Thursday, March 31, 2011

Muffinquest: a different voice

I've been prattling on and on, day after day, about whatever it is I prattle on about every day, eventually ending up with some pitch to you to donate money to what I refer to as "my" cause. Just for the sake of variety, I thought it would be nice to change things up a little and let you hear from someone else. Dianne Reeger is the team captain of Team Go Go, fellow participants and loyal-but-friendly competition in the Temple Terrace Relay For Life event and the fight against cancer is her cause too. In fact, she's been at it a lot longer than I have. She posted the following on her Facebook page the other day and I am re-posting it here, with her permission...

Dianne's grandfather, the "Go Go"
after whom her team is named.
I'm sad and angry and tired...and frustrated....

by Dianne Reeger
In 2-1/2 weeks Team Go Go will be participating in our 8th Relay for Life event. Over the past 8 years we've raised over $100,000 in the fight against this insidious disease. We've won top fundraising team 5 of those years. We've won the Team Spirit award every year but our first year. We've had multiple star supporters and individual top fundraisers. We've had some amazingly kick-ass auction nights. And our friends and family and co-workers continue to amaze us with thier never ending support of our crusade.
But I look at this list...the names of the people that past and present Team Go Go-ers have added to our team shirt...OUR reasons to relay...and I can't stop from crying...OVER 200 names of friends, family, loved ones. Parents and siblings and best friends that we've lost to this stupid f*cking disease. Uncles and cousins and spouses that are fighting back with everything they have...
It's not fair. It pisses me off. And it breaks my heart. In the end I really don't care about winning another trophy, about earning another spirit point, about getting another damn t-shirt. I want people to stop dying. I want the people I love to not have to fight tooth and nail to survive. I want Cancer to go away for good. Enough is enough.
And there's just too many people to tag who are affected by this list like I it's just going on my profile. Share if you wish...

In Memory Of:  ■ Debbie Baker Basler March 2011 ■ Darla Afable ■ Pat “Burnsie” Burns ■ Amanda Older Jan 2011 ■ LaVerne Peyton Oct 2010 ■ Harvey Wolf March 2010 ■ Manuel Gonzalez Feb 2010
■ Minnie Young Oct 2009 ■ Ted “2th Fairy” Baker May 2009 ■ Thomas Bader March 2009 ■ Sandi Skretny Dec 2008 ■ Joanne Tireman Nov 2008 ■ Laureline Evans Nov 2008 ■ Myra Weir Sept 2008 ■ Winston Bishop Sep 2008 ■ John Hill Aug 2008 ■ Osvaldo Luciano Pardo May 2008 ■ Trenda VanHorn Naff April 2008 ■ Mike Gaffney March 2008 ■ Dan Rogers March 2008 ■ Dianne Atchley March 2008 ■ Thomas Bader March 2008 ■ John Brostek Feb 2008 ■ Jim "Shef" "Stroke" Sheffer May 2007 ■ Linda Fancher May 2007 ■ Edward McGowan April 2007 ■ Marty Clance April 2007 ■ Jessica Thomas March 2007 ■ Dotte David Feb 2007 ■ Sheila Young Feb 2007 ■ Joyce Simard Jan 2007 ■ Clara Belle Joyce 2007 ■ Kyle Taylor 2007 ■ Rick Braden 2007 ■ Steve Tebes Dec 2006 ■ Pam Certo Sept 2006 ■ Robin Brewer Aug 2006 ■ Howard Patterson May 2006 ■ James Bauer Apr 2006 ■ John E. Tranquillo March 2006 ■ Kim Sheppard March 2006 ■ Miller H. Wells Jan 2006 ■ Sara Cronin 2006  ■ Gloria Pittard June 2005 ■ William Robarts March 2005 ■ Gary Roush Feb 2005 ■ Lawrence Clark Jan 2005 ■ Dick Speaker Dec 2004 ■ Billy Milligan March 2004 ■ Kathy Barnes Jan 2004 ■ William O'Brien Dec 2003 ■ Sally O'Brien Nov 2003 ■ Ted Casteneda 2003 ■ Curtis Coy Dec 2002 ■ Rose Massari Dec 2002 ■ Della Smith July 2002 ■ Bea Bojar 2002 ■ Bill Milne Oct 2001 ■ Barbara Walsh 2001 ■ Mark Whitehead Jr. Nov 2000 ■ Sandy Warne Sept 2000 ■ Timothy McDowell Aug 2000 ■ Chuck Luther Mar 2000 ■ Dorothea Freeman Feb 2000 ■ Marnie Roush Oct 1999 ■ Sandy Shikora Aug 1999 ■ Walter Lowe June 1999 ■ Cyndee Loll May 1999 ■ Wayne Schofield May 1999 ■ Harold Williams March 1999 ■ Daniel Bent Jan 1999 ■ Sarah Hopp Nov 1998 ■ Robert Fults May 1998 ■ Elizabeth Donaldson Nov 1997 ■ Richard “Pete” Peterson Aug 1996 ■ Marlene Green 1996 ■ MamaRene Aldridge Dec 1995 ■ Mark Whitehead Sr. 1995 ■ Henry Pinnella April 1994 ■ George ■ Jean Carlson Feb 1994 ■ Mary Innes Jan 1994 ■ Chi Gilliland 1994 ■ Jan Richardson Oct 1993 ■ Helen Ortiz 1993 ■ James Rogers Dec 1992
■ Ronald Taylor 1992 ■ Lois Rubin Nov 1991 ■ Benny Sheffer Oct 1991 ■ Alice Trevino June 1991 ■ Frank Carroll Apr 1991 ■ Arminta Mae Flohr Feb 1991 ■ Adonia Morrissette Dec 1990 ■ Jerry Lewis Nov 1990 ■ Joseph Gordon Sept 1990 ■ Bill Depasquale July 1990 ■ Albert Yates Sr. 199? ■ Michael Missildine 1989 ■ James “Rocking Chair” Donaldson August 1988 ■ Robert Woods Jan 1988 ■ Mildred Yates 1988 ■ Della Wendling Dec 1987 ■ William Travis Oct 1986 ■ Jack Jacunksi July 1986 ■ Robert Freeman Apr 1985 ■ Diane Padro "Soakie" 1985 ■ Debbie Martin Sept 1984 ■ Phala Bell April 1984 ■ Jerry Juhl March 1984 ■ Mary Rose Bufalo 1983 ■ Ruth Pinnella Sept 1982 ■ Nina Sheffer Nov 1981 ■ Lucille Litz Mar 1981 ■ George Lucas Oct 1978 ■ Jean Taylor 1977 ■ Harrison Travis Sept 1977 ■ Augustin “Gus” Carter Feb 1976 ■ Viola Yates 197? ■ Hortensia Guiteras Oct 1964 ■ Barbara Gordon 1951 ■ Hester Fern Lee ■ Irving Schilian

