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Don't Try This At Home

Life's better with a Laugh Track

By Bob on June 5, 2017 4:49 AM | Read More

I've been thinking a lot about humor lately. Because, let's face it, we're in a comedy drought.

As you can see in this chart, our comedy quotient has been shrinking since 1927

Donut Hole Size-500.jpg Before you cli...WHOOPS I LOST YOU...give me a chance to 'splain

 THEN YOU CAN CLICK.

OK? Jeez, this is a tough room.

By the end of this post, you'll be singing a different tune

The Singing Midget-600.jpgAs I was saying, there isn't much to laugh at these days. Politics, terrorists, United Airlines, gun violence...and don't EVEN get me started about your state's BATHROOM BILL. There's nothing funny there. Move along, please. 

Comedians...that's where we'll turn to get our laughs! Right? 

Did you see Kathy Griffin's wildly inappropriate impersonation of a Trump jihadist? How'd that work out?


It was great. Especially the turn-down service... 

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Don't Try This At Home

5 Things Every Graduate Should Know

By Bob on May 8, 2017 2:29 AM | Read More

It's the time of year when Boomer parents everywhere sit for hours at graduation ceremonies. 

The perfect soundtrack for any commencement address

Rocket to Uranus-480.jpgWe all share the same bond: counting the seconds until OUR KID walks across the stage. It's Dante's Inferno in an air conditioned coliseum. 

Outside of watching your son or daughter grab that fake diploma (nobody gets the real diploma anymore, that is so 2002). The only thing that has even the slightest chance of keeping you awake is the COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS. 

Your parents have already re-purposed your room

Burning Down the House-600.jpgWe've heard the bad ones (DREAM BIG! - YOUR'E THE FUTURE!) and read about the great ones (the fake Kurt Vonnegut "wear sunscreen" address springs to mind). 

Forget that stuff. Everything you learned in the past four years is wrong. Here's some advice you can take to the bank:  


Keep a list of all who wronged you, so you can smite your enemies

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Don't Try This At Home

Hot Water Cornbread

By Bob on April 17, 2017 2:12 AM | Read More

One of the best things about growing up in a small Texas town is the food.

Sure, Southerners get a bad rap for deep-frying just about everything that doesn't move (and yes, we really do that). But jeez, sometimes you just CRAVE a side dish that's hot, brown and just a little bit crunchy - like cornbread

Put a little south in yo' mouth, y'all

Hot Water Cornbread II - 600.jpgNever heard of fried cornbread? Well, Hot Water Cornbread as it's called is a staple that's celebrated in my Granbury, Texas hometown. No place puts it on a higher pedestal than the cornbread cathedral, the Nutt House Hotel.

Nutt House Hotel on the square in Granbury, TX

Nutt House Hotel III - 600.jpg

My Granbury Facebook friends unearthed this crazy good recipe from the Nutt House (insert your own joke here). It's an easy dish to prepare and the result is cornbread with a delicate crunch and a soft, chewy inside that melts in your mouth.

If you want to really enjoy this delicious dish, serve it with some black eyed peas and a tall glass of iced tea or lemonade.

 


 

Nutt House Hot Water Cornbread 

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Don't Try This At Home

I Hate Reunions

By Bob on March 28, 2017 10:03 AM | Read More

I have a confession to make. I HATE reunions. It's not that I'm antisocial, but I just don't see the point in getting together once every decade with people who only want to see me once every decade.

I hadn't seen many of these people since I drove them in the homecoming parade

Parade-564.jpg

What am I, Haley's Comet?

If you really like me (that's a really short list) you'll see me more often than every time the year ends in zero. Why? Because I'm just so damned charming. So of course, this is just a setup to tell you that I broke my rule and actually attended a reunion (finger wag at ME) against my better judgment. 

What reunion was it?

The WHAT isn't really important. It's the WHY that matters to me. Let's just call it the, People-Who-Meet-Every-Ten-Years (PWMETY) reunion. See, right now you know it's stupid because the acronym sucks.

Sadly, many classmates couldn't attend due to demanding work schedules

Waitress II-475.jpgBut in a fit of, lets-make-some-s'mores-and-sing-Kumbahyah nostalgia, we decided to go. This was a college deal, so at least adult beverages would be served.

How bad could it be? We figured we'd see some of the old gang. Have a couple of laughs and beat it out of there before they realized we didn't bid on anything in the silent auction.

 


 Do we know each other?

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Don't Try This At Home

Gulf Shores Getaway

By Bob on March 6, 2017 4:06 AM | Read More

Sugar white sand and tourquoise water await you in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Beach2-600.jpgIf you're looking for somewhere to relax this summer. I mean reallllly relax, look no further than Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

You mean Alabama has a beach?

Don't you wish you were here right now?

Beach Time II - 600.jpgYeah, it's home to 60 miles of bread-crust thin coastline curving from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle.

Some folks call it the Redneck Riviera, but anyone who's been there will tell you about the sugar white sand, turquoise surf, great restaurants, resort-style golf courses and fabulous accommodations. 

Charlotte and I fell in love with this coastal hideaway twelve years ago and we've been going there ever since.

 


Try the fried green tomatoes. You'll thank me later. 

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Don't Try This At Home

3 Easy Steps to Making Infused Tequila

By Bob on February 13, 2017 4:36 AM | Read More

I tried infused tequilas a couple of years ago when Charlotte and I were down at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. I have to tell y'all, I fell HARD for this stuff.

This is where I learned the ancient and secret rituals of infused tequila making

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa - Front - 600.jpg

After dinner at its Cibolo Moon restaurant, our server Lauren brought us a tequila "sampler" containing 3 infused tequilas: strawberry/jalapeno, lemon/basil and mojito.

They were all good, but the easy standout was the strawberry/jalapeno.

Arlene liked strawberry-jalapeno infused tequila so much, that instead of dancing on the table, she was able to lift it - with her teethTable Dance-600.jpg

It was sooooo good that I asked the kind folks at the JW Marriott to share their recipe. They were happy to oblige. I'm happy to share. 

You're welcome, 'Merica.

 


Here's an easy way to make infused tequila

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Don't Try This At Home

Super Cheesy Bean Dip

By Bob on January 25, 2017 8:16 AM | Read More

I've been a fan of football and bean dip for as long as I can remember. Over the years I've supported only one pro team (GO COWBOYS!) but I've experimented with dozens of different bean dip recipes. Some are too hot, some are too bland, some are too much work, but all had the gotta-have-another-scoop taste that makes a good bean dip great.

Kinda makes your mouth water, don't it

Super Bowl Bean Dip Ready to Eat-600.jpg

My years of bean-experimentation came together in this super easy, super cheesy bean dip recipe. It has just the right amount of heat, a satisfying cheesy texture that hangs on to a good tortilla chip and it's EASY.

Mix up a batch about 2 hours before the big game - turn on your crockpot -- and walk away. It'll be ready by kickoff.

Super Cheesy Bean Dip Recipe

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4 Predictions for 2017

By Bob on December 26, 2016 2:01 AM | Read More

OK, I'm gonna get this off my chest right now. I'm just glad we all crawled across the finish line to reach 2017.

According to this roadmap to the future, we're pretty much F*#&%D in 2017.

Road Map-400.jpgI know many of you hunkered in the bunker during the "dark days" of 2016. Some were even afraid that seeing their own shadow might bring about six more weeks of nuclear winter.  

Well aren't you a Gloomy Gus! I bet you were the hit of all the holiday parties.

Arlene tried hiding from 2017, but she just couldn't escape it.

Head in freezer-525.jpg

Get over it! Now that 2017 is upon us, it's time to step into the light and embrace what's left. And by "what's left", I'm referring to my sanity and remaining brain cells. 

Since we could all use a head's up on what to expect in the coming year, I did what I always do the day after Christmas. I power-chugged the leftover eggnog and slipped into a fever dream to converse with my Shaman.  


 ... reuniting the Mod Squad because...

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5 Must-Watch Christmas Movies

By Bob on November 28, 2016 2:22 AM | Read More

I don't know what it is about the 1940's, but some of the brightest and best films ever made were produced during America's darkest days. I'm not talking exclusively about saccharine-sweet sentimentality (finger wag at you, It's a Wonderful Life).

Once Sally used Bubble-Lites (patent pending) she saw Santa in an entirely different way

Bubble Lite-600.jpg

No, there were plenty of witty, insightful, inspiring and laugh-out-loud films that stand up seven decades after they were made. I'm betting there are several here you've never seen.

When Shirley got off the Good Ship Lollypop she had plenty of stories...this is only one 

I'll Be Seeing You-428.jpg

During the holiday season I urge you to search Turner Classic Movies, Netflix streaming, Hulu or Apple TV for these gems. Trust me, they'll put you in the Christmas spirit and won't leave you with a sugar hangover.  


She plays a food writer who's lied about being the perfect housewife

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4 Things This Election Has Taught Me

By Bob on November 7, 2016 3:59 AM | Read More

I don't 'bout you, but I'll be deliriously happy when this election cycle is over.

You know what I mean internets, we've been gnawing this campaign bone for almost two years...and there's barely enough left to make a decent prison shank. And from the look of things we're gonna need it.

We consulted our expert panel and they agree, we're pretty much F*&#$D.

Burning Down the House-600.jpgHere's the problem. Some of you see our candidates as half-guilty, while I see them as half-innocent. Call me a cockeyed optimist (and I'll remind you that my glasses are on backorder and I won't be cockeyed when they arrive) but, everybody running for office is deeply and eternally flawed.

Both Hillary and Donald have their faults.

Rug Beater-200.jpgTrump - 200.jpg

Before you think this is one of those Rodney King-why-can't-we-all-get-along stories, lemme stop you right there. It's not.

If there's one thing this election has taught me, it's that there's no way in H-E-double-hockey sticks we can agree on anything in this country.

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Exercising in the Hood

By Bob on October 17, 2016 2:53 AM | Read More

History will record that I'm not the MOST fit person in Colleywood. A bum foot with more titanium than a new set of Callaways will do that to a person.

I dunno Doc, sometimes I feel like I'm walking on pins and needles. Wait a minute...turns out I AM walking on pins and needles

Bob's Foot-350.jpgI do try and live a reasonably healthy lifestyle. And after extensive research I've learned that moderate exercise may not help me live longer, but it will help me die slower. So I've got that going for me. 

My day typically begins with a four-mile walk inside the bubble that houses Colleywood and Baja Colleywood (you know it as Euless). It's an urban/residential mix and my only wildlife sightings are what I see on the sidewalks, streets and parking lots.

Full disclosure, I've seen the coming of the lard and it's delicious...

They Eat Lard-563.jpg

There's a pattern here. I see the same "types" of people every day. The seasons change...the outfits are constantly changing, but the people...well, I've identified 4 distinct groups.    


 He's not a threat unless you FEED HIM

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4 to See on Netflix Now

By Bob on September 19, 2016 2:41 AM | Read More

Remember when the fall network TV schedule was an eagerly anticipated event?

All us folks out here in flyover country couldn't wait to see what the BIG 3 networks had to offer. If it wasn't on ABC, CBS or NBC it didn't exist. At least not in our house. 

Thank God those days are over.

Charlotte displays the various bins where we keep our network television shows here at Boomer Brief HQ

1950's trash cans-480.jpgI'm just gonna put it out there 'merica. Network TV just plain SUCKS and it has for some time. I've seen the fall previews and there is not a single show worthy of DVR space here at Boomer Brief HQ. 

But, that's why God made Netflix. 

The streaming service has been hitting homeruns with its original programming and European series that kick network TV's ass. Like crime dramas that'll keep you on the edge of your seat?

Well, there are four streaming on Netflix that you have to watch. NOW.  


 River...sees dead people 

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Don't Try This At Home

Make Tracks

By Bob on August 29, 2016 3:06 AM | Read More

My freshman year in college I worked as a litter critter picking up trash and doing odd jobs at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.

Dinosaur Valley State Park...where dinosaurs drank and college kids pranked

Dino Valley State Park-600.jpgEvery park has a hook - something that brings tourists in the gate. It may be a beautiful lake or steaming geyser, but there's something that makes that park stand out. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, that hook is...wait for it...DINOSAURS. 

Not actual real, live dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley isn't a wealthy Texas oilman's version of Jurassic Park. Its main attraction is dinosaur tracks deposited in the soft limestone 113 million years ago by Tyrannosaurus Rex and his pals.

Actual dinosaur photo taken 113 million years ago...at least that's what my non-home-schooled friends tell me

Dino Valley Dinosaurs - 500.jpgSo, that summer I spent my time picking up 50-gallon steel trash cans filled with watermelon rinds and dirty diapers in the 100-degree Texas heat. And when we weren't hauling trash, mowing grass or scouring bathrooms until they sparkled like the Hope Diamond, we cleaned dinosaur tracks. 

At Dinosaur Valley, most of the tracks are in the shallow Paluxy River. In late summer when the river stops running the tracks fill with algae and take on a jade green/brown color. It makes them look and smell like a bus station toilet.  


 Take this job and scrub it 

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Don't Try This At Home

4-Ingredient Grilled Chicken

By Bob on August 10, 2016 4:52 PM | Read More

This summer is almost in the rearview mirror, so I'm spending a lot more time around the grill.

When Charlotte says "Light my fire," I grab...wait that's another post...Ok, I'm back. AHEM...I turn on the grill and grab some chicken.

These breasts are the best

Great Grilled Chicken - 600.jpg

Since it's a kitchen staple, we keep a Ziplock bag full of grilled chicken breasts in our freezer at all times. Why? After a hard day slaving away in the blogosphere, it's a quick and easy dinner!  

If Charlotte wants to whip up some of her famous chicken enchiladas, she's ready to go. It's also great in her spicy chicken cheese dip, grilled chicken salads, chicken spaghetti and even by itself with a side dish of her special Mac & Cheese. 

This recipe is super easy and if you know a guy who likes to grill, it's something he can do to help out in the kitchen. Bonus!

 


 

I Only Have Thighs for You...and Sometimes Wings 

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Olives Matter

By Bob on July 18, 2016 4:32 AM | Read More

Dallas has been in the news a lot recently. I gotta be honest with you internets, it's been a real s**t storm down here. The entire city has been walking around like its waking up from a bad dream, only to realize it wasn't dreaming. 

You know, kinda like the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE except the zombies are REAL. 

So there's that.

Dallas City leaders were just about to add this to the water supply...

Prozac-300.jpgOK...OK...OK...there have been bright spots. 

Dallas Police Chief David Brown. There's a bright spot. Lemme 'splain. 

When the politicians descended on Big D a couple of weeks ago it was Déjà vu all over again. Air Force One at Love Field. An American president headed to a big event. The similarities ended there, THANK YOU BABY JESUS. 

The memorial service for the fallen officers was a somber affair, exactly as it should have been. I listened to it on KRLD News Radio as I drove to Granbury. That's when the pimento cheese sandwich in my belly mixed with the Ummmm sound of Michelin's on hot asphalt. It sent me into a stupor. 

This guy saved the day...

Chief Brown-600.jpgI was one scripture away from dreamland and double-car pileup. So, I had to do something.

 


 

...he pulled out some vintage Stevie Wonder

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5 Tips for Taking a Viking River Cruise

By Bob on July 5, 2016 4:47 AM | Read More

Charlotte got me hooked on Downton Abbey a few years ago.

Love it or hate it (I've been on both sides of this argument) one thing has always been the same.  Viking River Cruises has been a sponsor of the series from the beginning. 

You've seen the commercials. A ship serenely sails down some idyllic European waterway towards fun and adventure while its guests enjoy unparalleled luxury. You know, stuff the uppity Downton folks would like. Around here, we're more like Cowtown Abbey, but we decided to go anyway.

Going insane on the Seine...where we partied like it was 1899

Crusin-600.jpgAbout 18 months ago we booked a Viking cruise with our friends David and Catherine. The itinerary took us from Paris down the Seine all the way to Normandy. We'd cruise. We'd dine. We'd party like it was 1899. You know, Downton style. 

If you're interested in cruising with Viking, there are some things you can do to make the most of your vacation. So, I'm offering the following tips as a public service.

 


 

...make you feel like you dropped $5 in quarters into a Magic Fingers coin-op machine


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5 Things I Never Want to See on Social Media

By Bob on June 12, 2016 12:42 PM | Read More

Now that the Democrats and Republicans have selected their presidential candidates I've decided to come out of my foxhole. I'm telling you guys, from what I could see looking over this mound of dirt ...it's been BRUTAL out there. 

I'll just go on and say what we're all thinking. 

Some of you people are bat shit crazy.

I think this new media device called the interweb may just catch on

Early TV-564.jpg

Thank GOD we've got social media to sort all this out. If it wasn't for the internet, I wouldn't have an opinion. 

According to all of you I'm a blank slate (and BTW how did you get my Tarleton transcript? Guess it's time to reset my password from password to 1234). Thank you from the bottom of my ignorant heart, for telling me HOW to vote...WHEN to vote...WHO to vote for...and most importantly, WHICH of the candidates were baby-killing Satanists. 

THAT was a HUGE help. 

We have about five months until the election that will determine our collective fate, or just bring us four more years of the same crap. Me? I'm good either way. 

I know many of you care about who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., you really, really, do.

I voted for him, because he was a friend of mine

Cisco Kid-381.jpg

But it doesn't stop there.

 


I'm sure it's the best thing to hit America since Vitameatavegamin

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A Thong for You

By Charlotte on May 6, 2016 5:59 AM | Read More

Good things often start in the kitchen. That's where my high-spirited Texas girlfriends and I cooked up the idea for our new book: Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends' Little Secrets to Smoothing Life's Panty Lines. It debuts on Amazon and other channels today and we're celebrating with launch parties and book signings in many Texas locations. Read on for the scoop on all the fun and come see us if you're in town.

Eight Is Enough

Part self-help, part memoir, Red Thong Strong shares laughs and lessons from my girlfriend group's more than 30-year friendship. The eight of us met in a young-marrieds' Sunday School class in Bedford, Texas that Bob and I actually founded. Brought together by faith, fellowship and a thing for fashion, the girls and I were sFront Cover - 300dpi.jpgoon making play dates for our children and planning shopping trips, holiday gatherings, even family vacations with each other.

Along the way, we forged an extraordinary bond and developed a Red Thong Strong attitude that has helped us support each other through everything from shoe shopping to chemotherapy. (Two in our little band of sisters are breast cancer survivors.) We also realized we have something rare and felt compelled to share it with other women.

My high-spirited Texas girlfriend group shares laughs and lessons about friendship in a collection of anecdotes we hope will inspire other women to live bold, confident and connected lives. Cover illustration by Courtney Allison Mohler

If you're wondering "why red thong?," we get that a lot. But years ago, we started giving each other lacy red panties to take the sting out of those really big birthdays! Over time, the red thong came to symbolize the confident, brave way we wanted to live, and to remind us that sometimes small, unseen things can have a big impact on our lives.

Now, we're on a mission to motivate women to adopt a bold, assertive "thong-a-tude" as we call it. We want them to connect with other women, overcome their fears and say yes to all of life's possibilities.

What's Inside

Red Thong Strong is a laugh-out-loud girlfriends' guide that shows women how to make and nurture friendships, deal with unexpected detours, and celebrate life's ages and stages. Our work-of-the-heart, or really eight hearts, covers 100 hot-button women's issues across 206 pages with practical, this-is-how-we-do-it advice.

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4 Easy Steps to Making Infused Tequila

By Bob on April 11, 2016 2:34 AM | Read More

Texans celebrate Cinco de Mayo not because we're history buffs, but because it's an excellent excuse to eat great food and drink great drinks. Tequila in all its forms and bastardizations (I'm wagging my finger at you chocolate margarita) is a big part of that celebration.   

A couple of years ago, Charlotte and I were down at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa and I fell in love with infused tequila. I sampled several, but three were standouts: strawberry/jalapeno, lemon/basil and mojito.

The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa - Front - 600.jpgThey were all good, but the easy standout was the strawberry/jalapeno.

jalapeno margarita - 213.jpgThis bad-boy drink was like a jalapeno punched me in the mouth, then felt bad about it and let his strawberry girlfriend to kiss me on the mouth. It's hard to forget something like that. And I didn't. 

You're gonna thank me for this.

I talked my way into getting the JW Marriott recipe and I'm sharing it with you.

The video 'splains it all, but for those of you who aren't fans of my work in blogger cinema, jump past the video and print out the recipe. 

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I Feel a Draft

By Bob on March 21, 2016 4:48 AM | Read More

Yesterday I was cleaning out some files and ran across my old DRAFT CARD. Nothing establishes Baby Boomer street cred like one of those relics. 

Since I'm in no danger of being featured on Hoarders (Charlotte may be a candidate) I'm always finding stuff I wasn't looking for when I'm throwing out stuff I don't need.

I present the DRAFT CARD as EXHIBIT A. This thing was worn and fragile from being stored in my wallet longer than my first condom driver's license. I mean, c'mon, I know it wasn't the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it's a significant relic.

Exhibit ADraft Card - 600.jpg

It was 1974 at the tail-end of the Vietnam War. I'd just turned 18 and had to register for the draft. I put it off as long as I could without serving time in Federal prison. When I couldn't delay it any longer, I registered at the Somervell County Court House in Glen Rose, Texas. 

Young men with long hair faced an uncertain futureHippie Protest-564.jpg

 In the box that said "sex" I hadn't written, Yes, please.

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5 Reasons I'm Voting for Frank Underwood for President

By Bob on February 29, 2016 3:59 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I have been running this experiment in futility social discourse now for almost six years. During that time we have steadfastly refused to endorse any political candidate or party.

That is, until now. 

After witnessing the 87 Republican debates, 23 Democrat debates, the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, we've decided to endorse Frank Underwood for President of the United States.

Wood is a man of steel

Frank Underwood - color - 600.jpgThat may come as a shock to many of you.

In fact, the 3 questions I get asked most often are 1) Isn't Frank Underwood a fictional character played by that charming Kevin Spacey on the Netflix? 2) Are you off your meds? and, 3) What's that smell in your trunk? 

Well, thank you for your concern, but let's stick to why we're endorsing Mr. Underwood.


WARNING - Don't ask for a FULL can of Diet Coke

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EZ English Muffin Pizza

By Bob on February 8, 2016 2:43 AM | Read More

One of the things you learn after 37 years of marriage is the delicate ballet of who-does-what. The dance has changed over the years, but the one thing that's been a constant is that Friday and Sunday night dinners are my territory.

Every Boomer Brief recipe is perfected in our state-of-the-art kitchen

70's Kitchen-469.jpg

That doesn't mean I channel my inner Grady Spears (couldn't even if I tried) but it does mean I'm responsible for the meal. Charlotte's OK with me calling our favorite neighborhood pizza guys iFratelli or taking her out to a neighborhood restaurant. But, when I don't choose either of those options, I fall back on the handful of tried-and-true recipes that we love.

EZ English Muffin Pizza - So Easy, Even a Blogger Can Do It!

English Muffin Pizza - 600.jpg

We love pizza, so I came up with this recipe during the early days of our marriage. We liked it back then because all you really need to pull it off is English muffins, pizza sauce and provolone cheese. Over the years I've tweaked it, spiced it up and perfected it into the recipe below.

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4 Predictions for 2016

By Bob on January 18, 2016 4:50 AM | Read More

WOW is it 2016 already?! That means it's time to wipe the blood smudges off the old crystal ball and see what we're in for this year. 

Before I get to that, let me APOLOGIZE for getting all of my 2015 predictions WRONG. 

In my defense, I really DID think 2015 was the year for the Zombie invasion and I'm sitting on a crap load of T-Shirts that say, I Survived the 2015 Zombie Apocalypse. I'm paying for my mistake. Trust me. Looks like Cole will have to unload 'em in the estate sale when I've gone to that big ol' blog in the sky.

My Secret Lair is always gassed up and ready to roll

Secret Lair-438.jpgOn the positive side, 2015 didn't suck nearly as bad as I predicted.

Like you, I'm bummed we didn't get pizza delivery by teleportation, or a permanent ban on Taylor Swift music, but some good things did happen. Remember when Tony Romo beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl? Wait...that DIDN'T happen? I've gotta stop getting my drugs predictions from that guy in the parking lot of the Euless Wal-Mart.

Good advice in any year

Not to worry, he's given me some tips I KNOW will come true this year. Sitting up here in my secret lair (It's really just a rusted out VW Microbus off Highway 10), I see the faint glimmer of hope. It's either that or the sunlight reflecting off the dull yellow eyes of my tweaked out muse. 

When I asked for his 2016 guidance, his lips curled into what he'd call a smile and he said, "Buckle up, buttercup. Shit's about to get real."

 


 

How much you wanna bet I can throw a football over them mountains?

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The Year in Pictures

By Bob on December 28, 2015 3:13 AM | Read More

I finally woke up from my eggnog coma long enough to tie a bow around 2015 for y'all. 

For those of you keeping score at home (thank you for that fruitcake BTW) I like to end each year with a look back.  Think of this as a blog rearview mirror. And remember, objects may be larger than they appear. Like my ego and Donald Trump's hairpiece. 

My next column will be my fearless forecast for 2016. But, we'll burn that bridge when we get to it. 

So take notes. This'll all be on the final.

January

We welcomed in 2015 with our good friends David and Catherine at Boomer Brief HQ. I set a new record for champagne cork-popping with a distance from our front porch to the sidewalk **The German judges disqualified my record-breaking attempt because they accused me of doping. In hindsight, they might've just said, "Bob's a dope," but either way I didn't take home the Gold**

New Years 2015-600.jpgCork Pop-500.jpgFebruary

It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. I was stuck on top of the Fort Worth Mixmaster during a sleet/snow storm. Good times.

2-February-600.jpg

 


 No, you're not having an acid flashback...

 

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3 Vintage Christmas Movies to See Now

By Bob on December 7, 2015 1:38 AM | Read More

I've never been a fan the saccharin sweetness of most Christmas movies. Sure, I'll cop to watching Frank Capra's, It's A Wonderful Life plenty of times. Ditto Miracle on 34th Street. But, most 'em leave me wanting more than smiling faces singing Silent Night around a tree.

Charlotte and I always dress for Christmas morning...we live in Colleywood and well, it's just expected

Christmas Tree-437.jpgI like my holiday films with a little edge. My modern favorite - Bill Murray's Scrooged, ditches the traditional Christmas carols and ends with a nice rendition of Jackie DeShannon's, Put A Little Love in Your Heart. Now THAT's what I'm talking about. 

If you're a fan of The Boomer Brief, you know that Charlotte and I love movies. Over the years, we've refined our Christmas list to some vintage films that always seem to satisfy. Here are three we'll be watching between now and when Santa slides down our gas-burning chimney. 

 


The non-Hollywood ending will leave you satisfied and teary-eyed... 

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Having a Blast at Pine Hill Plantation

By Bob on November 16, 2015 4:50 AM | Read More

WARNING - This post contains references to quail hunting and fried southern food, which some people may find offensive. If you're in that group, please have a Salade niçoise and call someone who cares.

