Thursday, April 17, 2014

App of the Month

This month we have a game as the App of the Month.  And yes, of course it's free.

Do you even know me???

2048 is the name of the game.

On a grid, you start off with two numbers: 2 and / or 4.

The idea is to combine like numbers (i.e. 2 + 2) to get a higher number (i.e. 4) and then combine those higher number (i.e. 4 + 4) and keep it up until you achieve 2048.

Of course, not all numbers are next to each other, so you have to find a way to move them in a fashion not only to combine them, but to place them next to an equal number to combine those.

Yeah, I know - as I read what I just wrote it makes little least in text.

I'm not sure pictures will make it better but.....we'll try.........

Yeah - that should do it.


Ok - just keep swiping your fingers trying to get the the same number next to each other and combine them. Keep doing it until you get to 2048.

While there is a score, that is not where you're looking to get 2048. You're trying to get that 2 to a 4 to an 8 to a 16 and so on until you get to the number.  I'm not sure what you get the score for. In theory probably want a lower score when you hit 2048 - as it means you've done it in the least amount of moves.

There might be instructions, but hell if I'm looking those up. I'm a guy.

Oddly (or not), this game is soothing to me.  There is no timer. Things do not come down, or show up, faster as time goes on. You only lose by running out of space until you are unable to complete your task of getting to 2048.

But there is a Beautiful Mind aspect to it. You see patterns on how you should move numbers and where to achieve your goal. After a very short while you don't even really think about it - you just do it.

And after the first 3-4 moves, it absolutely matters which way you combine numbers. You might think seeing three 4s in a row, knowing you have to use two of them to make 8 is easy, but you must pick the correct two to combine.

Sure, either will get you the 8, but how will you get that 8 to 16?

I've only had the game for four days now but have not achieved 2048.  But I will.

Oh - and the game is horribly addictive.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pork and Beans

We rarely have pork.

It's just not one of my go-to dishes.

In actuality, most pork products are just not my thing. I like the smell of bacon more than I like bacon.

Somehow saying that out loud in a public forum just lost me friends and readers. Sorry - but it's true.

Now and again, I'll have ribs or on a pizza sometimes I will have sausage or pepperoni, but even lately that isn't often.

You will very very very rarely see me eat a sausage link (yes........get it out of your systems, pervs!).

Ok - I'll have a brat at a baseball game, but chances of any meat being in there are slim to none.

But 710 likes pork. I think he's deprived of it at home, which is why he's happy getting pulled pork (hehehe....pulled pork!) when we eat out at lunch.

Anyhoo....saw just looking for to cook, I got pork chops.

I didn't want just breaded ones or pan fried ones either, but it needed flavour, because let's be honest, pork has very little of it on its own. Maybe that is the reason I just don't care for it that much.

So I played around and looked at a number of recipes. None of them were jumping out at me, or they included ingredients I didn't have in the house and I was too frickin' lazy to make a store run.

Improvisation is the name of the game, no? And by "improvisation" I mean, I had to make do.

So here we go:


1.5 T olive oil
2 thick pork chops
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t dry mustard
4-5 oz tomato sauce
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper


Preheat oven to 350F

Heat oil in skillet. Cook pork chops 5 min on each side or until they start to brown. 

In separate bowl, mix brown sugar, salt, pepper and dry mustard.  I hate how clumpy and hard brown sugar gets. I actually needed a pestle to break it down. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), 710 used to be a pharmacy student before he changed majors and so we have one.

Remove chops and place them into a baking disk. Sprinkle the above dry mixture over the chops. The chops are still pretty hot, so the brown sugar immediately dissolves and infuses into the meat. 

Some recipes said to put 1/4 t of lemon juice over the pork at this point. I did not have a lemon, and I wasn't sure how much that small amount would make a difference spread over two chops. 

Then put the tomato sauce over each chop and fill the pan with 1/4 cup of water. Cover and place in oven for an hour or till the pork has an internal temperature of 145.

Honestly, it never occurred to me to check the temp on the pork sooner than 45-50 minutes into the cooking. The oven was at a steady 350F, but the internal temp got to 210 (!!!!). 

Mind you, the chop was tender, as the water and the covered pan kept things moist, but'll want to watch for this. 

