Sunday, November 30, 2008

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 was not expecting a Lucinda Williams disk so soon after West was released. I didn't even know Little Honey was coming until I stumbled across a review in a Sunday paper a few days prior to its release date.

Unlike many, I really liked West, save a few songs. I thought it had some unique elements for a Williams disk. It was supposedly her 'sad' album, as opposed to her 'angry' album or this one, which people are calling her 'happy' disk. Whatever.

Williams sings with such conviction on any of her releases, that I don't really go for the emotional labels people & reviewers insist putting on her.

But I will say - after a month or so of playing, this disk is not grabbing me. Not entirely. It has its moments, but all of her disks have moments (World Without Tears, anyone??). I will also say, the iPod has made full "album" listening much more difficult. I lament the loss of the needle hitting vinyl and listening to a disk song by song. Some of the issue is my time, or lack thereof.

I'm not surprised at folks like Jim Lauderdale & Elvis Costello on the disk. A little more at Matthew Sweet and much more so of Susanna Hoffs (though when you get Sweet, sometimes you get Hoffs), and then can't quite over a cover of any AC/DC song ("It's a Long Way to the Top"). It was a surprise to see a little known singer, Gia Ciambotti, from an 80's group called the Graces, doing background vocals.

As with the last few albums, Williams has some stand-outs, some ok songs and some clunkers.
I love "Knowing", "Circle and X's" and "Rarity". I really like "Real Love" and "Little Rock Star" too. But in my opinion, when the songs clunk, they clunk. I'm not a fan of "Well Well Well" or "Honey Bee" - and don't get me started on that AC/DC song.

My only true problem with Lucinda's last few disks is that she is consistently inconsistent. And that is an issue I had not seen in her before World Without Tears. I'm hoping she can rectify that. Like I said, all of her disks have moments - I want more than that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hot Shaved Asian Teens

Ok, ok.....the title here has nothing to do with anything, except that I have no other song titles that have anything to do with Asian culture other than the Vapors' "Turning Japanese". ...and that wasn't the geographical location I was going for. However, the title might trigger a whole new readership.

I'm sure you've all been reading / hearing /watching the goings on in Mumbai. Horrible circumstances.

But you know, Thailand is getting some protesters. Tens of thousands out there wanting the end to the current government. So many are out there protesting, they shut down Bankok's airport.

What does this mean to me? Absolutely nothing.

What I found amusing is that the group is called People's Alliance for Democracy.

Yes, they are: Pad Thai.



Song by: Glenn Tilbrook

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks to You

Ugh. Another T-giving post. This makes what - five now?

I feel when I get to holidays like this, the posts are forced - as I'm supposed to have something insightful to say. And I don't.

....haven't you people been paying attention???????

Sure, I'm grateful for having a great partner and two somewhat loving cats. I have a decent family - and incredible friends. And fuck - this year, I still have a job, so that's saying something in these dark times. I ain't complaining.

I'm thankful that it is almost January 20th. ...and that I've only been to the ER once this year and that my permanent crown is going to be on in less than two weeks.

So this afternoon, I'll have to endure two of my sisters - but that can be done....and even with no alcohol, if I chose. IF. And yes, I'll have to eat the blandest, monochromatic meal that was ever devised.

I'm making salad.

What? Not a big deal to you? It is to me. We don't have salad traditionally on T-giving. So fuck if I'm not bringing something I'll eat.....or that I'll want to eat. But there will be pie also. No pumpkin for me though. I can spackle the walls with that stuff, but I ain't ingesting it.

But whatever your traditions are, and whatever you're thankful for - enjoy the day.



Song by: Emmylou Harris

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Have Forgiven Jesus

This is a bumper sticker on a car that parks near me every morning.

I'm not a fan believer in the big JC, but I think we've covered that here more than once. Clearly, many other folks out there are. I won't offend your beliefs if you don't offend mine. Deal?

But yet the sticker amused me. It immediately made me think of Dickface GWB's statements a term or so back regarding his decision to head into the Middle East avenge his father's failure......ummm....I mean, to bring peace to the world:

'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

But I do love how politicians bring g-d into the picture. And yeah, I'm talkin' about S. Palin. Because if g-d wants oil, it is his will to have a pipeline. He couldn't figure any other way to do it if he wanted his earth raped and pillaged to run your Escalade.

Folks like W and Sarah (and trust me, it really isn't limited to politicians) fail to see the irony or outright stupidity in the things they say. They take liberties with the 10 Commandments when they see fit, but want to stick to the letter of the "law" in Leviticus when they want state laws banning men to lay down with men.

