Wednesday, August 29, 2007


1. Fly to Minneapolis

2. Find the nearest men's room

3. Select an empty stall next to one that is occupied

4. Slide your right foot over and do the Hokey-Pokey

Self-proclaimed righteous Republican Senator Larry Craig might have restless leg syndrome, but it is a better bet that he loves to sword play with Mr. Red Top. I'd personally like to see him on next season's DANCING WITH THE STARS doing his little Hokey-Pokey routine -- you know, the one that goes like this:

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out,
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about...

You put your backside in,
You put your backside out,
You put your backside in,
And you shake it all about...

You put your head in,
You put your head out,
You put your head in,
And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey-Pokey
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it is all about!

This is all very creepy. I think it is safe to say that Larry's political career is over, especially in Washington, DC. Yes, it is time to go back home to Boise where, apparently, "boys will be boys."

(Have you noticed that Idaho is the only state in the union shaped like a permanent hard-on?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It had to happen sooner or later, didn't it?

Up until yesterday little Alberto was playing dress-up pretending to be something he is not -- including such things as competent, honest, even law-abiding for Christ's sake.

Quite honestly, "I don't recall" a time when this country was saddled with such a pathetic excuse for the important position of Attorney General. Then again, lil' ol' Alberto couldn't "recall" a damn thing himself when he appeared before Congress.

Correction -- make that 72 damn things he couldn't recall.

Yes, justice was finally served when Alberto was forced to resign. But don't worry about his future; he's turning over a new leaf, many actually, in a line of work more in keeping with his limited capabilities.

See for yourself...

This photograph was taken earlier today. I think he'll eventually get the hang of it, don't you?

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Restaurant review by Jerry L. Nelson

Let me start by defining a Chef-Owner. Most small, independent restaurants are operated by what is referred to in the industry as “Chef-Owner"...people who both own the restaurant and perform as the chef in the kitchen. By the very word Chef, one gets visions of a person formally trained in some ethnicity of it French, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Asian, American (whatever that is), or some derivation on a theme. The operative words here are “formally trained”. Today’s chefs spend literally tens of thousands of dollars to achieve recognition from one of the dozens of culinary schools in the U.S. and abroad. However, there is another, far less glamorous way to be recognized as a chef and not just a “Cook” in the kitchen. You earn your “Chops”...a trendy word of which the 20th century equivalent was “Stripes”...the hard way, over years of work literally slaving away in the kitchen always creating something new and different with what is on hand, never relying on what you did yesterday, and taking the ordinary and pushing it to the next level...making a seemingly ordinary dish extra-ordinary. This is the case of Jesse Lopez of Papa Gallo’s located on U.S. 281 North in Bulverde, Texas.

For the last three years I have passed by Papa Gallo’s Restaurant hundreds of times and never given it a second thought. In fact the first thought I gave it was one of derision...I mean, how could a place that looks like an old house off to the side of a run down, small shopping center located on a busy U. S. highway be any good? Probably just another pile of Tex-Mex crap that tastes just like too many of the other piles of Tex-Mex crap I have eaten over the years. Well, Jesse and his family changed my mind on a recent visit. I mention family because most evenings Jesse’s wife works the register and his son and niece wait and serve.

Now all was not one hundred per cent but the good, nay, the great things, far outweighed the lackluster. Perhaps the best part of the evening was it was on a Monday and if you only knew how difficult it is to find damn near any place open on a Monday (reminds me of the theatre...all are dark on Monday to give the actors and actresses time to reconnect with reality, but then a good restaurant serving good food can be considered good theatre)...but I digress.

As we entered through a side door, Child Bride of nearly four decades and Friend and I commented on the almost full house as a positive sign. By the way, Friend was going out on a limb dragging us to this place after his most recent Blanco Road gastronomic gaffe.

