Monday, December 22, 2014

My Music Monday

You know that My Music Monday post right before xmas is usually a holiday song.

Actually, I think it's almost always been versions of "the Little Drummer Boy" just to nudge Dr. Spo into cringing a little. Mind you, I'm not a fan of it either.

But I'm done with that, since I don't have another one. But there are plenty of Pee-Wee Herman xmas special clips out there I haven't used, but do you really want to hear / see the Delrubio Triplets sing? Or hear Charo wishing you a Merry Crreesmas from the 'botto o'my har"?

If we're going to go bad - I can go bad. Really bad. And not just Stevie Nicks / Robbie Neville bad (and that is really really bad).

How about Pat Benatar bad?

C'est vrai.

Pat did a holiday song and it is truly truly truly awful. Beyond bad. So bad, that it shouldn't just be somewhere in my iTunes liberry - it should be etched onto your grey matter. They say misery loves company.

I love me some Pat and own most of whatever she's put out. But never ever ever take an artist for granted, or worse, to unequivocally like everything they do. You're only going to be disappointed.

Let's just says, on her 2003 record, Go, the song is called "Christmas". On YouTube it's called, "Christmas in America".

Now imagine if Lee Greenwood had done this song and that it was the Fourth of July. Are you seeing where I'm going with this?

Yes, Pat actually has balls bigger than mine to sing a line like, "it's Christmas in America, g-d bless the USA".

I shit you not.

I'm not saying this is or isn't the reason this was the actual last studio album from Ms. Benatar. But it totally is.



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Site of the Month

It's just a silly little site. One that is probably anticipated for Facebook users and a way to post.

It helps create your own personal snowflake. I guess it goes with the Winter Solstice, no?



I thought it would be a random snowflake thingy and it is. I put in my name. I put in Blobby. Then put my name back in. But my second real name snowflake was the same as my first real name one. And the Blobby one was different.

I mean, there's nothing much to do with it. Except post it to Facebook..........which I did not.

Welcome to Winter, folks. Let's hope we don't see too too many of these snowflakes. Oddly, we've had much more snow in November than we have so far in December.

Only four more months to go.  Three, if you want to be technical.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Do They Know It's Christmas?

It's the holidays and Petey Porn and Sophie Smut is going global.

I'm taking people's doggie shots (without really asking all of them) to show the cuteness worldwide. Everyone has been so loving to see Petey, Sophie, and now Buddy, that I thought I'd return some of the favour so you could see other people's four-legged friends.

I already apologize to those whom I did not get to include this year. But I'm sure I'll be doing it again.

We lavish upon our pets this time of the year. Who doesn't get a little stocking of treats for their furry pals? They don't even know why - but that's ok. They deserve it.

So....let's start the show......shall we?

My man, Ted. 
Ok, he's David's man, Ted. But he's just the frickin' cutest. 
I can never get enough Teddie. 

Holiday foster-to-adopted pup, Nila.  Orlando, FL. 
She belongs to my friend Kristin. 

Scooter. 
Boston buddy to John (and Jim and Zachary).  
Though apparently John doesn't have anything to say - regardless of his blog title. 

Harley & Holden.  These are puppies, btw. 
Boys to (the other) Brett & Nico. 
Petey met his first Rhodesian Ridgeback the other day. Keggers. They got along great. 

Who's a good boy?  WHO'S a good boy?
Georgie is a good boy.  (ala Richard and Serge)

Sabine & Remy. 
Two cute girls of Jon & Tommy down in NC. 

Becky & Andrew's dog - Barkley. 
Better behaved than one would think. He's a cutie and quite the cuddler. 
Careful if you don't behave in that house. It's curtains for you. Lacey, gently wafting curtains...but curtains nonetheless. 

Morty & George's boys - Skeeter & Logan. 
Petey loves being part of a pack with these two. 
I always wondered if Petey knows or cares that these two are the same breed. 


Buddy.  Getting bigger each week. 
And a getting a lot more comfortable too. She's a lot of fun during visits to my mom's house. 


Rollo, London, and THE man, Ripley. 
There are Meredity & Norman's brood.  (Rollo is not even a year old yet.)

