Puttin’ On The Moustache.

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On Friday evening, Benjamin and Sherry stopped by to spend the night. We went out to eat at the Olive Garden (still my favorite chain restaurant, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it), finished off some of that wine I had been hoarding (see this post), and were all sleeping soundly by midnight. It was a nice night, and it was quite enjoyable to see them again and catch up on things.

The next morning, we went out for breakfast at the Country Cafe, a local diner that is dangerously close to being sued by Country Kitchen for copyright infringement. Afterwards, we went to Best Buy, where I picked up a CD (My Morning Jacket’sZ‘). Then it was straight over to PetsMart to take a look at the new arrivals of animals that have been displaced by hurricane Katrina.

By the way, I’m mentioning and linking all these national establishments and blogs because they’re now paying me $16 every time I do. The CDP‘s selling out, and you’re coming with. I’ll have a dollar tally at the end of the post. Let’s move on.

Because I’m an idiot, I didn’t have any cash on me to donate to the shelter that was sponsoring all these animals, so I basically just pet everything that was looking at me, and hit the road. I paid special attention to a bird named Jade. Jade was the coolest bird ever, letting me pet him and stroke his tender beak. Most birds I’ve come into contact with over the last 23 years have done nothing but screech and break skin, but Jade made me love winged creatures again. I would have bought him had he not been a $900 “specialty” bird. What this specialty was (plumbing or electronics, I believe) I still have to figure out. We left in a hurry, and Sherry left for an afternoon of working back in her hometown of Green Bay.

Ben stuck around, however, so we headed over to the west side of town for more shopping. First on the list was the Halloween Superstore, where I looked for a fog machine. I’m not doing any setting up or candy distribution this Halloween, but I just wanted a fog machine for everyday use around the CDP headquarters. I thought it would be cool to come home from work every day to a heavenly landscape and pulsating techno music, cats wandering around in a haze, blinded by the 2 feet of artificial smoke.

I didn’t get my fog machine, but I did find a cheap mask the scared the hell out of the Missus, so I wrapped it up and headed for the Exclusive Company, the midwest’s best source for good music. I bought the Missus a new album and another for myself.

Then we went to the next logical place. The farm!

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We headed way out of town to the small village of Lodi, to the Treinen Farms’ annual Halloween Corn Maze.

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According to the web page, this farm had it all. A massive corn maze, a haunted hayride and most importantly, a PUMPKIN SLINGSHOT. This was a no-brainer.

This farm was indeed…a farm. There were of course, chickens.

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Goats by the armload. Some even roaming free around the grounds.

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We paid the $7 to get into the corn maze, but first, we got a few pointers from the girl at the counter. We were given a map of the maze that had approximately 1/8 of the path uncovered. As we worked our way through the maze, we would (hopefully) come across 7 different checkpoints that would give us the 7 remaining pieces of the map.

Getting the rest of the map pieces and getting out of the maze wasn’t the only challenge of the maze itself. Somewhere in amongst the vast nooks and crannies of this maze were 8 “secret locations”, where special punch cards would be located. If you managed to get out of the maze while finding 4 of the 8 locations, you would get a free bag of popcorn.

I don’t even like popcorn that much, but the Missus, Ben and I are the 3 most competitive people on the planet. That “victory popcorn” would be ours, and it would be the sweetest tasting popcorn we have ever had.

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The race was on. We got lost almost instantly.

At the start of the journey, we thought of ways that we could make this go smoothly. We thought about splitting up and calling each other via-cell phone, but the reception was awful and we only had one map. We did this once, and it took 10 minutes to find each other again. We came to the conclusion that it would work best if we collected all the map pieces first, and then went back to find the secret locations. This worked well.

Benjamin and the Missus found the first few pieces, with me bringing it in on the home stretch. It seemed like forever (probably 90 minutes), but we managed to gather up the map like pros, navigating like John Locke. Here’s what the maze looked like upon completion.

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Yeah. It was a big, complicated maze. But we weren’t done yet. We had victory popcorn to snag.

Don’t ask me how we did it, but we ended up finding 5 of the 8 secret locations, one more than we needed to reap the sweetest popped reward. We exited the maze like bruised and battered warriors, but we were better people having known the limits of our human spirit.

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Then it was time to launch a few pumpkins into the lake.

The Pumpkin Launch seemed simple enough. For $1, you could slingshot 3 gourds into the lake, trying to hit this target about 100 feet out.

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If you hit the target, you won a prize. I watched 10 people do it to no avail, so I wasn’t expecting anything when I stepped to the plate. My first 2 gourd shots were so far off, I barely hit the water. The slingshot had to be pulled back with a lot of force, and I’m really not that strong of a dude, so I was starting to get a little embarrassed. I slowly loaded my third gourd into the chamber, spit into my hands, and took aim.

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Listening carefully, I located the exact direction of the wind. I did some quick calculations as to what this would do to the trajectory of my gourd, leading me to figure out the perfect place to aim. I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, and fired at will.

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The gourd sailed majestically into the dimming sky, hurtling silently through space. It hit the water just feet before the target, only to skip off of the surface of the lake and bounce right off the side of the target.

Hey, you hit it!” someone in line said to me.

I did? Wow, I did! What do I win?

You get a pumpkin!” the kid working the slingshot said.

