Monday, December 28, 2009

Memories we’d sometimes rather forget


[Photo via]

I had to come up with two questions to send out this week because I didn’t feel like bothering with writing up next week’s post while I’m out of town because I’m a self-centered ass like that.

So, here’s the first question I asked them:

What's your strangest Christmas memory?

Answers after the jump:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas spirit

fridge_ribbonsI’m finally back from my computer problems, so The Panel is back with a new question.

The question this week is simple enough, I think

What gets you in the Christmas spirit?

Answers after the jump:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shopping help

I've got computer issues, so the posts won't be as pretty until I get them fixed, but there will be posts!

This week I asked The Panel what they get for that someone on their list that's impossible to shop for.

Answers after the jump:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cleaning out the fridge

First, let me thank Houston for taking on last week’s post for me. My computer decided it didn’t want to work at the last minute, but I think it’s all good now.

Alright, Turkey Day’s finally over. Now you’ve got tons of leftovers stuck in the fridge and you have no idea what to do with them.

Don’t worry, we can help.

This week I asked them:

What's the best thing to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?

Answers after the jump:

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Panel and Holday Travel

This week The Panel takes on the question of Travelling During the Holidays.  Who loves it, who hates it?

Who is court-ordered to stay in the city to avoid becoming a

"Flight Risk?"
Find out after the jump!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Panel takes on social networking

Houston Zoo 097

When I pitched this question to The Panel, I figured they’d hate me for this one so I attached the cute picture to the left that has nothing to do with the subject.

If you had to pick one social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.,) and you could only use it the rest of your life, which would it be?

Answers below the jump:

Monday, November 2, 2009

This question will rot your brain

Stage light [Photo via]

This week we venture into a place. A place you’re very familiar with. A place where we can all go and, for a time, just look at the pretty pictures as all our problems are washed away.

That’s right, I’m talking about that magical picture box, the television. What did you think I meant, really? Booze? How often do you look at pretty pictures while drinking? Seriously. You, my friend, have a problem and should seek help.

Oh, yea, the question. Kinda got sidetracked there.

What’s your favorite TV show of all time?

Answers after the jump:

Monday, October 26, 2009

What we did as kids

photo_6245_20090505 [Photo via]

This question was inspired by Falcon and his recent adventures.

What's the craziest thing that either you did or happened to you in your childhood?

Simple enough, right?

Answers after the jump.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Theme songs

First, a couple housekeeping notes:

  • Everybody say hi to Stephanie, a.k.a. @ihadtimetokill, our newest Panel member. You’re stuck with her. Deal.
  • Michelle’s taking a hiatus to celebrate her annual October tradition of, according to her, “spending all my time dancing in graveyards and spooking little children.” She then let out an evil laugh that scared the crap out of me.

Now, onto business.

Kristin pitched this idea to me, and I went with it. So, I asked The Panel:

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. Even Kristin was complaining about it. But me, being the cold-hearted bastard I am, simply replied “It’s your question.”

Answers after the jump.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I would have posted this two days ago, but…

Let me give you an insight into how things work behind the scenes here at The Panel:

  1. I send out the question to everybody on Monday or Tuesday, telling them I want them back by Saturday night.
  2. Thursday or Friday, I start pestering everybody for their answers.
  3. I keep on pestering throughout the weekend.
  4. Sunday the answers start trickling in, but I inevitably go to bed with at least one still out.
  5. I paste the last answer in whenever I get time on Monday and publish the post.

So, I asked The Panel:

Why do you procrastinate?

Big props to Mollie Katie for getting me her answer on Wednesday. For that, she goes first. Everybody else is in the order in which they’re received.

Responses after the jump:

Monday, October 5, 2009

The one in which we make fun of one of our own

kristin If y’all hadn’t noticed, Kristin has skipped out on the past two questions. So, I asked The Panel:

Why do you think Kristin's opted out of two questions in a row?

It should be noted that I also encouraged The Panel to “get creative” with this one, and we’ve gotten some great responses.

It should be noted that I’ve given Kristin a chance to fire back at all of us for making fun of her, roast-style.

So, let’s get this crazy train started.

Also… be sure to vote in the poll in the sidebar. We want to know who you think had the best story!

• Houston: The question of what could be keeping Kristin from participating in The Panel’s questions haunted me long before the “Official” question was posed.  Was she a secret agent?  Was she a Libyan spy?

Was she a man?

Eventually I found out the “Truth.*”

Kristin is actually Barack Obama in disguise.

I know you are all rolling your eyes and saying “OK this is ANOTHER half baked fantasy like all the others,” just like all my doctors say, but hear me out.

Have you ever seen Kristin and Barak Obama together in the same room?

Have you ever seen Kristin’s birth certificate?

Where was Kristin this week? My money says she was in Copenhagen pitching Chicago in the Olympics for 2016.

Truth be told, last November she was really busy for some reason, and I don’t recall seeing her on 20th of January.

THIS was the final “Proof**”. The “Smoking Gun” so to speak:

Kristin and Gibbsy

I rest my case.

*Truth may not actually be truthful.
**Proof may or may not be a little shaky and may or may not be confirmed and/or fully vetted.

• Justin: It's my personal belief that Kristin went into hiding because she finally realized that I wasn't really going to marry her and had to come to grips with it.

"Why the hell would she care?" you ask? Let me explain. About two months ago, Kristin asked me on Twitter if she'd marry me. Thinking she was joking, I said I'd do it.
Well, it turned out that she wasn't joking after all. It started harmlessly, she'd simply send me racy emails and ask me when I was flying out to Vegas to do it. I wasn't too concerned about it at the time, but it just kept getting weirder.

After about two weeks, UPS started delivering boxes from her to my door. I'm still not sure how she got my address, but somehow she did. Out of curiosity, I opened the box. It had a letter written in lipstick that read "You could be ripping these off of me," a bra, and panties. Apparently used. With no need for these things, I sent them on to Houston's son since I figured he'd get more enjoyment out of them.

Dammit, Houston had a blog post about finding stashes of panties in his son's room, but I can't find it. Did you delete it, Houston? I was going to use that! Anyway, trust me, THE WIFE really did find two stashes in there. I swear!

