Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blew

Blew. As in past tense of blow.

At the end of last Winter, our 12 year old snow blower died an ugly ugly death.

No one is quite sure what happened. It's just that both all the gas and oil lines leaked out everywhere into and onto the garage floor.

While repair was possible, it was also expensive and it's been serviced before, but never did come back as strong as when it was a young buck. It clogged easier. It didn't throw snow as far. But it always started.

It always started mainly because we were smart enough to get a key start ignition. Who the fuck wants to fool around with trying to pull start a device when it's subzero temps? Not me.

We got this at our last house a day before a 15" snow fall. 710 endeared himself to our neighbors when he just went over unannounced and cleared their drive as well. Tom, the male half of that household, never was too kind to us prior to that, but he came around after that. His wife, Annie, was always friendly.

With our current house, a snow blower is a necessity. The drive, as you might have read in any number of earlier posts, is at least 80' long. There is no way I could - or would - shovel that thing. And the drive is set up just oddly enough that there is no good way for a snow plow to maneuver in and out - let alone a place to pile up the snow - at least with out killing lots of landscaping.

So 710 ordered a new snow blower.

He's the one for the job on researching the best model, reliability, etc. But normally, I'm the one to use it. I got to see it up close and in person before we made the purchase.

Lord knows there are models with cup holders (not kidding) and flood lights. And while I have cleared the driveway after sunset (or before sun up) I've never had trouble seeing or the need for headlights.

The new one will have a better way to turn the snow chute. The intake it bigger. It cuts a bigger swath.

But today, the old when gets taken to the curb. Maybe some scavenger will pick it up before the trash guys get there. They can sell it for scrap somewhere, I suppose. It's not like any thing will leak into their vehicle.....as it already spilled out months ago.

Goodbye old friend, you served us well.


Song by: Nirvana

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You Can't Count on Me

It's that time - the time when you mark your ballot to make your vote count.

Or hopefully count. Since 2000's hijacking of the Presidential election, I'm somewhat skeptical that my vote is ever truly tallied. The 2004 election, where dozens of boxes of uncounted absentee ballots were found on a loading dock here in Cuyahoga Country, after the fact,  left me suspicious we'd ever get it right.

Still, I fulfilled my civic duty by filling out my absentee ballot.

Oh yes, I don't go to the polls. At least anymore. Since 2006, when we went to electronic balloting and they could not produce a receipt to show me my confirmation of what I just put in, I opted not to trust that technology. Maybe they've worked out the kinks......but I'm not betting on it.

Of course, with the recent SCOTUS decision to uphold restricted voting laws, there is less and less to be positive about. Jim Crow is alive and well and SCOTUS-approved!

Here in Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State, made sure that early voting was decreased both in number of days and hours of those days......making it harder for people to vote.

At the actual polls, one must have a form or photo ID or a current utility bill with their name and current address on that. Which of course, presents problems when the utility is in one person's name and they don't drive. Of course, there area other documents you can provide, but it all seems problematic.

Oddly, voting by mail pretty much avoids all of those restrictions. Yes, you have to put either the last four of your SSN or your driver's license number, but that's it.

As for it being cost prohibitive, you pay postage ($0.47?) to register for mail voting and then $0.70 to mail in the ballot if it is two pages. That's cheaper than taking the bus to and from the polling place and you don't have to hassle with those voter restriction laws.

But, like in everything Ohio does, we as Democrats, are fucked.

There is no way John Kasich won't win a second term as governor. The Dem candidate, while idealistic and on paper was good, he fucked up time and time again with little stupid shit and just kept making a big pile of shit. He's a non-contender. There aren't even ads running for him.....that's how much he and the DNC know he was dead in the water.

Because of that, the lame Governor candidate helped drag down all the Dems for the top 5 spots, including Treasurer and Attorney General.

The joke is, the Secretary of State didn't even need to enact the voter ID laws to keep the lower income and minority populations from voting Democrat - the republicans have little chance of losing.

Of course, the SoS enacted those for the 2016 election. He's thinking ahead to make sure Ohio doesn't go Blue again. And the Governor is thinking ahead as well, as he will no doubt be making a bid for the White House.

Voting used to be a thing of pride, where one wanted to do it. Now it's just to stave off the super-creeps who get into politics. Sure, most were always creepy, but it seems to be up to a new level and the stakes are too high.

My ballot is in the mail. The one take-away (I hope) is there is now a tracking number on my ballot that I can track via a website. Is it full-proof? Probably not, but it's something.



Song by: Counting Crows

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Music Monday

I'm continuing on with the '80s, I suppose.

Being a young gay lad way back then, I was taken by Bronski Beat's "Hit That Perfect Beat" when I'd go to the Columbus Eagle.

It's not quite the same Bronski Beat as "Smalltown Boy" and "Why?".

Jimmy Somerville, who was lead vocalist for the band, left in 1984/1985 and was replaced by another singer, with whose name I am unfamiliar.

Mind you, none of Bronski Beat's music ever got me out to the dance floor. Well....maybe one or twice with this song, but I'd have to been pretty drunk.

However, with beer in hand and propped up against a wall, I probably grooved to it in my own way. To be Billy Idol about it, I was dancing with myself.....though only on the inside. My foot possibly tapping against the wall of which is was perched.

But I like the beat. I like the melody. I like the rhythm.....even 29 years later.

I no longer live in Columbus. The Eagle went kaput years ago. But I still have some of the music.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!


I'd say something really really nasty about this product name, but this is a family blog.

