Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Popcorn and a movie”

    Last week I came close to swearing off popcorn. It was a scary time for me. I felt like I was handed a key to the city of Crazytown. I don’t want to experience anything like that again.

    The cause of temporary popcorn bane was related to the fact that over the past month Kay and I have been to the movie four times. After entering a theatre I have to immediately stand in line for popcorn. It mentions that somewhere on my health card. It’s an acronym. TEPA – Theatre entrance popcorn addiction. 

One reason I married Kay was because I don’t have to share much of my popcorn with her. She actually reaches her limit and then quits. That’s just silly business. You’re supposed to quit only when the bag is empty. 

Each time we go to the movie I buy a large bag of popcorn and a medium drink. Once I tried to buy a medium popcorn, but the large was only about 50 cents more. The price for a medium is so high that 50 cents more is chickenfeed. I’m thinking they want you to buy the large bag. They need you to buy the large bag. I’d get the large drink, but Kay can’t carry it without handing me her purse. She tried once and the spillage was massive.

I don’t know what the price of a large popcorn would have to be before I quit buying it. All I know is they haven’t hit it yet. They’re getting pretty close, though. Testing me is what they’re doing. 

Each time I buy a large bag I tell myself that I’m going to get a refill at the end of the movie and take it home with me. Unfortunately, I’m so sick of popcorn when I leave the theatre that I don’t want to think about bringing any home.

Like I said, it was after the fourth movie of the month that I swore off popcorn. The movie was “Tintin.” Before the movie came out I had never heard of a Tintin. I originally thought it was the last name of a German shepherd. 

Turns out Tintin is a bright Belgium boy with a dog named Snowy. You can imagine how stupid I felt for neglecting to keep up on Belgium character portrayals.

Since it’s obvious that three of you appear more curious about the movie than you are interested in popcorn, let me say that the animation in “Tintin” is the best I’ve ever seen. And, we didn’t even see the 3-D version. While I understand the concept of the new animation, I can’t imagine how anyone is able to carry it out to such perfection.

The movie was so exciting that I only nodded off twice. It was during the chase scenes. I hate chase scenes. After awhile I just want everybody to stop. I get the point. Unless I’m watching “Bullet” or Jason Bourne, just catch ‘em or don’t, but quit the chase.

In Tintin there were car chases, boat chases, foot chases. I think an elephant was in there somewhere. Seems like it. Like I say, I nodded off a time or two. Had they trimmed down the chase scenes I might’ve given the movie a “Large Popcorn.” That’s part of my movie rating system. A four star movie would get the “Big Bucket.” Not all theatres have a big bucket. I got one at a theatre in Arkansas and woke up in the emergency room. Let me tell you, Kay took her good time hauling my buns there. I think I lost a day.

The popcorn at the Tintin movie was great. Well, it was great for about half a bag. After that it got worse… exponentially. But, I finished it. Oh, boy, did I finish it. That’s when I swore off popcorn. That was a week ago.

Now, I’m proud to say, I’m back, baby! Just waiting for a movie to come out that I care to see. I’ll wait for another week, maybe two, and then I’ll go see something I don’t wanna see. Likely a Kay movie. Sappy as all get out, but the popcorn will make it worthwhile.


To see Brad and Mark’s review of Pei Wei’s Asian Diner click on pic below.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A copy of a mummy

“King Tut”

    Last week, I took Kay to see the King Tut exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. I didn’t really see the need to go, ‘cause I thought we’d already been. I don’t know if it was the PBS documentary or the catalog sitting in my bookcase, but something led me to believe I had seen the thing.

Kay convinced me I was wrong. Then she explained how the Egyptians are trying to collect money from the exhibit to build a museum in Cairo so they permanently house the massive display. If we didn’t go while the exhibit was in Houston, we’d never get to see it unless we traveled to Egypt. I just don’t think I could live with myself if that happened.

No question, the exhibit was worth the expense and the effort. For two tickets and two listening devices the size of a TV remote we were out $70. Kay informed me that she had purchased the tickets back in October, so I was pretty much committed. Turns out, I’m glad I went. Interesting it was.

We didn’t need the listening devices for all the exhibits. If we had, we’d still be in there listening to stuff. It was only at the fourth display that I learned where the sound was coming out of the remote. I hate it when people assume any dope can figure something out.

