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Dr.Bedlam

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Everything posted by Dr.Bedlam

  1. I think I've posted this one here before, but a thing happened today to remind me of it. In particular, the bacon... ***************************************************************************************** There was a knock on the door of my dorm room, that day back in ‘82, and my roommate answered it. Standing outside in the hall were three young men with bloodshot eyes and a demeanor of gentle pain. One wore a bathrobe, one wore a T-shirt and athletic shorts, and the third guy wore only his Fruit of the Loom white briefs. Without a word, they filed in and sat on Boris’ bed. “Coffee,” said Izod, who wore a bathrobe. His eyes were not open. They hadn’t been since he walked into the room. “Two egg scrambled, bacon, coffee,” said Zorro, who wore the shirt and shorts. “Two egg scrambled, toast, orange juice.” said Wild Man. I dumped four eggs into the popcorn popper, and slapped the dome on it, pushed the plunger on the toaster, and poured two mugs of coffee and a glass of OJ, and hung and ignited four strips of bacon on the coat hanger, before reopening the dome to whip the eggs. Prepster and Zorro took their cups wordlessly, and staggered over to the coffee station, over on my roommate’s desk, to add cream and sugar. Wild Man sat there for a minute, holding his glass of OJ while reality percolated into his brain. He drank it, blinked twice, and sat and waited for his eggs and toast. Meanwhile, across the room, sitting on MY bed, Mr. Zulu and the Creature discussed freshman English assignments and ate eggs on toast, while the Dewy Eyed Wonder, who always brought his own egg cup, knocked the top off his four minute egg and began cutting his toast into strips, the better to dip into said egg. And this was a fairly typical Sunday morning in my dorm room in the fall of ‘82. ****************************************************************************** It had begun back during the summer session. I’d started school STRAIGHT out of high school, because I didn’t want to spend another second in the little tiny cow town I’d grown up in; I was so eager to get to the Big City, I could taste it, and had signed up straightaway. And in doing, I had learned that when one is taking six or eight hours of school, one has a fair amount of free time on one’s hands. And so I did what pretty much everyone at Southwest Texas State University did in the early eighties; I drank like a fish and partied like I was daring a timid fate to kill me in my sleep. It helped that I did not have hangovers, per se, regardless of how much I drank, a talent that helped me considerably, and earned me some envy from my classmates. And on Sunday morning, I would awaken from the night’s entertainments, yawn, turn on the TV to catch the news, and endure the evil glare of whoever had passed out in the room the night before. I did turn the sound down; no need to be inconsiderate. But there’s a thing about me: I’m a breakfast guy. I don’t NEED to eat breakfast, but I always feel better after having consumed something after getting up in the morning. Something reasonably substantial; a cup of coffee and a slice of toast doesn’t cut it. I learned how to make eggs when I was a kid, and had mastered all the ways of preparing them, and often kept a few eggs around; they do reasonably well without refrigeration for a few days. Trouble is? You weren’t supposed to cook in the dorm. Against the rules. THESE days, in dorm rooms, I hear you’re allowed a microwave. Some rooms even come with one built in. But in 1982, while microwave ovens existed, they were expensive as all hell, big as a barn, and not well trusted. NO MICROWAVE IN THE DORMS! You were allowed a coffee percolator, which I had, and I also had a popcorn popper, which was also allowed; it was one of the old kind, the one that was basically a concave hot plate with a plastic snap on dome; you poured a tablespoon of oil in, added a quarter cup of popcorn, snapped the lid on, and waited for the popcorn to happen. Y’know what? The popcorn popper worked just fine as an egg scrambler if you used a pat of margarine and two whipped eggs, rather than oil and popcorn. The popcorn popper did not care. And it was easier than putting pants on and walking all the way up to the dining hall. So, often, weekend breakfasts, particularly on Sundays, just happened right there in the dorm room. Eggs and coffee, that’s how it’s done! This earned me a bit of goodwill from my roommate. Apparently, a hangover and the morning news is a little more manageable if one has a plate of eggs and a cup of coffee. And he didn’t want to put pants on any more than I did. And we often had breakfast right there in the room. ...at least, until word got out. No one told the RA on the hall, of course. No