Ok......it's not, but........when I pointed it out in the store to Morty, Becky and 710, they all went 'ewww' and then laughed.

When I was young, and in my first real job, someone brought in the homemade version of this during the holidays. It was fairly addictive. Chex cereal covered in peanut butter, then chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar.

They called it Puppy Chow, mostly because it looks like dog food.

Like with Chex Party Snack Mix, the makers took the homespun idea and and packaged it for sale. But Chex Party Snack Mix fucked it up by taking out the peanuts because of stupid allergic people (I'm assuming).

But I'm not buying Muddy Buddies because I don't need it...........and it's a horrible horrible name for marketing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Running With the Pack

Traveling Petey Porn Day.

These pics were taken at Morty's house last weekend.

Poor Petey - so anxious to be let out of Morty's house. I don't truly think he was so distressed being housed with two other beagles. But he's never this excited to see me at home. 

Logan, Petey and Skeeter. 
Petey used to have that much brown in him, but now he's gone grey. 

Logan, Skeeter and Petey anxiously awaiting dinner time. 



Song by: Bad Company

Friday, October 17, 2014

Disease

I'm not big on dressing up for Halloween, but if I were do such a thing this year, I'd go as a strain of Ebola.

BOO!!!!!!!

That would scare the shit out just about anyone, huh??

While there is nothing to laugh at - in theory, of course - about Ebola, you know me, I'll find a way to make it all sound ridiculous.

I mean, more ridiculous than the TV news is doing, which will be a challenge for me. But I'm up to the task.

Cleveburgh made national news with the second nurse to contract Ebola after taking care of that first Dallas patient. The RN flew into and out of Cleveland after that patient died. She had been exposed, yet showed no symptoms. Or some symptoms, depending on what story you hear and what timeline to which you subscribe.

Cleveland is always always always trying to tie (inter)national stories to our little town. If it were Malaysian Flight 370, they'd dig up a story on how one of the light attendants has a second cousin twice removed who once lived here 14 years ago.

Maybe every town tries that shit, but it seems pervasive here with Cleveland media.

While the 132 people on the plane might have had some exposure, the CDC are saying it would be minimal, if any.

Since United cut back on 60% of their flights from Cleveland, I can almost guarantee you that no one at the actual airport was exposed.


This is the view down concourse C in the middle of the day anymore. I had to catch my last flight at gate 27. I passed - I'm not kidding - 26 gates with no planes or people before I got to mine. There is no one there anymore. No one at Cleveland Hopkins is / was at risk.

Someone (ok, probably a few) people on FB got testy with me when countered the stupidity of the traveling RN. Yes, for the record she wasn't the wisest. Yes, technically the CDC didn't restrict travel for any immediate caregivers to said patient. But, even if they did, the CDC cannot control boarding of trains or buses, only planes, so.......there's still a gap.

Hell, NBC's quack doctor, who was exposed in Liberia, broke quarantine so she could go out and get fast food. She's reporting on this story from the petri dish that is Ebola and she does whatever she fucking pleases.

First, I said, "hell, they were flying Frontier.....Ebola was not their biggest risk taking that airline."

Anyways, some woman I don't know replied to my quip that if they didn't swap spit or weren't defected on by the RN, chances are they were safe. "What if the flight attendant touched the coke can she drank out of.....it has her saliva on it and then maybe she rubbed her eye......", she came back with.

Jesus honey.

First off, if the stewardess is collecting garbage and rubbing her eyes without washing her hands, she has bigger issues with hygiene. And I can count the flight attendants on one hand who just don't hold open the bag for me to drop the stuff into. Reach for my trash? Never!

Secondly, who can afford a $4.50 soft drink on Frontier Airlines? So I replied: "If I paid that much for a soda, someone should die".

I think there were audible gasps across Facebook Nation.

But another friend said air travel for healthcare workers who deal with these patients should be suspended. In ways I get that, but where is their quarantine? He found it fine they be allowed to go out to the grocery, theater, work or restaurants.

Let's just stick with work alone. For those who have never worked in a hospital, each employee comes in contact with hundreds of other employees per day (let's even leave patients and visitors out of this equation). Those dozens of employees then are in contact with dozens more. So wouldn't you have to shut the entire place down?

It's unrealistic. At least with airline itineraries, you have the manifest of everyone in the airport and planes. Not as much who was at the Piggly Wiggly when you went to get your Hostess cupcakes.

Of course, Cleveland has a love / hate with this story - it's horrible news, but they love to report it.

Two schools closed due to a precaution that one of the teachers MAY have been on a plane with this woman. Not the same flight......but the same plane. Sorry: PERHAPS the same plane.

So they closed TWO schools.

In-Fucking-Credible.

Cleveland media claims they hate to have to report this stuff, but then makes the entire broadcast / paper all about it, feeding the frenzy. Soon that 2nd cousin, twice removed, who lived here 14 years ago will be providing colour commentary for something they overheard.  It's insane.

The irony, of course, was less than 10 hours before the news broke of this careless RN. Please see story, top of the fold on the right.



The bigger news is that LeBron hasn't weighed in on this entire thing.



Song by: matchbox twenty

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I'm Going to Make a Cake

Another reason to hit Columbus last weekend was the then soon-to-be 50th of my dear dear friend, Morty.

It was soon-to-be last Saturday. The day is actually today.

So far, nothing major is planned for Mort's half-century, but no one says it has to be on the actual day. We have 364 more to celebrate. But I wasn't going to arrive empty-handed either.

I opted to come with refined white sugar - in the form of a cake.