Another thing that confused me a bit was all the writing attached to each display. I had read four explanations at one display before realizing that each plaque said the same thing. Sometimes I have trouble comprehending what I’m reading. Especially if someone is standing next to me. Hey, I can’t even operate the Redbox movie dispenser if someone is watching me.

After getting settled with the viewing process I ended up learning a bunch. I found out that some of the Egyptian emperors after Tut tried to chip his name off all structures and statues in an attempt to keep him from going to heaven. They believed that if a king’s name wasn’t written anywhere, he would not experience life after death.

So, Tut’s reign was a secret for many centuries after his death. What’s ironic is that once his tomb was uncovered in 1922, he became the most famous of all Pharaohs. And, that’s a good thing, ‘cause somebody sure buried him with a lot of cool stuff to occupy his time in the hereafter.

Unfortunately, some of the stuff was internal organs. Four separate smaller coffins were used to store his whatsits. One small golden container fashioned in the likeness of Tut was made to hold his stomach. They dried it out before they chunked it in there, but it was his stomach all right.

The big disappointment of the exhibit for me was the fact that the Boy King’s real mummy wasn’t there. Apparently it was too valuable and too fragile to travel, so they used a 3-D copy machine to duplicate the thing. I admire their honesty, ‘cause there’s no way anyone would’ve been able to tell that the real one from the copy.

I saw a 3D copy machine on one of those “How do they make that” shows. Fascinating. Makes me wonder why they can duplicate a mummy, but they can’t make a tuna can that makes it easier to extract the tuna. I’m just saying.

Normal people generally start out real slow in a museum -- reading everything and taking their sweet time. Halfway through they’re at a trot. “Yeah, another gold cat. Great gold necklace, granite statute… Move along!” 

Well, that didn’t happen to us. I was so tired I wanted to prop my feet on Tut’s baby bed, but I hung in there like grim death. Hey, tickets were $25 a pop, and I wanted to get my money’s worth. I think I did.

I wouldn’t go again if it was free and they served peanut M&Ms, but I can now say I’ve seen the Tut exhibit.

And, I must say that I’m a bit concerned about it all. I mean if the stuff in Tut’s tomb is in Houston, Texas, what on earth is King Tut using to occupy his time in the afterlife? A lot of ancient Egyptians went to a lot of trouble to give that kid a smooth transition. If they had had the luxury of a nice tomb, they’d probably be turning over in it.


To see Brad and Mark’s review of Chi Japanese Cuisine click on picture below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blouse versus shirts

“Dentist visit”

    I had an interesting visit to the dentist last week. It would’ve been less interesting had I needed drilled, cleaned, or pulled. Those visits are so not interesting.

    Fortunately, I was only getting a fitting for a new tooth guard. Teeth guard? Whatever. It looks like the thing a quarterback periodically puts in and pulls out of his mouth. I need one because I grind my teeth in my sleep. No, I don’t do it on purpose. What do you think I am?

At one point, I bought an over-the-counter tooth guard, but chewed it up on the third night. I dreamed I was eating popcorn and ended up gnawing the daylights out of the thing. Dr. English was having me fitted for my second professionally made guard. I can’t wait till it comes in. I asked for industrial strength.

    The best part of the dentist visit happened after Terri finished pulling all of the solidified goo out of my mouth. It takes goo to get a guard. While I’ve seen a locksmith duplicate a key by simply looking at one setting on the seat inside a locked car, I’ve never seen or heard of a dentist making a tooth guard simply by looking at a person’s teeth. No, you’ve got to make a mold for those things or else you’ll end up biting on a slant.
    When Terri got through with me, we walked up to the front desk to get stuff sorted and I got to talk with the women. I don’t know any male dental assistants or office help, or I would’ve talked to them, too. I’m just saying.

I got to show the girls one of my favorite Christmas gifts. It was my Savvy Caddy wallet. I mentioned it to you a week or two back. It’s wider than a regular wallet, but thinner. And, it bends, so it doesn’t make you sit on a slant. Can you tell I hate slants?

While I’m on the subject, I’d like to ask you men which pocket you put your wallet in. If you’re right handed, I assume you put it in your left back pocket. That way, you grab it with your left hand and leaf through it with your right.

Brad is right handed, but puts his wallet in his right rear pocket. That means he has to change hands when he pulls it out. I tried to explain the inefficiency of this practice, and he insulted me. Stubborn he is. And, mean.

