Given the title of this blog, it seems appropriate to start off by saying…

“Hello, Ashley!”  


****  Random Times  ****

  I had already named this blog post “Randomosity” before this next event occurred, so file it under random coinkydinks. 
  Tonya and I had a late lunch at Chinatown Restaurant (near 82nd and Slide).  I had the House Chicken, which was chicken, black beans and jalapenos in a black bean sauce.  Yummy, but scorchingly hot!  Left the insides of my cheeks feeling toasted.   
  Anyhow, to make a long story short, as we were leaving, Tonya glanced at the Business Hours sign on the door and this is what she saw:

  Now, that’s a little arbitrary, don’tcha think?

 ****  Random Movies Thoughts  ****

   What upcoming movies interest you, random reader?  I think Tower Heist looks hilarious.  Hopefully it gives Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick a career boost and gets them making funny movies again.
   However, the movies I’m most looking forward to right now are adaptations of books I’ve read.
   The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opens on December 21 with the tagline “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” — funny line for some dark subject matter.  I’ve been writing about Steig Larsson’s Millenium trilogy as I’ve been reading it and want to see the movie adaptation of the first book.  I’ve heard the Swedish (subtitled) original versions are excellent and wouldn’t mind checking them out as well.  As with the following series, I expect that we’ll see movies made of all three books.

   The Hunger Games opens March 23, 2012.  I read this trilogy after Ryan and Jake told me how good they were.  It will be interesting to see how Hollywood handles this series.  It’s pretty dark but marketed at teens.  It is set in a future where a repressive Capitol annually chooses a boy and a girl from each of 12 districts to fight to the death in a televised event.  Like the Millenium trilogy, it has a very unique young lady as its main character.

   The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release Dec 14, 2012, followed by The Hobbit: There and Back Again on Dec 13, 2013.  Obviously, this is J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” split into two movies.  I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy of films.  I can’t understate that.  I’ve read the books more than once and the movies exceeded my expectations.  So, not surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with “The Hobbit”.  Just so you know, Ryan and I followed the casting of Bilbo Baggins with great interest and were very happy to see our first choice get the role (Martin Freeman of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”).  Can’t wait!

****  Random Joke  ****

Two rednecks decided that they weren’t going anywhere in life and thought they should go to college to get ahead.

The first went in to see the counselor, who recommended he take a history or logical thinking class.

“What’s logical thinkin’?” the first redneck asked.

The professor answered, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?”

“I sure do.”

“Then I can assume, using logical thinking, that you have a yard,” replied the professor.

“That’s real good!” said the redneck.

The professor continued, “Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also own a house.”

Impressed, the redneck said, “Amazin’!”

“And since you own a house, logic dictates that you have a wife.”

“That’s Betty Mae! This is incredible!”

The redneck was catching on.

“Finally, since you have a wife, logically I can assume that you are heterosexual,” said the professor.

“You’re absolutely right! Why that’s the most fascinatin’ thing I ever heard! I can’t wait to take that logical thinkin’ class!”

The redneck, proud of the new world opening up to him, walked back into the hallway where his friend was still waiting.

“So what class are ya takin’?” asked the friend.

“logical thinkin’ class!” replied the first redneck.

“What the hell is logical thinkin’?” asked his friend.

“Let me give you an example. Do ya own a weed eater?” asked the first redneck.

“No,” his friend replied.

“You’re gay, ain’t ya?”

<LOL… sorry, that was bad wasn’t it?>


That’s all for this one, y’all… I hope to be back real soon.

~ Nick 


OCCUPY the Treehouse!

****  OCCUPY the Treehouse  ****

  That is, occupy the Treehouse if you’re a hard-working American who believes in the values that this country was built on.  On the other hand, if you’re one of these sign-waving knuckleheads “occupying” our cities with your list of demands for endless freebies (provided by leprechaun shops and powered by unicorn farts, no doubt)… if you’re one of those guys or girls, you can come in too… provided you’ve had a bath recently and that you’ll keep your mouth shut unless you have something intelligent to say.
  I’ve been meaning to write on this for a week, and keep having trouble knowing where to start because IT’S ALL JUST SO FREAKIN’ RIDICULOUS!!!