In Honor of: ■ Al Carroll ■ Albert Yates II ■ Alvin Bojar ■ Amber Pond ■ Aneva Kay Lee ■ Bill Middleton ■ Blanche Simard ■ Bob Richards ■ Bonnie Adkins ■ Bonnie Faustrum ■ Carlos Robb ■ Carole Smith ■Cathy “Timmaaay” Tapley ■ Cher Carbone ■ Cheryl Hedrick ■ David Cuevas ■ David Foster ■ Debbie Kissel ■ Deborah Dearmin ■ Debra Ferrier ■ Denise Casidy ■ Denise Warren ■ Donna McKinnon
■ Duncan Price ■ Ellen Patron ■ Eniva Kay Lee ■ Francis Bouchard ■ Heather Jacques ■ Hitie Larkins ■ Inez Hammond ■ Iris Garcia ■ Isreal Cuevas ■ Jan Baja ■ Jan DeVega ■ Jan Endries ■ Jane Dempsey ■ Jeanie Robb ■ Jerri Heit ■ Jen Alvis ■ Joseph Rogan ■ Joyce Johnston ■ Karen Mouradian ■ Ken Bishop ■ Kevin Kalwary ■ Kim Marsh ■ Kim Mozley ■ Kimberly Kennedy ■ Kristiana Hinsch ■ Leslie Chodock ■ Linda Patterson ■ Lisa Mills-Ridge ■ Loretta Devine ■ Lucy Krohne ■ Margaret Bishop ■ Maria Cooper ■ Maria Fronduti ■ Marie Combs ■ Mary Bordonaro ■ Matthew Crawley ■ Mickey Behrens ■ Nell Dunn ■ Patricia Arnold ■ Paul Mangan ■ Perry Lorson ■ Reid Jenkins ■ Richard Buckhold
■ Richard Gordon ■ Robert Parish ■ Ruth Tilden ■ Samuel Dirk Stanley ■ Sandra Drake ■ Stephen Lenz ■ Sue Williams ■ Tamara Williams ■ Tami Bethune ■ Tammy Brown ■ Timm Etters ■ Timothy Travis ■ Thomas Travis ■ Tommy Casasa ■ Tracy Sheehan ■ Wally Bray

Wanna support me in my effort to rid the world of Cancer? Then click on my link!! THANK YOU!!

NOTE: If you want to donate to Dianne's campaign instead of mine, I don't mind. But just in case...