This is Phoebe. Christopher's owner. 
Apparently CB drives a Volvo....or likes Prince. 

Otis.  My main man. 
See, that's from Animal House

Otis, is from a much nicer house with guys who drink slightly less than John Belushi. 

But look at those eyes!!!!!!


You'll see Petey and Sophie pics from the holidays. They always get their turn to shine, so I felt it necessary to keep the spotlight on these fun and funny guys. 


Song by: Band Aid

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sweet Nutthin'

Two days ago I saw the sweetest and possibly saddest thing I'd ever witnessed.

But first, a set-up...........


I was out running errands and doing some holiday shopping for my sister's kids. First off, kids are very specific about what they want and not fucking shy about asking for it regardless the price. Sometimes I'll play along, sometimes not.

This time, not. Exactly.

What my sister requested was too late in coming to get it for the holiday, so before just getting her a gift card, I thought I'd try "the mall"!

First I tried the good mall. It had kiosks that sold iPhone covers, but not as one as ugly as what was requested. So I took a chance on the absolute shittiest mall in town. Ugly mall should figure ugly products, right?

Well, yes.......and no.

They did not have what I was looking for. But to be fair, they didn't have anything for which anyone would look.

The mall, in its heyday, was a sad sack. And we were well beyond it's prime, though I haven't been in there for years.

As I relayed this story to Becky, she thought I could find something at Claire's Boutique. As if.

Claire's would be a huge 'get' for this mall. Every store was a lesser version of a real store. Gone was Starbucks, FYE, Old Navy or something has high-brow as Five Below.

Let's just say, the anchor store is JCP.  They didn't even have 'the Dollar Store'. What you got what you see in the title image.

I stood there for minutes trying to figure out what it meant.  Ms. Dollar +?  Miss Dollars?  I don't know what the fuck it was, or supposed to be. I didn't go in.

No but if you need a glittery 4th rate prom dress to pass off as a NYE get-up, this is your mall. If you need your acrylic nails done or have your weave fixed, this is the place. Of if you need Lenscrafters - which is the only other name brand anything in this mall.

Even the food court was suspect. You'd have killed for a Sbarros here. But no, you got the no-name pizza by the slice establishment. There was a mid-eastern food place, but you'd kind of hope a suicide bomber hung out there, waiting to take out the entire place.

In the food court itself - the seating area - the cloth backing of the banquettes are torn or worn out. There were a total of 7 people sitting there eating some kind of food.

I am not a proud man, it was nearing 13:00 and I was starving. I knew it would be a mistake, but I got the Chinese food.  Eeek.

Oddly enough, this is not the sad part of the story. Though make no mistake, it was sad. On many levels.

As I was taking my 'food' to a table, I'm in danger of running into two of the few folks in this dump of a mall. Both were heavier-set, looking a little worse for the wear, in general. The man was African-American, the woman, Caucasian.

Like playing a game of chicken, we veered away from each other at the last minute, me taking me seat (after checking the seat!) and they went a few tables away, though they had no food.

Now normally, I have my camera at the ready. I take pictures of just about anything absurd, but nothing about them seemed out of the ordinary.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I see him kind of looking my way, and then he goes down on one knee. His hand comes out of his Member's Only (like) jacket with a ring box. She does not seem phased. In the slightest.

I'd say, "he went to Jared", but I can almost bet this mall doesn't have one. Is there something less than Kay or Zales? I mean something less that isn't a pawn shop?

Of course, maybe he didn't buy it there.

If not, then why oh why would you pick a basically abandoned food court to propose marriage?

OMG - this wasn't where they had their first date, was it? That just now crossed my mind.

Both were probably past child bearing years, so they save themselves the embarrassment of telling their kids that "daddy popped the question near where Dog-on-a-Stick used to be".

The woman took out her iPhone and snapped a pic of her ring. Becky admonished me for not noticing what the ring looked like. I'm a bad homo.

She then got on the phone and made some calls. It all seemed pretty underwhelming, as now I could not turn away.

"Brad* just proposed."

Not

"O.M.G.  Brad JUST proposed!!!!!"