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I carefully selected my victory pumpkin, and joined Benjamin, who was still enjoying our victory popcorn from the maze.

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We had robbed this place blind.

I put the victory pumpkin into the trunk, and drove us back to Madison. We were feeling pretty darn good about ourselves, taking on the world and emerging so victorious and all. We decided to treat ourselves to some Indian food at Maharaja. I’m not that big of an Indian food fan, but majority ruled, and I was outvoted.

The food was okay, but the place was exceedingly dark (no light) and our waiter was always one dumbass question away from wringing my white, European neck. We couldn’t understand each other, and his patience was slim to none. It was nice to leave.

Ben hung out a little longer back at headquarters, and took off for home at around 11. I set the clocks back, and got up just in time this morning to watch the Packers get their asses handed to them once again.

That’s my weekend in a nutshell.

Have a good Halloween. This month was the biggest yet here at the CDP (check it ‘oot), and next month will hopefully be even bigger. There’s a lot going on here in November, so check back often. As you can see, I’m in the habit of updating this page almost every day, so don’t fall behind.

Total Link Payments: $384.

NEXT: SWEEPS MONTH BEGINS.

Lost Friday – Rerun Edition.

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(Here’s a still from the next new episode, “Abandoned.” Remember, Mr. Rutherford died on Jack’s operating table, as well as Boone.)

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

This week, we got to re-watch episode 2, “Adrift“. Next week, ABC will re-air “Orientation“, leading straight into our next new episode, “Abandoned“, which will air on November 9.

Straight from the rumor mill, here are some upcoming episode titles, descriptions and air dates:

Episode 6: “Abandoned” – November 9.

Sawyer’s wound becomes life-threatening as he, Michael and Jin make their way through the interior of the island with the tail section survivors. Meanwhile, Shannon is once again haunted by visions of Walt. Also, Shannon’s shocking past of her former marriage as well as her manipulation of people prior to the crash are revealed. Plus, there is the revelation on the death of Shannon’s father who ended up in the hospital where Jack worked. Lastly, Charlie becomes jealous of Locke’s interest in Claire.

In this episode, someone is going to be killed. Judging by the fact that there will be Shannon-centric flashbacks, there’s a good chance it will be her. Also, expect to see a return appearance by everyone’s favorite castaway corpse, Boone.

Episode 7: “The Other 48 Days” – November 16.

The harrowing first 48 days in the lives of the tail section survivors are revealed.

The cast of the tail-section survivors has been revealed, and it will become a little more clear what exactly happened to them. So far, this is all we know for certain. I think this will be an Ana Lucia flashback episode. Here are some sweet stills to hold us over.

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(Here we see Ana Lucia with a few kids following the crash. These kids are obviously dead or in the mitts of the others now. Recognize that teddy bear?)

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(Here we see Mr. Eko, pre-savage. He rules.)

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(From what I can tell, this is one of the many attacks on the camp by the others. More to come.)

Episode 8: “Collision” – November 23.

Violence erupts when Ana-Lucia and her group stumble upon the other castaways. (Ana-Lucia- centric)

Episode 9: “What Kate Did” – November 30.

As Kate’s backstory continues, her original crime is revealed. Locke and Eko make an interesting discovery about the film, and Michael has a mysterious encounter with the computer. (Kate-centric)

It’s amazing to think that we’re only a handful of episodes into this season, with all that’s happened and whatnot. As the weeks go on, I’ll be filling in the blanks more with what we can expect.

Remember, Darren Aronofsky will be directing an episode sometime next year. I’m hoping that they give him a crazy Hurley psych-ward episode, because that would be right in Aronofsky’s wheelhouse.

So, there you have it. Start the discussion in the comments section. Have a good weekend.

Return Of The Link Party.

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Here are a few links and stories to get your Hump Day off to a good start.

1. Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip that ever was, and in this article we get to see what creator Bill Watterson has been up to recently…not a damn thing. His reclusive nature and unwillingness to cooperate with the syndicates is legendary, and it just adds to the brilliance and timeless quality of the strip. The Calvin & Hobbes anthology is coming out just in time for Christmas, so check it ‘oot.

2. Did you miss the longest World Series game in history? Well, me too. I took some NyQuil and was out by 9:00. The White Sox lead the series 3-0, and look to close it all up with a win tonight in Houston. The very fact that I had to watch Barbara and George Bush Sr. behind home plate all night made me want this to be over as soon as humanly possible. Sort of like his presidency.

3. Streetlight Manifesto got robbed of just about everything they own on tour. Check out the story, and see if you can’t send a buck or two their way. Of course, I didn’t personally donate any money to them, but it would be nice if you would. I’m still mad at them for lying about having their new album done a year ago, when in actuality they haven’t even set foot in the studio yet. Either way, it sucks to get robbed, and I hope they bounce back.

4. Rivers Cuomo is going back to Harvard for an English degree. In this article, he talks about his vow of celibacy, meditation rituals and focusing on his music writing. Even after all that, Make Believe still sucked out loud. Their tour ends with a 7-venue stop in Japan, so perhaps that vow of celibacy will come to a screeching halt. Personally, I’ll be listening to Pinkerton all day, and wondering where it all went so very wrong.

