The Expanding Universe

The President of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Club Addresses His Fellow Members

Good evening everyone and I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend full of star gazing!

First off I would like to talk about last week’s costume party. I’m so glad that all of you showed up and stuck to the theme. There are a couple things I’d like to bring up so that next year’s costume party will be a Supernova!

Larry, I am sure that you thought your literal interpretation of Gas Giant was hilarious but no one else was laughing. I have a small apartment and you made it very difficult to breathe even with all of the windows open. Bryce has Asthma and had to use his inhaler. In the future I would hope that you would have more consideration for the other members of the club.

And Phil, nice job on utilizing your sunburn into your Red Dwarf costume but next time you need to wear something a little bit more than bikini briefs.

Barbara, your costume of Mother Earth – wearing a globe on your head and bringing your eight-year old son Brian was cute but I did not appreciate him disassembling my model of the solar system and using Mars as a ball. I still haven’t been able locate Neptune and if it happens to show up at your residence please let me know.

Derek, we’ve been over this issue many times. I think that everyone else in the club would agree that your choice to attend as the “Planet” Pluto was a slap in the face to us all.

I hope that none of you took this personally as some of you inhabit very different galaxies as far as what is considered appropriate. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s talk about the upcoming potluck. Please no Milky Way bars – you must bring something that is an actual food, Harvey I’m looking at you!

Food in Review – The Candy Toothbrush

Doomsday cults and others inclined to believe that humanity is in its final days may take the emergence of the Candy Toothbrush as a sure sign of the impending apocalypse. They could argue that evil must be at hand to allow such a sugary perversion of good hygiene to exist – and it would be hard to refute this.

The candy toothbrush consists of a plastic toothbrush handle mounted on a squeezable cylinder. In place of plaque removing bristles is a block of Jolly Rancher-like hard candy with two holes in it. When the base is squeezed a sickly sweet, calamine lotion colored liquid seeps out of these holes.

The thing that is so insidious about this product is that the manufacturer, Candy Planet offers no warning label stating that this product cannot be used in place of actually brushing one’s teeth. Little Johnny or Sue won’t realize that they are actually lying through their slowly disintegrating teeth when the proudly tell their mom or dad that yes, they have brushed their teeth.

It can only be speculated that a company with the name “Candy Planet” can only have more evil plans in store. What will the next “candy” be that they will dream up in their artificially sweetened minds? How far off are products such as the cotton candy life vest or the black licorice seat belt? Will our elderly hobble along on actual candy canes?

Forget rogue nations and with their nuclear aspirations, the real weapons of mass destruction exist in the candy aisle at the local convenience store. The source of these illicit sweets must be stopped and the only solution is for the Candy Planet factories to be destroyed. Bombs, not regular ones – but candy bombs should fall on them, jamming their machinery with corn syrup and making the world a bit safer for our children

If Forever Never Comes…

It can be a strange thing to visit something from one’s past. Where a childhood home once stood could now be a Burger King. A person whom you shared a first kiss with could stand next to you in the supermarket and there would be no recognition. Or the music venue where one saw so many great shows can now look like a prefabricated strip club – minus the strippers.

Boston’s was one of the best places to see shows in Tempe in the 1990’s. Here I saw Jawbreaker, Man or Astroman, The Promise Ring, Modest Mouse and many others. These were some of the best shows that I saw in my twenties.

For awhile Boston’s was closed and went through various incarnations. Now it is a music club again called Club 910. And I never could have imagined it ending up the way it is today.

Recently my band played there. I knew the place looked like trouble upon pulling into the parking lot. There was a red velvet rope out front and the dull glow of purple neon emanating from the door.

Whoever had bought this place had put in a ton of money into it, but had spent it in a very wrong way – which seems to be an epidemic in Phoenix, those having the funds not having any sort of clue about making a cool place that anyone would want to hang out at. There was a stripper pole planted in the bar and faux classy couches situated around the club that looked like they were purchased at Jenna Jameson’s yard sale. The outside part of the club, where they used to have outdoor shows when it was still Boston’s used to have a rough gritty charm – so much asphalt surrounded by cyclone fencing, was now poured over with smooth cement and was dotted with firepits, looking like the scene of some reality show where the presence of shirtless, ripped dudes who communicated via grunts and snorts would not be out of the ordinary.

