Friday, December 4, 2009

Grazing, Tigers, and Nothing to Do's

One of the more enjoyable things about working around the base is that each holiday season, most of the local outposts of the beltway bandits hold “open houses” or sometimes called “customer appreciation” events. They are mostly social, a chance to cement relationships with customers, but there is always a selection of food and drink available. Over the years they have toned down a bit (based on some rather legendary stories), but none the less they provide a chance to graze. Again, in the past the food was mostly supplied by employees, and the fun was to snoop around and find those little gems of appetizers or sweets amongst the Giant bought cheese trays, and McKays fried chicken (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Yesterday marked the beginning of this year’s series, with let’s say Contractor A’s event. With some anticipation I finally found a parking spot for the flutter mobile, and went in the door and greeted some old friends from “the working days”, and then headed for the room with the food. While there was indeed a variety of stuff available, I suspect all of it was purchased. When you see everything in those institutional big aluminum foil pans, it’s a dead giveaway. No cute little Christmassy serving dishes with Santa’s on them, just tubs. There were paper plates of stuffed ham, something which I believe started out life as crab balls, but they were reduced to more like crab marbles, more hunks of fried stuff that might have been fish, the ubiquitous chicken wings with ranch (a combination I never understand), some crab dip in a chafing dish (which wasn’t actually too bad), and yes, the sliced salami and cheese cubes platter. Besides the crab balls (at least the ones I had) being reduced, the stuff wasn’t bad, just not what I had hoped for. And, maybe a reflection of the economy (at lest they still held the event) the wine was in Almaden boxes with those inscrutable little twisty things that never seem to work correctly. Red, White, and yes, the dreaded white Zin. A keg of beer was also available. Once again, those expectations get in the way. Nice to see some old friends (geez, I miss that), but can only award one FECU. Maybe the next one….(build those expectations!).

Ranting Department to end the week..

With my new “retired” regimen, I now am grateful that my eyes open again usually around 6:30 or so, and sometimes catch the weather (enduring “wake up with Al) and then switch over to the Today show to maybe get updates on the news. Well, Today has turned from a news journal to mostly a “National Enquirer” of the air. Michael Jackson has finally left the pages, but now we have “the latest” on Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox, the “balloon boy”, lately the Salahi’s, you name it. Lurid, salacious, right to the top. And, they don’t just report on it, they somehow inveigle parents, sisters, brothers, and even friends to be “interviewed” (mostly meaning grilled) by dear Matt and Meredith. And, invariably they borrow that dreaded phrase from the ESPN sideline people: “What was going through your mind when….”. You know, I don’t really care.

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the current travails of Tiger (also worth about 20 minutes on Today lately). As alert readers will remember, I often criticize his demeanor on the course, but also recognized that he is gracious in interviews suffering idiot questions (What was going through your mind when…) from idiots and so on. I have even gone so far as to give him the title “Gentleman of the Game”. Of course we don’t yet know the whole story (and maybe never will), but the circumstantial accusations floating around, whether true or not, probably will serve to strip him of that title. While his "on course" skills put him in the class of Nicklaus, Palmer, and Watson, maybe his "off the course skills" do not. What a shame.

End of Rant

Local Calendar

Don’t forget that December First Friday is tonight in Leonardtown, The Christmas Walk on the Solomons, Candlelight Tours at Sotterley Plantation, Madrigal Dinners at Historic St. Mary’s City, Concerts at St. Mary’s College, including the Messiah on Sunday, and I’ve probably missed a few. Pick one, get out there, and


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