Friday, July 31, 2009

Doll Revolution

I could never say my friend Rebecca wasn't a clever, imaginative woman/artist.

You would think she's just an author, but that would be so short-sighted. She is so so much more. Apparently.

I immediately want to quote Sammy Maudlin talking about Lorna Minelli saying she's a triple threat: "she sings.....she dances and....uh.......she sings."

I've known Becca for 2+ decades (I know - right?!) and while she has sung and danced (usually after a few drinks - not that she needs those) she mainly writes. And now directs - because that's what she really wants to do. Don't they all?

She has turned in, to her agent, her second novel, Miss Blue Tip.

Nothing against her first novel (which I am proud to be part of), Nice to Come Home To, but I really enjoyed Miss Blue Tip - and I'm not even a part of this book! Yes, I got to read it already - and was able to provide feedback.

But she is anxious to get this book to drop - not that it's been picked up yet, as far as I know. It will be, of course. But until then, she's not even waiting for someone to pick up the movie/television rights. She just decided to direct, write and narrate her own video of MBT.

She also seemingly did camera work, set and costume design. The music, well, she just pulled that out of what has now got to be public domain - sorry Mr. Petty.

Anyway enjoy the video - and when it comes out (and yes, you'll hear about it here - ad nauseum), enjoy the book too.

Song by: the Bangles

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Store Bought Bones

This might be the best store ever - not that you can see it that clearly. I would try to embiggens the pics if I were you by clicking on them. I'm not sure how good they came out - seeing I was driving by at 35 m.p.h.

The place is not in the best part of town, but I always smile when I go by. I can't really stop to take a good picture, but it is the closest you'd get to Sam Drucker's General Store............I'm assuming (and yes, you can go Goooooogle 'Sam Drucker" if you need to).

But seriously - who wouldn't go into a place that advertises (and has for at least 15 years)

CDs. Bibles. Roach Spray.


Apparently killing the bugs with the bible isn't recommended. And they must do a business - I mean, they have been there for at least 15 years. That's gotta stand for something.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I have no need to stop there. I don't buy CDs - that's what iTunes is for. I don't have a roach problem ("there are no bugs on our baby. My Tracy is a clean teen!"). And what need would a person like me need a bible?

Song by: the Raconteurs

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Site of the Month

I've been looking for a good Site of the Month with mixed results.

My friend Sal directed me towards one that goes beyond NSFW. Way beyond. He thinks it is funny. The site has such potential, but you have to encounter a bit of raunch to get the "funny" parts.

The 'bit' of raunch is actually quite a bit of it - and for not as much pay-off as you should have.

So I'm going with option #2. I know - you're let down already, aren't you?

Pretend you're not so you don't hurt Becky's feelings.

The other day, I was axing her how I am supposed to clean my yoga mat. I was hoping it didn't have to go in a tub and hung out to dry. They never really give you instructions when you buy it and let's face it - I roll around on there a few times a week and get it sweaty. That can't be good - right?

Anyway, Becca sent me this back: (don't worry - it's not really a site for Yoga Mat Wipes....not really) click here, please.

Ok, it's not a site as much as a program. But it was still fun to watch. To be honest, I don't know how it works - maybe she'll tell you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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!

Blobby is a man who doesn't seem to learn his lesson. It's a problem. I recognize the problem before I make the mistake but I continually make it. I'm a doomed doomed man. 'they' say - those who repeat history.....blah blah blah.....

I've said it before - and clearly I'll say it again, cover albums are rarely a good idea. And just to rub it in a bit, I've got at least two more to review in the upcoming months. One is so-so, one potentially very good.

Three (or four) years ago, I got Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs' disk Under the Covers, vol 1. Clearly with the title alone, they had planned to release more than one disk - and they have.

Volume 1 is music from the '60s. Volume 2 is music from the '70s. By the time they hit Volume 3, they should be able to cover their own music without taking it out on other poor unsuspecting artists.

I will give Volume 1 this - for every good song they covered, they did two that were marginal, or just out and out bad. ...and they covered stuff they never should have touched. Some songs are too ingrained in the culture to be done again - let alone done well.

Volume 2 doesn't quite have the same ratio of good to bad. It skews way to the bad. And they cover wayyyyyyyy too many songs, again, that are too popular to be covered correctly.

I will cop to liking Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet - hence my purchase. But man, do these two suck the life out of most of this music. (for the record, the cd is like 14 songs, the iTunes version has an additional 12 tracks. oy.) More to dislike.

Let's review the real bad tracks - shall we? Or at least list them: "You're So Vain". "All the Young Dudes". "Here Comes My Girl". "I Want to be Sedated" (no seriously - they cover this!) "Dreaming" (yes, the Blondie song. omg - painful!) "Maggie May" (it was never a good song to begin with).

But there are a few good surprises. The Raspberries' "Go All the Way". Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love & Understanding". Bad Finger's "Baby Blue".....and Bread's "Everything I Own".

Then there's just the truly unexpected: Queens "Killer Queen" anyone? Weird! Sweet just creeps me out on his vocals. Just a total turn-off. Grateful Dead's "Sugar Magnolia"? It just sounds wrong, though they do have the Dead's production detail.

If you must listen to Sweet & Hoffs - I can suggest good samples from their first disk - but this second one is a misstep in a big way.

And if you must get it - check it out from the liberry........for free.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fix Me Now

Oh, the irony. Just the other day I said I'd be able to make a full year of posts without missing a day. Then Saturday at 21:45 PST, I had a major malfunction with this blog.

I don't know exactly what happened, but everything seemingly disappeared - at least to the readers like you. I could see some things, but not everything. Problematic to say the least.

I think I got the main page up and working and possibly the RSS feed too. I know, right? Umpteen years later the basics of RSS might work.