It looks sad on the plate, before I got the sides on there too - though they were not beans, regardless of their inclusion in the post title.

Overall impressions: meh.  

The texture was fine and the meat was tender enough to cut with a fork.  I'm sure the dry mix added some depth of flavour but I tasted mostly tomato sauce. As smoky tomato sauce, but still......

I suppose if I ever do pork again (and I'm sure I will), this can be a back-up, but chances are I'd try something else. 

Song by: Weezer

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Free

Today is the deadline.

It's not like we were cutting it to the wire, but no one wants to hear about filing taxes back in February.  April 15th is always "the date".

This year though is a little different. Due to the DOMA ruling last June, we are now filing our Federal return as a married couple.

In a way, it was a different ballgame. We probably should have had them professionally done, just to see what was what, but they were done in-house.

The numbers were crunched as filing jointly as married folks or individually as married folks.

Obviously, we were going to go with whichever got us the largest return or the smallest payment.

For the record, we went with jointly.

However, for State and City taxes, we are still on our own, as Ohio doesn't recognize gay marriage.

......or didn't.....

Until yesterday.

Kind of.

Judge Timothy Black, whom I wrote about last Fall, ruled that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage recognition was unconstitutional. He did not go as far to say the 2004 state ban on same-sex marriage fell into the same category. That still stands. No homos can marry within the Buckeye State.

For the record, the suit that was to be filed on 710's and my behalf was this one, - though we were not part of this.  Clearly some other lawyer(s) beat ours to the punch. I know they were all playing political strategy  - waiting to see which appellate judges replaced whom, but clearly it's moving ahead....without us.

Black placed an automatic 'stay' with his decision, so nothing is really being recognized here until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals can rule on it - since Black figured (correctly) that both the Governor and AG of Ohio would indeed appeal.

Now, I would almost get the waste of time and money on the appeal if this same court, and these same judges, hadn't already ruled on striking down the recognition ban in Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Why does Ohio think the ruling will be different here?

And so it goes.

But Black's ruling, even without the stay, would not and could not have changed our state and local tax situation. We had already filed.

We will see what 2015's tax season brings us.

Song by: Joni Mitchell

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Music Monday

It was one of those days that I didn't know what I'd have planned for the weekly My Music Monday selection.

So like the other week, I employed iTunes shuffle to help make the decision.

Last time, it was the last song I heard as I was driving. This time I just picked the 10th song that came on.

You might not be happy with today's selection, but I can almost guarantee you'll be happier than with the other nine that held in store for you.

You can thank me later.

Today you get the Thorns and their song "I Can't Remember".

I might have reviewed their debut (and only) album years ago. I won't bother going back to look for that post, let alone link it.

They are were, in ways, a modern day Crosby, Stills and Nash (no Young).  Each member  - Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge was at least quasi (not all were even 'semi') successful recording artists in their own right when they combined for what will seemingly be their only release.

Their bigger pseudo-association to CSN would be their basically acoustic presentation and always present three part harmonies.

I wasn't horribly thrilled with the disk when it came out 12 years ago (ugh), but a number of the songs have grown on me, including this one.

If you like it, you can thank me. If you hate it, well, just blame iTunes Shuffle.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 50th (!!!!!)  12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12
th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

Created by Chad Darnell and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just ErikJim and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.

06:25.  Vittles

...for the doggie. Food and his steroid and allergy meds await HRH's awakening.

08:10.  Yoga.

...starting in 5 minutes.

There were only three people in the early class. 

09:40. Sustenance.  

Well, David and Blobby time after class. Food is just a good excuse to extend our day together.

10:45.  Recycle. 

Had tons of those grocery bags to get rid of.

11:30. Hospital Visit. 

Visiting my 93 yo uncle who took a tumble a few days ago.  I'm reading the Navy Times because he's at the VA.  Technically I did not take the pic but you can see me in the mirror. 

12:30.  VA Hospital parking spot.  ....for spinal cords, only. 

14:50.  Rehab Visit.

My 93 year old father took a tumble last weekend. He is in a physical rehab facility for the foreseeable future. 

15:20.  The flip-flops and University of Michigan sweatshirt non-withstanding, he was kind of hot.  ...and no wedding ring. 

15:45.  My hometown. 

Downtown Chagrin Falls.