We were seated at a corner table by the niece and given menus which featured the usual Tex-Mex fare but many of the items came with a twist. Papa Gallo’s has only a beer and wine license so I was a bit surprised to see what appeared to be rather large schooners of margaritas on several of the tables. When asked, the son explained they were made with wine but we would be hard pressed to tell the difference. He was right. One of these on the rocks with salt was a perfect way to wash down what turned out to be “larruping good” food.

Our aperitivo (Spanish for appetizer for you mono-lingual souls) was the Queso Flameado con Chorizo. Translate that as flaming cheese with Chorizo excellent combination if there ever was one. I specifically asked if the cheese would be flamed at tableside and was assured it would be. When it was brought out, there wasn’t a drop of brandy, or even rum, in sight...a minor setback because the taste of the cheese and the Chorizo was superb. Chorizo is a very greasy meat concoction and I say concoction because Chorizo is one of those foods you really don’t want to know what goes into it. Just remember it’s sausage, so be quiet and enjoy it. Unfortunately, the chips and salsa were a bit on the ordinary side. Jesse could do so much more if he fried his own chips and at least tweaked the salsa, regardless where it comes from.

For our entrees we each chose something different in order to sample as wide a variety as possible. The Child Bride of nearly four decades had her usual cheese enchilada with refritos and rice and a ladle of pico de gallo. The refritos were average as was the rice, but her cheese enchilada transcended the ordinary. It was moist and tender...yes, a cheese enchilada can be moist and tender. Friend had the Steak Tampiquena with all the accoutrements…. (He ordered his steak medium. I’ve already addressed that issue in an earlier review, but he enjoyed it so I guess there’s no accounting for taste).

I had what the menu described as broiled marinated breast of chicken served with ranchero and tomatillo sauce and topped with mixed cheese or the Pollos dos Colores (two colored chicken).

Now, a tomatillo is very much like a green tomato in appearance and that’s where the similarity stops. Even ripe they are hard as a rock and have a thin little onion skin style paper covering which is removed. Tomatillos are used almost exclusively for sauces...a wonderful pastel green blending of spices and proper seasonings to make a flavorful covering for just about anything. Friend and I had the added bonus of ordering Borracho beans as opposed to the standard refries. They were, perhaps, the best Borracho beans I have ever had...filled with fresh slices of jalepenos and chopped onion and fresh cilantro. Muy delicioso.

I find it difficult these days to eat in quantity as I did forty, thirty, even ten years ago, so by now I was miserable...but over the years I have learned even when stuffed to the gills there is always room for dessert. If there isn’t an axiom for this affliction, there should be.

While we were still dining I spotted another table being served what appeared to be some sort of ala mode dish on a sizzling platter much like fajitas are served. Well, I had to have one, much to the consternation of the other two. It turned out to be nothing more than an ordinary piece of apple pie with ice cream but served with a sizzling sauce on a (I was right) fajita platter smoking right out of the kitchen. What Chef Jesse had done was take your basic restaurant pie to the next level...well worth the calories and misery it caused.

I will be back to taste as many of the other items I missed as I can. Hang in there, Jesse. Together, we’ll get through your menu.


"What do you mean I'm cancelled?"

The news came quickly, decisively and without any sugar coating. Alas, there is now one less fox on Fox. Damn that Mr. Neilsen.

Yes, ANCHORWOMAN's poor ratings have led to cancellation after only one night's airing. While the numbers were admittedly bad, they were no worse than those for ON THE POT -- oops, I meant ON THE LOT -- which lasted an entire season and had less merit than a defrocked boy scout. Then again, ON THE LOT had Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer and giving the ax to anything Sir Steven is associated with is akin to another Holocaust.

Ironically, Phil Hurley, the station owner for KYTX in Tyler, noted that their ratings "doubled" during the thirty days that Lauren Jones anchored the 5:00 p.m. newscast. And so, as a parting tribute, Needtovent will post one last photo of Miss Jones as our way of saying "goodbye and good luck."

Is there any wonder why the ratings "doubled?"

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Last night the Fox Television Network premiered a new scripted/reality hybrid series that asks the question: "Would you trust a bikini model to deliver the news?"