Mainly I hope to just get the text up and running so hopefully you'll all be able to read this in the morning.

Oh, and I might have a fix (finally!) for my archives. Which means, I can back off loading 150 entries into the main page, which means the actual blog and page won't take so damned long to load.

Sure, it sounds all Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, but only time will tell.

I'm still on target to make my post per day, but not without complications and possibly delay. I apologize in advance.

Song by: Garbage

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Too Funky

There are downsides to working out. It's true.

Yes, we overlook them (or try) to get that better body, better mental state or just improve our overall health.

Did you know it is almost impossible to get through a spin or yoga class without performing a bilateral boogerectomy? It's true.

Ok - I am speaking for me. I cannot speak for all. But breathing is essential, especially in yoga. It is important to have a soft face in your practice. It is as much about breathing as it is about contorting your body into positions you never thought you could. The inhalations and exhalations are vital to keeping you centered and concentrating on what you're doing.

Ditto (to a degree) with spinning. You gotta keep your airways clear to do 60 minutes of intense cardio/aerobic exercise. So, yes, getting rid of your snot is important. Not pretty, but important. It's true.

And since shoes are off in yoga - for g-d's sake, make sure you keep those toe nails clipped. I'm talking to me - not others. I don't know if anyone else pays attention, but some days if they did - oy! So I'm much more diligent about these kinds of things. You'll thank me later as these things pass over onto other aspects of life.

I know I've gone on here before about my lack of deodorant usage. And while I sweat now, I also shower. I do not think I smell, but if I did, I would think I would want someone to tell me. I think. Of course, it depends in the manner which they bring it to my attention.

Twice a week I play Russian Roulette at spin class. There is a woman who attends, that for the longest time, no matter where I'd sit, finds a place directly in front of me. I'm downwind, if you will. It isn't pretty. It's actually quite rancid. It's true.

...and it is not me who is the offender. I've checked. My nose has gone to my pit too often for me not to know.

I know she rides her bike to the gym, I've seen her. But clearly she hasn't showered since at least the day before. At least. We haven't even started class and I immediately have to rework my strategy to get through the next hour by breathing through my mouth entirely. It's that bad. It's true.

The last few weeks, I've played around with my seating assignment. I'm a creature of habit and like what I like - and even if I don't my OCD tells me what to do. To complicate matters, the room is set up where I can only sit in certain places. In spin, you stand and stretch - and with HVAC ducts and sprinkler systems (and my height), I have exactly three of the seven rows which I can use. So I'm limited.

I'd come early to pick a new bike, she'd find me. I'd come in later and be stuck with the only bike that meets those above parameters - which would happen to be behind her. Yesterday, I did something I hate: I sat in the front row - directly in front of Andy (the dreamy/geeky instructor). I took an end seat so there were not bikes to my left and another woman was to my right. My problems were solved.

...or so I thought.

Smelly Girl ended up one row over from me and two rows back. Ok - not an issue - far enough away that she's someone else's problem.

...or so I thought.

Two minutes into the class, Blobby was striving to survive by once again, only breathing through his mouth. I was sitting almost directly in front of the AC too, so air was not only coming my way but should have been blowing the smell backwards to the less fortunate in the room. Then I realized, I think we were all the less fortunate.

The people to the sides of her, behind her and in front - all victims. Though I haven't confirmed it with anyone else, I can't be the only one to be affected by this - right?

Someone has got to tell this chick, but I don't see why it should have to be me. I have no idea how to go about this. Tell Andy? Tell the gym staff?

But I know what will happen. No one will want to make her feel bad, so nothing will be said and nothing will change.

It's true.

Song by: George Michael

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fruits of My Labor

I'm pretty sure this isn't supposed to happen to watermelon.

Let me rephrase: I didn't know this could/would happen to watermelon. But clearly - what do I know?

I bought this personal sized watermelon less than two weeks ago. Yes, I know - it sat around for almost two weeks, while I worked my way through a dozen plums and a half a dozen peaches. This also doesn't count my cherries and grapes.

I like fruit - so what? The food pyramid is loving me these days. I'm getting my RDA...and then some.

But a rabid watermelon? (now picture PeeWee Herman with toothpaste on his mouth going 'mad dog! mad dog!!' - or is that just me?)

What kills me is that our cleaning lady, Dangira, must have done something when she was cleaning to make it perforate. It's not that I care something happened to it, but then all she did was to put it on a plate - one which caught some of this weird coloured liquid.

Denton thought it would be ok to cut into it to see how bad it was. I did not share this same thought pattern. Just toss it, I'm thinking.

I have never had fruit hiss and spit at me before. When he stuck that knife into it, sounds, smells and liquid all came out and not in a good way. Sprayed, would be the word.

This is something I've never seen with fruit. I guess there's a lesson learned here - whatever it is.

On a completely other thought - three plus decades ago, my then-friend Anne (yes, she is no longer my friend - or i'm no longer hers - but it is a long complicated story) informed me that whenever you didn't know a word or entire line to a song, you can substitute the word 'watermelon' into it and it almost always fits. And it's true. Try it sometime.

Song by: Lucinda Williams

Friday, July 24, 2009

16 Candles

I've gone 8 months without a day break in blogging and I'm not about stop now. I currently have a goal to do a complete year with one entry per day. A few months ago I thought it would be unachievable, but I no longer think this.

But I've lagged too long to get a meaningful post going today (ok - not like most of my posts are 'meaningful', yes, I get that!).

So ruckiry (not Jon's boss), Rebecca gave me this last week and it made me smile. Not laugh out loud, but it was a toothy grin. See, Becky, Jon, Morty and Dity can quote every line and scene from Sixteen Candles.

It's not like we've made it our life's work - it's just come very naturally to us. Every word, every pause, every inflection. Ok - that might be stretching it a bit.

