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Killer Chicken Jerky, Made in China, and YOU

If you have pets, you have probably heard about the 'Chinese Chicken Jerky' fiasco, where over 360 dogs may or may not have been killed by jerky treats from China.

It's not a 'recall' yet, per se, but people are being warned to be cautious.

I am in the Pet Industry, and the words 'Made in China' have never been popular in the states, especially when it comes to anything a pet would put in it's mouth (treats, chews, toys, etc.).  I sell products that are made in China, but not a lot of them.  The treats I sell are made by an FDA-standards plant and have never been subject to investigation.

That said, 'China' is still a 4-letter word in the pet sector.

According to the FDA, there is still not enough direct evidence to link the chicken jerky to pet deaths, but consumers are taking action and treating the Chinese treats like they are recalled and deadly.

The following is a picture a friend sent me via Facebook, asking for clarification from an insider:

My advice?  If you're worried about safety, don't feed it.  Simple as that.

Better safe than sorry.  I personally only feed treats from the US and Canada.  Not because China is evil, it's because I choose to support local companies.

But I will say this:  Most of these under-investigation brands are 'big box' brands exclusively, meaning Petco, Petsmart, Walmart, Target and Grocery.

The product is not under recall, so no product is being pulled.  Essentially, the big chains don't give a damn unless they're being told by the government to pull product.

Independent Pet Stores?  It's off their shelves.  They don't want to be an indirect killer of dogs.  Again, better safe than sorry.

One of my Facebook friends that was huffing and puffing the loudest about 'deadly chicken' was called out.  By me.

Me:  Where do you buy your pet food?

Her:  Petco.  They have good stuff.

Me, laughing a little as I type:  They also stock X Y Z, brands under investigation for selling the 'deadly' jerky you just mentioned.

Her:  Ok, so??

Me:  They're not pulling the product.  They're still selling it, and don't give a fuck.  Now, if they're selling treats that can kill your dog, knowingly and carelessly, why in the blue hell are you buying your dog's food there????

(in minutes, she sent me a private message asking for a recommendation on what to feed and where to go... I laughed)

In short, these products are not officially deadly, but they are under severe suspicion.  Do you feed Chinese treats to your pet?  Do you buy food from retailers who don't pull controversial food, and refuse to stock it until they know it's safe?

Or are you like the FDA, waiting for that magical number of dead dogs before you finally give a damn?


A Small-Town Newspaper and the Polarization of Readers

I live in a small town and have to put up with a small-town newspaper.  I know that if I want real news of what's going on in the world I can't rely on The Post Register at all, but they still amuse me from time to time.

For being an unbiased, impartial newspaper, you'd be amazed how many religious-based articles there are.  Since this is an LDS-heavy area, they cater to Mormons even more than the Salt Lake Tribune does.

For example, the Post Register's Facebook page has 2 of their 4 most recent posts about Mormons.  One is talking about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir trying to reach out to the masses, and the other discusses how popular BYU-Idaho is getting.

The SLC tribune is much less Mormon-centric, even though the world sees Salt Lake as the Mormon-Mecca.  Their #6 most recent facebook article talks about Mitt Romney's representation of the LDS Church, and then you'd have to scroll through about 2 weeks worth of posts before finding something else religious.

So when I saw this comment-and-exchange between a reader and The PR on Facebook, I wasn't that shocked...  These are the comments about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir trying to become more mainstream:

I laughed.  Especially with the 'half our readers' quip from the newspaper.  On their website, they boast  a daily print circulation of about 22,000, targeting an area of over 230,000.  That's a 9.56% reach.

Comparatively, The Los Angeles times has about 53%.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch boasts a 57% reach.  Granted, those are both major metropolitan areas, but the greater Billings area compares to Eastern Idaho (population-wise), and the Billings Gazette has a 42% reach.

I know print is slowly dying, but The Post Register seems bent on helping it croak.  A yearly subscription would cost me about $3.35 a week, yet I could get the Los Angeles Times for about $2 a week.  Sense?  This makes none...

The comment above shows that by catering to one demographic, they're risking alienating everyone else in the process.  If half of your subscribers (11,000... ha) are LDS, ok.  I'm sure they want to know what's happening around the world as well, instead of what's going on in their own church.

