Thursday, September 30, 2010

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!

The road of record releases are littered with lead singers of bands who feel the need to put out a solo disk to express themselves outside of their band.

Yeah, I get it when they are one of several singers in the band (Eagles? Fleetwood Mac? Kajagoogoo!....I kid....I kid....). I even almost get it if they are the lone singer but sing material written by other band members. I'm not sure I 100% get this.

Brandon Flowers (not a bad url) has a non-Killers disk, a solo one, titled Flamingo.

I like the Killers. I like Flowers (no relation to Rebecca). I even like some of the songs on this disk, but overall I'm not feeling it. At least not 2+ weeks into it all.

I always assume (yes, I know what happens when one does that!), that an artist is looking for more diversity when they do a solo project like this. The irony is, most Killers albums have a greater breadth of variety on any one of their disks than he exhibits here and he already sings all their songs and writes a lot of their lyrics and music.

Don't get me wrong, it's by no means a horrible album, but it does show how much the other three members of the group contribute to their craft. So where's the experimentation?

Yes, "Crossfire" is a decent single, but the remix is even better and I don't often say that. And it's not part of the extra tracks. But the song could easily easily easily be a song from his band's disks. The second single, "Swallow It" couldn't have been a bigger misstep if he or the record company tried. It is without a doubt the weakest song on the disk. It has very little going for it.

There are good tracks: "Only the Young", "Playing with Fire" and "Hard Enough" (with Jenny Lewis), but some are just ok right over to downright weak like "Magdalena", "Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts" and "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas".

Flamingo turns out to be more of the same of Killers-influenced music. Killers-lite. There is little to no stretch here. I was hoping for something more. And yes, like I always do, I got suckered into the 'deluxe' version: 4 more songs and 4 more dollars. I'm a marketing guys fucking dream!

At least one of the bonus tracks is a bit different and not in a bad way. "The Clock Was Ticking" is country influenced ditty where the music works, but the vocal arrangement really doesn't - at least not together.

So, is it a worthy purchase? If you're a die-hard Killers fan, I'd normally say sure. But I like the Killers and it's an ok disk, but I won't be coming back to it over and over.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Site of the Month

I'm stretching. Hell, I'm eking out the SotM post on the second to last day of the month. I'll give you a spoiler alert: I'm really eking out the Record of the Month post tomorrow. Getting both of these placeholders up and published right under the wire.

I'll go on record that I loathe Lady Gaga's "Alejandro". Not only is it repetitive beyond belief, it's not even remotely original. ....and it seemingly goes on forever. But I suppose that is true of many things one doesn't like, like say, an episode of 'Ugly Betty' or going to the dentist. It may as well be an eternity.

There is a point to my Lady Gaga slam. Even NPR did a piece on it - go figure - on how it's not that different from some Ace of Base song and how then that song wasn't too different than an ABBA song.....and so on and so on and so on.

As Denton loves to point out to me, there are only so many notes in a scale and only a limited number of ways to arrange said notes - so you're bound to get intended and unintended plagiarism.

So, I went looking and sure enough there are a few sites that try to call out these anomalies in music and they're simply called That Song Sounds Like and Sounds Just Like.

Some of the comparisons work, some don't, but it is fun to scour through some of it to see what's what.

It's all I got. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Shot Andy Warhol Suite

More Pittsburgh stories. Well, story. Singular.

Since we were going to be in the Three Rivers area, I told my nephew it would not be just about the concert, and that he'd get a little culture too. We were going to the Andy Warhol Museum.

Denton and I went shortly after it opened 15 years ago. I think we were still living in Columbus, but it is kind of a blur.

We arrived on Sunday morning when it was supposed to open. Not that there was a crowd. We were the crowd. Hell, the doors were locked....they had to come and let us in.

The "guy" behind the desk was as affected as one might think. Too good to talk to us or acknowledge our presence. I hate fags like that. Yeah, I went there. His counterpart, who was dressed in Pittsburgh Pirates gear was the friendlier one. I'm sure the first one was annoyed there were "tourists" on site.

If you haven't been, like many museums now-a-days, you start on the top level and work your way down. It's a smallish place to begin with, so you don't get all museum-fatiguey. You know - bored after 90 minutes where you shift foot to foot until you can get the hell out of there?

There are a lot of pieces even the lesser art knower would know. Like Elvis.

No sign of my absolute favourite Warhol piece, Sixteen Jackies. But by now you know I've had a fascination of the JFK assassination since I read the Warren Commission in 6th grade. And I had post card versions of that series for years - I don't know what happened to them. I really liked them, as morbid as one might find them.

If you like pop art, you'd love the place.

Matt is almost 18 so the area that had a 'graphic sexual material' we thought it was ok to let him see. I'm sure he won't be telling his parents of the drawing of men's penises, fisting or labia that were on display. Ditto with video montages of of the drag queen-y guy sensually eating a banana. I consider it part of his education.