Being the Halloween time, I totally stole a dessert that Dr. Spo was / is going to make. He posted his intentions and I took it and ran with them.

The way I see it, we have some readership overlap, but he's three time zones away and rarely do our party paths ever cross. And by 'rarely', I mean 'never'. I feel safe I won't be stepping on any toes here. Perhaps some bruised feelings, but not toes.

I'm not much of a baker, as you've read, but this is fairly full proof and all you need is boxed cake mixes. And pre-heat the oven to 350.

That's right: mixes. Two of them. Chocolate and White. And a can of white frosting and food colouring (good stuff from craft stores). Oh - and all the crap the cake box calls for (water, oil and eggs). Boom. Done. 

For chocolate cake: mix it all and add black food colouring. 

For white cake: mix, then split evenly into two bowls. Add violet colouring in one and orange in the other. 

BTW.....food colouring really stains your hands and counters. Be careful. White vinegar will get it out - for the most part. 

Pour about 1/3 of the black batter into the greased pan (rotate as necessary)
Pour all of the orange on top of that (or purple first - your choice)
Pour all of the purple on top of that. 
Pour another 1/3 or so (maybe a little more) of black on top of that. 

Do not mix this together. Let it set on top of each other. 

You will have about 1/4 of black cake batter left. You saw I used mine to make cupcakes. Or freeze it. Or eat it with a spatula. I'm not above the last one. 

Bake at 325-350 for 40-45 minutes. 

This is almost 2 cakes in one pan....it rises to be quite large. Make sure your racks are separated enough (or removed as needed) or you'll have trouble. 

While the cake cools (out of the pan), split the white frosting into thirds. Add the same colour of FDA approved chemicals into said frosting and mix. 

Place each bowl into microwave for 10-15 seconds. It will thin out the frosting enough for you to spoon-drizzle it over your cake after you stir it some more. 

Wait 1-2 minutes between each colour drizzle, so the frosting can set-up. I actually would drizzle one, then heat the next one, giving me (and the cake) time to do just that. If you look at the title image, I probably only used 1/2 of the frosting. Then I frosted the cupcakes and rinsed the rest down the drain. 

....and then cut and eat. And hear everyone oooh and aaah over your cake. 


It's festive. It's seasonal (and I'm sure you could do white cake with red and green for xmas). I think it went over, though I totally forgot that Morty is trying to cut out sugar. So he sent me home with some of the cake, though he did take some for himself and George. 

I took the rest to my mom's house where she kept some and my brother-in-law took the rest. We still had six frosted cupcakes at home. Whereas I would have taken all of the cake home - and ate it - I didn't need it. 

So happy 50th Mort.  Love you bunches.

Hope you didn't have a sugar reaction. I mean, you're already sweet enough.



Song by:  Philip Glass

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Landfall

One of the reasons 710 and I traveled to Columbus this past weekend was to go see Landfall, the new piece of work by Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet.

I'll admit to have heard of the Kronos Quartet for the last few decades, but never actually heard ( knowingly) anything they've ever performed.

While I was overall impressed with the piece, it was not the best Anderson show we had ever seen (10 or 11 and counting). Of course, I might have gone in with different expectations of Anderson's storytelling and the amount there might be.

The majority of the evening was music with some sporadic stories and a number of visual components that would tie back into the stories that had been told.

The overall theme was that of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast almost two years ago. While Anderson's opening story said it happened October 12th, I know this not to be true, just because of the way the storm actually hit into Ohio at my cousin's funeral and subsequent missed flights out to California due to associated weather almost two weeks later than Anderson stated. Yes, I'm quibbling.

I say "overall theme" because there was a recurring dream portion and a great smaller piece on the stars that seemingly had nothing to do with a storm hitting land.

But Anderson tied in the storm with extinction, which I thought was very well done. There was a non-sequitur piece or two as well. Or perhaps I'm not sophisticated enough to understand how singing Korean songs in a Dutch karaoke bar fits into a hurricane storyline.

Kronos' music was, at times, very good. As you might expect, they can be considered avant garde and with the subject matter, at times their playing came across as frenetic. I suppose that is the nature of notes deciphering a hurricane.

Anderson, an accomplished violinist herself, did her normal few bars - tops - of playing on her electronic violin and stuck mostly with keyboards and voice. Her usual voice distortion contraption was present as well, and it might have been the mix, but I had to concentrate very hard as to watch she was saying. The speaking seemed muddied.

I think the folks who went with us to the event found it interesting, but I don't know they'd qualify it as good. I thought it was good, but not great.



Music by: Laurie Anderson & the Kronos Quartet

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Breathing

Well, this hasn't happened to me in forever.

Back in 1987, when I first started actually living with 710 (you know, when both our names were on the lease - not just spending nights at each other's place), I had this horrible bout of coughing. It lasted days....then weeks. And with each passing day it got more intense and more painful.

It was totally non-productive, but became painful from just the hacking. And the constant coughing almost became a trigger for needing to vomit. It was unpleasant, to say the least.

My doctor at the time (Jon, it was Debbie Taylor - remember her?), put me on a succession of cough medications, each stronger than the last. Each worse tasting than the last. Until finally, there was nothing else to give me, since none of those touched my cough.

Off to a pulmonologist I went. I did my PFTs and they diagnosed me with something called "seasonal asthma".

I'd never heard of it before - or since - but apparently it's a thing.

I would say for 2-3 years I experienced some recurring issues from it, but then, boom, it just went away. But while going through it, I was put on Entax LA (which the FDA finally pulled from the market) and an inhaler.