16:30.  Petey walk #2.  Happy fella. 

19:50.  The only four-way Blobby is getting anytime soon.

21:10.  Pets at rest.

No Baker's Dozen. Not this month. Perhaps next time. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oh Brother

Petey Porn goes on the road.

Petey got to see his old younger brother, Boomer, this last week.

We had dinner at my sister's house and she asked us to bring Petey.  Boomer is a funny guy - he loves his brother, but knows Pete is the alpha, so makes up for it by herding and pouncing on Petey.

Petey is a sage. Nothing phases him. Certainly not Boomer. But they are cute together.

You'll remember Boomer from posts where I used to go free him and Petey from the kennel when my sister was traveling.

And my sister lives in a house that Petey only lived in for one month, but still knows like the back of his paw. He immediately went to a cabinet and opened it up. He hasn't done that in two years, since he hasn't been there in that long.  How'd he remember?

He's never tried it at our house.

I love this pic. It's something about Petey's eyes. 

This is my niece's kitten. She's never seen Petey before. He could care less about her - but she was extremely interested in him - from a distance.  Pippa (yes, that's her name) and Boomer get along. Actually she will knock food from the counter to Boomer for his consumption. 

I think you've seen this before. Boomer likes to clean Petey's ears. It's gross.  But when Boomer does it, Petey doesn't get ear infections. Since we don't have a Boomer at home, we have to clean Petey's ears ourselves - but not with our tongues. 

Petey stole Boomer's bed.  Not atypical. When my sister had both, Petey took Boomer's bed and stacked it on his and slept on both, leaving Boomer with nothing. So Boomer would sleep on top of Petey. 

Boomer tried to block Petey from getting the bed, but that was just not going to happen. 

Song by: Avicii with Dan Tyminski

Friday, April 11, 2014

Site of the Month

Remember yesterday when I was wringing my hands on what I was to write for today?

Well - I never really came up with anything, so I'm going with my Site of the Month.....which I stole from Tornwordo's FB page.

It is a Countries of the World Quiz.   ....and I might not pass a geography course if actually put to the test...

...welllll....unless it was graded on a curve. Even then I'd barely eke by. 

55 fucking percent. 

Now, for full disclosure, I took the test twice. I was three-quarters into it the first time when I realized you did not have to click on the country and then type in the name.  Well fudge - now you tell me. I lost a LOT of time. 

So all you have to do is type in names and keep going. It's a time-saver.  So the first time I only got 64 countries. 

Once I figgered it out, I took the test a second time. Hence the 55%.  Though almost 74% beating others who have taken this quiz - though that latter percentage did factor in my previous low low low score.  

So on paper, I suck at this.   However, in my defense.......

If you look at it like this, it looks like I did very well.  But those pesky African countries, Asian ones and a few South and Central American ones kind of threw me. And there are a lot of them, even though it doesn't look like it.

And what the fuck is up with Greenland?  Typing in "Greenland" is not even a choice. I even tried typing in "Lapland", just in case. I got nothing.

Now a few caveats - though I'm not letting myself off the hook.....spelling counts.

Yes, I wasted time trying to spell "Uzbekistan"....multiple times. And yes, I didn't know there was a difference between Samoa (which I got) and the Samoan Islands (which I didn't).

I'd bet most of us who read this blog-thing don't know from Andorra (no, not Samantha Stevens' mother) or Djibouti.

Where I'd remember something obscure like the Marshall Islands, I'd forget Sri Lanka. I'd get Camaroon, but blank on Guatemala, Tanzania or Tunisa.

I mean, my g-d, they filmed Star Wars in Tunisa!!!!

I easily got Malaysia. Thank you flight 370!!!!

I'd like to say I ran out of time, and in a way, I guess I did, but everyone does. There are only 12 minutes on the clock.

But even with losing time by respelling things, I really ran out the last 1:40 trying to figure out the other 88 countries.    ....and half of that last 1:40 I would type in things and get the message back that I've already submitted that country.  In that time frame, I'm not sure I added 2-3 more countries.

I didn't want to skew results by taking the quiz again - as the program will tell you what you missed. And if you scroll down while you are taking the quiz, it fills in your correct selection by continent and alphabetical on a chart I guess you could deduce what might be missing. I just didn't see the list at first and saw it as a form of cheating.