One room had some foam covered in parachute material. The foam was from the Factory and it was part of an instillation that was meant to be sat I did. C'mon, when would I have a chance to be part of Warhol's art?

Relaxed, I am. I didn't know Warhol did a series of skull paintings.

...but there they were. A room full of skulls.

Self Portrait #1652. Lovin' the rolls of my neck. I'm sure it's just the angle. Right? RIGHT???

My half self-portrait. Look Ma - no fat neck rolls!!!! Now that is art!

We had a nice time there and I think Matt liked it. We headed to the gift shoppe on the way out and there was a guy there that looked eerily familiar to me. Actually a lot like Andrew Sullivan, but I'm sure it wasn't him since he didn't have that British accent. But I'm thinking maybe a blogger I have seen? I don't know.

The gift shoppe was actually cheesy. Kitchy I guess. I get it with the pop art thing, but it was crap you wouldn't buy anywhere else let alone with marked up prices. But I couldn't talk Matt into getting a Velvet Underground t-shirt. He likes them, but said his mother won't let him wear it to school.

I think he had a good time there, and at least he can say he saw some stuff. I think it was a nice ending to a busy weekend.

Song by: John Cale

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slow Show

Because I didn't have a long enough of week of work travel, what did I do over the weekend?

...that's right, travel some more.

My plane touched down in Cleveland at 13:00 on Saturday and by 14:30 I was back in my car (after picking up Denton) to go get my 17 year old nephew and drive to Pittsburgh.

He wanted to see the National and Pittsburgh was about the closest place they were coming, and to be honest, I was curious to see them too. So we trekked to the Carnegie Library Music Hall to check them out.

The venue has slightly over 1000 seats and the crowd wasn't exactly what I was expecting. As my nephew aptly pointed out, 'they're not all hipsters here!'. And they weren't. Mind you, they were there, but the NPR crowd who found them during some of their reporting on the band earlier in the year were there too. Denton and I were not the oldest people in attendance. It was a white white white crowd to be sure. A few asian chicks and one african-american woman, but mostly white folk.

I guess five white guys (and three additional musicians) from Cinci transplanted to Brooklyn translates only so far.

That all being said, it was a good show. The playing was tight and Matt Beringer's singing was spot-on. The between song patter was muddied and I barely understood what they were trying to say. After the first half of the show, no more talking or even pausing between songs. The band did a great job of segueing from song to song.

For as mostly low key as they are on record, they had some moments of a good rock band, but not so loud that they hurt this old man's hearing. The crowd treated Beringer like a g-d, which was weird to watch from such band not in the public eye for that long. On the last song, "Terrible Love", Beringer finished it by walking out in the crowd and singing the last half out there. It was quite a sight to see. He never came back to the stage and exited somewhere out of sight from us.

They played all but a few songs from their new disk, High Violet and then a good sampling from Boxer and Alligator.

It was a good show and the nephew really liked it.

Me? While I liked the show, I was happy to get back to the hotel. I had been up since 04:30 and it was now 23:30 and like I said earlier, I am an old man. old old man.

Song by: the National

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thoughts in My Head

As I sit in the airport coming home from Oklahoma, I thought I'd reflect on my thoughts. Of course, isn't that what I've been doing ad nauseum for the last eight years?? Here, I mean. In reality, I've been doing it my entire life - even pre-verbal.

I mean more specifically about OK.

It wasn't a bad trip. The highway I took was not heavily populated and I loved that fact the speed limit is 75 mph....which is almost 85 in Blobby terms. Even the construction zone limits are Ohio's maximum speed limits. You gotta love that! I mean, unless you're a road worker and get hit by a car going 65. Eh - that's what life insurance is for, I suppose.

This one thing on the road annoyed me.

If you enlarge the image you might catch the foible of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. PikePass. Cash. Exact Change. However, the fees are posted after you get through the fucking toll booth. Total Fail.

Another total fail of this turnpike, or maybe it's just the state, the part of road I was on was 78 miles long. Not one exit. No place for food, gas or lodging if one needed it.

Most importantly, not one rest area. Sure, there were two pic-a-nic (say like Yogi) areas with no toilets or port-a-potties, or even tall fields to unleash in.

Maybe Oklahomans can hold it better than us city folks. Naturally, I wondered, what would Tornwordo or Morty do?

But I wonder that a lot when it comes to pooping (oh g-d, I've become Morty and Torn!). How and where do they do it when scaling Everest?? Sure, maybe at Base Camp I get, but not up on Camp 4. No way.

Or those huge huge huge music festivals where there are 500,000 folks and you're up near the stage and then get an urge to go. You're kind of screwed by the time you make it past the crowd, let alone waiting in line of the poopery.