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

And if you'd like to RSVP for the Muffinquest party at Tre Amici, you can do so here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Muffin update: bracket madness

Stop fighting! We all love muffins!
OVERRATED: Robot fight. UNDERRATED: Restaurant fight.
Just kidding; a robot fight could never be anything but awesome, and therefor un-overrate-able. Especially when the restaurant fight doesn't involve the use of food as a weapon. Or even the proprietors of the restaurants. But the battle between voters in Creative Loafing's Breakfast Bowl (presumedly patrons of the establishments "competing" against one another) is pretty friggin' awesome in itself. Damn, we are an angry, angry lot of people! It's breakfast, folks. Have an egg dish, a cup of coffee, sit back and relax. It might be a good idea to get something with some bran in it. Just sayin'.
Anywho, our favorite establishment Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City made it all the way into the last eight restaurants standing before losing to a place called Three Coins (which, honestly, is my kind of breakfast place; putting the greasy in 'greasy spoon') and they did so while maintaining a sense of humor and a humble appreciation for the support they recieved. Of course, true class is what you would expect from an establishment that is going to honor someone like me (specifically: me) by adding a muffin named in my honor to their menu...once we hit this goal of $1500 for the American Cancer Society.
Besides, the tournament is a sham; everybody knows the best breakfast in town can be found at the Village Inn on Dale Mabry, just north of Kennedy. Dumbasses.

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

And if you'd like to RSVP for the Muffinquest party at Tre Amici, you can do so here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Muffinquest: let me allay your fears

"See if you can put a cap
 in the shortstop's ass, Ethel"
"Stray bullets from property less than a mile away zinged into a neighborhood T-ball game Saturday at a county park in Lithia, prompting Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies to investigate...Deputies tracked the origin of the bullet to private land at 12309 Lyons Ave., where the Brandon-based Bell Shoals Baptist Church was hosting a fund-raiser that featured the firing of guns. Money from the fund-raiser was to go toward missionaries..."
Okay, Okay. I see what's happening here. Many of you are reluctant to make a contribution to Muffinquest, my personal campaign to raise $1,500 in the fight against cancer and have a muffin named after me and added to the menu at Tre Amici @ The Bunker because you're afraid that it will eventually result in weapons being deployed, resulting in innocent people being put in harm's way. That is a perfectly reasonable and understandable concern.
This started out as a band candy sale.
Let me just take a moment to calm your nerves.
First of all, Muffinquest is not a faith-based initiative and is not affiliated with any organized religion whatsoever. People of all beliefs (or lack thereof) are welcome to participate, provided they're willing to treat one another in a civil manner...but don't go nuts with it. In fact, holding hands and singing is not only not required, it's actually frowned upon. By the same token, it would be appreciated if one were to keep their position on missionaries to themselves.
See what I did there?
Secondly, I don't even know where guns would fit into the equation, aside from turning the whole thing into an armed robbery spree. And if I were to take that step, I'd go for a lot more than $1500 and I wouldn't give a dime of it to the American Cancer Society, or anybody else for that matter. Just being honest.
Lastly, well, how stupid. Shooting at T-ball players? Come on. Have you ever actually been to a T-ball game? 30 kids, all hopped up on sports drinks and their first whiffs of athletic competition with the attention spans of six-week-old Golden Retriever puppies. They're constantly in motion, no more than two or three of them moving in the same direction at any one time. Plus they're very small. In other words, extremely difficult targets. Who has time for that?
Three baserunners rounding first while some of the defense
 runs off the field for some unknown reason:
pretty standard play in T-ball.
So there you go, folks. Nothing to worry about here.

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

And if you'd like to RSVP for the Muffinquest party at Tre Amici, you can do so here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Muffin update: a major announcement & you're invited!

We're down to just about two weeks to go in this campaign. Will we make it or will we fall short? Well, we're going to find out...on April 13th.
Muffinquest: The Finish Line
 Anticipated Goal Reaching And Muffin-Named-After-Clark-Brooks Unveiling Premiere Reception, A Benefit To Raise Money For The Fight Against Cancer
Wednesday April 13, 7:00PM
1907 North 19th Street
Tampa FL 33605
Be there and see if I reach my goal of $1,500.00 for the Temple Terrace Relay For Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society. If so, Tre Amici @ The Bunker will introduce a new menu item: a special edition muffin named after Yours Truly.

If not...well, I don't want to think about what might happen but there will undoubtedly be tremendous entertainment value in it.

Suggested donation: $1,000,000.00 (or whatever you can spare)

Bring your family. Bring your friends. Wear something purple.

