Monday, January 31, 2011

My Music Monday

While taken from a Fleetwood Mac concert back in 1996, with this version of "Big Love", one would be hard pressed to call it 'Fleetwood Mac'.

Since it is Lindsey Buckingham, the only person playing and only person singing, it is hardly a band effort.

I will give him this, he took "Big Love", a decent (not great), studio song from a decade earlier, rearranged it musically and completely transformed it into a show-stopping performance.

Buckingham, in my mind, has always been a woefully underrated guitarist and he shows here that he actually is in the upper tier of his craft. There are no studio tricks, no overdubs, no pre-recorded tracks. His execution of this song always makes me smile.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Like Egypt Was

Let my people go.

Or as Tom G would say: Let my people go-go!

He always was one for "the dance".

But this stuff in Egypt is some fucked-up shit to watch go down. I'm not siding with Mubarak (or Moubarak, depending on which outlet you read - it's kind of like Kadafi/Kadhafi/Gadaffi) or anything, but talk about history in the making.....and history being destroyed.

Literally, Egyptian artifacts have been damaged in the riots over the last few days. While secruity and police try to protect them, there are real lives out there being lost over protests of non-reform.

After 9/11, I did have some respect for Mubarak. As a middle-eastern country leader, he was seemingly the voice of knowledge when it came to how terrorists were cultivated and how the U.S. and our actions with war would create 40 more for everyone we killed.

Judging that we are still at war almost eight years later, he wasn't horribly off-base.

But according to his people, he is off-base. They is one angry mob.

I won't even pretend to know all the facts and what the tipping point was. Admittedly, I was not paying attention to the international news and then - boom - there it was. That's all there is. Yesterday's 30 minute NBC Nightly News broadcast, 19 of their minutes were only on Egypt. I do love how newspaper articles and newscasts talk about what's going on, but never with the recap as to how they really got there.

I am interested to see how this turns out (Mubarak will resign within the next week, is my guess), but to see what the short-term and long-term effects will be interesting to watch - to say the least.

Song by: Michael Penn

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Site of the Month

I had another SotM ready to go, but I can't say I was thrilled with the selection, so I held off. Truth be told, I'm not thrilled with this one either.

However, I love the URL. Is Charlie Sheen Dead? It made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

g-d, I wish.

His shows suck. His life must really suck since he's squandered so much of it away. The only thing I can imagine him being good for is fodder for the Soup.

btw...I totally lifted this from Joe.My.G-d. I mean, it's not like I'm following anything about Charlie Sheen so much that I knew that someone dedicated this to him......or in spite of him. But I'd like to shake their hands for creating it.

I've been a few times to the site and the message changes. Who knows what it will be when/if you decide to visit it.

All I can say is that Emilio Estevez never gets this kind of coverage - though he could have one that says The answer would be: EONS AGO.

President Bartlett must be disappointed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

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 one comes to me, thanks to Morty. It was not my own find. Thanks Mort.

....and never ever ever ever would I buy them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Against All Odds

Like clockwork, when I write about work travel, someone will reply that they don't know how I can do it. Either the allotted time on the road, or the hassle of road, rail and/or air. To say nothing of hotels and food habits.

I chalk most of it up to them not having that same experience, and that's cool. I remember when I first started doing it, and everything seemed like such a hurdle for me. On my first trip, my flight was canceled....and I had no idea what I was going to do. After that, you learn to adapt. You have to - or you least internally.

So, I've had canceled or delayed flights, bad meals, stuck trains, hotel fires, people having sex in the room to which I was assigned....and all of that. But I adapt.

I do have to say, I normally don't have multiple bad things happen in one trip though. The odds - who knew?

I'm sure this retelling will have people defiantly stating they would not want to do what I do.....and I get that. I'm not looking to convert anyone anyhow. I mean, it's not like the gay-enrollment program we have doing on. ohhhhh.....I've said too much.

I took TONS of pics over the last two days or so, but I'm not making this a 12 of 12 on the 27th. I'm limiting it to a few pics with the story.

I was in Philly and had planned on seeing a client in York, PA. There was scheduled rain and freezing rain, but it seemed doable. After my plane was to leave yesterday evening, it was to turn to snow.....I figured I'd be long gone.

However, I woke up to about 3" of snow and it was coming down fast....and it was only 06:00. Checking the weather, it seemed unlikely that I'd make the 90 minute trip each way and still get to the airport on time. It seemed unlikely that planes would be flying at 18:00, so I rescheduled my client lunch and changed flights to 13:30. Easy, right?

Now I had time to kill in the hotel, but I could work and take calls. That didn't last long. The fire alarm went off. I was only on the third floor and it was really cold and snowy out so I just thought I'd ride it out. Mr. Fireman knocking at my door (yeah, it sounds like the opening to a porn movie scene.....but alas it was not), told me I had to leave. I took a few minutes to finish packing and just decided to leave the hotel. That was the one of two good things of the day....and the one smart thing.

