Sunday, August 31, 2008

Q & A Monday Sunday Holiday Edition

First off, to quote one of my favorite SNL characters (Christopher Walken’s ‘The Continental’), I just have to say ‘Wow Wee Wow,’ did you all come through with the Q’s for my A’s this week. I suppose if you read what I just wrote very quickly, it might sound like I was saying ‘you really came through with the cures for my a$$ this week.’ Because this is a family blog, the a$$ in this case would be my donkey. Seriously, the ‘a’ word is in the Bible, so I feel pretty confident in using it. Sadly however, ‘hilariosity is not.’ There really is no logical explanation for me having just informed you of that, but let’s face it, the more the word gets used, the better chance it will end up in the dictionary or be recited by James Earl Jones in his Darth Vadery voice.

And once that happens, I can pass away peacefully someday knowing that my headstone will say something like ‘here lies the man who invented the word ‘hilariosity because he was not smart enough to know that the word ‘hilarity’ already existed. He also had a freaky obsession with cheese, which isn’t really an appropriate thing to carve into a headstone, but his will stipulated that we did, so we obliged, though when no one is looking we’ll probably carve a line right through the cheese part, like people do on their blogs, thereby denoting that it was a piece of information that we wished would be omitted. RIP. RIP it good. (Again, his will stipulated that we also insert that ridiculous take on Devo’s song.’

I seem to have wandered off on a tanget. My deepest apologies. There are so many great questions for this week’s Q & A that it will be the definitive ‘Hey Jude’ version. Of course, if the ‘Hey Jude’ length doesn’t suit you, we can refer to it as the ‘Disco Inferno’ version of Q & A because that song is actually a bit longer than ‘Hey Jude.’ At any rate, or should I say at any length, let me quickly review the rules so we can get started on today’s epic Q & A. If it helps, you can break it into segments while you read or read half in the morning and half in the evening. The rules: I generally don’t proofread the longer Q&As because it makes me sleepy. I have never been (que the Chris Farley air quotes character again) what you might call a ‘go getter.’ I’m not ‘the studying type.’ I tend to ‘goof off’ when I really should be ‘working.’ What all this means is that there are bound to be ‘factual errors’ due to my shoddy ‘research techniques.’ And let’s not remember the last rule: I find it much easier to make something up than to verify it. Just don’t apply that last rule to your workplace.

This week’s first question is from Ralph. Ralph asks ‘For grilling beef, do you buy cheap cuts of steak, like London Broil, that must be marinated to get that great taste grill char? And does it taste better than the expensive cuts that you wouldn't marinade before grilling?’
I like to use the cuts with a lot of marbling in them. I have always read that the high marbling content makes the steak taste better because all the fat in the marbling renders down and we all know how tasty meat fat is when it bastes the selected piece of meat on the grill. The only problem with the marbling is that it can really hurt your teeth. Seriously, those marbles are made of glass, which is not a good thing to have in your food, for obvious reasons.

Next up is Selma. Selma asks a question that a lot of writers from other countries might be curious about. Her question is ‘Why do Americans drop the 'h' when they say 'herbs'? Do you drop the 'h' for every word beginning with 'h?’
First off Selma, the dropping of the ‘H,’ which I think is also the name of a very old religious practice, is not done with every ‘h’ word. 'Herbs’ is the only word I can think of right now, but then as you may have already suspected, I’m just guessing and my bulb's wattage has never really shone too birghtly. Interestingly, I think the ‘h’ in the group ‘Peaches and Herb’ is not silent. But then again, we ARE talking about ‘Peaches and Herb,’ so I’m pretty sure no one cares. I often drop the ‘h’ from the word ‘hello,’ but I like to impersonate the Beatles’ Liverpudlian accent or Dick Van Dyke’s character from Mary Poppins. I’m thinking I should not ave shared that with you. See what I did there? I dropped the ‘h’ from the word ‘have.’