  Many in the media have been equating the “Occupy” movement as the liberal equivalent of the Tea Party.  Really?  Really libs, you want to claim this whiny rabble?  They’re all yours!  Congrats!

  I’ve seen some of their “demands”.  Granted, none of these demands are official, since this movement is supposedly leaderless.  But, still…  Wow… here are some examples:

  1.  A living wage, to be attained by raising the minimum wage to $20 per hour.  Clearly they have no understanding of economics and the rampant inflation that would follow this.  And if the guy flippin’ burgers gets $20/hr, what do you pay the kid standing behind him making sure he’s doing it right?  And get ready for that burger to cost $17.
  2.  Single-payer 100% government run healthcare.  Didn’t we reject this not too long ago?  But we’re just getting started on bankrupting the country…
  3.  Guaranteed living wage regardless of employment.    Please… read that again, in the context of #1.  A guaranteed living wage (of $20/hr, right?) REGARDLESS OF EMPLOYMENT?!?  $20/hr is over $41,000 per year.  And someone really believes every person should be entitled to $41K whether they work or not? 
  4.  Free college education.  Sure, why not?  And while we’re being so magnanimous, it would be terribly unfair to put any limits on that.  You know, grades, attendance, switching majors, etc… Skippy could stay in school FOREVER if that’s his dream.  And who are you to tread on Skippy’s dream, you meanie?

  They go on and on… one trillion dollars spent immediately on infrastructure… one trillion dollars to spend converting from fossil fuels to solar and wind power… another trillion spent planting trees and restoring wetlands.  These “Occupiers” sure are generous with those trillions of dollars from taxpayers who are too busy WORKING to join in their silly little movement.

  Another thing they want:  Immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness, from international debt to your mortgage, car, and credit card debt.  Yeah, that would be sweet… so would a Beautiful Weather Law… ain’t gonna happen.

  Some of these yahoos are even calling for an end to money and a return to the barter system.  Please, kid… attend a Renaissance Faire, feel medieval for a few days, crap in the woods (instead of on a police car) and then come to grips with the realization that it wouldn’t work in the modern world.
  Feel free to disagree with me, but the problem with way too many young people these days is that they think they’re too special for a crappy job.  They’re unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up.  They expect to start at the middle (or higher) and rise quickly to the stratosphere.

  There’s something deeply ironic – starting with their failure to see the irony – about these kids with their iPhones and iPads protesting capitalism and corporations.

  May I have your attention, kid? … No, you can play
Angry Birds in a minute. …
Listen carefully… it takes a corporation to make your iPad.  The village blacksmith can’t do it.  That’s a free lesson on The Industrial Age from your Uncle Nick.

  I could just keep going and going and going on this like the Energizer bunny, but seriously, kids… you’re making the hippie protesters of the 60s look like rocket scientists.  Go home until you have a clue what you’re talking about.



  I’m now reading the third and final book in the Millenium trilogy, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  There’s a slightly unusual set-up with this trilogy: 
  The first book in the series, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” pretty much stands by itself.  The plot does carry over into the next two books, but the story does stand alone, without reading the others.  With the second and third book though, it’s a two part story.  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” leads directly into “Hornet’s Nest”.  I haven’t finished it yet, so I’ll save a final review until the end, but there’s definitely a reason these books have sold millions of copies around the world.

OK, now… Something You Didn’t Know About Me… I’m usually reading more than one book at a time.  I TRY to limit it to two – one fiction and one nonfiction – although I find myself breaking that rule every now and then.  And I must confess, I’m notoriously slow about reading the nonfiction books.  I enjoy them, and I learn things from them, but all things being equal, I tend to pick up the good novel I’m reading more often.  In other words, I’m eating dessert or junk food before eating my meat and veggies!

