April 24, 2018

  • The Indestructible Wine, part 2

    In my last column, I took you through some of the history of Madeira wine, and discussed its role in trade and the formation of America. Here, I continue with the topic and examine the drink itself – what it’s made of, how it’s made, and understanding what the labels mean. Madeira Island has an oceanic/tropical climate, so fungal diseases and rot are persistent problems. To combat this, grapes are grown on terraced hillsides, often trained on trellises called latada. There are four traditional grapes: Malvasia (Malmsey), Bual (Boal), Verdelho, and Sercial. The grape Tinta Negra Mole became the most…

  • Unnecessary Manuals

    My new cell phone arrived the other day and I couldn’t believe how big the shipping box was. The new phone is about the size of a credit card, but the box it came in would hold a Sears side-by-side refrigerator freezer with room left over for a homeless Sumo wrestler. I knew it was my phone, because it said so on the box, but I felt a twinge of panic. I wondered exactly how many phones I had ordered or perhaps I had misunderstood how big the thing was. After all, I had never actually seen the phone, except…

  • Grilling, Broiling, Boiling and Spitting!

    They’ll give you all kinds of reasons, guys who don’t like to cook. Some may even be true, but they ignore one simple truth: as long as you depend on someone else to do the cooking, you have no control over what you eat or how it’s prepared. For all you know, they may go off on a mad binge and start feeding you stuff that’s actually HEALTHY! Then where will you be? How will you react when you realize you’re condemned to a life of tofu, bean sprouts, yogurt, Belgian endive, and julienned rutabaga? Serves you right! On the…

  • A Wine for Lovers

    When the calendar roles around to February each year, one thing comes to most men’s minds: what in the world am I going to have to do this year to make her happy for Valentine’s? While you’re busy with flowers, dinner reservations, buying a gift that doesn’t get you exiled to the couch, and every other hoop you have to jump through, I’m here to help you make that beverage choice that scores you some points at the end of the evening. It’s called Brachetto d’Acqui, and it’s my topic for the month of February. Connoisseur Ramblings Brachetto d’Acqui, or…

  • The Water of Life

    Typically, I prefer to be relevant to the season, its holidays and so on, when not writing about Arizona wines. That means Valentine’s Day in February. I debated on champagnes, maybe dessert wines for couples, or pairing fine wines with a romantic dinner. I’m single though, and Valentine’s is more like Singles Awareness Day for me. Plus, football season will have just ended and with it the addictive distraction of fantasy leagues and other such pastimes of the manly weekend warrior. Take all of this together, and I’ve decided to scrap all things feminine or couples related and focus on one…

FEATURED WORLD EDITION

Loch Ness Laps Stunt

May 12, 2016

NESSIE NEWS: One lap of Loch Ness was barely tolerable, but two more proved too much for a group of nude swimmers who surrendered to bad weather. The four men and two women, taking turns of an hour each, began their charity stunt at night and completed their first 23-mile lap the following morning. That was all, as temperatures sank and winds rose. According to monitors and observers the temperature and winds weren’t the only things sinking and rising. BOOK NEWS: Six Wisconsin library administrators have produced a sexy calendar they are selling to raise money for their libraries. Five…

Whatchamacallit?

May 12, 2016

They say that as you’re growing old, Your whatchamacallit goes– You can’t remember little things Like if you wore your clothes, Or if your sister (what’s her name?) Has been released from jail, Or if your sister’s brother is Still trying to make bail. But, when you really think it through (Which, clearly, you can’t do), The things you don’t remember are The very things that you Would rather not remember and, In fact, would best forget, To give your brain some breathing room, So, frankly, you could get The life that you had rather lived Set firmly in your…

Assassination Confusion

May 12, 2016

TELEVANGELIST NEWS: Pat Robertson, CEO of the 700 Club television station in Virginia Beach, was quoted as saying he endorsed the assassination of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, claiming the dictator supported both the spread of Communism and Muslim extremism. Later, he backslid and claimed to be misunderstood, saying he meant the tyrant should be “taken out,” which could have a variety of meanings, like kidnapping him, taking him out for dinner and a movie or taking him out for a walk. As usual, the media was behind the confusion. GOING POSTAL NEWS: Thomas Shaheen, 49, of suburban Springfield Township, who…