Our home-away-from-home at Pine Hill Plantation

Pine Hill Plantation - 600.jpgI may have mentioned that I was about to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays. Well internets, what I forgot to tell you was HOW I was going to celebrate it. 

About a year ago, I made the choice to welcome my 60th with the SOUTHERN TRIFECTA: Fried Food, Alcohol and Firearms. After some research, I decided the perfect place to enjoy most of what makes the South GREAT was Pine Hill Plantation in Donalsonville, Georgia. 

Don't make the mistake I made. 

I waited until I turned 60 to discover Pine Hill Plantation. 

If I was smarter (Can I help it that my parents had me when we were living under those power lines? Some things you just can't fix), I'd been coming here since I was big enough to cradle a shotgun. 

That's right, in my 30s.

 


We thought we'd died and gone to outdoor sportsman's heaven.

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If I'd Known I Was Going to Live this Long

By Bob on October 26, 2015 3:14 AM | Read More

I've got a milestone birthday next month. It's one of those that ends in a zero and suggests my career trajectory is arcing towards Walmart Greeter.

In happier times

Bob at UTA 1977-600.jpgSure, it sounds fun. But if I wanted to spend my days refereeing knife fights, I would've never left the ad business.

Being a certain age has its perks. People ignore me now more than ever. Plus, I get to say pretty much whatever I want and pass it off as senility. It's a win-win for me and everyone in my social network. They aren't embarrassed when I TALK IN ALL CAPS. And I continue not giving a rat's ass. Sweet deal. Amirite?

Now that Walmart's modernized, everybody shops there

1970s Grocery Store-437.jpg

You're probably wondering, "Bob, what is your secret to living this long?"  

Well, as I was telling the young shoplifter in the Walmart parking lot just the other day, "The secret to a long and productive life is a healthy curiosity about the world around you, and DON'T DO METH."  

As I gazed deep into his wildly spinning pinwheel eyes, he said, "Isn't there more?"  

Sadly, our conversation ended when the cops tasered him. But, I shouted over his screams, "I'LL PUT THE REST IN THE BLOG." Then I wished him well and hoped he got a cell with a great broadband connection. Share this truth with your cellmates, Bro:  

 


He's got a great sense of humor for a multi-offender

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4 People You'll See Exercising in Colleywood

By Bob on October 5, 2015 4:09 AM | Read More

History will record that I'm not the MOST fit person in Colleywood. A bum foot with more titanium than a new set of Callaway golf clubs will do that to a person.

The bad news is that there's a LOT of metal in here. The GOOD news is that I get EXCELLENT AM radio reception Bob's Foot-350.jpg

I do try and live a reasonably healthy lifestyle. And after extensive research I've learned that moderate exercise may not help me live longer, but it will help me die slower. So I've got that going for me. 

My day typically begins with a four-mile walk inside the bubble that houses Colleywood and Baja Colleywood (known by some as Euless). It's an urban/residential mix and my only wildlife sightings are what I see on the sidewalks, streets and parking lots.

Meth...not even onceRudeGymGuy-451.jpg 

There's a pattern here. I see the same "types" of people every day. The seasons change...the outfits are constantly changing, but the people...well, I've identified 4 distinct groups.     


 This guy is my SPIRIT ANIMAL. 

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How I Spent My Summer

By Bob on September 14, 2015 2:47 AM | Read More

When we were kids, summer seemed to speed by like a hummingbird on acid. Wait...I was having a flashback - I meant to say that now that I'm older summer speeds by like an armadillo on crystal meth. 

It's essentially the same metaphor, but in this edit the armadillo represents ME and I don't know where the crystal meth came from. Seriously officer, I DON'T. 

Be a pel-I-can...not a pel-I-can't!

Pelican-450.jpgOur summer DID speed by. One minute Charlotte was wearing heavy coats and sweaters and the next minute she's wearing heavy coats and sweaters. She pretty much always wears a coat or sweater. 

The only way I know the seasons change is by walking to Super Target and seeing the Christmas decorations. Since that usually happens late-August, I KNOW summer is over. 

Try and keep up, OK? 

Now that you're back, take out a #2 pencil and a clean sheet of notebook paper. I want your summer highlights on my desk by the end of this post. 

Here are mine... 

 


Down home cookin' in the heart of Brooklyn...

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Who's Smart Now?

By Bob on August 24, 2015 4:24 AM | Read More

OK, I'm just going to put this out there for you to chew on: Smoke Detector's Save Lives.  

That's the kind of mind-expanding, provocative commentary you've come to expect here at The Boomer Brief. I'm happy to provide this as a public service. You're welcome 'Merica. 

Now, for the provocative part.

We'll return to my, er, dream after a brief interruption to change the effing battery in my smoke detector.

Cowgirls-600.jpgThey also SUCK. 

I know that's inflamed (see what I did there?) rhetoric, but gimme a chance to 'splain before you burn up the comments section.  

Smoke Detectors - at least the ones here in our home & Boomer Brief HQ - have battery backup systems powered by 9 volt batteries (the kind that used to power your transistor radio back in the good ol' days). Why is that a problem? 

Because they DIE.  

In the middle of the effing night.  

With a fingernails-on-a-blackboard-dying-sparrow-with-its-head-stuck-in-your-bedroom-window SCREEK!! 

Ever see a middle aged man in his boxers climb a ladder at 3 a.m. to change the battery in a smoke detector? Trust me, you can't handle the truth.


 I don't know how you live with yourself.

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Super Easy & Delicious Grilled Chicken

By Bob on August 3, 2015 4:03 AM | Read More

Now that summer is winding down, I've been making the most of grilling season. Around Boomer Brief HQ that can only mean one thing - Grilled Chicken. It's our go-to entrée because it's easy to prepare and it finds its way into soooo many dishes. 

Since it's a kitchen staple, we keep a Zip Lock bag full of grilled chicken breasts in our freezer at all times. Why? After a hard day slaving away in the blogosphere, it's a quick and easy dinner.  

Yes, it takes a room full of people to bring you quality digital content like this

Boomer Brief HQ-650.jpgIf Charlotte wants to whip up some of her famous chicken enchiladas, she's ready to go. It's also great in her spicy chicken cheese dip, grilled chicken salads, chicken spaghetti and even by itself with a side dish of her special Mac & Cheese

This recipe is super easy and it's been road-tested so many times you really can't screw it up (and believe me, I've tried!).

 


 

It's a Classic Love Story - Boy Meets Grill

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5 Tips for Surviving a Beach Vacation

By Bob on July 13, 2015 5:19 AM | Read More

I'm not a vacation person. Maybe it's the clothes. Could be because I'm a Type-A guy and don't know how to relax. All I can tell you is that I don't act like those people in the travel ads. 

You know the ones. The ads for airlines, hotels and resorts that show happy people drinking hot buttered rum at a five-star ski lodge, or frolicking in the waves of an azure ocean. First of all, I don't frolic and I don't put dairy products in alcoholic beverages.

You are HERE - well, you're actually not, but hey you could be, right?

Beach Time - 600.jpg

The only vacation that I come close to nailing is the beach vacation. It's not because I look good in a Speedo (I don't) or because I'm an excellent swimmer (I'm not, but I am amazingly buoyant). The reason I ace the beach vacation is because I've mastered these five survival techniques. 

5 Tips for Surviving a Beach Vacation 

1. Lighten your load
Unless you're being relocated in the witness protection program, don't pack more than one suitcase. Two suitcases are allowed for females if one contains shoes (Charlotte has taught me that you can't wear the same sandals two days in a row. It just isn't done in civilized countries.) 

 


 

If you don't adjust your body clock to island time, you'll stroke out on Day One

 


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5 Baby Boomer Concert Rules

By Bob on June 22, 2015 4:30 AM | Read More

I've been attending concerts for decades. As a child of the 60's, I've seen everyone from Jerry Garcia and Dylan, to Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac and Bread (I'm not proud of the last one, but I'm all about full disclosure). Let's just say I've been around the concert block.

Nobody gives you street cred like the Red Headed Stranger...Bob & Willie-600.jpg

Trouble is, now that I/m middle-aged, going to concerts - at least the acts I'm drawn to - is starting to SUCK. Lemme 'splain.

The crowd at these shows is made up of, well, people just like us. That's understandable. Most of the rock icons from our youth (I'm looking at you Steve Miller) are in their early to mid-70's...so it's fair to assume they're gonna attract a slightly older demographic.

Yeah, I've seen ALL the greats
Turds of Misery-563.jpg

THAT'S the problem.

Baby Boomers - for the most part - suck at concerts. Maybe it's the 60% hearing loss we have thanks to standing next to Jimmy Page's amp in '74...I dunno. But, let's be clear - the concert behavior you thought was OK in the 70's (and to be fair, it wasn't OK then) doesn't work today. 

I'm just gonna say what we're all thinking: Some of you people annoy the s**t outta me. Thanks, I feel better now. I know it's unfair to just point out the problem without offering a solution. Don't worry. I'm not gonna leave you hanging. 

We ALL want a better concert experience. So, as a public service to Baby Boomers everywhere, here are 5 unbreakable rules to follow at your next show.

 


You aren't the wafer-thin Will-O'-The-Wisp you were at Texas Jam in 1975...

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Breaking Up is Hard to do

By Bob on June 1, 2015 4:09 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I made a decision the other night that I'm gonna share with you. No, we're not moving to the Amalfi Coast (but, if I ever go missing save yourself some time by looking there first). 

Nope, we decided that we're breaking up with Saturday Night Live.

How 'bout some forgive-and-forget noogies

Nerd Prom-575.jpg

And before you think we got our boxers in a bunch over some skit, lemme assure you THAT'S NOT IT.

Insensitive, inappropriate, cringe-worthy is kinda why we've watched you for 40 years. No, it's more serious than that.

We've grown up.

Jane, you ignorant slut

Jane You Ignorant Slut - 500.jpg

We watched you in college. Laughed at Weekend Update (Jane you ignorant slut!). Saw the birth of the Blues Brothers, Samurai TV Repairman, Olympia Diner (Cheeburger...Cheeburger!) and watched Todd and Lisa go to Nerd Prom.

That was GREAT STUFF. But, our tastes have changed and you just don't do it for us anymore.  


We DVR and stream everything from Inuit Pawn Stars to House of Shark Week

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10 Things Every Graduate Should Know

By Bob on May 11, 2015 4:45 AM | Read More

It's the time of year when Boomer parents everywhere sit for hours at graduation ceremonies.

We all share the same bond: counting the seconds until OUR KID walks across the stage. It's Dante's Inferno in an air conditioned coliseum.

 

Outside of watching your son or daughter grab that fake diploma (the real ones will be in the mail soon!) the only thing that has even the slightest chance of keeping you awake is the COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS. 

I totally rocked the graduation stage football field in 1973. Don't belive me? Check out those shoes...

Bob - HS graduation - 400.jpg

We've heard the bad ones (DREAM BIG! - YOUR'E THE FUTURE!) and read about the great ones (the fake Kurt Vonnegut commencement springs to mind). Forget that stuff. Everything you learned in the past four years is wrong. Here's some advice you can really use. 


Keep a list of all who wronged you, so you can smite your enemies


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We're Responsive

By Bob on April 20, 2015 4:37 AM | Read More

Say what you want about this site (There's only one of you out there, so you can say pretty much anything you damn well please) but we're progressive. I'm talking about being forward thinking...on the cutting edge...ahead of the curve...and any other cliché you'd like to use.

Lemme 'splain.

We recently completed a responsive redesign of the site that makes The Boomer Brief compatible with phones, tablets and other mobile devices. I'll admit that we were led into this redesign due to peer pressure...that, AND Google telling us we'd never advance in the search rankings if we DIDN'T do it. So there's that. 

Peer pressure...it's not all bad.

Head-Beer-Pong-435.jpg

 


You'll never meet a nicer bunch of Marxists

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140 Characters & Counting

By Bob on March 30, 2015 4:15 AM | Read More

One of the best things about living in the INFORMATION AGE is that there are so many ways to say absolutely nothing. 

Texting, for example. I love texting. It's short. Concise. And so often filled with misinterpretation. It's HARD to put vocal inflection into a text. That used to get me in trouble on an almost daily basis. 

I mean, sometimes my sarcasm comes off as sincere. I hate it when that happens.

Just hanging out...what's new with you?

Clotheline - 461.jpg

And what about having a Sense of Humor? **if you don't have one, stop reading right now** THAT'S another sticky text area.

A joke can be wildly misread without the proper tone. A witty remark can fall flat without an accent, smile, wink or the occasional knee to the groin. There's just so much you can do with a few words. And don't tell me to use emoticons. The person who created them will spend eternity roasting next to the guy who invented decaffeinated coffee.

Oh, hell no

emoticon-525.jpg

"Bob," you may ask with a pained expression on your face, "there's **sniff** GOT to be a better way." Well, indeed there is. After years of painful experimentation I've devised my own surefire TEXT ANSWERING SYSTEM (patent pending).

I don't reply to texts anymore. That is, I don't reply with words alone. I use words with pictures or just pictures to convey my meaning. That way, I get to say what I mean. Better yet, I get to mean what I say.

Here are 8 of my patented **not really, you think I'd spend money on this?** texts that work in every situation. Use them with your friends or enemies and you can thank me later. 

 


 I like this text so much I bought it a Cadillac

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Snow Daze

By Bob on March 9, 2015 4:03 AM | Read More

I'll admit that I'm more of a winter person than a summer person. I like the cold weather, because my body temp runs a little warmer than some folks **cue Foreigner singing Hot Blooded**.

When it's 25 outside, my body temp is just about normal. I like that.

Having said that, I've had all the winter I want for 2015. North Texas has had repeated rounds of ice, freezing rain, sleet, snow, THUNDER SNOW, THUNDER ICE and FROZEN FROGS dropping from the sky like a Biblical plague.

This is an "after" photo taken when we removed the millions of frozen amphibians from our pond

Pond-600.jpg

OK, I made up the part about the frogs, but you get the idea. Just know that I'm done with it.

Why? Because - wait for it - Texans SUCK at driving in snow and ice. There, I said it. C'mon, you were thinking it too, weren't you?

Lemme 'splain.

Charlotte hosted her Bunco bunch here at Boomer Brief HQ a few nights ago. Being the smart caring, nurturing husband that I am, I took off for the ranch to give them a testosterone-free house. Hey, that's just how I roll.

Sleet, snow and freezing rain were predicted for the next day, but the forecast said it'd be west and north of us. Colleywood, and its Grey Poupon-loving neighborhoods, would be spared the brunt of the icy blast. You pay a little more...you geta little more...AMIRITE?

 


Snow was piling up faster than Twitter crashes on Interstate 20...

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Tied to be Fit

By Bob on February 16, 2015 4:16 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I (OK, really Charlotte) are pretty health-conscious. Two bouts of cancer will do that to a person. 

Exercise is an almost-daily part of our routine here at Boomer Brief HQ. Most mornings the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. and she's on the treadmill power walking 4+ miles. 

Me? I hit the mean streets of Colleywood, jar of Grey Poupon in one hand, cellphone tuned to KRLD 1080AM or a Podcast, in the other hand. 

Lord HubbaBubba is always gracious when I lend him my emergency jar of Grey Poupon

Grey Poupon-432.jpg

The Grey Poupon is in case Lord HubbaBubba needs an emergency jar. I walk about 4 miles, past the elegant boutiques (Target, Walgreen's) and mansions of the rich and famous (that guy who has a patent on one of the chips that are in every microwave lives just two blocks from us). So we're used to being around famous people.

 


Sheryl Crow's been telling you that for years...

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Super Bean Dip

By Bob on January 26, 2015 9:48 AM | Read More

I've been a fan of football and bean dip for as long as I can remember. Over the years I've supported only one pro team (Dallas Cowboys,) but I've experimented with dozens of different bean dip recipes. Some are too hot, some are too bland, some are too much work, but all had the cheesy, gotta-have-another-scoop taste that makes a good bean dip great. 

While the dip cooks, I entertain my guests by showing them my sweet beer can collection. Admit it. You. Are. Impressed.

Beer Can Boy-500.jpg

My years of bean-experimentation have paid off with this super easy, super delicious bean dip recipe. It has just the right amount of heat, a satisfying cheesy texture that hangs on to a good tortilla chip and (SPOILER ALERT) it's EASY.

Mix up a batch of this dip about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff. 

Super Easy, Super Cheesey, Super Bowl Bean Dip

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5 Predictions for 2015

By Bob on January 5, 2015 4:11 AM | Read More

This marks the fifth time I've gone out on a limb and made my predictions for a New Year. Wanna guess how many I've gotten right? I'm 0-20 in the guesstimate department (although I did come pretty close with that Zombie Apocalypse prediction back in '12) but I digress. 

You've been warned 'murica. 

I'll go on and apologize for 2014 not turning out as I predicted. Hey, I'm just as bummed as you are that we didn't get that Amazon Drone Delivery system, but Jeff Bezos has assured me it'll happen by 2016 **fingers crossed**.

Allison Williams' performance in the drag version of Peter Pan was one of the highlights of 2014.

Allision Williams - Peter Pan-450.jpgYou have to admit that you're happy 2014 didn't suck as bad as I forecast. I mean, nobody really wanted a sequel to Carrie Underwood's live Sound of Music - oh wait, I forgot. WE GOT ONE and it SUCKED even worse. (Sorry Carrie, but Allison Williams' drag version of Peter Pan was even worse than your live TV special). Some things even I can't predict.

We spare no expense in our security staff over at the Boomer Brief lair. No seriously, we don't pay these kids anything. They're Boy Scouts who think they're earning a merit badge in "perimeter security."

Devo-500.jpgAs I stand here on top of my secret lair (it's really just a closed Shell station outside of Euless, but I call it a "lair" because "Closed-Shell-Station-Outside-Of-Euless" doesn't sound nearly as sinister), I'm vaguely hopeful about 2015. Call me a cockeyed optimist (and I'll ask you why you're making fun of my eyes, you bigot) but for the first time in a long time I think we've got a shot at a decent year.

Of course, I'm 0-20 in the prediction dept. so I'd stock up on ammo just in case. 

 


 

... that'll come in June at a Dickey's BBQ in Watauga.

 


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Ladder Day Saints

By Bob on November 24, 2014 2:37 AM | Read More

This is the time of year when every homeowner gets to unleash his inner Griswold. Some of our neighbors wait all year to string light strand after light strand from every conceivable gutter and gable.  The rest either hire someone to do it, or skip the whole exterior lighting escapade.

I fall into that category. 

Literally. 

Lemme 'splain. Ladders and I still aren't on speaking terms. Sure, I still own one, but we haven't gotten along since Sept. 25, 2005.

When Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation-600.jpg

That was the day I extended my 12' aluminum ladder as far as it would go and PROPPED IT UP ON A BENCH to reach even HIGHER. No, I wasn't getting an early jump (make that, fall) on putting up my Christmas lights. I was doing a little home improvement project that would "only take a minute".

That minute took me two years, two surgeries, 12 titanium screws, three titanium plates, assorted wire and two bone grafts to overcome. 


You're in real trouble when the morphine drip doesn't cut the pain.


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5 Rules for Facebook

By Bob on November 10, 2014 3:18 AM | Read More

Now that the mid-term elections are over I've decided to come out of my foxhole. I'm telling you guys, from what I could see looking over this mound of dirt ...it's been BRUTAL out there. 

I'll just go on and say what we're all thinking. 

Some of you people are bat shit crazy. 

Thank GOD we've got social media to sort all this out. If it wasn't for the internet, I wouldn't have an opinion.

Why couldn't we have been adopted by someone with a decent Wi-Fi network?

Tom & Jerry-600.jpg

According to all of you I'm a blank slate (and BTW how did you get copies of my high school report cards? Damn you Edward Snowden!). Thank you from the bottom of my ignorant heart, for telling me HOW to vote...WHEN to vote...WHO to vote for...and most importantly, WHICH of the candidates were baby-killing Satanists. 

THAT was a HUGE help. 

We have two years until the next BIG political dustup, so Ima gonna save you some valuable time for the next time around. 

Hell to the NO...I'll do you one better. Ima gonna save you time every effin' day. A lot of you post tons of horseshit interesting information on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Instagram that I don't need to know. 

So, as a PUBLIC SERVICE, I'll give you 5 TOPICS YOU CAN STOP posting on social media right now. 

 


 Trust me - nobody cares what you think about...

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Fear and Loathing in New York

By Bob on October 27, 2014 4:20 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I flew up to NYC to celebrate our son Cole's birthday. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Bob, how could you leave Dallas during its time of need? We saw on CNN how Ebola is turning Dallas into the LAST DAYS OF POMPEII and all that shit. Where's your civic pride?" 

You know what I said internets?

I said, "My civic pride is in ROW 12 SEATS D and C on AA Flight #1140 to LaGuardia, that's where." 

Then I told 'em to calm the Eff down. Dallas is going to be OK. I mean, we've got the former Ad Executive on the Taco Bell account as our mayor for Pete's sake. You think anything gets past THAT GUY?

Yo Quiero Taco Bell!

We got this.

Everybody's got something to hide except these two

Michael Jackson-600.jpg

We weren't going let a little pandemic fear and loathing mess up our trip. We were bearing a gift from someone who knows what FEAR and LOATHING are all about. I'm talking about Hunter S. Thompson's favorite artist: Ralph Steadman. 

Didn't see that one coming did you!

Lemme 'splain. 


 Let's get down to brass tacks. How much for the ape?

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Here's Why You're Not Happy

By Bob on October 13, 2014 4:04 AM | Read More

I try to keep my fingers on the pulse of all that's going on in the world so I can keep you guys informed. But here lately it's been pretty damned exhausting. Why? Our reader millions of readers may ask. 

We live near Dallas, so it's a full time job just keeping Ebola from swallowing us whole, or talking to a reporter from CNN. 

You ever try and outrun Anderson Cooper? 

That sumbitch is fast. And his hair is always perfect.

I sat down at my state-of-the-art computer in my tastefully decorated office and pondered how to be happy.

Boomer Brief HQ-600.jpg

For the longest time, I thought all we had to fear were Iranian NUKES and our neighborhood CHUPACABRA (we call him Chuck, but he'll chew through cast iron when he hears any human sound). I'm coming clean with this admission: I WAS SO NOT RIGHT (I'm still having a hard time saying I was wrong). There's plenty to keep you awake at night, even if I was way off on my short list of dangerous things. 

So...as a public service, I'll give you 5 reasons to feel happy right now.

5 Reasons to be Happy

See this sign outside your bedroom window? Stay in bed...

Hell Sign-400.jpg 

1. You're Not Here

Chances are you didn't roll over this morning and see this sign out your window. CONGRATULATIONS! It's going to be a great day!

 


What's worse than a four-year-old throwing a tantrum? 

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The Wine Country: Shaken Not Disturbed

By Bob on September 29, 2014 4:38 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I took off for the Wine Country a few weeks back with some of our best friends. We make the grape escape as soon as my liver dries out from the last one every couple of years. 

Each time we go, we see something different. Discover wines we never heard of. And enjoy a respite from the hellish summer weather of our beloved Texas (I'm a native Texan, so I can call it hellish. It's printed right there on my birth certificate). 

Winery Leaves - 600.jpg

The Wine Country's gotten kind of a bad rap recently due to the Aug. 24th 6.0 earthquake that caused something north of $50 million in damage. The good news is that in spite of the loss, the people are friendly (we single out a couple below who definitely aren't) and they welcome our support of their industry.

Wines-600.jpg

If you're planning a trip to the left coast any time soon, here are some recommendations in the Russian River Valley (Healdsburg, CA).


 If the sun's out, you'll probably find them asleep on the front porch.

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From Cannes to Cranfills Gap - How I Spent My Summer

By Bob on September 15, 2014 4:54 AM | Read More

Now that summer's over (not officially, but over in that Target-is-pulling-out-Halloween-and-Thanksgiving-decorations kind of way), I'm sitting here wondering where the time went. 

It seems like only yesterday we were baking in 102-degree heat and floating in the pool. 

Wait. That was yesterday. 

Before it slips away entirely, let's everyone take out a clean sheet of notebook paper and tell the class what we did this summer. I'll go first.

How I Spent My Summer    

Triple-Threat Cruise
Charlotte and I celebrated our TRIPLE ANNIVERSARY with a cruise. For those of you doing the math, that doesn't mean we've been married three years. Nope. We celebrated: 1) My 10-year anniversary as a cancer survivor; 2) Charlotte's 5-year anniversary as a cancer survivor; and, 3) Our 36th wedding anniversary.

Yes, we Cannes and we did.Cannes-600.jpg

We took our favorite cruise line (Regent) from Athens to Barcelona and celebrated across the Mediterranean. Nobody - and I mean that literally - NOBODY got the whole TRIPLE ANNIVERSARY concept. But that was OK with us. When you're a cancer survivor, you've earned the right to celebrate every milestone like crazy. And that's exactly what we did. In the words of Ricky Bobby, we made that celebration our bitch.

I lean towards never going back to Pisa.Pisa-300.jpg

Highlight

Every port in the south of France.

Lowlight

Pisa (of Leaning Tower fame). Don't waste your time.

 


 ...evolve into a mutant species that will take over the earth.

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Jurassic Classic

By Bob on August 25, 2014 4:46 AM | Read More

I've been a part of the American workforce since I was 15.

Like most Baby Boomers, I've had jobs I've loved and plenty I've hated. My freshman year in college I worked as a "litter critter" picking up trash and doing odd jobs at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.

Dinosaur Valley State Park on the Paluxy RiverDino Valley State Park-600.jpg

Every park has a "hook" - something that brings tourists in the gate. It may be a beautiful lake or steaming geyser, but there's something that makes that park stand out.

At Dinosaur Valley State Park, that hook is dinosaurs.

Brontosaurus-600.jpg

Not actual real, live dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley isn't a wealthy Texas oilman's version of Jurassic Park. Its main attraction is dinosaur tracks deposited in the soft limestone 113 million years ago by Tyrannosaurus Rex and his closest friends.

That summer I joined some of my closest friends as we picked up 50-gallon steel trash cans filled with watermelon rinds and dirty diapers in the 100-degree Texas heat. The smell was so powerful I learned to apply Vicks VapoRub beneath my nose before heading out on trash duty twice a day. It was the only way I could stomach the stench.

When we weren't hauling trash, mowing grass or scouring bathrooms until they sparkled like the Hope Diamond, we cleaned dinosaur tracks.

 


 

Take this job and shove it. 

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Just Beachy

By Bob on August 11, 2014 3:13 AM | Read More

Beach Time Painting - 600.jpgCharlotte and I have been spending a little time at the beach this summer and enjoying every minute of it. This is what our beach hangout looks like to me when I get nuclear-strength Bullfrog SPF 50 suntan lotion in my eyes. Here's what the beach wildlife looks like under the same influence...

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Rancho Mirage

By Bob on July 28, 2014 3:54 AM | Read More

Caretaker House View-Art-650.jpgI stepped out of the ranch house the other morning just as the sun was beginning to heat us up for another cloudless day. The water on the stock tank was like glass and - since I hadn't had my coffee yet -- made me think I was looking at a mirage. At least that's what it looked like when I got back to my desk and gave it the Photoshop treatment.