So anyway, Becky provided me Sixteen Candles, as re-enacted by Bunnies in 30 Seconds. I LOVE the disclaimer: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED! Contains bunnies cursing, and bunnies in humiliating teen/tween situations.

I love it mostly for the 'humiliating for teen/tween situations'. Score. A direct hit!

I couldn't find a way to embed it into my blog, so I'll just direct you to go here.

Song by: Danielle Dax

Thursday, July 23, 2009

If I Were a Weapon

I know you've all been wondering, but I'm still battling that wart on my thumb that I wrote about months ago. I'm on my seventh (!) treatment. And so far, not much has happened.

The doc, whom I really like, said I could continue treatments if I chose to do so. And then he followed that up with a lame joke you know he's been using since residency: hey, it's no skin off my back! I called him on it.

But on the way to the appointment, I overheard two female hospital employees:

Girl 1: So what was yours?

Girl 2: A weapon. A DEADLY weapon. But I got away with it.


Song by: Suzanne Vega

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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!
This amuses me on multiple levels. First - and maybe I live a sheltered life - who knew they sold individually wrapped pickles, let alone 'portly' ones?

Van Holten. It sounds German. But I see Big Papa but read 'Big Papi'. It's the international pickle.

I do love very crispy/crunchy garlicky dill pickles. I never buy them though. I only get them at the nice jewish delis when we go there to eat. Or went there to eat.

Denton was always grossed out that Corky & Lenny's had pickles sitting in a bowl on every table. I'd consume most of the bowl before our order was taken, let alone before they actually delivered the food.

Yes, I had no idea who was at our table before we sat down. And yes, I had no idea how long said pickles had been out either. That never really bothered me. Obviously. He'd never touch them. Ever.

That all being said, C&L was shut down a few years back for a few weeks after some ecoli spread to a bunch of customers. While I don't really feel too scared about that - truth be told, I've never been back.

But as I type this, the image on the wrapper reminded me of someone and I just figgered out who: Kevin, from SpongeBob.

Am I wrong?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Uncle Jonny

No - my name is not Jonny, but it is the only song I had in my music liberry with the word "uncle" in it. Sue me.

I'm not a complete geek, but I am a great uncle, if I say so myself. I saw the new Harry Potter twice this last weekend. Yes, twice.

It is not because I was looking for subtle nuances in the character development or seeing if there were any shots that were glaring mistakes. No, I went because my nephew asked me to take him.

Matt is 16 and was possibly the first person I knew to read the Harry Potter books. I'm not sure I ever heard of them before him. He devoured them. I saw the first three movies with him (and his parents) on their respective opening nights. After that, he wanted to see them with his friends - who could blame him?

And while he is an outgoing kid with lots of friends, he wanted to see the movie w/Denton and myself. The problem was, we had already made plans to see it with others. And while I love Matt, I wasn't sure how he'd feel about going with new people, and those folks being another gay couple.

He's 16. And while the world is much more progressive, 16 year old boys tend to be 16 year old boys. Uncomfortable in any number of situations - especially like that.

So I did what any good uncle would do - I told a white lie. Yes, we'd take him to see it, and no, we had not seen it yet. Had I told him we had, he would have said not to bother going again. But I wanted to do it with him.

I love doing stuff like this with him. I love the fact that he wants to do it with me or us. Not only was it never offered by any of my uncles while I was growing up, I think I would have prayed that I'd get ill if things like this were ever even suggested. I never had that kind of relationship with my uncles (or aunts).

Though I have no idea what my older nieces and nephews think of theirs and my relationship, I am constantly amazed they don't mind being around us. Maybe my sisters helped cultivate a different kind of relationship because of the ones we had with our relatives. Or didn't have. Who knows.

Anyway, it was just the three guys watching Harry Potter - and eating popcorn....and Milk Duds. Matt only gave it a B. I told him he was crazy.

But now, more on the movie. Ok....yes, I'm a little geeky. Seeing a second time was good. For the movie, not the experience.

No matter how many glares I have the family behind us, they would not shut-up. Not whispering either. It's like they were watching television in their own house. Finally, for the last 30 or so minutes, Mr. Talky (the probable dad) kept his mouth shut. Wanna know why? Huh? Do ya? Because.he.fell.asleep!!! He completely missed the ending. They should have stayed at home.

The audiences for each night could not have been more different. Age, gender and most strikingly, what they reacted to - or did not. Polar opposites. Weird. And there was no one there. Maybe 30 people in the entire theater. Did everyone see it on day one and two?

I did pick up on some stuff I completely missed in the first movie - things not many would have seen on first showing, just due to sequencing. And how suggestive was Ginny Weasley's shoe-lace tying scene? And what was up with Ron's broomstick during Quidditch try-outs (droopy) when he was floundering and then during the match (upward pointing) when he was succeeding? Yes - we get it!

And I really loved some of the edits - like the showdown out in the field between some Death Eaters at the Weasley's house. It was so well done. There were similar edits while looking for the Horcrux (well, one of them) too.

Oh, and I also mentioned in my initial post about Alan Rickman's answering machine during a Family Guy episode. I still kept snickering to myself during the movie thinking about it. So I thought I'd share it with all of you.

I know at least Becca and Jon will laugh.

Song by: the Killers

Monday, July 20, 2009

There's a Moon in the Sky (called the moon)

Where were you when man first walked on the moon, 40 years ago today?

Do you remember? I do. Well, I remember where I was - not where you were.

I had not yet turned 6 and whatever space travel was didn't interest me in the slightest. Not that I knew what it was or had any conception of the gravity (space pun!) of what was going on.

What I did know was that whatever shows I watched were not on any of the three stations we got. For any youngsters who read this blog, once upon a time, there were only three VHF stations. Wait, you probably don't know from UHF/VHF. Then I'll really stump you on the fact that I had to go to the tv set to change the channels. No remote! (the horror!!!!)

