Saturday, June 30, 2007

Site of the Month

Honestly, with still acclimating to the new job, I haven't had lots of time to look for fun or funny sites. I guess my Sites of the Month don't have to be fun(ny).

I probably should have found 43 Things before I became re-employed. But no reason I can't chip away at somethings now and again. I doubt I'll do all 43 (hey! I know myself), but it'd be ok to do some of them.

It really isn't the easiest site to navigate, though it should be relatively simple.

Some people have slightly odd wants out of life, like 'meet someone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (I mean, sure....if it's Xander!) or 'fix my personality disorder' or 'go to heaven' - which I'm guessing would be the last thing on one's 'to-do list'.

Anyhoo...I haven't filled anything out. Maybe that should be the first of 43 things to do.

Friday, June 29, 2007

End of an Era

It will mean nothing to most folks - but Big Chuck has retired.

For most of you here, I'll have to set this up a bit:

Hoolihan & Big Chuck were Cleveland's first post-Ghoulardi. The hosts/comics of our cheesey Friday night movies. The guy who'd have skits and commentary at the commercials. Pre-Elvira, by about three decades, when UHF existed and VHF had all of three stations.

The Houlihan & Big Chuck years, ahhh those were the best years. Hoolihan (or Mild Mannered Weekend Weatherman) who moonlighted this night job. Chuck was a welder who did the same thing. They made a great comedic team....at least to a kid who was in 6th grade who could stay up late to watch movies like "The Pit & the Pendulum" and the "Screaming Skull" (no, not Dionne Warwick...she's the 'Singing Skull').

Eventually, Hoolihan found g-d and went to sell bibles in Florida......or aluminum siding...depending on which story you've heard or believe. They made Lil Jon, an extra, Big Chuck's side kick and Chuck got top billing.

But no one watched for the movies. We watched for the skits. Most skits were based around Polish certain ethnic lifestyles. Keep in mind this was all pre-SNL, so many of these were take-offs on popular culture. My favourites were, in no certain order:
  • Mary Hartski! Mary Hartski!
  • Ben Crazy
  • Sunday Morning Chills (yes, the day after Saturday Night Fever)
  • the Kielbasa Kid
Naturally (?) there was "Polish Variates w/Paul Whitesocks" (real Cleveland show was "Polka Variates w/Paul Wilcox). If you hadn't noticed, Cleveland has a large Polish community.

Chuck (playing the ukulele in the picture with Hoolihan and Tim Conway) was quite handsome, at least to a developing gay youth - and loved his chin.

Eventually, the show moved from Friday nights to I guess Saturday or Sunday afternoons. But they were no Superhost. He had that timeslot locked up. Anyway, I had kind of grown out of that crappy movie phase (well, until MST3K did it up right - the Joel years, of course).

Chuck hanging it up though (at 73!!), well it is just another reminder of the passing of time. My time.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Voinovich is a D-bag

Oh, like I care if this blog has an NC-17 rating. The word is: DOUCHEBAG....not d-bag. Let's just call it what it is. What he is.

Umpteen years and 3600 lives into the Iraq War, he's now decided to break 'with the White House over Iraq, saying the current strategy is not working and advocating a gradual withdrawal of troops'.

Mind you - he's the same puzt who:
  • Voted for the war (though to be fair, Bush, Cheney, Rice & Powell purposefully misled them all) (2003)
  • Voted 'no' on redeploying troops out of Iraq (2006)
  • Voted for the recent troop surge
  • Voted 'no' on troop withdrawal beginning 3rd quarter 2007 (Mar 2007)
  • Voted 'no' on setting benchmarks and timelines on troop withdrawal (Apr 2007)
  • Voted for the increased troop funding (May 2007)
Oh - someone is up for 2008 re-election. But I didn't need a crystal ball (or Magic 8 one) or a Ouija board to figure that one out.

Get the man some vinegar and water.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SHOPPING w/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!


Is it just my imagination, or does it look like 'Fruit & Groin'?

That's what it looked like to me, which is why I took the picture and it's your item of the month.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This Blog is Not Yet Rated

Oh wait......yes it is.....

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating


The rating is based on the presence of the following words:

Gay (8 times)
Sex (3 times)
Fuckin' (2 times)
Hurt (once)

I might see this blog as PG-13....sometimes R. NC-17? I'd hurt these fucking gay prudes (not during sex) if I ever found them!

Seriously - it must only be looking at my last few posts, because I drop the f-bomb way more than that. WAY more. And there are plenty of movies where the F word is used and who have gay characters and people get hurt.....and they still make R....at worst. Whatever!

I'd say - read me at your own risk, but isn't that true of the entire internets?

Monday, June 25, 2007

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!

These may or may not be newly released disks. They might not even be a good disk - just what is been in heavy rotation in my car (as usually the iPod is playing anywhere else).


I know I bounce back and forth here between new and older music. I'm split about 50/50 on that. It is just how I'm built when it comes to CD purchases. Honestly, there is nothing out there that I really feel compelled to buy. I considered the new Maria McKee or Rufus Wainwright, but I haven't felt the need to actually purchase them. That being said, I do have one of my favouritist disks this month:


Chances are, not a ton of my readership knows Marti Jones' work. And it's a shame, as she has consistently put out good to excellent disks for over the last 23 years. An artist from Canton, OH, she started out in a group called Color Me Gone. One EP is all they produced, but it was a fun and well done effort, even though it pretty much went nowhere.

