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Everything you did and did not want to know about what I see and think.

What Beer Goes With Hasenpfeffer?
Posted Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 by James Kitchens

Hasenpfeffer (also spelled hasenfeffer) is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit or hare. Hase is German for hare and Pfeffer is German for pepper, although in this case it rather refers to the small pieces of meat. The dish is prepared from smaller parts of a rabbit which are not suitable for roasting. These are braised with onions and wine and the marinade is thickened with the animal's blood.

--- From Wikipedia


--- Yosemite Sam

Growing up in Germany, I have actually had this food item. Having said that, I'm not sure how many of you out there are either fans of hasenpfeffer, or tree-hugging lovers of any random small woodland creature. One of those groups, I will in short order make somewhat happy with mild snickering. The other of those groups, I will likely offend enough that they make yet another internal comment about how inane I am.

Let me back-track for a minute, and let you in on the reason for this post. I have been growing grass in the side yard. I do this Annual Grass Growing Contest because we have two four-legged animals in our household who have decided to use that area for their own private racetrack. That running around means they necessarily tear up the grass there. So I am forced to fence off that section every Spring for about a month.

Today was the first time I cut that grass, and allowed the afore-mentioned four-legged creatures (AKA Lila and Milo) on the turf. However, before they even stepped foot on the new grass, and while I was mowing, I happened up on an itty-bitty bunny rabbit. This surprised me because we now have a family of foxes in the area and they have done a superb job of handling the small woodland creature population --- rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and others. We also have a population "birds of prey" that are on the upswing, so that helps too.

Well, it appears that the little bunny's mother might have met her fate recently. I found their nest, as well as two of this bunny's siblings that had also perished. Lucky for me, our dogs did not find any of this. They were too busy laying in the sun, thankfully.

So this tiny bunny, probably one or two months old (old enough to have fur and be able to minimally get around), was crawling through the grass trying to leave. Here was my dilemma: Do I send this bunny to its "maker", or did try to send it on its way and let nature take its course? After a call to the missus, I decided to move it to the front yard hostas and let it get around if it can. A couple checks on it later....and the little guy had successfully moved out of range of my interest. Or it had become "fox food". I'm not sure.

In the end, I realized this single, solitary bunny would never be enough to go through the effort of actually making the delicious hasenpfeffer we know and love. Maybe the foxes will send me a thank-you note.

Picture of the alledged bunny:




The Year Without A Blogpost
Posted Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 by James Kitchens

Holy carpe! Has it REALLY been an entire YEAR without my posting to this blog? Well, actually it's been 15 months, so yes it has. I am very well aware of the fact that this blog means nothing to anyone other then me. But I should have been downloading my inane and jumbled thoughts, even if it's for my own benefit.

What have I been up to without the benefit of venting about Chicagoland drivers? Without the benefit of 7 year olds re-telling the same joke over and over? Without all the benefits that come along with the mental serenity that comes from shouting at people in this cyberspot who drive badly on the roads, act badly in lines and elsewhere? I've been crazier than Bakes, that's for sure.

I'm not nearly as upending these days by bad drivers. Maybe I have become immune to their evil spells. And evil lane changes. Or more likely, I have been driving far less and haven't raised my blood pressure to the point of boiling over. I also don't recall any significant "waiting in lines" incidents lately. Or maybe my "serenity now" meditation sessions have been working...

Wow, this process is quite boring (for me, and especially you) if I don't have anything to shout about regarding the inanity and stupidity of my fellow man (and woman). Maybe I should go out of my way to find more situations that make me irked and make me need to vent in this blogspace. Pretty sure I won't have to search very far. Which is the bonus (and curse) of living in a big city. Plenty of stupid people to make you mad. Usually, we just call them "tourists". Or a lot of times I just call them "Nancy".

More input as circumstances warrant. Fingers crossed that someone cuts me off in traffic. Or stops randomly in the middle of a major street. Or decides to completely ignore the line winding around the corner at Hot Doug's and struts to the front like they own the place. We can only hope...

To finish the celebration of "The Year Without A Blogpost", I thought I might dig up some other "Year Without..." type things. Here are some of the more interesting ones...

The Year Without Toilet Paper

The Year Without A Santa Claus

My Year Without Spending

Magical Year Without Disney

The Year Without A Summer

The Year Without A Government

The Year Without Sex

My Year Without Clothes Shopping


Posted Friday, January 15th, 2010 by James Kitchens

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
--- Albert Einstein

I'm curious at what age the repeated use of the word "again" stops being a favorite command to immediately re-live a much-anticipated action or joke or other fantastic childhood event. I ask because our daughter (who is 5 years old) made me repeat the same joke for approximately 2 hours on our drive to Ohio recently. OK, maybe it wasn't two hours, but I think it was the whole way from Lafayette, IN to well past Indianapolis. So an hour?