I was not in the best of mood when it was time to play. I set up my bass equipment and had to deal with the two sound guys who were on the scene. One of the soundmen was disappointed that my cabinet did not have 10 inch speakers. It’s a vintage Sunn that has two fifteens – not a Trace Elliot. He ran a direct input from my amp but seemed to be confused about my gear. He asked me if I had any sort of envelope filter set up – what, does he think that I play bass for Korn or something?

We proceeded to play under an almost seizure inducing array of lights that were being projected onto the stage. Before we played I made the joke that “It’s great to be back here at Boston’s”. The audience was empty except for my girlfriend, and the ghost of my twenty-three year old self, who was clearly flipping me off.

The ship is taking on water, but we will steam ahead

This blog is not dead…but is going to being undergoing some changes.

Food in Review – Box o’ Meat

Box O’ Meat” will not win any awards for product design.  Housed inside of a dull, white-plastic box, with a handle connecting the sides, it could easily be mistaken for a box containing detergent, salt or any other type of inedible item.  When one brings home this unassuming box and peels back the lid only a hint of its true beauty is revealed.  Once the box has been turned upside down and the glistening block of meat contained within is liberated, can one behold the true splendor that is this new processed meat product.

SPAM has dominated the potted meat market for decades with its stampede of overly salted swine “Box O’ Meat” is a refreshing alternative.  This is a graceful ballet of flavor, where animals such as Emu, Aardvark, Penguin and Gazelle take turns pirouetting upon one’s taste buds.  Nowhere in nature would any of the thirty odd species of animal found in this meaty confection be found nibbling upon the same leaf buds, or drinking side by side from the same stream, but within “Box O’ Meat” they peacefully and deliciously coexist.

Whether cut into one inch slabs, then cooked in yak butter and served on rye with wasabi mustard or eaten straight from its plastic bucket, one will be floored by the taste of the fauna found within.  Rest assured that each wondrous mouthful of intermingling animal proteins can be enjoyed without guilt.  40% of all proceeds go towards protecting the natural habitats that these animals were plucked from. Biodiversity can now be enjoyed in one’s kitchen, and it has never tasted so good.


 Eric Bills yanking a frontside air off of the metal wall of a pipe somewhere off of the 202. One of my favorite photos of one of my favorite friends.

Eric Bills Fronside Air

“Arizona’s Urban Heart”

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership spent $160,00 for a team of marketers to come up with this motto for the city of Phoenix.

For a Filiberto’s Carne Asada burrito and a large Pina, I gladly would have provided them an appropriate motto for the valley of the sun.

Here are some alternate mottos that they should have considered:

“Phoenix – hey, at least it’s not Reno…”
“Home of a million, Dollar stores”
“First in meth!”


I was awoken at 3:00 in the morning. My stomach was like a cauldron and sweat was upon my brow. In my fevered, half-dream state I could envision my innards being stirred by one of the weird sisters from Macbeth, but instead of an old woman it was a chicken, anthropomorphized so that it was gripping a long spoon in its wing. It was cackling, taking great pleasure in its revenge for its undercooked brother or sister that I had consumed.

The next morning I woke up, thinking that I could get through the work day with the help of Tums. By 10:00 am, with a stomach full of enough Tums to neutralize a large Pyrex beaker full of Hydrochloric acid, I knew it was time to go home.

I should have known better – but I had eaten at this taco stand dozens of times. They use all organic ingredients, which evidently includes free range Salmonella. The red chile beef taco was great, as well as the green chile version. The chicken soft taco was very watery – this was the infidel that would wage gastro-intestinal warfare against me.

Three days down and I am back. I lost a bunch of weight, but would not recommend this as a viable means of dieting to anybody.


The Cats in my Neighborhood are Fucking Jerks

The cats in my neighborhood hate me. They don’t respond to loud shrill whistling. They stare back blankly when I call out “Here Kitty Kitty”, in a British or French accent. Even when I quit horsing around with them they just stare at my with their little angry eyes communicating a sentiment of “Fuck you”.

I thought that these cats hated everybody, with their running off and scurrying under bushes when anyone would get close to them.

The other morning I woke up at 6 am to ride the light rail to work. I saw an old man with a wool cap on. He had a bag of cat food and was being trailed by six cats. They were rubbing against him and being frisky. Little does this old man know that he is just being used for food.

The world we live in…

In Hot Water

I recently tried combining the act of drinking coffee with that of showering.

Things did not really work out as I had hoped.

I don’t think that Starbucks will be offering Herbal Essence flavoring any time soon.