But go ahead. Take it for fun. At least you know Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Camaroon are on the test.

Just not Greenland.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Another day, another vague post.

Honest, it's not on purpose. Well - maybe it is.

Believe it or not, I don't blog about everything. I rarely talk about work, I keep my family life, outside of cats and dogs (and occasionally a husband or cousin) to a minimum.

So it might not surprise you to figure out that the last week or so has been filled with one, if not both, of those subjects.

Family members have given birth, married and passed away with nary a mention here. Some are distant enough that it might not warrant a post. Some might be held so dear, I couldn't possibly convey what or how I was feeling - not that I need to. Or want to try.

Yet, rest assured, there have been no births, weddings or deaths recently. Just life events that make us feel too grown-up. And let's face it - I'm a guy, we don't like or want to grow-up.

No doubt - or maybe - I'll touch on these at some point, but not today. Right now I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and upcoming weekend.  ....and yes, I know it's only Thursday, but I've kind of written off the rest of this week. I'm looking ahead. At least by a day and three-quarters.

12 of 12 falls on a Saturday this month. If I get my butt to do something other than EDL* stuff (I've already cleared trash off our "hill" and picked up about 25lbs of bottles, be it beer, soda, energy drink or hooch) and various car parts (two partial headlights, some front end pieces and part of a hood) then maybe I can have some interesting shots for you.  Maybe.

You'll get a Petey Porn post on Saturday. I just need to rally enough energy to find something for Friday.  Oh, and start thinking of  My Music Monday post.

This blog is work folks. WORK!

* Everyday Living

Song by: Medusa

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Emotional Thing

These days don't happen often, but I'm not in the mood to write.  It's been an off-week for me in many ways, which I may or may not write about but not yet.

I almost tried to think of one of my placeholder posts just to pass the day and time, but I wasn't even up to thinking about that.

Poor me.

Poor you.

Not to worry - it's not all bad, just majorly distracted. I could have given myself one of those non-existent chits I have around here somewhere that I've talked about for years, to take a day off, but since they don't exist, well..........

So this is my non-post post. It still counts. I'm good with the Blogging Board of Directors and I didn't have to call in ill.

Song by:  Shakespear's Sister

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

World Leader Pretend

A few rows back and with an iffy iPhone shot and you'd think I was watching Dick Cheney give a speech.

As if!

No, it was Bob Woodward. Yes, that Bob Woodward.

He was at the Town Hall series and one of my former bosses called me on Saturday to axe if I wanted his tickets.

Sure. It beat going to see the Capital Steps.

I thought Woodward would be more interesting. He had the potential to be, even without ever mentioning Watergate.

The man was there to talk about his new(er) book the Price of Politics.  Woodward may be a good author but he's only a so-so speaker. But being an investigative reporter doesn't necessarily make him objective about what he writes.

This book is his second (!) on Obama. Two books in just over one term in office (it came out in Sept 2013) - so I'm not sure (well, actually I am) that there is time for perspective. But he had few nice things to say about Obama, or Hillary or Carter and Harry Reid. While he didn't praise Boehner, he certainly had nothing bad to say about him. Ditto for Reagan, Bush and Bush.

I mean, this is a book about gridlock in DC. To not even acknowledge that the GOP is  part of that gridlock is absurd. But he puts it all on Obama not being able to pretend to be nice to both GOP and Democratic congress folks. Though he thinks Obama is, at heart, a very nice man - but he doesn't use the power of the presidency to get things done.

The one decent thing he said, but I think was too late into the talk to matter was talking about Obamacare. He asked how many in the audience thought it would and would not work. It was about half and half.

But Woodward equated it with the Cold War. It took 40 years to work through until it was resolved. He shot down both the left and right on their claims that Obamacare has succeeded or failed. He said it won't be years until we know.

Of course, if the Dems don't win in 2016, the GOP will dismantle the ACA (that is me speaking, not Woodward).

I was more put off that he basically, but nicely, trashed Obama and never really talked about true gridlock. He did nothing to make me want to go get or read his book.

Before the start of the program, you're asked to submit questions for the Q&A afterwards - and only a fraction of people submit and they never ever ever get to four that are read. And they didn't read my hastily written one.

I really do have horrible handwriting and printing.