I'm just thinking. Always thinkin'....

I didn't get a chance to take a pic of the poles all over town that literally have two dozen sirens on them for tornado warnings. But it is nice to know that the airport bathrooms double as tornado shelters. I guess if you're gonna have the crap scared out of you, this is the place to do it. The dept of transportation might want to look into this for their turnpikes.

This cracked me up. You might have to enlarge. Yes, many airlines are trying to make extra cash by selling food, early boarding and/or better seats. United tried that last one for $39 a pop. No one took them up on it.

But if you look at this, the normal crappy constrained seating is called 'classic'. LOL. Is anyone falling for that?? Besides the folks in marketing?

Anyway - just some random thoughts by Blobby.

Song by: Forest for the Trees

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just a Memory

What is one to do when staying the evening in Oklahoma City? Alone.

Not much - that's for sure. But then my day started at 04:45 with a buzzing of the head, a shower and bowl of cereal and out the door less than an hour later. Followed by a succession of flights, and a 90 minute ride in the filthiest rental car I've ever had (fyi - Hyundai Accents are for shit!).

But work ended around 16:45, followed by the 90 minutes back to civilization. Blobby was hungee, as he hadn't eaten since that bowl of cereal, but he needed to do something before getting dinner.

It was not quite sunset, but only 45 minutes away. So I headed to see the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. I felt I should, since I was in town.

Not many were around on a late Friday afternoon. The setting was serene. Beautiful and tragic all at once. Quiet and tense.

The plot of land is flanked by two entrances (if you will). One reading 9:01 the other, 9:03. The first being the minute before and the latter being the minute afterwards.

The sun did not let me capture the time very well in this photo very well. It didn't let me capture the other gate at all. I just liked the reflection in this picture.

The time shows up better here.

There is a chair for every person who died on that day. As many were children in an on-site day care, you can see those represented by smaller chairs. The bases light up at night, but I didn't stay past sundown.

This showed a number of the chairs, but it was hard to capture the entire range with an iPhone camera. I'm sure an SLR with a good lens could have gotten a great shot. I do like the sun coming through the trees.

I'm glad I went. It was a quiet place, but like I said, filled with angst. Maybe that was just me though. It is hard to believe it has been 15 years.
I sit in my hotel room now writing this and watching a station for OKC in a video loop...with smoke and fire coming from the now demolished building. Now only stands, grass, trees, water and a simple token that life once was there.

Song by: Marti Jones

Friday, September 24, 2010

Surrey with the Fringe on Top

It would have been too frickin' easy to call the post 'Oklahoma', now wouldn't it? I try not be that obvious.

I leave this morning for...............wait for it..............Oklahoma!

What? You saw that coming???

It's work - no play. On a Friday. And part of a Saturday.

Work is only on Friday, but the last flight out to home is two hours earlier than the end of my meeting - and even then I have to drive 90 miles back to the airport. So getting home happening. I get to leave on the first flight out Saturday morning.

I'm 90% sure I'll just work in the hotel room Friday night, but hell, I can finally check off OK from the list of states I've never been to. Maybe I'll venture into the heart of the city and find me one of them jalapeno margaritas someone was tellin' me about. ....I can have a beer anywhere.

I'm not excited or un to go. It moves me that much closer to my Elite status. And when you travel, it's all about the miles. ....and maybe the margaritas. No salt. It makes me swell.

....and I'm already swell.

Song by: umm....some Broadway Cast, I guess

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Glamorous Life

I love when people lament that air travel is no longer glamorous. As if these folks were around when it was to begin with.

As if being able to sit between 100 chain smokers on a plane was glamorous. Like non-pressurized cabins and seats that could not act as flotation devices was glamorous.

Flight is a means to an end. It is quicker than driving, but as SNL said it 30+ years ago "you'll feel like you've never left the ground - because we treat you like dirt".

The old greek guy who sat next to me on one flight yesterday annoyed the ever-loving crap out me - the amount of times he performed the sign of the cross as we flew. Yeah, because g-d is keeping a few ton piece of tin in the air.

On the second leg, there was an old man in his dapper suit along with his Michael Caine glasses. As I sat down he pulled out his inhaler and used it continually until we took off. His regular breathing sounded like Denton's snoring (sorry honey), and I couldn't wait till we got to 10,000 feet (or whatever that magic number is) so I could put in my earbuds.

I did look around and there was not another seat to be had. Not so much that I wanted to move seats, but I figured he'd eventually go into cardiac arrest, and they'd unsuccessfully perform CPR on him in the aisle. Of course, they'd have to prop the corpse somewhere and since his seat was next to mine, I'd have to hang out with him until landing. Not only that, his passing would have made him poop his pants and I'd have to smell that the rest of the flight.