Which is exactly what I did. I kept going to the tv and change between channels 3, 5 and 8. My parents never got upset - and why should they? The same picture was on every channel - showing the exact same broadcast. You could not get away from it. Snore! ...well at least to a 5 year old.

Now, with umpteen billion channels, and hitting the 40th anniversary of the Eagle landing, there is tons of time to broadcast specials on the event. Including many that bring up the conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked. Actually, all six moon landings were faked.

These theorists have issues with many things - including lunar shadows, the flapping flag in an environment that had no wind, no stars in any of the pictures and the radioactivity not allowing the film to survive space travel let alone re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Or actually that the astronauts couldn't have survived the solar flares that happened when they were up there.

These specials have a lot of old coots using lots of air quotes. It's fun to watch.

They must be creaming in their jeans that NASA has admitted to inadvertently erasing 200,000 tapes of the original moon landing. It's like christmas for these guys.

I like a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, but I'm not buying any of it.

They haven't linked Walter Cronkite's death to this anniversary, but since he was the big news source of this era, it's only a matter of time before someone says that NASA had him murdered to keep him silent.

Hell...they already severed Neil Armstrong's ring finger to keep his silence. These space mafia folks don't fuck around. Sure, they made it look like an accident........but the theorists know better......they know....

btw....this is my 1500th post. yikes!

Song by: the B-52's

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Well, it's not my masterpiece. I can't paint. I can't even draw. Hell, I can barely doodle.

I was never one to draw that turtle out of the back of a magazine to see if I can get into art school. No this is an unveiling of a portrait of my aunt. And it was done at the Cleveland Institute of Music at their annual meeting.

You see, Martha was a huge supporter of the arts. Mostly of music - and mainly the Cleveland Orchestra and CIM. She also help establish the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Hence the Steinway behind the portrait.

David, my cousin (and her grandson) made me laugh by saying it was going to eventually hang in Valhalla, but mostly it will reside in a hall of past leaders.

Unfortunately, I was unable to go to the unveiling, but as David mentioned, I would have just been hit up for money. You know how those things go.

I actually have another shot - a close-up - of the portrait, and it looks great. A very realistic rendering of Martha from about 30 years ago, but still......... That was when she did the bulk of her work anyway, so it is fitting it the representation was from that same era.

I have not been to the new CIM space, but Denton says it is pretty incredible. I know where it exists, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what it is looking out onto. You can see all those trees and the showiness of nature behind the piano and painting.

All in all it is a nice tribute to a woman who loved art and the outdoors.

Song by: Emmylou Harris

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In the Blood

Last night we saw Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.

All I can say is 'well done'. I'm sure I can say more. I'm 100% certain I will.

Almost each one has been better than the last. I say 'almost' because I thought The Chamber of Secrets was the worst one. But from Prisoner of Azkaban and on, they've done a phenomenal job.

We went with our friends, David & James. They are possibly bigger HP geeks than anyone I know - over the age of 15 that is.

I have to say, I fought reading the books for a long time, but I succumbed and finished them all. And I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed them. I even read the Half-Blood Prince twice, mainly because we only bought one copy of The Deathly Hallows and while Denton started that, I reacclimated to where we had left off.

The movie was fast-paced, darker than the others, and yet also had more humorous moments than the others as well. The darker part shouldn't come as a surprise - as these are troubled times they are living in, as you well know, whether you read the books or just saw the movies.

The film also had some visually stunning moments. But I've thought all of the last four have. But you get four homos in a restaurant after the movie and watch out!

We didn't really pick it apart. We tried to figure out what had been cut from the book and sometimes if we weren't getting our books mixed up with all the backstorying they can do to fill in missing gaps. Oh and commented on set and costume design. Hey! We're gay!

The four of us really liked how the "kids" have developed so well as actors - and amazed in this day and age how they all stayed with the series without once replacement (save Dumbledore's Richard Harris who died after the second film). All three were particularly good in different scenes of the film - especially Ron and Harry.

We all agreed that everyone wants to see Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange (she's come a long way since her debut in Room with a View) and my personal favourite: Luna Lovegood. And yes, I love Snape. Always have. (I started laughing to myself thinking of a Family Guy episode where you kept having to hear Alan Rickman's answering machine.)

Half-Blood Prince might be the longest of the movies so far. Over 2.5 hours.

I am actually glad they are breaking up The Deathly Hallows into two movies. I think they have to if they do not want to cut too much out. This film actually omitted quite a bit without losing too much of its flavour.

Blobby gives it two thumbs up.

Oh - the previews for the upcoming movies they show at this are horrid. Clearly they still think that 9 year olds are going to see Harry Potter. ...and they do, but everyone in our sparsely filled theatre was over the age of 20. So movies about gerbils (yes, you heard right - and no, it does not star Richard Gere) and a magic rock really did not appeal to any of us.

Song by: Better Than Ezra

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gun Shy

Oh no! The NRA has come out against Sotomayor's potential / probable confirmation to the Supreme Court. SHOCKING!

I never saw that one coming!

"We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land."

A g-d given right?

Are you fucking kidding me? Please someone point this one out to me. Scripture? Phone Call? Tweet from g-d? Did I miss his press release?

The second amendment is all of 27 words long. Only about 100 millions times over have other words been written trying to dissect a quote shorter than the oath of the president of the United States.

Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association said Sotomayor has a "hostile view of the Second Amendment and the fundamental right of self-defense."

Yes, 'hostile'. Coming from men who advocate carrying concealed weapons and ordinary citizens needing AK-47s. To be fair, if anyone knows from 'hostile', it should be them. But they were the ones who defended the right of the student from Virgina Tech to purchase firearms and enough ammo to take out a lot more people than he actually did.