I have news for you, Post Register.  They (Mormons) talk about themselves enough as it is.  They probably knew about the things you report on before you report on it...  Non-mormons don't care about the goings-on of the church, so you're essentially preaching to the choir (pardon the pun).

Even if you take away the Mormon-centric philosophy, the paper seems to have troubles with fundamentals as well:

Granted, I used to play 'Paperboy' on my Nintendo in the 80's.  I know how hard it is to throw the paper just right without breaking a window or getting chased by an old lady.  But still, if you have a Facebook be prepared to communicate and engage with Facebook.  "You should have called us" and "email was lost in the ether" are lame excuses, and I am glad you were called-out on it in a semi-public setting.

Do you come from a small town?  If so, do you have a newspaper as skewed and out of touch as this one?  Please share your stories below.  With luck, someone from the Post Register will read this and learn something...  (and, with luck, hire a new Marketing/PR Director)


Hey @NFL, The Ravens Fans Are Right. BULLSH*T!!

I love my football.  I'm a Panthers fan, true and true (even though we were embarrassed this week by the Giants) and love to watch the game.

I am in four, FOUR fantasy football leagues this season.  That should show my love of the game.

(or my lunacy)

But I am getting fucking TIRED of these replacement referees who don't understand this game, and the differences between college and pro football.

On Sunday Night's Patriots/Ravens game, the fans started chanting "BULLSHIT!!  BULLSHIT!!" after yet another bad call by the replacement referees.

Game after game, week after week, we see their ineptitude.  Bad calls, bad ball placements, succumbing to player peer pressure, not controlling players, and just plain sucking.

If the Ravens lost that game due to bad calls, I would beg the NFLPA to strike, but luckily the Ravens pulled through.

I miss the old refs.  They were blind, but I'd prefer the blind refs to the idiots on the field.

Some of the replacement refs can't even speak proper English...

Feel free to go to ESPN's website to look at all the gaffes in week 3 alone.  Penalties not called, extra challenges granted, and stupidity stupidity stupidity.

The NFLPA has the power to strike, based on the deficiency of the refs and the lack of integrity (and safety) of the game.  As much as I love watching football during this time of the year, I believe the NFLPA should take action.

I am willing to give up a few weeks of half-assed football in order to get the real referees back on the field and show Roger Goodell that he is fucking up the integrity of this game.

Threatening players and coaches with fines if they don't respect these scabs is not helping.  Go threaten the replacement refs.  Learn how to do your damn job, and don't let players coaches or fans intimidate you.

Refs:  You are meant to be hated.  You are meant to be boo'd.  You can't be anyone's friend.  Do your damn job, make some enemies, and keep this game at the high standard it needs to be.

Or else I'll do like Bill Belichick tried to do in week 3, and like John Fox tried to do in week 2.  I'll call you out, and try to rough you up if given the chance.

Fellow football fans, I am sick and tired.  I know you are too.  Is there anything we can do?  You bet.  Tell the @NFL on twitter how you feel.  Share, retweet and help this post go viral.

Stand up loudly and proudly, saying "I am fed up with these replacement reps, and want the integrity of the game restored."

Or if you're a Ravens fan, keep chanting.  BULLSHIT!  BULLSHIT!!  BULLSHIT!!!


Review Of The Celt Pub In Idaho Falls

The Celt Pub and Grill is the newest eatery/bar in Idaho Falls, and has been hyped up for the better part of a year.

Finally, FINALLY they opened, and were instantly packed.  So much so they had to limit the amount of people coming in, and received some backlash.

I decided to wait a few weeks before doing, so the crowds can calm down and the restaurant can find their groove.  I'm wondering if I didn't wait long enough??

I checked first, and they recommended reservations.  My girlfriend and I were doing a double-date on Friday night, so I made the reservation for us.  Four people, seven pm.  Easy peasy.  (...right?)

We showed up, the place was packed, and they didn't have a table for us.  The owner/manager (or the oldest host I've ever met) came up to us, welcomed us and basically told us it's a free-for-all, get in where you can.

I told him we made a reservation for a table.  His answer?  "Well, a lot of people make reservations."  After seeing us glare at him, he went to go look for a table.