Then I thought how much Morty and Tornwordo would have liked me writing something like that, since they're both so fecal-oriented. And it put a smile on my face and I was able to enjoy the rest of the flight..............glamorously.

Song by: Sheila E.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Last Day of Summer

Wow, I missed the last day of summer. The official day. Most would call it when Labor Day arrived, but I like to eke out every possible day there is. Cleveland winters are long and cold, so I'm not giving up a day to that shitty season.

It's not a news to tell you guys it was a brutal summer, heat-wise. It has cooled down for the now near autumn months, but we still are having days in the upper 80s. Again, I'll take it.

The image you see is sunrise at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on that, the last day of summer.

I was on my way, and currently am now in, Fayetteville, NC: home of nothing.

Well, not nothing. Ft. Bragg is nearby as is most chain restaurants., but it's not the place I would be taking a vacation, if I had 1,294,391 places to decide on.

It's work. It's all about work these days. No fun for Blobby. Stress and heart palpitations, which can't really be good - right? And little to no workouts for me this week. Maybe, we'll see. I'm not highly optimistic.

I do, however, later in the week, get to check off a state that I've have not yet been to. I'm not sure that will be the highlight of the week or not.

Either way - welcome to Autumn. It's here whether you like it or not.

Song by: Kirsty MacColl

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

White Knuckles

Morty brought me to today's blog entry. He showed me the new OK GO video. Pretty frickin' new as when I viewed it on youtube, I was the only the 745th person to do so. And it had only been uploaded a day earlier.

Like many of their songs, the music is just ok (ha!), but I love their no-edit approach to video making. One continual filming process and all of them are incredibly intricate and well executed. The guys are just innovative. I'm sure the video maker is too, but the guys are the ones who have to pull it off (that's what she said!).

It's a bonus that all the doggies are rescues (according to the Mort-man). They are so damned cute.

While I like the video, you know my thing on showing vids as blog posts - they are treading water. But that's what you get for the next 10 days or so. Like I said, work is kicking my ass, so tons of time will not be going into my blog - not that it all hasn't been done on the fly to begin with. I mean, for g-d's sake, I was blogging about Lindsay-Fucking-Lohan yesterday. Ugh.

So here you have it.....the new OK GO video:

Song by: OK GO

Monday, September 20, 2010


I actually pulled this someecard card off weeks ago and had it archived for...well....I don't know when. I just knew that some day it would come in handy.

It seems the web gossip - and by that I mean - is going on about that Ms. Lohan has failed multiple random drug tests since leaving jail and rehab.....less than a month ago. Multiple.

I get that drug addiction is a disease and not easy to overcome. Trust me, I know. I was never an addict (isn't that what all addicts say?), but when it's in front of know....sometimes one will partake. And I did.

But of course, I was never in jail or rehab. Nor did I have the threat hanging over me that if I failed a drug screen that I would be sent back to both those places.

So drug addiction is a disease. Stupidity is not.

Allegedly those 'random' drug tests were multiple times per week. PER WEEK!

How fucking stupid are you really that you think that shit is out of your system by the possible next day? I get that you probably didn't finish high school or get your GED, but c'mon........... even a lack-of-talent has to know how that works.

My favourite is her tweet about it: "doing what I must do to prevent any mishaps in the future."

You mean, like not putting blow up your nose? .....or wherever she's putting it?

Personally, I blame the jail system (not the courts)...and the rehab system. To serve like 1/10th of your jail time and less than 1/3rd of your rehab time - exactly how is that helping the situation? Is it not saying: yeah, we're really mad.......but not horribly serious about what we do or say.

There was a great West Wing about mandatory minimums when it came to drug possession and dealing. Mostly on the disparity of race and who does what time. No shock that the caucasian population got off with much less harsh sentences. Of course, Linds says she's being made an example for her punishment. ....if missing most your jail and rehab time is the 'example', I'll take it as opposed to the alternative.

Naturally, there is a bright side. We probably won't be in for anymore Lindsay Lohan movies for quite a while.

Song by: Amy Winehouse

Sunday, September 19, 2010

That's Just What You Arrrrghh

I took this image months ago, in preparation for International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

That is today.

It is a horrible image. Not well planned out or executed. Just taken in the children's section of a bookstore and trying to do it before anyone saw me.

That's the joke, eh? Take it fast so no one would see me, but post it here where anyone could see me - and not even for a fleeting glance like they would have had at the bookstore.

So you've all seen enough bad pirate movies to know what to do and how to talk.

Have fun with it. Annoy the friends, your family and neighbors. It won't take long to get there. This I promise.

Song by: Aimee Mann

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It's late for me to be posting. But I got nothing.

Work has been kicking my ass and it will be for the next few weeks. I'm cranky. Crankier, I guess.

This work thing that I'm doing has thwarted wedding plans. September is completely out as an option. We are now looking at mid-October at the earliest. I won't have any free time to take off until then, and even then it could change depending on client need.