Whatchacallit II

May 12, 2016

In reading last month’s ditty, I Have realized of late, That what I vainly preached about Has been my own true fate. My whatchacallit’s truly gone! I’m in a brand new zone! I don’t remember anything, And, boy, how I have grown! Or shrunk, I guess! At any rate, I’ve had to start anew and Invent a past and present that More fairly is my due. A myth, in fact, a naked lie, A fabricated rout! Complete with names and places that I’ve only dreamed about! But, wait, this seems familiar. Could I simply have forgot? I’ll never really know…

Baseball

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Hating the New York Yankees is as American as apple pie, unwed mothers and cheating on your income tax.” — Mike Royko “Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything.” — Toby Harrah “Well, boys, it’s a round ball and a round bat and you got to hit the ball square.”…

Internet Dating Follow Up

May 12, 2016

Excentric World staff members look into the latest in Internet dating. A matchmaking company, Great Expectations, promises to help singles who are experiencing difficulty finding someone compatible. Our staff followed (let’s call him Bob) on a date after he selected a perfect match from an on-line questionnaire. He chose to have his special date meet him at his house before going out. The two listed a great sense of humor and slow dancing as their main attractions. Little did he know that his prospective date would far exceed his expectations.     Related posts: Financial Struggle Long Distance Longings The Current…

Lottery Offense

May 12, 2016

LAW ENFORCEMENT NEWS: A winner of the Arizona Lottery has been convicted of a federal offense, and was sentenced to prison for 10 years or 1 week each month for 42 years. MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH NEWS: Scientists in South Korea recently announced that, on the heels of cloning human tissue, they have been able to create artificial human sperm. This development will probably be of particular interest to married American males who are often either too tired or too lazy to create their own or are busy watching a sporting event. SPREADING GOSSIP NEWS: Some people don’t believe in repeating gossip,…

An Excentric Look Into The Future

May 12, 2016

Excentric World staff members take a look at all the happy gift recipients following the holidays. This couple is an example of two people so much in love that they gave each other a cell phone. Now, even before their ritual Sunday breakfast out is over, they busily show that love again by using their gifts to text and chat with friends. Perhaps they’ll take a Facebook picture of their meal, a popular, while goofy thing to do.     Related posts: Do-It-Yourself Projects An Editorial from Excentric World Are Men Really Listening? Probably Not! Recalculate

Sacrifices Made and Loves Lost

May 12, 2016

Holiday gatherings often stir emotions and memories of loved ones not in attendance. Our staff decided this month would be a good time to reflect and to remember the fallen. This photograph was taken during the winter of 2001 to commemorate September 11 and the gallant efforts of the firefighters to rescue as many people as they possibly could without reservations. Too often, time passes and without storytellers to preserve the images, times of bravery and sacrifice are too easily forgotten. So, just this once we would like to repeat a picture to remind those who might have forgotten–and involve…

A Christmas Poem

May 12, 2016

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight. The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream. The sound wasn’t…

Heart Rider

May 12, 2016

I peddled out of Phoenix Just about three weeks ago, And panted up the Mogollon, And through New Mexico, Then Texas, Oklahoma, and Across the Kansas miles, To end it in Missouri to St. Louis–welcome smiles. I peddled fifteen hundred miles With bare necessities: The clothing on my back, that’s all, And no real niceties. A sleeping bag and sunscreen, and Some shampoo and a comb, A couple of necessary tools, And my desire to roam. An Ogalala Sioux I met Who’s words cut clean and smart, Told me I didn’t ride a bike. Instead, I rode my heart. Related…

Americans Out of Work

May 12, 2016

Excentric World staff members look at Americans out of work and looking toward self-employment. This laid-off gallery manager decided to use his experience in dealing with paintings and painters and start up an interior improvement business. First, he needs to master the art of mixing paint.     Related posts: Economical Ways of Going Green Effects of Alcohol Binging Out-of-work US Citizens Bogus Automobile Insurance Claims

Failure

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” — Dan Quayle “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” — Aristotle “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby “If at first you don’t succeed, find out…

Congressional Wins

May 12, 2016

NATIONAL LEGISLATION NEWS: Congress has been unable to agree on a budget, direct Social Security reform, solve the Medicaid dilemma or protect our borders. However, in emergency sessions, they have succeeded in exposing the steroid use in sports and making sure credit card companies collected from people out of work and forced to file bankruptcy, proving, once again, we have the very best government that money can buy. AUTOMOBILE SAFETY NEWS: A recent study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences should be of interest to those drivers who claim to buy SUVs purely for safety reasons. The results of…