Anyway, back to my story. I kept getting these packages about twice a week. I was kinda flattered, but kind of creeped out too. More creeped out, though.

Just before she took her "hiatus," she sent me an envelope that I opened. When I opened it, there was a huge poof of powder, and a note. Apparently she'd gotten sick of waiting and bought me a one-way ticket on Southwest from Houston-Hobby to Vegas and promised to pick me up at the airport. This was when I realized I had to talk to her about things.

I called her up and told her: "That was an awesome gesture, and I was blown off my feet by it, but I just don't fly Southwest. I know bags fly free and all, but the singing flight attendants scare the crap out of me!"

And that's how I didn't marry the most beautiful woman in Las Vegas.

What was the question again?

• Mollie Katie: So. Kristin. You've missed two questions for The Panel in a row. You say you've been "busy" with work and school. But we both know that's a lie! There's something...sinister...going on here. And I'm going to expose the truth to the world!

SSH 3 You're undervalued at work. You have fantastic ideas that will bring the company's success to new heights. But no one reads your carefully researched memos. Boss man gives you tasks beneath your skill set. You fetch his coffee, plotting. You think, He wants a secretary? I'll be his bloody secretary! Complete with sexy secretary heels of the day! If you follow @aka_kristin on Twitter, then you know allllll about the #SSH. That's how it started.

Popsicle Time But the sexy secretary heels only made the boss man pay attention to you in the worst way possible. He brushes up against your chest in the break room by the coffee machine. When you get inventory from the top shelf, boss man "helps" you keep your balance on the tall ladder by grabbing your ass. You go home every day, enjoying your popsicle time and sublimating your rage.

Austin Powers & The Fembots In Happier TimesOne day boss man overhears you taking to a co-worker about how tired and sore you are from working from sunup to sundown  without a break. I could really go for a massage, you say. Of course, he seizes the opportunity to rub your shoulders and sends the co-worker away so heFembots In Action 1 can have you alone. He whispers in your ear, "Do I make you horny, Kristy? Randy? Do I, baby?" And that's it. You snap. You  think, You're so unoriginal that you're taking pickup lines from  Austin Powers?! And you don't even get my fucking name right!!! I'm just a part of your harem of FemBots, aren't I? Oh yeah? You just wait! I'll show you!

SSH 1 Kristin, you know it, I know it, and now the readership of The Panel knows it. You've been too "busy" these past two weeks to answer questions for The Panel because you've been turning your sexy secretary heels into machine guns. And you need to Machine Gun Leg stop. Just because your sexiness is too much for boss man to contain himself is no reason to resort to workplace violence. Well, okay, you're allowed to do it just this once because, let's face it, I like the manparts but even I know that would be totally hot.

Terrorists and evil dictators of the world --- Bin Laden, Quaddafi, Chavez, Ahmadinejad... Eat your hearts out. We all know who the baddest bitch in town is. And she looks much hotter in stilettos than any of you do!


Jen and Michelle didn’t participate. Something about trying to save the world or something. I’m not really sure, I stopped listening when they said they weren’t doing this one.

Anywho, here’s Kristin’s response:

I miss two Panel questions and suddenly everyone is rife with speculation about what I've really been up to. Now I have to admit that your theories are brilliant, but mostly wrong. I'd love to tell you the REAL reason I missed the last two Panel questions, but I have a reputation to maintain. All I will say is this:

Oh, Justin, Justin, Justin. I am deeply disappointed and more than a little concerned for you. How could you say that I did all those things when we both know the truth. We both know that it was you who sent me the racy emails, and the woman's panties and bras. (Which by the way, you have excellent taste, but it was a little creepy, especially because they were all in the right size for me.) Just one question....did you try them on?

Mollie Katie, sometimes I think you know me better than I know myself. You get extra points for the Popsicle picture. I am indeed, the baddest bitch in town. And I do look much hotter in stilettos. So thank you for that. I'm always up for a little workplace violence when the hags make me angry. Which is usually everyday, so that wouldn't explain my absence either. However, whenever I see my boss now, I'm automatically going to think Austin Powers and start laughing.

Finally, Houston...I guess there is really only one thing I can say. I AM Barrack Obama. I do make a beautiful woman, do I not?


Just a friendly reminder that we’re on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Freebie cheat

IMG_9212_copy_copy[Photo via]

First, I’d like to announce that The Panel is on Twitter. You can follow our account, @ThePanel_Blog, for notifications whenever we have a new post.

Now on to our main business:

After seeing a tweet a few weeks ago, I sent the following message to all the members of The Panel:

Let's say you and your significant other have an agreement where you're allowed to cheat with one... and only one... person that you declare to be your person ahead of time... basically a free cheat.

Who would your free cheat be?

Here are their responses:

• Jen: This post is all about whom my “freebie”  would be if I was given the luxury of 1) picking someone who would agree to this scheme, and 2) I was in a relationship to begin with.  Oh and 3) they allowed “freebies” in said imagined relationship. I admit I have a lot of guys I would be happy to pick if I was going by looks alone.  And my short list wouldn’t be very short if they were to make the cut based on looks and personality.  I am not super picky about personality, especially when you only know what the tabloids say or their publicist wants you to know. 

Oddly enough my short list contains men mostly from the UK. I don’t think it’s the accent because they come and go depending on roles they play; maybe we just have a plethora of men from the UK. But one stand out American was Ron Livingston. I have not watched him in a lot of his movies, “Band of Brothers” was enough for me to decide this guy was complex and most importantly, in need of love and understanding.  Oh wait, that was his character. Details. Another American on the list would have to be Robert Downey, Jr. Now he IS broken, no doubt about it, and good looking and talented. Those were my short list Americans, but they didn’t actually make it to the top spot.

Onto my UK picks. One of them would be Ron Livingston’s cast mate in “Band of Brothers”, Damian Lewis. Pretty much, again, because of his character in that production. Oh, the strong silent type with a sardonic sense of humor. Does it get any better? Well, it must, because he wasn’t my top pick either. Then there is Matthew MacFadyen. He was in MI-5 for years and was Darcy in the 2005 production of “Pride and Prejudice” opposite Keira Knightley. I’m telling you, if you can watch him in either of those roles and not develop a serious crush, you have no heart. Or sex drive. But believe it or not, he was not my top pick either.