Dumb question. Just take a look at the photo and you will see what "fair" and "balanced" really means.

Lauren Jones plays herself as the breathtakingly beautiful and buxom bimbo who is hired by a Tyler, Texas TV station to increase ratings. A former "Barker Beauty" on THE PRICE IS RIGHT and a featured WWE Diva, Ms. Jones is the hottest thing on the boob tube since Pamela Lee Anderson. Guys -- if you are looking for a high-def hard-on, ANCHORWOMAN is the place to be.

Virtually the entire cast is comprised of the actual KYTX-TV news staff whose reaction to the hiring of Lauren is mixed at best. This includes, of course, Stormy the Weather Dog whose wardrobe helps deliver the forecast. Stormy and staff are remarkably solid in their on-camera performances and the cinema verite style of Director Mark S. Jacobs adds an air of credibility to the proceedings.

During the thirty days of production this broadcast news stunt resulted in six half-hour episodes, with the first two airing back-to-back.

You might ask, "What's next?" So far there has been no word whether ANCHORWOMAN will be renewed. If not, I do have a suggestion. How about going one step farther and replacing Greta Van Susteren with Penny Pittman?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vicks VapoRub -- Part II

It was announced yesterday that Michael Vick has agreed to plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges that could result in a prison term. Details will not be announced until next Monday, but it is believed that prosecutors will seek only 10-18 months in jail time. Even if the anticipated maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 were to be handed down, it seems like this is a mighty small price to pay for such cruel acts as hanging, drowning, electrocuting and shooting defenseless animals. Talk about chicken feed -- especially when one considers that in 2004, Vick signed a ten-year contract extension worth $130 million dollars that guaranteed him an NFL record $37 million signing bonus.

Vick lied about his actions to his team, to his fans and to the NFL commissioner. It isn't the first time he has lied.

Back in January of 2006, I posted a comment about Michael and his equally despicable younger brother, Marcus. I don't know where Marcus is now, but I can tell you he isn't playing football any more. As for Michael, he has obviously gone from bad to worse. Ironically, both he and his brother are Virginia Tech alums.

Too bad Cho Seung-Hui isn't around any more.

Here's the Needtovent article that was initially posted on January 26, 2006:

Another frickin' denial from a high-profile athlete -- this time it is Michael Vick, today's quick pick for being a dick.

Little brother Marcus stomps on an opposing player in the Gator Bowl, an obvious and unprovoked premeditated act that is witnessed by 70,000 people in the stands and millions on TV, and his older brother yesterday speaks out and has the temerity to say, "I know Marcus. He's not the kind of kid that's going to do something like that on purpose."

Bullshit. What planet are you on, Michael?

"Sometimes your emotions just take it's time to move on."

Where? To jail, apparently, since this little angel was arrested and charged with pulling a gun on three teenagers in Virginia just three days later.

I am personally sick and tired of millionaire pro athletes who absolutely will not take responsibility for their actions or, in this case, admit that a sniveling scum-bag brother is guilty of ANYTHING. Just shut up, will ya? You come across even dumber than you look.

Yes, these Vicks rub me the wrong way.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Is it just me?

Friday, August 17, 2007

NEW FEATURE -- Restaurant Reviews

The intrepid staff at Needtovent's Intergalactic Headquarters is always on the search for a good meal. In fact, it can be safely said that we endeavor to literally have a banquet every night of the week. That's why we have secured the services of Jerry L. Nelson, our very own Captain of Culinary Candor, to discover for us and our loyal readers new gastronomic delights. Alas, Mr. Nelson's recent foray into the local restaurant scene failed to make a favorable impression. We hope you will enjoy Mr. Nelson's initial installment anyway. If so, please let us know...