Anyway, the bumper sticker amused me.



Song by: Morrissey

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Site of the Month

Whatta do when there is a writer's strike, but you're a "creative" type and just need to keep working?

Make viral videos. 4 of them. Musical ones.

That's what Joss Whedon did. We love Josh. Let's face it, he created the 2nd greatest series ever - Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog stars NPH - yes, Doogie Howser himself. But it also has Whedon's Firefly star, Nathon Fillon (hubba hubba!)



The episodes are for sale on iTunes, but you can certainly see some of them (if not all) on YouTube. There is also an official website, but it not longer shows them - just tells you how to buy them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Silent Partner

Cleveland is attempting to pass a Domestic Partner Registry program. Snore.

First - they are a little past the time for this. Too little, too late. Cleveland Heights did it about six years ago and one of the first cities in the nation to do it. Cleveland proper turned their back on it then.

Secondly - Ohio passed a ban on gay marriage back in 2004, in the whole let's throw off voters with a non-measure to get them riled up for 'family values' and the GOP.

So now, Cleveland admittedly is trying to stop 'brain drain' from NE Ohio and hope that smart folks who can move anywhere, because they can (i.e. homos). And for this right - which is non-binding and provides absolutely nothing by law, or can be enforced by anyone or for anyone - we would get to pay the low low price of $75!

Yes, Cleveland is extremely cash-strapped, so why not prey on the folks who might have disposable income that four years ago they helped decide to exclude.

FUCK YOU CLEVELAND.

But because gays do bring cash to the table - Cleveland is also vying for the 2014 Gay Games. This one I'm slightly better with. A few 100 gay athletes and a few 1000 of their admirers coming to town to make the straights uncomfortable, all while they profit from the poofs.

....and clearly it is already making some locals uncomfortable - like Juanita Solis, who wrote this letter to the Plain Dealer:

Is Cleveland so hard up for money that we need to push aside our morals and integrity and vie to host the 2014 Gay Games (Plain Dealer, Oct. 16)? Are we condoning homosexuality by courting this event? It's bad enough that gay marriages are being legalized.

I'm sure that I am going to upset a lot of people, but I'm sorry. I'm no Bible thumper, but please tell me where in the Bible it says that men are to be with men and women are to be with women? If there is such a passage in the Bible, then I will gladly shut up.

Now, I considered writing a response to this. Something like this:

"I'm sure I'm going to upset a lot of people, but I'm sorry. Solon (the uber-white Cleveland suburb where Ms Solis lives) is not comfortable with hispanics living in its borders. We are fine with you coming once, every other week, to do the floors, baseboards, tubs and sinks, but I do not see anything in the city charter where you people should be residing within city limits.

Clearly, I have nothing against hispanics, but if Juanita insists on making broad, uninformed, prejudicial statements about one group of people, I don't have much issue with pointing this out in language she might understand. Might. To be honest, I don't think she is that intelligent to pick up on it, even when hit over the head with it.

The only actual response in the PD I saw was better than anything I came up with. The guy suggested Ms. Solis move to Iran where there are no homosexuals at all! I'm for that.

But I do find both Cleveland initiatives to be hypocritical.

We certainly will not be shelling out any cash for the registry. I see some issues with not doing this too. In a way, I feel the need to show a force in numbers on how many queer couples are here - but the bigger picture problem for me is, the city presenting me with a $75 piece of worthless paper. By the way - cost of a marriage license? $40!!!!!!!

Bite me.



Song by: Marti Jones

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Part Missing

I'm not. Missing that is. No reason to take out ads on milk cartons or anything.

In a way, not blogging for two days was kind of liberating and kind of disconcerting. I felt the need to continue my streak, but je had nothing really to say. I guess that could be argued with my entire 1200+ posts. But I did like not trying to craft something amusing to say.

Blobby was on the road again. Not flying, but driving. I got to hit (kind of) my old stomping grounds of Columbus. Yeah, it was mostly work - but I got to see Morty, George and Tom G. We had a nice dinner - right across from where Morty and I (and Dith) used to live. Then it was a furniture store. Now you get italian-like food there. And alcohol. The 'hood has changed so much since we lived there.....omg, 15-18 years ago!

But what we mostly got was just some great face-time. It's always good to see those guys - even if Dith ditched us for something better to do. ......as IF!

My job is just a job. I am getting closer to knowing my fate about a position I have been in discussions with for the last five months. I know I'm the guy - and it is a good job, but I'm not overly "jazzed" about it. Probably more stability - which in these days is saying something.