What it did do is catch the attention of Don Dixon, who had produced REM along with some other independent acts. He not only ended up producing Jones' debut solo disk (and all the rest), he married her too.

Though I like it all, her first three solo disks are outstanding. I had mucho trouble narrowing down which it would be. I settled on Match Game, her second solo album - which by chance is out of print. Though it was released in 1987 and is in dire need of remastering it is still a disk I listen to constantly and completely. There really isn't a bad song on it.

Jones is not really comparable to most other artists. Adult Alternative would be the closest genre to slip her into, though I'm not sure that is completely fair. She has a clear and great alto that is kind of reminiscent of Dusty Springfield (in fact, Marti does a scary-close cover of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" on a Dusty tribute disk).

On her first three disk Marti is what you'd call an interpretive vocalist. Taking other people's material and making it her own. Only after this did she start recording music she wrote or co-wrote. Her choice of songs was impeccable - most not well known, but by well known artists including Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Marshall Crenshaw, Graham Parker, Janis Ian, as well as her husband.

Unfortunately, Marti never had what you'd call a bonified hit - radio wasn't and isn't sophisticated enough. The closest thing she had was singing the demo to "Walk Like an Egyptian" before the Bangles got it. Oddly enough, she didn't do horribly with it - even though it's kind of a horrible song, and the Bangles did nothing different to it than Marti's demo.

Jones has been on a few record labels and now it is unclear if she'll still record. Her now defunct myspace page showed some dissatisfaction with recording and touring (which is a shame, since she is just as good live) - and now she'd rather stay home and paint. Her new webpage barely acknowledges her past singing life. I know she's made a few local appearances in the last six months, but I've always found out about them too late.

Half of her disks are out of print, but available on places like eBay. Her debut disk, Unsophisticated Time is available via download at efolkmusic.com and her last two studio disks are available on iTunes, as well as amazon. If you have the chance, they are all better than average, but Used Guitars, Match Game, Unsophisticated Time and My Tidy Doily Dream are my favourites.

I'd go into specifics on the songs on Match Game - but I fear you may not know them. There is really no use picking out the good songs on the disk, there simply isn't a bad one.

If you can get a copy - I suggest you get one.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

SICKO

oooops.......sorry, not that sicko.

Last night a bunch of us went to a sneak preview of Sicko, Michael Moore's latest "documentary" regarding the U.S. healthcare system.

Well, that's not completely accurate....the film doesn't just attempt to tackle the insurance, hospital, doctor arenas. He touches on education and child care too.

The CEO of my company was with us and knowing he would be contacted for a quote on the state of healthcare, prior to the movie, he asked us to keep aware of something that would be sound-byte-ish. He almost laughed when I blurted out "It was funnier than Sophie's Choice".

Guess what? After viewing the first 20-30 minutes of the movie, I started think Sophie's Choice may have had more laughs. Eventually, the film slipped into the Michael Moore style and he did a good job of balancing the light-hearted with the serious. When he tried to go all-out funny, sometimes that just didn't work.

Having worked in healthcare for the last umpteen years, you do see the sad stories of the insurance denials for things that they deem 'experimental', even though they are FDA approved and have been in place for years as what is considered the standard treatment plan. It is a shame that no current Insurance, or Hospital CEOs, board members and the like were interviewed for this movie. But I'll assume they now know not to speak with the likes of Michael Moore. I was also disappointed that though the Los Angeles County Prosecutor was looking into patient dumping, there was no follow-up or follow-through in what, if anything, came of it.

It is hard to say if the folks Moore took to Cuba got their treatment because everyone else there does or if they did because there was a camera crew. I'm skeptical. I don't doubt any of the validity of his trips to Canada, England or France. Quite frankly all of those visits prompted me to lean over to Denton and say 'we really gotta move'.

Two men he interviewed in Canada and the U.K. were the highlights for me - thoughtful, articulate and conservatives. And despite the latter, they still made so much more sense than anyone in public office who speaks on healthcare here in the U.S.. The theatre erupted into applause and howling when the U.K. guy explained how in 1948 the government established their National Health Service with the thought of, (and I'm paraphrasing slightly) 'if we can afford to go to war (WWII), we can afford to provide national healthcare'.

U.S. policymakers don't think this way. But they are going to have to start. The movie in fact might help spur that. It gives the 412 current presidential candidates a little time to formulate their plans for change before the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses and primaries.

I like Moore's ideas, but I find myself frustrated with two hours of questions that have no answer. I understand that is the point - to focus on the ridiculousness of the situations, but I just come away feeling a little bleak and worse for the wear.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bringing up the Average

A new article says that men have a median of seven sex partners in their lifetime. Women have four.

