Monday, August 29, 2005, 11:48 AM // 5 comments

Tinfoil Boats

Rachel Altobell and her daddy
contributed by my daughter, Rachel Altobell

One afternoon it started to rain real hard. Our sunny day at the beach was ruined. My cousins and I were so bored. We didn't know what to do. All we could think about was when it was going to stop raining so we could go swimming again. My mother's brother, Uncle Ritchie, noticed we were unhappy and bored. He gathered all us kids into the kitchen and we sat at the table. Tinfoil, glue, and tape sat in front of us. My Uncle Ritchie, the engineer, explained that there were huge puddles outside and he thought we should make boats out of the tinfoil and have races.

It took forever to make the boats. I actually had to rebuild my boat a few times. When the rain finally stopped right around the time we finished our boats. I must say I thought everyone's boat was impressive. After we showed off our vessels to the family we went and changed into our bathing suites and flip-flops.

We went outside and looked for the biggest puddles. They were not hard to find. We placed our boats in the water and lo and behold they floated! We were so excited however, every few minutes we needed to empty out all the water that collected in our boats.

We soon got bored with the puddles and Uncle Ritchie suggested we take a walk to the beach. We decided that was a good idea so we made our way to the beach. The waves were so big. We walked over the jetties and Doug made the first move with a big splash. Jessie and I decided that was a good idea. So, the three of us splashed around while Becca and Lissa stayed watched from a distance.

Later we met up with Mommy and our dog Chloe. We stayed on the beach until it started to get dark. Then we made our way back to the house wet and cold because we did not have towels.

I'll always remember that day and how it all stated with tinfoil boats.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 11:05 AM // 6 comments

As a rule, I've never been one to seek out Hollywood gossip. Sure, I've looked at the covers of the gossip magazines in the check out lane at the super market but have never purchased one. It's just something I'm not into because I never believe what they claim is true. That said, a few weeks back I stumbled across a gossip blog call The Hollywood Rag. This blog is the web's version of the gossip magazines without the articles. It's basically paparazzi pictures and the site's authors funny commentary. Now, you might say why do you like this and not the magazines? Well, in my mind -- pictures don't lie.

Paris Hiton looking - I can't believe I'm saying this - hot.Just about every day you'll see pictures of Paris Hilton shopping or at a club. She always looks radiant and seems to enjoy the attention and the paparazzi. Another popular favorite is Tara Reid. Look up "train wreck" in the dictionary and you'll see her picture. It's true. She's parties hard. So hard, in fact, that I'm including her on next year's death pool. Other paparazzi stalkings include a very pregnant Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Mariah Carey. the Olsen sisters, Courtney Love, Hillary Duff, and all of the Desperately Seeking Designing Housewives.

Tara Reid is drunk...again.
It's sad really, these people can't go anywhere without someone taking their picture. At first, I'm sure, it is exciting for the new celebrity. But you know the attention gets old real fast. Be that as it may, these celebrities are in the public spotlight and being stalked is the price fame. In some ways I am ashamed to look at these pictures. But I can't stop. It's like looking at a car don't want to look but you do.

Def Leppard - Photograph


Wednesday, August 17, 2005, 11:57 AM // 3 comments

A Note to Self: My Dad - Don Altobell

Don Altobell
For the last few weeks my father, Don Altobell, has been very ill. Dad has been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for 45 years and, sadly, the disease is now beginning to win. His doctor's told me that they've basically run out of tricks in their bags. So, dad is home, resting comfortably and - as we all are - waiting for the inevitable. It's a strange feeling knowing that someone you love is going to die.

On one hand, I want to have my father with me as long as possible so that we can do what we've always done - talk in great lengths about everything and anything. My father and I never played catch or went camping together. What we did do together, however, was talk about boxing, girls, God, baseball, movies, music (opera, Frank Sinatra), and everything in between.

On the other hand, however, I want my father to go to heaven to be with God, his parents, and his friends that have passed in the last few years. I don't want to see my father in his present condition anymore. I will not use this forum to describe his present state so let's just say it's a condition you or I would want to live.

But in the end does it really matter what I want? It all comes down to my father and his incredible will to survive and fight to stay alive no matter what his condition may be. Although, he may be incredibly weak and unable to move most of his body he is the strongest man I know. And perhaps that is why he's fighting to stay to stay alive so that he may be an inspiration to us all.

For more information about Multiple Sclerosis please visit: The the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) Thirty-five years ago Dad was one of MSAA’s first volunteers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005, 11:46 AM // 0 comments

The Beta Band - The Second Best Band You Never Heard

My all time top five rock and roll movies are (starting with number five) Eric Idle's The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, then The Talking Head's Stop making Sense, followed by The Beatles' A Hard Days Night, in the number two position we find The Who's The Kids Are All Right, and finally my number one favorite rock movie is John Cusack's High Fidelity.