Eva asked a question that challenges every rule I have about doing Q & A. She asked ‘My question requires some homework on your part: When and how did Labor Day come about? And why do they call it Labor Day?’
I’m sure you can easily spot the problem here. Yep, it’s her question’s preface that I will need to do homework to answer. Nowadays my homework consists of cleaning the kitchens and bathrooms, doing the lawns and making sure the pool filter is cleaned, but I’m not sure that will help answer her question. Maybe this will. Labor Day was created in the late 1970s in response to the gas/oil crisis. Lawmakers, Hallmark greeting cards and the Kingsford charcoal briquette company got together to combat the problem and created a day where we wouldn’t have to work but called it Labor Day to confuse people because they were bored. This new holiday had many positive benefits. It reduced fuel use on that day and increased the amount of charcoal purchased. Research is sketchy on why Hallmark participated, but it did give them another holiday for people to exchange cards. I personally love going to the mailbox at the end of every summer to see how many Labor Day cards I have received. I’m not sure about you Eva, but I am glad that bored lawmakers created a day named after work where we aren’t supposed to work and can honor those who do work, just not on the day named after work.

Amy joins us after taking the summer off (welcome back, by the way) to ask ‘what is your favorite potato chip flavor? Black or red licorice? Favorite Brady Bunch episode ever?’
I shall tackle these in the order provided, so as not to confuse anyone, though I am probably just projecting my confusion onto you. My favorite potato chip flavor is definitely BBQ, followed closely by Sea Salt and Vinegar and then Garden Rhubarb. I made the last one up, but it does sound good. As far as licorice, definitely the red, unless I want to upset those around me, in which case it’s the black. I put a few pieces in my mouth, partially chew them and then run around yelling ‘I’ve got the black plague, I’ve got the black plague’ with my mouth full. So far it hasn’t amused anyone but me. I used to try the same thing with the red and go around yelling ‘uncooked meat, uncooked meat, get it out of my mouth, get it out of my mouth!’ Ditto on people’s responses to that. I think there is a tie when it comes to my favorite Brady Bunch episode. I love the Don Drysdale episode (because he was a great Dodger pitcher and broadcaster who is now dead) and the Johnny Bravo episode with Greg. That was so way groovy, man! It makes me want to keep on, keep on, keep on dancing all through the night.

Moonspun is new to the blog, but she wanted to ask a question. Before we answer it though, let’s have everyone say ‘Hi Moonspun!’ Just don’t do it in the ‘Welcome to AA’ voice, ok? Moonspun asked ‘what kind of shampoo do you use and does it matter to you what it smells like?’
I know everyone thinks I’m hip and fashionable and ‘with it’ (ok, I WANT TO BE PERCEIVED as being all of those things) but I use the ole standby Head and Shoulders. I am currently using a H&S bottle that is sea scented but really doesn’t smell like the sea, though it makes me think of the sea every time I see that on the bottle, so it gives me the sea effect, see?

Up next is the wonderful E, who despite actually knowing me (I’m sure she doesn’t want that embarrassing fact released) since my formative (or mostly lack there of) years, still drops by from time to time. E asked ‘Do you have any irrational phobias or peculiar dislikes. For me it is grasshoppers and onions, what is it for you? Also...What are the best and worst children's shows you have had to endure over the last five years?’
First off, E, you should tried grilled onions. Hopefully it will help you accept them. I don’t know that I have any real phobias, aside from me believing that not going to Disneyland once a week will make be old. And the belief that charcoal grilled food is better than gas grilled food. And that brown sugar has to be sprinkled liberally over ham before it can be eaten. And my assumption that The New Kids On The Block was actually a Nazi scam to influence the youth of America, which almost worked. I know, I know, none of those are phobias, but I didn’t have time to look up the definition of phobia, so I just answered based on how I think I have heard the word used in a sentence. Was I close? The peculiar dislikes question is very easy. 1. Cubicles. 2. Neck ties. 3. Celery.

5 best children’s shows: The Simpsons, King Of The Hill, NASCAR Today, America’s Funniest Home Video’s and Wipeout. Yes, I am kidding about the first 2, so everyone can call off Child Protective Services, thankyouvermuch. I do really like Phineas and Ferb and Kim Possible (it’s kinda James Bondy). Least fav 5 children’s shows: Callou, Teletubbies, Barney, Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals and Fleischmann’s Bread Yeast Children’s Happy Hour.