  Now that you know a little more about my reading habits, I’ll tell you that I’m also reading “Decision Points” by George W. Bush.  And because of the slowness factor I mentioned above, I’ve been reading it forever.  (I’m almost to the end, really!)  But it has been worth reading.  You get a real feel for his perspective from the decisions a President must make and the consequences of those decisions.

  The book also contains a lot more information on events that the media largely ignored during the Bush years, notably the really impressive gains that were made in slowing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

  It’s interesting to note that despite the really negative tone and personal attacks that were a political constant throughout his presidency, in my opinion, W only gets really negative in his remembrances of two people in this book.

  The first is Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana at the time of Hurricane Katrina.  Bush has taken a lot of criticism on the federal handling of the disaster response, but the book details how Blanco repeatedly refused federal assistance.  Ultimately, Bush had to send in military personnel without law enforcement authority as a means to get around Governor Blanco’s refusal of assistance.

  The other person who merits an intensely negative description is Jacques Chirac, then President of France.  Bush’s problem with Chirac could be summed up as Chirac being the epitome of the stereotypical snotty anti-American Frenchman. I’m probably over-simplifying that, but that’s about how Chirac comes across.

  Anyhow… good read so far.



  OK, y’all… adios for now.  I will try not to take 9-10 days between posts in the future. 


 P.S.  If there’s anything I write about that you’d like to hear more on, just let me know in the comments.  Likewise, if there’s anything you’d like less of, same thing.
Feedback is always very welcome.


Welcome! … to my first “official” blog post.

**** INTRO ****


  This is the official launch of my new blog, Nick’s Treehouse Café.  I encourage you to immediately page over to the ‘About’ tab and read what this is all about… it would be silly to repeat it here.  Or try to say it all again, only differently.  So go there… now… and then come back.

   OK, did you go there and read?  If so, welcome back.  If not, what are you waiting for?   …  Hurry up!  … I’ll wait!  … … …  OK, moving on.

   But I do have some more thoughts on why I’m doing this.  First of all, sometimes I see or hear or read something and I ponder on it a bit, and then I just want to tell everyone else my opinion.  Sometimes just to share… sometimes to ventBecause I’m right, y’know?  LOL!  Or as I said to my buddy Matt the other day, “I’m just egotistical enough to think everyone needs to know my opinion.”  He told me the word I was looking for was “narcissistic”.  

   Also, I just love to write.  The more I do it, the more I want to do it.  I think this endeavor is going to help spur even more creative writing.  Wish me luck.

   NOTE:  I apologize in advance for any awkward changes of font.  This whole blog editing process seems a bit persnickety… several times it changed font on me from one paragraph to the next and doesn’t seem to want to let me change it back.  Subject Matter Expert advice is welcome.


   The name… I wanted a cozy, welcome feeling, and I’ve always liked the treehouse idea.  Many Calvin and Hobbes (“The Greatest Comic Strip EVER”) cartoons featured the treehouse.  A treehouse is shelter, it’s a place to hang out, relax, and have fun… and it has a kid feel… you don’t have to “act your age”.  But as I thought more about the name, I also got this mental image of me standing behind a bar, wearing an apron, sleeves rolled up, maybe grilling a steak and pouring an icy cold one from the tap… and, of course, expounding upon my many opinions.  😀  So I combined the two ideas, and there you have it… Nick’s Treehouse Café!

The full Treehouse picture from the Header.

 **** By the way… ****

  In case you didn’t know, I’m kicking this thing off “officially” on my 44th birthday. 
Seemed like a good place to start!           

****  What I’m Reading Now  ****

  I’m currently reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson.  It’s the second book in the author’s ‘Millennium’ Trilogy.  The first is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; the third is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  

   Since I’m smack-dab in the middle of “Fire”, I’ll primarily make this a review of the first book.  Let me start by saying Stieg Larsson could WRITE!  This man knew his way around a plot.  It makes me sorry to know that there will only be these three books.  (Mr. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after turning in the manuscript for the three novels.)  