There was no fire, but a carbon monoxide leak. Can you frickin' believe it?

For this there were nine ambulances and about eight fire trucks. ....and tons of firemen and EMS workers.

One I got to see up close and personal. Nooooo....not that way. Since I had woken up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache, of which I thought nothing of, EMS asked that I step into an ambulance to get checked out.

No worries, nothing wrong. My blood-pressure was higher than normal, but not high....just high for me. My pupils were fine and all. They offered to take me to the hospital to get evaluated, but I thought that to be a little extreme. I went on my merry way - after snapping a picture of course. (actually, I took one in the ambulance too, but it was shitty.)

So after that, I just got in my rental and took the 20 minute hour drive to the airport. Damn weather. Oh and on the walk to the terminal, I found out my dress shoes had a crack in the sole, as I had a sopping wet right foot and sock.

And I had to stop at ticketing to have them issue my new ticket, they could not do it electronically. But they had no record of me changing my flight. UGH! My original flight had already been canceled six hours in advance, so had the flight before that. The 13:25 was my only option. ...and they had no record of me.

I did get on stand-by though. I scurried (yes......scurried) to the assigned gate....which was empty. Fuck.

It turns out, not that the flight had left, just that they had moved gates....and thankfully, some lady just sitting there reading told me. I never had a chance to thank her, so if she's reading this.....'thanks'.

They were almost boarded and as luck would have it - I did get a seat. Not sure why it was 'stand-by'.....after me and three others, there were still 6 empty seats that I could see. Everyone else I know who was with me on this trip and did not leave the day before are still in Philly, by all accounts....some maybe even at that hotel...if they were allowed back in.

With all that rushing around, naturally, no real food was consumed this day. Here was my lunch.

Appetizing, huh? Continental supplied the pretzel and water. I always carry granola bars in case I get stuck on a plane.

One last shot, after we were above the clouds, the snow and the gunk - and even airplane air was making my head feel better.

....oh, and I lost one of my gloves, probably left in the ambulance or when I got out of it. I threw the other one away.

So there you have it - the glamour of an on-the-road business guy. It's not all nice hotels and expense accounts.....quite the opposite. It's not a bad life, and it pays the bills. Some days, like everyone else's just sucks. Mine happened to fall on yesterday.

Song by: {ugh} Phil Collins

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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!

There hasn't been anything new that I've purchased - or even anything out there that I want to purchase. Here's hoping someone comes out with something that I want to buy.

No biggie, I've been relistening to The Rising by Bruce Springsteen.

Actually, it is Springsteen & the E Street Band, but they're not credited as such on the album title. Truth be told, I'm not what you'd call a 'fan' of Springsteen, and especially the band, but he has his moments - like Tunnel of Love and Nebraska.

I was in a bookstore (remember those?) when they were playing The Rising, and I took to it. So much so, that I purchased it right then and there.

You can, and other have, call it his post-9/11 album, and I suppose it is. Knowing that, it is hard to listen to it without invoking those overtones.

While in the Borders, the first song that came up was "Waitin' on a Sunny Day". In theory, it should have made me walk out of the store. The Mellencamp-esque violin/fiddle, the hick-like accent Springsteen puts on is almost a little too much. Yet, I was intrigued more than turned-off.

It's a good record, but not a great one. There are some great songs, but the ones that aren't take the album down a notch.

I'll start with the no-so good stuff. "Let's Be Friends" annoys me. Not typical Springsteen, which in some ways shouldn't be bad, but I can't sit through it. I like "World's Apart"- the pacing the but I have never been a fan of someone who has to put "la la la la" in as vocals. It's lazy and rarely ever fits, and there are so many of them it should have been called "La La La La La".

Then there are what I would call the typical Springsteen tunes: "Lonesome Day", "The Fuse", and "Mary's Place" (is he still milking that Mary, from "Thunder Road"?).

But then there is the very very good:

I love the grit of "Farther On (Up the Road)". It is, for me, the stand-out cut of the disk. It is on a decent rotation through my iPods and iPhone. I thin it is one of his best songs that he's ever done. I like how he provides his own harmonies near the end of the track. Well done.

But I really like the title track and "Nothing Man", but really enjoy "Countin' on a Miracle".

The above songs surely have some 9/11 undercurrents, but there are more blatant cuts that call that out, including the title track, but there is "You're Missing", "Empty Sky" and "My City in Ruins". Some work well, some are ok.

As an E Street disk goes, it is the a great disk. Bruce himself has better solo records, but using Pearl Jam's longtime producer Brendan O'Brien wasn't a bad idea to help pull this off.