one wanted to be a snitch. But occasionally, someone would drop in and ask if there was a spare egg or a cup of coffee to be had by one who simply could not stand the agony of the screaming sunlight to be endured between the dorm room and the dining hall. Please? Please? By the second summer session, I’d obtained a rapid boiler, a little one quart cooker that could boil water in thirty seconds. I had also begun to experiment with bacon, and learned that you could hang a half dozen strips over a wire hanger, and ignite them with a Zippo, and they’d cook themselves crispy, although you had to put a pan under them to catch the flaming drippings. And someone gave me a toaster. By the time the fall session had begun, everyone on the floor knew that Sunday mornings, breakfast could be had at Doc’s room, starting sometime after eight. Eggs were two for a buck, bacon was two strips for a buck, toast was a quarter a slice with butter, ham was a buck a slice, cheese was a quarter a slice, OJ and milk were fifty cents a glass, and coffee was a buck a cup, but free refills. I’d tried selling it cheaper, but we kept running out, and had only the one percolator... By then, my roommate had rented one of those little refrigerators, which made an expanded menu more feasible. We invariably had at least two dozen eggs in there, a small ham, a couple pounds of bacon, a pack of American slices, quart of OJ, gallon of milk... we tried Eggo waffles for a while, but they didn’t bring in enough money to be worth it, and cereal did well but took up too much space, and ew, the cleanup... We had regulars. Every Sunday, you could count on Izod, the Creature, Rocket Boy, the Dewy Eyed Wonder, Zorro, and Mr. Zulu, regular as clockwork. There were others who would or would not appear, depending on where they’d wound up the night before. The Dewy Eyed Wonder, in particular I remember, because out of all the regulars, he was the biggest pain in the butt; he ALWAYS ordered the same thing, coffee with cream and sugar, three slices of dry toast and two four minute eggs, and he’d bring his own egg cup and metal spoon, and knock the top carefully off the egg, and cut his toast into strips to dip in the yolk and savor between sips of coffee. Everyone else? They’d have fried, over easy, hard fried, scrambled... but Dewy had to have his four minute eggs and toast. I’d occasionally get complaints about the prices, which might have been a little stiff by the standards of the time. My reply was invariably, “There are four places within four hundred yards of here that will sell you a breakfast made to order. All of them have a better menu, three are cheaper, and one of them, you already paid for. Go try them and see how many will serve you in your tighty whities and nothing else, and let you run a tab.” This invariably ended it. No one wanted to walk more than ten yards for breakfast while in the grip of a hangover. Sometimes, unauthorized personnel would show up and bang on the door. We had the cover story down to a science: I’d promptly grab the bacon hanger, blow out the flames, and hang it outside the window frame. Boris would grab the popcorn popper, unplug it, and slide it under the bed. Rocket Boy would slip a book in front of the cream and sugar dispensers, and the Creature would grab the bread, toaster, and condiment tray and slip it under the other bed. You’d be surprised how quickly and cleverly a hungover college boy can manage, when you threaten his secret breakfasts. Admittedly, we did face some scrutiny; when one opens a door and sees ten college guys in their underwear, all sitting around sipping coffee in a dorm room barely big enough for two, it raises questions. Particularly if the smell of bacon lingers. It startled the hell out of this one girl I was dating at the time. The men in underwear, not the smell of bacon, that is. Refinements arose. After a couple of incidents involving flaming bacon grease, I went out and bought a 25c lamp at Goodwill, and we hung the coat hanger inside the lampshade; the shade stopped the spattering burning grease from the flaming bacon (we still had to put a foil pan underneath to catch the drippings.) And we learned a number of fun things to do with the pop up toaster. The Authority problem finally solved itself in September, when the RA, Prepster, managed to sprain his ankle doing something or other, and showed up at the door, on crutches, painfully hung over and begging for coffee and eggs. Please, please, I doe WANNA stagger all the way to the dining hall, just gimme coffee and eggs and I promise, I PROMISE, no word will escape my lips about what you’re doing in there... He coughed up a fiver and his word of honor, and got a plate of bacon and eggs, and a cup of coffee, but the regulars insisted that he eat in the HALL, dammit. He was eventually admitted, after Mr. Zulu orated a stirring defense in which