Monday, March 28, 2011

The Curse Has Lifted!

You probably don't know how we ended up out in Portland- my wife is a city girl and I am a mountain guy.  I love to ski; it is literally the only non-carnal thing in the world I could do every single day.  Portland was our compromise that attempted to satisfy both our needs.  That's not me in the pic, by the way.

For the last five years, I have been a season pass holder at Mount Hood Meadows, the largest and gnarliest ski area of the five on Mount Hood.  For you Colorado snobs, Meadows is the size of Copper Mountain, and gets a ton of snow.  Granted, it is really heavy, wet goo- but we get 500 inches or so a year.  I have averaged about 10-15 days a year of late, but this year has sucked royal ass- new baby, getting sick, kids getting sick, and shitty weather have conspired to keep me at home.  I have been a grand total of four days, and the conditions have sucked for three of them.  Well, Sunday was the fourth, and we finally hit the jackpot.  Thirty five inches of snow over the last four days and a new ski bud added up to a great day.  we got in early and made the first chair, and didn't cross another track for the first two runs.  Mount Hood has pretty extreme weather- usually if it is snowing, the visibility is horrible and the wind is howling- not so on Sunday.  Just steady snow and light wind.  We skied the bowls, a ton of trees, and I even dropped a small cornice (my feet usually stay on the ground).  All in all, one of the five best ski days ever.  Thank you to the wife for letting me slip out on the weekend. 

I have a pretty solid case of "wooden leg" today, and doing a ton of squats here today didn't help.

Mr. F

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm putting this out in the universe for all to see.

It is said that when you really want something, you should share your dream with everyone in order to make the universe aware of your plans.  Well, here is mine.  I've become quite infatuated with it of late.  When he is serious about something, my friend Matt Fritz likes to say "this is no sweet bullshit."  And this is not sweet bullshit. 

I'm going to buy MT Bachelor in Bend, Oregon.  Is it for sale? No.  How much would it cost? $30-50 million.  There are a few details I don't have figured out yet (although I have figured out the financing!).  Bachelor is a wonderful ski area, and it is the sixth largest in the U.S.  It is enormously popular in Bend, which is a place I have a burning desire to live.  The real issue is no one buys a ski area in order to make money.  It's kind of like saying you want to start an airline or breed horses.   Taking on $50million in debt in order to live like a pauper is unappealing to me.  And there is the little fact I don't know anything about running a ski area.  Oh well.  I'm not going to let that slow me down.  I need to win MegaMillions in order to not care. 

MT Bachelor is owned by a Salt Lake City-based company called Powdr Corp.  They own several other resorts (Killington, Copper MT, Park City, etc) and are not too popular in Bend due to a lack of investment in improvements.  I intend to make Bachelor the Crown Jewel of the West, and the most enjoyable place to bring your family that has snow.  Think Bill Veeck (famous baseball promoter) but on a mountain. 

And so it was said, and so it shall be done.

Mr. F

Monday, March 21, 2011

This is definitely our last child.

This is the face I saw when I came into her room 30 minutes into what should have been a three hour nap.  That is pretty much the standard for her.  This is a baby that apparently only needs 3 hours of sleep per week.  She is now waking up about 4 times per night, and has consistently been a horrible napper since she was born.  In spite of that, she is pretty sweet- look at that face.  It was pretty hard to be angry that she was up early when she busted out a smile like that.  Our first was soooo easy, we assumed we had it all figured out- but Lui has thrown us for a serious loop. 

It is most likely common knowledge I desperately wanted another boy, as I was pretty vocal in expressing my opinion.  I have changed my mind now.  I want a Lui.  But I want her to freakin' sleep.

Mr. French

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Report: The Big Rich

So, I am a bit of a reader.  I am currently working on a book called The Big Rich by Brian Burrough, a WSJ reporter based out of Texas.  The book tells the story in great detail of the rise and fall of the great Texas oil fortunes.  It is full of stories of hard work, good and bad luck, and amazing perseverance.  It is also a great story of the forefathers of American new money decadence. In some ways, ostentatious behavior in the US was invented by the Texas Oilman.  In addition, this relatively small group of Texans influenced US politics in ways vastly out of proportion to their popular name recognition.  I have selected a few of the more important characters to give some vivid examples.

 "Silver Dollar" Jim West Jr.
Mr. West was known as "Silver Dollar" for his habit of handing everyone around him silver dollars.  He had special pockets sewn into his pants for the purposes of carrying the coins.  He used to hand doormen stacks of 20 coins, throw them in pools for kids, and drop them along the aisle as he walked through restaurants.  He also was a law enforcement buff, and wore a diamond-encrusted Texas Ranger badge at all times.  He wore a diamond coated pistol as well, and favored a full-length mink in the Houston winter that was coated with (what did you expect) diamonds.