But I have not used any medications since. Or few, if any. As I grew up, my allergies seemed to dissipate and my "asthma" seemed to go away.

Until the end of last week.

Oh, how I knew that cough. Even decades later. I tried (or hoped) to think it was just something else, but a trip to the doctor yesterday confirmed I was experiencing my old symptoms.

Blurgh.

Of course, I missed my joke opportunity to tell them I just got off a plane from Liberia or the Congo. But the joke would have been on me, after they quarantined me and shut down the medical facility. No doubt I would have to pay damages for work lost time and numerous law suits - and I don't think the money in my HSA would cover that.

So, I'm back on inhaler....and an antibiotic. The latter for 5 days. The former, for who knows how long. I have some crud in my lungs they want to get rid of and I had a low grade fever. Let's hope I'm getting my annual illness out of the way early and I don't repeat a worse scenario in January / February.



Song by: Kate Bush

Monday, October 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 56th 12 of 12

Sorry My Music Monday. 12 of 12 takes precedence. 

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, any 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 Erik (and sometimes Jim) 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.


07:15. Late start to the morning. 
To be fair - only three of these bottles from the evening before were mine. 

07:45.  Petey being protective of his food from a notorious band of roving beagle would-be kibble thieves. 

08:30. As seen on a morning walk with Peter. 
F*@#ing Liberals

I had the Big Breakfast. 

11:30. Rebecca's dog, Barkley. He's ever so sweet

13:30. Hitting the road to go back home. 

14:40. Pulling off the road on Rt. 30 so someone could pee and poop. 
That someone was Petey. Honest. 

17:00. Boomer sitting with my mom. 

17:15. Boomer & Petey and my mother's house. 

18:30. Dinner at my moms. Chili, cornbread and salad. 


19:30. Stop off at Dave's Market for milk. 

21:40. Kranky Kitty.
Sophie must not have loved being left alone for 1.5 days. She bit me. (ssshhhh...don't tell Becca)

...and now your Baker's Dozen. Or half dozen

22:10. Cupcakes left over from when I made a Halloween cake that I stole from Spo
More on that later in the week. 710 and I had one each. 


.....until next time.......

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bad Liver and a Broken Heart

Oh, all us drunks make liver jokes now and then.

It's not quite as funny when two people tell you they have liver cancer. Then it's just awkward.

The thing is with cancer of the liver, many (but not all) people just don't get just that. Cancer that metastasizes to the liver usually has another source.

For one friend of mine, a blogger buddy, it was from breast cancer. She has known it had spread to both her liver and her spine. There was no way to stop it. It's quite sad.

You've read about Birdie here and here. You've possibly even been to her blog, when she had the energy to do her writing.

Betty was her real name and she was a woman of g-d, but a fierce supporter of gay rights and same-sex marriage. And I was sorry to hear she lost her battle with cancer two days ago.

She had sent me a message earlier in the week saying that Hospice had been arranged for a three to six month time frame. She didn't make it a week.

Betty's absence will be felt. It has been in the last few months already, as her energies have been going towards fighting her disease - as they should.

My other friend, well, finding out this was a little more unexpected. He was having pain in his gut. A scan showed multiple tumors on the liver, which led to wider scans. Sure enough, he has colon cancer, which spread to his liver.

Before he knew about the latter cancer, he went into dying mode, but not 'woe is me'.  More like: "I gave away most of my clothes, some really nice first edition books and I scrapped my music room and bought a fold out bed for the nurse I'll hire to take care of me in my final days".

I thought it all a bit premature, and told him so. He hadn't even seen an oncologist. Actually, he hadn't even had the second scan to confirm he had colon cancer. He researched ways to kill himself, so not to die a horrible death.

If he weren't so butch, I'd call him a big old queen....even though he's younger than myself. Barely.

So, he started on three different chemotherapies - two IV, one via pill. The onc doc said the tumors on his liver and in his colon should start shrinking with the first infusion.

Yes, the chemo made him weird. Neuropathy in the hand. Queasy. Lots of pain. But in the first two weeks, he no longer has pain in his abdomen. The tumor markers are down to 21 from 89. The normal level is <2.5, so he's on his way.

He had the second round of chemo this last week, to which I got this lovely text....



Allllllrighty!!!















But doubtful we'll be seeing that PSA anytime soon.

Never having chemo after my sarcoma, I don't know all the side-effects, let alone regarding the ones of pleasuring yourself. And the side-effects are different for each patient.

So, it looks like out of two friends, one might survive. Neither position is enviable, but admire both for different reasons. I will miss one greatly, while learning how to be more appreciative of my friendship with the other.

Stupid liver.



Song by: Tom Waits

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mend

Mr. Pete is on the mend.

His sutures came out on Thursday. He yelped big time and tried to take a nip at the vet tech - which is so unlike him. But to be fair, they did this in the lobby, not an exam room. I don't think the primary vet tech was that skilled at taking out stitches or securing the paw beforehand.

And a 100lb boxer / pit bull mix was desperately trying to crawl his way over to Petey. He was big and imposing, though doubtful dangerous. Still Petey didn't know what to think.

He has hair to grow over his wound. It's still pink and a little inflammation still persists, but we'll watch it.

Hangin' on the drive after Uncle David paid a visit. I think he's sad that David left. 

The pillow is 710's doing. He didn't think Pete would be comfortable enough without one. And he thinks I'm the softie. 

OMFG.  The ears. 
Possibly his cutest pic of 2014. 




Song by: Jann Arden

Friday, October 10, 2014

Coming Out of Hiding

It's National Coming Out Day tomorrow.