5. The Girl From Mars leads a melon discussion.

6. Let’s Eat Paste makes a pants-wetting revelation.

7. I Think This Is My Exit makes a rainy day mix tape.

8. Sandbox Films gets props from a local TV personality.

9. The CDP is moving quickly through October, and straight into year two of SWEEPS MONTH. If you remember from last year, SWEEPS MONTH is an all-out blitz for as many hits as possible for the month of November. Celebrity guests! Nudity by the truckload! Midgets, midgets, midgets!!! You can expect anything and everything in an effort to generate the best month ever here at the CDP.

Here’s just a few things you can expect to see this November:

Top 10 Of Everything.
CDP Year In Review.
Best/Worst Of 2005.
Best Comments Ever.
Albums Of The Year.
Boycott Unity/72 Hours.
The Wayback Machine.
A New Look, Perhaps?

Plus a ton more. You’ll like it, I promise.

There’s still a week of October left to enjoy. Enjoy it.

You Make Me Sick.

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Who says we never get out of the house?

In the spirit of Autumn, me and the Missus hit the open road every now and again, in search of small towns and moderately-priced scented candles. This week was no exception, as we took a few days off of work, piled into the CDP-mobile (The Wild Stallion), and fled Madison.

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Here’s the damage:

One six-pak of assorted brews, courtesy of the New Glarus Brewery. I picked up some Octoberfest beer, Barley Wine, some Bock and the world-famous Spotted Cow.

One bottle of spiced Concorde wine, courtesy of the Cedarburg Winery.

One cappuccino scented candle, courtesy of “Shoppes on the Square” in New Glarus.

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One batch of the best beer-battered cheese curds I’ve ever tasted, courtesy of the “Old Mill Inn” in Cambridge.

Several assorted German chocolates and miniature bottles of schnapps, courtesy of a shop in Cambridge or Fort Adkinson.

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One bottle of Apfelmost spiced apple wine, courtesy of the Primrose Winery.

One of the best grilled cheeses you can purchase in southern Wisconsin, courtesy of the Hotel New Glarus.

A half-pound of Milk chocolate and Pumpkin fudge, along with some cookie-dough ice cream along the way.

There may have been more, but I’m shady on the details because I’m drunk, wired beyond control and haven’t gone to the bathroom in days. Okay, none of that is true.

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Yesterday, my Mom and Grandma came down to visit, which was a pretty good time. If anything, it was the perfect excuse to spring the birthday/Christmas present on my Mom earlier than expected. Her birthday is on November 28, but we have a hard time hanging onto a present when we have it all wrapped and whatnot, so we had to give it to her on Saturday.

What was the present? It was a new Kodak digital camera with printer and dock. We figured that she would want it before Thanksgiving and Christmas, so she could actually use it for the holidays; it was really a no-brainer. She was happy. We were happy. Heck, the world was happy.

The only drawback of the day was that everyone was sick but me. Every pause in conversation was met with an earth-shattering sneeze or cough, as fellow tourists and day-trippers side-stepped and avoided the sicklings.

Then came Sunday. The storm clouds rolled in, the Packers lost and my car broke down. I can deal with these setbacks, but I don’t have to tell you that it really sucks when your car starts screwing with you. I’ll be spending my Monday off taking the Wild Stallion to the dealership for a no doubt expensive overhaul.

Until then, you can expect to find me and the Missus curled up in front of our first roaring fire of the season, deeply breathing in the delightful cappuccino candle. We’ll be sipping spiced wine, nibbling on chocolate and cheese and watching game 2 of the World Series.

Tomorrow, it’s back to business. What have you been up to?

Lost Friday – Volume 3.

Season 2 – Episode 5: …And Found.

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Oh yes, another Lost Friday is upon us. Before we get down to the business of getting down, here’s a quick synopsis of the episode, as told by our friends at Wikipedia:

On the familiar side of the island, Sun has discovered that she has lost her wedding ring. First Jack tries to help, by telling a story about how he lost his wedding ring, and tore apart the garbage and the plumbing looking for it. When Sun asks where he found it, he replies that he didn’t, he bought a replacement…an answer that doesn’t seem to sit well with Sun.

Then Hurley gives advice, suggesting that Vincent ate the ring while Sun was feeding him. Later, when Sun is angrily tearing apart her garden, Locke arrives. Locke being calm as usual, Sun states that she doesn’t remember ever seeing him angry. Locke laughs and replies that he used to become angry quite often. Sun asks him why he no longer becomes angry to which he replies that he is not lost anymore. Sun asks him how he found himself. Locke answers, ‘The same way everyone finds something that is lost, I stopped looking.”

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Finally, when Kate tries to console Sun, telling her everything is all right, Sun informs her that certainly isn’t the case, and reveals that message bottle had been recovered. Kate asks where it is and Sun tells her that she has buried it. Upon digging up the bottle, Kate becomes upset and frantically attempts to read all of the messages. Sun stops her and says that they are private. Kate tells Sun that she never said goodbye to Sawyer. Kate then glances at the sand and tells Sun to look down. Her wedding ring is lying in the sand.