Restaurant Review by Jerry L. Nelson

Let me introduce myself. I am a foodie...that is, someone who likes and appreciates good food...usually no matter what kind it is. There are reservations, of course…liver should not be eaten by human beings...apparently this goes back to my childhood (for which I will blame a lot of things). My taste runs from steak to burgers and all of the stops in between. As a quick side note, steaks and burgers should only be eaten medium-rare. I challenge you to find a good burger place that will cook a burger medium-rare. The customer more often than not will be told it is against the law to serve a hamburger rare or medium-rare. To this I say Crap of my father’s favorite expressions. I’ll explain just what it is some other time (no, it isn’t what you might think). The restaurant is just trying to avoid a suit for starting an e-coli outbreak to which I say, if they had good sanitation and food handling practices in their kitchen, that would not be a problem. If a restaurant refuses to cook a burger the way the customer wants it, don’t walk, run from the place. They don’t deserve your money.

While my parents were both good cooks, they had their limitations. About fifteen years ago I sought to overcome some of my limitations by indenturing myself to a Master French Chef for nearly two years in order to become a better cook. Let me define “indenturing” as working six nights a week in the kitchen of a four star French restaurant for free. I learned a hell of a lot. Now I can ruin food in at least three different languages.

In my quest for knowledge and gluttony I have read thousands of restaurant reviews and marveled at the glowing prose the reviewer spews forth in an effort to apparently win some kind of award. Are most of these people pompous? bet your ass, always using phrases like “velvety smooth sauce” or “light-as-air buttercream”. My position is, it’s either good or it isn’t and there are reasons for both. I will try to convey to you what was good about a food or restaurant or what was bad and why you should not waste your time or money going there.

There are certain words and phrases used in cooking...most of them come from the French. I will avoid these whenever possible, but when I must wear the mantle of a food snob at least you’ll get fair warning and some kind of definition. For too many years restaurant reviews have been written to appeal to the kind of people F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about...the rich. Supposedly he thought they were different from you and me. Well, let me assure you, the Donald probably doesn’t have any more taste for fine foods than I do. Yes, he does have a bit more money but we all know money won’t buy any amount of taste, as evidenced by his hair style...but I digress.

This first installment begins innocently enough with a friend and a coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrées. Lesson learned up front. Avoid any place that has to give away food in order to sell food. If it’s any good at all, it will sell itself. You can sell steak in an outhouse if it is properly prepared.

The establishment in question is the Blanco Road Bar and Grill located at 30690 Blanco Road in Bulverde, Texas. The coupon was a slickly designed mailer with great color pictures making one think this was a place of quality. Bar and Grill -- brings up images of a highly polished wood bar with mirrored back bar full of the finest spirits and wines available in the area and an array of imported beers chilling in the back room just waiting to be brought forth from the tap. Guess again, Jesse. When we walked in we were greeted by a woman who had a deeper cigarette and whiskey voice than any radio announcer could ever hope for. Had I not been aware of my surroundings I would have thought I had walked onto the radio set of the old Buster Brown Show and Froggy was getting ready to plunk his magic twanger. Lined up at the bar were five likely locals sucking down your basic Coors Light and Miller Lite. Madam cajones grande' spotted our coupon right away and commented we must be there for the free appetizer. We couldn’t deny it.

We were seated at your typical Lucy and Ricky kitchenette (Formica table top and chair with chrome and thinly padded seat). Miss Sharp Eyes came over to us and proceeded to tell us what was no longer on the menu...most of what was listed on the coupon. It seems they discontinued most of the entrees a few weeks ago. She said they weren’t selling very well. No steaks of any kind...the very things that brought us there. (Bad sign). Basically, the only things left on the menu were burgers, fries and, oh, the appetizers...nachos, fried mushrooms, jalapeno poppers of three or four different kinds, fried cheese sticks and chicken get the picture...whatever Ben E. Keith or Sysco Food Service sells.

Friend and I opted for the Bean and Cheese Nachos with the addition of ground beef and jalapenos...they can’t be real nachos without jalapenos. Friend also wanted an order of Onion Rings and we agreed to share both appetizers. We had not yet made up our minds which of the remaining entrees to have...perhaps I would throw caution to the wind and order the Ruben Sandwich if it was still on the menu. I hadn’t yet mustered up the nerve to ask, fearing disappointment.