he reminded us of the lunch counters of the South and evoked the spirit of Rosa Parks. After that, Prepster the RA became a regular. He was also pretty helpful about deflecting suspicion, and he saved us, one night, when we were considering adding a Hibachi for breakfast steaks; he informed us that if the little barbecue set off the smoke detectors, there’d be a full investigation that even HE wouldn’t be able to stop, deflect, or do anything about... ... and so Wild Man was disappointed; there would be no breakfast grill. Although he and the Prepster came up with a fun idea, and thereafter, we kept diced onion and bell pepper handy for ham and egg scramble, a dollar a cup. It wound up being one of our most popular items, and I liked it because I could make it the night before, and heat it up to serve; I could sit and enjoy my coffee instead of having to constantly be prepping individual breakfasts. By the spring of ‘83, we were almost too successful. I’d added a bun warmer to keep the breakfast scramble hot while leaving the popcorn popper open for orders. We were getting ten, twelve, fifteen customers at a time, and Rocket Boy was running a successful marijuana operation among the regulars. The Dewy Eyed Wonder took a count at the breakfast boutique down the street, and noted that their Sunday crowd was routinely smaller than mine. I should point out, however, that their customers were all fully dressed. And Boris and I did have to clamp down on a couple of the regulars who slept nude: bare buns would NOT be permitted to sit on our beds. Or anywhere else in the room. You will be served, but you’ll eat in the hall or take it to go. C’mon, guys, nobody wants to look at your junk while they’re eating breakfast! Among these protesters was the Lady Galadriel, among the few women regulars to join us at Chez Bedlam. She lived in the women's end of the building, and was among the few both brave enough AND hungover enough to wander down on the men's end like she owned the place and order coffee and eggs, and then sit on a bed to eat while surrounded by young men in their underwear. Still remember the time SHE showed up in her underwear, only to find herself uncomfortable at the attention from the peanut gallery, and she asked me to loan her a T-shirt; she was apparently epically hung over that morning, and was mindful only of the coffee and eggs at the far end of the building. We all nodded sagely. We'd all been there. I remember Galadriel not for her underwear, but for the beauty of the epic poem she spontaneously composed one overcast Sunday morning. We kept the lights off, because hungover people dislike bright light, right? And she was apparently quite struck at the glowing beauty of the flickering flames of the baconlights, shining through the greasy lampshade, and began chanting a poem she spontaneously composed, right there on the spot. The poem was, as I recall, quite stunning, and a couple of us were moved to tears. I wish I'd thought to write it down. Quite a few people pressured me to offer a lunch menu, although I had classes during that part of the day... ********************************************************************************** I guess I don’t know where I’m going with this. It’s sort of a confession to a series of crimes, now that I think about it -- we weren’t supposed to be cooking entire meals in the dorm, much less running a restaurant. We certainly shouldn’t have offered a Sunday morning breakfast special consisting of a cup of Breakfast Scramble, a bottomless cup of coffee, and a joint. My old man kept bugging me to get a job while I was taking classes. I never actually told him that I sorta already had one; between “helping” other students write research papers and running Chez Bedlam, I was actually doing considerably better than minimum wage. Maybe I’m wrong. But perhaps while some sins should be repented? I think some should be cherished and savored...
  2. I think it must be. Chicken broth IS food. Not GREAT food, but better than NO food, as I found out when I went on a clear liquids diet a while back. And I am a creature deeply rooted in its own past, and I remember the sensation that goes with being little and wrapped up in blankets on the couch while Bob Barker hosts "The Price Is Right" and Mommy walks in with a TV tray with the Chicken and Stars and a glass of ice and Canada Dry in the can. And Bob Barker is gone, and I don't watch daytime TV any more, but half a century later, I still feel the boost that goes with Chicken and Stars. The RIGHT kind of Chicken and Stars, durnit. Generic will do, but copper flavored crap will not. A few years back, I did make a can of Chicken Noodle with pulverized crackers and a few drops of food coloring. It gave me no more strength than usual, nor did it heal my ills. But I did giggle for a minute, remembering my sister's irritation. So there's that.
