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  1. MoeFOH

    Friday Funny...

    Coincidentally, this is exactly how we decide who'll post the Friday Funny at FOH. ; )
  2. Don't get caught in a rut this weekend! Have a great one. : )
  3. Unless there was a physical injury or total mental collapse, then surely you have to finish the game, announce afterwards. Did either of those things happen? I don't know. If they did, the announcement to retire still should have come later. Never seen or heard of anything like this before.
  4. Very nice! And yeah, tricky one with the full-flavoured beers. That drop looks and sounds amazing, though. Got a few interesting beers for the next episode. Stay tuned!
  5. @Ken Gargett Put me on a train, I'm in heaven. Put me on a bus, I'm in hell and ready to snap almost instantly. So, in my books, given the bus on top of everything else, you did well to avoid an international incident. How were the ports? Would love to know of some recommendations and potential pairings? Cheers, Steve.
  6. Part 2 – Bad nuns, Spanish travel calamities, and a Super Bock/Upmann Magnum 46 pairing. By Ken Gargett. When I last left you, it was endless delays, bad airport food, screaming kids and bad nuns. Not quite so in love with Spain now. And Air Europa would be the greatest stuff-up of an airline ever. But the nuns, you ask? Seriously, has anyone ever trusted a nun since ‘Blues Brothers’? Long and orderly line to check in at the airport, but it is moving and I have time to spare. Then, up comes a bunch of nuns and cuts straight in. Have no idea what the collective noun for nuns is – a ghoul of nuns? – but why? They were in no rush – I saw them inside hours later – but they still had to shove into the line. Bugger all those not wearing hoods and bling who’ve stood in line. Christ himself should not be cutting the queue, so his brides definitely not. But in they go, big smile. Don’t think that smile absolves you. There’ll be some serious questions when you lot front St Peter. You won’t be waltzing by like it is an airport queue. And pointy end, ladies? Well, why not. Those pesky poor would only spend it on food and shelter. I check the flight board. Needless to say, a bloke with a screaming child stands next to me. What the hell is it today? My flight has disappeared. Stand in the queue at Air Morons (for those catching up, Air Europa – the Telstra of airlines) with a lot of other unhappy people. Turns out they are flying us on our flight, to Vigo – why the hell it can’t fly to Porto, no one seems to know. We will be about four hours late for take-off, and then they will bus us, three hours, to Porto. I am very polite. Things happen. At least, apparently, we’ll get there. And bonus, our boarding pass will get us lunch. Back to the same dreadful place (the “burger” from part 1). Seriously? I go for a small yoghurt, a water and a juice. Not really too extreme. The cashier, an old, fat, very unpleasant bloke, yells at me to tell me I am not allowed those things. A coke or water or Fanta and a sandwich. Well, hey big spenders. Of course, had anyone bothered to advise me of this before, I would have complied. I point out I have a water. No, he screams, a little water, not a full one. Enough. If we are going to use loud voices, I have one too and I intend to share it with anyone within a hundred yards – “if you XVXGVDGD idiots had not KWDHJUKD this up in the first place, I would not be standing here dealing with an imbecile like you and what’s more, you stuff me around for ten hours and want to split hairs over the size of the EFUHEIFH water. You can shove that up your OUIHOGU.” He goes very quiet and quickly puts through my sandwich and small water. I don’t actually want the sandwich but I am going to take it and open it just for spite. So lord knows if and when anyone will ever hear from me again. But up until this, it was going well. Needless to say, there are about four more delays. Finally, a boarding gate. Far end of the airport. The very far end. Anyone who knows Madrid knows that the airport is the size of a city, so off I go. By the time I get there, delayed again. We wait. And wait. Eventually, called. A guy from Brazil is first in line. The machine rejects him and he has to stand to the side. I am next. The machine rejects me, but now they realise they have a problem. So for the next 30 minutes, much hand-waving, machine-gun Spanish, whacking computers. Eventually, they seem to give up and decide to take their chances. The crowd is getting restless. I am sent downstairs to the plane. But it is