Monday, January 31, 2011

Respect THIS beard !!!

Here ya go, how I look after growing my beard for a while. No, not as long in days as Brett Kiesel has grown his, but long cutting til after the Super Bowl...yes, I trim mine around the cheeks, ya go:

Review: George Harrison - Brainwashed

For those of you that like the Beatles but haven't cared much for the Fab Four's individual albums, I suggest you try out George Harrison's album "Brainwashed." This was George's last album, so to speak. He recorded his parts of this album before he died. His son, Dhani, and Jeff Lynne, of E.L.O. (Electric Light Orchestra), finalized this album the way George had intended it. And, boy, did it turn out awesome. You can feel the "end of the road" lyrics in songs like "Any Road," "Looking For My Life," and "Stuck Inside A Cloud" so much that they make you think about your own life and what it might be like when you're right there on the edge of who-knows-where. Lots of great guitar work also.  And don't dismiss the great bar-room style they, and others, add to the old standard "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea." That's something that can brighten your spirits while you're thinking about any other depressing spirits that might be haunting you and your past after listening to the voice and lyrics that Harrison has provided. Proceed with caution if you're depressed and have a drink in hand, but yet feel your glass is half-full.

Review: The Chief - the film version

For those of you Steeler fans out there that haven't seen "The Chief," the theatrical story of Art Rooney, Sr., written by Rob Zellers and Gene Collier, I suggest you do so. Especially if you're a born-and-bred Pittsburgher. Tom Atkins does an outstanding job of portraying Mr. Rooney. You may not know the name Tom Atkins, but if you, like me, love the movie "Lethal Weapon," you will remember him as Michael Hunsaker, the father of the chick that killed herself at the beginning of the film. Mr. Atkins does a great job with the voice of Mr. Rooney, and although it's done on a very small stage, the acting is great too. I am saying this as a guy that never lived in the North Side of Pittsburgh or anywhere right around Pittsburgh (I've lived an hour outside of Pittsburgh my whole life), so if I enjoyed it, then if you live anywhere closer to downtown Pittsburgh, you should enjoy it even more. It's more of a Pittsburgh story than it is a Steeler story, but, nonetheless, it's a must-see. Buy it or rent it. Would make a great pre-Super Bowl experience for yinz.

Your Favorite Western?

This past weekend, AMC was showing westerns. I am a HUGE fan of westerns. Those of you that know me very well know who I enjoy most in western movies, as well as the movies I like best. So I figured I would ask all of you what your favorite western movie of all-time is. I would have to say that my all-time favorite western is The Searchers, starring John Wayne. I would love to hear what you think.

Other suggestions:

Bad Experience - Puff 'N Snuff, Greensburg, PA

I just got back from my latest tobacco purchase. I went to Puff 'N Snuff on East Pittsburgh Street here in Greensburg, PA. They have had a special on my personal favorite product for the past 3-4 weeks. I was there last on Friday, Jan. 28, and asked how long the discount would go on, and the girl there said "Until the end of the month." So today, I go back to get a few more before the sale ends. The signs are still there below the product's shelf, showing the sale price. I tell the boy/girl (I honestly couldn't tell which it was) who was behind counter what I want, and he/she rings it up. Too much. I tell them that the sign says it should be "X" amount. The other girl (yes, this one was a girl) said the price must have gone up. I said, "Well, you have it showing X amount, I want it for that price." She says, "You'll need to call my boss about that." I reply, "Well, get your boss on the phone right now." So she does. So I wait and wait until she gets her instruction to give me the discount. Meanwhile, the whole place was filling with smoke. Yes, they were smoking in a tobacco store while on the job. Unbelievable. So, if you live in/near Greensburg, I suggest going elsewhere for your tobacco needs.

Cheap Fried Chicken - Walmart Vs. Banquet

This past weekend, I had the chance to try again, for the first time after many many years, Banquet frozen Original Fried Chicken. I know many of you out there, like me, enjoy the fried chicken that Walmart's deli/hot foods section prepares. It's inexpensive, fast, easy, and you have virtually no clean-up afterward. Banquet's chicken has to be baked in the oven for about 55 minutes and you need to use a baking sheet of course. Here's is what I found out when comparing both:

Coating Texture: I give the advantage here to Walmart, but just slightly. Yes, the Banquet chicken came out very nice, but Walmart's coating is a bit thicker and more substantial, if you, like me, like a lot of coating on fried chicken.

Coating Flavor: Here is where I thought Banquet had a strong advantage. As much as I really enjoy Walmart's chicken's coating texture, it is VERY salty. Banquet's coating is not even half as salty as Walmart and therefore, Banquet gets the nod here. I will also say that banquet's coating has more of a paprika taste to it, while Walmart's is perhaps more black-peppery.

Chicken: This is a toss-up. Both very very similar in how moist/dry the chicken was under the coating. As usual, the breast pieces were on the dry side and the dark pieces were more moist. That's how chicken is. Dark meat has more fat, therefore it is going to be more juicy.

Variables: When you buy Walmart's fried chicken at the deli/hot foods counter, it may have been sitting for a bit under heat lamps, so by the time you get home, it can be really dry. Also, if you get the family-size box of Banquet fried chicken, you get 9 pieces, and there are NO wings. 3 pieces each of breast, thigh, and leg. So you get more meat from Banquet.