We are now in preliminary discussions about salary and benefits - so if they can't match what I need (or want), I will probably stay put....at least for now.

It's cold. Colder than it should be for November. Teens cold. This is usually late December weather....and even mid-January for the last few years. It's too early.

That's it folks. No major stories. No major revelations.

Continue on as normal........



Song by: Lori Carson

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"40"

40 straight days of blogging - and now I got nothing to say.

The election is over. There was no good news of the day to rip on. My job search is in some kind of suspended animation. The holidays have not begun - not really. No dental woes.

I'm just kind of at a loss. I heard a really crude Sarah Palin joke. Anyone wanna hear it?


Song by: U2

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Married Man

There have been some half-baked thoughts out there on Prop 8 - on both sides. Maybe not that bad, but more wrought with emotion than logic. My Keith Olbermann post from the other day was one I liked, but for the demographic who watch his show - he was preaching to the choir. He was not really bringing one over to the Gay Side of marriage.

Last Saturday, on Real Time with Bill Maher, Dan Savage was on (again) - his first time after Prop 8 failed. I'm not a huge fan of Savage's written column - it's a bit over the top for me - but as a commentator, he's articulate, and has well thought-out ideas and if need be, arguments.

Take this clip. Yeah, you have to sit through Ashton Kutcher, and his borderline homophobic response (about 50 seconds in) - he almost redeems himself (1:45 in). Almost!



It is really about 4:10 into the video where Savage presents one of the best counterpoints to the Right, or the Mormons, or the Catholics rationale on why same sex marriage is a threat to the institution. It's a fun thing to watch - but maybe that's just me.

Fall-out from Prop 8 continues. The multiple protests that happened last weekend (admittedly, I did not attend in the 35 degree pouring rain) - which was coordinated in days via FaceBook or MySpace. They got hundreds of thousands of people protesting - something HRC couldn't do in a year's worth of planning.

There is a push for Hollywood to boycott the Sundance Film Festival - as the latter is full of Mormons (major instigators to push Prop 8 to pass) and the former is full of homosexuals. No - it's true! I swear!!!

I'm ok with the boycott. Nothing good has come out of Sundance since sex, lies and videotape anyway.


Song by: the Roches

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lifeboat

It's been a coon's age forever since I've written about a dream I've had. It's not that I haven't had good ones, it is just that I wasn't really remembering them too much in detail.

Saturday night it was one that has just stuck with me.....for no good reason.

The dream was a hybrid of the stories of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Exxon Valdez. ...and it was done in computer graphic simulation, as if being recreated by the Discovery channel or something. ....and it was in its entirety...from leaving port to sinking - even though the Valdez, in real life, did not sink. There was music (no, not Gordon Lightfoot) and narration. This was a quality production.

The boat, which in my dream it was the Valdez, roars out of port, out of control, scrapes along the sides of rivers and break walls, tearing chunks of the hull away from said ship and eventually sinks. The background was pitch black, but the ship and buildings and maps used to portray this "tragedy" was done in almost neon like displays - something like Tron.

(you can click on the image to make it 'go', I believe)

There was also a part of the dream that included my contact case - and the bottom of each compartment had black sludge on them. Spilled oil in Prince William Sound? Or my subconscious telling me that I just didn't clean the lenses good enough when I took them out before bedtime?

Yes, I could have called this post 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald', but that seemed too easy. And I have a better story about that anyway. Years ago, in sports bar in Monterey, they had live entertainment (instead of the NBA semi-finals - not that I really cared about those). The "entertainment" was a guy and his guitar. He opened his set (opened!) with that Gordon Lightfoot chestnut. I could not stop laughing.

Seriously, where does one go from there?



Song by: Marti Jones

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crown of Love

I almost forgot that six months ago I made an appointment to finally get my crown fixed - meaning: replaced.

Since the day I got it, over a decade ago, it's never fit the way it probably should have. My dentist(s) confirmed this for me. Mind you - not the one who originally placed it. That guy was a prick. Sure, he 'catered to cowards', but he was still a prick.

The placement was as such that you could drive an SUV through a gap. Everything I've ever eaten in the last 10 years has had to be flossed right out of there. It is why I keep floss at home, in my car, at my office and in my computer bag/brief case. If I were ever stuck on the tarmac, I could probably find some nourishment between my lower left molar and whatever tooth used to be next to it.

So Dr. Dorothy finally convinced me to have it fixed - all for the low low low out of pocket payment of $225. I can probably save that in floss in the first 18 months.