And not to stereotype too too much (ok....maybe a little), doesn't the GOP just reek of the NRA (and vice versa)? So, LaPierre. Don't the republicunts still hate the French or anything that sounds Frenchy?

I don't know from any of her rulings, but at least from her testimony, there was nothing I heard where she'd endanger the rights of the NRA . But they do love their preemptive strikes, don't they?

Song by: 10,000 Maniacs

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gotta Serve Somebody

I'd like to say I noticed this when we ate at BW3 (i know, i know - don't even say it!) the other night while in Kent. But I was oblivious. I mean, I'll take the credit, but in reality, Denton went to go wash his hands and he reported it to me.

To my credit - who is looking five feet above the sink?

Hopefully, the wait and food prep staffs are looking up. One can hope. I do. I did.

As I am apt to do, I emailed it to Marty, my ex-boss, who enjoys a good joke or picture (or both). He laughed - via email. Then today he replied back again, saying he showed it to my man-date, Scott (who still works with my ex-boss), saying: we are both a little concerned with you taking so many pictures in the men’s room…

I replied back: Yes, I could see where it might be a concern. I had to wait longer than Larry Craig to get a shot of it.

I honestly think that threw Marty for a second....or two. And felt fairly smug with my immediate and witty reply. But hell, that's the story of my life! You all must know that by now - right?

Song by: Bob Dylan

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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.

Seven songs never sounded so good.

For their third effort, Dire Straits pulls off their best overall recording with Making Movies. And it only has seven songs on it. Unheard of.

Trimmed down to a trio (David Knopfler left the group after Communique), and produced by former Springsteen engineer, Jimmy Iovine, it was their most commercial effort to date - even though they had one mega hit with "Sultans of Swing" and technically, there were really no hits off Making Movies. Still, in theory, it was their most accessible recording to date (Brothers in Arms would change that).

At this point, Iovine had really only produced Patti Smith's Easter, but he would go on to commercial success with his collaborations Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, among others.

I bought Making Movies for "Skateaway", which was the closest thing to a radio hit, but the rest of the disk is extremely solid.

Leading off with "Tunnel of Love" it would mark a trademark move for Dire Straits - opening their albums with an epic song. Epic in nature. Epic in length. It really is the highlight of the entire disk, and rightfully so. Buoyed by not only classic fair/circus music, it shows Mark Knopfler's exquisite guitar work.

The keyboard work in "Expresso Love" is seemingly to be rudimentary, but the way it weaves in and out of the guitar and rhythm section is pretty good. Ditto with "Hand in Hand" and "Solid Rock". I'm 99% sure it's Roy Bittan, from Springsteen's band is the pianist - you can really hear the style. But it really always was about Knopfler's guitar work - on all their albums.

But really - all seven songs are mini-masterpieces. Really, how great is "Romeo and Juliet"? I love the modern update ("she's singing hay-la, my boyfriend's back"). I've even come to appreciate "Les Boys", which when I was growing up (yes, this disk was released in 1980), it was the one that didn't quite resonate with a 16 year old. It's still the weakest song on the disk, but I don't mind it as much.

I never understood Warner Bros. not really releasing or pushing "Solid Rock" or "Expresso Love" as radio singles. They were perfect radio fare. So was "Skateaway".

Knopfler's singing style can be an acquired taste, but it is one that I really came to appreciate on this disk. But in reality, it was the combination of his songwriting, playing and vocals that make it. And while they had good songs over the rest of their career, they didn't have an entire album that stood out like Making Movies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time Immemorial

Since Rosanne Cash was playing in Kent the other night, I took Denton down a few hours early - as he had never been. He had not seen the town or the university.

Kent State evokes one thing to many people, as well it should. CSN&Y made sure of that. But most don't live near it, let alone ever been to the school or the town, so to others, it is not just about May 4th, 1970. And while I could have called this post "Ohio" a.) it would have been too damned easy and, b.) I think I used it before a few years ago.

I grew up less than 20 miles from Kent State. One of my sisters finished her last two years of college there. One of my high school teachers was shot and paralyzed there. One of my sister's teachers brother (follow that?) was also shot there, and they are two, who to this day, organize the on-going protest at Kent State each year. Oh, I also took my SATs there.

But it is also a college town. Let's make no bones about it. And when you're 18 (and the law was still such that one could drink at that age), it was a place to go get loaded after working at Sea World all day. And we did. Often.

But I will be honest - except for going to my sister's apartment or to the proctoring room for the SATs, I never ventured much past The Loft (you know - the bar!). Maybe once in awhile I'd get to Filthy McNastys. Yes, such a name-place existed. Denton wondered aloud if it had a 'back room'. It did not. At least that I was privy to. It wasn't even a gay least that I was privy to.

Never once did I make it to the site of the shootings. Shut up, I know! So on this trip, we decided to go. I hate to say it, but 39 years after the fact, it seemed more like history than when you live near it daily.

Kent does not make it easy to find though. The campus is not the same - though the town is. Lots of new buildings and an administration that continually fought to play down the events for years after - even once planning on building a football stadium over the site.

It was odd driving back there. And odder being on campus. For a bit there were signs directing you to the May 4th Memorial.....and then they just stopped. Like they didn't really want you to find it, or get to your destination, at all. I'm not sure they did.

I think I can see why too.

If you're familiar at all with not just went down at KSU, but where, you will understand my initial thought of "well....ok....." ...and then you become kind of immediately horrified at how this 'remembrance' now exists.

The four who were killed (many more shot, of course), were within a few yards of each other and in a parking lot. The parking lot still exists today - as a fucking working faculty/staff parking lot!

Yes, their sites are marked and cordoned off by ugly-ass Home Depot driveway lights., but other than that, if you're making your way to the Bursar's office and have a valid parking permit - you can place your car where their blood flowed.