I could continue on with picks, but they would all start to sound the same. Good looking (at least to me) and either British or Scottish and maybe an Irishman or two. So, drum roll please.  My top pick would be, oh I am so predictable, Ewan McGregor. Jedi Knight, singing and dancing fool, heroin addict, it doesn’t matter, he’s awesomely awesome. And he even seems to be a nice, regular guy. He’s married of course, so his wife needs to agree to this little arrangement, but when she does, I’ll be ready and waiting.

• Justin: I have to admit I didn’t really do much thinking on this because I had the flu for a good chunk of the last week.

If you’d come to be a couple years ago, I would have said Jennifer Morrison, but she should have never dyed her hair blonde. I don’t have anything against blondes, but it just doesn’t work for her.

So, I’m afraid I’ll have to fall back to Mia Kirshner, who I’ve had a thing for since I first saw her on 24.

• Mollie Katie: If I get a "free cheat", I would use it on one of the New York Yankees. Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher ---whoever has been "Mr. Clutch Performer" this season. If you follow me in Twitter, you know that I am an avowed member of Red Sox Nation. Die-hard, superstitious about lingerie and pants and couches, writing notes to GM Theo Epstein over Twitter as though we actually have a relationship, etc. So why use my "free cheat" on the Evil Empire? Simple. If you know anything about my life story, you know that wherever I go, bad luck follows. (Example: I move to New Orleans for college. Three days later the city gets annihilated with Hurricane Katrina. And when I try to go back several months later, the mold almost kills me. My doctor will not let me travel to the South without her approval now.) What I'm saying is, it would be awful. And not just because I suspect Jeter and A-Rod are lovers who have no experience having sex with a real woman. But because I would never feel clean again. (For the record, I'm open to dating Yankees fans with the understanding that if he knocks me up we're raising the kids as Red Sox fans, but players, HELL NO!) So... Dear Red Sox Nation, The sock on my doorknob means I'm busy LITERALLY "taking one for the team." You're welcome in advance for the upcoming World Series win. Love, Jinxy McDeath.

• Houston: I put this question off and put it off.  It not a subject I feel comfortable with since I am married and have five kids.  I love THE WIFE and obey her every whim and can't imagine ever being with anyone except her.

But still...

Who would I get jiggy with if I had a free shot?

The possibilities are endless. Or are they? I don't want to die.

You see when I was a young man I was infatuated with Wonder Woman.  She was an Amazonian goddess and had powers normal women didn't have.  She was also a hot tamale and the woman of my dreams.  For this reason I choose to get jiggy with Wonder Woman with my free shot.

The best part is I am married to Wonder Woman (THE WIFE).  But please don't tell anyone, it will blow her secret identity.

You won't tell? Thanks.

Oh and for the record, MY Wonder Woman doesn't have Irritable Bowell Syndrome.


Kristin and Michelle both chose not to answer this one. Feel free to mock them for it in the comments.

Monday, September 21, 2009

But would the movie be any good?

Our latest question came from our very own Michelle:

Who would play you in a movie based on your life?

I’ll post Michelle’s first since it’s her question, then the rest as I got them:

Michelle Williams• Michelle: When posed the question of who would play me in a movie based on my life, I broke my answer down in two ways: the ones who look like me and the ones who I think would be able to properly convey my style of weirdness onto the screen. To answer the first, I have chosen Michelle Williams as the one who would most look like me. (And if you were expecting someone else, too bad.)

However, I have a special brand of dark, weird, and creepy that makes me such a wonderful person (yes, I’m giggling at that wonderful person part too) and I do believe that it would take a different kind of attitude to portray that. As such, I think that I would have to choose from one of the three: Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, or Rose McGowan. I, of course, am no Wednesday Addams, but it’s close enough.

• Houston: This is one that has me on edge, "Who would play me in a movie based on my life?

Wow, the possibilities.

OK, first choice is John Candy.  Nice guy and he looks just like me with hair.  Look at him.


Uncle Buck was awesome and just think, give him a buzzcut, grow the goatee...

What? He's dead?


OK, let me think...

Got one! Chris Farley.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE REMEMBERS CHRIS FARLEY -- NBC Special -- Pictured: Chris Farley -- NBC PhotoHeadshot

He doesn't look quite as much like me, but he still has kind of a resemblance to me.  Another portly actor and the freakin' "Chippendale's" skit had me laughing my butt off!

What? You're kidding? He's dead too?

John Belushi? CRAP!

OK, wait a minute. What about Jack Black? Is he still alive?

OK, whew.

Jack and me are like peas in a pod.


OK, less like me and I am taller, but he plays guitar and sings, I play bass and... play bass.

Since all my guys are dead can Morgan Freeman narrate my story like "The Shawshank Redemption?" He's not dead yet is he? No? He will?


[Scene: Kitchen: Fade in from black.  Back view of Houston (John Candy Chris Farley John Belushi Jack Black) in his underwear (tighty whitey's) cooking on the stove singing to himself.]

Narrator - Houston was cooking some bacon on the day he was discovered as the most awesome guy in the world.  Bacon being such a fabulous treat for such a fabulous guy.  The chicks dug him too. More than an average man, he was almost...

What? What do you mean Morgan Freeman just quit?

Man, this question SUCKS! 

• Mollie Katie: If a movie were to be made based on my life, it would probably be a slightly glorified version of the Lifetime "Movie Of The Week." In other words, the classic Ashley Judd lady-in-distress turned ass-kicker Hollywood movie. Which is fitting I guess, since of all the living actresses to choose from, Ashley Judd was the first who came to mind in terms of resemblance. Allegedly... I will not reveal my physical resemblance over the interwebs, because I don't trust this series of tubes and the freaks who use it. Myself included. Actually, the more I think about it the more I would completely resist turning my life story into a movie because it would be the kind of feel-good crap I absolutely detest watching. So I'm changing my answer to Ava Gardner, who is a much more difficult actress to obtain for the part, in that she's dead. Problem solved. You're welcome, America. One less awful movie for you!