100% of all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society, via Team Daddy-O Alley Katz, a team participating in the Temple Terrace Relay For Life

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Muffin update: one does not subsist on muffins alone

Smack in the middle of this ongoing quest for anti-cancer fundraising and eponymous baked goodery, I am participating in Ellen Mueller's latest performance art installation, "The Waiting Room". It's a one time only deal, this Friday night (April 1st) at the opening reception for "Starting Fires", which is the name of the University of South Florida's MFA Graduation Exhibition. In addition to "The Waiting Room", Ellen will be presenting her work "The Book of Enid" at this exhibition. She's my favorite artist whom I consider a mad genius so I can't really tell you what will happen in the large part because it's not scripted and I honestly don't know. This is my third time working with Ellen (previously "Complete With Illustrated Manual" and "1st Annual Black & White Sustainability Mixer & Recognition Ceremony") and she cast me without an audition which is tremendously flattering. Obviously, I don't fit anyone's definition of an "art guy" (which is more or less some skinny cat with a pony tail who wears a lot of black and smokes cigarettes in a subdued and flamboyant manner at the same time, although yours may vary) but she keeps putting me in her stuff which is great. Maybe I'm like the Uma Thurman to her Quentin Tarantino, a proven commodity and perhaps something of a good luck charm. That's how I think of it in my mind at least. Anyway, here are the details...

"Starting Fires" (opening reception)
Friday, April 1st
7:00PM - 9:00PM
"This annual exhibition featuring Master’s Final Project works by MFA Candidates in the USF School of Art and Art History provides an opportunity for graduate students to have their work viewed by the public, as well as University faculty and colleagues, in a professional environment. This year's class includes: Robb Fladry, Ryan Foster, Zak Hemsteger, Lin Li, Francis Marquez, Justin Martin, Bruce Monroe, Daniel Moore, Ellen Mueller, Chris Otten and Jordi Williams.
Concurrent with Starting Fires, the School of Art and Art History hosts ArtHouse, a favorite annual event where open studios, special installations and performances are presented by graduate and undergraduate students of the School, and complemented by music, food and beverages."
Can't make it to this event? Well, that is truly a shame. You'll feel better after you contribute to my Relay For Life campaign to raise money to fight cancer and have Tampa's best coffee shop name a muffin after me for it.

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Muffin update: pop quiz

This is a picture of the bus stop right outside of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center which is located on the campus of the University of South Florida here in Tampa. Take a look and see if you notice something not quite right about it...
Hint 1: My, it's a nice, bright sunny day, isn't it?
Hint 2: It's a really bright, really sunny day, like so many days in Florida, isn't it?
Hint 3: That ol' sun is just bombarding this uncovered bench with cancer-causing UV rays, isn't it? Boy, anybody who had to wait outside in a wide open area like this with no shade whatsoever for an extended period of time waiting for public transportation could be putting themselves at risk for skin cancer.

Times up. If you guessed that the bus stop placed outside of one the world's leading cancer research and treatment facilities provides no shelter from the elements, including exposure to the sun, you're right!
Bonus points if you were able to discern that the little old lady in the picture is smoking a cigarette, which she was, or that the ground around that bench is carpeted with cigarette butts, which it is.

Maybe it's just me but it seems a little dumb that ALL bus stops don't have at least some partial covering but it's extra dumb that between Moffitt, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit and the University of South Florida somebody didn't suggest throwing a shed over this particular one. However, we can rectify that by making that suggestion here. I don't know what stop number it is but here are answers to other pertinent questions on the form:
  • Bus Route Served: 5
  • Street: Magnolia (specific address - 12902 Magnolia Drive)
  • Which side of the street? West
  • Nearest Cross Street: West Holly
If they get enough feedback, hopefully they'll correct this situation

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Friday, March 25, 2011

Muffin update: ploobadoof

Yes. Exactly.
Like many men my age, a huge chunk of my adolescence was wasted reading Mad magazine (while turning up my nose at the vastly inferior Cracked; Cracked at the time was to Mad what "The Family Guy" is to "The Simpsons"). For me, Mad was a gateway magazine, leading directly to National Lampoon which led directly to the original Saturday Night Live which introduced me to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Second City TV and later, Kids In The Hall, The Onion, etc. Cut to the present day and the end result is me typing the night away while wearing a Walter Payton football jersey with no pants and weighing the pros and cons of classing up my dinner of store-brand ravioli in a can by cracking open a bottle of Yoo Hoo vs saving it for a special occasion, like company coming over (hey, it could happen).
Anyway, the other day I fell into a conversation with two friends that started with something I overheard that day on the bus that turned into this:
ME: Here's something I learned on the bus today by listening to one of my fellow passengers: "Normally a doctor won't come see you unless you're dilated at least 4 centimeters." Isn't it interesting what people will discuss and share in public?
RUPE: You may have a really long wait. Don’t hold your breath …