I also meant to put quotes around "bug".  It was a little Watergate joke.

Well, it was free and it was a night out with 710 - and on a Monday. I can't really complain. It was something different to do.  And it wasn't the Capital Steps.

Song by:  R.E.M.

Monday, April 07, 2014

My Music Monday

I've always been a fan of Suzanne Vega, all the way back to her debut in 1985.  Though to be fair, I probably backtracked that debut after hearing "Left of Center" to the Pretty in Pink soundtrack from the following year.

Yikes 29 years. Or 28.

At one point, I even liked "Luka" and "Tom's Diner", until I couldn't stand them anymore. Radio overkill is a terrible thing. And there were way better songs on that second album anyways besides those.

Vega, in my opinion, had a few disappointments - Day of Open Hand had one semi-memorable song and her first disk produced by her then husband, Mitchell Froom (99F Degrees), though their follow-up, Nine Objects of Desire, is without a doubt her best album.

The thing about Vega is, while her musical styles somewhat changed, she kept coming back to more of that folk scene for which she's known. It was just her two Froom produced disks that had her stray a bit - to mixed results. And her voice has remained the same and intact, which for a 30+ years of singing is no small feat.

In the last few years, she's been rerecording some of her old music and releasing it on her own label, as any artist in the 80s or after got a huge raw deal from the record companies. The artists don't own their recordings and make little to no money on them - some even owning tons of money to cover the advances for recording and marketing their albums.

Vega is out with a new disk this year - her first of new material in seven years - Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.

A review waits, possibly for later. But I am taken by a song from that disk, "I Never Wear White".

While the recorded version is fine and has a fuller sound, I am more fond of just the acoustic version. That is always Vega's strong suit anyways. Her touring band (ok, at least when I saw her in '87) was very small and mostly acoustic anyways.

So here you go......

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Dangerous Type

I have been debating writing this for days now - and yes, it's going to be one of those posts.

So the new CEO of Mozilla was pushed (or jumped) out of his job for donating $1000 to Prop 8 five years ago. "He is a hater", we as a collective group cried.  Or, if Michelangelo Signorile is to be believed, the CEO was actually ousted for donating to Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign............back in 1992!!!!

Now, without going to Wikipedia, I dare anyone to tell me exactly what Buchanan's platform was 22 years ago. And assuming they were extreme outliers and didn't jibe with Mozilla's culture - what was their culture back in 1992.  Oh that's right, the company didn't exist back then.

What is the statute of limitations on people who donate to campaigns, sign petitions, write term papers, say stupid things or take drugs?

The CEO of Hyatt gave tons of money for Prop 8. If I'm correct, the HRC still gives them a 100% gay friendly rating and the Advocate is happy happy happy to take their ads (and money for them). Of course they say, "it's the company we support not the individual". So why does the Hyatt CEO remain? Where's the boycott?

Giving $1000 5 years ago, or Bill Clinton smoking pot X amount of years before he ran for President. We vilify one and elect the other. Both, in theory, are illegal - one criminal law, one constitutional (though until lately, never upheld).

Clinton and Obama "evolve" on gay marriage and we cheer. A CEO donates money a half decade ago, and as far as I can tell, no one bothers to ask him if he's evolved. So he's fired.

Mind you "we" asked him to apologize. But of course we'd be the same people calling him out for faux-apologizing, whether it was sincere or not. Because everyone - you and me included - loves to be forced to say "I'm sorry".

We, as a group, are hypocrites. We are all broken or flawed individuals. To think that leaders - in government or business - are not the same, is only setting ourselves failure and disappointment. We expect more from them and when they can't rise to the level we project, we rally against them. We tell them they have to be above board and they tell us they are - because we demand it, though if we look closely at ourselves, we ourselves are not.

But again, where's the line?

If not the issue of marriage equality, then what else?  Where is the defining list of which we must all abide? And who makes up that list? 

We think there is an absolute and when there is not, "the other side" is now the enemy. The opposing side(s) think the same thing.

Nate Silver, whom I admire, has produced a list of all the top tech companies and the amount of people who donated to and against Prop 8 and the total amount donated for each.  There are any number of things wrong with this.

One is: he doesn't give a percentage of FTEs employed by the company. 80 people at Intel are a fraction of one percent. It also doesn't tell if they're management, front line workers or groundskeepers.