Lesser Known December Holidays

May 12, 2016

December 1 is . . . National Pie Day and Eat A Red Apple Day December 2 is . . . National Fritters Day December 3 is . . . National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day December 4 is . . . Wear Brown Shoes Day December 5 is . . . National Sacher Torte Day December 6 is . . . National Gazpacho Day and Mitten Tree Day December 7 is . . . National Cotton Candy Day December 8 is . . . Take It In The Ear Day December 9 is . . . National Pastry Day December 10 is…

Top 10 Signs You Were Too Old to Trick or Treat

May 12, 2016

10. You got winded from knocking on the door. 9. You had to have another kid chew the candy for you. 8. You asked for high fiber candy only. 7. When someone dropped a candy bar in your bag, you lost your balance and fell over. 6. People said, “Great Boris Karloff Mask,” and you weren’t even wearing a mask. 5. When the door opened you yelled, “Trick or…..” and couldn’t remember the rest. 4. By the end of the night, you had a bag full of restraining orders. 3. You had to carefully choose a costume that wouldn’t dislodge…

No Girls Allowed

May 12, 2016

I’ve always been a skeptic when They cried, “Conspiracy!” But, lately, it’s apparent that They’re ganging up on me! Not lobbyists, or lawyers, or Republicans, or gripes. I’m talking about plumbers and The placement of their pipes. Or, maybe, it’s the architects Who all are growing taller, And simply draw the men’s room plans That plumbers all must foller. At any rate, I’m 5 foot 5″ A Lilliputian prince And when I use a public john It makes my ego wince. The plumbing has ascended far Above my dignity: The fellow with the kiddy stool Is more than likely me!…

Out-of-work US Citizens

May 12, 2016

Excentric World staff members take a look at empty offices, vulture capitalists’ answer to inflation. The job of the person who used to sit at this cubicle has been shipped to India. For just a few rupees, corporations can hire apologetic technical help to assist Americans with questions about their computer products. Out-of-work U.S. citizens are considering training in speaking with an accent and apologizing for your difficulty.   Related posts: Yard Work! Financial Struggle The Italian Pasta Diet Americans with No Abilities Act Passes

On Marriage

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “A married man should forget his mistakes; no use two people remembering the same thing.” — Duane Dewel “In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar, a practice that still continues.” — Helen Rowland “Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.” — Jackie Mason “Marriage is like putting your hand into a…

Every Vote Was Counted

May 12, 2016

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real state agent which direction was North because, he explained, he didn’t want the sun waking him. She asked, “Does the sun rise in the North?” When another person explained that the sun rises in the East (and has for some time), she shook her head and said, “Oh, I don’t keep up with that stuff.” And then she voted! I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I…

Biggest Task in America

May 12, 2016

ECONOMIC RECOVERY NEWS: Economists say that when the dollar is weak, meaning it’s losing value compared to other currencies, one benefit is that more American products can be sold overseas. Now, the biggest task for American manufacturers is to find a way to sell more products in America. EDUCATION NEWS: The latest trend in modern education is tutoring 2 and 3-year-olds for preschool. Next will come surrogate potty training followed by substitute breast feeding. END OF THE WORLD NEWS: According to Harvard University scientists, a dying star lurking dangerously close to Earth is on the brink of exploding into a…

Lesser Known November Holidays

May 12, 2016

November 1. . .Plan Your Epitaph Day November 2. . .National Deviled Egg Day November 3. . .Sandwich Day and Housewife’s Day November 4. . .Waiting For The Barbarians Day November 5. . .Gunpowder Day November 6. . . Saxophone Day and Marooned Without A Compass Day November 7. . . National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day November 8. . . Dunce Day November 9. . . Chaos Never Dies Day November 10 . . Forget-Me-Not Day November 11 . . Air Day November 12 . . National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day November 13 . . National…

New Toys

May 12, 2016

While the toy recalls mount through the ceiling, Sending outsourcing importers reeling, And Barbie’s lead paint Causes Elmo to faint, While the Easy Bake Oven is peeling, There’s an old fashioned movement re-starting, Causing Wal-Mart and Cosco some smarting, ‘Cuz without Einstein Blocks To stuff in kids’ socks, Toys R Us, from their profits, is parting. They are words often spoken by mothers, And repeated by grandmas and others, Fisher Price is appalled ‘Cuz they can’t be recalled: “Just go play with your sisters and brothers!” Related posts: Ask Kids about Mom and Dad On Board Computers The Sun Mystery