  3. It brings to mind a couple of years ago when Campbell's tried to change their Chicken and Stars recipe. I seldom eat chicken and stars. For that matter I seldom eat canned soup. But when I was very small, the ritual at my house was that when I was sick, my mother would prepare Campbell's Chicken & Stars soup and Canada Dry ginger ale over ice. And from the age of four, I was convinced that this stuff did for me what spinach did for Popeye, as far as fighting off whatever was making me feel bad. And the psychology behind it is sufficiently strong that even now, fifty years later, when I am ill, I tend to want Chicken & Stars soup. Yeah, laugh it up. MY house, durnit. And a couple of years ago, I caught a Man Cold, that most crippling of pernicious illnesses, and on the way home from work, I stopped to get a few things, notably Chicken and Stars. And I found that they'd changed the recipe. Instead of tiny star shaped flecks of pasta, thousands of them per can, the soup now contained these massive, ungainly star shaped cookie cutter things, the size of my pinky fingernail, and far too few of them. And while it still contained occasional asteroids of carrot, it seemed to contain NO chunks of chicken. I bought a couple of cans anyway. And when I heated one up, I was bitterly disappointed. It did not taste like chicken broth, instead having an odd coppery flavor. The gigantic stars were the wrong consistency. There was no actual chicken, except perhaps in the broth, which tasted completely wrong. And I raged that another monolithic corporation had erased another chunk of my childhood for the sake of saving a few cents per can. I gave the remaining soup to a food drive at work, and got on with my life. Six months later, Berni asked me to get some French Onion for a recipe. I did so... and noted that the store brand had changed their label to show that THEY still had the little tiny star flecks of pasta and little chunks of chicken. I also noticed that Campbell's had changed THEIR label to add the rather panicky sounding legend ORIGINAL RECIPE IS BACK! I bought a can of each. Tried them when I got home. They were fairly close to identical... that is to say, both of them would have been perfectly acceptable to a snuffly five year old Bedlam. I'm guessing that Campbell's had a New Coke moment ... or perhaps a Fourth Edition epiphany.... and moved to limit the damage as fast as possible. Perhaps I am not the only fully growed adult with a thing for Chicken & Stars....
  4. I am not certain it qualifies as a "recipe" so much as a "weird way to prepare canned soup." Recipes are about making people WANT to eat the food. Mine was a way to keep people OUT of it!
  5. For some reason, I have very few funny stories about food. Although Berni remarks that nearly every fight we have had as a couple has been about chicken, for some reason.
  6. Never thought I would ever actually own this. Now I gotta figure out how to get Volume Two.
  7. For some reason or other, I have time on my hands lately. Ehh. If I was REALLY hungry, I'd break out the Presto Hot Dogger and cook up three or five hot dogs, wrapped in slices of Wonder bread with a dose of mustard each. But a can of soup was a nice midafternoon tea thing to hold me until supper. And I could EAT a can and a half... it was just more than I liked. And it burned my biscuits, having to hand over half a perfectly good serving to a smirking nine year old who didn't really want it anyway. Weirdly enough, decades later, I had a similar experience with ketchup. They started making green ketchup, right? And my daughter absolutely fell in love with the stuff. I liked it well enough. My ex refused to touch it. So later, they came out with PURPLE ketchup. My daughter loved it. My ex refused to touch it. And I tried it, and found that it tasted like paint. We later tried a blind taste test between red, purple, and green ketchups. We discovered that if you couldn't see what you were eating, there was no difference whatsoever in the flavor. But if I could see the purple, I could taste the purple. But for some reason, the red and the green tasted the same to me. So... that's a thing I know now. And I guess it explains why the smell of perfectly good Campbell's chicken soup made the whole press box sick....