Your eyes can play tricks on you out there. But, that's nothing compared to what nature can do...

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Your New Favorite Summer Drink

By Bob on June 23, 2014 3:59 AM | Read More

I tried infused tequilas for the very first time when Charlotte and I were down at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa a couple of years ago. I have to tell you boomers, I fell HARD for these wonderful concoctions.

The beautiful JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & SpaJW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa - Front - 600.jpgAfter dinner at its Cibolo Moon restaurant, our server Lauren brought us a tequila "sampler" containing three infused tequilas - strawberry/jalapeno, lemon/basil and mojito. They were all good, but the easy standout was the strawberry/jalapeno. This bad-boy drink was like a jalapeno punched me in the mouth, then felt bad about it and asked his strawberry girlfriend to kiss me on the mouth.

Cibolo Moon RestaurantCibolo Moon-500.jpgIt's hard to forget something like that. And I didn't. 

Strawberry/Jalapeno MargaritaStrawberry-Margarita-600.jpg

That's why I asked the kind folks at the JW Marriott to pulleeese share their recipe, so I could share it with our reader millions of fans. They were happy to oblige. The video 'splains it all to you (and comes complete with sound effects and my first taste ever of my own strawberry/jalapeno infused tequila - funny stuff). For those of you who aren't fans of my work in blogger cinema, feel free to jump past the video and print out the recipe below. 

You're gonna thank me for this one. Trust me. 

 


Simple Steps for Infusing Tequila at Home

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Rising Up From The Ruins

By Bob on June 9, 2014 4:39 AM | Read More

A few weeks ago I climbed in the Boomer Brief DeLorean and set the clock back to Dec. 2003. Seconds later I was sitting in an exam room with a doctor telling me I had cancer. 

I know, you're all, "Gawd...is he going down that road? I think my phone's ringing..."  

1977-225.jpg13-225.jpg

 

Before you bail - SPOILER ALERT - this isn't THAT kind of post. But if you're leaving, please return your tray tables and seatbacks to their upright and locked positions and don't ever sit in the exit row again.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. The DeLorean.

It's a fixer-upper...but a little paint, some sheetrock...it'll be good as new

28-600.jpgWell when I hopped back in the DeLorean I accidentally reset the clock for the summer of 2009. That's when I found myself with Charlotte in another exam room. This time a different doctor was telling her she had cancer.

Doesn't that just suck?

For those of  you keeping score at home. IT DID.

The site of the 2015 Boomer Brief Cliff Diving Championship

81-600.jpgThat's why I beat it back to 2014. Because you know what DOESN'T suck? 

NOT having cancer.

That's why 2014 is better than 2003 and 2009. Charlotte and I just celebrated our 5 and 10 year anniversaries as cancer survivors **cue the marching band**.

Wonder how much I could get if I sold this logo to Nike?

103-600.jpgWhen we were diagnosed  I promised we'd do something special when we reached our milestones. You know what Internets? That's what we did.

 


 After selling The Boomer Brief DeLorean on EBay...

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The Best Grilled Chicken

By Bob on May 26, 2014 4:28 AM | Read More

Now that summer is here I'm spending a lot more time around the grill - chicken usually, but we're also fond of good Gulf shrimp (yummm). We don't get to the beach as much as we'd like, so when I fire up the grill my go-to entrée is usually chicken.

Great Grilled Chicken - 600.jpg

Since it's a kitchen staple, we keep a Zip Lock bag full of grilled chicken breasts in our freezer at all times. Why? After a hard day slaving away in the blogosphere, it's a quick and easy dinner! 

If Charlotte wants to whip up some of her famous chicken enchiladas, she's ready to go. It's also great in her spicy chicken cheese dip, grilled chicken salads, chicken spaghetti and even by itself with a side dish of her special Mac & Cheese. 

This recipe is super easy and if you know a guy who likes to grill, it's something he can do to help out in the kitchen. Bonus!

 


 

These Breasts Are The Best ...

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Home Remodel on the Range

By Bob on May 12, 2014 3:21 AM | Read More

About a year ago, Charlotte and I decided to remodel the ranch house. It wasn't an easy decision. I'll confess my first thought was "let's just drive a bulldozer through the front door and call it a day." Calmer heads (and we know we're talking 'bout Charlotte here) prevailed.

Little house on the Cranfills Gap prairie

House Exterior - 600.jpgIt wasn't that it was a bad house - not in an Amityville Horror kind of way - but more like a "what's the limit on my Lowe's card?" way. We're talking plumbing, electric, roofing, paint, sheetrock, carpentry, brush-clearing...all stuff that had to be done before we could even think about putting some lipstick on this piglet.

Thanks to a call from the Smithsonian...the retro kitchen has survived (for now)Retro Kitchen-600.jpg

Well, we did that stuff. And by "We" you know I'm referring to many talented and skilled professionals who do this for a living. I am, after all, the only man in Tarrant County who had to have his car towed the one time he tried changing his own oil. If I'd done this myself, I'd still be trying to pry the 1960's paneling off the living room walls.

We picked some paint and got moving

Colors-600.jpgSo what's the verdict?

 


 

...from the Ike Turner Pimp Collection at Rooms To Go...

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Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Tequila Herradura

By Bob on April 28, 2014 4:03 AM | Read More

I know a lot of the U.S. celebrates Cinco de Mayo. But down here in Texas it's not as much celebration as it is reason to drink copious amounts of tequila, eat our special brand of Tex-Mex cooking and throw a party. 

Shake it like you mean it4-Gimlet-600.jpg

Hmmm...let's see...great tequila, wonderful Tex-Mex food...even a curmudgeon like me will attend a party like that. The folks at Tequila Herradura must've known it when they invited us to a tequila tasting celebration at the Christopher Martin Gallery in Dallas. 

Every Cinco de Mayo celebration should include at least one of theseHerradura Tequila-600.jpg

I was all, "Hell Yeah!" and Charlotte was all, "Use your inside voice, please." 

**hell yeah**

So we went. 


 We partied like it was 1862...

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Snakes On A Plain

By Bob on April 14, 2014 4:41 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I have been redoing the Ranch House now for about a year. It's a definite work in progress, but she's done a great job decorating on a budget and we've even hung curtains without filing divorce papers. 

So, it's all good. 

The biggest challenge we've faced has been letting the various critters in our neck o' the woods know that we're here and we mean bidness. They're welcome to share our little slice of Cranfills Gap paradise so long as they obey The 5 Critter Commandments. 

The 5 Critter Commandments

1. Thou shalt not scare the shit out of me by jumping out of the darkness

2. Thou art not welcome in my house - EVER

3. Thou knows that even if I look cute and cartoon-like, I may be killed if I break commandments #1, #2 and especially #4  

4. Thou shalt not frighten Charlotte

5. Thou knows that if thou art a SNAKE and there is a weapon handy - shotgun, rock, hoe, rocket-propelled grenade launcher - thou will die a very unpleasant death accompanied by the sound of something resembling a three-year-old girl screaming 

I'll take a pair of boots, belt and a nice handbag for Charlotte, please
Snake-533.jpgThe Rattlesnake Whisperer and the reason why we no longer go barefoot at the ranch

The Commandments are non-negotiable, so I was more than a little happy to get a phone call the other day that went something like this: 

Caller: "Mr. Hill, I'm (name redacted to protect the innocent) I was wondering if you'd let me come on to your place and do some rattlesnake huntin'" 

Me: "You want to do WHAT?" 

Caller: "Snakes. I'd like to come on your place with a couple of my friends and hunt rattlesnakes." 

Me: "This some kind of a ranch joke?" 

Caller: "Nope, we like huntin' rattlesnakes. Took over 100 last year and I think we might get some on your place, if you'll let us."

 


Samuel L. Jackson and I share the same thoughts about snakes

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Cowtown Abbey

By Bob on March 31, 2014 2:39 AM | Read More

When Charlotte and I moved from the mean streets of Grapevine to Colleywood almost 20 years ago, we pulled a major Movin' On Up (cue Weezy Jefferson). Excuse me. The Sherman Hemsley clause in my blogger contract requires that I wait 'till Weezy's finished with her song.

OK, I'm back.

We expected a certain amount of...what's the word...pretentiousness when we moved.

You should've seen Grapevine before William D. Tate was Mayor...
1-Zombie Apocalypse-600.jpgColleywood is much nicer...that's our place on the right.

2-Boomer Brief Neighborhood-600.jpgIt is COLLEYWOOD after all, but we came prepared.

For example, I always carry a jar of Gray Poupon mustard with me in case one of my neighbors needs it. And I gave up Wal-Mart for Target (to be honest, the knife fights in the Wal-Mart parking lot were getting boring, so it was really just a matter of time). 

After ALL THAT EFFORT, I'm sad to report that Charlotte and I have just been handed the ultimate insult. Our neighbors, Lord and Lady HubbaBubba (not their real names) have decided NOT to invite us to the wedding of their only daughter.

Let's release the hounds on them Mummy. Oh Lord HubbaBubba, I do enjoy a show!Lord & Dowager Countess-600.jpg

These folks really are our neighbors. Our backyard fence backs up to THEIR backyard fence. The only difference being that their backyard is approx. 24 ACRES (this is Colleywood and this is not a joke). 

Their place is freakin' Cowtown Abbey.

Avert your eyes lest ye be horse whipped!

downton-abbey-church-bazaar-600.jpgThe invitation snub I could almost forgive (Lord HubbaBubba has clearly forgotten the time I came to his rescue with a jar of Gray Poupon, but that's mustard under the bridge).

What really burns my biscuits (pardon my French) is that he's erected a PRIVACY WALL to block our commoner eyes from basking in the beauty of the wedding. 


6 Reasons Why Lord & Lady HubbaBubba Should Invite Bob & Charlotte to the Royal Wedding

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An Offer We Couldn't Refuse

By Bob on March 17, 2014 4:59 AM | Read More

Since we started this blog four years ago, Charlotte and I have been invited to some pretty cool events. It's understandable, really. People who make things want us to share them with our reader millions of fans. So, we (sometimes) participate. 

I know what you're saying, "Bob...don't you just love the glamor and pageantry of hobnobbing with celebrities?" I have two answers to that question: 1) I've never hobbed a nob, and if I did Charlotte would never let me write about it on this blog; and 2) Where'd you hide the remote? 

Seriously, I'll take a TCM movie, box of Triscuit, some Cracker Barrel Vermont Cheddar and a bottle of wine over just about anything I've been invited to in the last 15 years. That includes most weddings, ALL showers (baby/wedding/house/rain) and 9 out of 10 family functions. Relax, I'm not 100% curmudgeon. There have been a couple of funerals I've enjoyed for reasons we'll cover later in the semester.

Bob, Francis Ford Coppola, Charlotte II - 600.jpgCharlotte and I with the Godfather his own self. I kid you not, after this picture was snapped he held my bearded face in his hands, looked deep in my eyes and said: "Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this photograph a gift on my daughter's wedding day."

So, what's it take to blast me outta my bean bag chair?

An offer I can't refuse.

Like the one we received from our friends at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The Coppola folks were in town promoting their wines and invited us to the Lakewood Theater in Dallas to check 'em out. As an added bonus, The Godfather Himself, Francis Ford Coppola, would be talking about his wines and his career.

Lakewood Theater-500.jpgIs that a marquee in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? 

That offer hit The Boomer Brief Trifecta: Wine, Film & Film Legend. What's not to like? The five-time Academy Award winner told the story of his career from filmmaker to winemaker and back again for almost 90 minutes.

Here are some things he told us that you may not know:


I bring to my life a certain amount of mess.

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Easy English Muffin Pizza

By Bob on March 3, 2014 11:42 AM | Read More

One of the things you learn after almost 36 years of marriage is the delicate ballet of who-does-what. The dance has changed with Charlotte and me over the years, but the one thing that's been a constant is that Friday and Sunday night dinners are my territory. 

That doesn't mean I channel my inner Bobby Flay (couldn't even if I tried) but it does mean I'm responsible for the meal. Charlotte's OK with me calling our favorite neighborhood pizza guys iFratelli or taking her out to a neighborhood restaurant. But, when I don't choose either of those options, I fall back on the handful of tried-and-true recipes that we love.

Easy English Muffin Pizza

English Muffin Pizza - 600.jpg

We love pizza, so I came up with this recipe during the early days of our marriage. We liked it back then because all you really need to pull it off is English muffins, pizza sauce and provolone cheese.

Over the years I've tweaked it, spiced it up and perfected it into the recipe below. Yes, it is spicy, but it doesn't have to be. If you don't want it "Texas style" then pardner, just omit the jalapenos and green chilies. We'll keep it our little secret, OK? 

 


 

Easy English Muffin Pizza Recipe

 

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Eye Can See Clearly (Sort of) Now

By Bob on February 17, 2014 4:59 AM | Read More

One of the things that suck are great about reaching a "certain age" is getting to do all the fun procedures that come along with it. What kind of procedures you might ask? I dunno, really cool stuff like colonoscopies...yeah they're a blast. 

And by blast, I mean the fact that the prep turns your pooper into a cannon worthy of WMD status. How is it that we put Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969, but still haven't figured out a better way to clean a colon **shakes fist at computer monitor**. 

Sorry, the 13-year-old in me is still laughing at being able to say "poop" on the World Wide Web. I'll be back in a minute.

Laser Eyes: Worth every damn cent...Laser eyes-552.jpg

About two weeks ago I decided to do one of those "elective" procedures, because my eyesight had gotten to the point where I didn't really see things. I just wandered around our house like a drunken version of Roomba and bounced off immovable objects. Sometimes Charlotte was one of those objects and she was starting to complain.

So...I called up the local laser eye specialist and scheduled an appointment to get me some LASER EYES. The nice folks explained the procedure and assured me the only pain I'd feel was the money being sucked from my HSA MasterCard. SPOILER ALERT: That part IS painful and they do not give you a Valium before they run your card even if you ask nicely. 

Would you like extra gravy with that?Eye 1-300.jpg

Laser eye surgery is a pretty common procedure these days and I'd put it off as long as I could. From the patient point of view, the surgery is simple.

The surgeon takes your money (remember, this is WITHOUT applying Valium); they put you in a blue mesh cap that reminds you of your grade school cafeteria; and blue mesh "booties" (nobody knows why). 


Please take your Valium now 

 

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6 Songs You Need for Valentine's Day

By Bob on February 3, 2014 2:08 AM | Read More

I'll admit that I'm not the most romantic person on the planet (Charlotte would be the second person to tell you that). Not really big on hugs. Kiss hello? NMD. It's not that I have anything against these things. They're just not part of my romantic DNA. 

That doesn't mean I don't like romantic songs. Oh HELL no. There are some terrific ones that Charlotte and I both love. We've chronicled our (almost 36 years) life together with a soundtrack that ranges from Cole Porter to The Shins. 

So, with Valentine's Day almost on top of us (great metaphor for the #1 sex holiday of the year AMIRITE?), I'm offering up a Baby Boomer V'Day Playlist to get you in the mood. If at least ONE of these songs isn't on your playlist, then Dude, you're a bigger curmudgeon that me. And you don't really want to go there, do you? 

The Boomer Brief Valentine's Day Playlist  Stevie Nicks-600.jpg

1. Silver Springs - Fleetwood Mac

Nobody belts out a rock ballad better than Stevie Nicks and this is one of her best. Charlotte insists we play it every time we watch our Fleetwood Mac DVD.

2. I'm Still In Love With You - Al Green
Every Valentine's Day playlist has to have at least one Al Green song. It's in my contract with the WBF (World Blogging Federation).

 


 

If I make it anywhere near the pearly gates, I bet the angels sound a whole lot like... 

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Chili Cheese Dip

By Bob on January 20, 2014 3:32 AM | Read More

Once the weather gets cold (we're in Texas y'all, so that's usually after Thanksgiving), I convince Charlotte to make a pot of her famous chili.

Here at Boomer Brief HQ, chili is the go-to dish for a lot of things. We use it in the Tex-Mex classic Frito Pie, homemade burritos, as a sauce for our favorite tamales - and as a key ingredient in Chili Cheese Dip. 

When I need cooking inspiration, I channel my spirit animals: Emeril & TupacEmeril-Lagasse-240.jpgTupac-240.jpg 

 

Chili Cheese Dip is my variation on the famous Velveeta-Rotel Queso Dip that's a staple of every tailgate and college dorm room. The chili makes the dip a lot heartier (not to be confused with heart-healthy - this is anything BUT!) and it takes the flavor to a whole 'nother level. We love it

So you just add chili to Velveeta Dip?

Whoop-De-Freakin'-Do! 


 

But that's only if you're channeling Emeril and Tupac...

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6 Predictions for 2014

By Bob on January 6, 2014 4:49 AM | Read More

Go ahead and admit it. You're more than a little surprised that we all made it out of 2013 ALIVE. I know I am.

Let's face it, 2013 sucked eggs. We had to push the reset button on our healthcare plans, watch Paula Deen implode, see Congress shut down the country more times than we could count AND suffer the loss of Breaking Bad.  ALL IN ONE YEAR.

2014-600.jpgI ask you. How. Much. Can. Humanity. Stand?

Thank GOD we were able to delay the zombie apocalypse with our secret government program (You're welcome). I don't think I could've handled that on top of everything else.

My new healthcare plan covers pre-existing conditions, but I've read the fine print and ZOMBIE wounds are not covered. I'll have to change providers before that shit gets real.

 


 

... a live TV production of Les Misérables - reimagined as a night at the Grand Ol' Opry.

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Needles & Pins

By Bob on December 23, 2013 5:07 AM | Read More

Hemingway once said life's most exhilarating experience was to be shot at - and MISSED. I kinda know what the famous writer was talking about with one small exception. It's also pretty damn exhilarating to be shot at and HIT. 

Lemme 'splain.

Careful where you stick that pin, pardnervoodoo dolls-600.jpg

Prostate cancer HIT me almost 10 years ago. The reason I bring this up is because in a few weeks I'll reach a major milestone in my prostate cancer battle. I'll take a blood test that'll determine if I'm a 10-year survivor **MISSED**or if there's a sign it's coming back **HIT**.

My money's on MISSED, but as we've already learned in blog class, the universe is totally f***ing random. Or as my own philosophy sums it up: Shit happens. Sometimes shit happens to you.

We covered this on the mid-term. Jeez, try and keep up.

I'm not pessimistic (although we ALL know pessimists are seldom disappointed). But, that doesn't stop me from being anxious. It also doesn't stop me from having a little fun. Quirky. Uncomfortable. Fun. You know, the stuff I do.

When I had my annual checkup last year, I reminded Dr. Lee of my our ten year anniversary. I told him I expected a gift if I got another clean report. Something small...like a BMW 7 series...Rolex Submariner...hovercraft with lasers and a bitchin' sound system...a trinket to commemorate the occasion.

 


 After rejecting the first name that popped into my head: "ASSHOLE"

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Talkin' Turkey

By Bob on December 9, 2013 4:46 AM | Read More

I'm the first to admit I draw light duty with the holiday cooking. Charlotte's the real chef in our house and she always does a fantastic job - from stuffing and side dishes, to wonderful desserts.

I gained 20 pounds just writing this sentence. 

I am obligated to tell you that neither Charlotte or I look like this. Also, have you ever noticed how the little girl (top left) looks like that kid in the movie The Bad Seed?Vintage Turkey-500.jpg

Me? Turkey's my game and I cook one every year.

My kitchen mantra comes (with apologies) from Jackson Browne: "Make It Easy." My dirty little secret is that about 20 years ago I perfected a way to cook a great turkey and make it so incredibly easy that even I can't screw it up.

 


 

The added flavor is a nice boost to the overall mix

of Paul Simon spices.

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Statue of Limitations

By Bob on November 25, 2013 2:22 AM | Read More

When Charlotte and are in New York visitng our son Cole, we usually allow one day to visit some of our favorite Big Apple sites.

We've done all of the hardcore touristy stuff - Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park...we've even been to a taping of Letterman, seen the set of Saturday Night Live...the usual stuff.

The art deco edifice at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, just screams: I'm gold. I'm naked. Deal with it.

30 Rock Decco-600.jpg

These days in addition to Broadway, restaurants and shopping we walk - everywhere (we are getting better at the NY subway system, but that's a whole 'nother post). 

Walking is a great way to see the city. Really, it's the only way to take in that NY vibe that scares so many people. It's amazing what you can see when you're not on your knees praying in the back of taxi. 

While Charlotte's window-shopping on 5th Ave., I'm looking up and down and around. It's more than, "Lookit all them tall buildings!" for me. When you scrape off the first layer of grime this city is stunningly beautiful.

Look! There's Tina Fey!30 Rock-600.jpg

 


A guy's got to have some vices.

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Flying the WTF Skies

By Bob on November 11, 2013 4:37 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I aren't million-mile fliers like many of our friends. We take to the not-so-friendly-skies a half-dozen times a year or less. Trips to New York to see our son, Cole. Vacation. You know, stuff like that. 

But, we do travel a fair amount. Before we took off last summer for our 35th Anniversary Cruise, one of our friends suggested enrolling in the new TSA Precheck program (also called Global Entry).

Now that you're in the new Precheck Program you'll love flying...SAID NO PERSON EVERAir Travel-600.jpg

If you've traveled by air in the past year or so, you've seen the signs at the airports. It's a big program, getting bigger. It's about to be rolled out to an additional 60 airports across the U.S.

The siren song of the TSA program is that it will speed your way through airport security. No more taking out your laptop. Taking off your shoes. Shorter lines...blah, blah, blah.

All of this could be yours for a $100 fee and your willingness to fill out a multi-page online form, submit to a background check and a sit-down interview with a Federal Agent.

It's a pain. But, the promise is that if you clear all these hurdles and they accept you, you'll be rewarded with a new government-issued photo ID and shorter security lines **angels singing**.

 


 

 Like a boyfriend in a difficult relationship I figured, "It's not you, it's ME.

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Happy Halloween

By Bob on October 28, 2013 5:14 AM | Read More

In 1960 I dressed up like Casper The Friendly Ghost.

Meme 1-600.jpg

In 2013, I'm going as... 

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AT&T & Me

By Bob on October 14, 2013 5:32 AM | Read More

Ok, it's a well-documented fact that I like hunting. I enjoy the opportunity to get outdoors with my friends and do GUY STUFF **pardon me while I scratch myself** with a loaded shotgun in my hands. 

As merry a band of techies as you'll ever meet.Dove Hunt Group - 600.jpg

I'm not anyone's idea of Ted Nugent (like his music; some of his politics and all of his 70s hair) but I do enjoy dove hunting, quail hunting and the occasional feral hog excursion.

That doesn't mean I'm any good at it. I suck most of the time. That doesn't stop me because I hunt 21st Century style, with all the modern conveniences of food, shelter, central air and heat, and most of all CELLPHONE COVERAGE.

I know what you're saying to yourselves, "Bob, WTF? 

I thought going hunting was an excuse to get away from email, Facebook, ESPN.com and CELLPHONES." To this I would have to answer, "Internets, have we met?"

"I'll have the meat-lover's pizza with an extra serving of broadband, please."Jesse-400.jpg

 


And by "magic" I mean Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir were spinning in their graves.


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Like Father Like Sons

By Bob on September 30, 2013 4:27 AM | Read More

Our NY-based son (not like we have another son tucked away making the new iPhone 6 in a Chinese sweatshop) turns 27 next week and I know this birthday is going to be great.

How do I know internets? Because it HAS to be better than last year's birthday. His last birthday SUCKED.

It wasn't something I did or didn't do. Or he did or didn't do. It was beyond everyone's control.

Cole's birthday last year - the exact day mind you - was spent attending his grandfather's (my dad's) funeral. Whoaaaaaa...before you reach for the Kleenex box, lemme 'splain. This isn't one of those posts.

See? I told you it wasn't one of those posts. And just in case you were wondering, I totally ROCKED those shorts in 1989.Cole & Dad-600.jpg
Cole and I have both matured since then...well, a little anyway.

Cole & Bob-600a.jpg

My father, John Martin Hill, was a wonderful man. Great father. Terrific grandfather. A really great, great grandfather. He loooooved to tell stories and was never shy about telling you he loved you. It's corny I know, but we were blessed to have him in our lives.

But that wasn't the best part.

 


 

We have dinner reservations at a famous Midtown steakhouse.

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Game Day Bean Dip

By Bob on September 16, 2013 4:42 AM | Read More

Like most Texans, I love fall. By the time we reach the end of August, we've had about 30 days of 100+ temperatures and we're all ready for that climate-induced ass whipping to be over.

Fall also signals the start of high school, college and pro football, which as every Texan knows, is our holy season **pausing to say a brief prayer for my beleaguered Dallas Cowboys**. Amen. 

Fall football is great. The only thing better is fall football AND a really good bean dip.

Super Bowl Bean Dip Ready to Eat-600.jpg

Over the years, I've supported only one pro team, but I've experimented with dozens of different dip recipes. Some are too hot, some are too bland, some are too much work, but all had the cheesy, gotta-have-another-scoop taste that makes a good bean dip great.

All these years of bean-experimentation have paid off with this super easy, super delicious bean dip recipe. It has just the right amount of heat, a satisfying cheesy texture that hangs on to a good tortilla chip and (SPOILER ALERT) it's EASY.

Mix up a batch of this dip about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff. Then sit back, relax and watch somebody other than the Cowboys **sigh** win. Maybe next year?  


 

Mix up a batch about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff.

 


 

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How I Spent My Summer

By Bob on September 2, 2013 3:53 AM | Read More

Like most Baby Boomers, every year at this time I'd drag myself back to a school and try to forget summer. It wasn't that hard.

In my little Texas town, summer vacation meant working a job, crusin' the main drag (a verrrry short trip), swimming in the muddy Brazos River and the occasional make out session at the Brazos Drive-In (this was B.C., "Before Charlotte").

I know what you did last summer-503.jpg

On digital paper, it sounds like a cross between Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie but it wasn't nearly that idyllic.  Regardless of how the summer turned out, the first day of school was usually punctuated by a teacher asking me to condense WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER on to a piece of three-hole punch notebook paper.  

This wasn't a tough assignment.

My goal was to turn in an essay that didn't contain too many grammatical errors and changed the names of the guilty to farm animals, as in "then Pig and I stashed the beer we bought with a fake ID in the brush at the Weatherford Boat Ramp." This was sometimes a problem in Granbury, Texas, because some of my classmates actually had animal nicknames, but I used literary license to work my way around any felonies.  

The HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER essay has likely gone the way of schools without air-conditioning and the 8-Track tape. But that hasn't stopped me. I thought our reader millions of readers might like to know how Charlotte and I spent our summer. So buckle up buttercup and let's roll the highlight (and one lowlight) reel... 

How I Spent My Summer   

You can tell by the expression on her face that this show is just gonna suck. It did.Diana Krall-500.jpg

Diana Krall
Our summer started out on a sour note. This sultry songstress has been on my concert bucket list for a loooong time. That's why it was such a HUGE disappointment to see her at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Boomer Babe spent 95% of the show promoting her new (and dismal) album Glad Rag Doll. One word review: Bleh (* out of 5 stars). I actually apologized to Charlotte for taking her.