But when the day came (yesterday), I was a little worried - and almost canceled. They were gonna pop that sucker off and I was afraid of what they would find underneath. So much so, that I don't think I slept much of the night before. Would what little tooth was left be decayed? Would it really be a root canal waiting to happen? Would they find Jimmy Hoffa or worse - remnants of food I've eaten?

My understanding of the "procedure" was, they would just pop it off, clean it up, make a new impression and then put on a temporary crown.

I guess that's what they did - but not without some complications. I mean, hey - it's me!

It started off with three (THREE!) shots of Novocaine. I didn't think there was supposed to be any. The entire left side of my head and face were numb. I'm down with that!

The quick pop-off? 38 minutes!!!!!

So much for a quick process. The guy who originally put it on was like nothing that Dr. D and any of her staff had ever seen. No, it didn't really come off. They had to drill it off - in pieces. Break it into little bits. Oddly enough, this could have put the old Blobby and his dentist phobia right over the edge. But with no pain and the iPod on, I was just closing my eyes and trying to relax. It's all in the breathing, as I found out.

Keeping my tongue out of the way of the drills was my biggest issue. Who needs a drill bit going through that? Not me! At one time, there were four hands in my mouth. I hadn't had something like that since my last visit to the backroom of the Chicago Eagle!

But finally it was all off and I got a 10 minute break while they checked on their other patients. It gave me a chance to take some self pics and Twitter them while I killed time.

Yeah - if there were any doubt I'm going to end up looking (more) like my father - look no further than here. Though up above image, I look like I have contracted Bells Palsy. (ok, it was just the effect of the Novocaine and a missing crown.)

The team came back in to clean up any decay around the partial tooth. That was the most disgusting part. Did it hurt? No. But the smell !!!!!!!!!! UGH! Apparently the anaerobes hitting oxygen and the drill/scaler combined stirred up odors I cannot describe. I'll assume it's like opening a casket after 4 years and getting a good whiff!

Overall, I was in a good mood and joking with the dentist and assistants. I mean, what a shitty job they have. I'm sure most patients are not in a good mood or have a nice thing to say. We had many a laugh in the time I was there.

I got one more break between them taking impressions of my tooth, so they can make me a new porcelain faux-tooth. Here is me again getting the impression done.

Naturally, I was busted taking the pic. They had to leave me alone for 3-4 minutes for the mold to set, so I snapped away. But they came in while I was taking some. They just laughed and laughed at me. Apparently, I was the first one they have known to do this.

It only took two hours, but I was finally out of there - at least for a few weeks, until I get my "permanent" crown. Mind you - it took another three hours to get feeling back in my face.



Song by: the Arcade Fire

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Planet of Love

Which image is the newly discovered solar system containing at least four new planets and which is the eye of Sauron?


Actually, the top image is part of the HR 8799 system. The bottom one overlooks all the evil of Middle Earth. The former is 1.5 times the size of the sun. The latter oversees Mordor, which is probably hotter than the sun's surface (that is 5800 Kelvin!)

I do love that something 130 light years away cannot be seen by the human eye, but you can if you go to Brookstone and get a pair of shitty binouclars.

This discovery brings the number of planets outside of our nine (or eight, if you don't include Pluto) to 326. With that and the 70 sextillion stars in the known universe (honestly, I am not making that number up), it is not so amazing that there is life out there - it would be that anyone could find us if they wanted to.

....and if I may continue with my LotR analogy........

Maybe the new system is also the eye of Sauron. Maybe we are middle earth. But maybe W no longer has the ring and maybe now the time for man has not ended. Maybe evil no longer oversees all of us and we will all return to our own Shire.

......yeah........that's it.



Song by: Mandy Barnett

Friday, November 14, 2008

Goodnight Moon

I should have known it was a full moon. The day went from bad to worse. One of those workdays that nothing goes right. Somethings blind-side you, others you can see coming a mile away and can still only watch happen.

...and whatta gonna do?

I'll tell ya what - you have beer at lunch. Or two. It's time for Christmas Ale, apparently. I've never had it before, but apparently it is supposed to be beer that kicks your ass. Maybe it can - if you're not an alcoholic a wuss. Folks say that one is equal to two or three beers. Lightweights. Two in the middle of the day made the afternoon go better, but drunk? Nahhh.

Maybe it was the three glasses of Bon Anno I had the night before. Which was so much better than the beer.

Man - I hope things go better at work tomorrow. I'm not sure how much more my liver can take.



Song by: Shivaree

Thursday, November 13, 2008

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!