Denton mused: "What, Maya Lin wasn't available?"

The absolute worst is poor Allison Krause's space. A big-assed light pole and parking signs attached to it. Like that couldn't have been moved to another area? ANY other area?

I get that the students were shot dead in a parking lot. I have worked on universities and parking can be at a premium. But this isn't one of these land-locked campuses, a new parking lot could go many places if they need that parking that badly.

A much better idea would have been to leave the space as a parking lot memorial - open to foot traffic, not the internal combustible engine kind. Or a space that had better displays where people could walk around and reflect and educate. Not one where they can park their Escort on and traipse to Econ 101.

There could have been plaques where each person was - not just the dead. There could have been markers where the National Guard stood. Information on the protests. But there is none of that.

Oh - and want to know who were killed at each of these four sites? Good luck reading the poorly chosen granite and it's colour, which makes the barely etched names almost impossible to read.

That picture was not just because of the camera. I went at it from multiple angles with and without the camera and I could barely read this one and some of the others, not at all. What a disservice. What a slap in the face.

But oddly enough, there are bigger slaps in the face with this site - believe it or not.

The signs are nice enough and I think cover both sides of the story fairly well, for a plaque. Of course, I'm always struck by James Rhodes quote of "eradicate the problem".

So just imagine the outwardly egregious thought process that went into a named street only a few hundred yards away:

Yes, it is named for the former governor. Yes, it may have been named that before 1970, but doubtful. And even if it had been: change it! It is not like they don't rename roads all the time. (and really - Rhodes Road? Not even Drive?)

The hill is still there. There had been talk years ago of leveling it. I forgot to take a picture of it, even though I walked down it. The parking lot is on the other side of Taylor Hall, which is at the top of that hill.

At the base of the hill, years ago, they put in this bell - which they ring annually for all shot and killed on May 4th.

The University switched from Quarters to Semesters years ago, purposefully scheduling finals on or around the first week of May and hoping to deter any student events around that history making day. In a way it has worked - for them.

Next May will mark the 40th anniversary of the shootings. I would hope someone would rethink this half-assed memorial and redo it in a proper fashion.

One can argue who was right and who was wrong, but paving over that day - literally and figuratively - does not help the discussion or the history. I wouldn't think that is what you would want from an institution of higher education.

Song by: Crowded House

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fill Me Up

I don't think I mentioned that last month I had my semi-annual teeth cleaning.

If I didn't, I know I didn't mention that I had a filling that needed to be replaced. Or as Dr. Dorothy said, "....or possibly fit you for a crown. I'll know better once I get in there."

Yikes! I mean - you all know how I love the dentist (sarcasm, people). Ok, I don't mind it as much anymore because I'm anal about my oral hygiene, but there was a time that made me squeamish to go.

Most of that was due to my original fillings all being done without Novocaine. Including this one, which contrary to people saying - "oh, they were probably just little pits which is why you got nothing" - Dr. D said, "it's a really deep one" (that's what she said!").

But like a trooper, after spin class on Saturday (and before Rosanne Cash - man I had a busy Saturday), I trekked to the dentist office and reclined back in that chair for 35 minutes of drill and fill.

I walked in and said, "numb me within an inch of my life" - and they did. I always hear people complain about the shot, but they don't bother me. Yes, the one in the palate hurt a little, but hardly unbearable. After that, I just let them do what they had to do.

Actually, what I also said was: "just because it is a downward economy, don't just be putting a crown in me to get extra cash!". She laughed. I was only half kidding.

I only took one picture - as ugly as it is. ..and it's not even of my mouth.

I wanted one of my mouth but it was too hard to get. Tooth #14 sits in the way way back. Though she did insist on showing it to me via mirror after the filling came out, but before it was refilled. HUGE hole....for a tooth, I guess.

She wanted to make sure I knew that the tooth would be filled with a combination of regular filling stuff and some super glue kind of the tooth would hold together! Nice!!!! With that much drilled out - along with additional decay, though the tooth was saved, there is just a lot less of it for structural support.

I love getting older (oooh. sarcasm again!)

But the filling was about 32 years old, so it was time, I guess. That is two new fillings in as many years. I have six others from the same era. Maybe five. That one crown I actually do have might have been a filling long ago.

Oh - and they couldn't do an off-white colouring. Like I care. If anyone can see that far back into my mouth, I should give them something to actually see!

I got out without any blood, sweat or tears. And didn't use the iPhone for music. Nothing seems to cut through that drilling noise, so why bother? Someone would make a fortune designing a silent dental drill. That's 86% o the anxiety anyway.

Oh, btw....I used yoga to my advantage during this too. You involuntarily find yourself tensing up during these kinds of sessions and I just used some stuff to really relax my neck, face and inside of my mouth.

Seriously - one of the things I love about yoga is how much tension we carry around in our face and mouth. If you can relax the latter, the former follows. It helped immensely in the dental chair.

So now I have additional metal in me, which means I weigh more! Bother!

Song by: Shawn Colvin

Sunday, July 12, 2009

List of Burdens

You know I actually attempted to draft this before I even attended the event. What was I thinking? I ended up scrapping the entire thing and starting over. Lesson learned.

Last night we went down to Kent State (yes, that Kent State - more on that in another post) to see Rosanne Cash perform. I'm a long time fan and this would have been only the second time in 30 years (!!) to see her.

It was a different mode this time. Three years ago she had a band. This time it was her and her husband, John Leventhal (not my brother-in-law, but another Jon Leventhal). Leventhal has produced most of Cash's music since 1993's The Wheel. He is an incredible songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist.

Yup, just two of them, two mics and an acoustic guitar each. It was pretty amazing in that regards - especially Leventhal who made his six-string shine. Picking and strumming at the same time, making it play like a guitar and bass all at once. Cash herself is an underrated guitarist. It's easy to get lost when you're playing with a full band, I suppose.