ME: I know. My eyeballs are simply not that big.
TONIANNE:   Dude, I call dibs on your PR. I'm *confident* I can get you at least twice what the Virgin Mary on the decade-old cheese sandwich netted.
ME: Twice as much as an old cheese sandwich? That's an all-time high for me. Sold!
TONIANNE: And if we can bag Bieber's swagger coach, who knows how much we can command.
ME:  Is it possible to swagger while dilated? Doesn't stuff, you know, fall out?
TONIANNE:  That's when centrifugal force and the coriolis effect kick in. You're good.
ME:  Okay. Because otherwise: *CLUNK!* "Aww man, my pancreas!"
ME: Of course, I'm kidding: the correct cartoon sound effect for one's pancreas falling out of their body is *SCHLOONK* followed by *SPLORP*, not *CLUNK*. Otherwise, the premise is solid (so to speak).
TONIANNE: Wait - "Splorp" I get, unfortunately. But "Clunk?" Methinks thou consumeth too much iron.
ME:  Well sure, you have to factor in the individual's physical condition, as well as floor surface, to be truly accurate. But I'd say with an average American's diet and a hardwood or terrazzo floor, this is pretty close to scientifically correct.

Yes, I had put a lot of thought into it, for which I blame Don Martin, one of Mad's most legendary artists and writers. Martin's cartoons were famous for the distinctive look of his characters (like balloon animals with wiry hair and floppy feet) and the unique, onomatopoetic "sound effects" he came up with ("Ploobadoof" is the noise you hear when Wonder Woman unsnaps her bra). I got more than *SCHLOONK* and *SPLORP* too...
The sound you make when a goon picks you up off the floor by your throat

Exceptionally bad diarreah 

A groom re-distributing masticated food into his newlywed bride's mouth because she has a rare, debilitating condition that causes soft teeth, rendering her unable to chew her own food, thereby proving his love for her. This one is very rarely used but is the particular favorite of someone affiliated with Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City.

Which reminds me to attempt the most painfully awkward segue ever...

Don't forget to help me in my effort to fight cancer via the Temple Terrace Relay For Life (April 15, Greco Middle there!) and have a custom muffin named after me at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in the process!

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Muffin update: let's take a break, shall we?

I know I said I'd be flogging the blog daily in an effort to reach my goal of $1500 for the Temple Terrace Relay For Life in order to have a delicious, signature muffin created and named in my honor at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City. But I'm currently stuck in a relatvely short turnaround between shifts at work and don't really have time for any new content today. So let's just all take a day off and hit it hard again tomorrow, shall we? Of course if you want to donate, far be it from me to stop you; merely scroll down (or up,depending on what day you read this and/or how your computer machine is oriented) and find the appropriate links to do so. And now, just for funsies, let's be among the 2,380,326 people to enjoy this short video of kitties on a slide. I think we've earned it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Muffin update: a visit to the Tre Amici lab

Looks yummy!
The other day, I snuck into Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City. Why snuck? Because it's the past tense of sneak and it happened in the past. No stupid, why was sneaking necessary, since it's a business establishment that's open to public patronage. Because I didn't just go in the coffee shop part, I went behind the scenes, into the super secret test lab where work is proceeding as we speak on the Clark muffin prototype, henceforth knows as the X1 (which makes it sound like the first muffin capable of breaking the sound barrier). Let me be the first to tell you; it's going to be amazing. Reason number 1: the Bunker has their top muffin designer Victoria Boukalis working on it. If you're not familiar with Victoria's work, you're probably hungry right now. We'll have a fix for that...soon...hopefully...if we can just hit this modest goal of $1500.00. Let's go!!

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Muffin update: enter The Wood Guy

Huh huh huh. Wood.
This here is my friend Kirk Moss, also known as The Wood Guy. Kirk is an award-winning artist who lives in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa where he makes things. Out of wood. I bet the pioneers wish they'd thought of that. Maybe they wouldn't have all died off and the United States wouldn't have needed to be re-populated by visitors from another planet (hey, thanks again Xyklon 9!). I don't know why I didn't include him under the "Artists I like...and feel good about recommending" section prior to now but he's in there now. He does amazing work. I've included some photos so you can see for yourself. You can also check out his web site or you may find him at one of the local markets held around here on weekends. 

If you're wondering what any of this has to do with muffins or fighting cancer, well, Kirk is also a veteran member of our Relay For Life team, Team Daddy-O Alley Katz. Last night he told me he is working on a walking stick for Relay that will have a glass ball on top with a light inside of it. As it turns out, I am fresh out of light-up pimp canes and may be absconding with that particular item if he turns his back on it during Relay. 

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Monday, March 21, 2011

Muffin update: You think I'M obnoxious?

I'm hiring this guy. He knows what time it is!

Thanks to erstwhile rogue Jeff Hickmott for finding it and letting me steal it from him.


OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Muffin uodate: there's so much going on

As Japan continues to deal with the after effects of the earthquake and tsunami, the most critical issue right this second is getting damaged nuclear reactors under control. As you might expect, children there are scared and confused. This is a video that was created to explain the situation in terms that they can understand. Now, it's no secret that the Japanese bring a unique and distinct style to storytelling, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this video is...unique and distinct.

So yeah, this post really doesn't have much to do with the whole Muffinquest deal...directly, anyway. But it's kind of related in that I feel like I'm not honoring my role as a member of the human race if I don't wish for all the help and support the people of Japan need right now. In the meantime, the battle against cancer rages on and I wouldn't be honoring my commitment to fighting it if I didn't respectfully ask for your help in that area too. I know, I know. The sheer number of people who need food, money, shelter, money, medicine, money, clothes, money and money right now is absolutely overwhelming and almost impossible to comprehend rationally. And I know as well as anyone that times are tough right here within the four walls of our own homes (presuming we're fortunate to have even that right now). All I can do...all anybody can ask that that you do what you can. And assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever it is, it's sincerely appreciated.
Just kind of felt like I needed to acknowledge that and I'm very pleased I got to do so while sharing a video that mentions poop a whole bunch of times.

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Muffin update: a good idea

The state of Georgia weeps
This is a picture of something I saw at a neighborhood corner market the other day (in the cooler, of course): Mogen David 20/20, also known as "Mad Dog", Peaches and Cream.
This is a very, very bad thing and buying it with the intention of drinking it, even as a goof, is a very, very bad idea.
In case you don't know, "Mad Dog" is what is known as a "fortified wine". What it's fortified with is an alcohol content between 15% and 20% plus artificial colors and flavors and sugar. This, along with similar wines of it's ilk like Nighttrain, Ripple and Thunderbird, are only to be consumed if you can't get your hands on anything else, either due to constraints resulting from financial status or parental rules. That's because it's as liable to make you sick as it is to get you drunk...and it will get you drunk. If you're shopping in a store that carries this product, you're flirting dangerously close to the rocky bottom as it is. Don't fall victim to a bad idea by imbibing this swill.

A better idea is to donate to my campaign to battle cancer by raising $1500 for Relay For Life, which will also result in Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City naming a muffin after me. For just $10 you can help in the fight against a disease that continues to destroy people's lives, plus help me become world famous among muffin enthusiasts for eternity plus win a gift basket of the darned things for yourself...or you could buy a couple of bottles of shitty wine that will make you pass out in your own sick. Doesn't really seem like a difficult choice to me.

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Friday, March 18, 2011

Muffin update: still more interactivity for you

The folks at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City are busy, busy people. In addition to eventually giving me what is rightfully mine some time sooner than later (namely, a muffin namely named after me, once we hit this goal of $1500 for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life), they're also in competition to be crowned Tampa Bay's best breakfast joint. It's a tournament, bracket style, and it's being put on by Creative Loafing. As you may be aware, Creative Loafing's competitions are nasty, vicious affairs that destroy personal relationships forever and least when I'm involved.
A certain person whose name shall not be mentioned with whom I don't exchange Christmas cards or dreidels or whatever since the last contest
And I'm involved in this one now. So please click here to vote for Tre Amici in this second round battle versus The Refinery, an establishment which I've yet to visit personally but have no reason to believe is anything less than excellent, but for the sake of what we've got going on over here, we'll pretend that they're just a shade not. If Tre Amici wins, it will (hopefully) bring more attention to our cause here. Regardless, all of this shameless cross promotion should result in a little "scratch-my-muffin, I'll-scratch-yours" reciprocation in terms of publicity which will eventually pay off in donations. I'm looking at you (among others), Joran Slane Oppelt, Marketing & Promotions Director at Creative Loafing!
Hey, I'm fightin' cancer over here, bub!
So again, click here to vote for Tre Amici. It doesn't cost a thing...unlike Muffinquest, where, make no mistake, we're all about taking your money (although is is for a good cause...honestly).

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Muffin update: Happy St. Patrick's Day

"Oh, hello and Happy St. Patrick's Day! My name is Bono O'Bennigan and I'm the legendary Leprechicken! What's that? You say you've never heard of me? Don't feel bad, few have. That's because while St. Pat gets all the credit for driving the snakes out of Ireland and Leprechauns are famous for their pots of gold, I'm responsible for all the things about pseudo-Irish culture that are a wee bit less charming. Specifically, car bombs, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" t-shirts and Michael Flatley. And I'm here to tell you that I might not sneak into your homes at night and poop in your potatoes or turn your kids' hair red or hum the Notre Dame fight song in your ear while you sleep if you don't donate some cash to Clark's Muffinquest campaign (fight cancer and get a muffin named after the lad at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City in the process)...but why take that unnecessary risk?"  

OR MAIL CHECKS AND/OR MONEY ORDERS (payable to The American Cancer Society) TO ME AT:
3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Muffin update: coming soon!