Batman!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Never Will Marry

I haven't written word one about Proposition 8 in California. It is not so much that I don't care or that it doesn't affect me in some way. It does. It should. Does it affect me in the here and now? Not so much.....but yes, in the bigger scheme of things.

I was hopeful that as some states started to tumble in their gay marriage rulings, others would take a step closer to acceptance. When California barely passed their ban last week, it was unfortunate. Not completely unexpected, but I can't say I wasn't hopeful.

My would-be 2nd husband, Keith Olbermann, does a nice commentary on gay marriage and Prop 8. Yes, I know he's not gay - though I'm not sure he had to make sure everyone knew that only 15 seconds into his schpiel. Other than that, he hits all the nails right on the head.



I would like to think that his thoughts are enough for some of those voting for a ban to rethink what they have done and how things work. I'm not as hopeful about that - but it is still a nice thought.



Song by: Linda Ronstadt

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the Lowlands

Allison Moorer once sang one of my most favourite lyrics: "it's unpopular to be unpopular". Bush must just hate Allison Moorer.

Just to add pleasure to last week's election results, GWB is at an all time record low for approval ratings. 76% say he's doing a bad job.

....oh not just for his presidency. For any presidency. ...at least since approval ratings have been kept (i.e. the last 60+ years!).


Yes, W has a rating lower than Nixon's when he resigned. Ouch! (I couldn't find a graph that had just his approval ratings that went past October - so you're stuck with this one!)

The Putz Pres had a high rating of almost 90% right after 9/11, dipping to 55 right before invading Iraq (bumping him up 20 points), but since then it's been on a steady decline. As of this last weekend, he is up to a 76% disapproval rating. The next lowest? Harry Truman back in 1952!!

There has always been speculation on how history would treat Shrub. Clearly, only time will really tell, but I feel that unless Iraq is truly liberated and becomes a fully democratic society, he's destined to be vilified - and with good reason.

I also don't feel that Iraq will be liberated and become democratic within our lifetime.

Yes, it is unpopular to be unpopular. ....and he'd know.



Song by: the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Monday, November 10, 2008

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

Here's an album I can almost guarantee no one else owns or has possibly ever heard - or heard of. Rachel Sweet's second disk - Protect the Innocent, released in 1980

It's a good album though. But first - a little background:

Sweet was a native of NE Ohio and actually attended the same high school as Chrissie Hynde - granted a few years after Hynde. I think some of the members of Devo went to Firestone too.

Sweet found an audience in the UK in the last '70s with the rise of Stiff Records. Stiff, was on the cutting edge of music releases back then: Any Trouble, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Lene Lovich and the likes. She was like an early LeAnn Rimes - but in a good way. Not country - just a 15 or 16 year old with a voice of a grown-up, singing grown-up music.

Her first disk made little in-roads in the States, but I got it - and it was good. Singing all covers, she did a respectable job on "B-A-B-Y" and "I Go to Pieces". But she countrified Costello's "Stranger in the House" to really great level. Don't get me wrong, there was some quirky stuff too - but stuff I really liked: "Suspended Animation", and "Who Does Lisa Like". Lovich even sings on those last two tracks.

It is safe to say, Protect the Innocent did nothing to further her image in the U.S. Produced by Martin Rushent (Generation X, XTC, Spandau Ballet), it was darker and edgier, especially for someone only 17 years old.

On paper the disk is all over the place - covering Elvis Presley ("Baby, Let's Place House"), the Damned ("New Rose"), Robert Palmer ("Jealous), Lou Reed ("New Age") and Graham Parker ("Fool's Gold"). She even does one of her own songs. Yeah - all over the place for sure, yet it kind of works - I think mostly due to Rushent.

I am a big fan of all the aforementioned songs, but the rest of the disk seems to work too. Nothing that ever became a critical or commercial success of course, and naturally you cannot find it on CD except for expensive import.

As for Sweet, she did have a little commercial success - her duet of "Everlasting Love" with Rex Smith and writing and singing the title tracks to John Waters' Hairspray and Cry-Baby.

After that she kind of dropped off after that - or so I thought. I kind of remember her hosting a segment on an early version of Comedy Central. A quick internet search says that she is a fairly successful tv producer. Who knew?

Musically though, I don't think she did better than Protect the Innocent.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Shine

Oh - get over the image that accompanies this post. The guy is slightly less subservient than some of the pictures out there of men who do actually shine shoes for a living.

This chap just does it for fun....................I'm assuming.

The other day, on my way to DC, I was going through the TSA lines when I looked at how beat up my security friendly shoes looked. I mean, really bad!