Meh.

I can't say anything that hasn't been said already - by others or by my previous years posts on this day. Well this day tomorrow. It falls on a Saturday. Do you really want me interrupting Petey Porn because of gay-stuff?

I am going with a video clip this year.

If you never saw the show Happy Endings, that's sad. It kept getting revived and moved around a few years back and it was actually a very funny show (and actually reruns are now on Logo). Yes, one could compare it to Friends (or a half-dozen other shows that tried to follow that formula) - as there were three guys and three women.

Yes, they hung out at a bar (instead of a coffee shop) and yes, there were a pair of siblings. But that's where it ends.....kind of. At least I found Happy Endings funny. I can't truly say that about Friends. Oh - and they had a black character. You definitely can't say that about Friends.

But one of the guys is gay - and not in that Jack McFarland kind of stereotype....or in that New Normal stereotype. Or that other show that no one ever saw that "starred" that guy who played Jack McFarland.

No - Max is an all buffoon-ish, shlubby, Jewish gay guy. Slobby, unmotivated.....funny. Just like all the homos you really know.

The clip is of him trying to come out (or not) to his parents. It's a shorter clip than planned, as the one I had scheduled here is now gone off YouTube. But I'll try to set-it up for context as it helps a little if you knew the rest of the characters and their background, but it's not imperative.

The one storyline is clearly about Max possibly coming out to his parents, but he doesn't want to because coning out is "so gay". His long-time beard was Penny, who is about go out on a date with a guy whose last name is Hitler - which was a hilarious secondary storyline.

Of course, on some level the other two women (sisters Jane and Alex) are competing to be Max's new beard to his unsuspecting parents.



The entire episode is viewable on YouTube for like a dollar. Or wait for it t come onto rotation on Logo. Worth it!

Song by: Pamela Stanley

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there! 



Maybe you already have this. If not, you only have until October 13th to get your free download, via iTunes, of U2's Songs of Innocence.

Or maybe you're one of those folks who somehow - and I still question this as reality - that Apple just placed in your iTune liberry automatically. I find that doubtful because it seemed to take me 3-4 steps to actually make it happen and people were complaining about a free disk. My lord, just uncheck the boxes or delete it from your files.....but apparently they couldn't figure that out either.

After October 13th the disk becomes available for purchase for people not using iTunes or who have missed the window of opportunity for the "free" download.

I say "free" because, well allegedly Apple partnered with U2 for $100MM, so that new iPhone 6 Plus or iWatch Apple Watch you're buying?  ..well....I'm sure an extra dollar of that profit is going to Bono & Co.

That said, for U2's first four disks, I was a huge huge huge fan. But then Bono got that "I'm more righteous than you" 'tude and those insufferable wrap-around glasses......and the band started to lose me.

Granted, during and after the Joshua Tree, they had some very good songs, but I'm not sure they had very good albums. At least nothing I wanted to listen to all the way through let alone repeatedly.

Early U2, for me, it was all about the lyrics. The music was good and it fit well, but it was about Bono's lyrics. With Songs of Innocence, it's not about the words. Ironically, Bono will say this is their most personal album yet - and I could not care less.

Yeah, I hear the lyrics, yet they don't resonate into any story he might be telling. It's more about the music. Hell, I'm not even listening to the lyrics that much anymore with them.

The record is mostly driven by the Edge and Larry Mullen Jr., they have a great presence. Bono's voice is fine, but the music has hooks and it's been a while since they've truly done that.

Always the critical darlings - which seems totally unfounded - oddly enough the critics aren't with the band on this one. Many many many sub-standard reviews, which normally I don't read. And I'm kind of going against the grain with said critics.

Sonically, the album seems solid. I love the lead-off song, "the Miracle (of Joey Ramone)", though I think that has more to do with the Edge than anything. Still it's one of their most accessible songs. "Every Breaking Wave" starts too much like "With or Without You", but it doesn't deteriorate the way that one did. I like it.

"Volcano" has a decent sound and beat. Sounds like something off Pop. "This is Where You Can Reach Me Now" is good too.

U2's troubles come with the slower tempo songs. I'm not that down with "Iris", "Song for Someone" and "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight".  They're just not hitting many marks. They are songs anyone could have done and they do nothing to capture a moment.

For a free disk, Songs of Innocence is not bad. I don't know I would have gone out and bought it had that been the option. I've played it a number of times, and nothing is bad enough to hit 'skip', but only half the album is VERY good. The other stuff is 'ok'.

I do chuckle at the album credits. I don't know that Bono needs to be one of FOUR keyboardists on almost every song - some you can barely hear any keyboards. Ditto with the guitars. Sounds like an ego thing.

If you want Songs of Innocence for free, you still have a few days to download it from iTunes.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Marry Me

Well, it's official.

People of the same sex in Okla-fucking-homa can get married, but not in Ohio.

Mind you, I know the 6th circuit ruling on Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee is soon to be delivered, but that doesn't mean it will happen in the Buckeye State, even if the ruling happens in one of those state's favour.

Ohio's case in that court was about out-of-state marriage recognition, not overturning our ban.

However, Michigan's was. And as we saw this last Monday, that can (or should) trickle down to all states of which that circuit oversees.

I really do applaud Colorado. They could have fought the overturn of their ban, since they weren't represented in the case(s) that SCOTUS refused to review or hear, yet they opted not to fight and started issuing marriage licenses even before states that were told their ban was unconstitutional.