Either way, I think Joe McCarthy had a list like this.

Gay groups are all very comfortable with releasing names of donors to any anti-gay campaign. I am too. Of course there is a caveat to that:  any petition you sign, any donation you make, etc is fair game too. And if those don't jive with your employer's belief system - like Mozilla - you're good with being forced out of a job?

It's dangerous territory.

NOM at least attempted boycotts of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc for supporting same-sex marriage and / or extending benefits to same-sex couples. The gays at least attempted a boycott of Mozilla over one known employee donating to Prop 8. In theory shouldn't the gay groups be calling for a boycott of all those companies and everyone on Nate Silver's list - at least until they terminate those employees?

I don't see how "we" can pick and choose who will get the brunt of our hatred, as I don't see anyone calling to stop using Intel, Apple, Google or Yahoo - because we can be just as hypocritical as our enemies.

Song by: the Cars

Saturday, April 05, 2014


It's a low key Petey Porn Day - which has some Sophie thrown in too. I had pics of them together, but sometimes Sophie needs a little star-time of her own.

Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.   Good thing he's cute. 

Soph always seeks out the sun. If she can be bad a dad too, then it's a bonus. But trust me, the sun always wins out. 

Our warmest day of the week, but it seems like I've interrupted someone's sleep cycle to get him out and moving. 

Cuddle time. She's not looking any slimmer. She's been on her diet for 5 months now - and we've been consistent about it. I should weigh her. Of course, she has her winter coat now. 

Honestly, a different day from that top pic. He's just so handsome though in a profile.  ...and so grey. 

Song by: Love & Rockets

Friday, April 04, 2014

Time of the Season

I'd say that it's probably not the popular opinion to want to keep Chief Wahoo as the Cleveland Indians symbol, but that might not exactly be true either.

A company selling 'Keep the Chief' t-shirts cannot keep them in stock.  And I know I'm cheap, but the shirts ain't:  $25 a pop.

I guess this could just mean that there are a lot of pseudo-racists in Cleveland.

I say 'pseudo' because I don't think (most) Indians fans have anything against Native Americans. I'd venture to say 99.7% of them has even met one to form an opinion one way or the other.

There is another movement in Cleveland to remove Chief Wahoo from all existing clothing - not even just eliminating him from new stuff. It has momentum, but these things always do at the beginning of the season. There will be a physical protest today - Opening Day - and then you won't hear from that faction for another year.

It could be argued Wahoo is a racist symbol, but I don't see it like the way the Washington Redskins are a verbally offensive name or the totally demeaning tomahawk chop that the Atlanta Braves and Seminoles of FSU did (or still do?).

Chief Wahoo is a caricature, not I don't think ever meant to disrespect Native Americans. Granted, I wasn't in the room (or even born) when the Chief came into existence, so I don't know the discussions that happened. Derived from reality but not actually real - nor do I think anyone with an IQ over 80 would think that.

I have no easy answer on if Wahoo should go away or not. He's a part of my upbringing and never once had a racist thought crossed my mind concerning him and any Native American. And yes, I have him on many a hat, t-shirt and sweat shirt. I'd miss him and rather not just have a upper case 'C' on my clothing.

I guess time will tell. It doesn't sound like the Washington Redskin name is going anywhere anytime soon.

Maybe we can win one pennant before the Chief is retired.

Song by: the Zombies

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Mothers Talk

Blobby has a short attention span. Kind of like his "friend" whom we won't mention by name.

No, it's true. I might or might not have some ADD complexities to my life, which is ironic, since I do love intricate things, in certain ways.

Brits probably have it right that their TV seasons last about 6-8 shows. None of this 22 bullshit.

I can't keep interested for that length of time - and usually, the creators cannot keep it interesting for that long, let alone for years, or years in a row.

My attention span is the sitcom. It just is. 22 minutes. Hour long dramas rarely happen.

Sure I like Cosmos and documentary shows that are longer, but stuff like Downton Abbey even has me wanting it to end sooner than later. I'd drift in and out of Lost, eventually just letting 710 give me the 50 second recap, so I didn't actually have to watch it after season 2.