Cash was in fine form vocally. Possibly the strongest I have heard her. I wasn't sure what she'd be doing, as I didn't think she was really promoting her 3.5 year old disk, Black Cadillac, and her new disk, The List isn't out until October.

It turns out she was seemingly promoting both. Each of these got seven songs covered. That did not leave a lot for the rest of her other eight album catalog. Only five songs to be exact. I found that a little disappointing. Five of her disks went completely unrepresented.

Kent Stage is this little venue. If it holds a thousand folks I'd be surprised. If it were two-thirds fill I'd be even a little more surprised, though still disappointed more did not come out to see her. She's more than proven herself as an artist in her own right and not just her father's daughter - though she did cover two of his songs. Lineage is a hard thing to break.

There were highlights of course. She started out with "I'm Moving On", a song from her upcoming disk. I had heard it streamed from her website (scroll to the bottom of the page). And while I like much of what she does, it was kind of nice to hear her touch on her country background again. If you listen to the stream, imagine how it was done live - Leventhal played it all on one guitar. It was pretty incredible.

I'm a big fan of "September When it Comes", which she recorded first solo (Transatlantic Sessions) and then as a duet with her father. I was not a fan of the latter, but the former was terrific. She pulled it of flawlessly.

The other stand outs for me were both from the to-be-released, The List - which is a covers disk of what her father told her were essential country songs she had to know. "Motherless Child" (done by a plethora of folks before her) and "500 Miles", which I'm sure many have done, but I played it by Peter, Paul & Mary hundreds of times as a child.

I will say, the seats were sooooo uncomfortable. Getting back in the car for our 50 minute drive home I felt I needed a big massage to work out the kinks in my lower back.

Anyhoo....I know she doesn't play often, just a dozen or so performances per year. But if she's in your neck of the woods, you should certainly try to catch her. Or them.

Song by: Rosanne Cash

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Art Teacher

Last night we did our now annual thing of going to the Cain Park Arts Festival, and then joining roughly twenty other gay men for dinner at an Indian restaurant (not woo-woo Indian).

We are great for stimulating the economy because the gays love their art and we eat and drink like no one's business. Seriously though, how often does a hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant have a party whose bill comes to $800+? There were a few other occupied tables, but if not for us, I am not sure they would have cleared $175 for the entire night.

We didn't know a few of the couples (and they were mostly couples), so that was nice to get to know them. And I have become more acquainted with some more of the guys I usually only see at this event because it seems every homo in the city now goes to the same gym....except Denton. So conversation was good, but difficult at one of those long Last Supper tables. But after the food some of us bounced around talking to others - so it was nice.

It is a bit frightening how many of them work of have worked at my former employer. At least eight of the 20. Overall, though it was a similar group to last year, the tweaks to the list of who came, and more importantly, who did not, worked for the better. I think.

And before that show, there was the art show. We go every year in hopes of finding "that piece". We never do. And it's not liked we'd probably agree on what "that piece" is either. But we try.

Actually, yesterday, I think we may have found it - and it surprised us both. We have a very traditional house and this is a very non-traditional artist and his work. It is nothing either of us would have thought of.

This was not the piece, but I liked it. Not enough to see it every single day. I think you can embiggens it to see Superman talking to the WWII troops.

This was not the piece either, but again, I liked the contrast of images about war and super-heroes. That is Uberman standing on that ladder. I'm not sure about the SPQR - though a lot of the artists other work used seemingly random Scrabble letter tiles in the art.

This is the piece we did like. The pic did not come out great - but you can see me taking it in the reflection and a rare rare sighting of Denton in the same shot. Something about the warships, the horizon, the mezza-luna like shovel thingy, the colouring and the clock just worked for us.

All the pieces were huge (that's what she said!). Like 6'x8' - but we have a wall for it that we've been looking to do something with since we moved in. It is artless.

The other thing that was huge was the price. $10,500! ($11,500 for the Superman / jigsaw puzzle one.)

A new friend at the dinner, Gregg (yes, three gs) - asked if found anything, and I told him the above story. He tried to rationalize it for me: if you really like the piece, you have been looking for that certain space to fill and you're committed to your house - why wouldn't you get it.

He almost had me. But it comes back to price. It's not that we can't afford it, but is that what we want to spend our hard-earned dollars on? I'm thinking of going back and saying - if you do not sell it and do not want to lug it all the way back to NY, call me.....we'll talk.

Song by: Rufus Wainwright

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rock in His Pocket (Song of David)

The other night I hung out with my newly (re)found cousin, David. You might remember me writing about him two months or so ago.

David was a cousin I didn't really know or spend time with (or vice versa), but when we had lunch a while back we just really connected. I mean really, how often does that happen? Any of it: lunch? 30 years in between seeing each other? getting along?

We exchanged a number of emails after that lunch encounter just trying to find time for each other and to get together again. He really took the effort to let me know he'd like to be friends.

Friends? With a cousin? This is a new concept to me. I have no other cousins I can say I'm close to. We're just not that kind of family really. I like some of mine, but we see each other maybe once a year. Maybe.

I don't think he knew what to say when I said I thought being friends would be good since family seemed more obligatory. He likes the idea of family as friendship. I guess in my own way, I do too.

So yesterday we just hung out at my/our place. Beer and some food and the cats. They were all over him - which was cool for him and them.

We just talked, traded stories and laughed a lot. Oddly enough, the picture of my parents I have on a shelf was taken at his sister's wedding about twenty years ago. How odd is that?

I figure, if David can converse and make me laugh like my best friends, he's in. That is one tough crowd - and he'd fit in just fine.

Song by: Suzanne Vega

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Flower Man

At the picnic the other day, a number of people commented on our yard. They think "we" did a nice job with the plantings and all.