barricaded and locked. More people follow me to the small area. I feel like cattle at the last stop in the abattoir. Finally, on we go and amazingly, an uneventful flight. To Vigo. Who didn’t have Vigo on their bucket list? And the luggage comes out. Get on the bus – manage the back-row middle seat so can stretch out. But we have another delay. Some people on the bus have just discovered that the luggage fairy did not come and get their luggage and put it on the bus for them. That they actually have to do it themselves. So we wait while they go back to the airport to find their luggage. Finally, we are off. I swear I am not making this up. We go three feet before the first accident. Our driver has backed back into a car. Ever been to a Spanish car accident? It is a happening! Everyone contributes. Doesn’t matter if you saw it. Everyone has a view. People come from all over. The driver is saying there is no damage. Doesn’t appear to be but not sure I'd be happy with a huge bus ramming my car. Finally… We cross the border and all going well until the bus breaks down. The driver manages to keep it going but it has lost most of its power. We now have to crawl to Oporto. Special! A 12-month-old child waits till most people are asleep before she starts screaming. Eventually, we crawl into Oporto. We are, I swear, less than five minutes from the destination when one idiot insists the driver stop at a service station. He can’t wait five minutes? Seriously? The 12-month-old managed it but not this moron. And where does our driver take us? Not to the city, where everyone is going. Way out to the airport. Thanks very much. Naturally, my driver has long gone. Next morning, down by the Douro, I stop for a beer and a cigar at a riverside café. The girl asks if I will pay now, as I receive my beer. No one else has been asked. I say, as a joke, ‘why, do you think I will run off?’. She is mortified. ‘no’, she says, ‘but my boss does’. On my knee? I can’t help laughing. The beer, a large Super Bock, was cold and fresh and delicious (though the best thing I have had in Portugal was a bowl of local tripe stew with blood sausage sliced through it, the previous evening). The cigar is an old Upmann Magnum 46 and in glorious form. Whenever anyone comes near his café, I make sure I take a big puff and blow smoke far and wide and they turn and go elsewhere. Thought I'd run off, indeed! Why was my flight cancelled? I can only assume that the scum who run Air Europa decided that they may as well combine the flights to Oporto and Vigo and save themselves the cost of a flight, less a bus to Portugal. They may be interested to know that the Portugal/Oporto tourism people who’d organised these flights for me were so horrified that they have given their travel people instructions that under no circumstances are they ever to use Air Europa again. So well done, morons. You saved a few bucks but lost at least one major client. Way to run a company! Now, if you'll excuse me, a full week tasting vintage ports awaits. KBG.
  7. Ha ha... Good to know. I was filming Smithy BBQing for ShooAway the other week. I'll be plenty wary next time in case anything catches alight. : )
  8. That's a tough situation. We've all said stupid things when young. I never stopped. Did you end up in the garbage or just feeling that way? : )
  9. I'm sure I have many others (most are erased, thankfully, from memory by booze), but this one leapt to mind recently, when catching up with our friend Jack. A couple of years back, we're on a bit of a pub crawl, walking with Jack & Eileen (his new girlfriend, at the time) and some other folks from my wife's work. J&E my wife knows well, but I'm meeting them for the first time. The meandering conversation somehow turns to Monty Python, everyone's a big fan, and I'm right in there like a shot, loudly quoting Life of Brian from the hilarious "I want to be called Loretta; I want to be a woman; I want to have babies" scene: "Why do you want to be called Loretta, Stan?", "You haven't got a womb, where's the foetus going to gestate, you going to keep it in a box!?"...and all that. Sniggers from J&E, at best. Weird, I thought. Aren't these guys supposed to be fans? Shortly thereafter, I am to learn that J's relatively recent ex is named Loretta. On the weekend J was about to propose, Loretta breaks up with him. Barely a few months later, she's engaged to some other guy... and she's also pregnant to the new man. 😬 -- Maybe it's cigar related, maybe it isn't, but what's the best/worst faux pas you've managed to pull off? Or should we call it a FOH pas?