As we were seated, we noticed two major things:

- No queue area, where you can easily wait to be seated.  It went from door to madness instantly, with about 3 feet of foyer.  The second we stepped inside we were in people's ways.

- HORRIBLE crowd noise.  It's a hardwood floor, hardwood bar and high ceilings, with very poor acoustics.  You could hear everyone's conversation but the people right next to you.

...meh.  We grinned and beared it.

I enjoyed the fact that the men were in slacks and 'Celt' polos, while the women all had to wear Scottish kilts.  (totally not sexist or discriminatory at all).  Jameson Whiskey and Guinness led me to believe this was an Irish pub, but the girls look Scottish to me.  Kilts in Ireland, Wales etc didn't catch on until the 20th century, so I see kilts as a Scottish thing...

The reception was poor (being brushed off as you walk in the door?  NOT cool).  The service was below-average.  The food was good (4 out of 5 stars) but their menu selection was very minimal.  I had a 'Cajun Jameson Burger,' marinated in Jameson Whiskey, covered in cajun spices and topped with kroeger-brand shredded cheddar cheese (big pile in the middle, wafer-shreds on the sides).  The burger tasted good, but the Jameson was the only 'Celtish' thing about it.  I was expecting something more... I dunno... Irish?  Pasties, Stew, Bangers, not burgers and pastrami sandwiches.

The Celt is more bar than bar & grill...  If there's a next time, I'm just going for drinks.

On a bar level, there are better choices in town.  The mixed drinks here are WAY overpriced and the bar atmosphere is a half-assed copy of other places in town.

"We have bigscreens like a sports bar!"  Yeah, but not many and they were all turned to obscure sports nobody cared about.

"We have a dartboard like a pub!"  Yeah, one.  Other bars in this area have at least three, because some people in town are big on darts.

"We have a pool table!"


They seated us at a high-top table next to the pool table.  When I say 'next' we were 2 feet away from the table, meaning anyone playing only had three sides to work from.

Unless you're a rude drunk douchebag...

Meet PWT, who looked a LOT like Christina Aguilera pictured here.  She had big boobs, bleach-blonde hair, and you could tell she had on some Spanx to suck that gut in.

Man oh man, she looked like a can of biscuits ready to burst... and she thought she was the hottest person in the building.

She wants to make a shot, but our table is in the way.  She says "sorry" and tries to work around us.  After a few seconds, she turns around again and says "I said I'm sorry, now are you going to be rude about it or are you gonna move out of my way?"


Oh no you di'int...
At that point we had all had a few drinks, and Miss PWT was hammered before she walked in the door.

The vibe was getting more and more tense, and I was expecting one of the girls at my table to start a chick fight.  Her date, Mr "Miller High Life" felt the tension too but didn't care.  She keeps talking trash about us, we keep talking about her, and finally we left before hair was pulled and Spanx burst from a pressure overload...

While she was absolutely rude about the situation, I blame The Celt for not planning their layout any better than they did.  Stack a full table of diners next to a pool table, add booze, and it's a recipe for disaster.

Especially since you had such a skewed customer base there... There were well-to-do people eating there, enjoying wine and a (semi) nice meal to the tune of $75+, but you also had drunken hillbilly bar-hoppers trying to start fights.

Bad, bad mix.

All in all, I have to rate The Celt as 'meh.'  2.5, MAYBE 3 stars out of 5.  It's in a historic spot and the food was ok.  My girl and I had a decent meal and 2 beers each, and the ticket (after 20% tip, I don't know why...) was still under $40.  If they expand their menu, maybe make it a little more authentic, and figure a way to keep the diners and the drunkies happy (and separate) they will do a better job.  Otherwise, when the allure of a new hangout fades, their business will too.

As for me, if I want a pub done right I'll head over to the Stone of Accord in Missoula.  Irish food, Irish spirits, and a much much MUCH better experience overall.  Sadly, The Celt doesn't compare to a good Irish pub... but a lot of Eastern Idahoans probably don't know what they're missing.


Is It Just Me, Or Does #MittRomney Need To Lay Off The Spray Tan?

On Wednesday, Mitt Romney was interviewed on Univision (a spanish-speaking station) in Miami.

He talked about uniting the country, appealing to 100% of the nation (including the controversial 47%), and...