It did go through my mind, "oh, isn't this sweet".  And then I looked around, and my next thought was, "oh, isn't this sad".


And sad that I took no picture of him on one knee. On a floor, which lord only knows the last time it was mopped.

As I made my way out, I did pass Santa's Workshop.

No surprise here. It was sad too. Two elves, sitting doing nothing, as no one was around to tell the big guy what they wanted for xmas. So St. Nick opted to kill time himself.


I'm guessing he's not checking his list once or twice. He's reading Fifty Shades of Grey or checking his Tinder account.




*made-up name, since I have no idea. 


Song by: Chrissie Hynde

Thursday, December 18, 2014

a Sign of the Times

Somewhere not so far into the recesses of my mind, I'm ready to move.

I'm done with a big house and I'd be fine if we moved to an apartment downtown. There are only two things wrong with that currently. Maybe three.

1. Cleveland housing is booming! (IKR?). 97+% occupancy for downtown apartments. Waiting lists abound for folks who want to move downtown, which is something I thought I'd never see. And tons more old buildings in the process of being converted to residences.

2. Nowhere to walk Petey that is green. He'd have to do his bidness on the street, which sucks for him, for me and for everyone else downtown. And we've have to take an elevator to 'let him out'. And always on a leash. Now we can just let him out in the yard for the quick pee. There'd be no more quick anything.

3. Downtown still lacks some conveniences, like grocery stores. I get the 20-30 somethings go out and eat a lot. We don't. And we don't want to. But CLE is starting to see an influx of boomers, like us, who are moving down. And the first big grocery is to go in the first part of next year.


Part of my issue of where we live, is where we live. We border two cities, literally. I think I've mentioned, no one wants to take responsibility for services - meaning police, fire, street maintenance.

You know all those cars that have come into our yard. They used to cross a somewhat landscaped island before crossing another street, before going over a sidewalk and into our yard.

Cleveland opted not to do upkeep on the island so made it a cement triangle. That hasn't really stopped cars from going over it, but now they're doing a little more damage to their car along the way.

But when they did this cement project, they put in six directional signs, as if you go left, you go down a one-way street into Cleveland. If you go right, you head east into Cleveland Heights. But the island is in Cleveland - make no mistake.

So 710 calls me on Monday to tell me that one of those directional signs is in our yard. So I got out and look, and it turns out he's wrong.


Because there are two in the yard. 

So I walk over to the "island" to find out that all but one of the directional signs are gone. Either driven through or pried off (I'm not sure which.....or both). 


Honestly, I don't know how long I was on the phone with the city, but not only did they not recognize the names of the street(s) and couldn't look them up, I could couldn't talk them into bringing up Goooooogle maps so I could direct them to the area. 

I explained this is why we now call 9-1-1 for everything, because neither Cleveland or Cleveland Heights wants to take ownership of anything, but made sure that they knew that I knew Cleveland did the cement job. 

I really figured this fell on deaf ears and that I'd be fighting for months to get anything done. 

Oddly enough - and very oddly at that - the next day, by 08:30, the crews were out there replacing all of the signs and picking up the ones I took out of our yard and discarded on this cement piece of Hell. 

Maybe the system does work.

Or maybe they're scared as shit of having to deal with me again.  Either way:  I win!




Song by: Petula Clark

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lemon Crush

Back when I was a wee adult, working for THE Ohio State University, a woman who was in my office was all about making cookies at holiday time.

She'd take weekends to make the different doughs and then another weekend to bake everything off. It was quite the to-do.

Of course, the three other full-timers in the office were the beneficiary of this cornucopia of cookies. And of course, other people in the college just "happened" to drop by.  Vultures!

Phyllis made great cookies. And I have some of her recipes, but truth be told, I've only made (or attempted) a half dozen over the 19 years since I've worked with her. Remember: I am not a baker.

One I will always make are her Lemon Drops.

Phyllis would laugh at me (ummm....with me?) because the powdered sugar would make me cough even before I ate one. Somehow I'd inhale as the cookie got near and that was the end of that.