The article doesn't state a few things:




  • sexual orientation of those surveyed
  • if participants had sex with either or both genders
  • gender differences in the population (are there more women than men?)
  • if not (above) who else are these men having sex with..?
  • what the average/median ages of the survey particpants are
  • what defines an actual "lifetime"

In any regards, anyway you look at it, I am clearly I bringing up the average, median or mean.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Race for the Cure

What’s with all the hubbub over a possible Bloomberg candidacy? Seriously – what? First off, I called this month’s ago in one blog entry I’d have to go back and find.
I’m all for breaking the traditional two-party system. Clearly the GOP and the DNC are not. They say, but don’t want, bipartisanism. There is no way they want tri-anything. Politics is a zero-sum game: if someone has power, it means someone has given some up. It does not bode well for these players.
Weeks ago, I signed up to be a delegate with Unity ’08. This stems from what I think is a need for a change in the system. Here is how they bill themselves:
Unity08 is a group of citizens deeply concerned about the current state of our political system. We believe that the intense partisanship in Washington and the same-old campaigns financed by big, special interest groups means that the voices of Americans like you and I are being ignored.
NPR did a story maybe six months ago stating that anyone running, who was nominated, for president would now spend a half of one billion dollars during the campaign. Imagine the ego for that shit. Imagine how much starvation one could wipe out with an election process that will last a year or two.
Anyway, back to my point. Bloomberg isn’t Perot or Nader.
Perot was just a frickin’ nut job. Albeit a rich one. And while I am not afraid of a non-politico coming in and changing the standard operating procedure, Ross was not the man. Seriously, the only thing I remember about his candidacy is Phil Hartman spoofing Perot’s running mate, Admiral James Stockdale (“Who am I?” Why am I here?”). Perot also had no chance of ruining what was to be a landslide election.
Nader, on the other hand, helped the current evil-doer in residence get elected. Twice. (Though Kerry and Gore, more or less, lost on their own merits.) Though Ralphy has little true political experience he had enough background to have been dangerous. He’s unsafe at any speed.
But Bloomberg has enough business and political experience to be a viable candidate. And he has the money. His own money. Earned, not inherited. Potentially he could fund a run all by his lonesome – and take no matching political funding. He could do this with no fundraising from the public or special interests groups.
Lobbyists, GOPers and Dems should be sharting just a little bit. Mike could and would derail any mid and low level candidates and put huge dents in some major contenders as well.
Let’s breakdown Mike’s recent background a bit:
  • self-made billionaire
  • rides subway to work (as mayor of NYC)
  • took his mayor salary down to $1 per year
  • uses his own residence and not the mayor’s
  • having all NYC taxis go hybrid
  • has NYC's lowest unemployment rate ever
  • pro gun control
  • anti-war
  • supports abortion on demand (sounds like someone slamming their fist down and insisting on having one)
  • "I think anybody should be allowed to marry anyone"
Oh, and he currently has a 74% approval rating. Can any of the other candidates say that? Our current president can't even do half of that. I'm sorry (?) - but right now, he is my candidate of choice even if he is not a candidate.

And he's got a rockin' kippah!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Little Ol Jet Liner

Yesterday I did a one-day trip to DC. Normally I'm there for a number in row. I still feel like I was gone for days.

But there were plane delays getting out of Dulles. It got so bad that I actually wrote out this blog post on an airline napkin!!! (see / click image on left). To make it easier - I'll type out what I wrote:

They don't want my thoughts. I don't like United. I don't like sitting on a tarmac for two plus hours because the Pittsburgh airport is closed, even though we're not going to Pittsburgh. I am willing to risk climbing through the bad weather to get home. Dulles is the ugliest airport ever, but we can't see it, because we are stuck in the plane. Still. Maybe we could have made it out if they didn't overbook the flight by 15 people and then ask for volunteers to give up their seats for the next 40 minutes. Or let two people on who had the same seat assignment, one of whom refused to leave the plane without said seat. Isn't that what the auto-ticket scanning system is for? WTF!? But here we sit. Hot. Sweaty. Beginning to stink. Unless I travel, I rarely wear deoderant. I'm not that into mansmells, but I hate clogging my pores and honestly, I don't sweat that easily. I wore it today, but it is 97 outside and hotter IN the plane. I keep flashing on a Seinfeld episode:

Elaine: Mrs. Seinfeld, I am BEGGING you, turn the air conditioner on!
Mrs. Seinfeld: You're hot?
Elaine: I've lost six pounds.

And so it is only an hour flight - in theory - there is no food. And of course, by food I mean peanuts or pretzels. I am hoping we don't go back to the terminal. I have no change of clothes. I have no phone charger. I have no meds. So far the folks are well behaved, but it's only a matter of time before they turn. And they will. I will. Have the airlines learned nothing from the Jet Blue / Valentine's Day debacle? And of course, it is considered 'act of g-d', if the flight is cancelled, there is no compensation - just a blanket to cover ourselves in the terminal. So I'm also sitting here wondering how people make it overseas. I swear I'm getting a DVT as I just wait to hear IF we'll be leaving. So - those are my thoughts. Where are my fucking 100,000 miles??

As it turns out, about 20 minutes after I wrote this, they found a window to take off. Somehow, even though no one was allegedly taking off for almost three hours, we were first in line to go. I found that odd....and unlikely.

I left the house at 4:30 a.m. and got home after 9:00 p.m. I am beat.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Brush with Fame


Yesterday we went to go see Don Dixon perform at the Cleveland Heights Public Library. You heard me right - the library.

The setting was intimate at best - the cafe on the second floor. There were maybe two dozen people there when we arrived. A few came. A few went. A few were clearly friends of Dixon. It would have been nice had more people been there, but selfishly, I am glad there were not more.