In a way, I'd love to get married on the Mall during Jon Stewart's big Rally to Restore Sanity (Where we take to the streets to send a message to our leader and national media that says: 'We're here! we're only here through six, because we have a sitter!')

But since it is kind of a mock march (which would not surprise me if it turned out to be bigger than they anticipate), I don't want to confuse our wedding for being a mock marriage. ....oh and Denton would never go for that one anyway, so I'm kind of 0 for 2 with that blip of an idea.

So, yes, I kind of have nothing today. I only have 2.5 more months of blogging where it will be once a day, every day for two years. I said it last year, I will need a break from this. That never happened, but I'm feeling a bit uninspired today.

Maybe it's my mood.

Song by: Pearl Jam

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stick With Me Baby

It's that time of year again: Flu Shot time.

I know that some of you aren't down with getting the shot. You say it doesn't work. You say it gives you the flu. You say it hurts.

You probably know my responses to that by now.

Of course it is going to hurt. Not as much the needle (which is teeny tiny) as it is a foreign substance going in your body. Of course the body reacts to that. But the flu serum is a dead virus and does not give you the flu. It cannot give you the flu. It cannot.

Might you get a fever or a slight ache from a foreign substance being injected into you? Sure, but that is not the flu. So save it and your excuses.

And guess what, you still might get the flu. Nothing is 100%......except for Sarah Palin being a clueless wench who has more than milked her 15 hours of fame. But you know what the flu shot helps with?? If you are a carrier - even if you do (or not) get the flu - it can stop you passing on those germs to others.

Yes, one could say to get a flu shot for yourself, but maybe you could do it for others. You know how selfish I am, and yet you see how selfless I'm being.

Don't you wanna be more like me?

......yeah, I thought so!

Song by: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Wish it Was Over

I snapped this picture the other day at O'Hare (what? It's not like I had anything else to do in my 4 hour wait there).

I did so, because when I saw it, I immediately went to one of my all time favourite movies - and in particular, one certain scene. You know how things evoke memories.

Of course, it starts with Captain Oveur being paged overhead to pick up the white courtesy phone ("no, the white one!").

Yes, he's on the phone with the Mayo Clinic and when he gets another emergency call from one Mr. Hamm.

"All right. Give me Hamm on five, hold the Mayo."

Of course it's a cheesy joke. Almost all the jokes in the movie were, and they came from people you never expected to say such cheesy stuff.....but that's what made it a great movie.

...and yes, the magazine section that Captain Oveur is near does say 'Wanking Material'. What's it to ya?

Song by: Teddy Thompson

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Looking Through You

Here I sit at O'Hare International.

Yes, I'm writing this hours before publishing it. But I won't be walking through my door at home until after 23:00 and I will be in no mood to write anything. Such is the life of a traveling worker.

I got to ORD early in hopes of doing some work before my 20:05 flight, but then I found out there was an earlier bird home. Alas, I was not lucky enough to get on it as it was sold-out and everyone actually checked-in and showed up. Blast!

In my mind, I was all Mojo JoJo. But like him, my evil thoughts never pan out the way I want. That's probably for the best. I'm not as evil as I would like to think I am.

So as I stood in the security line, they moved me over to the one you see above. The one with the full-body scan machines.

Unlike others, I have zero issue about being looked into - or through. I got nothing to hide and you know, if they wanna look, I'll give them something to see!

As it turns out, they didn't want to see. Well TSA - get in line! You'd have just seen a metal plate and nine screws. Knock yourself out.

No, they just needed to speed up the regular metal detector stuff and used that line to scan my bags and liquids - blah blah blah. Oh well.

But it did remind me of a friend of mine who refused the full-body scan up in Boston. The poor young, nubile TSA agent really really tried to talk him into doing it, because if he refused, then the young nubile TSA agent had to pat him down......everywhere. My friend chose the pat down.

David (not my cousin) really didn't do it for the hands-on experience, he was just uneasy about the scan. I really don't get why, but that's his deal, not mine. To each his own.

He did relish in watching this poor guy squirm at having to do it. Maybe it was his first time. David has wondered what his partner or boss might think if he starts making more frequent trips to Boston.

Maybe he did do it for the hands-on experience!

Song by: the Beatles

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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!

Sometimes I hate when I travel. I feel on some of these trips that I just phone it in - not that I'm not usually just phoning in my blog posts.

But I haven't done enough exciting over the weekend to chat about and the trip I'm on is just work. I'm sure you don't care enough about it if I don't care enough to relay anything interesting about it.

Anyhoo.....the product this month: butter substitute.

Actually, I think it's a way better name than: I Can't Believe it's Not Butter. But that's just me.

Ok. That's it. That's all I got.