Meanwhile, Jin, Michael, Sawyer and the survivors of the tail section decide to trek back to the safer side of the island. Before they leave, they gather food, with Jin distinguishing himself with his fishing abilities yet again. Michael abruptly leaves to look for Walt alone. Jin and Eko set off after Michael while the remaining survivors head for the camp. Along the way, Eko senses someone coming, and the pair hide. Hidden in the bushes, they see a procession of people go by in almost unearthly silence. The “others” are seen only from the thighs down; some are wearing pants, some only dirt, and the last is carrying a brown teddy bear on a string. All are barefoot. Later, the pair find Michael and convince him to come with them.

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In flashbacks, Sun is set up on a date by a matchmaker, and finds her prospective suitor, Jae Lee, to be wealthy, educated and surprisingly charming. Meanwhile, as Jin is preparing for an important job interview at a hotel, his roommate, Tai Soo, consults a book of astrology and suggests that Jin is destined to find love soon, and adds cryptically that its color will be orange.

Jin’s interviewer, Mr. Kim, insults his prospective employee, suggesting that Jin is bumpkin villager who stinks of fish, then hires him as a doorman anyway, with a stern warning that Jin is not to open the door to anyone like himself.

Sun and Jae continue to hit it off, and the pair schedule a meeting at the hotel where Jin is working, though he fails to see her because he is bowing as he opens the door for her. Inside, the suitor suddenly reveals that he plans to marry a woman he met in America, and has only been seeing Sun to placate his parents. Sun wishes him well and immediately leaves. At the same time, a poorly-dressed father with a young boy approach the hotel, and ask Jin for permission to enter, as the boy urgently has to go to the bathroom. Jin reluctantly lets the pair inside, but Mr. Kim observes, and gives him a stern dressing-down. Jin quits on the spot and departs.

Later, wandering along a bridge, he notices a woman in an orange dress walking past. Turning to give her a wistful look, he shakes his head in amusement, and walks away…and collides directly into Sun, his first meeting with his soon-to-be wife.
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Now, I don’t have to tell you that this episode was…a bit slow. Uneventful, even. Over the course of 60 minutes, we got to see how Jin and Sun met, watched at Sun lost and eventually found her wedding ring, and got a good look at the filthy legs and feet of the others. Fair enough, as the Lost team is saving their bombshells for sweeps week.

Which reminds me, there won’t be a new episode for TWO WEEKS. Here’s the quick schedule for the next three weeks:

October 26: Season 2 – Episode 2: “Adrift”
November 2: Season 2 – Episode 3: “Orientation”
November 9: SEASON 2 – EPISODE 6: ABANDONED

This is borderline unacceptable, but we’ll manage, because “Abandoned” will launch into sweeps week with the death of a major cast member. Who’s it going to be? Well, stopping short of a full spoiler, here are two hints:

1. It will be a woman.
2. She’s not a tail-section survivor (Libby, Ana Lucia). Damn. I hate this woman.
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Here come the numbers! A lot of this information comes to us from an interview with producer Damon Lindelof. There wasn’t a lot to talk about this week, so here’s some theories and spoilers straight from the mouth of the man.

1. In that picture of Jin’s resume, we see that his birthday is November 27, 1974, and he’s 30 years old. There are a couple things interesting about that. First off, that’s the birthday of the Missus, but more importantly, it solidifies when this story is taking place. Where people have been speculating that the crash takes place in the future or past, we see that it’s pretty much happening in present day, lest the writing staff made a huge continuity error (which I doubt).
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2. Jin’s e-mail address is JinSoo74@yahoo.com.

3. Mr. Eko rules.
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4. Sawyer’s shoulder wound is going to become nastily infected.

5. The “Orientation” film’s jarring jump cuts are actually what producer Damon Lindelof calls “missing pieces” that resulted when Desmond spliced the broken movie back together after watching it too many times. Those missing pieces will become “very important plot points down the road.”

6. Shannon did not see Walt in the jungle. It was a vision, which leads the theories that Walt isn’t “special”, but Vincent is.

7. Says Lindelof: “I think the audience is very compelled to figure out exactly where Desmond was running to and, once he gets there, what is he going to do. We told you that he was in a ship wreck, but I think there are a lot of questions about how exactly he came to be here. That’s certainly a story on the horizon.”

8. Was Mr. Rutherford from Jack’s flashback in episode 2.01 Shannon’s dad? Her ex-husband? Expect to find out in an episode airing during November sweeps.

9. “The Helen we meet in flashbacks is not the same Helen that Locke was speaking to on the phone,” Lindelof clarifies, sort of.

10. Expect a reunion between Rose and husband Bernard.

Here’s a gratuitous photo of Sun.

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Later kids. Start the conspiracy in the comments section.

The Wayback Machine.

I’m feeling a tad lazy, so instead of posting something new, please enjoy what I posted one year ago today. From time to time, I may do this to fill in the gaps more when I have nothing to say. So, hop into the wayback machine and set a course for…

“Letting Off The Happiness” – October 19, 2004.

Ahh, the Boston Red Sox, Michael Moore and an election on the horizon. Not to mention, a lengthy discussion about male nudity in the comments section. Autumn 2004 had it all.

Lost is on tonight. Don’t forget to come back on Friday for the big recap. Later.

Ask A Cheap-Ass Pirate. (Volume 2)

(Ask a Cheap-Ass Pirate is a column designed to increase awareness of the Pirate lifestyle, in addition to promoting responsible spending and living within one’s means. Ask A Cheap-Ass Pirate began when marauding roves of pillagers began to go hungry and poor after burying, and naturally forgetting where they placed their stolen treasure. Eventually, it was voted upon that an advice column devoted to slim living was the most optimum way to continue their horrid escapades. Those who chose to vote against this option had molten gold poured down their throats.)