It is possible North and South Carolina could do the same. Ditto with West Virginia. But I suspect the farther south one goes, the harder the push-back against the Supreme Court and some lower court will rule with a stay as an appeal goes back to SCOTUS.

And the 9th circuit just paved the way for Idaho and Nevada.  ....with the possibility for Arizona, Alaska and Montana going with them. Montana! With all five of their gay folks.

Even if Ohio is lumped into a good (well, good for us) 6th circuit decision, I would suspect that our AG and Governor would fight tooth and nail to not allow marriage licenses to be distributed to guy/guy and girl/girl couples.

John Kasich will easily win second term as governor (because of a total fuck-up of the Ohio Democratic party not vetting what could have been a decent candidate) and it's quite possible he'll be looking at a bigger office for 2016.

The RNC / GOP can say how they are the party of inclusion and how much they've changed, but that's all talk. Their base doesn't want same-sex marriage.

Let me rephrase: the RNC / GOP says their base doesn't want same-sex marriage and use laws (and the percentages they were passed by) from a decade ago, when Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove roamed the Earth. There is much newer polling data, but that would be counterproductive to their end-game.

...and of course, these are only activist judges when rulings don't go their way. Convenient.

While it is sad that Ohio will now be left in the minority of states that does not allow same-sex marriage, I disagree with people who say it's only because the court system is behind. There isn't even a law suit in this state to overturn the ban that is before a federal court, let alone an appellate one. We will have to ride Michigan's coattails.

I'm not sure how much this means to me, as I am married. We are married. Recognition would be nice, but the U.S. Government recognizes it, even if Ohio does not.

There is a real line between social issues like this and the "brain drain" that we see happening in Ohio. The intelligent youth no longer want to be in an antiquated state.

Quite honestly, neither do I.  But for now.....I'm here and will be for the foreseeable future.



Song by: No Doubt

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Modern Man

In my eulogy to my father a month or so ago, I spoke of being a Jr. ....even though technically I am not. Our middle names are different.

I also touched on not being a Mr. Blobby. That would have been my dad. At least until he passed. I ended the talk with saying, I was happy to become Mr. Blobby now.

So, it was odd for me - and possibly others - this last Sunday. We had what might have been our first family Sunday dinner since he passed in August. Some of us had been out there in different forms, but not (most) all of my sisters....and their kids, or at least the ones who aren't at college.

While I didn't make everyone come for dinner, I highly suggested it. The day would have been my parent's 58th anniversary.

I thought it important to all be there and bring in dinner so my mother did not have to cook, even if we never mentioned why we were there. You can't actually celebrate the anniversary, I suppose, just subtly acknowledge it. But I think this first year will be land mines for mother on milestone days. I'm sure they are for many widows and widowers.

Fortunately, or un, most of these milestones come in the first four months of his death: his and her birthdays, December holidays, Thanksgiving and their anniversary. I'm trying to push my sisters into not changing any traditions for the first year.

But Sunday, as I set the table, I started to put a place setting down at my father's chair. It was odd, to say the least.

The odd thing was, should someone sit there, or would it be more obvious if it remained unoccupied at the head of the table.

I set the his place and decided I would sit there.

Let me tell you - it was a whole new perspective.....in many ways.

Only one of my sisters said something, and not in a bad way. The seat, which was still next to 710, easily looked down at everyone on both sides of the table. In certain ways, it made me feel to be head of the family, which I was literally - but not figuratively, which I am not.

My mother still gets that title.

Maybe it is some male gene, a feeling that a man needs to head the table. I don't really think it's that, but it all felt odd. ...and I asked no one's permission.

On a lighter note, the extra large locket in the title image. I found it lying on a counter at my mother's house. The woman in the picture is not my mother.

I showed it to 710 and one of my brothers-in-law and had a chuckle on if that were my dad's "other wife". Of course, I couldn't just let it go, so I showed it to my mom and asked her the same question. At least she laughed.   ...and laughed.

Apparently, the wife of a man she worked for had it engraved and sent to her. The woman is just a "model", like the happy couples in picture frames you buy at Blood Bath & Beyond.

I have no idea what my mother would do with something like this. Sure, it was a very sweet gesture, but it weighs probably one-tenth of my mother's total body weight. And it would mean finding a picture of my father that would even fit into that and cutting it out.

But at least my mother laughed, and that was the important take away.



Song by:  Arcade Fire

Monday, October 06, 2014

My Music Monday

I'm contemplating '80's music for the month of October's My Music Mondays.

Nothing is set in stone. Nothing ever is.

Coming back from yoga yesterday, the Alarm came on and right then and there, I settled on their song, "Strength".

Possibly the only song from the a pop group to start off with a pipe organ.....at least until Arcade Fire did it with "Intervention".

Still, "Strength" is one of those songs that never got (or gets) old for me. Even clocking in at over five and one-half minutes, it seems half that long.

It's the beat. It's the vocals. It's the lyrics. It's a song of desperation and it is done so well.

That's all I got to say about it.  Enjoy.


the Alarm - Strength

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Pony

Clearly, what you're about to see is one of the most fucked up things I have seen in a while. But fucked up in a weird way, not in a Final Destination XIII or Hostel IX kind of way.

Yes it is over four minutes long. And yes, you have to watch all of it.

It would help if you got extremely high first. I wish I had.

This is brought to you, via me, but via friend and former blogger Glenn (it seems I know a lot of former bloggers.....which probably says I've overstayed my welcome).

Glenn says this is now his favourite song of all time. I half-believe him too. And you'll hate yourself (or him....or me) as the tune, if not the words, might stick with you for a little while.