I can't share a lot of details (because there aren't any yet) but there will be an event soon, taking place at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City. There will be food (muffins?), music and lots of fun. "Come on, Clark! Tell us all about it!", you say. To which I reply, I can't do that. Not yet. "Tell us! Tell us, please!", you plead. Nope, I reply. "Tell us. Right now. Or we will kick you in the eye", you threaten. I stammer in response, wait...that's not. Then you shove me in the shoulder and say, "what are you going to do about it, huh? Gonna tell your mommy?" And I answer, maybe you people aren't who I thought you were. To which you reply, "Aw, we're just kidding. Relax, you big, ugly, stupid doofus."
Oh. Okay then. So yeah, a party, of sorts, coming soon. Watch this space for details. In the meantime...

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Muffin update: sneak attack!

I bet you weren't expecting me to mention the ongoing effort to raise $1500 for The America Cancer Society's Relay For Life, which would result in Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City to name a muffin after me, since I already posted something completely unrelated earlier but guess what?
NO ONE expects Tre Amici @ The Bunker to name a muffin after me if I don't raise $1500!

3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202,
Tampa, FL, 33614

And now for something completely different...

I really hope a certain someone enjoyed that. I'm willing to bet she did.

Me vs The Juice

No, not steroids, not O.J. Simpson and not the current that flows through an electric chair (2000 volts of crispy justice!). "The Juice*" is the name of the celebrity news column that appears in TBT* (Tampa Bay Times; they enjoy placing asterisks at the end of names of things for some reason), the free daily digest version of the St. Pete Times and in the form of a blog on the St. Pete Times web site. It's written by Joshua Gillin and on March 9th, he posted this headline:
"The Juice* declares a week free from Charlie Sheen after he bashes Jon Cryer"
Here are some highlights from what followed:
"Okay, folks, we all have to admit the time is long past due: The Juice* is declaring a one-week holiday on Charlie Sheen news (barring a trip to the hospital, jail or the morgue, of course)."

"You see, since he called costar Jon Cryer a "turncoat" and a "troll" in an E! News interview Tuesday, the downward spiral is speeding up too fast to catch up..."

"Throw in the discussions that Sheen may have already blown through most of his cash despite making $1.8 million per episode, and rock bottom seems to be coming up fast. The Juice* declared a week free of Britney Spears prior to her ending up in a mental hospital, so that's what I'm going to do here. I truly wish Sheen and his family well, but the best thing we all can do for this traffic accident now is to look away, because we're only making the driver step on the gas otherwise."

I thought this was a rather pompous, and frankly, dishonest pronouncement, considering how much content published in The Juice* is devoted to the exploits of celebrity behavior like this (delivered with heaping spoonfuls of snarky commentary, of course). The Juice* gets a lot of material out of celebrities pressing the accelerator to the floor in their pursuits of "rock bottom". Believing that Mr. Gillin wishes Sheen and his family well while gently coaxing readers to "look away" is kind of like believing Wile E. Coyote is  concerned that the Roadrunner might have lost a step on his 40-yard-dash times. So I went to Twitter and snarked up a pronouncement of my own:
"Please join me in sarcastic applause for the selectively high-minded @tbtjuice & their decision to ignore @charliesheen #clap #clap #clap"

This resulted in a reply from Mr. Gillin and the following exchange:

GILLIN: "Can't win for losing, as Papa Juice* used to say."
ME: "I just think it's disingenuous to act like you're not chronicling this human trainwreck for moral reasons when it's what you do"
GILLIN: "Sorry, but it is a moral reason. Don't you think media outlets should be weaning off @charliesheen as well? Can't win, huh?"
ME: "I do and you'll have more credibility regarding your moral decisions if you apply that criteria to the next @charliesheen..."

ME: "...and we all know there will be a next one, don't we?"

ME: "Or if that standard had been applied previously (Spears, Winehouse, Lohan, Gibson etc)"
GILLIN:: "As I noted, I did it for Britney Spears, too. Hold me to it, if you'd like."
ME: "Okay, so maybe it's me and I just don't understand what the standard is. Winehouse = hilarious. Spears = tragic?"

ME: "Or is it a shelf life? Spears, Sheen situations funny for x number of days, then turn into a matter of concern?"

ME: "Because it just seems arbitrary to me and that undercuts any morality behind it, IMHO"

GILLIN: "Don't write about Winehouse anymore, either"
ME: "Okay, fair enough."