 


 Take them to the ranch and give them all loaded weapons.

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Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

By Bob on August 5, 2013 5:11 AM | Read More

Travel is supposed to get you out of your comfort zone.

I mean, c'mon, if you wanted to see the same stuff you have at home it'd be a whole lot easier to kick back and watch a rerun of Honey Boo Boo Pawn Stars. Right?  

Foreign, is well, foreign. That doesn't mean you have to understand it, but it helps a lot if you can at least try and appreciate it.

Florence (the one that's not in Mississippi or Alabama).Florence-600.jpg

Charlotte and I experienced a butt-load of foreign on our first-time cruise. Language (foreign). Customs (foreign). Currency (very foreign). 

But then, some of it wasn't so foreign-ey. We'd been to Florence once before and discovered we liked the people, food and (you know I'm talking about Charlotte here) SHOPPING.

This time it was almost like visiting an old friend. An old friend who speaks a language that makes you think you've stumbled on to the set of Godfather IV


As this sign clearly states: No Sawing Allowed. 

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Crusin'

By Bob on July 22, 2013 2:34 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago with a cruise. We've thought about cruising for years. But, we always rejected the idea because we've never considered ourselves "cruise people" (not that there's anything wrong with that).  

Turns out, we are cruise people after all. Lemme 'splain. 

We had a few hangups about travelling this way. As wonderful as we've heard cruising is our main complaint was that we didn't want to eat at the same time - with the same people - every freakin' night. Yeah, I know people who've been forced to do this and become lifelong friends with their dinner companions. NMD (Not My Deal).

Besides, anyone who really knows me will happily tell you I'm not that loveable. I have a limited amount of bullshit and half-way through the appetizer our unassuming tablemates would discover my overwhelming lack of wit and charm. Seriously, who wants that?

Those two crazy kids...Reception-600.jpg
If I have to eat one more meal with these people, I'm going to take a hostage.Survivor Gilligan's Island Cast - 600.jpg

 


 I wasn't looking to link up with some strangers just so we could lock arms and sing Kumbaya

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Downhome Peanut Butter Pie

By Bob on July 8, 2013 1:22 AM | Read More

When I was in college, my good friend Jim Burks and I used to travel the 18 miles to Glen Rose, Texas to enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth smoked brisket at Hammond's Barbecue. Hammond's in those days was more than the best BBQ in North Central Texas. Liz Hammond, the matriarch of that smoky dynasty, made the best pies on the planet.

 

More often than not, she'd greet us at the door with, "I've got two slices of peanut butter pie left. I'll save 'em for you!". As any good southern boy will tell you, there's only one reply to that comment: "Thankya Ma'am!" 

 

This peanut butter pie is super easy to make and super delicious to eat!

Peanut Butter Pie Ready to Eat-600.jpg

Jim and I were lucky that Liz Hammond took a liking to us (Jim really, but I was always happy to draft on his influence with great pie makers). But we were DOUBLE lucky in the peanut butter pie dept. In our own little town of Granbury, Texas, we had ANOTHER great place that made terrific pies: Rankin's Restaurant. When we weren't Jonesing for BBQ, Jim and I would hit Rankin's for open-faced roast beef sandwiches, burgers and its legendary peanut butter pie. 

 

Rankin's peanut butter pie was smooth, creamy and surprisingly light with a rich peanut taste that always left you wanting more. Through the miracle of Facebook, I've reconnected with some Granbury friends who unearthed the recipe to this delicious dish, which is unbelievably easy to make.



 

4 Ingredients Is All It Takes to Make This Delicious Peanut Butter Pie 

 


 

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I Totally Get Brooklyn Now

By Bob on June 24, 2013 4:55 AM | Read More

Our son Cole has lived in Brooklyn, New York for almost two years now. It's been an adjustment for us almost as much as it's been for Cole. I said almost, because you can't appreciate what it's like to live somewhere until, well, you actually LIVE there.

Manhattan Panorama-600.jpg

Since Charlotte and I aren't moving to Brooklyn anytime soon (who am I kidding, I might as well say ever), we have developed a deeper appreciation of the city. Every town comes with a pre-packaged stereotype.

People in New York think everyone in Texas wears a cowboy hat, drives a truck and owns a ranch (well if the stereotype fits...).

In Texas, we think New York's an urban jungle full of concrete, steel and people who are always in a hurry and call it NU-YAWK. Ok, part of that's true, too. But, the concrete and steel part?      

Not so fast.

Thanks to our Brooklyn-by-way-of-Colleywood-Texas-son, we're discovering there's a lot more to the city than Times Square and the monkey-on-meth hyperactivity of Midtown Manhattan. Brooklyn's the Big Apple's hip cousin and there's a lot of scenery if you know where to look.

Here's a look at one of our favorite walking tours up to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Yep, that's the Brooklyn Bridge. A guy tried to sell it to me on our first visit to the city.1- Brooklyn Bridge 4-600.jpg

Truman Capote lived over here

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Grands Biscuit Mini Pizzas

By Bob on June 10, 2013 4:56 AM | Read More

I have a confession to make: I'm Bob and I'm a pizzaholic **Hi Bob!**. If I'd never met Charlotte (we celebrated 35 years last week), my weekly diet would consist of pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, Mexican food and bean dip. 

We love our pizza here in Colleywood. Charlotte and I usually order takeout at least once every weekend from our favorite iFratelli. But, when we crave something a little more custom I'll whip up some pizza for us.

Grands Biscuit Mini Pizza - not so "mini" is it?!Grands Biscuit Pizza-600.jpg

 


They're super cheesy, really chewy and mouth-watering delicious!

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When Monkey's Fly

By Bob on May 27, 2013 4:42 AM | Read More

There's a small Texas town that's been getting a lot of media coverage lately.

I know it well because my family's been a part of it since...let's see...if you count today...100 years. So, if you've channel surfed the evening news and seen the name GRANBURY, we're on the same page, pardner.

Granbury's famous for a lot of things.

It's got one of the prettiest lakes in Texas (Lake Granbury), great golf courses, beautiful homes, a courthouse and town square that are straight out of Back to the Future. It's also got some of the nicest people you'll meet in the Lone Star State.

Look close and you might see Marty McFly and a DeLorean Hood County Courthouse2-500.jpg

A couple of weeks ago Granbury was hit with an EF4 (winds 166-200mph) tornado.

We're Texans, so we don't normally get too freaked out about tornados. We call an EF1 kite-flyin' weather.

 Get in the storm cellar Dorothy - photo credit: Craig Curlee PhotographyGranbury Tornado - Craig Curlee Photography-600.jpg

An effin' 4 is something that'll get your attention. That's Wizard-of-Oz-Flyin'-Monkey territory.

 


Here's what your house looks like when an EF4 pays a visit

 

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Home On The Urban Range

By Bob on May 13, 2013 4:53 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I live in the 5th biggest metropolitan area in the United States. As you might expect, it's anything but rural. Except...it kind of is.

I'll 'splain.

I'm usually out the door before sunrise for a little exercise each day. I used to be a runner, but a fall off a 12' ladder pretty much ended my jogging career. So...I walk. And walk. And walk. Usually about 4 miles.

You'd THINK that in the 5th BIGGEST METRO AREA IN THE US my walking route scenery would be...to put it nicely...decidedly urban. But remember, we live in Texas. So my scenery is decidedly Texan.

The minute I leave our neighborhood I'm confronted with this iconic Texas image.

Is that a horn, or are you just happy to see me?Longhorn for a Long Walk-600.jpg

These longhorns belong to our Colleywood neighbor and I pass by them every morning. It's a sweet slice o' Texas and it takes the edge off our otherwise verrrrrrry urban landscape.

That's the nice image I see heading out of our neighborhood in the morning.

It's a different scene when I come back. Why? Because, I usually run into THIS jackass.

 


Every Neighborhood Has A Jackass. Here's Ours.

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Ranch Re-Do

By Bob on April 29, 2013 2:19 AM | Read More

For some unknown reason, Charlotte and I love spring projects. Not just any project mind you. Oh-to-the-hell-NO. Instead of sensible stuff like cleaning out the garage, or filing that patent application on our cold-fusion generator, we do something BIG. 

Like remodeling the ranch house. 

You wanna project? We got a project! Home on the Range-600.jpg

It's not like we're in any rush. The single-story house was built in the 1940s and it's been in the family for more than a decade. Charlotte and I wound up with it after my father passed away. Up until that time, it'd been his exclusive hangout and it served him well. 

Dad would have been the first to tell you that interior design wasn't his first love. Family legend is that he went to a garage sale and purchased the contents of a small frame house for $200 cash - and furnished the entire ranch house. He was the original one-stop-shopper. 

For $100 more, he got a boat and trailer. They're setting in the big barn. Not to be confused with the little barn. Cattle pens. Garage. Wash house. Carport. Or storm shelter. 

This thing isn't just a house

It's an effin compound (religious zealots need not apply).

You can hardly see the machine gun towers.Ranch Compound-600.jpg

Sooooo....where do we start this adventure?


Ranch Re-Do

The Summer Blockbuster Movie Trailer!

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Into the Great Wide Open

By Bob on April 15, 2013 3:56 AM | Read More

Spring at the ranch is just about. The. Best. Time. Ever.Gap Landscape-600.jpgSee, even the livestock looks happy.

Charlotte and I love our little crumb of rural heaven that rests on the lip of the Texas Hill Country. I especially like it because this time of the year the weather is in full-frontal Goldilocks mode: Not too hot - Not too cold - It's just right.

And the scenery...well, it ain't bad.

Ranch Flowers - 600.jpgThese wild daisies are everywhere.

The views from Charlotte Mountain are beautiful...

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My Dinner with Francis Ford Coppola

By Bob on April 1, 2013 4:41 AM | Read More

I've been a fan of Francis Ford Coppola since his 1972 classic The Godfather. So, when Charlotte and I were invited to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with Coppola Winery Winemaker Corey Beck, I jumped at the chance. 

No, the Godfather his own self didn't put in an actual appearance. But, you be the judge. An evening with great food. Great wine. Great conversation about wine and the chance of hearing some first-hand anecdotes about (arguably) America's greatest living filmmaker? Hmmmm...I would've pushed Fredo Coreleone into Lake Tahoe for that

Charlotte, the "Godfather's Winemaker" Coppola's Corey Beck and some old guy

Charlotte-Corey Beck-Bob-557.jpgNot necessary, said the nice folks at Coppola. Then they seated us next to the wine making visionary who's been taking Francis Ford Coppola's wine empire into new and exciting areas for the past 15 years. It's a creative and demanding business **anecdote alert**...like the time when FFC was in Argentina working on a film and decided that Coppola needed to produce a Malbec. "Oh, and can we have it ready to release this year? That'd be great. Thanks." 

B&C Dinner with Corey Beck-543.jpg

A winemaker like that is capable of just about anything, so we put him to the test and tasted four of his best: Sofia Blanc de Blancs, 2011 Diamond Chardonnay, 2010 Votre Santé Pinot Noir and the 2010 Diamond Claret. 

These wines are all reasonably priced, drinkable now and suitable for any taste. As they say in the film bidness - SPOILER ALERT -- Every wine we reviewed retails for under $20. 

Sofia - 600.jpgSofia Blanc de Blancs

This soft, elegant white wine is named for Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, filmmaker/actress Sofia Coppola. He promised her **anecdote alert** that he'd someday produce a wine that matched her personality. This delightful sparkling wine is a cross between slightly sweet Italian Prosecco and dry French champagne. 

The 2011 Sofia Blanc de Blancs is light, airy with a perfume of citrus, green apples and apricots, along with bright, effervescent flavors of pear, pineapple and honeysuckle. Just a hint of minerals tops the light, crisp finish. Blended with 74% Pinot Blanc, 16% Riesling, 10% Muscat. Charlotte says her Pinot Grigio and Champagne-drinking girlfriends would loooooove this wine. Retail: $19.00

 


 

Francis Ford Coppola's Grandmother Maria Zasa, who when she was about to
sip a glass of wine would say...

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The S E X Talk

By Bob on March 18, 2013 4:13 AM | Read More

SEX-TALK blocks - 400.jpg

Funny thing about writing a book that has the word SEX in the title. Sooner or later somebody's going to ask you to talk about it.

 

And by "it" I am of course referring to, well, IT. And by "talking about it" I mean, talking about IT in detail.

 

For those of you keeping score at home, this is the point in the post were Charlotte's hands start sweating and Cole stops reading. Good times. Good times.

 

Asking me to talk about IT is a reasonable request. My book, Dead Men Don't Have Sex: A Guy's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer, does have (as the title clearly states) S E X in it. Any guy that's gone through this hellish nightmare of an effing disease experienced prostate cancer will tell you, S E X is a big issue. That's why I'm more than happy to talk about it with anybody who wants to talk about it.

 

Remember, I'm the guy that got "nekkid" on the world wide internets. Nope, doesn't bother me at all to talk about S E X. And that's something of a problem.

 


 

There are lots of ways to talk about S E X. And they all don't start with,

"There was once a hermit named Dave..."

 


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Where to now St. Peter?

By Bob on March 4, 2013 4:16 AM | Read More

St Peters Square-600.jpg

Sorry, couldn't resist the dated Elton John reference. But, you know I never miss an opportunity to use old song lyrics in my posts.  

I've wanted to use this photo since the Pope turned in his two-week notice and I'm just now dusting it off to show you guys. I took this picture in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican when Charlotte and I were in Italy last fall.

The news reports say that the "old" Pope will live in an apartment at The Vatican, instead of moving down to Miami like so many other senior citizens. Check out this next photo and you'll see why he's staying put...

 

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The 7 Photos in Every Family Album

By Bob on February 18, 2013 4:26 AM | Read More

For the past 5 months, I've been hip-deep in grainy, black & white photos and Kodachrome slides so faded they're almost transparent.

Both of my parents passed away in the past 18 months, so I took on the task of digitizing their fragile family memories before they disappeared for good.

It's been an eye-opening experience. Not because of what I found (no evil twins, alien encounters or second gunmen firing from the grassy knoll) but because of the TON of stuff I found that was ALIKE. Lemme' 'splain.

My brother cheats death once moreBlowing Out Candles - 600.jpg

For 60 years, our family's taken pictures of the same things. Sure, there are different houses, different fashions...even different food, but it's the same subject in every photo I've seen. Since my journey begins in the early 50s, it's been like Groundhog Day with questionable linoleum, ugly wallpaper, turquoise toasters and harvest gold refrigerators.

The only thing that sets our family photos apart from meebe yours, is that we live in the SOUTH (we may have lost the War of Northern Aggression, but rest assured we'll win the war of Instagram). There are a couple of decidedly southern subjects that we probably photograph more than you, but trust me we're all taking pictures of the same stuff.

Don't believe me? See if you recognize your family: 

7 Photos in Your Family Album

 

1. Blowing Out Candles

Why do we take this picture? Is it to show that we a) know how to breathe, b) excel at exhaling, or c) like cheating death by getting dangerously close to fire?

 


 

 We can look like road kill the other 364 days of the year...

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Get Your Freak On

By Bob on February 4, 2013 3:03 AM | Read More

Since my father passed away, I've been steadily making my way through decades of historical artifacts. It's hard to imagine WHY people keep stuff, but Ima telling y'all I never know just WHAT I'll find next.

Sometimes, the stuff is downright weird. Like this story I found at the bottom of a 1920's newspaper article on my grandfather:

Freaks Sought-432.jpgI Googled Captain Salisbury and couldn't find any mention of him finding freaks in China or Africa. Hell, for all I know he gave up his cockeyed idea and was just content to have a steak named after him. 

Ol' Capt'n Sal didn't have to go all the way to China to find freaks. There are plenty of 'em everywhere if you just look at...  

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Super Bowl Bean Dip

By Bob on January 25, 2013 4:45 AM | Read More

I've been a fan of football and bean dip for as long as I can remember.

 

Over the years, I've supported only one pro team (Dallas Cowboys), but I've experimented with dozens of different bean dip recipes. Some are too hot, some are too bland, some are too much work, but all had the cheesy, gotta-have-another-scoop taste that makes a good bean dip great.

 

Super Easy. Super Cheesy. Super Bowl Bean Dip.

Super Bowl Bean Dip Ready to Eat-600.jpg

All this bean-experimentation has paid off with this super easy, super delicious bean dip recipe. It has just the right amount of heat, a satisfying cheesy texture that hangs on to a good tortilla chip and (SPOILER ALERT) it's EASY.

 

Mix up a batch of this dip about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff. Then sit back, relax and watch somebody other than the Cowboys (*sigh*) win. Maybe next year?

 

 


 
Super Easy. Super Delicious. Super Bowl Bean Dip.

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View to Die for

By Bob on January 14, 2013 3:40 AM | Read More

There are plenty of beautiful places in the world and they're not ALL in Cranfills Gap, Texas. I took this picture when Charlotte and I were in Venice:

Bridge of Sighs-500.jpgLeave a comment if you know the location.

If you don't know where it is, you can do what thousands have done since it was built in 1602: Sigh. I'll tell you where it is after the jump. 

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Take a Pea aka What to Expect in 2013

By Bob on January 3, 2013 4:36 AM | Read More

I'm not gonna get all up in y'all's grills and yell FIRE, but you Boomers must realize that any year with the number 13 is just going to freak a lot of people out. You know what that means don't you? When people freak out all kinds of weird shi* happens.

 

If you're the least bit triskaidekaphobic (Google it), you know what I mean.

 

Now, just because I'm keeping the Family Truckster gassed up and parked nose-out in the carport, doesn't mean you should, too. But, just to be on the safe side, I'm taking a pea (Relax, we're not that kind of site yet.) I'm taking a pea because down here in the south we eat BLACKEYED PEAS every New Year's Day to make sure we have good luck. When you take a look at what's headed our way in 2013, my guess is you'll be taking a pea or two, too.

 

 

New Year 2013-600.jpg 

The Boomer Brief Bumpy Ride Predictions for 2013

 

Politics

Due to the massive Federal Debt and gridlock, Congress will officially cease functioning as a governing body. Instead, it will be shut down and sold to the TLC cable network as a lead-in to Here Comes Honey BooBoo. Congress will be recast as a reality TV show called The Crybaby Good Time Hour. It will star (in order of appearance) Jadyn Bear (John Boehner), Harley Roo (Harry Reid) and Bunny Octave (Barack Obama).

 

We'll laugh. We'll cry. We'll watch 'em play games like "Pin the Bill on the Hooker" and "Pork that Barrel" but those hijinks won't be enough and it'll be cancelled by Week 3. That's the bad news. The GOOD NEWS is that Congress will keep the advance check and use it to give themselves a raise.

 

Congress gets a makeover

Honey Boo Boo Family - 515.jpgSports

Jerry Jones will move the Dallas Cowboys to the Ukraine in an attempt to expand his global brand. The Russian Mafia will be able to do something ol' Jer has been unable to do since The Jimster and The Bootlegger's Boy blew town - get him a Super Bowl Ring.

 

Unfortunately, the Super Bowl Ring will still be attached to Eli Manning's bloody finger, because the eager-to-please Russians went all Saw on Manning's as*. Why? Even non-English speaking Russians know that if Jerry holds out to get his Super Bowl Ring the "official" way - he won't live long enough to see it happen

 


 

...spend most of the movie teaching Cheetah how to score some blow.

 



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Who's Complaining?

By Bob on December 24, 2012 4:07 AM | Read More

When Charlotte and I were in Italy a couple of months ago we toured a lot of landmarks and saw these ugly mugs in just about every palace, government building and church we visited.

Complaint Box - Venice-550.jpgWanna guess what it is?

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4 Rules of Holiday Gatherings

By Bob on December 13, 2012 2:34 AM | Read More

The holiday season forces us to do a lot of things we don't do the other 11 months of the year. You know, important stuff, like putting on pants remembering which fork to use with the cheese dip. Just the niceties that keep our civilization one step ahead of our mouth-breathing, cave-dwelling ancestors.

 

No offense to our mouth-breathing cave-dwelling demographic, but you get my drift.  

 

Boomer Nation, let's just belly up to the ol' Yule Log and fess up. Some of this holiday stuff is damn hard. Especially when we have to be polite to people we only see...I dunno...maybe ONE TIME A YEAR.

 

It can be tough to keep that polite, how-are-the-wife-and-kids-how-'bout-this-crazy-weather, kinda chatter going during the course of a morning, afternoon or evening. It's even harder as we get older and either (1) FORGET which conversation topics are off-limits, or (2) Our good friend Mr. Cuervo has flipped off our conversation filter and made it impossible for us to give a shi*.

 

Christmas Etiquette-600.jpg 

You, my friends are in serious need of a Holiday Cheat Sheet. Something you can put in your pocket to keep you out of trouble, out of jail and out of the emergency room. As a Public Service to every Boomer celebration this holiday season, I offer up my 4 Rules of Holiday Gatherings:

 

 


 

Bob, this is bad advice. The holidays are all ABOUT the KIDS.

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Ladder Day Saints

By Bob on December 2, 2012 6:00 AM | Read More

Ladder Day Saints.jpg

This is the time of year when every homeowner gets to unleash his inner Griswold. Some of our neighbors wait all year to string light strand after light strand from every conceivable gutter and gable. The rest either hire someone to do it, or skip the whole exterior lighting escapade.

 

I fall into that category. Literally. 

 

Boomers, allow me to explain. Ladders and I still aren't on speaking terms. Sure, I own one, but it's not like we get along. We really don't. Not since Sept. 25, 2005.

 

That was the day I extended my 12' aluminum ladder as far as it would go and PROPPED IT UP ON A BENCH to reach even HIGHER. No, I wasn't getting an early jump (fall) on putting up my Christmas lights. I was doing a little home improvement project that would "only take a minute." That minute took me five years, THREE surgeries, 12 titanium screws, three titanium plates, four titanium rods and two bone grafts to overcome.

 


Charlotte displayed her mastery for understatement. 

She should have answered, "you look like you've been run over by the 9:15 to Mobile."


 

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Will The "Real" David Please Stand Up

By Bob on November 27, 2012 5:01 AM | Read More

There's one thing you learn real fast when you travel overseas. The good ol' US of A doesn't have the market cornered on kitsch. Yeah, we've got your "World's Largest Ball O' Twine," "Aligator Farms" and crappy souvenir stands, but we can't hold a candle to some of the stuff you'll see across the ocean.

While we think anything older than 50 years is a venerated antique (for those you keeping score at home, that makes me a collectible), they have historical artifacts going back centuries that they're more than happy to knock off. And off. And off again.

Take Michelangelo's David for instance. His masterpiece is more than 500 years old and he's been knocked off more times than my beloved Texas Rangers. Dude must not have been smart enough to copyright his statue, because I don't think he'd have allowed this...

How 'bout a bobblehead David for your dashboard

Bobble Head David-400.jpg...or this... 

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Thanks for the Memories

By Bob on November 19, 2012 4:45 AM | Read More

It sounds like a cliché to say it, but WOW this year has gone by fast. Thanksgiving, that day where we bow in respect to the patron saint of Gravy and his partner football, arrives Thursday. This Thanksgiving will be different for Charlotte and me for several reasons.

 

"Different" is an understatement. This holiday may be unrecognizable from any we've had in almost 35 years of marriage. Hold on Boomer Nation, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Lemme splain it you.

Charlotte and Cole 

Cole & Charlotte - 400.jpgLike you, Charlotte and I have a lot to be thankful for. But there's the rub. The things we'll give thanks for on Thursday are the same things that have turned our Thanksgiving world upside down.

 

We're Thankful

 

Our son Cole is a full-fledged resident of New York now. He's got a job (that's a BIG thanks) an affordable apartment with a good roommate and good health (thank you - thank you - thank you). Maybe best of all, he survived Hurricane Sandy and her Storm of the Century (Thanks again).

 


 

Our traditional Thanksgiving movie marathon featuring Elizabethtown, The Red Shoes and Dazed and Confused

 

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The Bridge to Somewhere

By Bob on November 13, 2012 3:59 AM | Read More

Since we're landlocked in Colleywood, Charlotte and I enjoy getting out on the water whenever we get the chance.

Dauphin Island Ferry Loading - 650.jpgThis is the loading zone for boarding the Mobile Bay Ferry. The Ferry holds about 20 cars and can paddle you over to Dauphin Island in about 30 minutes depending on weather. It's not the only way to get to the island (there's a bridge on the other side) but it's one of the prettiest, most laid-back ways to get there. Everybody's in a good mood and the conversation is lively out on the deck if you want to strike up a conversation. Sometimes, it's really good to do this...

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Let Your Ferry Flag Fly

By Bob on October 30, 2012 2:18 AM | Read More

Dauphin Island Ferry Flag - 650.jpgI took this picture on the Mobile Bay Ferry as Charlotte and I were heading over to Dauphin Island. The view from up here is pretty sweet, but it's short-lived. In about 30 minutes it goes from this...

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Italy & Me

By Bob on October 22, 2012 4:08 AM | Read More

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I often rarely do in this column: display my complete ignorance to our reader millions of readers. You know what I'm talking about - that column where I told you the 4 things I know about Italy.  

 

Bob & Pizza-600.jpgWell Internets, I thought you deserved an update.

 

Charlotte and I just returned from the land of gelato, vino de casa and more ruins than you'll see during an entire season of A&E's Hoarders. It's a beautiful country with warm and friendly people who cannot speak without using their hands. They don't really like talking about WWII, but they can tell you stories about every Pope that ever slipped on the red loafers (the way I heard it, St. Hyginus was funnier than Will Ferrell back in 136 BC).

 

A little slice of Italian heaven: vino and quattro fromaggio pizza 

Quattro Fromaggi & Vino-400.jpgYeah, I had a boat load of preconceived ideas before we herded into cattle car airlines (American) and flew across the Atlantic. Here's how my beliefs matched up against the reality of 2012 Italy.

 

Give us a drum roll, Sparky:

 

Italian Food

I SAID: ...We will eat pizza. A lot of pizza. And it will all be good, because it is Italian Pizza served in the land of its birth. Like Chicken Fried Steak served in its native land, Fort Worth.

 

REALITY CHECK

I DID eat plenty of pizza. Pizza in outdoor cafés and indoor restaurants. Pizza for lunch. Pizza for dinner. And as the Bible says, "It was GOOD." My 2 favorites were Quattro Fromaggio (4 cheese to you and me) and cheese pizza with thinly-sliced Parma Ham (how many M's are in Yummmmmmmmmm?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

All I was trying to do was export a little culture back to Texas. 


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Forrest Gump Territory

By Bob on October 16, 2012 5:42 AM | Read More

If you ever get the chance to visit beautiful Bayou La Batre, Alabama do yourself a favor and check out the shrimp boats tied up in the harbor.

Forrest Gump Territory - 450.jpgWho knows? You might run into somebody famous...