The Sport of Torero Goring

May 12, 2016

Excentric World staff members take a look at the sport of Torero Goring. The rules of this new sport include a brightly dressed human armed with a cape and a sword. Thrust into an arena, the human’s goal will be to tease a large, agitated bull with the cape and, after a number of passes and close calls to the cheering and jeering of the stadium audience, the matador stabs the bull for no apparent reason other than to kill him. If he misses the spot aimed to disable the bull, the bull is finally able to use tools given…

The Universe

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man does not have to experience it.” — Max Frisch “The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.” — Kilgore Trout “I’m astounded by people who want to know the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.” — Woody Allen “In the beginning,…

Astrology for the Weak

Horoscopes for March 9-15, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Mars quincunx Pluto and Saturn squares Pluto, bringing some tension to the areas of your chart of finances. Since Pluto is officially no longer a planet, no biggee. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) In March, it may seem the world is moving too quickly for you and you may secretly have to make concessions. You just might bring honor back to fast food. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) By nature, relationships cause new feelings and sometimes present challenges in understanding. This month you’ll try to understand why you have no relationship. CANCER (June…

Horoscopes for March 2-8, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) This month you will embark on a journey to discover your inner self. A wrong turn down the trail and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a spiritual safari gone awry. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) You’ll have flashbacks of someone in authority saying that you will rue the day. You didn’t know what they meant, but in March, you will rue at least one day. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will discover a hitherto unknown talent for finding odoriferous elements in everyday life. You’ll eventually quit your job at the…

Horoscopes for February 23-March 1, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) February is emotional and weird which, means your family is involved. Bring your friends into the mix and you can add strange and border line illegal. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You start the month off on the right foot, with a deep sense of what you want. But you’re not thinking – you’re left footed. No Dancing With The Stars for you. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) You’ll be dreaming big and setting the tone for the weeks to come. You’ll be radiant. You’ll be impressive. You’ll brighten the lives of…

Horoscopes for February 9-15, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) A cut lip will reveal a secret you have been able to keep for years. Someone will recognize the position of the cut on the lip smear on your Valentine’s Day card. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) The good news is you’ll finally get a job. The bad news is you’ll have to wear a dorky uniform and clap and sing goofy happy birthday songs at least twice a day. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will have a very difficult time resisting temptation in February. You’ll run and you’ll hide, but somehow…

Horoscopes for February 2-8, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) You’ll try, but fail, to impress snow bunnies this ski season in Flagstaff. Too late, you’ll find everyone signed your cast, “This Stupid Thing Is Fake!” TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) This month you will discover Castor Oil is like WD40 for the gastro-intestinal tract. You’ll mix it with orange juice and end up non-squeaky clean. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) The month of March finds you facing a conundrum?deciding whether or not to file a police report on the theft of your exotic plants for insurance purposes. CANCER (June 21 – July…

Horoscopes for January 19-25, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) You’ve built up a lot of good karma over the past year, but you can’t stand around waiting for the big payback to come. What about all the years you screwed up? AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You’ll encounter two challenging aspects causing you to counter the urge to make a mad dash into the sunlight. Good thing, because there was a big tree in the way. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) Competition can be extremely motivating for you this month. After conquering your visiting nieces and nephews on wii bowling, you’re…

Horoscopes for January 12-18, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Mercury comes out of retrograde, you may become uninhibited, a bit extraverted and even a slight introspective, an antithesis to the regular abnormality of life. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) Think carefully before taking a walk on the wild side. You might encounter lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Or maybe coyotes and bobcats and rattlers, oh my. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) This January 1st, you have decided on the very best New Year’s Resolution ever! Remember, don’t tell anyone what it is or you may jinx it from happening. CANCER…

Horoscopes for December 29, 2013 – January 4, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) It could be you were born with the words ‘if merely human, do not approach’ etched on your aura. You also probably celebrated Chrsitmukkah. Oye Ho Ho. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) You want to visit some exotic land for the holidays but can’t afford it. You’ll rent a foreign flick with subtitles, drink hot Chai latte and eat Bon Bons. Close enough. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You’ ll decide to take up with a new peer-group – the kind that’s into a spiritual, religious or metaphysical cause. It’s a good thing…