Lesley the Pony Has an A+ Day! from Christian Larrave on Vimeo.


You only think it gets weird at the 1:11 mark......but keep watching. And keep an eye out for thole lyrics later on in the song.....or at least the words printed on the screen....along with some of the visuals.

Sweet Dreams, folks.




But I can't leave it at that. Well, I mean, I can, but I'll send it out on a good note.  ....and another 'pony' note....though probably not one called "Lesley".

I've never been familiar with Ginuwine's song, "Pony", but apparently every stripper and every guy who has been to a strip club is.......if YouTube were to be believed.

There are so many video homages out there to this song it is frightening.....and all of them creepy. Save one. (well........kind of.)

One called 'Kitchen Grind' has been floating out there for a few years. I can't remember on which blog I first saw it, but it has made the rounds. I'm more surprised it has less than 75,000 views. The guy is more than a little handsome......and he kind of has the moves.

Kind of.

Ok, he's got a great beard...and wears fuzzy pants well....and knows how to treat a stability ball.

It is the semi-antidote to Lesley's A+ Day.







Song by: Ginuwine  (even though, I don't actually own the song)

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Cathouse Blues

I'll give Petey a break from his red hot photo shoots. While he is mostly recovered, there are only so many pics with his cone on that one wants to see.

So today we will go with a little Sophie Smut....with maybe a Petey shot thrown in there....kind of.

Maybe it is Petey in convalescence, but Sophie has been paying extra extra attention to me these days. She can't just be next to me, but has to be on me.  Good thing I have abs of steel. 

Though now and again he'll settle next to me. 


This was taken before Petey's surgery. Usually Soph's whiskers don't droop like Wilfred Brimley's moustache. 




Song by: Stevie Nicks

Friday, October 03, 2014

Birth-Day (Love Made Real)

A very happy birthday to my friend David G.

I've known David longer than most all of my other true friends.

Yes I have a number of FB friends who go back longer than 30 years, but they are more classmates or fraternity brothers than true friends.

I get to call David today, which will make like 20+ uninterrupted years of birthday salutations and which annoys the fuck out of him (though I think he truly loves it). Mostly because, after all this time, he's finally gotten my birthday MONTH down.......but still has trouble pinpointing the date. Don't even get him started on the year.

I'm just going on record to say that he went to an Ivy League school.  ....but so did Brooke Shields.

Top Ten Papers Written by Brooke Shields at Princeton --------------------------------------

10. William Shakespeare: His Poetry Rates A Ten 
 9. A Chemical Process In Three Stages: Lather, Rinse, Repeat 
 8. Girls With Thin Eyebrows: Hideous Freaks Of Nature 
 7. Cliff Notes Versus Monarch Notes: Two Views Of Hamlet 
 6. Circles, Flowers, A Smiling Guy: So Many Ways To Dot The "I" 
 5. The Pushy Overbearing Mother Figure In Literature 
 4. Pretty Leaves I Found Outside Somewhere 
 3. Black Americans: What I Hope To Say When I Meet One 
 2. Philosophy: Why Don't They Spell It With An "F"? 
 1. The Male Organ: What It Might Look Like

Eh - I thought I'd just throw in that David Letterman Top 10 list for fun.

To be fair, David no longer needs to worry about #9. He probably did some ghost writing on #5. And no doubt, long long ago, scored a 100% (plus extra credit) on #1.

Neither of us looks like we do in the above picture, as it was taken in 1991, though I still wear flannel shirts. This is Ohio, after all.

Here, David was leaving Columbus, where which he lived very briefly, to embark on a new life, with a new guy in....wow.....California? Colorado?  I'm thinking the former, but my mind is failing me.

The "new" guy is long gone (phew!) and David has been a married man now for seven or so years. Well, not technically in Arizona, where they currently reside.

But David and I have a bond that is unbreakable or unshakable....even coming down to losing a parent on the same day. Freaky, yet somehow apropos.

Happy Birthday Davey.  xoxoxo


Song by: Suzanne Vega

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Don't Let Me Down Again

You know, some days I just write to write. This might be one of them.

I'm not too too ashamed to say I was a fan of Fleetwood Mac.

Their Rumours tour was what I consider my first official concert. I chose the show, I paid for the tickets. I got a contact high way up on the rafters.

Five and one-half years ago, I wrote that in the past, I had seen Fleetwood Mac perform live eight times. Four of those times were great. One was awful. One was pretty decent. Two were fair, at best.....and I'm speaking of the last two times, after Christine McVie had left the band.

Even in that last concert in which I saw the full five members (1997), which was only pretty decent, I anticipated never seeing them again. That show, was so.....calculated, it was a little depressing.

Maybe the others back in the '70s were too and I was too young to notice....or care. But I think they had more than a hint of spontaneity. Of course back then, all the members were raving drug addicts, so....you could add that to the mix.

I successfully avoided their tour last year. I had no interest. Their Ep that they put out was horrific and I decided to try to retain memories when they weren't all Medicare D eligible.

Still, with Christine McVie coming back to the group after 16 years (their first show of this tour opened two nights ago) I had a pang of 'should I?' when they announced another tour this year. But I held back - and for a few reasons.

The band members range from age 66 to 71. While Lindsey Buckingham's guitar work and vocals are seemingly intact from earlier days, Stevie Nicks was not so lucky. Oh her fan base thinks she's still the tits, but she has a range of three note. No. I'm not kidding.

Oddly enough, in the right setting (which is super rare), Buckingham can arrange her recorded music to still sound good. Live performances are a different story.

I can't sit through that again. Let alone pay out the nose for it.