It was just Dixon and an acoustic guitar with a pick-up. Oh, and an hour-glass, as that was the allotted time he was to perform. I do have to say, the acoustics in the library cafe were amazing. Though he had a microphone, there were times I'm not sure he actually needed one. As I have spent many a-time in that cafe reading, etc, I will have to be weary of what I say, as clearly the sound travels easily. That, and I have been blessed with a voice that carries (as my mother has mentioned in the past).

The set was (too) brief, but ultimately fulfilling. As I said in my January 2007 Record of the Month piece, I like his recorded stuff a lot, but he excels at live performance...with or without a band. Some of the pieces really stood out due to lack of the full arrangement. I love when that happens - as it shows what a good songwriter and performer can do.

The set list was varied, but I'd say about a third of it was from his latest disk The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room. I don't know he could have done better than opening with "Then I Woke Up" which was so much more powerful than the recorded version. Then he went through songs that spanned most of his career. I'd do a set list, but I didn't keep track of the order. Save one song, I knew most of them and I wish I knew that one (which was Denton's favourite).

Two things surprised me a little - one was that "Heart in a Box" was written for Grace Jones (!!!!!), though she never recorded it. The second was when he said he'd play the song that made him the most money: "I Can Hear the River". I love the song, but I never would have figured that to be THE one. I assumed it would be "Praying Mantis", "Most of the Girls Like to Dance" or "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)" - since the latter was in Heathers. I just assumed that each time the movie was sold or played he'd make some royalties. Go figure.

After the show, I got to meet Dixon (see below). It was a huge thrill for me. As I mentioned sometime a year or so ago, I don't think I get star struck or anything and there are only a few artists I'd ever want to meet: Dixon and his wife (Marti Jones) being two of them and probably Rosanne Cash.


We spoke for maybe 5-10 minutes. I introduced myself - and though no one knows it, we had been exchanging some emails a few months back when I was off work. I had offered to host a website for him after I missed a local show he and Marti had done. I contacted the venue letting them know and the response came back from Don personally.

Dixon was extremely easy to converse with. At some point during the show he asked if anyone wanted to hear anything particular. I pondered it but never responded. After the show, he goes, 'it looked like you were going to request something' and I admitted that I was. We talked about his song "25,000 Days" and though I wanted to hear it, how difficult it might be to pull off solo. He thought he could do it. I joked that requesting "Teenage Suicide" might have be en inappropriate, considering the setting....there were kids in the audience. Quickly he came back with, but I say "don't do it".

...and he was nice enough to let me take a pic - even though he knows I have a blog (he's read it).

If you have a chance to ever catch him solo or in a group, do it. He's talented and underrated and such a good live artist.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

PROUD?

I'm not unproud, but it might be a stretch to say I'm prideful.

I don't boast my gayness, but I don't boast a lot of things. Does this make me a bad person? (that is rhetorical - so just shut the fuck up.)

Yesterday we attended Cleveland Pride, though we had not participated for a number of years. Some due to weather, work, illness, travel or that it always falls on Father's Day Weekend. My father is in his late 80s and yes, we spend that day with him. Excuses all - some convenient, some not. But from my last Pride attendance, I don't remember it being anything to rush back for. Or as Dr. Matt said when he chose not to attend: "it is just tragic."

Unfortunately, he's not entirely wrong.

At the act of Rebel Girl, there was nary a non-lesbian watching the concert. All the men were at the beer garden. Fuck - 84% of all attendees were at the beer garden. But to be fair, except for the concert where else was there to go? Clearly not here:

This had to be the saddest place at the event...mostly for the folks volunteering at the booth. It had to be the hardest gig on site.

Ironically, there was very little socialization opportunities outside of the beer garden and little niche groups. If you don't drink (or too young to get into the beer garden), you were pretty much left to fend for yourself....or shop at the crappy stands. When did Pride become primarily a vendor fair? That was kind of sad to see. Elephant ears, corn dogs, italian sausages and the likes - and I'm not talking about anything dirty here folks....unless you are a cardiologist.

Maybe it is a Cleveland thing. Maybe it's an age thing. Maybe it is a combo. I remember enjoying these things when I lived in Columbus. I do think it is important to attend to show we are out there in numbers. I don't drink like I used to (nor at 12p - 5p), nor do I only listen to blaring 168bpm disco.

The Beer Garden

Everywhere else

Oh oh oh, and I saw two people from my office there. Yes, I was 92% sure they were gay, but we've never had that conversation....and there is more on that later in another post coming.

That all being said - it was a pretty day and good to roam around and see what and who was out and about. It wasn't always pretty, but allegedly there were 7500 attendees...which is about 3000 more than was reported last year. Two being us.

The world is a diverse place, and you can see this in Pride events - to a degree. Nowhere more do you see the gay community as segregated within itself as someplace like Pride. Our sub-sets rarely, if ever, intermingle. Twinks. Bears. Lesbians. Lesbian Percussion players (I kid you not). Leather. People of colour. This is not a community - just several separate small communities. I guess we are just like everyone else.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Where the AP Stands on Gay Marriage??

(AP) Massachusetts lawmakers threw out a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state that allows it. The vote was a devastating blow to efforts to reverse a historic 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The ban needed 50 votes in consecutive sessions of the 200-seat Legislature to secure a place on the 2008 statewide ballot. At the end of the last session in January it passed with 62 votes, but this time it garnered just 45.