  8. 1.A recipe:1 can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup (the kind without Disney characters on the label)1/2 can of water (they tell you to use a whole can. Don’t believe them. Dilutes the flavor)4-5 drops green liquid food coloring, brand unimportant; I used McCormick’s, back in the day5-8 pulverized Saltine crackers, to taste; add crackers one or two at a time until the desired texture is achievedAdd all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat until hot. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and put a paper towel on top, then heat in the microwave until hot.Stir and serve.Upon reading this, you might well think, “Doc, what were you thinking? Your food is disgusting, a greeny-yellow pulpy semiliquid mess with little yellow wormlike noodles oozing in and out of it! What possessed you to ruin a perfectly good bowl of soup?”And therein hangs the tale.2.One day, I was maybe twelve, I was hungry, and I heated up a can of soup. Yeah, big news, right?Little did I know that this would herald the beginning of the Soup Wars.I didn’t MIND making hot meals for myself and my sister. Problem is, sibling rivalry and attendant meanness meant that she’d WEAPONIZE it. My little sister wasn’t a terribly mean child, certainly no worse than anyone else’s. And I could certainly be no prize myself. But one day, she found a lever of power, and like many, she couldn’t resist yanking it until it broke off in her hand.One day, I was heating up a can of soup. She smelled it, walked in, and said, “I want some soup.”“Fine,” I said. “Get a bowl, and you can have this soup.”“No,” she said. “I only want half that soup.”“”Tough,” I said. “I want a whole can. You can have this soup, and I’ll make another can.”“No,” she said. “I only want half a can. You can have the other half.”“But I want a whole can,” I said. “You get a whole can, or nothing.”“MAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” she screamed.“Share the soup with your sister!” came the cry from the other end of the house.And she smirked at me.And from that day onward, a gleeful pattern emerged: when the smell of soup was smelled, she would come running in and demand half of it. I could have have a can, or a can and a half, and I could just live with it! Either that, or no soup for you, Charlie.And that irritated me. A can and a half was more soup than I wanted, and it irritated me even further that she’d make a point of coming in and demanding her tribute when I knew dratted good and well she wasn’t hungry, she was just doing it to nettle me.Durnit.And this went on for a bit... until an idea occurred. One day, I opened a can of soup, dumped it in the pan, added the water, and then pulverized some crackers into it as it heated... and then hunted around for the food coloring, fished out the green, and added enough to give it a proper neon-swamp-water look.The soup heated. The chicken aroma swelled and spread. And the sister came stomping in to demand her cut. And I sweetly and obediently dished her up half the pan.The look on her face was pure satisfaction. To me, that is. She, naturally, was horrified. “What in ghod’s name is THIS?”“Your snack,” I snickered. “Eat up before it gets cold.”“I’m not eating THIS!”“Suit yourself. More for me.”And that day, I had a whole can of soup to myself, seasoned with savory victory. With ill grace, she heated up a hot dog in the Presto Hot Dogger, and left me to my swampy feast.She came running a few times after that at the smell of soup, but soon learned that my new recipe was a continuing thing, and ceased after that to bug me for soup. I’d gotten into the habit of seasoning with food coloring, and routinely added it without even thinking. Self defense, you know?Which led to the incident of the football game.3.I worked for the local paper in my teen years, and was sometimes assigned to cover the high school football games. I didn’t mind. My press credentials got me into the press box at the top of the stands, and we’d all sit there with our coffee and cocoa and hip flasks of volatile liquid ... and hot soup in a thermos... and watch the game, take notes, pictures, and so on.And at halftime, I felt a tad hungry. Cracked open the thermos, reversed the lid into a cup, and poured myself a cup of hot chicken soup, with crackers already crushed into it. I needed a spoon to eat it; it was a tad bit lumpy.First one to notice was the photographer. His eyes bugged a bit, but he said nothing. The spotter saw him staring at me, and his face twisted in horror as I spooned green slimy wiggly stuff into my mouth. The spotter leaned over and tapped the PTO guy on the shoulder, and he leaned over for a look, and his eyes did a Roger Rabbit as well.I stoically ate my soup. It tasted fine to me. And the whole point of green soup was not CARING what other people thought, right? I should point out I was all of fourteen years old at the time, and I knew perfectly well what I was eating.It never occurred to me that the smell of chicken soup might be misinterpreted by those who didn’t know what it WAS...and only saw a cup of lumpy green wormy goo...Didn’t think anything of it until the announcer happened to glance over in mid announcement... with a hot mike. Did I mention that the announcer was one of those who had a flask of volatile liquid, rather than coffee?“And now, for your halftime enjoyment, the Wildcat Band will WHAT IN &@!#$’S NAME IS THAT $#%@?” Things sort of went downhill after that. It was a while before I was allowed to cover another football game of a Friday night.My sister STILL won’t let me forget about that....