Stacie said that her husband keeps his wallet in one of his front pockets. I thought that absolutely ridiculous… and dangerous. But, I didn’t tell her that. Common sense tells you not to upset the dental staff.

    After the wallet topic played out, the conversation went in the direction of buttons on women’s blouses compared to those on men’s shirts. The buttons on shirts are on the right side and the holes on the left. If you’re right handed, it’s the only way to fly.

If you’re left handed, it’s best to be a woman, ‘cause female buttons are on the left with holes on the right. It’s crazy out there, people. 

Then the women shocked the willies out of me by saying that the zipper flap on most women’s pants is on the right and folds left. I took their word, ‘cause I’ve never experimented with women’s pants. I do know that my flap is on the left and folds right. I don’t even know if I could zip my pants if someone swapped my flap. Brad probably could.  

Give me a second to research this button thing. – Ah, I found a source that explains it thusly: “Well-heeled” women of the Victorian Age generally had servants dress them, so buttons and flaps were placed to accommodate the right handed servants. The well-to-do men, had servants lay out their clothes, but generally dressed themselves.

I don’t know whether or not that’s true, but it’ll give me something to share when I go back to pick up my new tooth guard. By the way, do you get a tooth guard for your uppers or lowers. I don’t think I could sleep with something on my uppers.

Did I mention how interesting my dentist visit was?


To see Brad and Mark’s  review of Fuddruckers click on photo below. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No resolutions

“Broken writing hammer”

    ROOFTOP – I don’t know how many New Year rooftop articles I’ve written, but it’s been a bunch. Let’s see, this is will be the 32nd year of the column, so I just imagine there have been about that many. Again, my math skills stagger. 

Before joining you up here this morning, I checked the archives to see what I wrote about at the beginning of last year. It was one of those meandering pieces, only longer. The crux of it all was that, in order to lose my double chin, I was not going to eat anything until I got down to the weight I wanted to be. One of those New Year’s Resolution things.  http://markhayterscolumn.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html

Here’s a line from the article: “The good news is, in a month or two, neither of us will notice my neck. That’s ‘cause it’s gonna shrink big time. It’ll have a single layer. Like a Lorna Doone. I like Lorna Doones.”

Interestingly enough, that was the last time I wrote the words “Lorna” and “Doone” together in a sentence. I wrote ‘em separately hundreds of times.

Less interesting is the fact that I fasted for about 10 hours that day last year. Too many leftover Christmas snacks. Santa! The man’s a fiend. So, here I sit, five pounds heavier than this time last year. Resolutions, humbug.    

So, this morning there will be no resolutions. None. Resolutions are the fuel of depression.  Mark Twain said that about tapioca, but it also applies to resolutions. Not only that, but it provides me with a word for the New Year which will not appear in any of my writings -- tapioca. I think I can go a year without that.

 I think it’s safe to say that each of us wants to do a little better in 2012 than we did in 2011. No one up here is thinking, “You know, I think I’d like to disappoint myself this year. Really smell up the corner where I live.” Is anyone thinking that? Put your hand down, Phil. Yeah, that was cute.

No, we all hope to do better. And, I’m off to a decent start, I must say. A couple of minutes before I climbed up here, Kay yelled at me from the living room: “Sweetie, I need your help moving furniture.” So, I went down there and she walked off. No explanation. I took it as a sign that I needed to move stuff… so I did. When she returned she said, “What are you doing?” -- Chasing Batman. What does it look like I’m doing?

That’s what I thought to say, but didn’t ‘cause I wanna be better this year. I said, “I’m moving stuff. You don’t like the coffee table the way it is? Here, I’ll move it at an angle. See? Is that what you want?” She said, “No, I want it in the guest room.” -- Ballistic did I go? No, I wanna be nice this year, so I moved the thing.

After I got all of that settled I hurried up here to be with you guys.  Oh, and good news. We can have a bunch of nighttime roofsits this year, ‘cause Santa got me a pack of eight LED flashlights. Eight! LED stands for Lloyd E. Dapper, the guy who thought to put tiny lights all together into one really bright light. Anyway, we’ve got a bunch of flashlights to share, thanks to Santa… and Lloyd. 