Fleetwood Mac has the highest average ticket price of the 2014 touring year - at a whopping $388 per ticket.

Average.

So yes, you can get some tickets for $75 (plus handling fee, plus venue fee). So you know how high the ticket prices have to go to make that $388 average.

I've seen enough shows in the nose-bleed section to know that $75 isn't worth that kind of effort. I also know I'm not paying $500+ for a decent ticket. Full band or not.

And it is a full band. Plus.

Back in the day (oh yes, I'm using that phrase again), it was just the five of them that could deliver a stellar show. But now they have an additional guitarist, percussionist and three backing vocalists (to hit the notes that the three main singers no longer can).  During Christine McVie's absence, they also had a keyboardist. So, for all I know they'll retain that person for additional support. If so, the ancillary musicians will outnumber the actual band.

That just seems sad.

And true to Fleetwood Mac style, they're hitting the road with no new music to promote, nor will the play any new songs they allegedly have in the works. So it's the same old show they've been performing since 2009 (or 1998, actually) though the 2003 tour had some new music, which they've since discarded playing at all.

Even Buckingham said at the time of the tour announcement that 90% of the setlist is already settled. I can almost hear the running order in my head. Most of that has been in place since the Tusk tour.....in 1979!!!!!

(Actually, I found their first concert set-list, which they will never deviate from in the run of the shows....and it has maybe one song they've never done live in this iteration.)

They talk about future albums and tours, but c'mon guys....tick...tick...tick.  Your almost all in your '70s.

I'll give them this though - the entire tour is mostly sold out. While I briefly waffled on going, since they're not playing in Cleveland, what tickets that are available in other cities are either behind the stage (as if!) or pushing the four-digit price point (as if !!!!).

Chances are I'll have better seats watching the semi-crappy fan-made concert videos on YouTube which will no doubt, confirm all the reasons I opted not to go to the show.



Song by: Buckingham Nicks

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

My October Symphony

October is upon us. Man this year has gone fast.

Of course, I've had lots of distractions this year and no real sense of accomplishments.

I don't have anything really to go on about today.

Petey is on his last day of pain meds and then one more day of antibiotics. He's acting like his old normal self...except for the cone. We try to go with supervised periods without it, but he ends up going to lick his stitches, and I cannot have that.

He can also get off soft food today. Yay. While he likes it, the stuff just grosses me out. I'd don't feel nearly has disgusted picking up his poop as I do spooning that stuff out. But I suppose for a day or two I'll wean him back onto kibble.....mix it in with that glop in a can.

Is it wrong that it is only Wednesday and I'm looking forward to the weekend and things to do?

Anyhoo.....welcome to October.




Song by: Pet Shop Boys

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday Smile

This is Boomer. You remember him, right?

It was Petey's brother. Well, he still is. They just live different places. Before Petey became ours, we'd rescue he and Boomer from the kennel a few times a year.

Don't you love his smile?

My mom was taking care of Boomer for the weekend while my sister was out of town. I think she liked it and it was a great distraction for her.

710 and I went over for a bit on Sunday - not just to let her feed us - but to see how my mom was doing and to maybe give her a break from Boomer, as it's been quite a while since either of my parents were dog owners.

But Boomer was happy to see us. Thrilled even. But he's a good dog, unless he's around other dogs - other than Petey, that is.

Boomer has doggie anxiety. The poor guy is even takes doggie Xanax....and it doesn't help him that much. He will shake, almost uncontrollably, when around another dog. My sister has spent tons of cash on classes and canine behavioral specialists (the DogFather).

Sometimes Boomer can walk with other dogs, but mostly not. But he loves loves loves Petey - and my sister's cats. Just not other dogs.

We couldn't bring Petey to my mom's house this last weekend. While he is doing really really well in his convalescence, he and Boomer roughhouse.....and while Boomer is mostly fluff and is oh so light, I didn't need him stepping on, or tripping over, Petey's injured paw.

Still, I got a picture with Boomer (with both of us smiling, thank you!) and sent it to my niece and nephew. Naturally, being twenty-somethings, they couldn't bother to respond....even though it was their own dog.

....well, it's really their mother's dog.



Song by: Blondie

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Music Monday

Annie Lennox has a new disk coming out next month.

Yayyy?

I had heard rumours of her releasing something new, but I didn't know it would be yet another album of covers.

Mind you, Medusa, was something of more current-times covers (Paul Simon, the Clash, etc), but Nostalgia will be just that - more of standards.

I will give this to Lennox, she's not doing the same old Rod Steward, Tony Bennett, et al, who only seemingly do Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini stuff, where the same 22 songs have been done over and over and over and over and over......

At least Annie has taken songs you don't normally hear in that context, though I'm not sure the world needs yet another cover of "Summertime" or "Georgia on my Mind".

All that said, I will probably wait to borrow this from the liberry, as opposed to buying it. While she has a great voice, I prefer her original music. Since she puts so little of that out, I was a tad bit disappointed when I found out Nostalgia would be works of other artists.

Out of six solo works, two will now be covers and one holiday album. That leaves only three original disks in 22 years.

Still, I will shill for her a little bit, as I do like true talent, such as hers, to succeed. The first release off her Nostalgia record is "I Put a Spell on You", originally done by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

And yes, in theory it has been covered a lot by other artists - just not ones that sell lots of standard records (Steward, Bennett, Ronstadt, etc). You know, like Bryan Ferry, Marilyn Manson (!) , Joe Cocker, Queen Latifah and She & Him.

I've heard none of those versions.