I’m not much of a beer drinker so my snobbishness peeked out from beneath Lucy and Ricky’s table and I perused the wine list. Yes, they had a printed wine list...more than likely left over from their brief attempt to sell steaks because the first two wines I requested they did not have. Hell, I wasn’t asking for a ’47 Bordeaux from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, all I wanted was something drinkable. They finally managed to find my fourth request...a simple Pinot Noir at a very inflated price of $36 bucks. My friend had a beer...he has much simpler tastes. The nachos were deposited on our table. Right away I could see this was a mistake. The cheese was beginning to blacken where it had been left under the broiler too long and dried out. The hamburger/beef was probably left over from that day’s lunch tacos, although I didn’t see them on the menu, the beans that were spread on the chips were from a can...nothing you can do about that unless you go to the trouble of mashing your own and I just didn’t see the Blanco Road Bar and Grill doing that. Friend and I choked down what we could. Friend even had another beer in an effort to wash away some of the edges of the place. At this point we were waiting on the onion rings. Maybe they would be our salvation. Well, the rings never appeared nor did our salvation. We quickly dumped the idea of entrees and I asked for the check...$48 and some change...tipped way too much and headed for the door when Raspy asked me for my number. I slipped her a business card and wrote a fictitious number on the back of it. I definitely did not want her calling the house. Had I thought was probably the wine that dulled my reaction time...I would have given her Friend’s number, instead. After all, this place was his idea.

I must say, though, in defense of the Blanco Road Bar and Grill, the highlight of the evening was when frog in her throat’s daughter came in with her new puppy...a miniature something or other. She prefaced introducing the puppy to us with “I know this is against the law but I just couldn’t leave her outside alone. She’s so tiny." Had the daughter not been clutching the animal next to her rather ample cleavage I wouldn’t have looked twice...or maybe it was three times...I lose count when I drink wine. Unless you enjoy wasting your money on bad food and overpriced wine, don’t spend a dime at the Blanco Road Bar and Grill. They did have a slick marketing piece, though. It brought us in.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


There's only one word for Director Adam Shankman's HAIRSPRAY -- BIG.

Big Hair -- lots of daring 'dos
Big Stars -- Travolta is Divine
Big Dance Numbers -- the choreography makes a bigger splash than Shamu
Big Music -- a phantasmagorical musical with good, good vibrations
Big Buns -- a robust rump roasting of '60s pop culture

Take my word for it, HAIRSPRAY is this summer's undisputed supersize hit.

"'Detroit sound?' What's that? The cries of people being mugged?" -- Velma Von Tussle

Yes, the dialogue is a breath of fresh aerosol, the art direction has more eye-popping pizzazz than a plethora of Parziale's pizzas and the couture is haute, hot and heavenly. (Take a hint, Hillary.)

And talk about a terrific cast...

John Travolta plays the mom -- Edna Turnblad. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky plays her daughter, Tracy. Christopher Walken is Wilbur Turnblad, the father. Other marvelous cast members include Jerry Stiller, Amanda Bynes, Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley, Taylor Parks and the aforementioned slinky, sexy Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Von Tussle, a past Miss Baltimore Crabs crown-holder who almost steals the show.

Police Chief: "I doubt she'll risk jail to win some beauty pagent."
Velma Von Tussle: "I risked communicable diseases. She'll risk jail."

Miss Baltimore Crabs, indeed.

There's also John Waters as the "Flasher" and Ricki Lake as a Wm. Morris Talent Agent. Their appearance is a fitting tribute to the original 1988 film.

If GREASE is "The Word," then HAIRSPRAY is "Gospel." It's the Bible of buffant, bouncy, bubbly, backlash Baltimore. HAIRSPRAY harkens us back to a time and place when society may have been a mess, but the hair was perfect and the girls really knew how to tease.

(Any review for HAIRSPRAY that does not include this wonderful photograph of Christopher Walken ain't worth jack. Who could possibly disagree?)