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Spicy Texas English Muffin Pizza

By Bob on October 8, 2012 4:20 AM | Read More

One of the things you learn after 34 years of marriage is the delicate ballet of who-does-what. The dance has changed with Charlotte and me over the years, but the one thing that's been a constant is that Friday and Sunday night dinners are my territory.

 

English Muffin Pizza - 600.jpgThat doesn't mean I channel my inner Bobby Flay (couldn't even if I tried) but it does mean I'm responsible for the meal. Charlotte's OK with me calling our favorite neighborhood pizza guys iFratelli or taking her out to a local restaurant. But, when I don't choose either of those options, I fall back on a handful of tried-and-true recipes.

 

Since we love pizza, I came up with this idea during the early days of our marriage. We liked it back then because all you really need to pull it off is English muffins, pizza sauce and provolone cheese. Over the years, I've tweaked it, spiced it up and perfected it into the recipe below. Yes, it is spicy, but it doesn't have to be. If you don't want it "Texas style" then, pardner, just omit the jalapenos and green chilies. We'll keep it our little secret, OK?

 


 

If You Don't Want the Heat...Stay Out of the Jalapenos 

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Lunch Bucket List

By Bob on October 2, 2012 3:53 AM | Read More

Does this place look familar to you?

USED 8-7 - Sandra's - 600.jpgWell if you live in Alabama, you might know that Sandra's Place is famous (at least down South) for having two items on the governor's bucket list. Know what they are?

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4 Things I Know About Italy

By Bob on September 22, 2012 1:25 PM | Read More

Coliseum-600.jpgCharlotte and I like to travel and it doesn't take much to get us out the door and down the jetway. We've been talking about going to Italy (not Italy, Texas, but the Justin-Boot-shaped COUNTRY, y'all) for a long time.

 

Turns out our friends Gene and Shelley Tyler and Jerry and Debbie Williams had the same idea. In a moment of sheer brilliance (you know we're not talking about me now, right?), somebody said, "Hey, why don't we plan a trip to Italy?" You know what Internets? That's what we went and did.

 

None of us have ever been, so we'll be seeing things we've never seen. Eating foods we've never eaten. And spending money our children would rather we saved for them. BOO-YAH. It'll be a cultural exchange of the highest magnitude. I just know it.

 


 

We will see lots and lots of statues with nekkid people. 

Since we've never traveled to the birthplace of 2 of my favorite movies (Godfather I and II), I'm going in with some preconceived ideas. I want to see how my beliefs match up with reality, so I'm going to share them with you now. I'll circle back after the trip to tell you how they compare.

 

Right now, here are the 4 things I know about Italy:

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Summer's End

By Bob on September 18, 2012 4:40 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I love coming down to the beach after Labor Day. The place looks a little empty after the last family rolls up their beach umbrella.

Summer's End - 600.jpg

Fort Morgan Peninsula, Gulf Shores, AL

 

Of course, as they head out of town in the packed-to-the-gills Chevy Suburban, someone will utter these words, "Did I forget anything?" Well, as a matter of fact...  

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Landscaping with the Big Lebowski

By Bob on September 10, 2012 6:35 AM | Read More

If you're our reader among our millions of readers, you've probably detected a few recurring themes in this column.

 

You know that "Chuck" our neighborhood Chupacabra chases me on my morning walk. That I'm absolutely terrible at handyman projects. And every year Charlotte and I take on some project that involves a lot of skilled workmen and sometimes includes a Reality TV crew.

 

"Why would this year be any different?" you might ask.

 

"Because it isn't," I might answer. Yeah, I know. I've got some 'splainin to do.

 

The Fountain in its former happy home

Fountain-550.jpgAbout a month ago, Charlotte mentioned she'd like to have some landscape work done. I mumbled something affirmative and went back to watching Inuit Pawn Stars on The History Channel. Easy enough, right?

 

Three weeks later the doorbell rings and Mr. Landscape shows up with his estimate. He's got some good ideas - moving this here...moving that there...getting rid of this...adding that. It all looks pretty straightforward to me. Then he pulls out the OTHER sheet of paper.

 

"What's that?" I ask. "The backyard," Mr. Landscape answers.

 


 

You mean the fountain that's so BIG it has its own SOLAR SYSTEM?  

 


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Here Today...Gone...

By Bob on September 4, 2012 5:21 AM | Read More

Labor Day signals the end of Summer even along the Gulf Coast. Bellingrath Gardens looks like this now...

Bellingrath Boardwalk Summer - 650.jpgBut, in about six weeks, it'll look like this...

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Jurassic Punk'd

By Bob on August 27, 2012 5:06 AM | Read More

I've been a part of the American workforce since I was 15 years old. Like most Baby Boomers, I've had jobs I've loved and plenty I've hated. My freshman year in college I worked as a "litter critter" picking up trash and doing odd jobs at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.

 

Dino Valley Dinosaurs - 500.jpg

Every park has a "hook" - something that brings tourists in the gate. It may be a beautiful lake, majestic mountain or steaming geyser, but there's something that makes that park stand out from the rest. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, that hook is dinosaurs.

 

Not actual real, live dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley isn't a wealthy Texas oilman's version of Jurassic Park. Its main attraction is dinosaur tracks deposited in the soft limestone 113 million years ago by Tyrannosaurus Rex and his closest friends.

 

That summer, I joined some of my closest friends as we picked up 50-gallon steel trash cans filled with watermelon rinds and dirty diapers in the 100-degree Texas heat. The smell was so powerful I learned to apply Vicks VapoRub beneath my nose before heading out on trash duty twice a day. It was the only way I could stomach the stench.

 

When we weren't hauling trash, mowing grass or scouring bathrooms until they sparkled like the Hope Diamond, we cleaned dinosaur tracks. To this day, it's the oddest job I've ever had.

 


 

This was their Jurassic version of "take this job and shove it." 

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C'mon In

By Bob on August 21, 2012 4:42 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I enjoy taking the hike (it's 65 acres) through lovely Bellingrath Gardens just outside of Mobile, Al.

Belingrath Entry - 650.jpgThe place slowly reveals itself to you around every turn.

Belingrath Entry 2 - 650.jpgAnd with all of this shade... 

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Great Grilled Chicken

By Bob on August 13, 2012 4:01 AM | Read More

Great Grilled Chicken - 600.jpgChicken is the go-to entrée in our house and when we go to it, we usually go to chicken I've grilled. Since it's a kitchen staple, we keep a zip-lock bag full of grilled chicken breasts in our freezer at all times. Why? After a hard day slaving away in the blogosphere, it's a quick and easy dinner!

 

If Charlotte wants to whip up some of her famous chicken enchiladas, she's ready to go. It's also great in her Hot & Cheesy Chicken Dip, grilled chicken salads, Super-Satisfying Chicken Spaghetti, Comforting Chicken and Rice Casserole and even by itself with a side dish of her special Mini Macaroni and Cheese.

 

This recipe is super easy and if you know a guy who likes to grill, it's something he can do to help out in the kitchen. Bonus!

 


 

2 Ingredients Is All It Takes To Make The Best Grilled Chicken You've Ever Eaten  

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Jail Sentence

By Bob on August 9, 2012 4:12 AM | Read More

When you're a high-handicap golfer like me, errant shots can lead you into some pretty nasty places full of snakes, poison ivy and God-knows-what-else. It's not uncommon for me to find myself in golf course "jail" like this...

Golf Trees - 600.jpg About 15 strokes later I was fortunate enough to find the Promised Land - which didn't flow with milk and honey but did have a much better view...

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No Good Deed...

By Bob on July 30, 2012 4:29 AM | Read More

I did a really dumb thing the other day. I stepped out of the comfort of Blogger HQ to intervene in a situation and may have prevented a tragedy. Boomers I gotta tell you, I'll never do THAT again.

 

Here's the deal. I was slaving away in the blogosphere when our next-door neighbor called. She said that there were 3 kids swimming in the dirty, duck-poop water of one of our two neighborhood ponds.

 

"What do you think we should do?" she asked.

 

 "I'll come over and check it out," I said, noting the tension in her voice. 

 

It may look like the ol' swimmin' hole, but it ain't

Pond - 600.jpgI left the air conditioned comfort of the Bob Cave and walked across our driveway to her front yard. She was right. There were 3 kids - two girls and a boy - probably ages 6, 8 and 12, swimming in the mucky, brown (did I mention duck-poop-infused?) water. They were jumping from the bank on to the large slippery rock; and diving and swimming underwater in the 2-10 foot deep pond. Kids being, well...kids.

 

Yeah, I know, it's summer. It was hot (100+ degrees) so what's the big deal?

 

For starters, this pond ain't the ol' swimmin' hole. Sure, it LOOKS pretty, but it's one of two ponds that provide storm water drainage for our subdivision. It's home to large snapping turtles, poisonous water snakes, minnows and more geese and ducks than you can count. Dangerous? Not Great Barrier Reef dangerous. But, dangerous to 3 kids in a muck-filled pond without life jackets or adult supervision? Yeah, buddy.

 

Neighbor and I talked it over and decided I should ask the kids a couple of questions.

 

I didn't want to hassle 'em - just find out who they were, where their parents were...standard stuff. Two minutes and I'm back talking to my neighbor. The kids, figuring they've been busted, take off for home. Next thing I know, they're scrambling back through the 8' foot tall iron fence that rings our greenbelt and they're safely home. Game over.

 

Or so I thought.

 


 

That's when I found out I was clearly hallucinating. 

  

 

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Slip Sliding Away

By Bob on July 24, 2012 3:27 AM | Read More

Whenever we get the chance, Charlotte and I take the Mobile Bay Ferry over to Dauphin Island and head over to lovely Bellingrath Gardens and our favorite lunch dive in Forrest Gump Country, Bayou La Batre, AL. It's goregous scenery and along the way we're treated to sights like this.

Dauphin Boat Slips - 600.jpgDo you know what it is? 

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Downhome Hot Water Cornbread

By Bob on July 16, 2012 5:41 AM | Read More

Ready to eat - 600.jpgOne of the best things about growing up in a small Texas town is the food. Sure, southerners get a bad rap for deep-frying just about everything that doesn't move (and yes, we really do that). But jeez, sometimes you just CRAVE a side dish that's hot, brown and just a little bit crunchy - like cornbread. 

 

Never heard of fried cornbread? Well, Hot Water Cornbread as it's called is a staple that's celebrated in my Granbury, Texas hometown. No place puts it on a higher pedestal than the cornbread cathedral, the Nutt House Hotel and Dining Room. 

 

 

Nutt House Hotel & Restaurant - 489.jpg

A few months ago, my Granbury Facebook friends unearthed this crazy, good recipe from the Nutt House (insert your own joke here). It's an easy dish to prepare and the result is cornbread with a delicate crunch and a soft, chewy inside that melts in your mouth.

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The Home of the not so Brave

By Bob on July 2, 2012 4:33 AM | Read More

Yesterday, I was cleaning out some files and ran across my old DRAFT CARD. Nothing establishes Baby Boomer street cred like one of those relics.

 

Since I'm in no danger of being featured on Hoarders (Charlotte may be a candidate), I'm always finding stuff I wasn't looking for when I'm throwing out stuff I don't need. I present the DRAFT CARD as EXHIBIT A. This thing was worn and fragile from being stored in my wallet longer than my first condom driver's license. I mean, c'mon, I know it wasn't the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it was a significant relic.

 

1974. It was the tail-end of the Vietnam war and I'd just turned 18 and had to register for the draft. I put it off as long as I could without serving time in Federal prison. When I couldn't delay it any longer, I registered at the Somervell1977-395.jpg County Court House in Glen Rose, Texas.

 

They had the Draft Board guy set up all by himself in a huge empty courtroom (think To Kill a Mockingbird).

 

When I opened the creaky doors to this high-ceilinged cavern, I felt like I was paying a visit to the GREAT and POWERFUL OZ. Boomers, it was. Just. That. Creepy.

 

I had every reason to be afraid. I checked all the boxes for an 18-year-old potential draftee:

Long Hair - CHECK

Lots o' Attitude - CHECK

Scared Shi*less - CHECK and DOUBLE CHECK

 


 

In the box that said "sex" I hadn't written, "Yes, please." 

 

 


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Tequila: It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

By Bob on June 28, 2012 1:00 AM | Read More

Ok Boomers, you probably haven't uttered these words since leaving college (at least I haven't).

Tequila - 500.jpgWhen I was mixing up the strawberry/jalapeno infused tequila recipe a few weeks ago I thought of this sign.

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The Yellow Rose of Texas

By Bob on June 26, 2012 3:16 AM | Read More

Charlotte planted these yellow roses in the backyard of our home in Colleywood.

Yellow Rose of Texas-650.jpg

A lot of people (non-Texans) don't know the story behind the song, The Yellow Rose of Texas. Me? I was raised by a Texas history school teacher so I've heard at least the sanitized version. It goes something like this...  

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BP Paid Me (sort of)

By Bob on June 18, 2012 5:46 AM | Read More

This (should be) the final installment in a series about one man's attempt to be compensated for damages resulting from British Petroleum's Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

 

Now that summer is in full swing, I'm sure you've seen the BP TV commercials urging you to C'MON DOWN to the Gulf Coast!!

 

How it was

Beach cleanup July 4 weekend - 350.jpgBoomers, I see these spots through a different set of eyes. We've had a place in Alabama since Hurricane Ivan (that's how time is measured on the Gulf Coast) and Charlotte and I are frequent guests at many of the places featured in these spots - Belingrath Gardens...Lulu's...The Oyster House...and others.

 

The commercials make it appear like - in spite of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history -- everything's back to normal. Clean beaches. Crystal-clear water. Great deep sea fishing. Restaurants overflowing with fresh gulf shrimp and oysters. Free unicorn rides for everyone 6 and older (Ok, I made that one up).  

 

You can't believe anything you see on TV, right?

 

Well...for once in your life, you actually CAN believe something you see on TV. Ok, you can call bullshit on the unicorn, but the rest is absolutely TRUE.

 

How it is today 

Groundhog Beach-650.jpgThe beaches are spotless. The water really is crystal-clear. My friends who fish, say the deep sea fishing is good. And I can personally tell you the fresh seafood is over-the-top delicious.

 


 

The Gulf Coast's taken more nut shots than you'll see in a year's worth of America's Funniest Home Videos

 

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Guess Where These Were Taken

By Bob on June 14, 2012 5:37 AM | Read More

We came across this beautiful sea of blue flowers the other day and I couldn't resist the urge to turn them into "Monet" style of painting.

Brooklyn Blue - Painting - 650.jpgCan you guess where I took this picture? (hint: it wasn't at the ranch)

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There Are A Lot Of Colors In The Naked City

By Bob on June 12, 2012 2:13 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I recently spent a couple of days visiting our son Cole in the Big Apple. Cole's a newly-minted Brooklynite who's making his way in the city that never sleeps.

He's now our seasoned guide whenever we visit - showing us all things Brooklyn and deciphering acronyms that are foreign to us (who knew DUMBO wasn't a flying Disney elephant, but instead meant Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass?). It's been a learning experience for everyone.

Brooklyn-500.jpgI hate to be the country-dad-in-the-city, but I am always struck by the beauty of the buildings and the "Modern Art" look of things in NYC. I snapped this picture from our room at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge (our home-away-from-home in the Big Apple).  

Of course there's plenty of Modern Art in the city that's known for it. Like...

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5 Summer Movies You're Gonna Love

By Bob on June 4, 2012 2:34 AM | Read More

In Texas, the summers can be so brutal that the only escapes are the swimming pool and the deep dark recesses of the neighborhood Cineplex. Most of the time your best bet is to forget the films - slather on some SPF 540 - grab a cold Shiner Bock and find some shade by the water. I mean, do you really want to see American Pie 18? Didn't think so.

 

That's how I feel most summers. This year? Not so much. There are some summer movies that may just keep me out of the pool (but probably not out of the Shiner Bock). Here are my picks for 5 summer movies you're gonna love:  

 

Moonrise Kingdom (May 25)

Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson's (Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums) first live-action film since The Darjeeling Limited. It's got all those funky Wes Anderson vibes - set in the '60s, kids in love and parents without a clue. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play star-crossed kids Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop. When they run away from their New England town, the local sheriff, Bruce Willis, organizes a search party. Suzy's parents, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, and other quirky townsfolk go on the hunt for the missing kids. Expect great performances from social worker (Tilda Swinton) and Sam's Boy Scout leader, Scoutmaster Ward (Edward Norton). Bonus: the soundtrack sounds cool, too.

 

 

 


 

If that wasn't bad enough, the world's about to end thanks to an asteroid headed for earth. 

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Blue By You

By Bob on May 29, 2012 4:28 AM | Read More

Summer is making its way down to the ranch. We hit the upper 90s last week and it'll be triple digits soon. Made me wish all the more for Spring when the bluebonnets were still in bloom. I took this bluebonnet picture and Photoshopped it to remind me of the cooler days -- way back, I dunno, maybe 5 days ago.

 

Ranch Bluebonnets - Up Close - Art-650.jpgIf you like your native Texas flora Au Naturale...check this out.  

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34 Years Ago Today

By Bob on May 21, 2012 3:07 AM | Read More

Remember what you were doing 34 years ago? I do. The morning of May 21, 1978, Charlotte and I were having breakfast at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans beginning our first day as husband and wife.

 

Looking back, I can't remember why we did that. We're not big on breakfast. But, somehow I reasoned that a beignet and a cup of coffee strong enough to melt a spoon was a good way to start our journey. As it turned out, that breakfast proved to be a pretty good forecast of the years ahead.

 

Coffee & Beignets at the Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde Beignet-650.jpg

I was immune to the Yin/Yang symbolism of that FIRST MEAL on the FIRST DAY. I mean, the bitter coffee balanced by the sweet beignet. Dude, it was damn near poetic. Zen like, even. All lost on me. I just wanted a donut and the legendary Café was within walking distance of our hotel. Call me romantic. Or not. Let's go with not, OK?

 

I blame it on the times we lived in. It was, after all, the Disco Era.

 

In 1978, the Bee Gees and assorted Brothers Gibb had 5 - that's right, 5 songs -- in the TOP 10. Oh, the humanity. Remember Shadow Dancing from the movie Saturday Night Fever? NUMBER ONE in '78. Night Fever from the same soundtrack was #2. Poor ol' Debby Boone had to settle for #3 that year with You Light Up My Life.

 

Got those songs stuck in your head? Glad I could hook you up with some Disco fever.

 

Our 1978 wedding reception was a low key affair

Reception-650.jpgAn easy metaphor here (Wow Bob, that Word-of-the-Day Calendar is really paying off) would be to tell y'all that Charlotte and I "danced" our way through the last 34 years. Makes for a great transition, but it's not even close to the truth.

 

First of all, I don't dance (my ballroom skills look like what would happen if Seinfeld's Elaine mated with Lurch from the Addams Family). Second, it's trended more along the lines of that first meal. Bitter followed by sweet. Sometimes it was bitter, followed by Geez that's really bitter, followed by sweet.

 

Truth is some Baby Boomer marriages make it. Some don't. The stats are sobering. In the decade we were married, only 13% of adults over 50 were divorced, separated or never married. Today, that number is 33%.  

 

What makes us special? Absolutely nothing. I'd guess that we're a lot like our reader millions of readers.

 


 

You want to know the secret to a three-plus-decade marriage? 

 


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Step Into The Arboretum Zone

By Bob on May 17, 2012 4:17 AM | Read More

While Charlotte and I were walking around the Dallas Arboretum the other day, I came across this beautiful slate fountain and focused my camera directly over it. I didn't think about the picture until we came back to Boomer HQ and I got a good look at it.

Dallas Arboretum Fountain - 650.jpgDoesn't it remind you of a famous TV show? Know which one?

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Ducking Out

By Bob on May 15, 2012 3:00 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I visited the Dallas Arboretum for the very first time a couple of weeks ago. After lunch at the DeGolyer Mansion we stepped around back to the Women's Garden and I snapped this picture of a duck - apparently swimming up hill.

Dallas Arboretum Duck & Statue - 650.jpgThere's so much going on in this picture that it almost looks like it came from one of the Small Houses of Great Artists currently on display. Have you seen the Picasso House?

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A Walk in the Park

By Bob on May 7, 2012 5:34 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I have lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area all our lives. Except for that brief stint down in Aggieland (Whoop!), we've been lifelong residents. You'd think we'd know all there is to know about our home...but you'd be WRONG.

 

In almost three decades of living in Dallas, we'd never been to the Dallas Arboretum. Since Charlotte's got the green thumb at Boomer HQ and loves to plant (so long as I do the heavy lifting and kill all reptiles), we were happy when Arboretum spokesperson extraordinaire Wendy Holman offered to mend our misspent ways by taking us on a tour. Charlotte was looking forward to seeing the beautiful gardens. I was looking forward to seeing beautiful gardens I didn't have to plant and water. Seemed like a win-win all around.

 

Dallas Arboretum Landscape - 650.jpgThe Arboretum is 66 of the prettiest acres in Dallas. Located on a bluff overlooking White Rock Lake, it's an urban oasis featuring spectacular gardens with incredible seasonal flowers, ornamental shrubs, trees and plant collections. So why had we never been? You might as well ask why Johnny Depp speaks in a British accent when he was born in Kentucky. Boomers, some things we'll just never know.

 

In addition to the spectacular display gardens, the Arboretum is home to seasonal outdoor festivals, concerts, art shows and more. Its centerpiece is the historic DeGolyer House (built in 1939) which you can tour and there's an adjoining restaurant with a lovely terrace that offers indoor and outdoor dining. There's a whole lot to like about this place. Check it out here:

 

 

What do we like about The Dallas Arboretum? That's a long list, but here are our picks for things you can enjoy now - and some you can enjoy very soon...

 


I'll apologize now for my bad Tom Petty impersonation

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Caution: Blogger At Work

By Bob on May 3, 2012 5:24 AM | Read More

We're always looking for beautiful pictures we can share with our reader millions of fans here at The Brief. Sometimes we find things we weren't really looking for - like these wild daisies we found when we were really trying to take bluebonnet pictures. 

Caution - Blogger At Work-650.jpgCharlotte's got a keen eye for this sort of thing and she doesn't mind getting up close and personal with some roadside flora.

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Arbor Daze

By Bob on May 1, 2012 6:04 AM | Read More

When we built our Colleywood house, Charlotte wanted an arbor for her Don Juan climbing roses. It took some talking, but I was finally able to convince the fence guy to build one for us.  

Rose Trellis - 650.jpg

I figured that since he was so good at building metal fence, an arbor would be pretty easy. 

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The Thrill of the Grille

By Bob on April 23, 2012 5:00 AM | Read More

Capital Grille Exterior-344.jpgI found myself with a dilemma the other day.

 

Charlotte's birthday was coming up and I was trying to think of somewhere to take her for a celebratory dinner.

 

You know the deal. Nice atmosphere. Some wine. Great entrées. Terrific desserts. Some place where you don't give your order to a clown's head.

 

I mean, c'mon. Any woman who can put up with me for three decades, raise a great son, run a business and survive breast cancer deserves a lot more than a large order of curly fries and a 25% discount coupon to Banana Republic.

 

That's when I saw the light email. The Capital Grille sent me a story on its Annual Artist Series Wine Event. It sounded like a pretty cool deal. For the past three years, the restaurant has been featuring an exclusive, limited allocation wine decorated with a unique piece of original artwork as its label. With each bottle sold, they donate $25 to Share Our Strength -- a charity dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.

 

Artist Series Wine - 300.jpgIt didn't take long for the wine lover in me to figure out this was a great idea. The next thing I know, we're pulling up to the lovely Capital Grille, Dallas (located on the east side of the Crescent Hotel). Before I could say, "We have a 7:30 reservation," our server Minh Ho was uncorking a bottle of the Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon and pouring a glass.

 

The Capital Grille Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon is hand-crafted at Napa's Freemark Abbey Winery by Ted Edwards, in collaboration with Capital Grille's Master Sommelier, George Miliotes. The bottle's unique label was chosen from national submissions for a design contest and features the winning painting, Complexity, by artist Julie Agee. 

 

The label was beautiful, but how would the wine taste?

 

It's a full-bodied cabernet and I found the inky-colored wine to be packed with ripe fruit, dark chocolate and cinnamon aromas. On the palate, the aromatics morphed into classic briar, black pepper and notes of vanilla and oak. Superb!

 

Since Minh was on a roll with the wine selection, I asked him for recommendations for the entire meal. He didn't disappoint:

 

 

 


It's a chocolate-lover's dream

 

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Deep in the Heart of Text Us

By Bob on April 19, 2012 5:43 AM | Read More

When we were down at the ranch, Charlotte and I climbed to the top (thank you 4-wheel drive) of our "mountain". It's about 1,200 feet tall (you were expecting the Rockies?) and I have unoffically named it "Charlotte Mountain". You won't find this name on any USGS map, but my theory is that if you own a mountain you get to call it pretty much anything you want. So, that's what I did.

View from the Mountain-650.jpgCharlotte likes Charlotte Mountain for two reasons.  

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Typical Texas

By Bob on April 17, 2012 5:18 AM | Read More

There's a rite of spring Texans hold dear...taking the "official" bluebonnet picture. Every year about this time, the county roads (and even Interstates) are clogged with people taking photos of their kids, wives, husbands, grandkids and even pets surrounded by a sea of the beautiful blue flowers.

Ranch Bluebonnets-650.jpg

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Hanging Out in the Texas Hill Country

By Bob on April 9, 2012 4:28 AM | Read More

A few days ago, the folks at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa asked if we'd like to come down to the Hill Country and check them out. It was an easy decision. We've had a love affair with the Texas Hill Country since the 70s when we were young and stupid newlyweds living in Aggieland (OK, Charlotte was young and I was...well, are you a frequent reader of The Brief, or just visiting?).  

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa - Front - 650.jpg

So, we hopped in the SUV, cranked up The Best of Robert Earl Keen and headed south on HWY 281 down past the ranch to the Marriott Resort. It's located about 20 minutes north of downtown San Antonio on 600 of the prettiest acres in the entire Hill Country. 

 

We don't need much hand-holding. So, our hosts set us up with some dinner reservations, made Charlotte an appointment at their world-class Lantana Spa (she'll tell you about that later) and invited us to see what the resort has to offer. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast.

 

The San Antonio Hill Country Resort is the largest JW Marriott Resort in the world, with 1,002 guest rooms and 85 suites. This place is TEXAS BIG and has a LOT to offer...with two TPC golf courses, seven restaurant and lounge options, a six-acre water experience, nature preserve, hiking & biking trails...and more. It's been named one of Travel + Leisure's 500 Best Hotels in the World two years in a row and it's easy to see why.

 

Our Insider Tips are just after the jump. But, before we get to them I'm going to let the resort's Paige Singleton and Stefanie Falknor give you their recommendations.

  

 

 


 

Any Place with 85 Tequilas Gets My Vote Every Time

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

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Check Out Our Pad(s)

By Bob on April 5, 2012 5:53 AM | Read More

water lillies-650.jpgI found these water lillies floating in a pond at the lovely Belingrath Gardens. It's a 65-acre estate located just outside of Mobile, Alabama.