• Justin: This is a tough one. Especially since I’ve been crazy busy with rehearsing for a performance this past Saturday night all week. But I’ll try to anyway.

I can’t think of any actors that look like me, but I can think of one that yells like me.

Al Pacino.

So I’d have to go with him just for that.

• Jen: For this post we were asked to pick someone that we would like to see play us in a movie of our lives. And while I do not feel that my life would make the most interesting story for the big or small screen I guess we have all asked ourselves this question at some time in our lives.  I wish I could say that there was a long list of potential people banging around up in my head but there really isn’t.  I’m not so unique that someone couldn’t pull it off and probably make me a more interesting person to boot, but I hate suggesting that anyone would be like me because they might hate the idea.  But I thought for a week, yes a week, and finally after finding out that dead people qualify, it came to me instantly.

Jean Arthur.  I think that maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I loved the characters she played and she managed to bring such humor and earnestness to her roles.  I would love to be a character she played, maybe more than I think I deserve to have her play me in a movie.  There are similarities, I try to go through my life with humor and good grace.  I believe (still) in the innate goodness of people and that it wins out over the evil in the world.  She played ‘Clarissa Saunders’ in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and while she started out slightly jaded, she was soon overcome with the innocence and determination of James Stewart’s character, Mr. Smith.  In “You can’t take it with you” she plays ‘Alice Sycamore’, the lone sane member of a family full of loving but slightly demented people.  She comes across so well in that movie; you just love her all the more for it.  And then there was the type of role she played when she took on the movie “Shane”. 

Yeah, I think I could stand to have my life played out on the screen by Jean Arthur. Her voice, meh, maybe not so much. I don’t have the squeaky voice she does but that is of no consequence. I have a very non-descript voice so it might lend some character to the role.  Her beauty outshines mine but that’s my secret, her hair was usually blonder and she while she was shorter than me by a whole inch, she was most certainly thinner and smarter, but I think she could’ve dumbed down for the role.

Kristin has elected to skip this question.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Name inspiration

[Technical notes: You can hover over a picture to see the animal’s name and click on the pictures for larger versions.]
One of Jen's dogsThe following question was inspired by Houston’s five year old daughter, Lucie, who was looking at pictures of my dogs with her daddy and wanted to know how they got their names. So, I ask The Panel:

How did your pets get their names?

The answers, in order received, because I’m lazy.
• Jen: Their breeder named them.
• Justin: I’ll go in order, from oldest to youngest:
Taffy Taffy was named by the German Shepherd rescue group that my uncle adopted her from. She’d been abused as a puppy and was taken in by them. She didn’t take well to being at their facility, so she was placed with a foster family and was named Taffy because she “sticks to you like taffy.” There was no doubt she was my uncle’s dog. When he died, she didn’t eat for a week because she missed him so much. My grandmother ended up taking her in when the family that was keeping her moved and couldn’t bring her with them.
Bruiser Bruiser was named before I got a mile after picking him up. He was a pretty big puppy… twice the size of his sister and quite clumsy. My mom threw out that idea and it stuck. Of course, later that day he lived up to the name when, playing on the floor, I was thumped in the eye by his tail and wound up with a scratched cornea.
Petey Petey was named by my mom. She breeds shelties and had intended to use him as a stud, but for reasons I probably shouldn’t get into on the blog, he wasn’t really fit for it so she gave him to us. I’m really not sure where his name came from.

• Mollie Katie: How did our pets get their names? Well, right now my family --- that is, my Mom, my sister, and I --- have five cats. We joke that we're the "Home For Wayward Pets" because all the animals we've had over the years Ritahave been shelter or rescue acquisitions. We tend to take a lot of animals with medical problems as well; one of our current cats, Rita, takes people-medicine to control her asthma and another cat, MaggieMaggie, came with ear mites that would have caused her to be euthanized due to the cost of treatment had we not adopted her. On Twitter, you may see me Tweet often about my little grey cat Rita, who is the asthmatic cripple kitty and matches her asthmatic cripple owner. She lives in our finished basement separately from all the other cats, because one day she came home from the animal hLibbyospital smelling medicine-y and the other cats have never been friendly with her since. I'm her mom, and she is my furbaby. Over the years, our furry little family has included two gerbils, two guinea pigs, one chinchilla, and a total of eight cats. Right now we just have five cats, which is a relatively small number compared to the menagerie we're usually running. From eldest to youngest they are named Oliver (the only boy-cat), Maggie, Rita, Weasel and Libby. We named Oliver after the "Oliver and OliverCompany" Disney movie about cats. All of the other cats came with their names with the exception of Weasel. We got Maggie, Rita, and Weasel at the same time from the local animal shelter but Weasel also came pre-named Maggie. We thought this would be confusing, and Weasel didn't really fit with the name Maggie, so we set out to re-name her. After lots of debate, we Weaselsettled on the name Starlix. But she soon took to stealing various items including Q-Tips, earrings, loose change, scissors, bottle tops from the recycling bin, and anything remotely shiny and hiding the items behind our bathroom door. I was once so frustrated looking for a pair of earrings that I finally found in her bathroom hiding spot that I yelled at her, "Stop stealing my things, you dirty stinking thieving little weasel!" And the name Weasel just stuck after that. She looks like a Weasel, always up to no good and super-lovey-affectionate so you can't be mad at her. Weasel has bonded the most closely with me (although she'll love whoever is around if it gets her out of trouble), which is very fitting if you've known me a while...

I would encourage anyone looking for a new pet to consider looking at their local animal shelter first! I know from experience how lovely these animals can be. And if you're not in the market for pet adoption, please visit The Animal Rescue Site and click the button, which is a ***FREE*** way to give approximately 0.6 bowls of pet food with each click to those animals in need. You can click as many times as you want in a day, or like me you can click once a day and incorporate this website into your daily internet use, just as checking e-mail and playing on Twitter have become regular activities. The Animal Rescue Site also sells animal-related products for pets and their humans with proceeds also benefiting animals in need, should you be in the market for those kinds of goods. I hope everyone reading our blog today will click on over! Thank you all!