Second thought, we may not have many opportunities to sit on the roof or anywhere else. According to the Mayans, Armageddon occurs this year. Or something like it. Hey, I’ve seen the movie. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Truth is, the Mayans didn’t say the Apocalypse or Acropolis was coming this year. It’s just that this happens to be the last year on their projected calendar… so someone says, ‘cause I can’t read the thing. Chance is the person making up the calendar broke his writing hammer at 2012. That’s what I’m thinking.

I’m also thinking that it’s time we all climb down. We’ve accomplished about as much as we can for now. No resolutions, no tapioca, no writing hammer, but thumbs up to fleecy pants and LED flashlights. I’ve got eight of ‘em. We’ll give ‘em a workout this year. What say? – Next time.


To view Mark and Brad's review of La Mariposa Restaurant click on photo below.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life after Christmas

“So, what’d you get?”

    Did you know that up until about a week ago, one third of China’s population was employed making remote controlled toy helicopters? I did the math on that after making several Christmas shopping excursions. I’m pretty good with numbers.

Unfortunately for our Asian owners, I didn’t purchase a helicopter. I happen to realize that the playlife of a remote controlled helicopter is about nine hours. After that it either breaks or is shelved due to an exponential decline in the operator’s attention span. Another of my calculations.

The remote controlled flying clown fish has a slightly less play life. How many of you got one of those things, or got the blimp shark? Balloon fish only have a two and a half-hour play life. You can do just so much indoors with a giant balloon fish. Too confined.

So, kids will immediately take the things outside where the inflatable air swimmers meet the same fate as a kite in the forest. Rather fragile devices. I’m waiting for Tonka Toys to make one.

I didn’t give or get one of the balloon fishes for Christmas. Nor did I get a “Swoop and Scoop” cereal bowl. I saw one at Brookstone, and told Kay to be sure not to get me one. The swoop scooper is a bowl that’s supposed to eliminate the horror of soggy breakfast cereal. It’s got a divide in it that looks much like the line across the Yin and Yang symbol. In the Yin part of the bowl you put your dry cereal, and the Yang gets the milk.

You’re supposed to put some dry cereal on your spoon and then dip it in the milk before eating. The cereal doesn’t have time to get soggy. I think it’s an example of supply with no demand. Of course, what do I know? Like I said, I didn’t get one.

In fact, I didn’t get or give much of anything for Christmas. I certainly didn’t give Kay much. In fact, I don’t remember what I got her, but I do remember wrapping the stuff. She picked her stuff out, except for a couple of items. She’ll be taking those back in a day or two. I don’t shop well. I know. Hard to believe, isn’t it? 

The best thing I got for Christmas was a new wallet. It’s a Savvy Caddy. Thinner than most other wallets, yet holds a ton of stuff. I have yet to convert stuff from my old wallet to the Savvy Caddy. I’ve got to set aside a day or two to complete that task. My current wallet is the size of a Major League catcher’s mitt. I sit in a slant even when I’m in my underwear. My left cheek has become somewhat recessed. Dr. Strickland said it’s a rather common condition among men.

The wallet on the left is the Savvy Caddy. It's larger, but doesn't make you sit sideways.
It's a Christmas miracle!

Where was I? Oh, yeah, gifts. Kay and I didn’t open our gifts this morning in front of the family, because this was the first year in the history of the Hayters that we haven’t all gotten together for Christmas. If you ask me, it’s the grandkids. They’ve taken over everything. Brothers and sisters, who used to be relatively sane, become unnaturally attached to their offspring’s offspring.

If I wanted to host Christmas at my house, I’d have to include kin from a three county area. And each of them would want to show off his or her Christmas gifts. You’ve got your BB pistols, your remote controlled adult trippers, electric floor gougers… I’d be yelling so much that after one get-together all the kids would be calling me Uncle Stopit.

  No, Christmas tapered off a bit this year. A bunch, actually. And, you know something? We survived. A few years ago, I would not have thought it impossible. But, life does go on… until it doesn’t.

Wow, what an unfestive thought. Let’s put that on hold for awhile. A good while. Instead let us dwell on the thought of all having a superiffic New Year. Create the beginnings of new traditions. I’m going to try that. I’m just not going to over do. Not good to start something unpleasant that might catch on. Been my experience. – Happy New Year, faithful readers… and first timers.   


To see Brad and Mark's review of Tailgators Pub and Grill, clip on pic below.