  10. Travel Blog Pt 1 of 2. Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 (BRS AGO12) + Partagas D4 (Vintage Collection) (SEU Nov 04) - Spanish Cervesa. By Ken Gargett. Okay, I have had to rewrite this damn thing about 8 times now to try and sort out the chronology. I will go back to the start and then work through it and turn it into a two-parter, as way too long as one (I figure that, even with the help of a very fine Diplo Reserva Rum, if I am bored proof-reading, you guys have no chance). Well, a minor miracle. I am at the airport to head to Oporto (at the time of writing this bit, but things evolve). Love Spain. Everything about it. Well almost. Every time I set foot in the place, the temperature soars. 40C this time, not as bad as last time. Also, I get seriously lost. Every time. And is it necessary for the taxi drivers to try and rip you off every time? Actually, they were much better than in the past. Now it is only a couple of euros, and not even each trip. The tosser who took me to the airport was about to get a tip. Instead, he tries to dud me a couple of euro. So in lieu of that being his tip, he gets a gobful of unpleasantness. Oh, and the evil nuns… we’ll get to them in part two. So really, surprisingly little to bitch about this time. Although I do not understand why, when Spain has such brilliant food, it is necessary to hand the catering at the airport over to crap-is-us. Eventually, I settled for a burger. Surely it can’t be too difficult. It certainly can be too expensive. I have to order. Then I have to go elsewhere to pay. Then I have to come back for the burger. Then I have to go elsewhere to eat it. Why? But oh dear, what a sad attempt at a burger. I suspect the poor cow, or cat, who gave up its life for this would be weeping at the waste. Or is burger the Spanish word for ‘swimming in grease’? Still, they have a clever trick. The stale bun is so hard and sharp that – and yes, lady, I see you have a screaming child so why wouldn’t you walk past 40 empty seats to sit just near me – it scrapes all the taste buds from my mouth so when I try and eat the thing, I taste nothing. If only I'd thought of that with the peppercorns in Singapore. Had a couple of amazing days in Spain. Have not reported on Helsinki – listing 200 of the greatest wines ever made, staying at the amazing manor from the 14th century and nobbing it with the billionaires would just sound tosserish, so I am waiting until I need cheering up, then I'll write that. An hour waiting for my luggage at Madrid – does it have some sort of secret squirrel message in hidden ink to say, do this one last? Staying at a Novotel in towards the city – they were fine. I make sure I visit ‘La Venencia’, the Best Bar in the World, almost every day. I'm partly here to do a piece on wine bars. You could research that every day for ten years and not get close. Catch up with some fantastic friends, went to dinner with a terrific bloke who is the partner of one of the guys from the Helsinki event (the one I'm not going to tell you about, yet) and they have one of the very few Pinot vineyards in Spain. It is a really good wine. We go to Amazonico (or Amazonica?). If you are going to Spain, don’t miss it. Fantastic. But book. Way in advance. It is chockers. And it is ground zero for the beautiful people. Yes, I fit right in!! We get in because my friend sells his wine to the place (the somm used to run Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus and has a cellar with 4,500 wines) and because, as I later find out, he is married to one of Spain’s hottest actresses. Apparently, she is one of the stars of the original ‘Queen of the South’. Later, we go to the Jazz Bar below, apparently Madrid’s most must-visit place. I grab a couple of rums – 50E? seriously? Next thing, we are talking to two girls who missed the lessons suggesting that dresses should go below the navel. Who am I to complain? But when the hottest 22-year-old in Spain starts trying to convince you that you are the next George Clooney, it is time to run. As the song says, don’t you ever let a chance go by… The girls have to do whatever these girls do so leave us, and their bags and gear? I am gone but as the taxi drives away, I see them on the footpath talking to someone who really looks like he’d be more at home in a fedora and full-length rabbit-skin coat. I may have, for once, made a very wise decision. I had arrived early as I was keen for a cigar – I later mentioned all this to my friend and he tells me if only he had known, I could have been smoking away in the Royal cigar lounge or whatever, as he just happens to be a member – so I head over to the restaurant area at 6pm, still light, of course. We are meeting at 9, so I have plenty of time for a cervesa, a cigar and my book. I walk down the street to find a suitable place and there is the outside part of another restaurant, semi-enclosed. I see three guys with cigars, so perfect. Now, I am going to do them a grave disservice. I have a bad habit of ‘identifying’ people from first glance and then giving them backstories. Part of the fun. These guys, I could not have been more wrong. We are now lifelong friends. The three of them were very different. The first, an old guy, I decide is a retired professor of art. Not so bad. He has to leave early but apparently, back in the real word, ran food stalls at a nearby market and is now retired, so just catches up with friends for lunches. The next, O, I decide is a wannabee hitman. The third, P, the youngest but I'd guess late 40s?, is the spitting image of the 80's London City trader. Anyone who was there will know exactly what I mean. The last two are actually partners in a marketing business but, this being August in Madrid, there is nothing to do but have long