I had some time to kill before boarding and actually went to a shoe-shine guy in the terminal. The guy was really nice and like anyone does the day before the election and after a Sunday - we talked politics and football. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I was listening to local NPR and heard about how the Browns had done the day before - so I could at least repeat stuff I heard. Yes, I could care less than football. Sue me.

Shining shoes was my first real job - I doubt I have ever told anyone that. I had baby-sat and even caddied at a country club, but there were no W-2 forms for those jobs. Scott Janda and myself would sit in a county club locker room polishing the shoes of the members who went to play golf. Then we would clean their cleats upon their return. Glamorous - huh?

In the downtime, we'd clean the bathrooms and showers. Fun fun fun!

For this I think we got paid the stellar wage of $2.15/hr. Sure there were tips, but it went to the drunk "manager" of the area - who just sat their drinking Thunderbird and smoking cigars. He never shined a thing during my employ. He also never shared the tips. Douche.

Clearly it wasn't a great job, but it was a good first job. It taught me about life, about work ethic, about discipline (not unlike the guy in the picture - I'm assuming!). Each job I had after that was a step up: busboy, grocery store packer (hehehehe - I said 'packer'), truck driver, beer vendor@ Sea World , blah blah blah....

I thought, on some level, I could connect with the guy in the airport, but then thought better of it to say I did what he did when I was 13. This man could not have been more engaging or friendly, and it wasn't even 7a yet.

Honestly - he made my trip. Not just a good start, but everytime I'd look at my now, not so crappy shoes.



Song by: Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tall Trees

So, my plane arrives on Thursdee afternoon , and like the good partner I am, I call to say the (b)eagle has landed and that I'm headed home.

I know he's at work. But he goes, "ummmm.....there might be a crew there when you get home." Naturally, I respond "what kind of crew?"

Apparently, more landscaping. Much more. Denton "claims" I gave him a verbal ok. I do not recall this. I do recall him saying he was getting estimates and I believe that was the last I heard of it. Now I expect things in writing. And notarized.

Granted, we have had four or five ash trees right in front. Skinny little-ish things that stood 40-50' high. But at least in NE Ohio, there is an ash borer that is going around killing all these trees. Cities up here have been taking them down proactively. Apparently, so are we. Just without my buy-in.

So this was the scene when I pulled up to the front of the house:

....and trust me, that isn't even a sliver that was on the other side of the pile. More chopped up tree trunks and branches and a half-dozen undocumented workers landscapers.

It wasn't all trees taken out. No, a number of bushes had been removed too - but it's not like he is going to leave things bare. Above are the replacement shrubs, bushes and trees to go in their place. There are more that are not in this picture.

They are all planted now, but it was pitch black at 7p when I got home last night. And I haven't been outside this morning.

I'm thinking in the next day or so, you'll get a before, during and after post. Because tomorrow is Sundee, and I haven't even begun to think of a topic. I might just make it easy on myself.



Song by: Crowded House

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'll Watch the News

What do you think this is all about? Yes, it's a quiz....not entirely rhetorical.


You'd think it was folks waiting to place a vote on Tuesday's election, but it twasn't. It was people lined up (my estimation: 500-700 folks) to get a later edition of the Washington Post - the one where it says OBAMA WINS. The one I didn't get at my hotel. Damned 'early edition' (somewhere, Morty just got wood!).

This was the line two blocks from the Post's main office. There were also people 60-100 deep at each CVS I passed waiting for their delivery too.

Apparently print isn't dead. Who knew?

And it's not - not really. I still read the actual Plain Dealer - I never know why. I breeze through it in record time. There ain't never nuttin' in there. And of course, the NYT on Sundays, but that is mostly for the Wedding section.

Of course, Neither is video. I'm thinking Palin might wish both were. For the print piece, as Andrew pointed out in a Twit, there is the Newsweek piece (mostly page 2) that points out some weird-ass behavior on her part: towel parading and more clothing issues. For the video part, well she is caught not knowing that Africa is a continent, and not a country. I'm not posting the YouTube of it.

She has as much education as her future son-in-law who dropped out of high school! 2012, indeed.




Song by: Rachel Sweet

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Where I Stood

Question: How do I know I'm getting old?

Answer: When I start getting music advice from my oldest niece and nephew. Not long ago, I was showing them the ways of cool music that their friends would have never heard of. I always thought I was pretty on top of the music scene - even if I didn't like something. It appears I am mistaken.