In conclusion, this is a very difficult one to choose. But, in the end, I think I have to go with Banquet. For around $8, you get 9 pieces of real chicken (I don't consider wings to be real chicken pieces. They're too much trouble for virtually one bite of meat), whereas with Walmart, for around $5, you get 8 pieces, and 2 of those are wings. Here's a great meal suggestion: get a family-sized box of the Banquet chicken, get a bag of Rhodes frozen Dinners Rolls, and microwave a bag of frozen corn, and you have yourself a delicious meal for your family.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Anyone out there like the song "Layla?" Yeah, I thought/hope so. Did you also know that it's Eric Clapton singing the original version? No, not from Unplugged. He sang the original, too. Well, if you liked that song and never heard the whole album it came from, it'll be re-released in several formats on March 29, 2011. Great stuff, great album. Did you know the main riff from "Layla" was from the fingers of Duane Allman? Yes, of Allman Brothers fame. And, yes, he played on the original "Layla" album. Best track on that album, in my opinion, is "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," which, although slightly different from the original done by Freddie King, is amazing for the guitar solos from Mssgrs. Clapton and Allman. Please check it out. You can thank me later.

2-disc set:

super-deluxe edition:

2-LP vinyl:

single cd:

Mushy Pasta

If you're like me and you like pasta that is very al-dente and not mushy, stay away from San Giorgio's Cook Quick pasta. It turns out very gummy and pasty, even if you cook it less time than box says for you to cook it. Not good. Buy Barilla or DeCecco if you want good pasta.

Bad Local News

The local news here is pathetic. Why, oh why, do the local stations need to lead their "news" with a Steelers rally 9 day before the Super Bowl???? WHY??? And then the next thing they talk about is the weather, where we might get an inch or 2 of snow. WHY??? After the weather, they talk about shootings, muggings, murder, etc., but yet think that the Steelers and an inch of overnight snow are more worthy of the top news. Absolutely ridiculous...not "RE-diculous" like most people like to say, but the normal "ridiculous." If you're turning on your tv at 4 PM to watch the news just because you wanna see what John "I do nothing but Steelers or snow stories" Shumway looks like in his Steeler garb while amongst a bunch of drunk Steelers fans, then you have problems. I only that this happens because I live with my father and he watches KDKA at 4 PM, and he can't hear what you're saying when you're 3 feet away, hence the volume. Seriously, can't the local stations cut back on their Steelers fluff and still get the advertising dollars? I also think it's trash that they have to start the news at 4 PM and go to 7 PM. I would think that with today's people having less of an attention span, they would cut the news down to less hours and ask the advertisers for more per ad. But I didn't go to college for advertising, nor have I worked in television. But I think I am smart enough to think this might work if they did things the right way. Maybe I'm wrong. Some people, like me, don't watch commercials. I always have my remote in my hand for when a commercial comes on. And that is especially true of NFL games, but that's another blog post. And, for those of you that think I am crazy about how bad local tv has gotten, check out John Steigerwald's book Just Watch The Game. Yes, that's the same guy that did local tv sports for more than 30 years here in Pittsburgh. You can also check out his blog here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gripe #1

Why do people wear shorts on a 35 degree day but yet also wear a sweatshirt/jacket/coat and act like they're cold? I'll never freaking understand that. Can anyone enlighten me? Please????

another thing about my blog...

I am not going to be like other bloggers that only post things during the "work week" or "when I feel like it." I am going to post on here all the time. I don't think a blog is real unless you post things all the time and when you think of something. As far as I am concerned, you shouldn't have a blog unless you are committed to posting things when those things hit you. I dislike bloggers that only blog on certain days or when they just "feel like it." To me, that shows laziness. Yes, you may have other things going on with you life that might be more important, but don't throw your blog out there unless you're ready to go at it full time.  Again, just my opinion, but I think followers of a blog would agree with me.

Review: A Chance Of Very Good Meatballs

I tried the Cooked Perfect Italian Meatballs a couple months ago, which you can find at your local WalMart stores in the southwestern PA area, and didn't think they were that great. Well, I have tried them again in other applications, and I must say, they are really the best of all the frozen meatballs available in the local stores. They're not the best in a "spaghetti and meatballs" type of dinner (in my opinion), but they are really good in meatball sandwiches and, yes, I even used them in Hamburger Helper-type uses, if you cut them up into pieces and you don't have ground beef on hand. Give them a try, they're pretty damn good.

Women: what???

I posted this question on my Facebook page, and I'll post it on here too:
Why is it that intelligent, amiable, attractive women tend to marry/be involved with guys that look like the biggest freaking douche bags on the planet? Can someone answer that with a reasonable explanation? And, no, I am not jealous. If they decide to be with a guy like that, then I have no reason to want to be with a woman that would make that decision. Dumbfounded, yes, but not jealous. 

Steelers - Packers Super Bowl

Wow, who would have ever thought this game would happen (besides the great Peter King of Sports Illustrated I happen to be a big fan of the Packers. They're my second-favorite NFL team. But prior to the past 2 months, I never would have guessed they'd look as good as they do right now. They have a pretty good defense and an offense that has a much better running game this postseason than they did in the regular season. The Steelers have a defense that has been very good all season (remember being without Ben for the first 4 games?) and have proven they can again be very good when it they need to be in the postseason. So what does this all mean as we get closer to the Super Bowl? I'd love to hear from you and tell me what will be the decisive factor in the game. We have 12 days yet. Gonna be a great one, if you ask me.

Howdy, folks!

This is your old friend, Stew, coming to you from western Pennsylvania. This blog will be for just about anyone. I'll be posting stuff about sports, food, politics, everyday life, history, music, film, TV, underwater basket weaving, and more! I am looking forward to your comments, questions, suggestions, and any other stuff you have to say. I was going to use foul language there, but I decided against it for fear I might offend someone. We'll see how that goes. Fire away while I get my first REAL post ready. And thanks for reading. Tell all your friends!