  9. Denver, CO/Wizard's Chest/ an excellent selection of boardgames, RPGs, MTG, WH40K, and miniatures of all sorts. It's also a costume shop, of all things. Aurora, CO/ Crit Castle/ RPGs and boardgames, as well as being home to the local miniatures gaming scene, focused largely on Warmahordes and Malifaux. Highlands Ranch, CO/ Enchanted Grounds/ RPGs, boxed games of all sorts, minis, and MTG. It is also a far better coffee shop than Starbucks.
  10. Thank you for the word. It's never easy to announce... or to know... that the circle is smaller by one.
  11. Update: After attending Telly's wake, his daughter, my cousin, informs me that for purposes of protecting the guilty, Sal was not his friend. It was his father in law, Aunt Penelope's father. So I would guess they'd remain friends. To some extent. At any rate, Grampa Hercules prolly either never came over for a social visit again, or at least never again dared to fall asleep on Telly's couch...
  12. Pretty sure the story wouldn't have got repeated if he'd lost the cat...
  13. Self-indulgent post warning: this has nothing to do with Reaper or miniatures or anything relevant, but I'm gonna say it anyway, and if the moderators disapprove, they will wish it away into the cornfield, and sorry to bother the rest of you. But be warned before you begin reading. My Uncle Telemachus died last night. He was Mom's older brother, and in his eighties, and died of Old People Related Parts Failure, and there's nothing I can do about it. So I decided to celebrate his life a little. And no, that's not his real name. My Uncle Telemachus was a storyteller. Dunno if he ever wrote them down, but he could tell a story with the best of them, and I have been compared to him more than once, to neither of our irritation or insult. Uncle Telly had a wife and family, but today I will talk about his cat. The cat wasn't anything unusual as cats go; Telly's cat was, in fact, very typical of cats. And I never would have known Uncle Telly had a cat until he told me about the day his friend Salvatore came over, and they got to chatting and watching the football game and drinking beers one Sunday afternoon, the way men do. Note that I was not there; this is Uncle Telemachus' story, and this is all HIM. ... and apparently, this particular game wasn't as exciting as it might be. Or maybe there were too many beers involved. This may well have been the case; Uncle Telly had a liver like leather, and could drink most anybody under the table. ...but, as it was, at one point, Sal dozed off on the couch. Uncle Telly didn't mind; he sat and sipped his beer and watched the game. After a while, Sal's head sort of fell back a bit onto the back of the couch. He did not wake up. After a while longer, Sal began to buzz a little, the way some of us do in our sleep. And after a bit longer, Sal began to outright snore. Loudly. The way your spouse does when she's imitating you and complaining that you snore, or some character on a sitcom does, shortly before someone throws a lamp at him. Now, Uncle Telly didn't much mind; he just turned the sound up on the TV. But Telly's cat apparently got interested. What was THIS? And Telly's Cat jumped up on the armrest of the couch and began to examine Sal in some detail. What was that NOISE? Telly paid no attention, until the cat crept a little closer, cautiously... and then doubled back, got on the armrest, jumped up on the back of the couch, and slowly began to approach Sal's head, which was lying full back on the cushions, now, roaring away like a small chainsaw. ...well, apparently, the game wasn't all that interesting after all, because Uncle Telly noticed the cat, very cautiously sneaking up on Sal's head, and began watching the tableau on the couch more closely than the game. Hey, he never told any stories about the GAME, but I must have heard THIS one like six times, now. ... and Telly's Cat finally got very close to Sal's head. He peered into Sal's mouth with some interest, and much curiosity. Where the hell was that NOISE coming from? About then, Uncle Telly glanced at the coffee table, where there sat a Bible. He glanced back. The cat was now staring raptly into Sal's mouth. Craning his neck a bit. His muzzle was now in Sal's wide open mouth. Where was that NOISE coming from? And he glanced back at the book, which was now a Stephen King novel of some five hundred pages. And he glanced back at the cat. How had the cat's whiskers not tickled Sal awake? Now, I will tell you, I don't believe that there was an unabridged dictionary sitting on Uncle Telly's coffee table. This is exactly the sort of exaggeration I would expect from Uncle Telly. I am in fact, fairly sure that it was a copy of MOUNTAIN BEAUTY