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Butterflyway

By Bob on April 3, 2012 5:35 AM | Read More

Butterfly-650.jpgWe planted some of these purple butterfly bushes down at the beach in Gulf Shores. The plants love the sand and sound of surf almost as much as we do.  

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Bank on It, or Don't. We Don't Give a Sh**.

By Bob on March 26, 2012 4:42 AM | Read More

Charlotte has this theory that women of a certain age are somehow "invisible". Not Claude-Rains-invisible, but "HEY I'M STANDING IN LINE HERE. DO YOU THINK YOU COULD HELP ME?" invisible.

 

For the longest time, I've ignored listened intently as she described one experience after another. This week it's the 20-somethings at Banana Republic. Next week it's Ann Taylor. The week after that it's a server at a restaurant. Stuff like this happens often enough, you're gonna get a complex. Or, maybe just tell me. Either way, I'm good.

 

At least I was good, until IT HAPPENED TO ME.

 

That's right Boomerverse. Now I'M invisible, too. Here's the deal.

 

Invisible Bob with Text - 640.jpgI went to the bank to make a deposit one morning last week. It was one of those inside-the-grocery-store branches with a name that rhymes with Wells Fargo (Ooops). I'm standing in line patiently waiting my turn, when I realize the math isn't right.

 

There are 4 tellers and 1 customer. The 1 customer was cashing a check (easy transaction) so it left 3 tellers to do...? My rocket scientist brain sprang into action and figured it out.

 

The other 3 tellers were divided up like this:
* One female teller flirting with a male teller
* Two female tellers eavesdropping on the flirt-fest while trying to be inconspicuous and avoid looking at any customers (by now there were 2 of us invisible people) standing in line

 


 

Now, before you can say "Oh, no you just didn't."

I DID.

 

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Cloudy With A Chance of Canvas

By Bob on March 22, 2012 5:40 AM | Read More

We've been lucky enough to have some drought-ending rain down at the ranch during the past couple of months.

Thank You, Photoshop

Ranch (2)-underpainting-672.jpgThese storm clouds rolled in just as I was leaving and I took this picture with my iPhone.

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Green Acres

By Bob on March 20, 2012 5:25 AM | Read More

Remember that old TV series about the New York lawyer who moves to "Hooterville"? (how did they get away with that name in the 1960's?) Well, now that we've finally had some rain down at the ranch I think of Green Acres every time I go down there.

Don't Call This Place Hooterville

Gap Landscape - 650.jpgI took this pasture picture a few weeks ago.

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BP Day (Or, How Bill Murray Became My Hero)

By Bob on March 12, 2012 6:21 AM | Read More

Remember the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? You know the one where Murray plays a TV weatherman who is doomed to reliving the same day (Groundhog Day) over and over again?

 

Well, this just in...IT'S NOT FICTION.

 

I'm in a sequel to the movie right now. It's called BP Day. Lemme 'splain.

 

Waaaaaaay back in July 2010 we filed a claim with British Petroleum for damages related to the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. You remember that don't you? It's what they now refer to as the WORST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER IN U.S. HISTORY. The one we told you about here and here and yeah, here. 

 

This Is How The Beach Looks in 2012 - Gorgeous!

Groundhog Beach.jpgAfter filling out the form - providing three years of tax returns - property deed - business owner's license and three years of income statements, we finally had the documents we needed to file the "official" claim.  BP - true to its word - DID pay us a modest "interim" payment. They ALSO promised to review our remaining claim and reach a final settlement.

 

None of this was great, but at least we were paid something and we had an actual "person" assigned to our claim. Then the s**t hit the fan tar hit the sand, because that's when the Federal Government looked at how well BP was handling things and said, "Dude, we got it from here."

 

Oh, no they didn't.

 

They replaced BP's 12-page claim form with a 27-page form. They fired-relocated-sent-to-a-bureaucrat-reeducation-camp most of the BP claims adjusters. They offered all the folks with damage claims a FINAL SETTLEMENT OFFER. This is the sign-here-and-agree-not-to-sue-us-forever-and-ever-and-we'll-give-you-pennies-on-the-dollar deal.

 

Guess what? We were ready to take it.

 


 

We Were Greeted At The Door By An Armed Policeman

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Snow to Go

By Bob on March 8, 2012 5:23 AM | Read More

 

3-8 Snow to Go-625.jpgIt's been a crazy winter and it's just about over. I took this picture during a walk up Canyon Road in Santa Fe, where the snow was pulling a disappearing act. 

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Happy Cat

By Bob on March 6, 2012 4:59 AM | Read More

 3-6 Fat Cat - 600.jpg

Charlotte and I ran across this fat feline on our trip to Napa Valley. This chubby cat was sunning himself on the steps leading up to Chateau Montelena and the back lighting made him look like he was posing for a movie publicity photo.

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3 Movies You're Going to Want to See This Spring

By Bob on February 27, 2012 2:19 AM | Read More

If you're of a certain age and love movies, then you probably know that Spring is your last chance until Fall to see something that isn't a sequel or wannabe blockbuster. I don't know about you, but if I see another trailer for Batman XII...or Spiderman XVI...I may jam an ice pick in my forehead.

 

I'm giving the ice pick a rest for the time being. It's only because I've found at least three movies that have mature themes and don't feature latex costumes (hey, what you guys do in the privacy of your own home is your business) or anybody dressed like a pirate or a flying arachnid.

 

You probably haven't heard about these yet, but they're coming soon to a Cineplex near you. Trust me, these are three you'll want to see.

 

Jeff Who Lives Alone

Jason Segel is a failure-to-launch, live-at-home, man-child (yeah, that's a lot of hyphens - deal with it) with a perpetually perplexed mother (Susan Sarandon). His do-good brother (Ed Helms, The Office) is drafted to help Segel get off the couch and into the work world - and that's when the sh** really hits the fan. 

 

 


 

The way of love is littered with the corpses of relationships like this.

  

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Bright Idea

By Bob on February 23, 2012 5:36 AM | Read More

Auberge art-625.jpgThe last time we were in Napa Valley we were lucky enough to have lunch at the world famous Auberge du Soleil.

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In the Eye of the Beholder

By Bob on February 21, 2012 5:14 AM | Read More

Santa Fe Cross-625.jpgOne of things I love about Santa Fe is the light. It's just different from what you see anywhere else on the planet.

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12 Songs You Need for Valentine's Day

By Bob on February 13, 2012 5:28 AM | Read More

I'll admit that I'm not the most romantic person on the planet (Charlotte would be the second person to tell you that).

 

Not really big on hugs. Kiss hello? NMD. It's not that I have anything against these things. They're just not part of my romantic DNA.

 

B&C Paradise - 600.jpgThat doesn't mean I don't like romantic songs. Oh HELL no. There are some terrific ones that Charlotte and I both love. We've chronicled our (almost 34 years) life together with a soundtrack that ranges from Cole Porter to The Shins.

 

So, with Valentine's Day almost on top of us (great metaphor for the #1 sex holiday of the year AMIRITE?) I'm offering up a Baby Boomer V'Day Playlist to get you in the mood. If at least ONE of these songs isn't on your playlist, then Dude, you're a bigger curmudgeon that me. And you don't really want to go there, do you?

 

The Boomer Brief Valentine's Day Playlist  

 

Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) - Diana Krall

This classic has been recorded by everyone from Ol' Blue Eyes to Rod Stewart, but the version l like best is from Mrs. Elvis Costello (Diana Krall).

 

 

 

 

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? - Van Morrison

Listen to the lyrics and I think you'll agree that this Van Morrison song captures the Celtic singer's charm better than just about anything.  

 

 

 


 

This one line has kept more men out of trouble than just about anything ever written.

 

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Waiting on Dinner

By Bob on February 9, 2012 4:50 AM | Read More

Waiting on Dinner-625.jpgCharlotte and I made a quick trip to Fairhope, Alabama the other day and I saw this guy patiently waiting on dinner.

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Stairway to Heaven

By Bob on February 7, 2012 4:32 AM | Read More

Doorway to Heaven-500.jpgCharlotte and I made a quick trip to Santa Fe last year with a group of friends. When we weren't drinking, eating, shopping and sightseeing I came across some wonderful street art.

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Here Come Da Judge

By Bob on January 30, 2012 5:15 AM | Read More

Here Comes Da Judge-224.jpg

I have this annual ritual that I've done since being diagnosed with cancer about eight years ago.

 

Every year about this time I go in for my annual checkup. Charlotte calls it "my appointment," but I know it by another name - it's the day I go before "Da Judge".

 

"Da Judge" in my case is Dr. Justin Lee.

 

Dr. Lee is a gifted urologist and surgeon who monitors my progress, laughs at my lame ass jokes and does his damndest to keep Karl out of my life (if you've read my book you know that "Karl" is the name I gave my cancer).

 

I'm happy to report that "Judge" Lee is eight-for-eight in kicking "Karl's" ass. My PSA doesn't show any sign of recurrence which means I've dodged the cancer bullet for another year.

 

YEA! (I'm dancing as wild as any 56-year-old can dance right now). For those of you having trouble imagining what this might look like, I'm the kid in the orange shirt in this video. 


 

 

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Celebrity Beach Sighting

By Bob on January 26, 2012 3:49 AM | Read More

Gill Scott-625.jpgDo you recognize this guy?

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Beach Seen

By Bob on January 24, 2012 3:22 AM | Read More

Beach Time-625.jpgCharlotte and I just got back from our favorite beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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Not In My Lifetime

By Bob on January 16, 2012 4:12 AM | Read More

Downsized - New Yorker Cartoon - 194.bmpThe other day ANOTHER of my Boomer Bro's called to say he'd been downsized. Dontcha just love that word DOWNSIZED?  

Whenever I hear that word I get a mental image of a fractured fairy tale where some innocent schlub walks through a magical forest and stops to drink from a clear mountain stream. Then BOOM! he's an inch tall and a bullfrog's eyeing him for dinner.

 

When you think about it the real DOWNsized is kinda like that, too.

 

I'm beginning to think that this whole DOWNsizing thing is never gonna end. At least, I'm thinking it's not gonna end for us Boomers.

 

I have so many friends that've been DOWNsized that I've lost count - and I can count as high as 20 (when I take off my shoes).

 


 

Pretty soon I'm sounding like AM Talk Radio and even I don't believe my bullshit. 

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The Cloudy Crystal Ball Predictions for 2012

By Bob on January 2, 2012 5:21 AM | Read More

You know what's great about writing a 2012 prediction column for Baby Boomers? Our brains are so shot from doing-whatever-we-were-doing back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, that by the time we get to December nobody remembers how many I get wrong.

 

Jeez, I love being middle-aged.

 

So let's get the Boomer Brief Crystal Ball out of the walled-in closet and see what's coming our way in 2012. Or, as Cloris Leachman might say, Stay close to the candles, the stairway can be treacherous...

 

2012 Graffitti-600.jpg

Politics

Hey, who you voting for in the presidential election? Lemme stop you right there...IT DOESN'T MATTER. Rick Perry is your new president. What's that Internets? You saying that Good-Ol'-Boy-S*** just won't fly in the General Election? RUKIDDINME? Ol' Rick is tougher than a strip club steak...and slipperier than deer guts on a doorknob...come November you'll be going to the polls and pulling his lever (that's what SHE said) and thanking me for giving you advance warning.

 

Reality TV

Top Chef will be replaced with a new TLC reality show, Top Shelf. In this show, midget cooks compete to see who can get precariously placed can goods from the highest shelf in the kitchen pantry. From the show's logline..."It takes teamwork, determination and human pyramid building skills to reach the top shelf without getting "canned". Tuesday, 9 p.m. Eastern.  

 

A scene from TLC's new series, Top Shelf

 

2012 - Top Shelf-600.jpg

 

Sports

The Texas Rangers will sign some hot s*** pitcher from Japan, China, Ukraine...I dunno and he will disappoint everyone in the Lone Star State with his inability to throw One. More. Strike. in Game Seven of the World Series. President Rick Perry will declare a national day of mourning and then invite the nation to the South Lawn of the White House for Sonny Bryan BBQ and cold Shiner Bock. KONICHIWA BEEATCHES. 

 


 

Thousands of Texas Rednecks will DEMAND their money back. 

 


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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 2011?

By Bob on December 19, 2011 2:15 AM | Read More

2011 WTF-283.jpg

This is just about my favorite time of the year.

 

It's when I get to look back on the year we just endured enjoyed and (in my next column) make predictions on what's coming in 2012. For a blogger like me, 2011 was filled with plenty of snark-bait. Let's go to the tape...

 

WTF 2011?

 

Best Idea a TV Executive Ever Had

Cancelling The Playboy Club, Pan-Am and the God-awfulest show ever, Prime Suspect.

 

Did you know Maria Belo was cool? Me neither. Don't you know that anybody who wears a hat and kicks thugs in the nuts is super-cool? Me neither. You weren't sorry to see this show get cancelled? Me neither.   

 

Movies We Hearted

There were plenty of bad movies this year and a couple were even, dare I say it, unwatchable (I'm talking about you, Tree of Life). Charlotte and I saw a few we really DID like, including Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling (confession, Charlotte LIKES ANYTHING with Ryan Gosling) but I'll admit to liking it, too. A Little Help with America's sweetheart Pam Jenna Fischer. Beautiful Boy with the non-hat wearing Maria Bello (she's a whole lot better when she's not acting "cool".) We also loved Cyrus - but then, anything with John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei has GOT to be good - and you know what? It was.

 

Didn't See That One Coming

I totally missed predicting Charlotte's star turn on HGTV's Donna Decorates Dallas. Of course, this means that any predictions I make for 2012 should be set on fire and burned to a fine, gray ash.

 

Unlucky Strike

Our beloved Texas Rangers blew an entire season due to their inability to throw One. More. Strike. This is how I'm rewarded for watching a sport that's as exciting as watching GRASS GROW? C'mon...I'm going back to watching the Latvian Curling Championship Series on ESPN 7.

 


If you don't see a post from me for a couple of weeks,

send help with armor-piercing ammo.

 

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It's All Geek to Me

By Bob on December 12, 2011 6:43 AM | Read More

Geeks - 364.jpgJust because you have a website, doesn't mean you're a computer genius.

 

Like most Boomers, I get asked technical, computer-type questions from my Dad from time to time. I'll admit that it's fun to diagnose and fix an easy tech problem and look like a freakin' ROCK STAR to an 86-year-old. But those opportunities are rare. 

 

My un-handyman ways are legendary. 

 

Yes, I had to have my car towed the one and only time I tried to change the oil (it was a Ford Pinto which could have exploded while I was underneath it, so I was really just trying to save my life). I've also voided more warranties than I can remember because I loathe reading instructions. 

 

So, when Charlotte asked me to take a look at her Toshiba laptop because the sound wasn't working, I leapt at the chance to jump into my superhero suit and perform a quick repair. I envisioned myself fixing it easily and then quickly exiting with an "Aw shucks Maam, tweren't nuthin'..." reply as I beat a hasty retreat back to my recliner and The History Channel. 

 


This brilliant move is what I call the "reverse doctor."  I simply treat the patient first and then take a history.


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Happy Thanksliving

By Bob on November 21, 2011 5:46 AM | Read More

First Thanksgiving-380.jpgWay back in the DARK AGES before blogs, I was born on Thanksgiving Day.

Thank you internets, you may now commence the turkey jokes...let me know when you're done.

 

Back so soon?

 

Ok, I'm not gonna lie to you. Being born on the day we give thanks to the patron saint of white meat and cornbread stuffing has its downside, but it also comes with a few perks.

 

At great risk to my personal safety, I am going to break the code of silence and reveal the two secret perks that are only bestowed on people born on Thanksgiving Day:

 

1) You always get gravy on your birthday...and

 

2) That's about it.

 

Gravy, Dude. YEA!

 

Being born on Turkey Day also makes you a little non-traditional. I mean when you're born on a national holiday the HOLIDAY always wins. It's the scissors-cuts-paper rule of birthdays. HOLIday trumps BIRTHday every time. No biggie, really. You blow out the turkey candles on your cranberry relish and get on with your life. It's part of what makes it a non-traditional birthday.

 

Charlotte, Cole and I have our own non-traditional, traditions. We celebrate Thanksgiving at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. No matter where we are at that time of the year, we find a way to meet up down at the beach.

 


 

I teach my kids about the things that really matter. I will teach them about Abraham Lincoln and Ronnie Van Zandt, because they are equally important in my house.

 


 

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Donna Decorates The Boomer Brief

By Bob on November 7, 2011 6:18 AM | Read More

When Charlotte and I talked about moving Boomer Brief HQ to our Collywood home back in March, I had no idea our relocation would involve a major home remodel AND an appearance on HGTV.

 

Internets, have we met? I'm Bob from the planet CLUELESS.

 

If you've been the reader following this experience, then you know our appearance on Donna Decorates Dallas has been a wild ride. There have been days the street in front of our house looked like the back lot at Universal studios - complete with lights, cameras, directors, grips, production assistants and actors. Think creative-decorating-TV-people, being, well, creative-decorating-TV-people and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's been going on around here.

 

It's a good thing Charlotte looooooves this decorating stuff. It's even better that it hearts her back.

 

Everything began innocently enough. All Charlotte wanted when she opened our Collywood door to HGTVwood was an office that she would really like. Now that you've seen the episode (if you didn't, you can catch us in reruns) you know Donna doesn't just decorate, she delivers.

 

Charlotte got everything she wanted and her office turned out great. Not just run-of-the-mill great, but everybody-gets-a-free-chalupa great.

 

Want a behind-the-scenes tour? C'mon and let Charlotte show you around:


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C'mon Baby Light My Fire

By Bob on November 1, 2011 6:11 AM | Read More

It's finally turning cold in Texas. 

 

The time of year when we go from running our air conditioners 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to 24 hours a day - every other day. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...............60 degrees.

 

Guy With Wrench-350.jpgSo that's why we decided to turn on the fireplace for the first time this year. Like most urban pioneers, we gave up actually having a "real" fire years ago. The smoke, the ashes, the wood. It was never worth the hassle. Fireplaces, at least for us, are matters of convenience. You flip a switch and PRESTO you have INSTANT FIRE. Every time I turn it on I am amazed at how easy it is to start a fire. Except when it isn't.

 

Boomers, lemme 'splain.

 

It's cold (OK, cold for Texas) and Charlotte wants a fire. I FLIP THE SWITCH and NOTHING happens. Not even a spark to ward off the wintery blast of sub-60 degree temperatures. I flip it again. Nothing. Again. NOTHING. 

 

Pretty soon I get the hint. This baby ain't gonna light no matter what I do. It's been 40-odd years since my Boy Scout days, so I pass on the opportunity to break out my flint and steel and call the fireplace repairman instead. He tells me he can come out in about a week. 

 

"A WEEK?"  I think to myself, "It'll be 90 degrees by the time he shows up." This is after all, TEXAS.

 


HGTV ALERT! 

The Donna Decorates Dallas Episode Featuring Charlotte's New Office 

Airs 9:30 p.m. (CST) This Saturday (Nov. 5). 


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Frightfully Good Movies for Halloween

By Bob on October 24, 2011 2:25 AM | Read More

Halloween is a great time of year. The weather is cooler (in Collywood it drops from 100+ degrees to a chilly 90 - sweater weather for Charlotte!) and it's a great time to break out the scary movies.

 

As Boomers we grew up on some of the best horror films ever made...Night of the Living Dead...Rosemary's Baby...The Birds...and just about everything in Vincent Price's filmography. We did a random survey of Baby Boomers and asked them which fright film kept them up at night and here's what they said...

Kelly Hill-100.jpg

Kelly Hill

Motel Hell. The best!

 

Bev Mann-100.jpgBev Mann

Last House on the Left, Don't Look in the Basement & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I can't watch them anymore. In high school, which was just a few years back (haha), my friends and I loaded up the car and went to a triple feature at the local drive-in theater. They were...Last House on the Left, Don't Look in the Basement and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That was enough for a lifetime!

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The Squeal Deal

By Bob on October 18, 2011 6:03 AM | Read More

The Shinning-300.jpg

Fall lasts for about a day in Texas.

 

We go from, this-metal-lawn-chair-is-searing-my-ass -- to watching icy pickup crashes on LBJ Freeway -- and then back to butt-blistering heat -- in the span of, I dunno, about two months. Give or take.

 

So when Charlotte decided we should do our fall landscaping on the day fall actually arrived, I jumped at the chance.

 

Which is saying something, because those of you who know me, know I DON'T JUMP.

Not Bob 

 

Since Linda and Debbie had been over earlier to decorate the back deck, I knew I was in for some low-impact landscaping. Move a plant here. Put these mums there. Done in time to see TCU put another one in the win column. Easy deal.

 

UNTIL THE SNAKE TRIED TO KILL ME.

 

I was moving a couple of potted plants to the front porch. All I had to do was pull out the lantana - and plop in the plant that looked pretty in that Southern Living story about fall landscaping.

 

Pull one out. Put one in (insert mildly inappropriate joke HERE). Something even I couldn't screw up. I mean, c'mon, there were no ladders involved.

 


Since they don't allow you to shoot firearms in Collywood I had to resort to other measures.     


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Tips for Taking Napa

By Bob on October 12, 2011 4:36 AM | Read More

A couple of weeks ago Charlotte and I took off for the Wine Country with a bunch of friends. We found some amazing new vineyards (see our Top Picks after the jump) and even reconnected with MY PEOPLE at the Hill Family Estate Winery (for once and all, will you people PUH-LEESE adopt me?) in downtown Yountville, CA.

 

We've done the Wine Country trip a couple of times now. Like the saying goes, it just gets better with age. This trip was extra special because we had the added bonus of hooking up with my winemaker cousin, Christopher Tynan.

 

Chris has been in the winemaking business in Napa Valley for several years. I got the chance to interview him deep in the caves beneath the Chateau Boswell winery in St. Helena and ask him to share his "insider tips" to enjoying Napa. He gave us some great Boomer advice along with some amazing Chateau Boswell wine. The tips are in the video. The wine didn't make it out of the cave.

 

If you have a Wine Country trip on your Bucket List, here are a few not-to-be-missed stops:

 

Hill Family Estate Winery

This tasting room in downtown Yountville has some amazing wines that are affordable, drinkable right now and out-of-this-world delicious. Tasting room manager, Robin Williams (no, not that Robin Williams) knows her wines and is a gracious hostess.

 


"Veni. Vidi. Bibi vinum. Lorem Dude, multum vini." 

 

Translation

I came. I saw. I drank wine. Seriously Dude, a lot of wine.

 


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Don't Try This At Home

Can You Hear Me Now?

By Bob on October 6, 2011 6:00 AM | Read More

Can You Hear Me Now.jpg

Ok, it's a well-documented fact that I like hunting. There, I said it. I enjoy the opportunity to get outdoors with my friends and do guy stuff with a loaded shotgun in my hands. I'm not anyone's idea of Ted Nugent (like his music; some of his politics and all of his 70's hair) but I do enjoy dove hunting, quail hunting and the occasional feral hog excursion.

 

That doesn't mean I'm any good at it.  I suck most of the time. That doesn't stop me because I hunt 21st Century style, with all the modern conveniences of food, shelter, central air and heat and most of all CELLPHONE COVERAGE.

 

I know what you're thinking Boomers.  You're saying to yourselves, "Bob, WTF?  I thought going hunting was just an excuse to get away from modern conveniences like email, Facebook, ESPN.com and CELLPHONES." To this I would have to answer, "Internets, have we met?".

 

 

 


It's a picture right out of Field & Stream.  A group of grown men in camo illuminated by the roaring pecan wood fire and the blue-gray GLOW OF CELLPHONES.


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Don't Try This At Home

Three Must-See Fall Movies

By Bob on October 3, 2011 2:31 AM | Read More

Every year about this time Hollywood wakes up and says something like, "Hey Y'all, let's release some good movies!" or something like that. Then, a whole bunch of movies with "adult" themes (think Winter's Bone as opposed to say, Wet Hot American Summer) and sophisticated plots come out from hiding and slip into multiplex cinemas across the country.

 

We're trying to keep you from blowing all your money on sucky movies, so we've scoured the blogosphere to find the best of the best. Here are three you should put on your Fall Movie List.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

 When this one premiered at Sundance, it generated some pretty good buzz and a more than a few, this-could-be-Oscar-bait, comments. Martha Marcy May Marlene (try saying that three times fast) is a story about Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) who escapes from a brainwashing cult in upstate New York. She has a hard time adapting to her "normal" family life and is overcome with paranoia that the cult's Charles Manson-like leader (John Hawkes) is coming after her. If you like suspense and more plot twists than a Synder's pretzel, this may be your movie.

Carnage

 

This movie answers the question, "What's John C. Reilly been doing since Cyrus?". Well, he's in this one from Roman Polanski and by all accounts - he's great. This film adaptation of Yasmina Reza's Broadway Play, God of Carnage, has an all-star cast featuring Reilly, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) and Jodie Foster. The story hinges on two sets of parents who are forced to meet after their children get into a fight at school. Let's just say alcohol is consumed and the train jumps the track. If you're thinking Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, you're picking up what I'm laying down.

 


 

How long before we can make a really good film about 9/11?

Looks like 10 years is the answer.

 


  

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Gates Opens Up

By Bob on September 28, 2011 10:22 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I saw former Defense Secretary Dr. Robert Gates last night in Dallas at SMU's Tate Lecture Series. CNN's David Gergen interviewed the man who's spent the last five decades of his life in public service - from the CIA, to the Pentagon with a lot of stops in between.

 

Secretary Gates is a living legend (he's one of only a handful of living recipients of this country's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom) and he's served five presidents going all the way back to Carter. His resume is solid gold and when he speaks world leaders listen.

 

Robert Gates at SMU - 525.jpg 

Of course, having the most powerful military in the world at your disposal is a great way to get global attention. But, Gates comes across as more of a walk-softly-and-carry-a-big-stick kind of guy. He fielded Gergen's questions - and those from an almost capacity crowd at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium - with the same ease as Josh Hamilton taking batting practice.

 

He knocked every answer out of the park with a measured cadence that was one part experienced diplomat, one part pragmatist and one part Aggie (No mean comments please - I mean that in a GOOD way).

 

If you think the only threats to our national security are a zombie apocalypse and Iranian nuclear weapons, you're only half-right. Dr. Gates pulled back the curtain on his top picks for terror and he never mentioned zombies. Not. Even. Once.

 

Here are the four things that keep Dr. Gates up at night.

 

1. Iran
Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad's desire to go make his country a nuclear power has been a problem for a long time - for the U.S., Israel and the entire region. Gates' view is that the country is dangerously unstable and its possible nuclear armament will likely be one of the first problems to hit the desk of whoever occupies the oval office in 2012.

Watch for: "If they (the Iranians) throw out the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) watch out. It's a sure sign they are weaponizing nuclear material."

 


 

It's looking like Vladimir Putin is angling to become Russia's version of Texas governor-for-life, Rick Perry.

 



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HGTV Goes Colleywood

By Bob on September 19, 2011 4:58 AM | Read More

We're remodeling Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we find out if remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or discover if it's OK to hide a body in a construction dumpster. 