It's amazing you people stick with me at all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

12 of 12

So I'm doing my seventh 12 of 12. 12 pictures taken on the 12th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone.

Created by Chad Darnell (thanks Chad!) and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. He intends 2010 to be his final year of doing this, but hopefully someone will pick it up from there. Time will tell.

It's not my most exciting 12 of 12, or most creative. But it is all I got.

07:05. The Sunday Plain Dealer. It says so right there. I don't get the title exactly. It's not like it ever says Thursday Plain Dealer (well, on Thursdays, I mean). I'm a half-educated man. I know what day of the week it is.

09:15. Sophie and her Technicolor Dream String. It's been her favourite toy for about three years. We have to hide it at times, because she wants us to play with it for hours at a time, with no break. We broke it out after Tovah died two weeks ago, and Soph drags the string (and its lucite handle) around everywhere...including up to bed in the middle of the night.

10:59. Apple iPhone iOS 4.1 update. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), Denton had downloaded the software a day or so earlier. As it took over 4 hours (!!!!) for him to do it, the 15 minute transfer from his Mac wasn't so so painful.

11:15. A Cedar Point drawing of me, circa 1967-68. As you can tell by the drawing I was quite cranky that day. My head isn't that (nor was it ever) that large. Damn fuckin' caricaturists - taking your biggest flaw and accentuating it.

11:30. Laundry. Hey, someone has to do it. That someone? Me.

13:30. Let the yard work begin. A rake for the thatch for Denton. Loppers to cut tons of crap down for me. But only the picture of the rake.

16:00. One of the debris piles from things that were cut down, pruned or in the case of that railroad, taken out of the ground. This entire pile was about 1/10th of the size of the big one. I tried getting picture of that, but it ended up looking like a big bush.

16:30. Chimney on the house liked the look of the blue sky, the green trees and the off-white column.

16:40. This came out a lot differently than I anticipated, but not in a bad way. I was trying to get the glitter of the water coming from our new sprinkler system, but the sun coming through the trees was brighter in camera settings than what I was seeing from my own eye.

17:00. The tools I use three times a week to take care of the hair on my head. This $29 gizmo paid for itself with less than two haircuts - 10 years ago. I've saved a fortune.

17:15. Freshly shorn. Head. Eye brows. Beard.
Man my big nose even looks bigger from that angle. ...and those lines in my forehead. Yowza!

18:00. Suitcase packed. I'm headed to Chicago for two days. Just need to add like two things and I'll be ready for a 06:45 departure to the airport.

....and now your Baker's Dozen.......

20:20. Yes, hours later and Sophie is still going at it with the string. She drags it over to one of us and talks and talks and talks until one of us caves in and plays with her. Who the hell needs a dog?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beat Surrender

Yeah, I could have used 'Beat It' for the post title, but I've never owned Micheal Jackson anything - except my Thriller wrist watch. ...and I only have that because I couldn't find a good Munedo one.

You can go back over the last line all you want - it is still gonna read the same. You read it correctly.

But even the watch (which I still have and it still works), wasn't licensed through Jackson. It was bought down on Canal Street in NYC for the whopping sum of $4 - a hefty price back in 1984. So I feel kind of ok owning it, as I never really put a dime into his pocket.

However, I have gotten a little off topic. SHOCK!

We were at Lowes yesterday to return some stuff. While Denton waited in that line, I just wandered. Yes, the Halloween decorations were out. They probably have been for weeks. We don't dress up the house that way. Hell, we haven't got one trick or treater in four years. This year I'm not even buying candy, which you know then will have the doorbell ringing like crazy.

While looking at the moving inflatable spiders, GateKeepers or maybe they were KeyMasters (no, I'm not kidding) and Frankenstein monsters that people actually put in their yard, this was actually the first thing that caught my eye:

I'm sorry, but it looks like Witchy-Poo is giving a herself?? Apparently, she's got wood.

And even if she is offering to bruise the fruit, I'm not paying $148 for something I've been doing for no-charge to myself for the last 34 years.

Naturally, Denton found me over there and I axed him if he saw what I was seeing. He looked around and said, "yes - from every angle" .......which is what I already figured out and had already taken pictures of.

She uses her right hand. For the record, I'm a lefty.

Song by: the Jam

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Tower of Learning

You know, nine years later and it is still a painful memory. The images, the thoughts, the grief is still palpable.

...and I'm not talking about mosques being built near the site. For the record, I'm ok with it. Not all people of Islam are terrorists, just like all catholics are not pedophiles. It is ludicrous to hold millions of people responsible for the actions of 19.

And while I am not for the burning of the Qur'ān, I am a fan of free speech, even if I don't like the sentiment, words or actions - and there is so much of that in free speech.

Just so that douchebag pastor in Florida realizes that his precious new testament can be torched too. There are prices to pay for that kind of free speech, and we'll see them and live through the actions of others who hide behind it.

