An Ode to Friends (A Facebook Rant)

I posted a rant on Facebook last night that I’m reposting here as an ode to my friends. I’m very misunderstood, misperceived and misjudged by most. As such, I kind of teed off last night. I’m reposting the rant here because I feel it is worthy.

I just need to go on a bit of rant here. Forgive me. Please disregard if you wish, but I have to get this out of my system.

Yes, random stranger, to you I’m sure I seem like just some bitter, angry, cynical shell of a human, and that would be true. I am all those things. I’m jaded as fuck, cloaked in existential nihilism and philosophical pessimism. You would be correct in making those accusations.

Alas, aren’t we all at the end of the day? One has to turn a bit of a blind eye to the world to not be. This world is a scary place.

Alas, you see what you choose to see. Instead of hurling insults, etc. at me – talk to me. I’m shy but at the same time an open book. I’m quiet and reserved but I’ll still talk your ear off. I’ll tell you anything you want to know. I’ll shoot straight with you and I sure won’t sugarcoat, but talk to me. If you would stop trying to pick a fight with me for a minute and endure my short-lived sour shell, you’re sure to get to my sweet center.

To the few of you who have befriended me and stuck by me, thank you. I appreciate it wholeheartedly. I don’t have many friends in this life. It takes a special person to be able to power through my sour outer shell. I’m like a warheads candy I guess; most people can’t endure the first seconds of intense sourness. You all did.

And it is much appreciated.

So yes, this is to you, my friends. Thank you for sticking with me. Cheers!

Wine/Cigar Reviews – Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Cab and H&S Veiled Prophet

So today in my reviews we’re doing something a bit different – I’m reviewing a wine and a cigar. I absolutely love wine but I don’t review many wines here because I don’t feel as I have developed a super sophisticated palate for it yet but I’m learning (I’ve been drinking more and more wine lately – I find it goes very well with a cigar). Well this one is a special wine, and I’m reviewing it along with a special cigar review as well.

We’ll start with tonight’s wine.

Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Bourbon barrel aged everything seems to be a fad lately so why the wine scene has not gotten into it yet I don’t know. Whatever the case, here we go. This offering from Stave & Steel retails around $15-20/bottle depending on geographic location.

Pours the deep reddish-purple color a good cab should. The nose is immediately greeted with a big whiff of smoky bourbon supported by floral notes and cherries. On the palate the bourbon is up front but not overbearing or dominating. The supporting flavors include dark chocolate, ripe cherries, mixed berries and features a smoky oak and tobacco finish with a touch of a warm vanilla aftertaste. Rich and substantial in the mouth and easy drinking.

If you like whiskey and you like wine, do yourself a favor and check this one out. It brings the two together beautifully. Pair with a hearty steak dinner or with a Habano or Maduro wrapped cigar for best results. Rating: 4.75/5.

And now for a truly special cigar pick:

Hiram and Solomon Veiled Prophet

The cream-of-the-crop stick in the Hiram and Solomon line by Blanco Cigars, this stick comes in one size (a whopping 7″ x 60RG “Grand Monarch” vitola) and features a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper and an undisclosed binder and long fillers.

First light revealed a perfect draw producing plumes of thick, chewy medium-full bodied smoke containing notes of a sweet creamy leather, nuts and a peppery but not overbearing retrohale.

Getting into the first third the pepper dials back a bit allowing a bright, aromatic cedar to join the retrohale and bringing in a rich, sweet caramel onto the draw. The flavors remained largely consistent into the 2nd third but with an added level of complexity as a bright, light roast coffee joins the mix. A very long 2 hour and 15 minute smoke surprisingly only a mild/medium nicotine strength by the end of it (ending with around 2″ to go; if you like the hot nub you can easily get almost 3 hours out of it).

Construction was what I will call excellent. It did have some of the characteristic burn issues found in 60 ring gauge cigars and required occasional touch-ups. It did also prefer to be double-puffed for the first third or so as more airflow was needed to generate smoke than I had in my mouth, but these were small things and definitely worth the flavor package.

This would make a lovely after dinner or special occasion smoke. Would pair well with almost any drink you throw at it, but just make sure you have ample time to sit down and enjoy it. Rating: 4.75/5.

That’s a wrap for today. Hope you enjoyed this special edition of my reviews. Let me know what you thought!

Beer/Cigar Reviews – Salvator and La Hacienda

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not-so-notable!) beers and cigars. Let’s just jump right into this week’s reviews, starting with tonight’s beer selection:


This offering from Paulaner Brauerei in Munich, Germany is a Doppelbock style lager. It weighs in at 7.9% ABV and an unspecified IBU and gravity rating.