   Both the first and second novel take a while setting up the various plot strands, but when they’re all in place, the story kicks into high gear and RUNS at a pace you can’t imagine being sustained for 400 more pages.  But it does.  As I said, the man could write!  You may guess at the answers to the plot twists, but the fun is in getting there.  By the way, some of these plot angles are not G-rated.  You’ve been warned. 

   The main storyline – there are several – involves a mystery about a young woman who vanished, presumably murdered, forty years previous.  But the primary strength of the novels lie in their unique heroine, Lisbeth Salander, a mysterious young antisocial computer hacker, and her relationship with the journalist Michael Blomkvist.  Lisbeth is one of the most original protagonists you’ll ever meet. 

    A recurring theme in Larsson’s novels is male violence towards women.  (The original Swedish title of “Dragon Tattoo” was “Men Who Hate Women”.)  The author divides the world of men between relatively “good” men and men who are various degrees of bad… ranging from merely obnoxious to truly evil.  In Larsson’s world, the bad guys seems to vastly outnumber the good.   
Your friendly blogger is not so sure he’s wrong.

   Overall:  Highly recommended!  


 Trivia:  These books made me think about what other books I’ve read that are translated from other languages: 

  • The Bible
  • The Iliad ~ Homer
  • The Count of Monte Cristo ~ Alexandre Dumas 

…….. I think that’s about it!


 ****  MUSICALITY  ****  

Fun songs that you might not have heard:      

  • Into Action ~ Tim Armstrong
  • Boom Boom Goes My Heart ~ Alex Swings Oscar Sings

  • Life, Love, Laughter ~ Donavon Frankenreiter

**** Pigskin Ponders ****     

   I love football, but I’m more a fan of professional football (the NFL) than of college football.  So on one level, I haven’t worried too much about what appears to be the impending demise of the Big 12 (temporarily on hold as of 4 or 5 seconds ago).  As an NFL guy, I don’t really understand the concept of rooting for a group.  Know what I mean?  Like someone yelling, “Woo-Hoo!  SEC, Baby!” I mean, my Cowboys play in the NFC East, but I don’t root for the NFC East.  On the one hand, there are my ‘Boys.  All the other teams are hated rivals.  (How’s that empty trophy case in Filthadelphia, Eagles fans?!?)  

   That being said, I do have an opinion on it.  It seems to me that the great state of Texas … and even Okieland and parts North… have a strong enough football tradition that we don’t need to look to the east or west coast in search of college football significance.  Too many uppity folk on each coast like to look down on us as “fly-over country”.  We don’t need them!  Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska have great football traditions.  Why should Tech want to play in the Pac-12?  Lubbock is over 1,000 miles from LALA-land. 

   C’mon guys… hammer out the differences and keep the Big 12 alive!  Either that or scrap it and rebuild the Southwest Conference! 

     **** NFL snaps **** 

  • Over the last two games, Tony Romo has demonstrated what leadership and courage are all about.  Leading a team chock-full of injuries and inexperience, and playing in a world of pain, he has pulled off two consecutive wins, seemingly by force of will.  Don’t be a hater!  This kid has the determination and guts that legends are made of.     
  • The Dallas defense has played well (some times better than others) in spite of significant injuries at the corner position.  Deserving exceptional praise are DeMarcus Ware (Ryan once described D-Ware as playing like “a bulldozer with a jet engine”!) and Sean Lee (the 2nd year middle linebacker was recently honored as the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month).
  • I like underdogs and “Cinderella stories”, so I’m impressed with the 3-0 starts of the Lions and Bills.  I think they’re for real, and hope they keep it up!  (Except for the Lions… this week… against Dallas…. y’all can stink it up like old times!)    😉
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, former Red Raider Wes Welker of the Patriots is on pace for a record-setting year for receptions and receiving yards.  Go Wes!  Represent!


 ****  Things I Don’t Have An Opinion On  ****
(Either because I haven’t looked into it… or just don’t care to.)

  • The trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor.
  • The trial/appeal/whatever of Amanda Knox
  • Glee

Hope you enjoyed my first effort!  Comments very welcome!
~ Nick