Of course now that man of g-d, says he won't burn the Qur'ān ever, even if a mosque is built near Ground Zero, but he's done his job hasn't he? He will wash his hands of it all, even though he's put out the idea and someone else takes up the actual task, and you know they will.

My take on stopping the burning of the Qur'ān was similar to the above image. Not so much the NYT best seller list, but to imply to the group that they were funding Islamic terrorist, since of course to burn the book, they'd have to go buy the book - since it is doubtful they had a copy laying around like when they torched Slaughterhouse-Five.

The one thing I have seen with 9/11 is that, except for these someecards, and a Family Guy/fake James Woods snippet or two, there are no jokes about it. I'm not saying there should or shouldn't be, but just hours after the Challenger blew up, there were jokes all over the place and that was before the internets. I don't know where the tragedy/joke line in the sand actually exists.

The image at the title, I have sent to my man-date, Scott for the last three or four years. His birthday is today. I was almost so horrified to hit 'send', since I wasn't 100% sure what his reaction would be. I said 'almost'. He loved it. And I don't ever need Facebook to remember his birthday. .....still, it sucks to be him.

Song by: Rufus Wainwright

Friday, September 10, 2010

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 10 years old.

First off, I moved the Classics back to releases 10 years or older - not five. David (my cousin) thought 20 years would be better, and maybe I'll get there. I'm just not there yet.

Released in 2002 (oops, guess it is not 10 years. Ok, next month!), My Tidy Doily Dream would be, currently, the last full-length release by Marti Jones.

You might recall me writing about a few local concerts I've seen her perform with her husband, Don Dixon (producer to R.E.M, Smithereens and a host of others). Jones started out as more of an interpretive singer, and picking some incredible song selections along the way. Around her third disk, she started slowly inserting her own writing into the disks - and they were actually quite good.

Her second to last release, My Long Haired Life, was ok, but just ok. Even the songs she picked seemed fair at best. Still, it was better than most releases at the time. She recovered with My Tidy Doily Dream.

Granted, it is not as stellar as her Unsophisticated Time or Match Game (my fave), or Used Guitars (all currently out of print), Dream is still a strong disk.

Jones is the owner of an incredible alto that I don't see replicated anywhere else on radio or in other artists. And while the music is not truly complicated ("Innocent Kiss"), Dixon uses his production skills to still make it complex and yet pure at the same time ("Slave").

Dream is a very cohesive album and not just a collection of songs. If you're looking for a huge variation of style, save maybe for "Celebrity in Exile", you're looking in the wrong place and the wrong artist. Jones works with what she has and she does it well, but studio trickery or radio-friendly song selection (read: disposable) is not her game. Had it been, with her skill, she could have had a career as a pop artist a long time ago. (fun fact: she sang the demo to the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian".)

Like her other disks, this one was produced by Dixon, who also had a hand in the writing. While Dream might not be as creative as her earlier disk of the 80s and 90s, the style and talent are there.

What's great about Dream is that with all of Jones' great back catalog songs, this one now has some of my favourite songs, not just of hers, but that make the bigger list of great songs. I do love "Slave" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Fly", "Once in a While" and "Innocent Kiss", but the best of the best is "Lifeboat". That is one that will make my all-time best songs list.

The rest of the disk is good too. I would highly recommend it. It's on iTunes at least. Most of her back catalog is not. Is this her best disk? No, but it's still better than most anything out there.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

To Love is to Bury

It's been a few years since we've taken on a home project. Yes.........years!

Trust me, we've needed to do stuff, but since October 2008 with the economy going down deeper than Linda Lovelace on John Holmes, we were a little gun shy to spend cash on home improvements.

Our last big improvement was an outdoor one, which I'm sure I blogged about here, and I'd link you back there if I had the time and inclination, but more importantly, if my archived pictures were back up and running.

We put a lot of time, effort and $$$$ into the landscaping. The previous owners had crap for taste and took even less care of the planted crap. We had it ripped out and started over, basically.

For sure, it was expensive - more so than I think plants should ever cost. And granted the distance from the hose hook-up to the actual beds is a ridiculously long ways away.

So this year, after the one hundred umpteen days of 95 degrees and up heat this summer, all those 'spensive plantings started to perish. There were too many bushes, flowers and trees and not enough hoses or time in the day.

Rather than let everything die, we have opted to go one better: put in a sprinkler / irrigation system.

Oh, it will benefit the lawn as well.

I'd like to say that our lawn looks this way because of the work being done and the BobCat they drove around on it. But it's not. Normally, I'd be upset had workers ruined the yard this way, but this is actually kind of an improvement.

This part of the yard has been challenged our entire time here. Water can only make it better. ....and yes, we've aerated and seeded the lawn - several times.