 

Remodel Diary

Day 32 47 64 78 93

The last time we talked about our remodeling project we'd just been picked as a "B" story for the HGTV reality series Donna Decorates Dallas. Those of you who know Charlotte please feel free to go EEEEKKK! right now. Trust me, she still is.

 

So we got THE CALL. No, not the call to move to the desert and start a cult - THE CALL telling us HGTV was coming over to film the first part of our episode. Yeah, I know we're just a "B" story, but hey, it's a "B" story that takes not one, but two filming sessions. How 'bout that!

 

We got the full Colleywood treatment. Makeup...tiny microphones stuffed down our clothes...and plenty of filming and more filming and still more filming. Seriously y'all, this is the real deal.

 

Charlotte didn't need it, but makeup artist Chelsea Lee made her "camera ready"...

Charlotte - HGTV Shoot-600.jpg

The woman's a freakin' Rembrandt with a makeup brush. Here's what I looked like when I got out of Chelsea's chair...

 

Bob after HGTV makeup - 500.jpgSo, what are they doing to the remodeled room? Will there be special effects? Rainbows? Unicorns dispensing Skittles? Do you wanna know what Donna Decorates Dallas is going to do to our Colleywood home....huh, do ya?

 

Can't tell you...yet.

 

See, there's this bunch of home & garden lawyers that have sworn us to secrecy and promised to take out their pruning shears if we talk. And if I DID tell you, I'd have to kill you. That would mean I'd probably mess up my hair and makeup on that late-night drive out to Aledo or Garland to dump your body. Now that Chelsea has me camera-ready, it's just not worth the effort.

 

I promise to give you all the back story with pictures of everything and probably a video. Until then, here's a little behind-the-scenes peak at what our first HGTV filming day was like.

 

  

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Don't Try This At Home

3 Reasons Why Rick Perry Is Our Next President

By Bob on September 14, 2011 10:51 AM | Read More


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Don't Try This At Home

Three Reasons Why Rick Perry is Our Next President

By Bob on September 8, 2011 12:03 PM | Read More

Don't worry Boomers, we're not turning The Boomer Brief into a political soapbox, we're just telling you what we see. So, hold your hate mail, or at least include $20 with every letter so we can monetize this column. Please remember, The Boomer Brief is the Switzerland of the blogosphere - totally neutral with a deliciously rich, creamy, cheese-filled center.

 

I saw the first of what will likely be 454,345 presidential debates and I've come to this conclusion: RICK PERRY IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT. No, this isn't an endorsement it's just what I'm seeing out here in the blogosphere.

 

Here are three reasons why the Lone Star State's governor-for-life is going to be the 45th President of the United States:

 

1. He's a good ol' boy
Governor Perry has that, Aw-Shucks-I-Just-Stepped-In-Cow-S*** attitude that's totally irresistible to the electorate. This country (even those not blessed to have been born in the South) has a long history of electing leaders it'd like to have a drink with. That's why Mitt Romney isn't the front runner. The dude's a teetotaler...and totally unelectable.  

 

2. He's got good hair

I know you're saying, "Thank You Captain Obvious". But, Perry's got hair so good you'd think he was the result of a science experiment gone horribly wrong where Rod Blagojevich and Bobby Goldsboro somehow got together and had a son. Americans love presidents with good hair, that's why we lather, rinse and repeat every four years.


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

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Don't Try This At Home

Boy Meets Grille

By Bob on August 29, 2011 4:50 AM | Read More

Capital Grille - Interior - 250.jpg

Like any big city, BIG D has its share of BIG NAME restaurants - some shine bright on the dining scene and some fade-to-black before you can check 'em out.

 

So, when Miss Charlotte and I got a chance to sample a new BIG NAME restaurant in Baja Dallas Plano recently we shot up there as fast as four Michelin's would carry us up the Tollway. "Hey," I told my blogger babe, "in this economy we'd better get up there before this one goes bye-bye."

 

The object of our five-alarm food fest was The Capital Grille at the Shops at Legacy. 

 

It's a beautiful restaurant and Managing Partner Greg Cavanagh has made sure that this Capital Grille location is big enough for BIG D, but decidedly intimate. The restaurant located on the corner of Legacy Drive and the Dallas North Tollway, has seating for 400 but the layout and décor make it possible to carry on a dinner conversation using your inside voice.

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, they knew we were coming (a death in the family kept us from the press opening a week earlier) but we ordered off the regular menu and Charlotte didn't even ask for special treatment like ketchup or extra jalapenos (kidding, I'm kidding).      

 Capital Grille Chef Aaron Valimont-300.jpg

We shared our culinary preferences with Capital Grille server, John Jones and asked him to pair some wines with his best recommendations for the evening. Thanks to Chef Aaron Valimont's wonderful work in the kitchen, he didn't let us down.  

 

Chef Aaron Valimont

 

John suggested starting with The Capital Grille's signature drink - the Stoli Doli. It's a pineapple martini made with fresh pineapple flown in from Hawaii that's sliced and put into a large, glass jar filled with Stoli vodka. They let it sit for seven days and then serve it straight up and very cold in a martini glass. The result is smooth as a Miles Davis solo and just as powerful.

 

Appetizers were next. We tried the Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers ($14) paired with a Selbach Riesling. The crunchy calamari had just enough breading to hold the spices on the chewy strands. Charlotte, not really a calamari lover, was won over with the light, peppery heat balanced by the delicate taste of the squid.

 

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil with 12-Year Aged Balsamic ($13) came next. John explained that Capital Grille makes its own fresh mozzarella - every two hours. Dallas is home to some great mozzarella - Paula Lambert's Mozzarella Company makes some of the best I've ever tasted, so I was curious how it would match up. The Capital Grille's in-house mozzarella with aged balsamic served with thick, fresh tomatoes was an outstanding salad and easily the best I've had since dining at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.

Capital Grille Mozzarella - 650.jpg 

 


 

...the espresso cake was slap-a-prison-guard good.

 



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Don't Try This At Home

The World's Biggest Coyote Litter Box

By Bob on August 15, 2011 6:00 AM | Read More

I turned on the Today Show the other morning just in time to hear the headline, ELDERLY WOMAN ATTACKED BY RACCOONS!

 

Coyote Pee - 309.jpg"Jeez," I thought, "I didn't know the Today Show had been sold to the National Enquirer." I'm usually pretty good at keeping up with what's going on in the world. I know all about Rick Perry, the debt crisis and Charlie Sheen, but I totally missed NBC-Universal selling out to a supermarket tabloid.  

Well, a couple of minutes later they made good on their headline. Turns out that yes, a 74-year-old grandmother was actually mauled by a family of raccoons. She was trying to shoo them out of her yard and they turned on her like the CUJO FAMILY. This of course kind of killed my theory that all we really have to worry about are Iranian nukes and zombies.

 

I don't know grandma's full story, but I can sympathize with her. I've had my run-ins with ducks, rabbits, snakes, skunks, deer and of course, Chuck our neighborhood chupacabra. And since I'm not Marlon friggin Perkins, my wild animal stories don't usually turn out very well either.  

 


I couldn't take time off to sit on my front porch all day wearing a wife-beater

T shirt holding a BB gun, so I did the next best thing. 


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Don't Try This At Home

EEEKKKK!

By Bob on August 1, 2011 6:08 AM | Read More

We're remodeling Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we find out if remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or discover if it's OK to hide a body in a construction dumpster.   

 

Remodel DiaryGene - 375.jpg 

Day 91

I'm starting to figure out this whole remodel deal. Remember Darwin's Theory of Evolution where he reveals that J. Fred Muggs is really our daddy? Well, I've come up with the THEORY OF REMODELING. Never heard of it? What'd you do that day we discussed it...cut class and play Frisbee golf? Ok, try and keep up 'cause it's only three steps:

 

BOB'S THEORY OF REMODELING

 

1. A guy in a flatbed truck drops off his "lumber package" (that's what she said!). If you're a lucky homeowner, he will do his level best to keep his "package" from totaling your garage as it slides off the truck. 

 

Gene Tyler during taping of HGTV's Donna Decorates Dallas

 

2. Your hot water turns cold and you replace both water heaters.
Oh yeah, don't forget this important part of the theory, YOUR DRINKING WATER TURNS BLACK
.

 

3. YOU WIND UP ON HGTV.

That EEEKKKKK (rhymes with SHRIEK) sound you heard is Charlotte jumping up and down after getting a text from the HGTV show host telling her we've been "picked" for a new reality series. What's up with that? As Moses told the children of Israel after coming down the mountain, "Here's the deal, y'all" (in my head Moses is southern and sounds a lot like Burl Ives in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.)

 

It all began innocently enough. Shelley Tyler told Charlotte a local designer was looking for projects for an upcoming show on HGTV called Donna Decorates Dallas. She said it'd be focused on homes in the Dallas area - they're really interested in Collywood - and they start filming in a few weeks.

 

EEEKKKK!

 


 

Before I could summon my inner Nate Berkus and say "Dahling, do these drapes match the duvet?" I was talking to a producer and film crew from HG-freakin-T-freakin-V

 


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Don't Try This At Home

Meanwhile Back At The...

By Bob on July 18, 2011 4:52 AM | Read More

The Move-346.jpg

MOVE COMPLETE. BIG NEWS TO COME!

Thanks to a terrific IT Guru and some answered prayers from the Internet Gods, we successfuly relocated our servers. Whew! Stay tuned Boomers 'cause we've got a BIG announcement coming. Here's a tip, when Charlotte heard the news, all she could say was "Eeekkk!"

 


 

We're remodeling Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we find out if remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or discover if it's OK to hide a body in a construction dumpster.

 

Remodel Diary

Day 79

 

If you're reading this, go ahead and call off the search party. I survived.

 

Since we began our remodel project before the pyramids were built a few weeks ago, I've been dreading two things: 1) Cleaning out the office attic, and 2) Moving furniture and assorted stuff down to the ranch. Neither one of these sounded like much fun and both of them required serious sweat and heavy lifting. Not my thing, y'all.

 

Charlotte's experience with the DOOR OF DEATH convinced me that you can get HURT moving stuff, so I've been on my guard. That's why I asked our intern if she knew any strong-backed college students who wanted to make a few $$ cleaning out the office attic.

 

She came through with a couple of Texas A&M refugees looking to make a quick buck. Before I could say, "Where'd I put my Shiner?" they were hauling crap out of the attic like they were auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. Yeah, it was little hot...kinda like this...    


 

 

Cleaning out the attic was relatively easy (for me). No college kids were harmed and I even found my Shiner. Crisis. Averted.

 

On to DREADED THING #2: Move to the Ranch.

 

We've got a small place just outside of Cranfills Gap (for you non-Texans, you may remember this town from its 15-minutes of fame in this commercial for Las Vegas).

 


 

It almost made me tear up, seeing how it was like the final scene in Blazing Saddles.

 


 

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Door of Death

By Bob on July 4, 2011 4:22 AM | Read More

We're remodeling Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we find out if remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or discover if it's OK to hide a body in a construction dumpster. 

 

Remodel Diary

Charlotte and the Door-325.jpgDay 48

 

Since we began this remodeling project before the ice caps melted we've had a few "temporary" issues to deal with.

 

There was the "temporary" 8'x10' hole in the roof of our garage so the lumber package could be hauled up into the attic (yes internets, my package was so big we had to cut a hole in the ceiling to get it in...BaDaBoom!...Thank You, I'm here all week!).

 

Then, of course, they installed the "temporary" DEATH DOOR.

 

Never heard of the Death Door? I think it's a part of the Collywood City Code. You can't get a construction permit without having one on your plans. They fine you for that s***.

 

The Death Door isn't to be confused with the door to HELL. That's over at the Tarrant County DMV. I'm talking about the "temporary" 6'x8' door made out of ¼" plywood and reinforced two-by-fours that sealed up the opening to our new room.

 


 
She whispered the words I can't resist, "Take out your power screwdriver and..."
 

 
 
Charlotte's wearing 4" heels, so the plywood doesn't stand a chance! 

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Don't Try This At Home

No You Idiot, I Said Kill the Gophers...

By Bob on June 20, 2011 7:26 AM | Read More

I've had a love/hate relationship with golf for most of my lifTop Golf - Tony Romo - 435.jpge. 

 

I love playing when the weather is nice, but I've also dodged hail the size of...you guessed it...GOLF BALLS, tornadoes and even the occasional alligator just for a round.

 

Tony Romo tees it up at the new Top Golf in Allen

 

Jeez, you'd think I'd learn. But then, you'd be wrong internets.

 

So, when the folks at Top Golf invited me to the grand opening of their new three-story, 65,000-square-foot golf entertainment complex in The Village at Allen (TX) a couple of weeks ago I said. "Please accept my RSVP".

 

Nah...I really said, "You mean I don't have to dodge alligators in a tornado-driven hail storm to play golf? Put me down for a YES." Oh, and they've got Mushi, too. So, make that a definite YES.

 

Top Golf is a great way to get my golf on without dodging the occasional hail stone the size of a canned ham. It's a terrific concept that protects you from the elements while delivering a first rate golf experience.

 

No, this isn't some cheesy hit-the-imaginary-ball-into-the-video-screen set up. You play with real golf balls and real golf clubs at one of the 94 hitting bays (open-ended booths stacked three stories high, facing the driving range) where you can order drinks and food and even watch sports on TV. Is that COOL or what?

No night putting...but plenty of everything else Top Golf - Night Shot - 500.jpg


Score card? Nah...this is the digital age.
 

 

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Don't Try This At Home

Street Seens

By Bob on June 6, 2011 4:00 AM | Read More

Balthazar Wine-400.jpg

Miss Charlotte and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary in New York City.

 

I know what you're asking yourself internets, HOW COULD SHE STAY MARRIED TO HIM FOR 33 YEARS?

 

It's one of those questions kinda like if Elvis, Jim Morrison and Roy Orbison were in a Heavenly Band, who'd sing lead vocals? Some things, we'll just never know.

 

It'd been a while since we'd been to the Big Apple, so we had a good time getting reacquainted with Manhattan and some of its better known boroughs. In short order, we checked Brooklyn, the Bronx, SoHo, The Village, the Upper East and West Sides, Museum District, Theater District, Times Square and Central Park off our list.

 

And that was the FIRST DAY...I'm kidding.

 

We'd been to the BIG CITY before and gotten all the LOOK. AT. ALL. THE. TALL. BUILDINGS. out of our system, so there wasn't any burning desire to do hardcore touristy stuff. That doesn't mean we hung out in our room and watched mixed martial arts cage matches all day on pay-per-view (I vetoed Charlotte's request)...we got out and mingled with the fine folks of the largest city in America. Boy, did we mingle. Here are the highlights from our street seens...let's go to the videotape:

 

Grooming Trend You Never Thought You'd See Again

If you answered, "What is the Hitler moustache" you're correct! I had a mid-town Manhattan WTF moment when I saw a red headed guy at the corner of Broadway and 47th Street sporting one of these. I wasn't sure if he'd been one of those Boys-From-Brazil experiments gone horribly wrong, or he was just trying to get a reaction. Either way: CREEPED. ME. OUT. Sadly, no photos. I've seen Marathon Man and didn't want him to go all Laurence Olivier on me.

 


 

There's no line at the Gauguin nudes exhibit, let's go over there.

 


 

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Don't Try This At Home

The Doobie Brothers Pay Us A Visit

By Bob on May 23, 2011 5:53 AM | Read More

We're doing a remodeling project at Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we explore whether remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or find out if it's OK to dump a body in a construction dumpster. 

 

Remodel Diary - Day 2

 

So they had to disconnect the gas line and move the water heaters to make room for the room. Don't get all existential on me and ask how a room can be more room. This isn't a philosophical debate and you're not talking to a Zen master, this is Bob and his remodel drama diary.

 

Contractor Doug scheduled Day 2 to relocate two, 50-gallon hot water heaters. This meant turning off the water and gas and rerouting gas lines in the attic. My basic understanding of this complicated procedure was "plumbers will be involved."

 

Plumbers? Got it!

 

"They make toilet flush and give me hot shower. Plumbers good!" I grunted in appreciation for their skill.

 

Not so fast there jungle boy. As it turns out, "Plumbers not so good." At least these guys weren't.

 

My first clue that trouble-was-a-brewin came in a mid-morning phone call. "Did I mention that the gas to the stove would still be off when you come home tonight?" Contractor Doug asked. "Nope, but that'll just give Charlotte a break in the kitchen. No problem," I said trying to sound like a good little homeowner.

 

"Shower?" I asked. "You'll at least have him connect the hot water heaters so we'll have a hot shower in the morning. Right?"

 

"Uh, yeah, I'll make sure they get the hot water heaters up and running," he said. Something about this didn't ring true, so I made a mental note to check out the water first thing when I got home.

 

I dropped the mail on the bar and turned on the kitchen faucet. Hmmmm....cool water...getting warmer...getting warmer...getting Colder...GETTING MUCH COLDER...OMG...it's turning BLACK!

Oh Black Water - 300.jpg 

In 30 seconds I'd gone from clean, clear, lukewarm water to BLACK WATER and there wasn't a Doobie Brother in sight (stay with me, this is a 70's song reference).

This was our Doobie Brothers Water...

May I remind you we live in Collywood dahling.  This simply isn't DONE.

I called Contractor Doug about my DOOBIE BROTHERS WATER and he came right over.

 

He turned on valves, blew out lines, lit pilot lights, climbed all around the attic and did a "work-around" until the plumbers could come back and take care of the STNF (s*** that needs fixin). I had non-Doobie Brothers water by the time he left. 

 


It's water that would like to get hot...but it just can't commit (clearly a guy thing).



 

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Don't Try This At Home

My Evil Twin

By Bob on May 9, 2011 6:42 AM | Read More

Evil Twin-400.jpg

Every now and then I get mail addressed to my evil twin "Bill".

 

Just when I think he's moved to another city, I get something that reminds me he's still around.

 

Oh, I haven't told you about my twin? Jeez, where are my manners? Let me introduce you to "Bill".

 

Bill isn't an imaginary friend - he really does exist. He's the combination of "Bob" and "Hill". Put 'em together and whadaya get? BILL. I get so much stuff addressed to Bill that I'm thinking about listing him as a dependent on my tax return (KIDDING. Mr. IRS agent, this is just blogger humor).

 

He surfaces all the freakin' time. Just yesterday I get an email from a former business associate who's looking for a job. He wants a favor. No biggie. Happy to help. Until I read his email and he ends by saying THANKS FOR THE HELP, BILL.

 

BILL?

 

Yeah, I'll tell the SOB you're out of work and maybe HE'LL find you a job. Fat chance. That bastard is my EVIL twin - he don't do nothin for nobody. Did I mention he's evil? Oh, yeah. Bill's been to prison and from what I've seen, he's not afraid of going back.

 


 

All he gets is S*** that Needs Fixin (STNF). And that crap winds up on my To Do List.

 


 

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Don't Try This At Home

Is That Lumber or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

By Bob on April 25, 2011 4:51 AM | Read More

Remodel Diary - Day 1 - 450.jpg

We're doing a remodeling project at Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we explore whether remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or find out if it's OK to dump a body in a construction dumpster. 

 

Remodel Diary

Day 1

 

"Framers start early," Contractor Doug said.

 

"They'd like to get goin at 7:30 Monday morning if that's OK."

 

What he DIDN'T say was that a guy in an 18-wheeler would pull up in front of the house with a load of lumber forty minutes BEFORE the framer's "early start". One small detail that was lost in translation.

 

That's why I was shaving when I heard the rumbala-bumbala-bumbala of an 18-wheeler idling in front of our house. No, we don't get many big rigs in our gated Colleywood cul-de-sac. So it took a while for my Monday-morning brain to realize that this 18-wheeler might have SOMETHING to do with our remodeling project.

 

After rinsing the shaving cream off my face, I threw on a pair of shorts and grabbed a golf shirt out of the dirty clothes hamper. I know this wardrobe choice isn't in keeping with the Colleywood dress code, dahling...but protocol be damned. I was in a hurry.

 


 

God bless you, lumber-haulin car nut.

 


 


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Walk(er) This Way

By Bob on April 11, 2011 6:32 AM | Read More

Reunion sign - 500.jpg

I have a confession to make. I HATE reunions.

 

It's not that I'm antisocial, but I just don't see the point in getting together once every decade with people who only want to see me once every decade.

 

What am I Haley's Comet?

 

If you really like me (that includes you and maybe you) you'll see me more often than every time the year ends in zero - because, well, I'm just so damned charming.

 

So of course, this is just a setup to tell you that I broke my rule a few days ago and actually attended a reunion (start wagging your fingers now) against my better judgment.

 

What reunion was it? The WHAT isn't really important. It's the WHY that matters to me. Let's just call it the, People-Who-Get-Together-Every-Ten-Years-For-The-Hell-Of-It (PWGTETYFTHOI)  reunion. See, right now you know it's stupid because the name is so effing long it doesn't even make a good acronym.

 


 

Remember that time we (ate/drank/escaped from that Mexican prison)?

 



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Maui NOW-ee

By Bob on March 28, 2011 6:24 AM | Read More

Napili Kai on Napili Bay -500.jpgCharlotte and I had lunch with some travel folks the other day and they were nice enough to let us in on a HOT TIP.

The Beach at the Napili Kai Beach Resort

 

Since this never-ending recession is hanging around longer than anybody expected, there are some great travel deals to lure you out of the Boomer bunker.

 

I know, you're saying to yourself, "How can we even THINK about a vacation y'all, what with the recession and stuff." To which I would take a deep breath and reply, "Have you ever been to Maui? I'm talking about that 48-mile-long, 26-mile-wide, emerald island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Mau-Freakin-EE!" Here's the tip: THIS LITTLE SLICE OF HAWAIIAN HEAVEN IS ON SALE. 

 


The Napili Kai will even deduct the cost of your airline baggage fees...

(Grrrreat....now Charlotte can pack even more shoes)


 

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Garage Band of Brothers

By Bob on March 14, 2011 7:00 AM | Read More

So Miss Charlotte and I are about embark on the next great adventure.

 

No, internets, we're not about to start raising pit bull pigeons, we're going to do somethingCluttered Garage - Before Shot - 425.jpg

even more complicated, costly and terrifying than an interspecies breeding program: REMODELING.

 

There I said it. Remodeling is not fun. Can I get an AMEN?

 

I'll be keeping you updated on this project as we go along, but first I guess you need some back story.

 

Boomer Brief HQ will be relocating to (hopefully) spacious new digs in our remodeled home office sometime this summer. To make this magic happen, we've assembled a construction team that Doug, our remodeling company contractor, says, "Will involve every trade except roofing".  

 

In Collywood, that's translated as, "don't plan on going to Costco any time soon, cause most of your money will be going to me." Message received.

 


 

I'm fine-tuning my highly-evolved skill of grunting knowingly when somebody says something I might understand. Desk, good. Fire, bad. You get the idea.

 



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Hot Offer - UPDATE!

By Bob on February 14, 2011 6:49 AM | Read More

Is somebody trying to tell me something, internets?

 

Last night I return home to Blogger Mansion and open the mailbox to find this...

Cremation Update - 375.jpg 

Either all the funeral homes in Grapevine-Colleyville have suddenly become faithful followers of The Brief (and if you have, then why aren't you advertising?) or they've put out a HIT on me.

 

Quick question, Bluebonnet Hills and Neptune Society marketing geniuses - if ol' Bob hops up on your hot plate, who do you think will write this crap brilliantly funny discourse on the world condition.

 

For those of you keeping score at home, here's (as Paul Harvey used to say) the rest of the story...

 

Yesterday evening I bring in the mail and like most people, I begin sorting it as I walk back to the blogger mansion. In with the usual crap, is an invitation-sized envelope with an offer no Baby Boomer could refuse.

 An Offer You Can't Refuse-450.jpg

This was no Publisher's Clearing House deal. No. This was something much bigger.

 

It was an offer for a FREE PRE-PAID CREMATION.

 

I know what you're thinking internets. So, what's the BDD (big damn deal), Bob? You're middle-aged right? Think it's 'bout time you started looking at your options? And free? You effin kiddin' me? FREE!?

 

Before you get all, don't-look-a-free-pre-paid-cremation-in-the-mouth, let's just clear something up right now. I don't dislike cremations. It's just that I don't want one TOMORROW. Middle-aged jokes aside (and I'm not really middle-aged, unless my life expectancy is 110) this s*** is creepy. 

 


How does this deal work? Do I go in the back and lay down, or do you hit me in the head with a mallet...?


 

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Like Looking in a Mirror

By Bob on January 31, 2011 6:42 AM | Read More

So the other day my friend Jayboy shoots me an email.

 

"Would Charlotte and I like to join him, his lovely wife Rebecca and two other couples on a trip to Santa Fe for a three-day weekend?" Me? Hell yeah.

 

Group-500.jpg

 

 

 

Who you callin' Geezer?

Jerry Williams, Debbie Williams, Gene Tyler, Shelley Tyler, Jayboy Elder, Becky Elder, Miss Charlotte & the other guy

 

I looooove me some NEW MEXICAN FOOD. 

 

I know Miss Charlotte loves her some New Mexican food, too. Anything HOT with jalapenos, red chilies, green chilies, she's all over it. She likes it spicy. Just like her bloggers...baDaaBOOM...thank you, I'm here all week...

 

Next thing I know I'm walking down a ramp at the Santa Fe airport watching big-ass tumbleweeds blow across the tarmac. Seriously y'all, it looked like something out of a John Ford western. Half way expected John Wayne to ride up on a horse, throw a lasso around it and drag it into a hangar.

 

On the way to the Plaza Real Jayboy tells us he's got us covered. Lunch at The Shed. Dinner reservations at the Inn of The Anasazi and Santacafe and Becky's fave, drinks and music at La Cantina. Everyone's a winner.

 

Jayboy knows ME LIKE FOOD. But, I ask What're we gonna DO? Ski? It is, after all, WINTER. Santa Fe has nice snowy mountains and well, again, it IS winter. Nah, Jayboy says. The plans are to Eat, Drink, Shop, Drink and Eat.

 

Charlotte heard the word SHOP and was all "YEA" or something like that. I honestly couldn't tell you. She said it in such a high-pitched squeal that only the Santa Fe coyotes heard her. Me, well I pretty much said the same thing - but in an understandable voice - when Jayboy said EAT.

 


 

We had this wine-fueled, Jesse-Colin-Young-Everybody-Get-Together-Try-And-Love-One-Another vibe goin' on.



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We Won't Get Fooled Again

By Bob on January 17, 2011 6:40 AM | Read More

The other night I got a text from a local talk show host asking if I'd like to talk about all us Baby Boomers hitting retirement age. This has become a popular topic since, I dunno, there are about 78 MILLION OF US and about 10,000 are turning 65 each and every day.

 

That's a pretty big BOOM. It's so big in fact, that in media terms it's what my friend Sam Gioldasis used to call a BIG DAMN DEAL (BDD).