To be honest, since I was working and traveling most of this week, I didn't even read the paper yesterday. But after I got home and was decompressing, Denton read me this article and pointed out the angle the AP had taken on the story.

It wasn't a 'stunning victory for...' but a 'defeating blow to...'

Aren't these the true gauges of where we rate on the acceptance meter? The little nuances that creep into everyday culture that are just as subversive as things a James Dobson and the likes blatantly puts out there.

At best, you just know there had to be a way to write that story that could have been a little more neutral. But for those complaining about the "liberal media", instead of just stating that x amount of stories on gay marriage are out there - they might want to actually read between the lines.

Friday, June 15, 2007

One Year Old

We've only had her eight months, but Sophie makes the turn from kitten to cat today. Clearly it is only in age and not how she acts. She is still 100% kitten at heart, mind and paws.

Maybe it is true what they say about animals you save from shelters, that they know it and attach to their owners more so than other pets. Sophie has. We never go anywhere within the house that she doesn't go.

As we go up to bed she always beats us to the top of the back staircase......and waits for us. There is usually swatting through the slats at the top. Then she just hops down the hall to the bedroom to wait for us.


Sophie doesn't sleep with us anymore. I don't know where she crashes at night. Once or twice when the temperature drops I've found her pressed against me in bed, but clearly she is just using me for my body heat. I don't know why all the cats do that. They never do it to Denton. Their combined 22 lbs push my body around at night like it was a piece of lint. I don't know how they do it.

Soph's undercoat is becoming more brown than we previouly imagined. For fun I've given her the secondary name of Stripey McBrownerson. She seems unfazed by this.

She is a handful when it comes to her sister. Tovah is becoming better about not letting Sophie push her around and Sophie is a little better about not completely attacking / annoying Tovah. There are more and more smackdowns - and Tovah usually wins. I'm glad Tovah wins, because she is becoming her old self again and spending time with us. But part of me is sad that Sophie always loses.

Sophie cannot be trusted outside....not even supervised visits. It's not her fault - she doesn't know any better and she is scared of nothing. And she is quick as a whip. So far, she has very little time out. But to be fair, all the cats had this adjustment and it took years before they were allowed out - and all of those are supervised. They just don't bolt to places they shouldn't.

Anyhoo...we love her and she's been a great addition to the family. We wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm glad she picked us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Livin' On A Spare

I am not having much luck with Viggo, my car, and my work parking garage.

Two nights ago I came out to a nearly empty garage to find one of my tires to be flat. Groan.

I should have known too. For a few days I had heard squealing of my tires (tire. singular. as it turns out) and deep down I know I needed to check the air pressure. Had I only followed through, I would have noticed it. And for weeks I've been getting shitty gas mileage.

The tire does not look damaged in anyway. No nail in it. No gash in the side or anything, though the cap where the air goes in is missing. I am out of town for the next few days and cannot get it repaired immediately so I'm driving around on a spare.

And that spare is so not a comfort. Besides not being full-sized, I just worry about 'what if I get another flat before I get the real tire fixed?'. Or worse - what if the spare just falls off while I'm driving.

My parents would be thrilled I think this way - but it is no way to live!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bimbo Season

First impressions last a lifetime. Or they can.

Rebecca was discussing a while back how as friends, the five of us have never had much trauma when it came to our relationships with each other. Drama: yes. Trauma: no. Through the fickle finger of fate, we all met, became and remain friends.

Though I’m sure I met Meredith, or came in some contact with her at Matt & Morty’s ‘apartment’ during one of their summer parties (perhaps it was just a continual one from whence I came at different times), I don’t remember how.

I do remember when I met Becky though – and Dity was with her. Why I was drawn to these two during this party was beyond me. Probably because all the straight guys there scared and intimidated me just a bit. And by ‘straight’, I guess Scott would be included in that grouping – though I don’t know exactly what he was. He definitely scared me.

The joke is, Dith and Becca were much more intimidating – and I didn’t want to sleep with them anymore than I did the men at the parties. …well…Gary…but….

Anyway…..I just didn’t realize they were intimidating. Not yet.

Sitting on the floor of the Matt/Morty domicile, there they were, in black (naturally), with pen and paper. There I was, close by, with the ubiquitous beer in my hand….eavesdropping. It was what I did best.

Though I don’t know this for sure, I think there were some irked feelings regarding Matt and this girl hanger-on, Michelle. Matt was like the brother whose sisters would never like any girl he dated. No one would ever be good enough. Michelle was the poster child for this.

So with pen to paper, Becky decided to write a song. Or at least lyrics.

Bimbo Season
Bimbo Season
There’s no reason
For that lesion



There may have been more lyrics – but those are the ones I remember (well it has been almost 19 years!). I am sure the thought of casting me out of the room crossed her mind as Becky caught me watching, listening and smiling.

I didn’t know her. She didn’t trust me…well, enough to be sharing her “writing” with me. If she were Alison Moyet British, she would have told me to ‘sod off’. She wasn’t that blunt, but just as effective. I think closing the notebook, shooting me a dirty look and walking away was pretty much the same message. Poor Dith just gave me a sympathetic look and wandered out to the porch herself. It was her safety zone.

