him a text. His response: "You're too OLD to text message people." TOO OLD? PISS off!

Strange Thing #12: Men here are not afraid to admit they like sappy movies.

Monica's met some weird men. I never met a guy in Canterbury who would admit to watching anything except sports!

Strange Thing #20: The wide range of available flavors of crisps (a.k.a. potato chips.)

Yeah, "meat-flavoured" crisps... Still VERY disgusting. I still lean towards the more normal (to me) crisp flavours like: Sour Cream and Onion, Sour Cream and Cheddar, and BBQ... (wait a minute.)

Strange Thing #22: They don't have dryer sheets. (Actually they do, but they are damn hard to come across.)

This is because they don't BLOODY WELL HAVE CLOTHES DRYERS! What the HELL is that, anyway??? Two years of HELL that's what it was! I was actually washing My Lady's work uniform yesterday and thought, "Thank GODS I live here now, and can actually use a dryer!"

Strange Thing #25: Serious lack of decent Mexican food.

True. Very, very TRUE! It's been great to come back here, and get some proper Mexican. Of course, there's a dearth of "Mexicans" that LIVE in Britain, so... It's understandable. However, I really, really missed it. For the record, My Lady is now QUITE addicted to Mexican food, and it's a "regret" that we'll both share when we move back to Britain.

Strange Thing #26: Fee-less ATMs (or cashpoints or hole-in-the-walls as they are called here.)

No so much a "strange thing" more of a "glorious thing." Freaking Yank-Banks!

Strange Thing #28: It's not "How are you?" when greeting someone, it's "You alright?"

This is pretty much a "South-Eastern/Londoner" thing. However, I always found it to be an annoying greeting. Every time someone asked me that, I had to fight a compulsion to visually check out my body, wondering if I was dragging around a bleeding intestine or something.

#33: Mother's Day is the last Sunday of Lent in the UK (falls in March) but it's the second Sunday of May in the US. But Father's Day is the third Sunday in June for both.

Mother's day... Yep... It always caused a problem, and continues to do so. The stores don't carry the damn cards at the right time of year, thus causing difficulties when dealing with Mothers/Mother-in-laws...

#37: The variation in daylight

It's very temperate in Britain, which makes you forget how bloody far North it is... My first Winter in Britain, I thought I was above the Arctic Circle! The sun would come up seemingly at 10:00am, and was setting by 1:30pm. (okay, I am obviously exaggerating, but it SEEMED to be like that.)

#39: Different names for the same vegetables.

For a country that purportedly dislikes the French, they use a heck of a lot of "French Names" for vegetables. "Aubergines" instead of "Egg Plant", "Courgettes" instead of "Zucchini" et al...

#41: It’s not a “costume party”; they call it a “fancy dress party”!

This one tends to "get" Americans all the time... Luckily, a friend warned me that my tuxedo was not going to work for the first "Fancy Dress" party I was invited to. Usually, Yanks are forced to say they're "Going as 007" or something.

#46: Televised Dart Competitions

One of the comments in her list was "Monster Trucks." I would like to point out to said British person... We don't fill up our NORMAL GOOD STATIONS with "trucks" for two weeks at a bloody time. In fact... I've never had my "normal programming" preempted by a two-week stint of ANY sporting event... (Cricket... Football... Rugby... Billards???) we have SPORTS channels for that sort of crap. Keep it off my terrestrial stations, please!

#47: Pancake Day!

The fact that they AREN'T actually pancakes, but crepes always bugged me. In fact, the only place you could ever FIND "REAL" pancakes was on the grocery-bread aisle. Pre-cooked, and ready for the toaster. YUCK!

#50: "Whilst"

Again, I think it's a bril word.

Well... Now that I've stolen someone ELSE'S brilliant idea for my own purposes, I once again say thanks to Monica for her wonderful list.

See ya,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I can't help it...

You have to love the White House website for giving us such great photos to use. LINK

Day 02 of the last 730.

You guessed it, I'm just remarking on the fact that there's 728 days left with The Shrub in office. Notice that I'm on the countdown?

(Note to readers: How was that for a first sentence? Still on my resolution?)

Well, anyhoo... I apologise, and digress, and tend to wander about in some rather wordy and frightfully long verbal diarrhea of typing that I'm unable to break for some strange reason and I can't stop, I really can't, it's just going on and on and on and on...


It's been rather weird the last few days. Last Wednesday I did a "Linky Blog" and put a link to the BBC's Sex I.D. Test. And suddenly, my stats went crazy.

As I'm a rather dim person, I didn't really take the time to look and see why my stats jumped till today. I got added to some weird aggregator thinggummy. It's called "Buzzfeed" and I'm the 5th on this list thing. I can feel okay writing this "weird" thing, 'cause the link is to just that specific post, and I'm fairly certain that most of my "new hits" are just going to the Sex I.D. Test, and ignoring my other "rants" and "cheese-sandwiching" posts.

But it was cool.

So... If you ARE a new reader that found this rather bizarre collection of words on the internet, and you are coming back for more strangeness... Stay tuned... More to come, I promise.

Anyhoo... I'm off readers, it's 1:04am and I'm on my fourth Jameson's of the evening. Bed time is arriving rather abruptly.


Monday, January 01, 2007


With eight fine hours to spare, we finally received a "beautifying" layer of snow to hide our brown and mucky sins.

(Please note, I started with a real sentence. See, I made a resolution, and I'm sticking to it, so far, on the first day of 2007.)

With that being said, I'll move on to the real gristle of this entry.

(2nd Note: Yes, I know the proper term would be: "grist of the entry" but if you read in to my writing style a bit, you'll realise that most of what I write about is fairly indigestible and rather hard on which to chew.)

Last night, My Lady and I stayed in. Not because we're old, 'cause I may be, but My Lady is not. No, we stayed in, because most of our friends are boring (just kidding) but also due to the weather. I heard that in Britain, the weather was frightful, and we didn't have any of that sort of thing. No, not pouring rain, and gale-force winds, but snow. Glorious, magical and wonderous SNOW!

There's something about Minnesota. You see... We actually LIKE the winters. Those Minnesotans that do not like the Winter tend to leave. Us "die-hard Minnesotans" get a nice thrill out of the cold weather, and snow, and winter activities. We've had a rather dismal winter so far. Much like a British one. Rain, or not. Brown and depressing. Cold, but without the brittle below zero (F) temperatures. It's not "bracing" if one does not actually need to "BRACE" (against wind/snow/deadly low temps) when one leaves the indoors.

In celebration of the weather, I give you, my fine readers a view of my Mother's neighbourhood:

Damn, the road's already beginning to thaw!

My Mother's front yard.

Someone had a problem navigating the turn, obviously.

Icicles on the eves.

Arborvitae struggling under the weight of a bit of snow, whimpy bloody tree.

From the front "stoop."

As you can see... It's much more "attractive" with the snow covering up the muck.

Have a marvellous day today (tomorrow, and forever) folks... See you soon!
-- Tuckmac