(Ask a Cheap-Ass Pirate is syndicated nationwide in over 250 publications, including “Forbes”, “Fortune” and “Murderer and Looter Weekly.”)


By: Mutton Chop, A Pirate.

Dear Mutton Chop,

Good day! I’m writing to you from the high seas of the Mediterranean, where me and my crew have been drifting aimlessly for weeks. You see, we lost our map when a storm kicked up and sent half of my men overboard. Since then, we’ve been eating deck rats and amputating infected limbs to survive. Things have been rough, but I wanted to let you know that your column always cheers me up.

My question is this. What’s the cheapest way to start a rubber stamp collection?

Stamping With Scurvy

Dear SWS,

Yaarrrr! First off, I want to wish you the best of luck taming thar high seas. I know it can be be brutal, so take it one day at a time, and make sure to wash yarr hands peri-arrr-dically. It’ll save you in the end.

Rubb-arrr stampin’ is a tried and true hobby of mine. I starrrted when I was nary a wee swashbuckler. I found the best way to get on the train is to make them from scratch. Some wood from thar poopdeck will make a good base, and you can make a crude rubber out of plank tar and boiled fat from thee infected limbs. Be creative! Anything goes when yarrr stampin’ without a map.

Yo, MC!

This is ya’ homeboy Kool-Aid, comin’ at ya’ from East L.A., yo! I gots a question for ya’ pirate ass, just let me put my glasses on, fool.

I recently procured a large amount of US currency, mostly through illegal and murder-like activity. What’s the best way to clean the money, and temporarily store it for safe keeping?

All the best,
Kool-Aid

Dear Kool-Aid,

Yaarrrr! I want to starrrt off by tellin’ me readers that I don’t choose the lett-arrs I respond to. I want to let yee know that I in no way support racism and inequality amongst thar races. Furthermarrr, I want to express that if this indeed was a fictional let-arrr, I would not find it funny. This kind of hum-arrr is old and unoriginal. Now if I may, I have an advice column about thrifty Pirate living to manage.

Cleaning and laund-arrr-ing money is what us Pirates do best. We have found the best way to enjoy yarr newfound booty is to bury it, never to be seen again. Hundreds of years from now, someone else will discover it, and become rich and famous.

On a completely unrelated topic, I wonder why us Pirates are a dying breed. Thanks for writing!

Note From The CDP:

(And so concludes the single stupidest thing I’ve ever posted. I mean, I could literally feel myself getting dumber as I thought of different ways to make this Pirate answer these questions. With an Internet gimmick like this, I can almost assure myself employment with the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It’s seriously that bad. I only put it up for two reasons. 1, to tell you that I was never going to do another horrid Mutton Chop column ever again, and 2, I am capable of some of the dumbest writing this side of a 15-year old girl’s diary. Some people will honestly do anything for hits and traffic, and I’m no better. I hate myself, and it will never happen again.)

COMING UP NEXT: Ask A Cheap-Ass Pirate (Volume 3).

Lost Friday – Volume 2.

Season 2 – Episode 4: Everybody Hates Hugo.

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Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

This was the perfect time for an episode like this. For three straight weeks, we’ve gone at breakneck speed through a ton of plot points and maniacal secrets that caused nerds like me insomnia for days. With “Everybody Hates Hugo,” we still got a ton of answers and questions, but it was at a pace that allowed us to collectively catch our breath.

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Here’s the quick synopsis, straight from our friends at Wikipedia. Read it and refresh yourself before we move on:

In a dream, Hurley sees Jin, who is suddenly speaking English, and a man in a chicken suit. When questioned about his newfound mastery of the language, Jin informs him that, actually, Hurley is speaking Korean, to which Hurley responds, “I am?” in Korean, with English subtitles. Jin then warns the dreamer that everything will change.

In flashbacks, the viewer is shown the events immediately following Hurley’s discovery of his winning lottery numbers. Opting to keep his ticket to instant wealth a secret, he is lectured by the manager of Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack for eating food without paying for it. Hurley quits, and his friend Johnny does likewise. The pair visit a record store, where they consider buying Driveshaft’s album and Hurley asks an attractive salesgirl for a date. Later still, Johnny and Hurley steal a vanload of garden gnomes and use them to spell out “Cluck You” on the lawn of their former employer. Hurley asks his friend to promise that they will never change, and Johnny does so; immediately after, his friend notices a news crew at a local gas station and pulls in to see what’s happened. The reporters have arrived because they know the winning lottery ticket was bought at that location; the clerk recognizes Hurley and points him out. Johnny is stunned, and his expression clearly reveals that, despite his promise, everything has changed.

Hurley struggles with the task of food rationing. Charlie asks Hurley if the hatch contains food, specifically peanut butter, and Hurley stonewalls him. Charlie storms off and Hurley decides to enlist Rose to help him inventory.

Meanwhile, Jack and Sayid attempt to excavate the sealed-off portion of the Swan facility. The concrete walls seem to be impenetrable, and Sayid remarks that a similar technique was used to protect against the effects of the Chernobyl accident.