• Houston: Our family has a slew of pets so this may take a while.

Let’s start with our dog, Angel. THE WIFE will tell you she was named by our oldest son who said she “Was almost an angel,” on the drive home. Me personally I like to remind the neighborhood “Angel” is short for “Angel of DEATH!” She is a sweet and loving dog… because I feed her the flesh of day laborers and hookers I bring home.

Next up are the three cats. Boo, Nancy and Sato.

Boo is our oldest cat and is known for Cat-Capsizing in front of us which involved walking directly in front of you and suddenly tucking her head under he front paws and rolling in a half-assed summersault till she plops on her side in your path. Her ability to do this to block our path has earned her the nickname BABBA-The-BUTT. Boo also has some freakish fetish for licking glass and plastic and is the sole cat responsible for attacking my feet under the bathroom door when I get out of the shower.
I have given so much blood for her amusement…

In short, she needs therapy. Oh, and we named her Boo because we got her right before Halloween.

Nancy is our extremely neurotic cat who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for reasons unknown. I honestly don’t know why the hell she’s named Nancy. I blame my son Christopher as he pulled that one out of thin air. I plan on cutting back her espresso intake to see if she “Evens out.”
Sato is the 800 pound baby of the cats. He is some kind of sicko rag-doll cat so he is nothing but dead weight every time you try to pick him up. Think of trying to pick up a fourteen pound wad of fuzzy chewing gum from hot pavement.

I blame him for my bad back.

Benjamin named him after a Japanese friend of ours. Of course I made the mistake of telling some other Japanese friends of mine, so the original Sato now has to take a bunch of crap thanks to me. You’re welcome, Sato.

Our newest member of the family is Agent Rico which is Lucie’s guinea pig. I made the mistake of calling him “Rico” instead of “Agent Rico.” I will not make that mistake again. Agent Rico was named after an online vote at THE WIFE’s blog.

All in all, I lead a legion of evil pets whose sole purpose is world domination. We will not be denied.

• Kristin: Kinki and Twinki. Those are my Chihuahuas. Why? The reasons? I can't say for sure. Kinki, the black one, was supposed to be named Kiki, according my mom, who took me by surprise one Christmas Eve and came to see me at work with a little black puppy peeking at me from her purse. I thought Kiki was too cutesy and cliché. I wanted her to have a bad a-- name, how Kinki fit that description, I'm not sure. Some (you know who you are) speculate that Kinki's name is a reflection of her owner, to which I can say I have no idea what those people are talking about.

One year later, almost the same situation. Christmas Eve, I get home really late (for me anyway) after spending a fun filled evening/night with @aka_cody and @aka_Rhys and I'm very sad and almost tearful because that was our last friend event before they moved away to D.C. (They came to their senses and moved back, thank goodness, but I digress.) I'm oblivious to my mom and brother staring at me expectantly...then I see a little white speckled thing cuddled next to Kinki. My brother actually chose the name Twinki---because it rhymed and she's sort of Twinkie colored. I wanted to name her Pancakes. Doesn't matter, really. Typical conversation in my house:

Me: Hey! Where is Twinki?
Mom: Where's who?
Me: Twinki!
Mom: Twinki or Kinki?
The End.

• Michelle: I've always been something of a history buff, and am especially fascinated with the ancient Egyptians and their gods. When I got my current cat, a solid black cat, I named him Anubis. Anubis was the god to protect the dead and bring them to the afterlife, and is usually depicted as being a black jackal. Since my kitten was all black, it seemed appropriate. Of course, he usually just gets called Little Boy or whatever pet name I saddle him with at the time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Twitter addictions

Welcome back from Labor Day, our loyal readers! Hope your respective holidays went well. Here’s the latest question posed to The Panel:

How did you get started on Twitter?

Their answers, this time in the order in which they were received:

Jen: On April 3rd of this year my home was burgled of just about everything. My birthday was April 4th and it made a terrible birthday gift. I work full time and am enrolled as a full time student. I was on Fluoxotine for depression and anxiety at the time of the burglary. After a week or so of increasing anxiety from the incident, my doctor thought we should increase my dosage of the Fluoxotine. That week I also decided to get texting on my phone. Something I had never had before. It was for school, primarily, and I had no real interest in it for anything else.

During the following week after my dosage increase, I started a pattern of behavior that was a little alarming but I was not cognizant of the causes. Manic behavior had set in and in there somewhere I decided to look at Twitter. I was already on Facebook, but I wasn’t terribly active as far as status updates went. And all I had really heard about Twitter was it was like Facebook’s status updates, but with 140 characters. In the very beginning I had no idea what I was doing, I had no personal friends on the network to help me along in getting it down. So I started slowly and with mistakes along the way. At the same time a little bit of a political and religious fervor had been kindled in me, thanks to the manic state I was in. I had questions, lots and lots of questions. And I thank the heavens I met up with some of the people I did.

As per the usual for me and anything I do, I went from zero to a zillion in one week. I had one focus and it was Twitter. I figured out the “follow” thing, the posting thing the kinds of questions to ask and I stayed away from the emo stuff, even though that’s where I was. I tried to follow a variety of people, convinced some personal friends and family to start and there I was. About two weeks into it and I was rolling. About this time I figured out that my medicine was making me a crazy person and I talked to my doctor and we agreed that I needed to do something different. The unfortunate thing was I could not just stop taking the meds. I had to wean myself off. That was going to take two weeks, yikes.

So at this point in the story it’s been a month, I have changed my medicine and all, but I am still hooked on Twitter. I have developed a sense of community, I like the people I follow and enjoy the humor, wisdom and insight I get from it. I may not be manic anymore, but I don’t want to stop Twittering. So I continue along, a little less intense, a little less full of questions and anxiety. I can read and take it in, process in what I like and cycle out what I don’t need. People say that you cannot form a bond with this kind of networking, that in the end it’s all bullshit. I don’t agree. Of the people I follow, I know only a handful personally and I interact with them on Twitter almost never. But if I talk to someone there on an almost daily basis, even about the mundane, I have a connection to that person and if I get a sense of that person and how they might really be in life, I would do for them what I would do for a friend in the flesh.

