Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A few summers ago I was lucky enough to take the family with me for a month to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was performing in Henson's Puppet Up at the Fringe Festival. We did two shows a day, six days a week. There wasn't always a lot of time to explore and do fun, touristy kind of things.

We crammed as much sightseeing we could into that one day off a week. The castle. The countryside. Museums.

But the one thing we really hadn't experienced was traditional Scottish food. So, with one day off left, my wife, daughter and I piled into a cab in search of something unique to eat.

In his thick brogue, the cab driver asked us where we wanted to go. (On a side-note, every time we got in a cab in Edinburgh and the driver asked us where we wanted to go, my daughter would loudly ask, "What's that man saying? I can't understand him!") Anyway, we told the driver to take us to someplace where the locals go for dinner.

The driver quickly began maneuvering the taxi through the narrow streets of Old Town. He was going fast. He knew just the place! We made our way up steep inclines, back down through even more narrow streets. We were deep within a part of Edinburgh that the tourists never see. It was mysterious. Magical. Dark. Old. Creepy. Old. It was as if our taxi was taking us back through time. The roads got narrower. The cobblestone more decayed. We drove on. And on. And suddenly we were there. At...

The Olive Garden.

The driver said the pasta was pretty good.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Froynlaven readers will be happy to know that I have successfully completed my mission. I now have a clean office, fresh paint, and...as my wife promised, a dandy new TV. Dandy, indeed. Super dandy. HI-def dandy. Low power consumption led TV dandy.

I was given the go-ahead to make the TV purchase last Thursday. I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. My heart began pounding as I approached the sales clerk and pointed out what I wanted. I rushed my words together excitedly. "I want that Samsung Series 7 backlit LED TV with a blue ray player that plays things!!"

My wife and daughter were waiting by the door when I got home. "Did you get it dad?"

"No," I replied. "I changed my mind." Her heart sunk. Then, 'OF COURSE I GOT IT!!!!!"

My wife suggested we all have dinner and then I could set it up later.

Wives no nothing of the need to watch something hi-def as soon as possible. Dinner was the fastest in recorded history.

I ran into my office and threw open the box. The TV was sleek and shiny and black. And, I knew, it would never work. Ever. Because...I'm cursed with electronics. This curse has come to be known as, THE MR. RUGG.

A little back story on the curse. Every electronic purchase I have made since the age of 19 has had something wrong with it. Stereos with bizarre hissing. Tape recorders with busted microphones. Phones with missing cords. All new. All in the box. All defective. All mine. I would take them back to the various stores and hear..."I'm sorry Mr. Rugg."

The curse got so bad that I would purposely never get the first box on the shelf...but the one in back. That never worked, either. Everything was always broken.

Which is why...when I opened the box for my new 40 inch TV...I expected to see broken bits of glass, a dead rat and chewed plastic. I would be forced to return it to the store and hear, "I'm sorry Mr. Rugg. That was the last one. You will have to wait the rest of your life while we order a new one."

But, to my surprise, nothing was broken. I assembled the stand and plugged it in. I waiting for smoke to start spewing from the speakers. I waited for the TV to explode. I waited for...at the very least...something not to work. Perhaps a software malfunction that caused everything to look Portuguese.

BUT, to my surprise. It all worked. The folks at Samsung have restored my faith in electronic things that come in boxes.

The first thing we all watched was the blue ray edition of my favorite film of all time: 2001.
It's was awe inspiring. In fact, the scene in the moon bus as they're on the way to the Tycho monolith looked like it was live video. Happy. Happy me. The ending still made no sense, but now it made no sense in HI-DEF!

We've watched UP and THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. UP was breathtaking. Unfortunately no amount of HI-DEF can help The Incredible Mr. Limpet. However, my daughter thought it was the best thing she's ever seen. I'm keeping that in mind when we start picking out colleges for her.

Anyway, the last TV we bought was 16 years ago. So, judging by that, I can't wait to see what my next TV will be like when I get it in 2026.