...wait a second...

Do they just have bad lighting over at Univision, or does Mitt look like he's been hitting the tanning booth a little too hard?

Lets compare Mitt from the RNC to Mitt now, shall we?

It's either bad lighting, bad makeup, or dude is pulling a 'brownface' to appeal more Latino...

Well, Mitt said he wished he was latino... Maybe he's doing like Michael 'I wish I was White' Jackson and slowly going brown?

If he starts rolling the 'R' in his last name, you'll know for sure...

Or if he shows up to an interview at BET looking like this:

We'll know he's just pandering.

Next he'll be in Jersey, tinted 'Snooki' orange...  If that happens, I hope Willy Wonka mistakes him for an Oompa Loompa and puts him to work in the factory.


Why Did The Black Man Cross The Road? (When Is Racism Funny?)

I spent the majority of last week in Las Vegas and California.  Normally what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but this story just has to be shared.

It's racist, borderline offensive.  But a little funny.  Just bare with me...

I was in Vegas, taking the shuttle bus to the airport from the car rental dropoff.  I was in between a group of drunk tourists and a middle-aged black couple.

The drunk dudes were talking about their trip, and how one of them almost nailed a black chick.

This turned into a few racist jokes.

The black couple was slowly getting more and more offended, and the wife restrained her husband more than once.  I'm getting uncomfortable watching this, but wasn't in a position to make the guys stop.

This continues to escalate until one of the drunkies cracks this joke:  "Hey, why did the black man cross the road?  BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE CHICKEN WAS!!"

The black dude laughed a little, and then looked around to see if anyone noticed.

His eyes caught mine.  I pointed to him, with an "I saw that, you laughed" face.  His expression?

He knew he got caught, and then wasn't angry at the drunk dudes anymore.  Apparently racism is ok as long as it's funny...

On that note, that could be why Randy Newman recently made this song:

"I'm Dreaming of a White President" can be seen as racist, but Mr. Newman made this song as a jab to the Republican Party and some of the hate rhetoric going around.

Again, slightly racist, but intended to be funny.

So when is it ok to make a racist joke?  Can black people be self-deprecating and joke about KFC and Watermelon?

Or is that crossing a line, since white people would be crucified for telling the same joke?

Carlos Mencia talks about 'Beaners and Wetbacks' but I can't.

...yet everyone jokes about White Trash and rednecks.  And I'm ok with that.

Can racism be funny?  Can we poke fun at ourselves and each other without getting overly offended?

Or if I shout out "Fuck yo couch, nigga!" will you cry foul?


Random Acts of Kindness

As a parent, we all look for ways to teach our children good habits.

Please and thank you.  Being polite to others.  Sharing, sympathizing, and doing good deeds.

One such lesson was embedded into my boys this weekend, thanks to a random act of kindness from a complete stranger.

Now, my boys are super sharp.  My oldest is now in First Grade and is getting better and better at math, writing, spelling and such.  His cognitive skills blow my mind away.  My youngest emulates his big brother, so you know he's sharper than the average 4-year old.

At one point they borrowed my phone to use the flashlight app.  It turned off, but they were able to find it quickly without a problem.

They also played my 'Cut the Rope' game and beat a few levels I was having trouble with...

So when a sweet old gentleman gave them a gift while at breakfast, they learned a valuable lesson and took it to heart.

The gifts came from a regular at the IHOP we were at.  He's a woodworker, and definitely looked the part.  He gave two toy cars to the waitress to bring over to the kids.

They were in awe.  Instantly it became their favorite toy, and were very grateful.  Their mom took them over to the man to say thank you, and he looked a little embarrassed (maybe he's not used to being thanked?).  The boys decided they were going to make him a thank you card and give it to him at a future visit.

I talked to my oldest to see if he learned something from the event:

Me:  Do you like your new toy?

Him:  Yeah, that was very nice of him.

Me:  It feels good when people do nice things for no reason, doesn't it?

Him:  Yeah.  (a few seconds later)  Daddy?  I want to do a nice thing for someone I don't know now.

I couldn't be prouder.  It feels good to be the recipient of a random act of kindness, but it feels just as good to be on the giving end.  Now that the seed is planted in his head, he will understand that lesson even more.