The answer is obvious as to why I love High Fidelity -- I identify with the central character, Rob Gordon. We're both really into music, we work(ed) in record stores, we're DJ's, and we hang out with people who are just like us: music geeks. During the movie Rob is talks about his record store:
"...(my store) gets by because of the people who make a special effort to shop here on Saturday - young men, always young men, who spend a disproportionate amount of their time looking for deleted Smiths singles and "original not re-released" underline Frank Zappa albums. The fetish properties are not unlike porn. I would feel guilty taking their money if I wasn't, kind of, well, one of them."

One of my favorite High Fidelity moments takes place on a busy Saturday afternoon in Rob's shop:

Rob: I will now sell four copies of "The Three EPs" by The Beta Band.
Dick: Go for it.
[Rob plays the record]
Beta Band Customer: Who is this?
Rob Gordon: The Beta Band.
Beta Band Customer: It's good.
Rob Gordon: I know.

I can understand why Rob was able to sell four copies of "The Three EPs" by The Beta Band. Their music is incredible. Their sound blends Pink Floyd, Gomez, Stone Roses, Radiohead, and funk, rap, and some in-yo-face rock and roll.

The Beta Band formed in 1997 and released three EP's. In 1999 they released their self-titled first album; their sophomore effort, Hot Shots II was released in 2001; and last year saw the release of their final album, Heroes and Zeroes. The Beta Band announced late last year that they were breaking up citing, "...the frustration of much critical praise but no commercial impact."


Monday, August 08, 2005, 11:51 AM // 12 comments

Looking for a great Italian meatball recipe?

If you're looking for a great Italian meatball recipe then wrap your lips these balls.

I've known Tom Hartman since first grade. That means we've been friends for a long time. Since childhood Tom has always come across as a "worldly" type of fellow. He's always been very knowledgeable in politics, sports, the arts, history, and music. Especially music. He and I have listened, enjoyed, and argued about music for thirty years.

Tom is also knows a lot about food. He lives in Philadelphia and enjoys eating out often. Name the food and Tom has tasted it somewhere in Philadelphia or New York or around the world (Tom travels a lot. When it comes to food -- Tom has tried it all including Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, French, and Italian. Now, given his background, experience, and his fondness for food I value his opinion and his recommendations about such matters.

I told you about Tom so you'll understand my disbelief when he told me that my meatballs were the best he's ever eaten. My meatballs? Tom has eaten thousands of meatballs in hundreds of restaurants in and around Philadelphia, New York, and other places, yet my meatballs are his favorite, "...the best I've ever tasted." Wow, what a compliment. Thank you Tom.

So given my new found respect for my meatballs I want to share my recipe:

The Best Meatball Recipe
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

1 pound combined beef, veal, pork (must be fresh)
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Romano Locatelli Cheese
1 cup bread crumb
1 clove garlic - minced
1 teaspoon salt

(All mixing is done be hand) In a large bowl mix beef/veal/pork with eggs. Then add bread crumb, cheese, and salt. Finally add minced garlic in stages. Add a little then mix. Add some more, then mix. This way all the garlic does not end up in one meatball. Now, it's time to roll up the balls. Average size is roughly 2 inches in diameter. I usually get around 18 to 20 meatballs per pound. IMPORTANT! Do not cook meatballs in your pasta sauce! Meatballs cooked in sauce loose their flavor. The real key to a tasty meatball is cooking the them in an oven. So, heat oven to 375. Place meatballs on a rack - then on a cookie tray. Bake for 12 minutes on one side then 10 minutes for the other.

I freeze the meatballs in bags and take out what I need per dinner. I just drop the meatballs into the sauce as if heats up.

Buon Appetito!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 11:19 AM // 7 comments

Eat That Frog!

This week I started reading a new book titled Eat That Frog! - 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time..

The book's title comes from an old saying, "...that if the first thing you do is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long."

That said, when you start your day determine what task is your live frog. Complete that task first and the rest of the day is a cake walk.

Check out today's frog: Frank Zappa - Frogs With Dirtly Little Lips


Tuesday, August 02, 2005, 8:09 PM // 1 comments

Rolling Stones - Rough Justice

Rolling Stones - Rough JusticeI can't believe I'm writing this. I like the new Rolling Stones single "Rough Justice." The song starts off with a classic, signature Keith Richards riff that slams into Charlie Watts' signature drum fill. Then you hear Ronnie Wood's slide in the background followed by Mick Jagger's snarl of a vocal...

One time you were my baby chicken
Now you've grown into a fox
Once upon a time I was your little rooster
now am I just one of your cocks

It's classic raw, raunchy Rolling Stones. Have they recorded this songs in the past? Sure. Lots of times. But who cares. Its this sound that makes the Stones "The World's Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band."

Check it out: Rolling Stones - Rough Justice

Labels: ,

About Paul Altobelli

Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

Flickr Photos