 

So, when my radio friend asked if I'd like to comment, I said something like, "Sure, I can forsake our reader millions of readers out there on the world wide internets to impart my Boomer wisdom to your vast listening audience." Of course I said this in my head, in reality I texted back "Sure" and then went back to watching Pawn Stars on The History Channel.

 

I'm not a political guy. I've got friends who are - like yellow dog democrat K.T. McLeaish out in Odessa and Bev Mann in Colleyville. Me, not so much. I've pretty much abandoned politics since I voted for Richard Nixon because he promised to end the war and my draft number was 24. I still vote in every election and have an active interest, but I'd rather this blog be about something other than David Axlerod's porn star moustache or Caribou Barbie's reality show.

Here's a little something that'll have you dragging that Fender guitar out of the closet 

 


Are we to blame because our Dads came home from saving the world and were, err, ready for some luvin?

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Oh Thank Heaven for 2011?

By Bob on January 3, 2011 6:14 AM | Read More

Kincaid's-400.jpg

I had a vision last night when I woke up at 1:03 a.m. to turn off the alarm on our piece of s*** wonderful Viking refrigerator.

 

No, it wasn't running off to Baja with the last of the Christmas turkey. It was just letting me know that it was too warm and everything was about to go bad and smell like dumpster yogurt.

 

I knew I had to act fast. So I began eating the immediately perishable contents of our refrigerator.

 

That's when it hit me. No, not diarrhea. My vision of 2011. In my slightly warm yogurt-eating delirium I saw a vision of 2011 and I thought I'd share it with you - my friends on the world wide internets. Here's what's coming out of the Viking fridge and into our lives this year:

 

Sports

In a bold move, the football world will be shocked when Jerry Jones names Ernie of Sesame Street as the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Former coach Wade Phillips will just laugh it off by saying, "it's not the first time Jerry's had his hand inside a puppet."

 

Movies

Gwyneth Paltrow will become the next big country sensation thanks to her starring role in "Blah, Blah, Blah, Something, Country". It's a movie no one will see, but every Texan will love, because we're all waiting for that Urban Cowboy Chic look to get hot again and make getting drunk at Billy Bob's fashionable one more time before we die.

 

Food

State Fair of Texas foodies are in luck, because Ford will sell a deep-fried F-150 pickup (only 45,000 coupons) at this year's event. Heart surgeons at UT Southwestern will applaud the idea, because now they can perform the first quadruple bypass and oil change. Grey's Anatomy already has this penciled in for an episode during May sweeps. John Goodman will guest star.

 

 


 This change in appearance will force DFW residents to stop referring to him as "Skunk Head" and begin calling him by his Christian name: "Finfrock the Weather God."


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The Boomer Brief "Best"

By Bob on December 20, 2010 6:13 AM | Read More

Like a lot of you, 2010 was an up and down year for us. But, just when I had it pegged as a total write-off, it drunk-dialed me y'all and we hooked up again.

I don't know how I'll feel about it when I look back years from now, but for the time being I'd give it a 79 on the American Bandstand rating system. It had an OK beat, but it was a real bitch to dance to. 

Not to get all Debbie Downer on you, because there were bright spots illuminating the way. And if they weren't actual bright spots, they did give us something to poke fun at (and God knows we love our snark at The Brief). So, I invite you to climb in the Boomer Brief Delorean and set the clock back 12 months. Let's look in our rearview mirror before we head out to the future.

 


The Boomer Brief Best of 2010

 

Best Excuse for Moving Into a Cave without TV or Wi-Fi

Mid-term campaigns. Dallas' wet/dry election. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. British Petroleum. Lindsay Lohan.   

 Texas Rangers - 300.jpg

Best Reason to Move Somewhere with Excellent Cable Reception

The Texas Rangers. CLAW! 

 

Best Trip for Wine Lovers

If you even pretend to like wine, you should run to Yountville, CA - stay at the Yountville Inn and visit the Hill Family Estate (not related, but I've begged them to adopt me) Tasting Room and enjoy a glass of their fabulous Clarke Vineyard Syrah. I'll be looking for your thank-you note in the mail.

 

Best Home Cooking

Charlotte's Tortilla Soup. If she doesn't share this recipe with you, I'll get it out of the lockbox and tell you about it.

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A Milestone Isn't a Millstone

By Bob on December 6, 2010 6:15 AM | Read More

When you're a middle-aged Baby Boomer, "milestone" birthdays come at you like Speed Racer on crystal meth.

 

Before you know it, you're dreading celebrating every birthday that ends in a zero and you start reading those pre-need funeral ads in the newspaper. It's depressing.

 

So when my good friend Terry Storer was staring down a "milestone" he did what Terry usually does. He starred right back at the sumbitch and yelled, I'M GOING TO COSTA RICA. WHO'S WITH ME? Costa Rica Landscape - 500.jpg

 

My hand shot up faster than if he'd asked "who wants a free, frosty glass of Absolut?" A few weeks later I'm in Jaco, Costa Rica with Terry and four friends.

 

Turns out Costa Rica is a banana republic that isn't Banana Republic. No flat front khakis needed. Just bring your golf shirts and shorts. I packed light.

 


 We did just what our Texas mommas told us to never do. We went and JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE WITH OUR FRIENDS.

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The Grape Escape

By Bob on November 8, 2010 6:37 AM | Read More

A few months ago our life-long friends, Tony and Debbi Comparin suggested we take a little vacation. Internets, I have to confess something (relax, that mole turned out to be perfectly normal) Charlotte and I needed a vacation. We were ready, with a Capital RED and a triple EEE.

 

Didn't even ask Tony where, just said put us down for adjoining seats on the next American flight out of DFW. How 'bout we go to Napa? Tony asked. Dude, I answered, you had me at NAP.

 Napa Trip - 300.jpg

So, about four months later Charlotte and I found ourselves in a nice little bungalow at the lovely Yountville Inn in beautiful Yountville, CA. If you like wine, (show of hands?) Yountville is kinda like being a kid and discovering you've just been dropped off at Santa's workshop two weeks before Christmas. Yeah, it's that great.

 

It didn't take us long to unpack and begin our walking wine tour. We didn't know where we were going, but in Yountville just about any street will take you to a tasting room. See what I mean about great?

 

Three blocks from the Inn we found MY PEOPLE - The Hill Family Estate Winery Tasting Room *sound of angelic choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus*. 

I had no idea I had people in the wine bidness. I thought all of my relatives were dead or in jail occupied in other worthwhile pursuits. 

 


One sip and I shouted, CALL A DOCTOR AND FIND OUT HOW I CAN REPLACE ALL OF MY BODILY FLUIDS WITH THIS AMAZING LIQUID.  

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Crazy like a Michael J. Fox

By Bob on October 20, 2010 11:44 AM | Read More

Michael J. Fox is one of those not-so-lucky actors that have had more than one life: actor, author, advocate. The guy's a certifiable triple threat.

 

I laughed my ass off at his Alex Keaton on Family Ties. Lusted after his DeLorean (and Lea Thompson) in Back to the Future. And applauded his efforts to find a cure for Parkinson's disease. No splitting hairs here - the 49-year-old actor is a Baby Boomer hero.

 

When SMU's Tate Lecture Series (Charlotte and I are patrons, Dahling) announced that Fox was one of this year's speakers, I was anxious to hear what he had to say. I was also curious how he'd handle the rigor of a stand-up speaking engagement - after all, he's had Parkinson's for almost 20 years.

 

He's got every right to be a middle-aged curmudgeon and have someone push him out in a wheelchair. No, this isn't how the "Incurable Optimist" rolls. Instead, he did over an hour of speaking, pacing and Q&A without sitting down (timing his medication helps, he says).

 

As a middle-aged Baby Boomer, I found Fox' message powerful and inspirational. He described waking up (literally) to Parkinson's one morning after a night of partying with hemp-hipster Woody Harrelson. The first sign that his nerves were short-circuiting was a tremor in his little finger that he couldn't control. He wrote it off to too much of a good time. He was after all, living life in the Fun House (his name for the world of excess known only to top celebrities).

 

This is the 25th anniversary of Back to the Future. Take a look back with Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson. 

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The Real Whiz

By Bob on October 11, 2010 6:34 AM | Read More

A few days ago I travelled up to Philadelphia on some book bidness. I was speaking at a cancer conference and doing some TV promotion in the city of brotherly love.

 

Up until then, theCheese Steak-350.jpg closest I'd ever been to Philly was yelling #%*&@#*! at the TV during a Sunday afternoon Cowboys game.

 

Every city has a signature food - you know what I mean - in Dallas/Fort Worth it's actually three foods - they are:
1)
FRIED
2)
BROWN, and of course, my favorite...
3) TEX-MEX 

 

In Philly, the signature dish is the Philadelphia Cheesesteak.

 

I don't know the origin of this delicacy, but as I told the little old lady behind the lunch counter, Dude, you had me at cheese!

 

This is of course, when she uttered the witty reply, Wit, Witout?

Papa Smurf-200.jpg

WIT is Philly-speak for with onions. WITOUT means without onions. It's the kind of culinary shorthand I like. Sorta like diner speak - Adam & Eve on a raft. Wreck 'em! (scrambled eggs on toast). Or, in New Mexico - Red or Green? (as in, what kind of chili's do you want?).

 

Since I had a dinner meeting I chose WITOUT, but kept the peppers and other stuff just to give me some street cred. WHICH I GOT, then TOTALLY LOST. I'll explain.

 

Not Bob

 
 

They had enough napkins to write One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in longhand, in the original Russian.     

 

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Jackson Browne; Audience Gray

By Bob on October 1, 2010 6:47 AM | Read More

I'll tell you right up front that I like Jackson Browne.

 

Yeah, I know the whole, sprout-eatin', tree-huggin', southern California, where-did-I-park-my-surfboard sound, isn't everyone's cup of granola but Charlotte and I kinda like him.

 

Hell, we actually dated to the sounds of Browne.

 

If you think that makes US old, you should see HIM. But, if you really want to see the folks that hit the early bird special at Denny's, you should check out his audience (I mean that in a nice way, remember I'm a fan).

 

Since I've been jonesing for Jackson, I've been on the lookout for tickets to his tour. The other day just as I was asking myself, "Bob, what can Browne do for you?" the internets emailed saying that Browne was coming to town. Well, not Colleyville, but he did come to Grand Prairie (insert punch line here) which was close enough for us.

 

We'd never been to the Verizon Theater (formerly Nokia Theater - are cell phone companies the only people with money these days?) so we loaded up the enormous carbon footprint SUV and drove over for the show. Browne's touring with veteran sideman David Lindley and they were cruising through DFW on their way through a multi-city tour.

 

This clip will take you back in time.


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It's Not Easy Being Greasy

By Bob on September 13, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Thanks BP-300.jpg

You know your summer is probably gonna SUCK when the only thing on your highlight reel is a bureaucrat smiling and saying, I'M FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND I'M HERE TO HELP YOU.

 

As we say in Texas...Yeah, buddy...

 

Well, that's what the summer's been like for anyone impacted by the British Petroleum Oil Spill. You remember that don't you? That little environmental faux pas that dumped, I dunno, a HALF BILLION barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Yeah, that one.

 

Early in the summer, all you had to do to file a BP damages claim was call a toll-free number - get a claim number - then get that Egyptian guy from the History Channel to hunt through your attic until he found the Ark of the Covenant submit some documentation showing how much you were owed.

 


The bureaucracy is like dealing with an illegitimate love child spawned by a drunken three-way between the DMV, Veteran's Administration and Post Office.      


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Dead Men Don't Have Sex

By Bob on September 1, 2010 6:20 AM | Read More

You ever have one of those dreams where everybody's starring at you and you don't know why? Then you look in a mirror and say WTF?! I'm NEKKID!?

 

Well, internets I'm having that dream right now - except it ISN'T A DREAM.

 

You probably think of me as this goofy old bastard great guy with a cool high-tech blog. Well, that's all true. But, it's only part of the story. Here for the very first time, I'm going to reveal two things you don't know about me:

 

1)     I'm also super good looking, and

2)     I know what it's like to fight CANCER

 

OK, number one is total bullshit. Number two is absolutely TRUE. Here's the story.

 

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003. And since I'm in a business that's pretty much based on IMAGE - I opted to tell only family and a few friends that I had cancer. That is, until now (CSI music goes CHA-Chung!).

 

When I got the BIG C the doctors recommended a radical prostatectomy. For those of you keeping score at home, "radical" means they removed my prostate and some surrounding tissue in a 3 ½ hour operation.

 


The Universe responded with a loud, NO DICE, BOB. So, I told the universe to SUCK IT (sorry Universe, but you had that one coming).     

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Keeping Things Real

By Charlotte on August 16, 2010 6:01 AM | Read More

To stay healthy, we need to eat healthy. That's our mantra.

 

But I have to admit it took some convincing to get here. After all, Bob and I were raised true Texas-style. We deep fried our vegetables as well as our meats, ate white-bread-and-butter sandwiches for lunch, and snacked on bologna and Heinz ketchup. (Is there any other?) As fun as that was, after:

·         Passing the big 5-0 marker

·         Finding extra pounds harder and harder to shake

·         Battling three major health crises (yes, they were all BIG but we'll go there another time)

 

We realized we had to change, and it was going to do us good.

 

That's meant retiring the deep fryer (except when we're at the gulf coast), preferring choices labeled "low-fat" and devouring any and all information on eating healthier. So I jumped at the chance to talk with registered dietitian Jackie Newgent. Who better to give us some nutrition-boosting tips?

 


See Jackie in action. Then read on for three family friendly recipes

that show just how yummy healthy eating can be.

 


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Turning Over a New Leaf

By Bob on August 2, 2010 6:05 AM | Read More

Turning Leaf Merlot-100.jpgWine serves a lot of different purposes in our house.

Sure, we'll use it for celebrations, but most of the time it's paired with more mundane offerings ranging from iFratelli's Pizza to Charlotte's famous spicy chicken dip. I even introduced Charlotte to the elegant pairing of red wine and crunchy peanut butter back in our college days (Don't taze me Bro'...It's really good!).

That's why I was happy to see the folks at Turning Leaf had completed a national survey on take out foods and the wines we're pairing with them. Charlotte's hot bean dip did not make the Top 10 (Note to survey-taker-guy - this was an obvious oversight) but you may be surprised what they know about our dining habits.

 


We Really Take After Take Out 

 

Friday Night? All right!

The most popular night for turning to take out? Friday night. Seems that by the time we get to the end of the week we're just too tired to cook (Charlotte and I are guilty as charged).

 

Homemade? Don't bet on it!

More than one-third said they've passed off take out food as something they made from scratch. (Boomer Brief Rule - It's not deception if it comes from a really, really, really good place).

 

Let's seeTurning Leaf Chardonnay - 300.jpg if Larry King is still breathing

When asked where they prefer to eat take out, there was a 50/50 split between cozying up on the couch and watching a little TV and sitting down at the table. (Boomer Brief Rule - Where you eat is an easy decision when either, a) Mad Men, b) Breaking Bad, c) Grey's Anatomy or d) Private Practice are on TV (the last two are for Charlotte).

 

 

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BP Pay Me

By Bob on July 26, 2010 6:12 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I filed our damages claim with British Petroleum over a month ago. Boomers, it wasn't easy. BP makes you come up with YEARS of records just to recapture a dime of lost income.

 

You think the government is picky? Nah...send something to BP and I swear you'll hear Alice Cooper singing Welcome to my Nightmare while you wait on hold.

 

To file our claim we've dug through dusty boxes of even dustier tax returns. Rummaged through rental receipts. Burrowed for business licenses... We combed through so much old stuff that we probably crossed paths with that Indiana Jones-looking Egyptian guy from the History Channel.

 

Yeah, we dug THAT DEEP.

 


Check out this video for a first-hand look at the BP runaround.

Then read the conclusion after the jump.    

 
 
 

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Estate of Mind

By Bob on July 19, 2010 6:04 AM | Read More

Keely Smith - Louis Prima - 350.jpg

I know a lot of you enjoy garage sales and estate sales.

 

Hell, some of you LIVE for this stuff (yeah David, I'm talking about you).

 

Me? Not so much. I subscribe to the Boomer Brief Theory of Garage & Estate Sales: CRAP IS CRAP.

 

It doesn't matter if it comes from a garage sale or an estate sale (tomato/tomato) I've never believed that one person's trash is another person's treasure.

 

Charlotte kind of feels the same way. I mean, she'd rather spend her time shopping at Banana Republic and White House/Black Market than say...OUR NEIGHBOR'S GARAGE.

 

So, that's why I was surprised when she spotted a sign for an ESTATE SALE in our old neighborhood and decided we should definitely go.

 


The avocado-green carpet hadn't seen this much traffic since Jimmy Carter was shelling peanuts on the Resolute desk.

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BP & Me

By Bob on July 5, 2010 6:12 AM | Read More

 

It's no secret that British Petroleum and the Deep Water Horizon have officially KILLED summer for the Gulf Coast. With that grim image in mind, I figured it was time for us to file our claim.

BP-350.jpg 

Like millions of other people and businesses, we've been impacted by this disaster. We've owned a Gulf Coast beach home since 2004. In good years the house rents pretty well. In years with storms (never call 'em hurricanes) the resort business isn't as good - but it doesn't kill it entirely.

 

This BLACK DEATH called an oil spill is nothing like the other disasters we've weathered.

 

We've seen "storms" named Ivan, Dennis, Ike, Rita and the dreaded KATRINA. In every one of those years, the house generated a little money and we've done our part to stimulate the local economy.

 


It was like somebody was standing on the beach with a bullhorn screaming, "Run for your lives. There are sharks with lasers in the water and they all have diarrhea and they want to eat your children after they crap on them."    


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Glen Beck Gets Bewitched

By Bob on June 28, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Beck is Bewitched.jpg

As a hospital waiting room connoisseur I thought I'd seen just about everything. Internets, I have to tell you I was wrong. I hadn't seen everything until yesterday. That's the day I saw everything.

 

There I was jammed into the outpatient waiting room at the Baylor Surgical Hospital in Fort Worth. It was mixed group. Different ages, genders, ethnicities and affiliations to whomever they were waiting on.

 

You've seen the scene. People come through the surgical waiting room double-doors dazed and often a little emotional after sending a loved one off to be sliced open. At first they're quiet, almost reverent. Then, they find a comfortable place to sit down and set up camp.

 

These waiting rooms usually have magazines older than the people reading them. I understand from the reading material I've seen in these waiting areas that MAN HAS LANDED ON THE MOON and that our beloved PRESIDENT LINCOLN was assassinated at Ford's Theater. See what you miss when you let your subscription to LIFE MAGAZINE expire? Jeez.

 


I halfway expected the waiting room to stop talking, put down their vending machine Doritos and Zip Lock bags of diced pineapple and hang on his every word.  

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Meanwhile Back at The Ranch

By Bob on June 21, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Nik Nik - 355.jpg

It's Not a Job It's an Adventure. Remember that line?  It was used by some forgotten advertising agency to sell kids on joining the United States Navy.

 

What a load of crap.

 

I should know.  Like most Baby Boomers, I had my share of junk jobs. With summer approaching, there'll be plenty of kids off to their first "adventure". Ah, the memories.

 

Charlotte worked for Kmart in Arlington and spent most of her time dodging Blue Light Specials. 

 

I sold men's clothes at a now-defunct retail chain at Arlington's also defunct Six Flags Mall (anybody remember The Ranch?).  That's where I learned "circle selling" from Roger, a 30-something black-haired lothario with a pencil-thin moustache.

 


The Ranch was a little like working a Louisiana chain gang. If your sales average wasn't high enough you'd spend the night in the box. 


 

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Collywood Critter Cam

By Bob on June 17, 2010 6:41 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I live in critter country which I've documented before. It's not that we live in the country (au contraire!) we live in COLLYWOOD (what some of our friends and new neighbors who used to live in Bedford, call Colleyville). It's one of the nicest suburbs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

 

We're both native Texans and Collywood...er, ville...has been home for about 15 years. We like it here. Trouble is, so do critters.

 

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Flying With The Eagles

By Bob on June 14, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

The Eagles (Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmit & Joe Walsh) are back on the road this summer with another "retirement" tour. These boys are banking some serious cheddar into their IRA's and for good reason - their shows are GREAT.

Here's my Boomer Tip 'O the Week for anyone who has never seen these guys in concert. STOP what you're doing right now -- log on to Ticketmaster - and buy your tickets (they're in Dallas June 26). They have dates around the rest of the country pretty much all summer, so if you miss them in Big D, book your vacation around one of their other shows. You won't be disappointed.

Charlotte and I gathered up some good friends on their last stop through Dallas and saw their show at the American Airlines Center. They played all their hits mixed in with some of their new songs (btw, pretty good). These Boomer Rockers still have their sense of humor. Henley called that Eagles tour their Assisted Living Tour.

Our friend Gene probably summed up what we were all thinking after the show, "If this was the assisted living tour, I hope they come back for the Alzheimer's tour!". We all agree Gene'o.

Here's some video from our Eagles excursion to the AAC:

  

 

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Sea Sick

By Bob on June 3, 2010 12:05 PM | Read More

The tragedy of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico goes deeper than the one mile depth of the well head.

 

When the well exploded some 40+ days ago, 11 people lost their lives. In the days, weeks and months to come, tens of thousands will lose their livelihoods.

 

As a Boomer and Gulf Coast groupie what I was seeing on TV was starting to make me sick to my stomach.

 

So, before we let CNN make up our minds about the situation, we decided to check it out for ourselves. Charlotte and I loaded up our humongous carbon-footprint SUV and headed down to Gulf Shores, Alabama to check it out.

 

SPOILER ALERT -- We LOVE GULF SHORES, ALABAMA and the people in the area. They're nice in a Deep South kind of way and even though we're from Dallas/Fort Worth they seem to tolerate LIKE us. And while I'll never get used to waitpersons asking me if I want SWEET TEA, we have a cultural bond that no blow out can blow up.

 

Which makes what we found even sadder. Sure they put on their game face - and after winning a national championship (I had UT in the betting pool prayer chain, too but you can't win 'em all) there's nobody better at rising to the occasion.

 

These people are hurting. Even the toughest ones are more than a little scared. And the whole area has what Mel Brooks would call HIGH ANXIETY. It ain't pretty.

Click on the video for a first-hand look at what we found.

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The Graduate

By Bob on May 24, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Thumbnail image for SMU Graduation.jpg

It's the time of year when Boomer parents everywhere sit for hours at graduation ceremonies.  We all share the same bond: counting the seconds until OUR KID walks across the stage. It's Dante's Inferno in an air conditioned coliseum.

 

Graduates don't have it any easier. 

 

I spent my entire junior high and high school life sandwiched between the same two people thanks to a cruel 26-letter alphabet. Today, 36 years after graduating, I can't tell you what happened to them. My favorite reply when anyone asks about my classmates is that as far as I know they're either dead or in jail.  Turns out I'm right about half the time.

 


I just wanna say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Plastics.


 

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Taking a Walk down Annie's Hall

By Bob on May 10, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Annie Hall.jpgDiane Keaton has been America's ditsy sweetheart since she crossed paths with Woody Allen in Play it Again Sam and then won the Academy Award for Annie Hall.

 

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never had the pleasure of seeing the 64-year-old Boomer and spokesbabe for L'Oreal cosmetics up close and personal.

 

Since Charlotte and I are patrons of SMU's Tate Lecture Series, we got our chance to see the dynamic Diane a few nights ago.

 

See is a relative term -- seeing as how our season tickets allow us entry only into McFarlin Auditorium's THIRD BALCONY. This, as anyone who's anyone can tell you, is the BOTTOM of the Tate Lecture Series food chain Dahling.

 

The food chain didn't keep us from seeing Ms. Keaton. And Diane didn't disappoint.

 

I don't know what I was expecting (an aging actress telling stories about the "good 'ol days"?). What we got was an engaging talk about perseverance and the power of not letting age slow you down.

 


This wasn't all, THE SUN'LL COME OUT TOMORROW...but she did break into song a couple of times.

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Toyota's Spin

By Bob on April 26, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Toyota Recall.jpg

Toyota's been having a HELL of a time with this recall business.

 

First, it's a floor mat that needs adjusting, and then a gas pedal, pretty soon you've got engineers from NASA involved. The next thing you know Congress is calling up Mr. freakin' Toyoda (don't ask me why he spells his name with a "D" and not a "T" like his car - maybe it's a cultural thing) to testify before Congress.

 

Give a guy a break.

 

So Boomers, you knew it was only a matter of time before a recall notice would find its way to Colleyville.  Yep, we got one.

 

The envelope looked official, but since it wasn't from the IRS I let it marinate on the desk in the laundry room for a couple of days before I opened it. Sure enough, it was a letter from Toyota telling Charlotte to bring in the Lexus for the complimentary repair.

 


"Right, the CAMPAIGN," he says sotto voce, like we're the only two in on this recall secret.

 

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I'm Too Sexy for My Text

By Bob on April 12, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Thumbnail image for Sexting.jpg Boomers, I read something the other day that scared the HELL out of me. 

 

No, it wasn't about ZOMBIES or IRANIAN NUKES (we all know they're at the very top of my WTF list).  This was much scarier. 

 

For some insane reason Boomers are "Sexting" each other. This of course, made me shout, ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? 

 

The guy beside me shot me a look like I was going for my Uzi. That of course is when I pretended to have a mild case of Tourette's. STEP AWAY FROM THE CRAZY MAN.

 

Works every time.

 

Sexting for the digitally uninitiated is using your cellphone to email naked photos of yourself to someone else.  The New York freakin' Times tells me it's all the rage from middle school kids to college students.  But, Boomers?  C'mon.   

 


What's Willie Nelson doing on Granny's phone? 

 

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Genesis Playlist

By Bob on March 29, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Genesis Playlist - R.Crumb.jpg

Me: iTunes has this feature that creates playlists using your favorite songs.

 

Charlotte: What's it called?

 

Me: Genius.

 

Charlotte: How does it work?

 

Me: You find a song you like then click on the little ATOM BOMB looking deal in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

 

Charlotte: Then what happens?

 

Me: Your computer blows up.

 

Charlotte: Yeah, right.

 

Me: Nah, it finds songs that are kind of like the one you chose. Then it gets other songs that sound good with it.  Kind of like a musical match-maker.

 

Charlotte: Cool.

 

THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY, SITTING IN A PEW IN THE METHODIST CHURCH

 

Me: I see we'll be singing Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing this morning.

 

Charlotte: Uh huh.

 

Me: I hear it's on the preacher's GENESIS playlist.

 

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Wreck a Nice Beach

By Bob on March 15, 2010 6:00 AM | Read More

Wreck a Nice Beach.jpg

Now that Apple has unveiled this iPhone on steroids called an iPad, we can confirm two very important things:

1)     Apple's naming gurus are masters of the obvious

2)     This is probably something I'll spend money on at some point in my life

 

The problem Boomers, is that this is another example of technology run amok. 

 

Sure, it's well-intentioned in a LET'S MAKE A BOATLOAD OF MONEY way, but I don't want to be the first kid on my block to have one. 

 

 


It's enough to make