A year or so ago, my sister gave us an empty hard drive and we filled it with all our music - good and bad (psssst....the bad stuff isn't mine. hint. hint. hint.). I think the kids dismissed most of it - and probably for good reason.

Matt - he's on his own path. At least with Katie, I still have some influence. A few weeks back she asked if it was Denton or myself who had all the Smiths music (duh!). But she is finding them and Aimee Mann to be extremely cool - which makes me extremely cool. Right? Her mother gave her the Clash and the Kinks.

For the last year or so, Katie has been using her MacBook to make YouTube videos. It's probably an even split of original material she's performing and covers. Like any artist - some of it works, some of it doesn't. I can't just love everything because I'm her favourite uncle now, can I? She knows what I like and what I don't.

I'm wanting to just give her a handful of songs I think she'd do great at covering - but I feel as much influence I think I have would fall on deaf ears. She's 17. She wouldn't listen to me about not doing "Walking in Memphis" and she won't listen now. (p.s I still think I was right! - horrid song!)

So anyhoo....sometime this week, she posted a new cover. A song I had never heard, by an artist I have never heard of: Missy Higgins. I searched out the original - and I still think I like Katie's better. ...and I don't think that is just a proud uncle talking.



Katie has the obvious embedded links to her other stuff - as is the norm for YouTube, so you can check out her other music. I think she did a neat job of covering "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on a ukulele. Maybe it is just a proud uncle talking.

Oh yeah - be forewarned, after some of the songs are over (or sometimes before they start), she babbles a bit. She can't help it. She's 17.



song by: Missy Higgins

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blue Period

I have an overriding comment that I want to say to McCain, Palin, the GOP, the RNC, Elizabeth Dole, Karl Rove, Fox "News" and all the others out there who were expecting another Right Wing win - along with all their slimy tactics:



Nelson Muntz is the voice of the people!!!

Honest to g-d, if Obama had lost, I had no ideas for a blog post. I had ideas of suicide, but not a blog post. I guess my suicide not could have been my post - but that would have been a downer to go out on.

I guess the song title/blog post title would have had the word 'cry' in it somewhere. Maybe multiple places - or something from the folk "supergroup" (ha!) Cry Cry Cry. Looking through my iTunes liberry - the possibilities are in the dozens.

I'm in DC - what one would think would be the center of it all. I hear fireworks going off. Horns blasting all the way around Thomas Circle and up Vermont Avenue and 14th St. People are shouting from their balconies. I hear the celebration, but am alone. It's a weird disconnected feeling. Either way - the crowds will not let me sleep. It's a small price to pay for such a huge historic event. It sure beats Hands Across America.

I'm loving the more than double electoral votes though for Obama. I don't have all the numbers yet, so I don't know the margin. I was estimating beforehand between 5% margin - and I was right. 52-47%.

It is nice to see Ohio back in the blue. The last eight years have been tough. I'm ok with a 4 point win there. Only 19 of our 88 counties predominantly voted for Obama, and yeah I would have liked to see it higher, but considering two weeks ago, Obama trailed by 2 points, I'll take whatever we can get.

I had to mute McCain's concession speech. The racism in the crowd seemed palpable. The boos - at the mention of Obama's name, and when race was even mentioned, was just downright icky.

Admittedly, I could not even stay awake for Obama's. I tried, but I was exhausted. I heard it was great, so now I'll have to go look for it on-line.

The Washington Post, print edition, had a very bland headline: Early Returns Show Obama on Path To Historic Victory. That's nice and all, but I was hoping for more punch! I'm sure they had to put that sucker to bed early (like me) to get it out. It almost doesn't even seem worth saving for a keepsake.

So at least for the next two years, the House, the Senate and the White House are Blue. Hopefully for the next eight. ...maybe this is why I finally got a decent night sleep!
Italic



Song by: the Smithereens

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hello Hopeville

Final recap about going out to vote. Since I'm asking you to "vote smart" - hopefully you've done some research into the candidates, the issues, the repercussions of the lever you pull, the screen you touch, or the hole you punch - regardless of what or whom you vote for.