If this sounds at all like I'm offended by what Joshua Gillin writes or taking a stance that what he does is somehow "wrong" and I think he and other journalists who report on this kind of thing should stop for the sake of, I don't know, making us all better people or something, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. I have no problem whatsoever with what Mr. Gillin does. I hope he makes a ton of money doing it. In fact, he probably deserves a raise. It's not my thing but obviously, there is a huge appetite for this stuff and he's doing nothing wrong in making a living by feeding that appetite. It's not my job (or his) to be setting standards for anybody else's morality.Thank goodness, because I wouldn't even want that burden and plus I'd be terrible at it. It's just that I doubt the face value, if not the sincerity of the message he's sending here and I think that misrepresents the true nature of what it is he does. Not to say that he's a liar, but when I read "The Juice* declares a week free from Charlie Sheen after he bashes Jon Cryer" what I hear in my head is "The Juice* is bored with Charlie Sheen, or is at least worried that readers might be, and is looking forward to The Next Big Terrible Thing". And if that's the case (which I truly believe it is, based on past history/established patterns), he shouldn't act like it's not. That, I do find offensive. Ultimately, we are all who we are and we do what we do. And while in cases that don't involve actually harming others, we shouldn't be punished or forced to apologize for it, we also shouldn't be allowed to be full of shit about it either.
But who knows? I could be wrong. We'll see.
  (Read it in it's entirety here, if you like)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Muffin update: woops!

I've been a little baffled that small donations haven't been coming in. I understand as well as anybody and probaby better than some that times are extremely tough and good people who may want to do something good by contributing to campaigns like this simply can't. But I thought surely they'd toss a buck or two my way and I wondered why that wasn't happening. Well, yesterday I was poking around on my Relay For Life page and noticed that it's not set up to accept donations smaller than $10.
Well, nobody reads this blog because they think I'm really smart
So here's what we can do:
  • Go to your local Amscot or similar check-cashing establishment that offers free money orders.
  • Get one for whatever amount you like.
  • Mail it to me at: 3655 Coopers Pond Drive, #202, Tampa, FL, 33614
  • I'll handle it from there. You'll get full credit and entry(ies) into the gift basket drawing.
  • You can also send checks the same way and skip the Amscot (your loss though; they hand out Tootsie Rolls by the handful!)

We've got some work to do folks. We've been stuck at $342 all weekend and time is slipping away. Upward and onward to muffin glory!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parks and wrecks

Meh. I was always an Arnold Palmer fan
The state of Florida dodged a very big, stupid bullet the other day when Sen. John Thrasher and state Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr. withdrew bills they had proposed that would have resulted in golf courses being built in our state parks.  "Ha ha ha! That's Clark, always with the outlandish jokery", you're saying. But no, this was not a joke. Senate Bill 1846 and House Bill 1239 were both very real and had they passed, would have required (not reccomended or suggested but required) the creation of something called the "Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail", which would have consisted of at least five, probably more, brand new golf courses (designed by Mr. Nicklaus, who normally charges $2.5 million to design a golf course, although he would have waived his fee for the first course and "only" charged $625,000 each for the rest of them, bless his heart) plus hotels with full liquor licenses that would have operated exempt from local governement regulations. All for the low, low price of money borrowed against future earnings, taxes and acres of state parks full of forests, springs and marshes. I'll let the glaringly obvious wrong-headedness on so many different levels of this proposition as to negate the necessity of a metaphor (although I'm going to make one anyway) sink in...
We got gallons of this stuff laying around doin' nothing; let's hire one...AND ONLY ONE...of our pals to make some baby toys that we can sell!
Thankfully, the media jumped on it (Howard Troxler's column in the St. Pete Times is where I learned about it) and the population, demonstrating rare but much appreciated common sense without regard to political factions, responded overwhelmingly, resulting in the legislation being withdrawn

"After much consideration and listening to the citizens of Florida, I have decided to withdraw HB 1239. Floridians spoke very clearly over the past several days on this proposal, and they are the reason I'm in office. I appreciate their concerns and hope this decision allays some of their fears. Please understand that my sole intention in filing this bill was one of economic development, my main objective in deciding to run for the state House last year." --Patrick Rooney, R-West Palm Beach, via Twitter

"Heh heh. So, like...we're cool now, right folks? Right?"

"Withdrawal from further consideration pending on Friday, March 11, 2011 4:04 PM." --Florida State Legislature's web site regarding Senate Bill 1846 proposed by Senator John Thrasher R-St. Augustine

"And I'd have gotten away with it if not for those meddling..."
So to sum up recent events, Florida's current power structure rejects billions of dollars in federal funds that could significantly improve our transportation system's infrastructure while creating jobs and bolstering a stagnant tourism industry, drags it's feet in regard to the creation of a database that would allow law enforcement to do something about the pipeline of illegally obtained prescription narcotics based here that floods the nation but proposes progress in the form of bulldozing public parks to let one of their famous buddies make more golf courses (in a state that already has more than any other state in the nation) and a handful of luxury hotels.