Sawyer, Michael and Jin learn that their captors are survivors from the tail section of the plane and are taken to a second Dharma site, which they use for sanctuary. Libby says that there were 23 (one of the numbers, again) survivors from the tail section of the plane, but it is clear that many have since died. Bernard, Rose’s husband, is one of the survivors still living.

Claire discovers the bottle of messages from the raft lying on the beach. She asks Shannon what to do, and the pair conclude that Sun should be the one to make the decision. Sun opts to conceal this new fact and buries the bottle.

Hurley becomes less certain of his ability to ration the food in a manner that keeps everyone happy. Hurley attempts to quit, but Locke refuses to permit this. Hurley then recovers the unused sticks of dynamite and prepares to blow up the food. When Rose asks him what he’s doing, he explains that the food, newfound wealth to the survivors, will change everything and everyone will come to hate him. Rose talks him down from this rash act. Later, Hurley informs Jack that he won’t ration the food; he will give it out freely. Jack accepts this, and the survivors appreciate Hurley’s generosity, including Charlie, who gives his benefactor a Hurley-like hug of reconciliation.

Well, that’s great. Now let’s dig a little deeper. Here come the numbers!

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1. Hurley’s boss at Mr. Clucks was Randy, who later went on to become Locke’s boss at the box company (that Hurley owns, I might add). Randy’s stint at Mr. Clucks was before his job at the box company, as Locke had his conversation with him in the break room just weeks before the crash. Hurley won the lottery about a year before the crash.

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2. Don’t forget, Mr. Clucks was hit by a meteorite shortly after Hurley won the lottery. Wednesday’s flashback didn’t get us far back enough into Hurley’s story to see how he got himself institutionalized, but we’ll get there in good time, and maybe find some more insight into the numbers.

3. In Hurley’s dream at the beginning of the episode, Walt’s face is shown on the milk carton he’s drinking.

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Remember, Hurley doesn’t know that Walt is missing. Perhaps he knows more than he realizes? Also, the man in the chicken costume is the gas station attendant that notices Hurley sitting in the van when the news crews show up.

4. The best quote of the night comes to us from Hurley’s friend. “Drive Shaft? More like Suck Shaft!”

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5. A lot of people keep asking me, “How did the guy at the gas station know that Hurley had won the lottery?” My only theory is that Hurley was a regular at that gas station, and the attendant remembered entering his numbers. Either that, or Hurley played those numbers all the time, and finally struck it rich when the time was right. It’s the best theory I have so far.

6. Is it possible that the DeGroots were the people on the boat who took Walt? Have a look-see, and remember that the DeGroots were the husband and wife founders of the Dharma Initiative.

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7. We’re starting to find out that the “others” have killed a large amount of the tail section survivors. We’ll find out more about that in a few weeks, when their own episode will air.

8. A major character will die before the holidays, and it will be a woman. Mark my words.

9. Okay, we’re starting to get some answers about this island finally. The tail section survivors are staying in another hatch, this particular station being the Arrow. We see this in one of the last shots of the episode.

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Here’s a closer look.

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This proves the theory that all 6 stations are on this island, which would account for a lot of the strange crap happening over the last 50 days. It explains the sharks and polar bears (I’m positive that the polar bears will have the Dharma mark on them if they find any more), but it still doesn’t explain a whole slew of weird business.

But, consider the following.

The Swan and the Arrow are 2 of the 6 stations revealed so far. The Swan and the Arrow also happen to be 2 of the 6 constellations of Apollo. They are as follows:

1.) Cygnus – Swan
2.) Sagitta – Arrow
3.) Corvus – Crow
4.) Crater – Goblet
5.) Ophiuchus – Serpent Handler
6.) Orion – The Hunter

If this follows suit, the remaining 4 stations will correspond with these remaining 4 constellations. Which stations are doing what experiments are yet to be fully determined, although the Arrow looks to be completely abandoned for some time. My opinion is that the “others” are former members of the Dharma Initiative, like the DeGroots, Ethan Rom and Kelvin.

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(After finding the bottle washed onto the shore, Claire went directly to Sun with the news. Presumably thinking that the guys on the boat- including her husband- are dead, Sun opts to bury the bottle, as to not tell the rest of the island and cause an uproar. Interesting.)

Let us not forget the Apollo candy bars that we saw in the hatch. There’s a reason that nobody has ever seen these bars before. Instead of using the “numbers” to look for clues on the ground, perhaps the hatchlings should use the numbers to look to the sky, instead. Speaking of which…

10. If that mixture of theory and fact wasn’t far-out enough for you, this one’s going to blow your mind. It certainly threw me for a loop, and became a pretty interesting observation, as far as I’m concerned. Keep in mind that I don’t come up with some of this stuff. A lot of it comes from fans that are even more obsessed than I am. So, without further babble, I present to you…

The Satellite Theory.

The following tidbit of information was taken from a site that uses satellites to bounce signals from transmitters:

N.O.A.A. satellites orbit every 108 minutes or about 14 times a day. The satellite scans a 5,000 kilometer wide area as it passes. The satellite is within transmitter range for about 10 minutes. If the transmitter is sending then the satellite will receive multiple messages from the transmitter.

Think about this for a minute. Every 108 minutes, a satellite sends its beam to the earth, retrieving whatever information it was launched to collect, then shoots it off to whomever is in charge of said satellite, weather it be the Government, NASA or what have you.