I have now been twittering for all of 4-ish months and I am a little more casual with it and my contributions a little less deep and insightful. I never wanted to post unless it seemed brilliant. Now my followers get who I am and if I have lost a few people along the way, well, so be it. I am still in school for the next 2 months and it’s going to be even harder for me to be online and hooked up, but I look forward to continuing my relationship with Twitter and the bonds, even the slight ones, which I have formed. I live by the thought that if you have impacted my life in some way, it’s for a reason and I think twitter is in my life for a reason.

• Houston: It all began with me in the airport for a ride back to Dallas from Cleveland. I was coming back from a visit to see my cousin Earl’s new boobs he had just bought and like most guys who are waiting on a plane, I got to the airport and decided to get a bite to eat. I chose some fly-by-night restaurant which specialized in mongo burritos. Now, for most folks this means nothing, but for a man without a gall bladder every meal is rolling the dice on your colon’s reaction. Sometime you win, sometimes you crap your pants.

The plane began boarding and as I popped into my seat I felt the first gurgle of unease. I felt the next gurgle and realized I was in trouble. I was moments away from the first gut clenching cramps that would have me soiling myself in agony.

I hopped up from my seat and accidently fired off a bit of a squeaker in the face of the guy in 18-C (Sorry dude) as I charged to the closest lavatory. Gasping for breath and with eyes watering the flight attendant tried to tell me something about FAA regulations but I charged through the door and slammed the door in her face. With practiced ease I contorted my body into the un-natural shape needed for aircraft crappers and took my seat upon the throne.

The first staccato blasts of the hellish frenzy racked my body and as my eyes watered I saw black spots dance before my eyes. The pain and relief were interrupted by the flight attendant beating on the lavatory door and telling me I “Could not use the restroom while the aircraft was on the ground.”

I felt it necessary to point out to the attendant the fact I most assuredly HAD used the restroom and the raging storm which was my bowels would not be denied. She then shared the vital piece of information that the lavatory did not function while the engines were not running.

I quickly became aware of the fact the amazing blue water did not empty (until it crested and deposited the overflow into my slacks). The attendant was alerted to the problem either by the screams of the fat guy in the toilet or the flood of blue water freely flowing under the door. I was trapped in the blue hell of an airline toilet with my slacks around my ankle screaming like a little girl on a rollercoaster.

By the time maintenance was able to crack the door to get me out, I looked like one of the “Blue Man Group” and was briskly escorted from the plane by US Marshalls. I was then added to the do not fly list with Usama Bin Ladin, Al-Sawahiri, and Cat Stevens.

Besides being banned for life from Cleveland, I suffered severe emotional scars which I hope to heal through the love and forgiveness I find through internet anonymity.

Twitter is my escape to once again seek normalcy. Because on Twitter, no one can smell your screams.

• Mollie Katie: I actually got started on Twitter last spring when I was at school. I was bullied into it by my friends Stephanie and Kim, because they were always texting me for dinner plans and the like. I didn't have a texting plan at the time (I just recently got one, it's all so very exciting for a Luddite like me) so Twitter was a free option. I got hooked in with the "Red Eye" crowd...and as my friends grew disillusioned and cut back, I developed a Twitter addiction. Which is  how I met all of the wonderful people on The Panel. Not very exciting, but a true story.

• Michelle: Short, simple, and sweet. I heard Andy Levy and Bill Schulz mentioning it on Red Eye and I was bored, so I set it up. Didn't do much with it, until the next time I got exceptionally bored with all my other social networking sites. I think I need a life. And that's that.

• Kristin: How did I get started on Twitter? I have a 'two birds, one stone' kind of answer. Sort of. I think I actually signed up for Twitter in 2008 via SMS for a school thing and had no idea what it was, just knew that I kept receiving really weird almost annoying text messages on my phone. I canceled that right away. It wasn't until January 2009 when I was watching TV's Andy Levy do the Red Eye Halftime Report that I noticed the "follow Andy around on Twitter" advertisement and the very next day (while at work no less) I found myself doing exactly that.

The two of my 'two birds' answer is of course, for those of you who know me, is always wrapped up in my PJ volunteering and being my 'research-y' self. Looking for the asshats that are creeping up on Twitter in the same fashion that they creep up on MySpace and Facebook. It was a slow start, but we've made a lot of progress. I would go into more detail on the subject, but privacy concerns and my own safety kind of trump my eagerness to share that part of my life with the world.

So, there you have it. My 'kill two birds with one stone' answer for why I joined Twitter. I will admit that I never expected to like it, to become as addicted to it as I am or to have made the friends and connections that I have made with people since joining Twitter. It took forever to convince my friends to join so that I would have someone to tweet with. but once they did, they too became addicts. My Twitter friends are a diverse bunch, some overlapping if you were to put them in groups--which never ceases to amaze me and all brought together by one website that still does not consider itself a social networking site.

• Justin: I got started on Twitter two years ago. I’d heard about it, but had never had real exposure to “tweeting” before @isfullofcrap took me to an Astros game for my birthday and he tweeted throughout the game. It was an ugly affair in which the Cardinals kicked our ass, so his tweets were the most interesting thing going on. I toyed with the idea for a while, but eventually decided to sign up.

[Just a friendly reminder, if you want to follow any, or all, of our writers, links to our Twitter accounts are on the right with our profiles.]

Friday, September 4, 2009

We’re on Facebook!

thepanelbanner That’s right! Now you can become a fan of us on Facebook!

Here’s our page.

I promise that we won’t pollute your feed with tons and tons of posts, just a link whenever we update, maybe a few other fun things.

Who knows, maybe I’ll come up with some sort of contest.

Regular programming should resume after Labor Day, the next question is out to the Panel members right now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Panel picks a movie… and has to live with it for the rest of their lives


[Photo via]

Who doesn’t like movies? Yea, I know, not everybody. Anyway, this next question has to do with movies:

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, which one would you pick and why?

