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Monday, November 12, 2007

Neither here nor there

Remember Dan Esch? He’s back! In Zippo form!

Recently I got a message from one Daniel Esch. He listed for me half a dozen people with the same name scattered around North America. That’s remarkable given the rarity of our surname in this country, and it reminded me of a little item that’s been tucked away in my closet for years.

Sometime around 1994, I was visiting Denver when I stopped to look in the window of a pawn shop. There was a big display of Zippo lighters, easily the coolest thing about a vile and filthy practice that I was addicted to at the time. One right in the middle of the tray caught my eye immediately — it had my name on it.

Don Esch Zippo

Turned out it wasn’t actually my name. It said Don Esch, but between the cursive lettering and my confirmation bias, it sure looked like Dan to me.

“The Zippo Lighter Collectors’ Guide” tells me that the lighter dates from between 1950 and 1956, and if this thing got 40 years of use, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. The finish is worn off at the edges, the hinge is loose, and most of the black enamel that fills the engraved lines is missing. But being a Zippo, it still works perfectly.

Don Esch Heating and Sheet Metal doesn’t seem to have endured as well, however. I wonder if it was all the cigarettes.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Neither here nor there

Okay, fine, I’ll play

Fellow photographer fling, whose blog I mistakenly omitted from my sidebar, is perpetuating this … this thing that I don’t want to say because it sounds even stupider than blog … But I appreciate the spirit behind the thing, and I’m flattered to have been tagged. I think. What does that mean, exactly?

The Four Things Meme
Four shows I enjoy:
• Lost
• The Office (yeah, the American one)
• dog-and-pony
• medicine
Four movies I can watch over and over:
Office Space
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
Four jobs I’ve held:
• Proofreader
• Magazine buyer
• Bike messenger
• Taxi driver
Four cool toys:
• blocks
• magnets
• chalk
• Colorforms
Four of my favorite dishes:
• Dungeness crab, and don’t mess with it too much
• Fresh artichoke, and don’t mess with it too much
• Filet mignon, and don’t mess with it too much
• Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy, and a fried egg on top and SPAM
Four web sites I visit daily:
The Straight Dope
Boing Boing
MAKE: blog
Four places I’ve lived:
• Berkeley
• Oakland
• San Francisco
• San Jose (look out, Sausalito!)
Four places I’ve vacationed:
• Vermont
• Arizona
• Kentucky
• New York
Four places I’d rather be:
Instead of San Jose? Are you insane? There’s not one place I’d rather be!
Four bloggers I’m tagging:

Monday, February 13, 2006

Neither here nor there

Take that, Hallmark

In the spirit of the impending day, here’s a sweet little love note I got today. It really deserves to be set to music. Who wants to have a go?

“Fucking St. Valentine”
Words by Carol Tidwell

What are you to do if you have bad erection?
Especially in the forthcoming Saint Valentines Day???
Don’t worry, it is not the last
of pea-time...The most simple way
is to visit our site, order the medication
and that is all you are to do!

Do not kill the clock!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Neither here nor there

Cached chits


While going through old papers today as part of a massive personal reorganization (more on that later), I saw some little slips of paper drift out of a file folder and onto the floor: A Metro ticket and transfer from Montreal, and a ticket stub from the observation deck at the World Trade Center. I made several visits to both places while I was in high school, but after I grabbed these little slips, I never went back.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Neither here nor there

A note on fast food

For a long time now, I’ve observed a pretty strict no–fast food policy. The last time I ate crap like Burger King with any regularity was the first couple weeks that I lived in California, in 1993. Oh, and I ate Wendy’s sporadically when I first moved to Oakland in 1994. Since then, I could count the fast food meals on one hand, and probably have a finger or two to spare.

Well, that changed again when I first moved over here to San Hose. Not knowing a lot of dining options in the neighborhood, a nearby Wendy’s provided a quick meal before the kitchen was set up and before I settled into a schedule. It smelled good driving by, and I figured I could allow myself just one supersalty, ultrafatty meal before I got my act together.

And damn if that wasn’t some tasty shit. That burger was as satisfying as it was square. The fries weren’t so great, and I’d forgotten how those paper cups weep all over the place, but all in all, I was a happy fella.

So happy, in fact, that I soon found more and more excuses to stop at Wendy’s on the way home. Not every day, but maybe a total of a dozen times in the seven or eight months that I’ve lived here. Sure I hated myself, and sure it was bad for me, but it was convenient, satisfying, and really inexpensive.

Last month, my habits changed abruptly. On March 23, I saw a report in the San Francisco Chronicle about a severed finger found in some chili at a San Jose Wendy’s. I went immediately to the San Jose Mercury News website to see if their article had a street address for the restaurant, and confirmed my worst fears: That lady? With the chili? And the finger? That was at my Wendy’s.

At least, that was my Wendy’s. I haven’t been back there since a week or two before the finger thing. And it’s not like I’ve sought out another fast food joint to eat at.

At first, I was ready to blame Wendy’s. I mean, hey, man, I’ve read Fast Food Nation, right? I kept thinking about driving up to order some chili con dedos, but then I remembered a lesson from the awkward teen at Krusty Burger: “It’s a felony to tease the order box, sir!”

Even now that it’s looking like the lady with the bad chili is a money-grubbing lawsuit-happy finger-planter, the Wendy’s down the street is hurting for business. I’ve noticed the papers no longer print their address, but the franchise owners claim that business is down by more than half, and employees are suffering with cutbacks in hours.

Now I feel bad for the nice people at Wendy’s. Should I go get a burger?

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Neither here nor there

You! Learn something new every day!

Today’s entry is brought to you by Mass Comm 101: Media Law and Ethics, and comes from Don Pember and Clay Calvert’s Mass Media Law.

The concept of the “first freedom” has been discussed often. Historical myth tells us that because the amendment occurs first in the Bill of Rights it was considered the most important right. In fact, in the Bill of Rights presented to the states for ratification, the amendment was listed third. Amendments 1 and 2 were defeated and did not become part of the Constitution. The original First Amendment called for a fixed schedule that apportioned seats in the House of Representatives on a ratio many persons thought unfair. The Second Amendment prohibited senators and representatives from altering their salaries until after a subsequent election of representatives. In 1992, the economy-minded legislatures in three-fourths of the United States finally approved the original Second Amendment, and it became the 27th amendment to the Constitution. (©2005 McGraw-Hill.)

So, the First Amendment came third, the Second Amendment is really fourth, and the 27th Amendment was supposed to be number two. Got it?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Neither here nor there

Ancient, annoying jingle of the day

Not sure what I owe this to, but I woke up this morning with a 20-year-old jingle from a New York mattress dealer in my head.

Have more fun in bed!
Have more fun in bed!
Buy your bed at Kleinsleep,
and have more fun in bed.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Neither here nor there

Sounds of bells and hammers

I forgot to mention another excellent aspect of the phone: the sound.

Monday, September 1, 2003

Neither here nor there

Back to school

I’ve got my outfit all picked out for the first day. Mervyn’s can kiss my suave, double-breasted ass.

hey baby