Those thingies sticking up are the hoses that will become the sprinkler system.

More of the "front" lawn. Technically not the front, but it's too difficult to tell you how the house is arranged and where the lawns are situated. Back is front, front is side, side is back. It is all topsy-turvy.

Again, had big equipment been parked on the lawn on good grass, I'd be hopping mad. But I'm not. Right now, it's like parking on cement.

Allegedly, the work will be done on Friday, but that is in "contractor time". So far, they've been pretty reliable and on schedule. I'm a little psyched to get another project under the belt. But next time, we gotta do something on the inside. It cannot be all outside work. It just cannot.

Song by: the Cowboy Junkies

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Monday Moaning

It's been forever (years?) since I've done snippets from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Yes, they have a weekly section called: Monday Moaning. It is where basically all the Grandpa Simpsons of the world, or at least Northeast Ohio, write or call-in to complain about the most inane things - ever!

It used to be that each one was a gem. Now, only 1-2 a week are good. Maybe I've become jaded and cynical. Yes! Become!!!!! Shut up - all of you!!!!

I'm going to go back over the last few weeks and pull some of my faves. And even out of these, there are only a few good ones. Yes, I know it's not Monday, but help me out here.

"I see men with half their undershorts hanging out. Where are the police when you need them?" -- Cleveland

"Why don't all the cereal box makes finish cutting the slit where the tab goes?" -- Cleveland

I was at Calvary Cemetery last week to visit my cousin's grave. He is in section 95, and they only had one section marker. They used to have more than one." -- No city

"Regarding the new Cedar Point ride: If I wanted to swing 301 feet in the air, I'd get paid to be a window washer. That's just crazy." -- Fairview Park

"I really resent paying a lot of money for cable TV when, at 6 a.m. Saturday, the only things on hundreds of channels are infomercials. They really suckered the public on this." -- North Olmsted

"People: He throws a ball into a basket. Get a life."-- Lakewood

“When making a phone call, it is simple courtesy to let it ring 10 times. Older people need more time to get to the phone.” -- Euclid

“I am sick of seeing these Bodies exhibition billboards and advertisements. They are disgusting. God said bury the dead. That’s what they should do.” -- Cleveland

"We have a married woman on our street with two little children that she walks up and down the street with in her skimpy two-piece bikini. Please stop doing this. You're a grown woman, not a 12-year-old, so please dress your age. It looks awful to be running around the neighborhood half-naked." -- Brook Park

"Ohio needs rail transportation. I am 75 and visit my grandchildren in Columbus. It is difficult to drive Interstate 71, and I cannot drive at night. Buses are confining, and I need to walk to avoid cramps. Flying is too expensive. I know parents who have to drive to pick up college students. Why is Ohio always behind other states?" -- Rocky River

I wish a few TV meteorologists would learn how to dress professionally. The men do a terrific job, with shirt, tie and jackets. There are a few women who like to wear miniskirts, and how can we concentrate on the forecast when that's what they are wearing?" -- Avon

"In response to last week's moaner about being tailgated, he's probably being tailgated because he's driving too slow. I can't tell you how many times I have tailgated myself because people can't manage to get up to the speed limit. If you don't want people tailgating, drive faster." -- No City

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

O Captain My Captain

Somehow I got duped into being the captain of our wellness team at work.

Maybe I should be honored that when corporate decided to have a wellness challenge a number of people asked me to join their team. A late comer was my direct boss who thought our division should have our own team.

No one in our division works out of the same office. We are spread out from Connecticut to Missouri to Atlanta. Even the few from Philly don't work from the same office.

Anyhooo....I kind of volunteered for the gig of team captain only because I thought someone else took the job and I was just trying to score points for "making the attempt".

The joke was on me: the other person just said he'd participate, not head the team.

No worries. I'm fine with being team captain, and of course, I'm doing it with humour. My motivational messages have been tongue-in-cheek. I know that better health and exercise cannot be dictated and that everyone doesn't have the same desire, goals or skill set.

The first two weeks will be just to see how many more steps you can do in a day - with the help of recording them from a pedometer.

I've been wearing mine for about two weeks (the challenge didn't officially start until yesterday) just to get baselines on what I do on gym days versus non-gym days. It's quite amazing actually on how much I do versus how much I think I do. And Spin class does not rack up as many 'steps' as you might think. I think the pedaling doesn't record them the same way as walking.

An man will walk an average of 7200 steps per day. 5200 for women. On some charts, 9,999 is considered 'somewhat active'. Even as much as I walk per day, or on the elliptical or treadmill, I have yet to reach the 10,000 mark. So I'm only 'somewhat active'........or below that.

The sad fact is, I'm more active than most on my team, so this will be an interesting 12 weeks of doing and recording activity for all of us.

My thing is: even if it gets them thinking more about it, I've done my job.

Song by: David Broza