Here are the responses, this time in reverse alphabetical order:

• Mollie Katie: If I could only watch one movie for the rest of my life, without a doubt it would be "Clue." I'm sure those of you who've never seen it will find the idea of a murder mystery comedy based on the board game to be cheesy. But you're dead wrong, it's awesome! It has easily the best that 1980s comedy has to offer in terms of casting: Tim Curry as Wadsworth the butler (an addition along with some minor characters), Madeline Khan as Mrs. White, Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet, Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock, Michael McKeon as Mr. Green, Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard, and Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum. Fans, and even more so haters, of The Go-Go's might want to watch just for frontwoman Jane Weidlin's exceedingly brief cameo. The dialogue is some of the funniest and certainly most quotable I have ever heard, especially the accused black widow Mrs. White's classic: "Husbands should be like Kleenex --- soft, strong, and disposable." It's 96 minutes go by far too fast and include three different possible endings.

"Clue" has quite a cult following, including shadowcasting (real live actors dress like the characters and act out the plot while the film plays on a movie screen behind them) similar to another Tim Curry feature, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." I have probably seen "Clue" at least once a week since a babysitter introduced it to me when I was about 5 years old. I have worn out two VHS tape copies and one DVD copy already, which should tell you how serious I am about this choice. Or how sad my life is. (Fellow fans are probably saying right now, "Either. Or both.") If you've never seen it before, I urge you to go out and rent it. Or Netflix. Or whatever you techno-hipsters do these days!

Michelle: Throughout the history of the silver screen, from the first talkies of years past to the massive motion pictures of today, movies have been an escape from the reality of life, especially popularized during the Depression. People would flock to the theater and part with their hard-earned and scarce money to lose themselves in an alternate world for a short time. This remains true today, and especially for me. I love nothing more than to lose myself and forget the world that surrounds me. Life is full of drama, and angst, and misery. If I could choose only one movie to watch for the rest of my life, it would be a comedy, and not just any comedy, but the one that makes me laugh every time, regardless of how many times I've seen it, Animal House. Yes, that's right, Animal House. The original national Lampoon's movie that has inspired a dozen more over the years. Low-brow humor? Perhaps. Hilarious? Absolutely. I love that movie, with it's crazy characters and it's highly quotable lines. True, it makes me sad sometimes watching it and realizing that John Belushi would die before I was even born without fulfilling the promise that he showed with his "Bluto" character, but what a character it was. "The confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn't steal!" '"I think I'm in love with a retard."-"Is he bigger than me?"' "TOGA! TOGA!" "Was it over when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor?" "You're all worthless and weak. Now drop and give me twenty." "Thank you sir, may I have another." "That boy is a P-I-G pig." Okay, I'll stop quoting now, but if you haven't seen this movie, watch it. And if you disagree with me, may you be placed on double-secret probation.

• Kristin: Silence of the Lambs would be the one movie I would be okay with watching for the rest of my life. It was the one movie I wasn't allowed to watch as a kid. Seeing it made me want to read the book. Reading the book is what changed my entire career path when I started college. I guess you could say that without Silence of the Lambs, I may not be where I am today.

• Justin: Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention? I've just been handed a urgent and horrifying question, and I need all of you to stop what you're doing and listen. Anchorman!

I love dramas, but if I had to choose only one movie to watch the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be one. It would be a comedy.

Why’s that, you ask? When I’m suffering from a spiritual and existential funk and don’t have the money to buy new suits, there’s nothing like a good comedy to cheer me up. And Anchorman does it the best of any movie I’ve seen. It’s an absolutely breathtaking movie, I mean that thing’s good. I wanna be friends with it.

The movie’s got so many glorious quotes, including one I used on my blog to describe Hurricane Humberto. Never mind the references that I’ve already thrown in.

In other words, Anchorman is the balls.

You stay classy, planet earth!

Jen: Last week I was asked to give some serious consideration to what movie I would pick if I could only watch one for the rest of my life. Och, such a question. I immediately went through my list of standbys. Silverado, any Monty Python movie, Band of Brothers (mini series/so DQ), Star Wars, Elf, Gone with the Wind (that was gratuitous, never a favorite) Easter Parade, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, oh lot's of movies.

There is a lot to consider when making a decision that will last a lifetime. Will I get tired of it? How many layers does it have? Plots, sub plots. Watchable characters. Tiring jokes. Am I looking for realism? Comedy or Drama? What would I want to take away from the only film I'd ever watch again? Does it need to be in English? Turns out, that was a very important question.

I love foreign films, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Bollywood and so I added several foreign films making it an even more sizable list. I finally settled on one and I think I made a wise choice. Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". A movie with villains and heroes, magic and love. It holds me spellbound while I watch the humanly impossible happen and believe it to be possible. It stars Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi. Fat and Yeoh are warriors that have come to a point in their lives that they want to leave the past behind and find peace together. Ziyi is a young aristocrat that is about to enter into an arranged marriage that she does not want. Over the course of the film we find out that she has been trained by another woman in the Wudan method of fighting and has natural skills that go far beyond the norm. Ziyi’s romantic past and unhappy future is the catalyst for the film’s storyline and determines the fates of the people that surround her.

This movie is poetry, ballet, drama, beauty and lyrical. The cinematography alone makes it worth watching, the acting is superb. The movie was made in the Mandarin dialect, but you can choose to have it dubbed into English. I prefer the subtitles to the dubbing as I find it to be distracting and eventually I forget that I am reading subtitles at all. CTHD made it to the top of my list for all the things I previously mentioned and more. If you have not already watched this movie, I hope this has put it on your must do list.

houston-dynamite • Houston: Trapped on a desert island with only a DVD player, a 42” Plasma TV, Electrical Power and a single movie to watch?  This sounds like one of those retarded things “The Professor” would come up with.

“Here Gilligan, I’m going to make a nuclear reactor out of this coconut so we can have never ending AC power!”

How about you build a freakin’ boat brainiac?

OK, but I digress. So if I had only one movie to watch what would it be? Forever? Only one?

ron-jeremy Maybe I should choose a porno as I will obviously be very lonely and not have much social interaction.  The problem is, after a while those get so boring and besides, it would probably have Ron Jeremy in it.


OK, that rules out skin flicks.  So do I want a cutesy movie like “The Princess Bride”?  NO!  An action film like “The Matrix”? NO, I’ll take what the freak ever pill keeps me out of that movie.