Could it be that pressing the button approximately every 108 minutes masks the island from a satellite spotting it, so it can’t be discovered? Perhaps the catastrophe that happens if the button is not pushed is that the satellite can discover the island, ending the experiment. Maybe the “Swan” is using the magnetic anomaly to somehow create the effect. The “incident” would then be the launching of a satellite that could discover the island. It would be very ironic if by pressing the button they turn out to be preventing their own rescue.

Remember in season 1, when Charlie makes a comment about satellites being able to see anything? Sayid then says that satellites have to know where to point in order to retrieve information. That’s one hell of a plot point.

This theory also links well with the comment made by Michael during Exodus II. They are surprised at how large the island is when they are sailing away on the raft. Michael says “How does a place this big never get discovered?” We may now have our answer. Look to the skies!

Considering the Hanso Foundation’s involvement with WWII, we may also have to bring our old friends the Nazis into the fray. Not right now, though. We already have enough to chew on.

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Next week is a Jin episode, entitled “…And Found.” Sound off in the comments section, and let the discussion begin.

"It’s My Costume."

Here’s a quick Halloween story to get you in the spirit.

When I was in Kindergarten in 1986 or 1987, it was the school’s policy to have everyone in the building parade around each other for the afternoon. Every year, all the kids would dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes, and show them off for the remainder of Winneconne Elementary to view.

I think the big thing in the mid-80’s was the California Raisins, so there were a lot of kids in purple-face, wearing garbage bags stuffed with newspaper. This was not only sad and lazy on the part of the parents, but also a tad racist. I never quite jived with the thought of 4 overweight prunes donning sunglasses and singing soul tunes. Maybe I’m just sensitive; after all, it was the most successful marketing campaign in fruit and vegetable history.

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Anyways, my Mom was much too cool to send me to school wearing a garbage bag. Man, I was set. Today, I was Sylvester the cat, complete with full costume and a giant head. I looked like the mascot for a football team, that’s how rad this costume was. Screw the plastic masks with the rubber band and the staple, I was going for broke this year. If this didn’t score me some more friends, I didn’t know what would.

On the day of the parade, I brought my amazing costume, neatly folded and packed in a paper bag, and placed directly under my hanging jacket in our cubby section along the wall. There it would sit, unassuming and quiet, waiting patiently for the afternoon to arrive to spring itself free from the bag and blow the minds of about a thousand educated minds. I felt like a suicide bomber before the big moment. Before you could say “Allah,” the moment had arrived.

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Frantically, the entire Kindergarten class darted over to the cubby, tearing their meager raisin costumes and cheap masks out of their horrible paper bags. I sauntered over slowly, as to not draw too much attention to myself. The time for that would be soon enough. As the dust began to settle, I strolled in and started looking for my costume.

But…I couldn’t find it.

The bag that I thought it was in was empty, and all the other bags seemingly belonged to other kids. After a thorough check of all the bags again (thorough for a 5 year old, mind you), I realized that my awesome Sylvester costume was no more. It was either stolen or had simply disappeared.

Again, being a cool Mom, my Mother was actually there as a chaperone for the proceedings. She asked and re-asked me if I was absolutely positive that my costume wasn’t over by the cubby. I gave her my word that it had dropped off the face of the earth. Suddenly I went from almost being the coolest kid in Kindergarten to the loser without a costume. Something needed to be done, and my Mother was getting a bit frantic.

Mrs. Broderick, my Kindergarten teacher, had a plan. “We have some spare costumes in the closet,” she said, doing her best to make the most of a bad situation. She was an amazing teacher, and away she went, digging around to find something for me, just minutes before the big parade.

“Here we go,” she said. “Try this on.”

“This” happened to be the saddest looking dog costume I’ve ever seen. Yes, a dog costume. Why someone would neglect a costume like this, leaving it for dead in a Kindergarten closet for 80 years was beyond me. Oh, wait, it was because the costume sucked a boatload of ass.

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Imagine the cheapest Halloween costume you can think of. Good, now pretend that it’s of a dog. Okay, good. Now cross-breed that dog costume with a clown costume, make it horribly ill-fit and make it orange and yellow striped, and you’re getting into the ballpark of what this costume looked like. It certainly didn’t look like something a dog would wear, but the mask assured me that it was indeed a canine outfit. Perhaps this particular dog worked at a circus or something, but I was really in no position to ask questions. While my Mom literally held back tears of embarrassment and anger, I slipped into a skin-tight circus dog uniform.

(INTERMISSION.)

I want to use this break in the story to tell you a quick joke I was just reminded of.

A dog walks into a hardware store and says, “I’m looking for a job.”

The clerk says, “I’m sorry, we don’t hire dogs. Why don’t you work for the circus?”

The dog looks at him and says, “What would the circus want with a plumber?”

(END OF IMTERMISSION.)

Okay, back to the story.

So, furious, sad, heartbroken and humiliated beyond my wildest dreams, I was forced to get in line with my friends and respected quad-partners, and parade this obscene costume in front of every single person in the school, grades K through 8.