As for sitcoms, you've heard me talk about Veep, Girls and Looking. Maybe I can usually only stand one word titles too. Maybe that's why it's a little surprising that I loved How I Met Your Mother.  Due to the length of the show and title.

After missing most of the first season, we somehow stumbled upon it and caught up during summer reruns. Still, nine seasons is a long time to watch or follow anything. Thank you DVR!

But unlike most sitcoms, long running or not, HIMYM was consistent. Same writers, the same director (for every single episode), no major cast changes. Their guest appearances were usually well done (ok, maybe not Britney Spears or Katy Perry). Even the longer running ancillary casting was well done.

The beauty of the show, for me, was the intricacy. There were long-running story lines and jokes that spanned episodes - some not even showing up again for months or years, which works because they're big on flash backs and flash forwards. Unlike most sitcoms which are normally stand alone episodes, you have to kind of pay attention in each one, as many a reference would pop up later.

As the years went on, the show was good about explaining them or bringing them into context. For the most part. I wouldn't go as far to say it was a thinking man's show, but it wasn't Friends either.

Each of the main characters were strong and it says something that the show wouldn't have worked without all of them.

Many of the shows were extremely creative - one being a  time travel episode where a 20 years from now, 20 minutes from now and current time Barney and Ted exist at one point in time - and then of course there was the Playbook episode too. Even the sadder shows - like Marshall's father dying and the subsequent funeral were well done.

It didn't hurt that Ted was a half-Jew from Shaker Heights and they clearly used real life locations in their conversations (the Wendy's at Van Aken plaza).  ...and of course there was Canadian pop-star, Robin Sparkles.

But it's over now - the series finale airing earlier this week.

The intertubes all aflutter about the ending and how unsatisfying it was. But in reality, you could see it coming a mile away, and you really can't please everyone. It really wasn't that bad, though they sped through 18 years in 40 minutes (where as the rest of this season took place over a weekend).

My problem wasn't as much with the full circle ending as it was one of those reference moments that were shown over the years - the one depicted in the title image.

By the end of season one, we find out "Robin" is not 'the mother'.

The title image shows Robin at Ted's get wedding. They bring this moment back often - or at least every time Ted and Robin break-up. Yet, it was the one running item the creators fucked up on, as Robin is on the far right at Ted's wedding in the

For any other show, I'd say no one would notice or care about this oversight, but it's been bugging the fuck out of me.

For a show that prided it self on this kind of minutiae, it surprised me they'd overlook something that was almost so fundamental to the framing of the will they / won't they ever be together.

I laugh at the intertubes being so bent out of shape over the actual ending. Honestly, I don't know anyone but 710 and myself who ever watched the show. I always was amazed that it kept plugging away with mediocre ratings, but still had high production values - well, except for that wedding snafu......and Bob Sagat.

Of course now I can laugh at Billy on the Street going on and on about what will happen to Colbie Smulders. That eases the pain.

Song by:  Tears for Fears

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Foul Play

710 rolls his eyes at me when I tell him on Tuesdays that we are having chicken for dinner.

It's not so much that I am a creature of habit - though I probably am - as that I don't want used chicken parts and its packaging hanging out in the trash for days on end, smelling up either the house or garage.

Trash day is on Wednesdays, so I can toss that stuff Tuesday night and it is gone the next morning.  So yeah, it's not that I won't have chicken the rest of the week, but by that time, I've already cooked the chicken and can do things with it later.

But last night was Tuesday and well, Tuesday is chicken night.

Shallots seem to be my go-to thing lately. They can make me tear-up as much as a full sized onion, but sometimes it is better to cook with them. Last week was the first time I used non-minced / diced ones. (btw, Mike and his husband made that same dish. I guess others read the NYT magazine too....or just stalking me and my cooking.)

Last night it was chicken breasts with the skin, and a shallot cream sauce.

First off, Ina's recipe (oh yes, I just call her "Ina" need for last names or titles) called for boneless breasts with the skin intact.

Good luck trying to find that. She says to ask your butcher to debone them, but unless I'm going to a Whole Foods or Fresh Market, you pretty much get what's in the case. I even went to a better grocery than our next door one and they just told me I needed to bone the breast myself.

I'm up for a good challenge and you know, it's a fuck of a lot cheaper with chicken on the bone.