Glenn McCarthy
Mr. McCarthy is famous for using his oil fortune to build the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, at the time the biggest hotel in the world.  It was decorated entirely in the colors salmon and emerald, and was described by most as "ghastly."  He was also quite fond of getting in bar brawls, courting Hollywood starlets, and running up nearly $100million in debt he never really even attempted to pay back.  he was described by his friend Howard Hughes as "eccentric."  No lie.

HL Hunt

Mr. Hunt is "famous" for having four separate families.  No particular reason, he just had four "wives" and sets of kids at the same time, and managed to keep each of them from knowing about the others for years.  He was apparently very good at managing his time.

Hugh Roy Cullen

Mr.Cullen was a 5th grade dropout that made his fortune in the first wave of the Texas oil rush.  He went on to be one of the preeminent figures in the birth of the conservative political movement, fighting long and hard against anything that might allow black people to vote or basically do anything except be owned by white folk like himself.  He also built several hospitals in Houston, and founded the University of Houston.  People sure are complex sometimes, aren't they?

It's a pretty interesting book.  So read it, or don't.

Mr French

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The French Foreign Legion Name Game

I was watching the Military Channel while my darling bride was working, and we hit upon an interesting conversation.  First off, I am a huge history buff, and she has managed to remain as informed as a day-old fawn on matters of historical record.  I admire her dedication to remaining a clean history slate.  Anyway, a program was on about the modern incarnation of the French Foreign Legion. 

For the uninformed, the Legion is a French military unit formed in 1831 and intended to be staffed with foreigners.  French citizens are welcome, but still make up less than 25% of its ranks.  The Legion has a distinguished combat reputation throughout its history, which is somewhat unusual for the French.  The most unique characteristic of the Legion was its willingness to accept foreigners on the run; in the past, you could join the the Legion with absolutely no questions asked, and assume any identity you should choose.  The Legion had very strict rules and tremendous esprit de corps, so your past didn't matter in theory- you would conform to the way of the Regiment or be gone, regardless of what you had done previous to joining.  This has changed a good bit in modern times, but the Legion is still a haven for disenfranchised soldiers from around the world, with eastern Europeans being the current flavor of the decade. 

Anyway, the idea that you could change your name and start over in a foreign army sparked an idea in my little head; I asked my wife what her Legion name would be, and she immediately answered "Latasha."  My first effort produced "Clock Hardwick" and my second was "Jocko LaRoque," pronounced LA ROCK..  This is a fun game.  I recommend you try it. 

Mr. F

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tomato Jam

Clearly I am going places with this food photography.  Look at that image, the artful manner in which the right side of the plate is cut off.  Look at the well-framed crumpled napkin at top left.  Perfect, perfect, perfect.  I'm sure most great photographers really only on their iPhone camera as I do.

I am really into anything pickled, except most pickles.  I know, it is a bit confusing.  I love all relishes, pickled vegetables, and some actual pickled cucumbers.  I have a hankering for tomato relish right now. 
I am also really into tomato jam.  Tomato jam is a pretty unique flavor for those that haven't had it.  Sweet and savory, and utterly delicious.  A friend of ours brought us some she made a few months ago, and I ate the whole jar in a day.  On Tuesday, she gave us another.  Gone by Thursday.  I decided it was time to learn to make it myself.  It turns out the recipe was from Mark Bittman of the Times.  I followed it almost to the word.  Here it is.

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeƱo or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Yield: About 1 pint.

Here are my "adjustments:"  I didn't core the tomatoes; I just cut out the stem and used all the rest.  I also made sure I had a really hot jalapeno to spice it up.  

It doesn't make as much as I would like- next time, we are going for a bigger batch.  This started as a huge mound of stuff and really cooked down.  It really made me appreciate the jars our friend gave us, as it is a shit-load of work for the payout.  I would recommend doubling the recipe. 

Now on to the good part- this stuff makes the best breakfast sandwich ever.  We did "breakfast for dinner" two nights in a row.  There is nothing wrong with fresh sourdough, fresh eggs, cheese, good bacon, and tomato jam.  I also love it on crackers with cheese.  You really do need to try this; it is an easy two hour project, and is really, really good.

Mr. French

Friday, March 11, 2011

The First Annual Pop Culture Ass Clown Awards

Hello-- this post owes it creation to the fact that my wife casually mentioned today that the douchenozzle of a lead singer for the crappy adult contemporary band Maroon Five is "good looking."  I am not one to be jealous of a good looking man, but I really hate that guy.  So, without further delay, here is my list of the top pop culture "personalities" that should go choke themselves.  The criteria for making the list are not as simple as you might imagine- obvious A-Holes like Spencer Pratt are not included. 

Our first member:

In my opinion, these could very well be called the "Fred Durst Ass Clown Awards."  He set the bar impossibly high for all others to attempt to follow.  He outlasted his alotted 15 minutes of fame by a long shot, and has apparently resigned himself to a life of producing bad records, date rape, and getting rashes.