To the old man at the restaurant, thank you.  Thank you not only for the gifts (the craftsmanship is amazing and you do really good work), but thank you for helping teach my children a valuable lesson.  I don't get to see them nearly as often as I'd like, so I am not able to teach them life-lessons like this on a regular basis.

This was one of the biggies, and I got to help, thanks to you.  My kids will be better people thanks in part to you, and I will never forget this moment.


Finishing What I've Started #Weightloss

I have been working on and off with losing weight, and sometimes the stories can be funny.

Over the last two and a half months, I have been working hard at getting to my ideal weight, and I have had some success.

I made simple improvements to my diet:  Greatly reduce my soda intake, cut down on fried foods, and eat breakfast every day.  I have also increased my protein intake after a lot of research showing the benefits of a protein-centric diet.

I am varying my workout routine, which has helped me keep from plateauing.  I run on a two-week circuit, and change workouts every 14 days to keep things fresh.  I have 5 two-week circuits, and rotate every 10 weeks.

The biggest benefit to my weight loss has been supplementation.  I read a few articles in Men's Health and online, talking about certain supplements helping boost metabolism, helping muscles recover after a workout, and helping burn fat naturally.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has been a good fat-burner for me, getting me out of the 2XL shirt category (hopefully for good) and getting my waistline back into the 30's.

Flax Oil keeps my heart healthy and my skin happy.  Green Tea helps me energize in the morning, and licorice extract helps me metabolize at night without keeping me awake.  Lastly, a whole-food multivitamin absorbs better into the body, so you don't pee it all out (those taking vitamins that have radioactive-yellow piss know what I'm sayin...).

Supplements have been a key focus point in my weight loss challenge.  Now, Creative Bioscience is sponsoring me for a 90 day challenge to help me drop down to my ideal weight by the end of the year. They focus on supplements and have an application for any blogger wanting to join me.

Their claim to fame seems to be their HCG product line, but the diet is designed for a 500 calorie daily intake.  That seems like a bit much to me, so I am going to try their Diet 1234 product.

click to enlarge

This product will complement my existing regimen while giving me an extra boost of herbs and extracts.  I won't need my green tea pills anymore, and am hoping this helps me round the bend and finish what I started.

As of July 1, I weighed in at the highest I've ever been:  260lb.  I dropped 20lb since then, and am hoping Creative Bioscience will help me drop the last 40 by the end of the year.

Stay tuned...


Dude Tip: Flying Beer Home

I had a trade show in Vegas earlier this week, and am now spending my weekend in California visiting my kids.

We had Sushi together Friday night (my kids love sushi, how awesome is that??) and then watched Paranorman at the local Drive In theater.

(...imagine if we had Sushi then saw Finding Nemo in 3D... I found him!  He's in my belly!)

Whenever I am in California, I enjoy my favorite beer from my favorite company:  Red Trolley Ale by Karl Strauss Brewery.

I've blogged about my love for them before.  They still don't ship to Idaho, so this is a rare treat for me.

But now, I have found a way to enjoy my California beer in Idaho.

I can fly the beer home with me.

Researching how to do it, I found you can't UPS or FedEx beer home.  But it occurred to me you can check 2 bags for free with Southwest.

I'm flying Southwest.  And have only one checked bag.

After some digging, I found this policy explaining you CAN fly beer home, and how to properly do it.

You have to pad it, seal it, cushion it, box it and seal it, but it can be done.

It can be done, my brothers.  It can be done.

I am happy to say I will be bringing a pair of 12-packs home with me, after I raid a Staples and get some bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and a plethora of other things...

My beer is leaving on a jet plane....  Can you hear me singing?

Can you tell I'm stoked?

It can be done, my brothers...


Trade Shows, Hangovers and Newbs

I am currently at a trade show in Las Vegas, having the time of my life.

And no, I'm not getting wasted and having crazy sex.  I'm back in the swing of things.

I have been in the pet food industry for 10 years now, and I didn't attend the last 2 shows.

I missed it.  The excitement, the networking, and the business that starts at 10am and ends at 2am.

...if you end 'early' like I do.

I am a huge fan of the pet industry, and I love what I do.  Whether or not I stay with the same company for 5/10/20+ years is yet to be decided, but I'm a pet food dude for life.