Hallie is next and asked ‘If you had to come back in your next life as a bug, which one would you want to be and why?’
Possibly a Beatle – George or Ringo (I know it’s spelled beetle, but indulge me, please) or a cricket. Crickets make noise and seem to enjoy bugging people. Get it? Bugging? I’m crying over here! I also like any bug that has an incandescent rear end or that gets to make honey. What an enlightening and sweet time those 2 bugs must have!

Meleah offered up a question this week that mentioned cheese. The question is ‘Have you ever had the 'Laughing Cow' cheese? In the wheel?’
I think I may have a long time ago, but now that you have asked, you can bet your Brie that I am going to go get some this week. I was allowed to be a taste tester for Mad Cow Cheese, but although it was good, I fear the name prevented it from really driving people crazy about it.

Patti capitalized on one of the pleasures of summer by asking ‘When you go to the Angels games are you prone to singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" while on the way there in the car? Or when you are in your seat?’ Follow-up question: ‘Do you eat peanuts and Cracker Jack when you attend a baseball game?’
We actually listen to country or just incessantly talk about the food we are looking forward to eating when my friends and I go to the Angels games. If we are not up in the concession stands during the 7th inning stretch then we do sing ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ because not doing so when everyone else is would just be wrong and un-American. We do not consume peanuts and Cracker Jack, but we do eat the $24 dollar pregame buffet, chili cheese fries, pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and Pepto Bismol.

Mel asked ‘I would like to know (because you are a cheese expert) why we cut off the moldy parts of most cheeses, but then go eat blue cheese? I'm allergic to penicillin, doesn't it seem like I shouldn't be able to eat blue cheese?’
I keep trying to answer this, but end up rereading the part where you called me a cheese expert. I shall force myself to leave the compliment and move on. We only cut off the moldy cheese parts because the thought of wasting an entire block of cheese has been known to put people in comas or make them paralyzed with fear. I think you can have bleu cheese, even though it contains Penicillium, because the flavor is so strong, aromatic and palette pleasing that it actually overrides the effects of your allergic reactions to it. I believe and suggest that eating bleu cheese before taking Penicillin would cure all of these issues. Then you could get a shot of penicillin and yell ‘Yahoo’ instead of ‘uh-oh.’ Plus, Bleu is fun to pronounce. I realize this has nothing to do with your allergy, but I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Go ahead everybody, say it with me: ‘bleu.’ ‘You can do anything, but don’t step on my Bleu suede shoes.’ See, wasn’t that fun?

CMK asks a question that makes me think of nice, cooler climates. The question is: ‘Santa Claus lives in Northern Finland, or Lapland--also referred to as Sampi. The Sami people are the residents of Sampi. Some of my ancestors were Sami. Can I claim Santa Claus as a relative, or is that a bit presumptuous on my part? I will accept your answer and behave accordingly. Thank you in advance for helping me with this dilemma. All of my ancestors came from Finland, so I think I have a legitimate claim to Santa as a long distance cousin, at the very least. Right?’
Before I answer this very interesting question, I have one for you. What type of dancing do they do in Lapland? No, not THAT type of dancing. I was thinking of the hula or polka or hustle. If you are short, have pointed ears and can only wear hiked up striped socks and a hat with a white pom-pom on it, then yes, you may very well be a distant Claus descendant. Do you like to make toys? Do you enjoy making cookies in a tree house? These could all be definitive, but muted, Clause bloodline characteristics. I think the chances are very good that you are in some way related. Now you may also be a very direct descendant, but that depends on a few specific genetic traits. How does Christmas Eve make you feel? Does it stir up strange and wonderful emotions in you? Are your cheeks rosy, your hair as white as the pure driven snow? Are you a little driver so lively and quick? Do your eyes twinkle, are your dimples so merry? Does your droll little mouth turn up like a bow? Ok, I could keep going on, but I’ll stop now. You get the point. Oh and CMK? For Christmas, I want a Red Rider BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Thanks in advance for passing that along for me.