Pour is a hazy red-orange color with a frothy white head that recedes fairly quickly leaving just a thin ring behind. Aromas of yeasty bread, toffee and a slight roasted character tickle the nose. Sweet, malty flavors consisting of a variety of malts from caramel to roasted over a bready core. A slight hint of coffee toward the back of the palate and finishing off with a faint hint of pineapple. Medium in body and low in carbonation, this beer drinks super smooth.

A solid doppelbock for sure, easy to please yet not too alcoholic so you can have a few. Rating: 4/5.

And now for today’s cigar review:

La Hacienda

This offering from Warped cigars is a Nicarguan puro. The vitola reviewed is the 5.5″ x 52RG Gran Robusto.

The first light revealed a fairly firm draw but producing a decent amount of medium-bodied smoke. A slightly sweet leather presented on the draw and a slight pepper on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third the pepper drops off while a bright floral note takes its place. The draw also sees the addition of dried pineapples. The 2nd third sees a slight transition with the leather shifts into notes of almonds. I ended the cigar with a third to go as burn issues made it a pain to smoke.

Construction was average at best and featured quite a wavy burn from the get-go. I touched it up about halfway and after that it was very difficult to keep lit. It went out at the 2/3s mark – beyond the point of no return and not worth re-lighting at that point.

Maybe I just got a bad example but while the flavors were okay the construction just did not work for me between the draw and burn issues. It just missed the mark for me I’m afraid. Rating: 2.5/5.

That’s it for today’s reviews. Have you had either of today’s offerings? Let me know what you thought!

Song Lyric Sunday 4/15/18 – Stay

I know it’s still Saturday in my neck of the woods (as this post goes live on 4/14 at 6:30 PM CDT), but I just couldn’t wait to post this. I have to get it out of my system now. This Song Lyric Sunday is dedicated to the memory of my very dear friend Shawn Bolvi-Singleton who passed away this past Monday. I’ll forever love you and miss you.

Alas, it’s time once again for our weekly dive into the world of music. This week’s theme is “stay” – a theme that hits home for me this week with the loss of my beloved friend. Please stay with us all in spirit. I wish you all could have known her – she was one of the kindest, most gentle and beautiful people I’ve ever met.

Anyway, the very second I saw the theme I knew which song to feature, because a brand new song has that one-word title – “Stay.” This song was released in November 2017 as a sister song to “I Love You But I’m Lost” to be featured on the compilation album Rule The World. The name of the album should give a vital hint as to who did this song.

So here’s the song (written by Curt Smith):

Speak, don’t speak
Go, don’t go
Damned if I do
Damned if I know
Wait, don’t linger
Wait damned slow
Stay for the open hand
Or let it all go

Young enough
To play the game
Old enough to know
It’s all or nothing

Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go
Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go

Dust to dust
We all fall down
One for the hills
Until we’re safe and sound of the

Young enough
To play the game
Old enough to know
It’s all or nothing

Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go
Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go

It’s all or nothing
Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go
Stay, don’t stay
Go, don’t go

Well, that’s this week. Sorry for the slightly somber tone, but it just kind of fit with the events of this past week. Thank you to all my friends who showed me an outpouring of support; it means a lot to me.

The Pain of Loss

“Many people ask me why I always sign off ‘Till we meet again.’ Because goodbye is always so final. Goodbye, Dan Wheldon.” – Marty Reid, ABC commentator, after the crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that took the life of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in 2011.

I remember very vividly watching that nasty crash as it unfolded but never in a million years did I think anyone would have died in that mess. When the news broke I was actually hurt and when Marty Reid closed the broadcast with the above words it hit me hard.

Since then I’ve changed my parting line to something similar, because goodbye really is so final and I reserve it for occasions such as this.

Today, my heart hurts terribly. Yesterday a very good friend of mine lost a hard fought battle against pneumonia. She seemed to have been making a recovery but things turned for the worse.

We didn’t know each other that long but in that time I came to regard her as one of the kindest and most gentle, beautiful people I’ve ever met. She was always there giving me words of encouragement even in my darkest days. She saw in me what I didn’t see in myself at the time. I’m sure I always drove her nuts with my ramblings about what a nobody I felt like but she never got mad, only reassured me that some day things had to get better. When they did she shared in my celebration as well as my trials and tribulations even recently.

Right now I feel for her husband (also a very good friend to me), her family, friends and fur babies. We are all feeling the incredible pain of this loss. Words cannot express the pain I feel right now.

This isn’t something I’ve had to deal with much in the past few years. It still hurts when it does though. I’ll cherish the fond memories, and maybe even the tough times.