Still, they are fairly easy cookies to make (ssshhhhh.....don't tell my 'homey', Mike). Five ingredients and it's not even really dough, so.....

1 box - lemon cake mix (your choosing)
1 lemon -  1/4 tsp zest; 1/2 of a lemon juiced *
1 egg - beaten
Cool Whip - 4.5 oz thawed
Confectioners sugar (no actual measurement) **

Combine cake mix, lemon zest, lemon juice and Cool Whip (though you have to say it like Stewie Griffin).

* I did not measure out the lemon zest or juice. I was using the lemon only for this, so I zested the entire thing and juiced the entire thing. It was more than it called for, but it is just fine.

The batter / dough is STICKY. I mean, really sticky. It is hard to work with. So much so, that I had forgotten how bad it was and sent a "joking" text to Phyllis to tell her how much I hated making these.

It's really not that bad, but you have to have patience. That part comes in when you have to take a spoon full of batter / dough and put it into the powdered sugar to coat them (after you do, they are much easier to handle).


Phyllis suggests using two spoons: one to scoop up the batter, one to move it from the original spoon into the sugar. But I found that just complicated matters, as the batter would stick to the second spoon. Clean fingers work best for disengaging the batter into the bowl of sugar.

** you can't really measure how much you need. Just pour some in a bowl enough to coat 20-25 cookies.


Transfer each coated batter bunch onto a non-greased cookie sheet. You don't have to flatten them out, or space them too too far apart. 

Place in a pre-heated 350F oven for 14 minutes (or until edges just start to turn golden). Rotate pan halfway through cooking time. It will even out the cooking process for the cookies. 

Remove cookies onto cooling rack upon taking them from the oven. 


They might seem a little soft, but they will set up. They will never be crispy (or shouldn't be). Just lots of lemony goodness. 

Or, if you're Mike, you'll send a message my way saying, "are these cherry?"

He's pretty...........just not too bright. 



Song by: Prince

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let it Whip

In what world would anyone ever think they'd pay hard-earned dollars to see Paul Reiser in a movie?

Not me.

In what universe does Paul Reiser even make it to the silver screen? I mean - I kind of get it if they made a film adaptation of My Two Dads, but....an actual dramatic movie?

The world has gone topsy-turvy, I tellz ya.

And don't start on that Diner crap. First it was 32 years ago, and it was a movie about Losers of the Year Club.

Anyway, we finally got to see Whiplash.

I think 710 was skeptical of my choice. I was even a little hesitant, as I'm not a fan of scenes with psychological abuse. But the Imagination Game hasn't opened here yet and I haven't heard really good word of mouth on the History of Everything.

I am really glad we went.

"Intense" would be the descriptor that comes to mind - if you had to put the review into one word.

We've all known, of known of, educators or bosses who berate folks, allegedly to get the best out of you. I never discount that they're just assholes and they really don't care about what you become or if they helped you on the way.

With J.K. Simmon's role as the teacher, it could go either way. I read reviews after the fact that call him a 'hangdog good guy' in many roles (Juno, Up in the Air, the psychologist on Law & Order, or the spokesman on those insurance ads), but I still identify him as white supremacist, Schillinger on OZ.

He is much closer to his OZ character here (or at least his J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man) and the prison is the most prestigious music school in the country. Somehow that school status gives his Fletcher the right to treat his students like chum - verbally, emotionally, psychologically.

You squirm a bit. Maybe more than a bit. It's involuntary. The tension is palpable.

Without the spoilers, you see how the student of focus almost becomes like his teacher, in the way he treats his cousins and girlfriend, though some of those behaviours are set before he's too ingrained in this teacher's culture.

The verbal tear downs are wicked. From a character like this, you expect to hear the words 'faggot' and 'cocksucker'  when they degrade someone - and you do. I know people get bent out of shape over those words and would boycott the movie on this alone, but it is totally who this guy is. You'd almost fault him if he used less derogatory words.

I had problems with one part of the movie, and oddly enough it wasn't Reiser (who is fine and almost nominal, btw). One scene was just too far out to hold any reality. There were ways to work a situation into that portion that wasn't that implausible, but other than that I enjoyed the film.