Oh, this is a good one.  Everyone, myself included, cheered when he got the piss taken out of him in "Fight Club."  For some reason, he just seems to make everyone except 12 year old girls hate him.  Maybe it is his incredible self-righteousness and general wankerosity.  He needs a punch in the liver.

I hate this guy mainly because I hate his music.  I hate his music because I hate the fact that all their videos are about how much ass he gets, which is probably true.  This is a sign that the Mayan Apocalypse may be true.

I don't know why he bugs me.  I liked him as the fat kid in "Stand By Me."  Bad, bad, actor though.

Huge AssHat.  Loses major points for having relations with Jessica Simpson, who looks like a smelly little troll.  Talks too much, and is making up for all the time he spent shoved inside a locker in high school.  There is nothing worse than a nerd that gets cool and still has a huge chip on his shoulder.  Bill Gates is a nerd, and he doesn't hold a grudge.  Lighten up, John.

No list is complete without a group Ass Clown Award.  This year, it goes to Korn, for making shitty music for over a decade and being all around ass monkeys.  I can't believe they sold even one album.  If you have or had a Korn CD, go stare at the sun.

Explain- you were in a band (a bad one)- then you decided to host game shows and some entertainment show?  I'm confused.  Frosted tips call for a sweet little kick to the liver.

Joel Madden was the inspiration behind the term "giant sack of wuss."  I stand by that.  Bad musician, bad choice in love, and just a general ass hat.

First off, I don't actually hate any of these people.  Nor do I know them.  But I bet if I did know them, I would be underwhelmed.  OK, maybe I do hate Leto and that guy from Maroon Five.  This list is nowhere near complete, so feel free to make suggestions.  Keep in mind- everyone knows Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson are steaming hot messes, so don't be too obvious.  No Tom Cruise either- too on the nose.

Mr. F

P.S. I forgot a few.  Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and even Chuck Norris.  Stallone has made exactly one good movie ("Rocky").  He now thinks he really was a pro boxer.  He wasn't.  JCVD and Chuck have made zero.  Chuck is incredibly self-righteous to be such a shitty actor.  And his face looks like a fright mask now.  Van Damme is Van Damme.  Enough said. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I am the Real Frugal Gourmet

I like good food as much as anyone, but I have several hard and fast rules I believe everyone should follow.  And, by the way, don't let your five year old watch "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy; they will be fascinated but incredibly terror stricken. 

OK, back to food.  My simple rule is this: a meal that costs $100 for two that consists of two salads, two entrees, one dessert and two drinks (total) had better be six times better than a carnitas burrito (no rice) from Chipotle and the weird salad/bowl thing the bride eats.  Usually it isn't.  The same applies for food eaten at home.  My bride (who is looking quite foxy of late) and I went to Whole Foods today, and spent $78 for three things of oatmeal and a bag of arugala.  Whole Foods is a fucking ripoff. 

Later in the day, I took my darling Lui to Trader Joe's and Safeway, and much value shopping was done.  She did kick off one of her shoes, which required a good bit of backtracking to locate. Oh well. 

Here is what I saw at Trader Joe's and Safeway that kick royal ass on anything at Whole Foods:

1. Honey crisp corn dogs.  Corn dogs are maybe the world's most perfect food.  Slathered in mustard and perfect in my book.

2. Little Smokies- covered in BBQ sauce, they were first eaten by Adam and Eve.  The real dispute started in the Garden of Eden when Eve chose the apple over a delicious Lil Smoky.  Fool.

3. Snickers.  They really do satisfy.  One of the houses in our hood gives out full size versions on Halloween.  We have that house targeted on our trick or treat map, and we may even go by twice this year.

4. Tostitos Touch of Lime chips.  Honestly, I would kill a man for these.  A stranger though, not someone I know.

5. Good old Coca Cola.  In the red can.  The plastic bottle Coke doesn't taste as good, and who needs 20-24 ounces of soda?  I know the Coke in the glass bottle (so-called "Mexican Coke" as that is where it is bottled) is great, but it costs 2.5 times a much as good ol' red can Coke.  By the way, Diet Coke tastes like ass.  And all Pepsi products are for the weak and feeble.

6.  Any form of nacho.  Even the ones at the convenience store with fake cheese aren't too bad. 

7.  French's yellow mustard in the glass jar.  Tastes better than the squeeze bottle.  I don't know why, but it does.  My all-time favorite is Gulden'sSpicy Brown.  I love all mustards.

8.  Ketchup (Heinz only) is to be consumed on french fries and onion rings ONLY.  A small bit is acceptable on a burger if it is in a ratio of 1:4 with mustard.  And never, ever, on a hot dog.  My son and I have a serious disagreement on this one. 