Now, you could cook this bone-in (hehehehe), but it can be messier to eat and I was now up for that challenge. So deboning (hehehehehe) I did.

The recipe also called for a cast iron skillet. I know we had one, but for the life of me could not find it. A all-clad will have to do.

Anyway.....And. Away. We. Go.

the Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts (avec skin).  I only had 3 in my package. (hehehe...'my package')
  • 3 T oil (olive, I used)
  • Salt / Pepper

Ignore the fish on the cutting surface.  This is the nicely deboned (hehehehe) chicken. Pat them dry and salt and pepper them liberally.

Place them skin side down. Leave untouched for five minutes.  Turn over, cook 3-4 more minutes. Place pan in a pre-heated 425 degree oven.  Cook for 12-15 minutes.

the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (I forgot to include it in the title picture)
  • 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of diced shallot
  • 3T heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick of butter

Add wine, lemon juice and shallot. Turn on the heat and reduce the sauce. Add heavy cream and incorporate it all together. Turn off heat and add in the butter.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

710 liked it, though not as much as myself. He used his sauce more with his broccoli (which I cooked in olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic, shallot and red pepper flakes - topped with some shredded parm.

But I really liked it. The chicken was incredibly tender and moist - and flavourful.  I'm not sure when I had chicken with the skin still attached.

Maybe I can play with the sauce a little so 710 likes it a little more.

Yet another meal that is simple enough for just us, but good enough for guests as well.

Song by:  Rachel Sweet

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

All Good Things (Come to an End)

It's harder and harder to churn out a post on a daily basis - or any at all.

I've given it thought as to whether just post now and then (like Tornwordo), or almost not at all (like John and Mike).  But in the end, there is nothing I can't accomplish in cyber-print that's not on Facebook, I suppose.

I figured it is probably just easier to shut down the site completely than give people false hope that there is going to be another post out there somewhere.

Perhaps I should have ended with a video post, but then I'd have to call in hair, make-up and wardrobe and that seemed excessive.

I feel stupid that I just paid for another year for the domain name, but it's not like I wanted anyone else to have it after I've close-up shop. There's no reason I can't keep up the archives for another 11 months and quietly sunset the site.

It's been a good ride. You've been fun folks. No doubt I'll see you on your sites (well....not so much John or Mike) and if you engage me enough with your posts, you might see a comment or two.

Vaya Con Dios, muchachos.

Song by:  Nelly Fart-turd-o

Oh and........April Fools. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Music Monday

I am in a Rodney Crowell mood today.

Mr. Crowell, for those who don't know him, came to be as a member of Emmylou Harris' "Hot Band" back in the '70s.

From there he established himself as a songwriter (for Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, the Oak Ridge Boys, Bob Seger and eventually Tim McGraw) and record producer.

Crowell married Cash's daughter, Rosanne and produced (or co-produced) her first five albums.

But he is a recording artist in his own right, just not with the success as some of the artists he's worked with, though two years ago he and Emmylou Harris put out a record together - which unfortunately, I did not care for.

It was actually have he got dropped from the major labels that Crowell was able to do some of his best work - as if he'd been freed up by the big corporate wheel.

After getting bumped down from Sony to an independent and then back to Epic - which really doesn't have much of a country presence - Crowell released Fate's Right Hand in 2003.

The album is pretty great. And Crowell has always had a way with songwriting - as his phrasing and use of words rises above the moon-june-spoon stuff that can make-up Nashville music.

My first thought was to use the title track from Fate's Right Hand, but then I opted for "Earthbound". And then I went back, then forth and back again.

Then I decided it was my fucking blog and could do anything I please. So I'm doing both.

"Earthbound" has a video.  "Fate" does not. So now we have mixed mediums.

But with both songs, you get subjects, words, or people rarely mentioned in a sung verse.

When do you hear Seamus Heaney or Mary Karr in a song ("Earthbound")?  Or in one line do you get direct or indirect references about Ken Starr, Bill and Hillary and AIDS?  and then later on - the word 'poontang' ("Fate's Right Hand")?

(side note: Crowell has a disk out of his music to the words of Karr, sung by many vocalists - including Cash, Harris and Lucinda Williams.  He also mentions his nickname and 2001 album the Houston Kid on "Fate's Right Hand").

Fate's Right Hand