OF COLORADO: A PHOTO COLLECTION or some other coffee table book of the sort you'd find in a nicely arranged living room; Uncle Telly was big on photography. But Uncle Telly wouldn't settle for that. No, he had to have an Unabridged Dictionary, sitting there on the coffee table for no reason. In fact, the first time I heard this story, I think it a Bible, and then a few years later, it was a dictionary, and I'm sure if he were here right now, he'd tell me with a straight face that it was the entire collected Oxford English Dictionary, in fourteen volumes, in a neat stack, sitting right there on the coffee table. At any rate, the cat now had his entire face, up to the ears, in Sal's wide open mouth, engaged in close and focused examination of Sal's rattling tonsils. Sal had not noticed, and was still dead asleep and snoring like a bomber on its way back to England on one engine and many prayers. So Uncle Telly calmly reached out, picked up the book, whatever it was... carefully positioned his arm so's not to hold the book over the coffee table, but a section of floor, about three feet off the ground... and then turned his head to face Sal and the cat... ...and dropped the book. Did I mention the living room had hardwood floors? And that this was all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittanica? This, of course, woke Sal up and startled both him AND the cat, and I leave it to your imagination what their respective reactions were. I assure you that your imagined mental picture is probably not exaggerated nor far off. I do not remember the exact words Uncle Telly used, but there were few of them, and I remember that he somehow found a way to distill "explosive sudden pandemonium" into a six syllable adjective. Uncle Telly was GOOD with words. And this is how I found out that my Uncle Telemachus had a cat. And a friend named Sal. I could not tell you if he still does, after THAT, but that's the version he told ME. And having written all this, I find myself feeling a little better. Thank you for your indulgence. And now, back to your regularly scheduled miniatures board.
  14. Found the tower at Michael's a while back. Bought it because I knew it would find a use at some point. And tonight, it has... I am not sure where I'm going with this, but so far it looks promising...
  15. It could be argued that "Colorshift," "colorshift" "color shift" and "ColorSHIFT" are four different trademarks. It could also be argued that a trademark that applies to a liquid in a bottle doesn't apply to a solidified coating on a toy vehicle. But, yeah, this is copyright law. It's legal until it isn't, and even then, it's arguable. Meanwhile, attorneys get paid.
  16. Took this picture at Target this afternoon. And I know, it isn't a trademark for PAINT, per se, in that the paint in the picture is not liquid in a bottle but a solid coating on a toy car. Still think the phrase is a bit too common for actual trademarking. But I'm far from being a lawyer so what do I know?
  17. Nobody makes me look bad. Not even those who are far more talented than I may EVER be. Ain't a matter of being BAD. Is a matter of beating yourself up and then getting BETTER. NOBODY is ever really BAD. Someday... someday... I will find the Joker's other foot...
  18. With pecans! Weird thing is? Only person in my family who ever gave fruitcake with the intention that you should actually EAT it was my Grandma Bedlam, who... wasn't quite all there. And the thing in the picture still looks better than what she used to make. *sigh*
  19. It was? I wouldn't have thought they would want to release a product that's in direct competition with their current RPG line. Ooooh, don't get me started. Another reason I question their decision to release a product that's in direct competition with their existing product...
  20. They didn't. They went straight to YouTube and had 'em yank the video. It could be argued that they did so in defense of their trademark, although I wasn't aware that they lied about it. And if they did, well... there's a different kettle of fish entirely. Judges tend to frown on that sort of thing, defense of yer trademark or not. I am glad to hear that the video's been reinstated. Another victory for the unruly mob, there. Can't really argue with that reasoning. To consult with an attorney and then not follow the letter of the law is flat out stupidity. I'd LIKE to think they'll learn from this debacle. Whether or not they will remains to be seen.
  21. Yup. Both by itself and as a two pack with the first sourcebook. Still available in a number of fine hobby shops in this locality. More than once, I have wondered how Fantasy Flight felt about the timing of that particular release.