Peering at the other kids through the tiny plastic slits in the mask, I didn’t know if they were making fun of me, or just didn’t recognize who I was. It doesn’t really matter if any of the kids remember this moment, because I will remember this humbling experience for the rest of my life. For a fleeting moment, I was on top of the world. I had everything I needed for a successful afternoon, and in less than a minute, everything came crashing around me. Instead of going out with a bang, I was wishing to God that I would turn into a California Raisin.

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It didn’t happen.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, at the tenderest of ages. Life is hard. Nothing should be taken for granted. If you think that everything’s going to go well, that’s going to be your first of many mistakes. Billie Jo Armstrong says, “Don’t pat yourself on the back, you might break your spine.” Well, on Halloween 1987, I gave myself a Christopher Reeve-style thrashing.

It was one of the worst days of my entire life.

So, after the parade, everyone was changing out of their costumes and getting ready to go home. I was peeling the circus dog outfit off of me, dripping with sweat and failure, when my Mom asked me a question that I’ll never forget.

“Hey, what’s in that bag over there?”

I don’t think I have to tell you what I found in it.

Lost Friday is tomorrow. We have much to discuss.

Rinse And Spit.

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Last 5 Albums Purchased By The CDP:
(Total Album Count For 2005 – 65)

Matt Pond PA – Emblems
(Purchased by the Missus. Didn’t sound that great, but you’d have to axe her.)

Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift
(Not as good as their last two albums, but still another mature step forward. Feel-good, sing-along tunes for a bleak October. Pick up Let Go if you haven’t already.)

The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike
(Woah. Imagine the following: A hip-hop radio station, a soul radio station, an indie rock radio station and a 70’s TV show theme song radio station on the same dial. Now imagine spinning the dial from station to station for 55 minutes. This album is worth listening to.)

Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
(The new Franz Ferdinand is here, and it doesn’t disappoint. Delivering what you’d expect, they hit you with single after catchy single, never hitting anything too slow or too deep to stop the party. If you like their first album, their sophomore release will keep you satisfied.)

Public Enemy – Power To The People And The Beats (Greatest Hits)
(Chuck D is probably the greatest MC of all time, and this retrospective touches on just a few of the politically-charged tracks that made Public Enemy the world’s most dangerous rap outfit. I’ve been Flava-Flav’ing out in my car like an idiot.)

Okay, the Red Sox got swept, the Badgers blew a huge game against Northwestern, the Yankees are still alive as of this post and the Packers are 1-4. Clearly, October isn’t quite turning out the way I wanted it to in the sports department. Normally, I’d have the beautiful weather to fall back on, but we went from 85 to 34 over the course of an evening here in Wisconsin. We skipped right over “light jacket” weather and went straight for the scarves and mitten clips.

Autumn was kind of a crappy week this year.

So, what to do? Well, Halloween’s coming up, but I can’t really participate in it. I can’t hand out candy in a secure apartment and I refuse to throw a party this year. I had big plans to throw a huge shindig here at CDP headquarters, I really did. I’m talking decorations, costumes, slasher films and “Monster Mash” on a constant loop. I then came to the realization that I probably couldn’t afford the necessary supplies, and besides, nobody would appreciate them unless I had a fridge full of booze. I was also too lazy to call everyone. I’ll blame myself because it’s easier.

I left work early today because I had an appointment at the Dentist’s office. It was time for my bi-annual cleaning, and I couldn’t be happier. At work, we were in the process of moving over to a brand new area, and the mass-exodus was giving me a panic attack. I welcomed the afternoon off, even if it consisted of having my gums torn open by that damn sharp hook they always use.

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Now, I’m not a baby when it comes to the Dentist. I wore braces for 29 years, so I know a thing or two about mouth pain at the hands of a rich asian man. Surely a cleaning would be a walk in the park.

This was the single most painful cleaning ever. The hygienist was flat-out awful and inconsiderate, insisting that the pain was 100% my fault for not keeping up on my flossing. She even asked me if I was a smoker, apparently because my teeth were just that disgusting.

Because of the braces, I’ve been left with a couple of decalcification spots, which are almost nonexistent if you’re not looking for them. I won’t be on any toothpaste commercials anytime soon, but my smile isn’t that hideous. In fact, she only started insulting my mouth once I started to complain of her unsteady hand. Instead of admitting that she sucked as a dental assistant, she took it upon herself to belittle me and scrape the enamel off my molars.

Listen to this. At one point, she was scraping my teeth so hard that her hand was shaking. Something that takes that much effort to extract from someone’s mouth is probably something that should be left in. I was spraying blood like a geyser, she kept running out of water in that little squirter they use, and at one point she took it out of my mouth and accidentally sprayed it all over my new shirt. Seriously, she did a piss-poor job, and it had nothing to do with my teeth. They’re still sore, six hours after the cleaning. Again, this was a cleaning. It hurt that much.

At the age of 14 or 15, I had braces put on. For two weeks, I couldn’t chew anything because my teeth hurt so much. Even then, I don’t remember anything being so uncomfortable as this cleaning. So, to Patricia at Midwest Dental in Madison; you suck at your job. Find something better to do that doesn’t result in your clients gargling warm salt water all night. Learn to operate with a steadier hand, or start taking Parkinson’s medication. I hate you.

I’m making this quick, because I have business to tend to. I’ll be back before you know it with Halloween lamenting, the triumphant return of Mutton Chop and Lost Friday. Cheers.