Yes, indeed, goodbye is always so final. Goodbye, dear friend. I hope you are no longer in pain and are once again one with the stars. I’ll always love you, even in death and will never forget you.

Song Lyric (Monday) 4/8/18- The City of Light

So I’m a day late with my Song Lyric Sunday submission due to NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Sorry about that, I’ll get back on schedule next week for sure.

Alas, we were tasked with a song about light and this was the best my brain-dead self could come up with. This little song sung by abandoned appliances in search for their beloved master – making the long trek from the countryside to the city.

So with that I give you the song “The City of Light” as featured in the 1987 animated film The Brave Little Toaster (written by Van Dyke Parks):

Life is like a journey
On a road that’s within
Head says you should stay
But your heart says to begin
So you go

Blanky, Radio, Kirby: But you don’t want to go

Toaster: Any life worth living
Isn’t life just filled with ease
You just stay forgiving
Through the forest and the trees

Toaster, Lampy: And you’ll go
Just where you want to go

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: Time fly by in the city of light
Time stands still in the country
There’s no time for a fuss and a fight
As we travel the land

Lampy, Radio: And I’d be
Just to be
Not denied

Toaster, Lampy, Radio: To reside
With some pride

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: While I ride
To the City
The City of Light!

Lampy: Light shines like a diamond
In the City at night

Radio: When that diamond shines
You know that everything’s all right

Kirby: But you know
We got a way to go

Blanky: Let us meet the master
We don’t wanna make him wait

Lampy, Blanky:
You just keep a-knockin’

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: He will open up the gate
To the City of Light

Lampy: Master is a man with a plan I can understand

Toaster: Master is a man of great reflection

Radio: Master is a man who lays his hand across the land

Blanky: Master is the man of our affection

All: Time side by in the city of light
Time stands still in the country
There’s no time for a fuss and a fight
As we travel the land

Lampy, Radio: And I’d be
Just to be
Not denied

All: To reside
With some pride
While I ride
To the City
The City of Light!

OK, a totally lame pick this week I know, but I’m still running on fumes. I’ll do better next week, I promise!

When Vacation Goes Horribly Wrong…

So it’s back to work for me after a rather cold NASCAR weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in No Limits, TX. What should have been a fun time wound up with some ultimate suckage.

My woes started Friday afternoon when I arrived at the track for qualifying. Due to a massive thunderstorm qualifying was ended after round 1. After looking at the radar I felt it would be safer to go on to the hotel instead of waiting around so that’s what I did.

This turned out to be the correct decision as just as I got on the highway it hit full force. My GPS routed me some back roads to avoid traffic and go around the storm so I arrived safely at the hotel.

That’s when another round of woes started – I couldn’t check in because their computer system was down. Go figure, right? So I waited around in the lobby for some time. After I finally got situated I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner but she got sick this week so we had to take a rain check. I wound up consoling myself with some sushi and sake instead.

Saturday was just ridiculously cold – barely above freezing, very unusual for April in Texas. I decided to try a new cold weather look, which kept me reasonably warm but it was still cold. Alas, I was not about to skip a race I had already paid for – that would be a waste of money.

After enduring 5 hours of cold I retired to my hotel to warm my bones and stream the IndyCar race which was in Arizona that night. Internet troubles at the hotel kept me from doing that smoothly and I only caught a few snapshots of it. I was left feeling very frustrated.

So Sunday comes around and it’s still cold – not as cold as Saturday but still rather cold. After fighting traffic for a parking space (NASCAR Cup Series races always draw a much bigger crowd than the lower series and/or the Verizon IndyCar Series) I settled in only to watch my man Martin Truex Jr. wreck out on lap 81 for a last place finish. As if that wasn’t enough, my most hated driver – Kyle (Cryle-Rowdy-Dickhead) Busch won the fucking thing. Kyle Busch is an embarrassment to NASCAR and motor sports as a whole – he acts like a toddler, has zero sportsmanship, talks trash, drives like a dick, you name it. It made me sick to see that sorry son-of-a-bitch win.

Then it was time to fight traffic out. Thank goodness I have a TxTag pre-paid toll account or it would have taken me forever. As it was I was able to take a couple of toll roads and save about an hour probably.

So I finally got home at around 9:15 CDT last night, feeling tired, hungry and totally demoralized. This was a weekend from hell. What should have been a vacation was anything but – it was pure misery.

Oh well, maybe IndyCar weekend in June will go better. If anything the blistering heat might make me wish for the freezing cold again. On the upside, I did rock the shorts-with-leggings look and got a picture with a racecar. I was long overdue for a new profile picture anyway. That’s something, right?

Oh well. Onto the next one.