This show is at the Mandalay Bay convention center, and it has about 2000 exhibiting booths.  During the 3-day event, I will probably see about 200 of my customers, and get about 20-30 new 'unknowns' knocking on my door.  From a business perspective, it's a great time.

But beware.  You're in Vegas, on your company's dime.  The slope here, my friends, can be very slippery.

For example, there are a lot of 'first-timers' here this year.  They're the ones who are piss-drunk by 7pm, will be hurting all night and all morning, and will be miserable at the show.

This is a 3 day event, and they've essentially killed themselves after day 1.  No staying power, these newbs.

To help, I'll share a story with you of my first trade show.  You see, I was a newbie once before.  I went down that path, and I learned my lesson.  LEARN FROM ME.

It was 2003 and my first year working the show.  After the 10-5 buying portion, the night-business starts.  Dinners with vendors, cocktails with customers, and lots of elbow-rubbing.

We were doing dinner at a nice restaurant, and the vendor's CEO was there.  He was paying for the tab and said 'no limits.'  So we drank.

During social hour, I had 2 Jack & Cokes.

I enjoyed 2, maybe 3 glasses of wine with my dinner.

Then the CEO's assistant kicks in, and buys a round of Patron Silver for the table.  We all take a shot, celebrating our successes.

One shot becomes two, becomes six.  Maybe eight.  You lose track after a while.

Me and the assistant start talking.  We become friends.  He wants to toast some more, and orders a glass of Louis XIII Cognac for him, me, his boss and my boss.

At that point I've never had cognac, let alone a $500 per glass cognac....

All in all, in a 4 hour span I drank my weight in liquor.  I, like everyone else, blacked out in my room and woke up with a massive hangover.  The next day, we were all huddled in pain, crying to ourselves in our respective booths.

Not the CEO.  He was alive, awake and felt great.

And laughing at us.

I eventually asked him what his secret was.  I will never forget this man's wisdom.  He said:

"What I do is meet up with our server prior to seating.  I tip him $100 and say 'whatever they drink, I drink.  I want to look and act social.  HOWEVER, my first drink is alcoholic, the rest are not.  If they're drinking Jack and Coke, I'm having Coke.  If they're doing tequila shots, my glass has water in it."

So while we were all getting hammered and saying/doing too much, he was stone cold sober.

And observing.

And remembering.

While I don't rep this man's brand anymore, I will never forget him.  He is the reason I try to 'stay dry' at these shows.

Because you never know who is keeping tabs on you.

And because it's fun to be the one who remembers everything YOU did last night...

First timers, newbs and new hires, heed my advice.  Even if you're in Vegas and your higher-ups want to buy you drinks, do not get blasted in a professional setting.  You'll thank me later.

(and now that my night is complete and I'm under the radar, I'll be at the bar.... )


Thanks a Million

One million page views.

Oh wait, let me try that again...

One MEEEEEEELL-YON page views!

Thank you all for reading this blog, and helping me hit the big 1M in less than 20 months.  I love writing and sharing my stories with the world, and I love that you keep coming back for more.

May the next million be just as entertaining, and I look forward to the journey with all of you in tow.


Must-See Places in Idaho Falls

On your way into Yellowstone and driving through Idaho Falls?

Taking a tour of the tater-state and coming into Eastern Idaho?

This guide is for you.  This post will highlight the best of the best in Idaho Falls, Idaho, from an unbiased and un-sponsored individual.  It may be a small town, and I may complain about it from time to time, but it does have its charms...

First and foremost, if you're not LDS go ahead and skip the Mormon Temple.  It's the big white eyesore that ruins pictures of the falls and can be seen no matter where you are.

If you HAVE TO see it, do what I did and have some fun.

First on your list should be historic Downtown Idaho Falls.  There are lots of sights to see, including:

- Bars that have been in existence for over 100 years (Karen's and Ford's, Ford's smells like it's over 100 years old...)

- Unique 'Bench Art' from artists all over the world

- The greenbelt and (of course) the waterfalls that give IF the original name.

- And cool businesses galore.

There are great eateries and drinkeries downtown. MarCellar's is an amazing beer and wine shop where you can sample some of the best libations around.  The Snake Bite, The Frosty Gator and Rutabagas all have fantastic food offerings.