I certainly didn't mind the repeated telling of this joke. On the contrary, I took great joy in seeing her crack up like crazy at the same exact joke over and over and over and.... I was actually tempted to see how long she might be able to go on laughing hysterically at this silly joke. But I suspect she would have far outlasted me on that front. Actually, I'm really sure she would have.

So what was this fantastic joke that Claire had to hear over and over all the way through Central Indiana? It's a classic. It's incredibly funny. It's.....well childish. Good thing she and I are both children. Otherwise, the silly joke would have worn out its welcome much more quickly.

The joke in question:

Me: "Knock, knock"

Claire: "Who's there?"

Me: "Impatient cow."

Claire: "Impatien......."


So there you have it. The funniest joke in the world to my daughter for about an hour or so during a 5+ hour trip in the car from Chicago to Ohio. She actually tried to tell a couple people in Columbus that joke, but ended up just cracking herself up when she tried. It still never got old for me to see her laughing that hysterically over such a simple and ridiculous joke. I hope I never forget that sight.



Don't Tread On Me
Posted Thursday, November 19th, 2009 by James Kitchens

I was dropping Claire off at school this morning and I noticed a sign. It said (says), "To protect the habitat, please stay on the path". Ordinarily, I wouldn't think much of this. But this time, I actually looked at the "habitat". I remember a time way back yonder (Bakes can back me up on this) when we used to call the "habitat" something like "bushes". Eventually, the "bushes" evolved into "landscaping". Now it's called "habitat". Seriously, the "habitat" is probably 10-20 decent sized bushes, some low groundcover, and a path with mulch going through it.

I guess I need to ask, "When did we evolve from 'bushes' to 'landscaping' to 'habitat'?" I never saw that coming.


2005, A Phone Odyssey
Posted Sunday, November 15th, 2009 by James Kitchens

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
--- Arthur C. Clarke


Magic indeed. As of last night, I have finally entered the mobile online world with some sort of Samsung inertnet capable phone. Re-reading that statement makes me sound a lot like Bakes. I can imagine myself saying, "Stay off my lawn, you damn whippersnappers!" Or shooting the neighborhood kids' football and throwing it back over the fence. Pretty sure Bakes does all that stuff. And more. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to mark my passage into the year 2005. Yes, I've finally caught up with the middle of this decade in terms of my phone. In other areas (my clothes, my haircut, my favorite sayings, etc.) I am woefully stuck in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Although, by that standard, I'm clearly about 60 years ahead of Bakes. Sorry, Brian, but it's true. However, with this new toy, my phone odyssey begins.

The trip began last night on our way out to dinner. We parked near a Radio Shack in Evanston, IL on our way to the FlatTop Grill, and had about 20-30 minutes to kill. So we stopped in to look at phones. My wife needed a new phone, and had a "free" upgrade coming. We all know these aren't really "free", since they stick you with a new obligation to pay them for a period of years. Anyway....

We started looking at the phones, not intending to do anything. She saw a few she liked, and the guy mentioned that for her needs, she wouldn't want a PDA phone (Blackberry, etc.). In the meantime, the wife was liking the new Samsung inertnet phone. So we actually decided to get her one. At the same time, they needed to look up the account to make sure we had the data plan for it (we didn't, but switched to an unlimited data plan that cost the same as our previous plan). We also found out that I was due a "free" upgrade too. Turns out they picked up all the re-activation fees and a few other things like the first month of the data plan (normal for a 3rd party seller I assume). So that's the story of how our new phone osyssey started. A seemingly innocent trip to Radio Shack before dinner.

Sadly, they only had the same model and color phones left in stock, so we both got the exact same phone. I'm considering how I can differentiate our phones. Maybe I'll paint mine with same racing stripes and flames or something. Or put a pink stripe on hers. She hates pink.....

As for my phone inertnet usage, let's just say I've used the inertnet connection on my previous phone with limited shock and awe. Plus I was always afraid of overages on the data plan. No such fear now! I've even posted my first mobile phone post on TBS this morning. So, as you can clearly see, my antiquated days are coming to an end. At least in terms of my phone and the inertnet. As for my clothes and haircut, maybe I'll just have to consult with Bakes for that.