I will say that in the finale, the card pulled by Fletcher (Simmons) is kind of expected, but ultimately would not just make his student look bad, but him as well.

Simmons, like him or hate him here (and you do hate him), gives an incredible performance. I do not understand how he is up for best 'supporting' role for the Golden Globes. He is totally lead material.

Paul Reiser on the other hand...............

Whiplash in my top 3 movies of the year.



2014 Movie Count / Goal:   10 of 12


Song by: the Dazz Band

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Music Monday

It was just one of those weeks where I could not come up with a song to select. So, once again, I let iTunes Shuffle make the choice.

I know I've had a Fleetwood Mac song here before, but never Stevie Nicks.

As much as I used to like her, the work she's done in the past two decades, for the most part, has fallen on hard hard times. It's not so much pleasant to the ear.  ....and decades later, she's still pulling material from 40+ years ago, as I think her writing ability has run dry.

The problem with that is, some of those songs were good.......then. Now that she has a much more limited vocal range (for a 66+ year old), sometimes she's just kind of sad to listen to, so do those once promising songs.

But she had her moments.

Oddly, some of those really good moments never truly made it to major releases. With her first solo album, Bella Donna, she recorded a number of songs during those sessions that ended up on four or five different soundtracks - and most of them were better than what was on her actual album.

Go figure.

"Blue Lamp" is actually a good song. Nicks isn't really known for 'rock' songs. She's tried. She's kind of come close. But usually, she still ends up being her ethereal self - which may or may not be a huge put-on persona thing. And "Blue Lamp" might come the closest she get to true rock and / or roll.

Maybe that is why the song ended up on the soundtrack for the 1981 movie Heavy Metal. The animated movie came from the magazine of the same name - which was popular at the time (though not with me).

Clearly, Nicks doesn't do 'heavy metal' music, but neither does anyone on that soundtrack.

It's Stevie Nicks - so don't try to figure out what the hell she's singing about.



Stevie Nicks - Blue Lamp

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Heaven

I don't know if Heaven exists and if it does, I don't know what it would actually be like. I mean, who does, really???

I'm going out on a limb that it is not for physical beings to be on clouds with wings and harps. Doubtful there are pearly gates too.

I know I don't believe in infallibility. And if that exists, I certainly do not believe it can be obtained by a bunch of men in red dresses voting another guy into "office" of pope and making him incapable of being wrong.

Of course, the joke is, the folks that elected Pope Francis - or some of them - don't find him infallible. Cardinal Dolan, for one, hasn't taken heed for Francis' edict on being nicer to homos. Nor have many U.S. clergy. So they're hypocrites right off the bat.

So, pfffffft on infallibility.

Still it was kind of cool that Pope Frank said that "paradise is open to all of g-d's creatures."  ....except  for the fact that he didn't actually say it.

Religion News Services is debunking that rumour that Francis said this, but it was actually uttered by Pope Paul VI back in 1978. The actual 'retraction' headline started with: "Sorry Fido......"

While the articles out there seem to convey that dogs and cats do not go to Heaven, I don't see why not. If one pope says 'yes', and he is / was infallible, do other pontiff views discount their predecessor? If so, doesn't that make the previous head of the Catholic church fallible.

Office politics.

Of course, if Heaven exists, why would I want to go, if Kylie, Tovah, Sophie and Petey weren't there?They were / are such trusted companions, who else would I rather spend eternity with - I mean, except the Rock.  Oh, and 710, of course.

One thing I'm sure of if there is an afterlife - no need to clean litter boxes or pick-up dog poop. They have to have those functions fixed up there, right?

Naturally, the pope(s) can be wrong - regardless of their little He-Man Woman Hater's Club edict. And we could be left with the Simpsons explanation of who, and who does not, gain access to Heaven.






Song by: the Eurythmics

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 58th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th 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.

Petey Porn / Sophie Smut day is suspended until next week. Clearly, they will both make appearances here. No worries. 


06:05.  One Stripey McBrownerson on her heated bathroom floor, quite content to use the shower mat as her bed.

06:10. Buttoning Up. 
Girding my loins, for yet another day. 