Come hungry.  And thirsty.

I have mentioned them before, but The Villa Coffeehouse is my favorite hangout in town by far.  Their coffees and teas are unmatched in this area, and their service is awesome.

Their internet sucks during peak hours, but that just shows the popularity of this place.  I've written about my worries when they were losing employees and customers were whispering predictions of doom, but they pulled out strong and are better than ever.

I would say 'ask for ______' but you really can't go wrong.  Come early for a pick-me-up (a Synergy latte and a jalapeno bagel for me), and come late on Wednesdays thru Saturdays for a nightcap.

And tell them I sent you.  Hell, ask if I'm there.  I'm there more often than I should be, and am surprised they don't charge me rent.

Another interesting sight in Idaho Falls is a statue/fountain on Utah St between Broadway and 17th Street.  It is the centerpiece on a roundabout and always has the fountain running.

Even in January.  The thing gets covered in snow, ice and icicles and is a sight to behold.  It's a neat scene during the summer, but looks much cooler when it is half-frozen.

Feel free to do like other tourists in town:  Park to the side and try to get your picture taken in front of the statue.  I'll bet at least 4 locals flip you off or curse you out before you can say 'cheese....'

If you're into the night life, there are a few options for you.  The Frosty Gator has a small venue next to the bar location, and The Peppertree Lounge often has bands or comedians playing (recently featured Saving Abel) with minimal covers.

For a more local and underground scene, check out The Wax House.

It's loud.  It's claustrophobic.  It's fucking awesome.

The venue is small and it's a little off the beaten path, but they get some good names now and then.  Local bands like The Opskamatrists and Gutter and the Onslaught know how to rock the house, and are worth seeing at least once.

While there is nothing better in this town than the fine dining options, you can easily cruise the town and get a few good laughs.

Remember some of the signs I've shared in previous posts?


Home Cook'n When YOUR Not Home Cook'n.  GAAH

What is this I don't even...

....well there is always more where that came from.  A reader board for a local insurance agency recently read "School is back in session!  Drive carefull!"  I couldn't tell if they spelled 'careful' wrong and have grammar issues, or if the 'y' fell off.  Days later, an 'l' was removed and now the sign reads 'drive careful.'  That answers that.

So yes.  I do live in a small town, and I complain about it from time to time.  But there are a few gems in this area of the gem state.  If you're passing through, slow down enough to see some of the good sights in Idaho Falls.

And if you need me, odds are I'll be at The Villa.


Bare With Me...

Ok, now what?

Do I have to be completely bare?  It's kind of cold...

And why exactly am I 'baring' with you?  Is it National Streaking Day or something?

Oh, you mean BEAR with me?  Well that's completely different....

...can I put my clothes back on now?


It's The Little Things That Bother Me

It's funny, but the big problems of the world don't phase me much.

Global warming?  Meh, I don't like shoveling snow.

Polarizing government?  More fun to watch than The Young and the Restless.

Zombie Apocalypse?  Bring it on, I can swing a bat than Woody Harrelson any day of the week.

It's the little things that get to me.  Like when my girlfriend has cereal for breakfast, doesn't drink all her milk and leaves the bowl with a small pool of milk in the sink.  For days.

Or when I'm playing fetch with my dog, she gets tired of fetching and moves on, but the ball is still 'out there.'  At least bring it back and tell me you're finished!


This has been bugging me lately.  We have a foaming soap dispenser in our bathroom that doesn't seem to want to die at all.

I'm waiting for it to be empty so I can replace it.  I don't like having a near-empty dispenser, because I don't want it running out when we have company.  That would be embarrassing.

Conversely, I can't just throw it out... there's still soap in it... that would be wasteful!

It seems like it has been 'almost empty' for months now.  I have no idea why, but the first 95% seems to go extremely quickly.

The last 5%, however, is almost endless.

My 5th-grade logic is kicking in, and wondering why they don't use the '5%' soap only, and fill it up all the way with the magical endless soap?  I would never need to buy soap ever again!

It's brilliant!

Bath and Body Works:  If you take my '5%' idea and make an everlasting-gobstopper of soap, you owe me royalties.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go wash the dishes before the leftover milk turns into yogurt.