9. I like to squirt chocolate syrup straight into my mouth.

10.  Jif creamy is the best peanut butter on the planet.  Adam's No Stir?  Please.  Only Jif is packed with all the tooth rotting sugar a fella needs.

11. Trader Joe's chocolate truffle brownies are 90% brownie, 10% crack.  Awesome.

12.  German Chocolate cake is the best cake out there.

13.  I don't like cheese cake.

14. I have no problem going back to get several samples from the same person, but enjoy telling them it is my wife's second trip back immensely. 

15.  All stores should have several types of pickle relish.  And tomato relish, which is delicious.

16.  Bread and Butter pickles are fantastic.

17.  The best scone in the world still tastes like sawdust and baby diapers.  Have a little self respect and get yourself a donut, cookie, or even a croissant.

Surely that is enough to make you head out and eat some garbage.

Mr. F

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mission Creep.

"Mission Creep" is a term used in military operations to describe a mission that continues to expand well beyond its original intent, quickly becoming unrecognizable from its initial focus.  We had a little of that around the French house on Sunday. 

My bride decided we should move the couch and clean the rug under it.  At least that is what I heard her say.  This would have involved:

1. Move couch
2. Clean rug

What she meant was:

1. Move the couch.
2. Clean the rug
3. Clean the rug pad
4. Mop the floor
5. Flip the rug 180 degrees
6. Clean the dead bugs out of the lamp
7. Disassemble the six piece entertainment center.  Stand there while she decides what pieces will still be used.
8. Move table out of hall and use as entertainment stand
9. Clean table
10. Reroute AV cords
11. Move dining room table to edge of family room
12. Move kids shit to new "playroom"
13. Sort CDs/DVDs
14. Throw away/put away tons of stuff
15. Sulk

It was a lot of work, but it looks good.  Mrs. French knows her way around decorating.  I am off to another scintillating round of "Plants vs Zombies" while she watches crap on television.

Mr F

Friday, March 4, 2011

I am Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman

I never watched the show, and I bet it really sucks.

Today, everyone in the house is sick except me.  Lui (six months) is teething, so she isn't really sick, but she is quite unpleasant.  The wife has whatever I had, and Bridger has the crud as well.  You should all feel most sorry for me.  I am not very nurturing.  OK, maybe you should feel for the rest of them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I will share with you the identity of the Holy Grail.

Historians and religious leaders have been searching for several thousand years for the grail; I think I have it figured out.  In addition, I have lost my muse, and am out of things to talk about.  It is time to share my personal quest.

The grail was believed to be a cup, plate, or saucer used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and is supposed to have magical powers.  Other legends say the grail was used to collect the blood of Jesus before he was interred.  Dan Brown (the DaVinci Code guy) thinks the grail was the secret female child of Christ.  Wrong.  It doesn't look like this:

Nope, it actually looks like this:

And it's available at a store near you!

So, as you might have figured by my previous posts showing a taste for potty humor, I am on a quest to take the perfect poop.  How is that defined?  Simple.  ALL of the poop in your body is gone, and you only need one square to wipe with.  When you walk out of the bathroom, you can put on jeans that were too tight 10 minutes earlier.  To me, constipation is a fate worse than death. 

I was turned on to Metamucil by my BFF Jim Bixby.  Jim is one of those guys that is so freakin' awesome even my wife wants to be BFF's with him.  Well, Jim and I were deployed to Afghanistan and he let me in on the secrets of "The Program" as we dubbed it.  Every night, one takes a cup (I use a Gatorade bottle) and fills it with about 16 ounces of water.  Then you add the powder.  Don't measure- just pour until you think you have way too much.  You don't.  Now shake and drink immediately.  If you wait it will harden into a gelatinous mess. 

The next morning should provide a truly epic experience.  I will refrain from using any adjectives other than to describe it as a long, feathery serpent.  Try a little coffee beforehand as well- think of the coffee as the detonating cord and the Metamucil as the Semtex (plastic explosive).  One other tip- never use any flavor other than orange.  Never buy store brands.  And don't try to substitute tablets or pills for the powder. 

Here's to good shitting!

Mr. French

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Illness, Charlie Sheen, and Chicken Enchiladas

I am on the road to recovery. I sweated through the sheets last night, which is super gross.  An average male of our species would have been laid low for over two weeks, if not permanently disfigured.  Once again, my super powers prevailed, and I am left only with an annoying cough.  At least it does produce some quality phlegm.  I love that word, by the way. 

It's getting a bit exploitive to have Ol' Charlie on the tube every day.  Next time you see him in an interview, change the station.  He is a sad case, and is headed for disaster.  Don't be part of the target market.

I am fixin' (I used to live in Texas and Mississippi, so I can use fixin') to make some chicken enchiladas tonight.  Wish me luck.

Mr. F