My fellow cubicle dweller, Employee No. 3699, asked ‘Have you ever broken the law? If so, we need details. Do you have any phobias, besides becoming lactose intolerant, which would make you unable to consume cheese? What is your favorite board game and why?’I only fought the law once, and the law won. I fought the law and the law won. Actually this is a pretty timely question because I just got MY FIRST EVER STINKIN’ TICKET last month for not slowing all the way for a stop sign, which was brand new, by the way! I had honestly never thought of fearing that I would become lactose intolerant. I guess I have just always taken it for granted that I will always be able to consume dairy products, with the well documented exception of a can of very expired whipped cream. Great, now I’m starting to freak out about it. Help me down, please help me down! My favorite board game is Monopoly. I like trying to wheel and deal with other players to avoid having to pay them because I NEVER have good luck when I roll the dice. My favorite BORED game is eating or napping, not that you asked.

Last up this week, we have Just Telling It Like It Is who asked ‘what is your most embarrassing adult moment?’
I’ve been thinking of the answer to this one for a few days now. There are so many choices here. There’s the time that I was looking back at someone while walking down the office hall and slammed right into a file cabinet that was taller than I am. There is the time that I accidentally drove up the wrong way on a one-way street with a fellow employee who waited about .5 seconds to tell everyone after we got back to the office. Then there is the time after coming out of anesthesia that I offered to take the doctor that operated on me out to buy a steak, only to figure out when I was a little more ‘awake’ that the cow is sacred to his religion. I also had a good part of my left nipple shaved off once by a nurse that was in a hurry while prepping for a cardiac procedure. All of those pale in comparison to what happened to me at a family get together on Saturday when my Uncle felt he had to remind everybody that I used to delight in doing Fonzie impersonations as a little boy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, everyone there who was older than me seemed to remember it too. Is anyone looking for a 34-year-old male to add to their family by the way?

Whew, we are now done. We’ve finished the last chorus of ‘Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah Nah and sang ‘burn baby, burn’ for the last time. It took a while but hopefully everyone is happy with their answers and I did not forget anyone’s question. Now, I am off to see a doctor about the crippling feeling in my knuckles and fingers that seems to have developed while typing this. Have a great Monday holiday everyone!


Anonymous said...

I haven't laughed so much in ages. You are a tonic, Michael. I am going to try the red and black licorice prank today. I am incredibly impressed by CMK. Wow. Possibly a real descendant of Santa right here on your blog. Awesome!

outdoorgriller said...

I have a recipe for beef tenderloins and it calls for gozgongola cheese and peppercorns and it comes out great there are soem great recipes and tips at

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Great answers! Enjoyed reading them and NOT worrying about getting more invites for my campaign!!


cmk said...

Thank you so much for your answer--and for confirming that I probably am a relative of The Man. Unfortunately, I am the black sheep of the family--I really dislike Christmas!! {hanging my head in shame}

meleah rebeccah said...

Michael, you are the funniest man on the internet. I think we are all so damn lucky to read your blog.

Please be sure to try the 'Laughing Cow' cheese. I know as your TWIN you will love it as much as I do!

Employee No. 3699 said...

First, I'd also like to welcome Moonspun to Michael's place.

Thanks for that background on how Labor Day came about. Kingsford, really? I would have thought it was Weber. Weber GAS grills, he-he.

I love black licorice! I am so doing the black plague line next time I enjoy some.

Hope you're enjoying this holiday weekend!!!

Patti said...

'ello, old chap. (that proves I really read this whole post, not just MY answer)

Ralph and I like marbleized meat as well.

Do you really have more than one kitchen?

You are indeed the funniest man on the Internet, as Meleah said.

I am wondering why CMK doesn't like Christmas. I never knew anyone who didn't like that wonderful holiday, which now lasts about a month or so.

Great answers and I have a question for you for next week...

chefmom said...

Truly the greatest Q & A day ever. Such fantastic answers, I can't even pick one to say I loved it the most. Except the 5 most hated kids shows. You know I'm SO with you on that list....I can't even mention her name, but I'm glad it's on the list.

JustRun said...


And you are right-on about the charcoal.

Mel Heth said...

Paralyzed with fear made me laugh out loud. :)

sexy said...