Yeah - I'm an Obama supporter (SURPRISE!), but don't listen to the things the Right says - unless you've looked into their allegations - and not via Fox "News":
  • Obama was born in Hawaii. Legal citizen.
  • Obama is not Muslim - and what if he were? Last I checked only 19 of the multiple millions of Muslims in the world hijacked planes that flew into any US buildings. I don't like the fact that priests sodomize young boys, but would that stop me from voting for a qualified catholic?
  • Obama is not a Socialist. And before you call him that - do you know what one is? McCain doesn't, or he wouldn't be saying he'd have the US Treasury pay off all the bad mortgages. Or maybe he does know what it means, but hopes no one else would figure out he has Socialist tendencies.
  • He doesn't cavort with terrorists. Last I checked William Ayers was convicted of nothing - and one meeting years ago does not make them bestest buds. But if that is the standard measure, by that account - McCain putting his nose up Bush's and Cheney's buttholes as far as he can, would classify him the biggest terrorist affiliate of all.
  • Sarah "i'm an average joe six pack" Palin, has $1.2 million dollars to her name. That means you and I are way way way below average. ....so why can't she afford her own $150k shopping bill?
  • Beating a dead horse - not McCain's age (though keep that in mind too!): he doesn't vet Palin or Joe the Plumber. Yes he likes the way the latter sounds and even though the guy is nothing but bad press - McCain is like a man with Tourettes when it comes to him. I know - it seems like no biggie, but if that is how he does on the little things, do I want him in charge of anything bigger? Do you?
That all being said - one of my peers talks about visiting his clinics in Mississippi and Louisiana. FRIGHTENING the things that come of some people's mouths. The things he says he has heard. It is amazing these people have advanced degrees, let alone clinicians who believe that people were just plopped down here 6,000 years ago as is. But it's more the B or N word they use on why not to vote for someone. It baffles me.

Ok Ok. I could go on for days. I gotta stop.

Get out there. Wait in line for as long as it takes. Good luck guys!



Song by: Michelle Shocked

Monday, November 03, 2008

Races are Run

Yes, nothing says, "Get Out the Vote", like a male adult movie "star", who happens to be French and cannot actually vote.

At least the leather clad jock cohort are voting for Obama too. I guess he is a uniter!

I was looking at some of my blog stats and someone was looking at this post from about a year and a half ago in particular.

There is nothing special about the post per se, except for maybe the second to last paragraph. I hate to say "I told you so", but..........

I still may be proven wrong. I hope I am. According to the 538 national polls, Obama is up anywhere between 3-15%. You have to assume a 3% margin of error for any of these, and I don't know which is traditionally the most reliable poll. Maybe it's like skating or diving scores - you drop the highest and lowest outliers and just go by the other scores. By that logic (which isn't logic at all - not really), Obama is up by 5%, with still that margin or error. It could still be tight.

So you know what you have to do. Pull on your leather jock and cap, grab your Obama Soda and head to your polling place tomorrow. It's the American thing to do - unless your French.


Song by: Buckingham /Nicks

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bad Boys Get Spanked

Now just some light-hearted, NSFW fun.

It beats blogging about work or politics or the economy - though the video short actually might have elements of two of those three subjects which dominate this blog lately.


Evan & Gareth - Mano-A-Mano from evanandgareth on Vimeo.

I'm tired of politics already. I know I should be energized, but I'm worn out. I will be in DC for most of the week. I will be there for the actual election and the aftermath. With no one - not really. I have friends in town, so if they don't mind entertaining me, or me inviting myself to tagl along for something - then I won't have to sit in my hotel room or a bar by my lonesome possibly throwing things at Chris Matthews or George Snuffleupagous.

So enough about politics - just watch the frickin' video already.



Song by: the Pretenders

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lock, Stock and Teardrops

In one more attempt to be an adult, I purchased my first stocks yesterday.

I know very little about the market - sure, I got the terms of high yield, low risk, and crash down, but other than that.......

My company, at a very last minute, offered at least some of us in management the option to purchase stock. I'd been kicking around the idea in the last few weeks just because every stock price was in the toilet. I had heard XM/Sirius was going for $0.06 a share!!! I should have snatched up $100 of that.

But like always, I was immobile on these things. At least until it came right to my door - literally. The company had mailed me all the info I would ever need to make my decision.

There is no cash out of pocket, though I could have paid for it that way. No, it will be by payroll deduction. My financial planner seemed to think that was best, and I heard that from my peers and their financial planners as well.

I know, I'm dropping the term "financial planner" like I'm Jed Clampett. Even Jethro had more business savvy when it comes to the market, I'm sure.

The stock price I agreed to purchase at was locked in at market close yesterday. Naturally, I was hoping for some big drop - but there was none. Dow was up - so was my stock. The latter by only a quarter of a percent, but up by about 5% from the beginning of the week.

It's not a large amount by any means. We can only purchase up to 10% of our annual salary - which I did. It doesn't seem I'll be dying anytime soon, so I might want to have some money accruing somewhere.

Time will tell people. Time will tell.



song by: k.d. lang