Numerous other encounters at that apartment/porch lent itself to connecting with Rebecca. Dith was much easier. I dug myself in again with those two having no option but to listen in on a conversation regarding “Initiation Ken”. It was a cramped porch when a dozen people were out there. One had no choice but to overhear, especially if stuck in the corner with no escape. I didn’t get to hear all, so I misinterpreted and just assumed many of the women there lost their virginity to Ken. Years later I was told I was wrong on that count, but never told what his title actually meant. I knew enough not to push it.

The real icebreaker was a case of mistaken identity. As Jon and I wandered into Party Central (g-d, the neighbors on either side and below them must have loathed the weekends), we had to step over a long-haired blonde woman, passed-out at the foot of the stairs. We both agreed it had to be Becky.

Not long after we were upstairs, we encountered Becky. A nice recovery, we thought and maybe even mentioned. She claimed it to not be her who was face down on the lawn and cement. We rolled our eyes in disbelief. Whereas this really could have been a relationship deal-breaker, the humour of the event started to bond us (no pun intended Morty). To this day it’s a running joke….and we’re only 87% convinced she’s telling the truth. Diane, the doppelganger (well, when she’s face down) was never verified to be said drunk.

The years have provided many laughs and very few (if any) tears. The night out at the Columbus Clippers game where Lee..or maybe it was Lyle (damn fuckin’ twins) said Becky was the most sexist person they know. Immediately Sherry (Lee and/or Lyle’s girlfriend) said “sssshhhhhh”….like it had been previously discussed in circles and known to everyone except Becky….who was sitting right in front of them and heard every word. But for us, it was a joke. Not only because she is not, but just because of how the whole encounter played-off. She immediately transitioned into ‘she’s the sexiest person they know’.

I think my attraction and intimidation to Becky (and the group) was because I admired her/their humour. It was evident across the room and by how everyone carried themselves. I didn't think I was up to their standard. More lack of self-esteem on my part.

All that has passed. At least with my friends.



Song by: Rebecca & Meredity

Monday, June 11, 2007

On a Completely Other Note

This is the song that was playing in my head when I woke up. What the hell??

Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla

I was going to copy the lyrics and put them here, but I think I'll just link to them for those who really want to relive their Schoolhouse Rock days. Here you go.



I'm FREE

One of the cooler sculptures in Cleveland, to me, is the FREE Stamp.

Created by sculptor Clase Oldenburg, the piece (as is with many public works) was vilified by well, the public. Originally it was to be a piece for British Petroleum, when it was headquartered here, but they never actually installed the piece. Eventually it was donated to the city of Cleveland. (click on images to enlarge)



I took a few shots a week or so ago while I was on my lunch



from a few different angles


As with most of this kind of art, there is no more talk about it and no one seems to even notice it as they pass by. City residents are oblivious to the work they never wanted, even though it cost them nothing. Out-of-towners notice it, but locals probably couldn't even tell you on what street it resides.

Personally, I love looking at it. And it sure beats the giant unfurled paperclip that sits (sat?) at the Justice Center.

I don't know what, if any, kind of social commentary Clase was trying to convey with this sculpture - especially one commissioned for an oil company. Nothing there is ever free. With gas down to (!!!) $2.89 per gallon, they got us believing this is a good deal!

But the more I look at the FREE stamp, the more I think about or freedoms in society and how they are evaporating. It could be because of Bush Corp. I certainly like to blame them. If nothing else, they have eroded our liberties away over the last six years. And not unlike the oil company prices, they try to sell that we are getting a good deal when in reality we are getting screwed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's All Happening At the Zoo

...I do believe it. I do believe it's true. Or so sang Paul Simon.

I don't know that it is all happening there, but at least some stuff is.

Yesterday, Denton and I took one niece and two nephews to the Cleveland Zoo. We hadn't been there since we took my oldest niece and nephew there maybe 12 years ago.

But as it goes - a zoo is a zoo. "Natural Habitats" for caged animals. And it was warm-ish out, so the animals were not. You know how it goes: if you're not there the first thing in the morning, by afternoon, they are all asleep. But we still managed to have fun and snap some photos. (click images to enlarge)

The groups that are the exotic pack animals were keenly observed.

Grazing habits were studied from a distance. The safari participant does not want to come between the carnivore and its prey.

For some of the population, clearly it was mating season. When pheromones won't give you that edge with the dominant male, sometimes a wedge helps to catch the eye of that someone special. (Actually, I wasn't going to post anything for this picture knowing Jon already has the comment at the tip of his tongue.)

Actually, there were some animals that were out and about. And some were impressive. And this big orangutan couldn't quite get the digital camera to work, so there are some shots I think were good that are completely missing. But here are some.

I do love the giraffes. But my friends will tell you I have a height requirement, so I guess it is only natural. I love their markings though.

I guess ostriches and giraffes are not enemies or they wouldn't be put in the same space. And they were all very social, coming right to the fence and just being as interactive as they could be in that environment.


Honestly, I was amazed at how big an American Bald Eagle actually is. I had no idea. But when do you really have an opportunity to see one, let alone up close?

These camels seem to have seen better days. Do they shed? Or their coats just fall off?? Fights with PETA? Weird.


Where's Al Gore when you need him? Why are we worried about the polar icecaps disappearing when we place these beautiful guys out on hot sunny rocks without so much as a frickin' ice cube? I'm sure the zoo isn't treating them any worse than society is treating the ones in the wild. Granted, in Cleveland, they live the cold life 9 month of the year - they just need to get through a few summer months. They are gorgeous though - no?