lunches. As is explained to me, if you don’t take long lunches, smoke cigars and drink fino, then you are most certainly not a man, least of all a Spaniard. They see my cigar, a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 (BRS AGO12), and we are talking. The prof is not smoking, O has a D4, and P a huge thing I've never even seen before. Exactly what a city wideboy might smoke. We get on to sherry. Fino especially. Even though these guys are guzzling vodka and gin like no tomorrow (for them, tomorrow was a flight to Mexico for a wedding, which must have been excruciating), a man must drink fino. I mention that I have been at La Venencia (yes, unquestionably the best bar ever, and one which only serves sherry – nothing else, but five versions of sherry from cleanskins) for four of my five days in Madrid. As one, they stand and cheer and applaud. No idea what the other patrons thought. That is the best place in the world, they tell me – and, back at the airport for a minute, no sir, take the brat away, I do not want to make stupid faces at your screaming child (I suspect they won’t be back). Apparently, the Prof has been going there, every day, for the last thirty years. Well, I'll finish this later as the plane should be boarding soon. Ha! Perfect. 5,000 flights in and out of this place every day and the one flight delayed today? No prizes… another two hours and they hope it will go but they can make ‘no promises’. Special. I do not love this airport. Hopefully, my next transmission will be from Portugal but one would not hold one’s breath on it. I walk about a kilometre to another part of the airport and sit down. Immediately, a family with not one but three screaming rugrats takes the next table. But it is okay. The parents put some crap on a DVD and play it at full volume, to entertain the charming little snivelly crap machines. Back to my friends. Somehow, the topic changes to bullfighting. One of the things I love about meeting people in Spain is that there is none of that namby-pamby, how is the weather, what do you do, how are the family, how long are you staying… Right into the good stuff. P comes alive. He is besotted by bullfighting. He is quoting Hemingway to me and it turns out that he has toured Europe giving lectures (in English) on the subject. He takes me through it all, starting 30,000 years ago. The ritual, the culture, the elegance, the players, the bulls, the owners, the fans… you name it. Fascinating stuff. Although, as he rises to his feet to demonstrate some of the moves, I'm not sure that other patrons are as entranced. I've read the El Cordobes biog several times and we are into that and several more. His other area of interest is Cortez and the history attached – this bloke, as I tell him, has missed his calling. He should have been a professor. He agrees. What he doesn’t know about Cortez can hardly be worth knowing. Then we are on Cuba. The Epi 2 has gone well and I am on a Partagas D4 (Vintage Collection) SEU Nov 04, I just happened to have with me and this is a step up, but this afternoon confirms what we all know. We can analyse cigars and what they match to death – and I certainly will – but in the end, the great experiences are those shared with friends, old and new. O gets a phone call and rattles away in Spanish for a bit. P and I chat on about cabbages and kings. O apologises and says it was his best mate, XYZ. I look at him in astonishment, “not XYZ from Jerez”? “Yes”, he says, but… I tell him I visited him two years ago for the day. He is a terrific maker of brandy. None of us can believe it. We all drink to a small world. We drink to many things. Back to Cuba and at the merest mention, O leaps to his feet, clutches his chest and starts shedding a tear. He launches into full Benito Muss mode (well, dramatically, rather than politically). ‘It was stolen from us’, he wails. ‘We must have it back’. P is a little more practical. ‘I don’t think so’, he tells O. O shakes his head sadly and sits down and tells me about a Spanish saying – when something awful happens, ‘it was worse the day we lost Cuba’. We move on to the Civil War – I told you, no ‘how’s the family’. O runs over to the restaurant wall, red brick (this is a very up-market part of town), and shows me all the holes in the brick. Bullet holes. From the Civil War. Today, people walk past them without taking any notice. The D4 has been a star but again, the company, the fun, the conversation seem to matter so much more. Another cracking day in Madrid. KBG
  11. I like this response, but there's a lot of rooting going on in it. As an Australian, this is kind of funny to read. "Rooting" here is also a slang term for shagging! : )
  12. Interesting. I'm assuming college football has good tv coverage, too? Anything but the top level stuff suffers in that realm here in Australia. You have to get out to the games. And we don't have a big population base like you guys, so the depth/quality is not great. Totally agree about the playoff series. The NRL (National Rugby League) here has 16 teams. Top 8 gets you into the playoffs. Usually team 7 and 8 have a 50/50 record or worse. I understand it keeps fans interested for longer, but it's a dud system that doesn't reward teams that have excelled all year long. I like the way the soccer does it: you have the most points after playing each team twice, you're the champion. End of story. Playoffs are catered for in cup competitions. This year in the NRL, the entire top 8 are separated by just two points. For and Against deciding the finishing order. I've felt that a lot of teams have slackened off in the lead-up to the playoffs, once they knew they'd booked their place. It has hardly made for great games and viewing.

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