I didn't let on to anyone that "we" was really only Denton. As you read in last month's flower post, I don't know much about plants and flowers all that much. Some basics, but that's it.

The deer I also wrote about continues to eat some the stuff. Bother.

But I like taking pics of our flowers - and they don't turn out too horrendous. I still don't know what much of the stuff is. At least technically.


still ?????

Lily - red

Variegated lily - yellow & orange

no idea

Daisy - yellow

some kind of hydrangea

Daisy - white

Variegated lily - again

Daisy - yellow. again.

Song by: Tonic

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cure for the Itch

It turns out - you don't have to be a jock to get jock itch.

I know this to be true, as I am not a jock. But I got the itch. I got it bad. Ok, not sooooo bad. It's just annoying.

Honest to g-d, I've never had it. Maybe it is because I never really sweated that much - let alone, down there. And of course, I've never been that much of a jock.

I attribute it mostly to spinning. I sweat the most during that - and even though I shower well after it, clearly I'm not doing something right to not grow some fungus among us.

And let me tell you - nothing is more suave than to be in a locker room with other guys there, as you slather your nut sack, crotch and/or taint with lotramin or spray it down. Of course, if you use spray you're supposed to wait for it to dry. I feel a bit perv-ish putting on my shirt, tie and socks on and then still hanging around for my balls to dry before putting on my briefs and suit pants.

Eh! Whatta gonna do?

Song by: Linkin Park

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


C'mon! Is this not the best bumper sticker ever????

It might be. It really really might be. It really didn't even need the secondary line. The primary line worked all on its own.

One would truly have to think that running for 2012 is no longer an option for this woman. Until Saturday, I thought it would have been a done deal - but no one likes a quitter.

I mean - I do. At least I am now.

But Palin is not your average Joe (the plumber). She doesn't think like you and/or I. I'm sure in her warped mind she thinks that leaving her job early gives her more time to plan for the race to the White House.

I'm not sure others think of her this way. But 2012 is a long way off - and even with a 24 hour news cycle, we as a country have no long-term memory.

Of course with misreports of the FBI looking into her shenanigans and her threatening to sue any blogger who says otherwise, she is a nutbag. She blames the media for all of it. ....and I, and I alone, have the solution:


If she ever has another run-in with a talk show host to get herself press - don't report it. If she does indeed runs for president - don't follow her campaign. If she were to cure cancer - don't put it on TV.

Of course, then she'd blame the media for that lack of coverage too. It's not like Fox isn't going to do it for us/her anyway. Just let her flounder on her own.

But still - it is a great bumper sticker. I'd hate not to be able to slap it on my car.

Song by: Ray LaMontange

Monday, July 06, 2009

Old Whore's Diet

It's been a long time since I've seen an article that made me smile.

I am so over politics at this point, I could vomit. Ditto with dying celebrities and the round the clock coverage of their life, death, career highlights and lowlights. At this point just give me news of the weird. No - not Sarah Palin. Honestly - is she really not going (or unable) to finish one term of the largest state (yet one with a dinky population and dinky budget) because she think she can sit in the White House in 2012?

No - while that is odd, it wasn't completely unpredictable.

Anyway, back to my odd finding. You know, stuff this blog was formed on. So, you'll want to read this little article.

I'll wait. (insert would-be whistling emodicon here!)

{...and we're back in 4...3...2...and 1}

Fellatio for a box of chips. How did she luck out? Oh - how many times others have come away empty-handed (so to speak).

Ruffled.....for her pleasure, I'm sure!

Song by: Rufus Wainwright

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Stone Soul Picnic

Yesterday was one of our neighborhood to-do's. (I tried to spell that with and without the apostrophe and neither looked correct.)

We have a few events per year - a block party, christmas carols, an open house from one of the neighbors and this fourth of July parade and picnic/bbq.

And when I say 'we', I don't mean Denton and myself - though we are happy to participate. We just have never hosted - not that we wouldn't.

So yesterday at 11:00 was the parade. I got up much earlier to make dark chocolate brownies for the picnic. I wasn't doing store-bought (they came out good too!). I left two at home for us later - as I knew I wouldn't be eating sweets that early.

Anyway, this isn't a parade the way one might think. It turns out to be a neighborhood stroll that ends up at an old mansion which is now an assisted-living facility. It just gets the old folks out enough to see the kids on bikes and being pulled in wagons. Oh, and the dogs. Everyone brings their dogs along.

Oh - isn't Travis just one of the cutest nine week old puppies? He's a miniature labradoodle.

Before the parade there is a Bloody Mary station. I tried to beg off saying I had enough alcohol for the weekend. When a virgin was offered, I finally had to cop to the fact that it wasn't the vodka I don't mind. I just do not like tomato juice. I know - I'm a freak.

After the parade and old-folks stop, I walked home to get our brownies. Then it was off to the picnic. Nice folks, and simple fare. There are only seven known gays in the 'hood (including us) and we're all pretty unassuming, though we did have a 100% show rate at the event! Yay us!

By unassuming, I mean we didn't bring any frilly foods or desserts. Hell, the main course was kosher hot dogs. And while I'm not a hot dog fan by any means, these were pretty damn good. The hostess and I talked about them - a friend of hers brings them from lord knows where, but neither of us were sure if it was just the day or the dogs themselves that made them so good.

The sun was beating down - the first time it appeared all week, so we only stayed about 90 minutes and then made our way home for a mid-afternoon nap.

I'll be honest - we do not venture out for fireworks. If we see them from home or wherever, that's fine. But to be subjected to a soundtrack of Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood to go with the display is too much for me to handle. I'm fine with "patriotic", but that is just some over the top shit for me.

Overall, it has been a good weekend. I hope everyone had a fun holiday.

Song by: the Fifth Dimension