07:45.  One tired-ass doggy going up to my / his office. 

09:15.  Petey's got his poop-face on. Mainly because he's pooping. 

11:00. Trying to get some of this holiday shit together.
Attempting to get some of the holiday cards out.
Clarice, Donner, Yukon Cornelius and the Misfit Toys seem to be under represented here. 

 13:10.  Lunch with 710 at B Spot
I got the Porky. Hamburger topped with pulled pork and cole slaw. 

 14:00. Just a stop-by at the Apple Store. Nothing was purchased. 

15:10.  Apparently Jews can be just as tacky as Christians

15:20.  Stop by the xmas tree store. 
This year's tree is nice, but a least a foot shorter. We're not going whole-hog this time out. 

16:40. Sophie, marking the tree as her own. 

19:45. Dinner. 
Chicken, Broccoli, Peppers. 

22:20. Cookie time. 
Most are store bought Linzer cookies - raspberry and apricot filled. Ditto with the Kolaczki. Both are from Presti's

The lemon cookie in the upper left corner? Homemade. More on those in another post. 


And that wraps up another month of my day in pictures. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wrecking Ball

I think, before, we've established that I am not a baker. I'm not sure I'm a cook either, but I have a better success rate there - and cooking is more forgiving than baking.

So, I felt sort of safe with this recipe, considering there was no actual baking. And look: four fucking ingredients.

To mock Ina Garten: "how hard can that be?"

Apparently, pretty fucking hard.

Somewhere in one of my feeds, a recipe to make Oreo Cookie Balls.  I gay'd it up just a bit to call them truffles. Because, you can't get people eating balls without them chuckling like 12 year olds. Myself included.

But let's start, shall we?

Most everything goes into one bowl.

36 Oreos - finely crumbled
6 candy canes - finely crushed
1 package cream cheese - softened
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Let's just say, the majority of my time was unwrapping those fucking candy canes and getting the clingy cellophane off my hands - which was damn near impossible. In retrospect, just buying Starlight Mints would have been much much easier.

Not that getting them crushed was an easy task. They break through a plastic bag, if you try to crush them that way. On a cutting board will find pieces parts going flying.

Crushing the cookies was easiest by hand. I tried other ways, but just use clean hands.

Since you are mixing cream cheese (even very soft) into dry cookies, it's like what I'm guessing is like walking through quicksand. It is fucking tough to incorporate the cookies and cream cheese. The ground peppermint (minus one tablespoon of it) was no problem.

Then, again with clean hands, you roll out one inch cookie balls. Allegedly it is supposed to make 48. You can see that it did not.

Maybe these aren't 1" balls.

Or maybe I've been blessed in life never to have seen balls that small. I don't know. I have no gauge for this. Are they 1" circumference? Radii? The directions were not that specific.

But however big your balls may be, place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.

Then put your balls in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  While doing that.......

Let's just say this first attempt at melting chocolate over a double boiler looks nice, but I fucked that up too. It melted, but the chocolate was thick. It seemed too thick to easily coat the cookie balls. So Blobby added a splash of half and half and the chocolate seized up and looked like the cookie dough you see two pictures up.

So I tossed that and did it again, but in the microwave. It was still a thick melting job, but fuck it - I went for it.

....but it wasn't pretty. I don't have a coating cookies in piping hot chocolate technique. Thus my lack of baking skills / experience.

The balls got coated with chocolate and then dusted with a pinch of the leftover peppermint crumbles.

Now folks........here is how they're supposed to look.



.....and here is how they actually turned out.

The ones at the top were the earlier creations and I think I got lazy and sloppy as I went on. Sue me.

After you get them dipped and dusted, they go into the refridge for an hour. It was the only laugh I had of the session when I asked Siri to set a timer for 60 minutes.


All things said: they taste great. They look fair (at best), but they taste great.

They're a little rich, but they're like a rich Thin Mint.

I'd say they're not fit for company, but Mike, my Boston Honey Homey will be seeing these in his mail box soon enough.

I'm fairly safe he doesn't read this blog daily, so these will still be a surprise to him.


.....in many ways.



Song by: Emmylou Harris