Oh - and Blobby didn't plan well for the outing, as usual. No hat. No sunscreen. And one big burnt scalp. When will I fuckin' learn?

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Barefoot Blobtessa

My new office (can I still say 'new' if I've been there for over 3 mos?) has a full-on kitchen. None of this kitchenette shit - but a place with a six burner Viking stove and oven, two dishwashers, a microwave, convection oven, calphalon everything. Oh - and the two sub-zeros. Not too shabby. Only Chef Bob has a nicer kitchen.

The downside to this set-up is that everyone has one week of kitchen duty. Since there are about 50-60 folks in the home office, it is not horrible - I mean, you only have it once a year or so. My week was this last week. Technically it is next week, but I'm traveling so I swapped weeks. I didn't want to be a bad 'new' employee and shirk my duties.

The duties really are to load and start the dishwashers before you leave for the evening and to unload in the morning. Most folks are pretty good about putting their own stuff away in the dishwashers, but clearly some expect and know that others will clean up after them. They are like children.

The other requirement is that on at least one day you have to feed the troops. One normally takes the easy route: bring in bagels, cookies, apples.

But the stakes got raised last week when one of the guys from data analytics made a tomato basil soup from scratch. I would have felt the fool bringing in a 10lb tub of animal crackers. I considered it, since a few others had done the same thing. But I was bigger than this. I was better. I.....I......was going to be a show off.

I had seen a number of recipes on Food TV I thought I could swing. Naturally, all these things 'serves 6', so I had to go about finding one that would easily be quintupled to feed the masses. I wanted to impress, but not get in over my head.

But I remembered something I had seen Ina Garten make that I thought I could pull off. And I succeeded. Crunchy Noodle Salad......though my administrative assistant insisted on calling it 'Crusty Noodle Salad'....which doesn't sound nearly as appetizing.

But it looks ok, no? (click on image to make larger.) I didn't have anything great to put it out into that would have looked cool to serve from. And as we all know - presentation is everything!

The beauty here is you can really make the entire thing a few days ahead of time as long as you don't mix the sauce with noodles days in advance. The liquid will break down the noodles. But at least on the night before I could cut the veggies and make the sauce. Denton helped of course, because, blanching and shocking six pounds of sugar snap peas is a full-time job.

The following day at the office I just boiled the pasta and mixed everything together. The warmth of the noodles really made it taste great - and Jon will remember the warm sesame noodles at Hunan Lion. This was SO like that, though the sauce wasn't quite as thick.

Except for a nasty steam burn (those really hurt!) I got from the 8qt pot, everything went flawlessly. Denton text messaged me to bring home leftovers so he could try it. I made two batches and the folks cleared me out. There was nothing left. I thought that was a success.

David, my boss, noted that a number of people asked me for 'my' recipe...and he said that was the sign of success. I did cop to him that it wasn't mine, but Ina's....and then we got on a discussion about the Barefoot Contessa, her home, her kitchen, her life. Yes, we are gay!

Technically, I changed up a few things in the recipe, so maybe I can call it mine. It is something I would make again - and am sure I will. Try it - your friends will be impressed.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fight Hate/Be Counted

Support the Matthew Shepard Act because your lawmakers are being bombarded by special interest groups with anti-gay agendas.

The HRC says One in six hate crimes are motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, and yet today's federal laws don't include any protections for these Americans. Yet the radical right is sparing no expense as it spreads lies in an attempt to block this vital change to our democracy. Extremist groups have made stopping the Matthew Shepard Act into the centerpiece of their agenda, and despite the desperation of their lies, opponents' messages keep coming.

If nothing else - you can sign the petition to make your senator aware that you support the bill and that they should too.

It's really a human rights issue - not a gay one.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D'OH!

While seeing Knocked Up at the multiplex, where out of 24 theatres, 16 of them were showing Shrek, Spidermen (your friendly jewish webslinger) and/or Pirates, the lobby had a nice and no doubt expensive display for The Simpsons Movie.

Yes, I could not let the opportunity pass without getting a picture of me sitting on Homer's couch.

Or two pictures.

And trust me, I wasn't the only one. Going into the movie there were many many tweens through adults waiting their turn. I overheard one girl in her 20s go, "wow, I thought we were going to be original in doing this."

I'm thinking, 'Honey, you weren't even the first person that hour who thought of it', and this was only 2:07p.

I emailed the pictures to my niece and nephew, who want me to take them to the movie (will do!) and my sister saw it and goes "where ARE you?". I didn't know really what she meant until I really looked at the pictures. You'd never really know I was in a theatre lobby.

Oh - and following the afternoon rain, it turned into an afternoon sauna. If by chance you can't see the thermometer inside my car, it reads 100F......and two days later the high. This is Northeast Ohio in Spring. Mind you about 1.5 mos ago we got 10" or so of snow!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Girl In Trouble Is A Temporary Thing

So we went to see Knocked Up this last weekend.

It sure is pulling in the great reviews. And I liked it, but I don't know that I would describe it as a generation-defining movie the way Slate implies.

It's crude. It is a little sophomoric. It definitely deserves its R-rating. And it is completely implausible. As much as I find Seth Rogen hot (and yes, I do), I'm guessing a would-be TV celeb would not, much less wager her career on keeping an unwanted pregnancy from a one-night stand. Don't get me started on forging a relationship based of this. I mean, they are not lesbians!