  22. Not quite. While your statement is completely accurate, they are acting to defend a trademark they claim they have... specifically, the "colorshift" thingy. The "colorshift" thingy was in the video. Vallejo released product that had their trademark on the bottle. A reviewer on a public venue showed the bottle in her video. Now, the way this trademark thing WORKS, if I claim a trademark, and someone else uses that trademark, I am responsible for challenging their use of that trademark. If I FAIL to challenge that trademark, then anyone who is willing to stand up in court and argue that I could have but didn't can ask the court to invalidate the trademark in a variety of ways that weakens my control over it or eradicates that control altogether. Legally speaking, if I want to exert control over a given phrase, I must demonstrate PROVABLY that I went after anyone who used it inappropriately or without permission like a swarm of rabid piranha bats. So in the specific cold hard legal sense, GSW, in the defense of their trademark, had to challenge what they saw as an "inappropriate use." They could have let it slide, probably with no consequence -- the YouTuber in question wasn't challenging their trademark or selling anything -- but I can see why a particularly rabid trademark lawyer would have said, "This must be challenged in a recordable and provable way." They took the simplest option and complained to YouTube. Do I agree with the reasoning? Hell, no. Do I think it was the right way to handle this? Hell, no. They could have saved themselves a hell of a lot of headache with an email exchange with the lady in the video; it's equally provable in court and completely documentable, assuming she was willing to cooperate; I sure would be, rather than deal with a Cease And Desist or having YouTube come down on me. I'm just saying I understand why they did what they did. It has basis in legal precedent and trademark law. That doesn't make it "The Right Thing To Do." Disney's had things like this happening for years. A while back, they went after a day care center for showing "The Lion King" to their toddlers, since the video was private property legally purchased, BUT since the day care charged fees for the caretaking of toddlers, it could be interpreted that this included charging admission to see a Disney film, a thing that's not supposed to happen without the payment of royalties and the signing of contracts and the jumping through of legal hoops; technically, if I show a Disney at my house and charge you all a buck a pop for couch space, I'm breaking laws, even if I legally purchased the DVD. Does Disney give a rat? No. They aren't concerned with losing the dollars from my couch, and less so with hassling day care centers. But anyone wishing to attack Disney's trademarks and copyrights can use this sort of thing as a weapon in court. So Disney's gotten into the habit of being hardnosed about it. And copyright and trademark attorneys are trained to be hardnosed about it. And considering how spurious their claim to the phrase "colorshift" is, I can see why they're being hardnosed about it. I personally think they'd have done better to come up with a more unique term to trademark, but nobody asked me. All that being said, I must still state that GSW made a hash out of this business, and I am disinclined to do business with them because of that.
  23. Note that YouTube isn't subject to Fair Use; they word their contracts so they can yank your content for pretty much any reason or no reason with no liability to themselves. I'm just saying that the lady in question wasn't actually doing anything WRONG. GSW followed sound legal doctrine. Legally their actions are unassailable. As far as decency (and PR) goes, it was a very bad idea.
  24. Ah, HERE we go! They still MAKE it! And it's every bit as inedible and long lasting as ever!
  25. West End's D6 version is still available in an excellent two-pack of the Main Book and the sourcebook. It was good in the eighties and holds up excellently today. And if I was gonna start running a Star Wars game from scratch, for a group of kids, that would be the way I would go. It's quick to learn, it's intuitive, it's fast moving, it's fun, and it's CHEAP unless you start trying to root up the thousands of ancient splatbooks for the system. WotC's D20 version is quite good, and picks up FAST if you're already familiar with D20 mechanics. More rules crunch than the D6 system, and there are sourcebooks for the expanded universe and the prequel trilogy. Downsides include the fact that it IS rules crunchier than D6, which some kids don't manage as well, and the fact that it's all currently out of print, meaning laying hands on all the materials in question can be a bit of a bear. This brings us to Fantasy Flight's RPG, which is a good game, although I found it sort of unintuitive, but that could just be me, ancient grognard trying to learn new RPG system with weirdo dice with no numbers on them and do I need a CHEAT SHEET for these dratted dice? Pros are that it's in print and available, both in softback, hardback, and starter sets, can cover pretty much ANY time frame in the Star Wars universe with canon materials, and it's available everywhere. CONS include a system that seemed a bit convoluted to me, and the fact that every player is going to need a set of weirdo dice with little symbols on them... or they'll have to share with each other and/or the GM. EDIT: ....and for ANY version of Star Wars RPGs, figures are NOT cheap these days.
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