There is only one movie I can watch forever and ever.

rex-kwon-do “Napoleon Dynamite.”

It reminds me of my youth when I was a tall, skinny kid with a giant orange afro wearing terrible suits.

<Those were the days>

Besides that “Rex Kwon Do” taught me many things about self defense.
That is me behind Kip.

trisha-summer<Man I am handsome>

And who could forget Trisha, Summer and Deb.  Three hotties all in a row.  Who needs porn when you have Deb in stirrup pants?


Friday, August 28, 2009

Who’s in your Twitter Fave Five?

Welcome to The Panel. We’re a group of Tweeps that have come together on this blog to tackle all the burning questions. Yes, even your questions. So, if you have one for us about anything (and I mean ANYTHING), send an email to and we’ll give you an answer.

Since we all met on Twitter, I thought it would be appropriate for our first question to be Twitter-related. Here goes:

Besides your fellow Panel members, who are your five favorite Twitter follows?

Now, to take the responses in alphabetical order:


  • I personally want to recommend everyone follow @isfullofcrap.  He is a tech support minion who has been in the trenches for years like I have and he is the inspiration for me to start blogging.  His website is packed full of cats, horror stories about the Houston metro, cats, tech support, pictures of bums, cats, grilling of food and... did I mention cats?
  • Next up is @IMAO_. Between the genius of his "Random Thoughts" (which make me wish I could think) and his posts of stuff that makes me giggle like a little girl he is the height of humor. He likes guns too!
  • Third is a hometown homeboy! @FWGMills From the genius of his drive by humor and observations on the suck factor of Arlington (OK, OK, OK I have to admit Dallas) he keeps the day moving along nicely. He also got locked in his house a while back which amused Justin and me to no end!
  • OK, what twitter list would be complete without our own evil mercenary of technology @JasonMinnick.  When he isn't slaughtering me for lobbing him softballs questions which he knocks out of the park for humor home runs, he is slaughtering the data network in Afghanistan. As he says... ( or at least I imagine he says it!) Goats LIE!
  • Now last but not least, I have to mention the person I laugh the most at with on teh interwebz @thebloggess.  If I weren't amazingly unattractive I would tattoo her face on my butt so I could wear a thong on the beach and let everyone see how awesome she is. Oh well, I can dream right?  Hurry up and follow her before she sobers up!


  • @dzurillaville Biting wit yet unfailingly cheerful. An example of what a sorority girl should grow up to be. Music. Inside info. The Chiweenie. Knows accessories like I know...., damn, what rhymes with accessories?
  • @vanbytheriver His intelligence is "Rocky Mountain High" His wit "Cuts like a Knife" He is my "Jukebox Hero" and he will "Disarm" you with his charm.
  • @kevinsoberg His tendency to give of himself sparingly adds to the mystique. He can be serious and not so serious. Subjects are varied and never stale. The sarcasm runs deep in this one.
  • @someGit I can't explain it other than to say I get a tingle up my leg when I read his posts.
  • @soopertrev There is a special place for Trev in my Twitter world. He may not even know it. It doesn't matter if he is posting about his love for all things Redeye, about politics or asking for shirtless pics, I like his tweets and always will....


  • @isfullofcrap is a blogger, podcaster, and all-around nutcase. Laurence got me into Twitter and was my first follow.
  • @laurawxx Local tweep that always brings the laughs. Twitter should be fun, and she certainly helps me keep it that way. Also just as much fun in real life.
  • @TheBloggess is a mom, advice-giver, sex columnist and batshit-crazy bloggess, but in a good way. I met her at a tweetup in Houston once. She was the one drinking at 10 AM. And who else would give their 4 year old a Tenacious D lunchbox? How is that *not* made of awesome?
  • @dsilverman writes a tech column and blog for the Houston Chronicle. He’s the guy I turn to for my tech news.
  • @alysonfooter used to be the Astros’ beat writer for, now she works for the team in a different capacity. She offers interesting insights into the game. And really, who doesn’t like an attractive redhead that knows her baseball?


  • @aka_cody has been my best friend since Freshman year if high school and has been ever since. Don't know what I would do without him. Met @aka_Rhys through Cody and he's my best friend as well. Rhys is a bit crazier than Cody though.
  • @Bill_El is a Vegas local that works for the best local news-- Eyewitness News Ch 8...and he is hilarious and he gets my jokes.
  • @JellyWrestler -- hello, #feelingstabby! Need I say more?
  • @LasVegasNOW is the aforementioned Ch 8 Eyewitness news twitter. They rock because they actually use the @replies when you tweet them about things. No one likes snotty news people, IMO.


  • @jfhuj He goes off on random tangents sometimes for several tweets, which is amusing. He also keeps me entertained in the late hours of the night, and always has something to say that interests me.
  • @Smittmaestro Who always has something nice to say to or about me, especially when I need it the most. He was the first person to welcome me to the Activity Pit, which became a place I spent most of my time at, before Twitter came along.
  • @boinkity The man who is a total perv, and could teach #teamcreepy a thing or two. He always makes me laugh and I have also spent many long nights chatting with him about this and that and everything.
  • @JohnLarroquette Yes, I still watch Night Court sometimes, and on Twitter, the man can be surprisingly philosophical and thoughtful. Plus, he talks about southern food a lot. Yum.
  • @therealtramp She is an example of someone I might be in a few years, she thinks for herself and follows nobody’s opinion but her own. She always has something to say that I haven’t heard before or thought of yet. She's been a good friend to me since we "met." Yes, @ejukatedrednek, you have been a swell fella too, but Trampy beat you out here.

Mollie Katie:

  • @andylevy For all the #RedEye and conservative news.
  • @TommyXtopher For the liberal pov.
  • @RedSoxRedShoes Whose comments make me literally laugh out loud, even when the Yankees rout the #RedSox 20 to 11.
  • @rod_Stewart Hands down the funniest celeb Twit, and enabled of my hashtagging problem.
  • @vanbytheriver Who blips music that I love. I'd suspect he's using my music collection, but since he's not a #teamcreepy member I'm guessing he has no plans to break and enter my house! ;)