The movie has its funny moments and some way hilarious lines....almost all of them (if not all) involving Mr. Rogen. And most of them had me being the only person in the theatre laughing. This is not unusual. It just seemed magnified since it was an afternoon movie and when those are R-rated, there usually aren't a ton of folks seated.

I liked the timely references to Spidermen 3 and Matisyahu. But what I thought was going down the path of the "you know I know you're gay" theme from The 40 Year Old Virgin was when they started making references to Steely Dan and Al Jarreau. Once again - I was the only one laughing....though to be fair, I would have bet money no one else in the theatre even knows who Matisyahu is.

The supporting players all have their moments - though I especially liked Katherine Heigl's bosses at E! and the girlfriend of one of Seth's stoner roommates.

I'll save any spoilers, if you can go as so far to say there is anything to spoil, though I think there are some good talking points.

I will say this - if Harold Ramis' name not been in the opening credits, I do not think I ever would have recognized him. I'll assume that Kris would, since she saw him years ago (post weight gain - his, not hers) at the Chicago Zoo.

Anyhoo....it's worthwhile and at least it doesn't have Johnny Depp in drag.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ka-Blooey!

I've probably always been a cynic.

What? You're shocked???

The truth is, this administration has done nothing but to expand my cynicism exponentially. So when word came out Saturday over the thwarting of blowing up JFK airport and the gas lines that feed the jet fuel to the airport, one eyebrow went up in skepticism.

At first I kept the thought to myself. But when I vocalised this doubt, more than one person chimed in that they thought the exact same thing.

My initial reaction was that 'well, it's too late for Shrub & Co. to inject terrorism fear to get the war funding that the Democrats failed to hold back'. So my next thought is: 'what is coming down the pike from this group of evil-doers (Shrub, not the terrorists) that they can play this card?'. I don't know - but I bet it is coming.

Allegedly one of the plotters said: `Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States,'' Defreitas told a co-conspirator in one of dozens of secretly taped conversations made by the informant. ``To hit John F. Kennedy, wow. They love John F. Kennedy like he's the man. If you hit that, the whole country will be in mourning.''

Is this a joke? Do they think because a building with a someone's name attached to it might be destroyed that an entire nation will go into mourning? This is another reason to doubt this story. I don't think anyone truly thinks this way. Would the WTC collapse be worse if they had been the Thomas Jefferson Towers?

If the 'terrorists' (who'd done nothing but talk about doing this for over a year with no signs of having any weapons or the ability to get any) did think this way - do we think they were actually smart enough to pull this off? I'm guessing cow-tipping might prove difficult for them.

Yet NYC and Federal law enforcement decided to shut them down now so it 'did not morph into something more catastrophic'. ummmmm.......ok. So why not shut them down a year ago after the group was infiltrated by the law? And if they had been infiltrated since last July, it means, allegedly, discussions or planning had been going on for longer than that to even bring attention to the group.

The administration has no one but themselves to blame for attitudes like mine and their falling poll numbers. Though I'm sure all presidencies are shrouded in secrecy, if these guys haven't taken it to a new level, then they've definitely been cocky about it and rubbed all our noses in it.

All the fucking talk about who THE nominees will be for 2008 - does it really matter? Could anyone do any worse than the current asshole?

Oh - and maybe it was common knowledge, but I didn't know it - and now everyone does: Almost every paper has printed a diagram for the jet fuel storage facility in Jersey and where and how the lines run all the way to JFK.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Today

...or at least around this day....

For the record - this is not my Record of the Month.

Hell, it is not even my favourite Beatles album (Abbey Road, Revolver and Rubber Soul are still better in my opinion). For all the accolades that is poured upon it and 'best of' lists that it tops , I find Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to be marginal...at least in its material.

There! I said it.

Don't get me wrong, there are some exceptional songs on the disk. Maybe half of the disk is great, but the other half.......well........it gets by with a little help. Trust me. There was a reason they only gave Ringo the lead on a song or two per disk. And personally, I find the title track to be almost insufferable.

That being said - I don't think the experimental Beatles get any better (does anyone take Magical Mystery Tour that seriously?).

Regardless of what Aimee Mann says, the one song that should never be skipped on this record is indeed "A Day in the Life". It is possibly John Lennon at his best. Maybe even the group. But a super-outstanding track does not make a super-outstanding album.

If one must skip tracks, you might want to pick up the needle on "When I'm Sixty-Four" (confection material better suited for Wings) or "With a Little Help From My Friends". McCartney has better songs on this disk than that - "Fixing a Hole" and "She's Leaving Home" are pretty fucking good songs.

I am not stupid enough not to know that this was a groundbreaking disk. It was - for both the Beatles and for rock music. George Martin's production is innovative and the instrumentation was unique for its time. I don't and can't begrudge that.

....but best disk of all time?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Perry O. Dontist

I'm just back regarding having soft tissue grafts down to two teeth. Oh joy.

I didn't actually have the graft done yet, just the evaluation. The procedure will be done in about six weeks.

The eval was quick and painless....well, except for the lab tech across the hall singing Billy Ocean's "Get Out Of My Dreams (get into my car)" with full-on vocal. Having to be exposed to that should get me 10% off anything my insurance doesn't cover.