You can't make a Springsteen record not sound like Springsteen, but at least he helps mix it up a bit to make it sound fresher.

Most of my readers probably won't go buy it, and that's cool, but some of it is worth sampling via iTunes if you're interested.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Warm Ways

Normally I don't care for most commercials. Normally I don't watch most commercials - that's why remotes and DVRs exist.

Oh, how Morty went on once about the "Roy" commercial, to the tune of one of the Rocky songs....and then there was the thing about "French benefits". It took me forever before I finally saw them.

But show me a commercial, that has animals and isn't an ASPCA/Sarah McLachlan (I give them money, but I cannot stand seeing abused animals), and I'll stick around to watch. That ad where the dog buries his bone, dreams about it and then takes it to a safety deposit box will keep me on the channel at all times.

So I was just being lazy and watching an NFL play-off game (I know - right?) and saw an ad for a new Nissan electric car. One I will never buy, but that's not really the point. I'm not sure an ad has ever swayed me to make any purchase.

In the ad, I do like how Nissan acknowledges climate change.

There have been recent polls and data out that show alllll those folks who used to trend in favour of believing in climate change are now back at pre-An Inconvenient Truth numbers. Frustrating.

I'd say it's a cute ad, but it's not. It has cute aspects and it is well done. Still some of the opening shots just break what little heart I have.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Music Monday

My new weekly feature of music I like, even if the videos are sub-par. I'll try to find cool videos as well.

Today is the Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I Have a Need for Solitude".

I used to be a big fan of Carpenter's over the last two decades, and her style has not changed all that much. My tastes might have, because, while I still love the sound of her alto, her last two or three albums have bored me - more than just a little bit. She used to mix it up in tempo and such, but now it seems like one continual song................for three disks.

I stopped buying them.

That being said, this track is off her latest disk, 2010's Grammy nominated The Age of Miracles.

I like the track a lot, but as I've sampled the others from the disk, I don't like any other song enough to purchase the entire album.

Still, I do like her voice and the song is nice. It makes me want to go back and listen to some of her older music.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

You Look So Fine

Ahhh....the new eyeglasses have arrived.

Actually, they came in on Thursday, but you know Friday, to go out, I would to have been Nanook of the Northeast Ohio.

It wasn't much better yesterday, but I was already out cuz I went to the gym - yes, I got my sorry ass out of the house to go lift and spin. So after wards, I just trekked up the the glass place and picked them up.

I like them and everything is crisp and clear, not that my prescription has changed in 2+ years. But it's a new and different look. I'm diggin' it. As if anyone else will - who knows.

Almost right after getting home, my mother called and asked us to lunch. Sure she was being nice, but in reality she had three of her grandkids with her and I'm sure wanted a break where she didn't have to be the only one to interact/watch them. ...and hey, it was going to be a free lunch for me - so take that Milton Friedman!

Naturally, Milton got the last laugh on Blobby. Ya had to see that comin'.

Those kids. One opted to point out that my new glasses were 'geeky'. ....and that was just the start.

I can't argue with that, but I purchased them knowing full well of that affect. These kids will one day the desire for a little individualism. They should see the other pair of glasses I wanted to get am getting. Total geek.

Granted, I did not eat the best at lunch. Not the healthiest, that is. My 12 year old niece said it didn't look like I worked out. And at some point, with my flannel, jeans and boots, one of them allegedly said I looked like 'a farmer'. (I didn't hear the comment.)

Eh - at least they didn't say 'lesbian'.

The littlest one told his sister to be nice, since I am kind enough to let them stay over, play games and have fun. I told him he was spreading it on a little thick - especially for a six year old.

My mother didn't say if she liked my glasses or not - so I'm taking it as a 'no'. She did comment on where I got them and 'aren't they expensive there??'. Mommmmmmm.

I have to say, I do like the artsy-fartsy image I took for the title shot (really, click on it to enlarge). But it doesn't give you a great sense of the glasses, per se - does it?

So here you are - or, here they are. On me.


Song by: Garbage

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cold as it Gets

Man, it's frickin' freezing.

Yesterday it allegedly got up to 16 degrees, but that doesn't include wind chill, which took it to the negative numbers - not that Celsius crap either. Today 6 is supposed to be the "high" - which seems to be the wrong term.

Yeah, I'm scheduled to have my Spin class and an hour of weights, but let's see if I get my non-icicled ass out of the house.

I opted to work from home yesterday because I wasn't going out in -4 weather if I didn't need to. And I didn't.

Hell, we almost skipped going out to dinner to celebrate our 26th anniversary. (yeah, I buried the lead.) We will still celebrate this day even though now it's not our wedding anniversary.

Anyhoo, we did end up going and were glad we did, instead of bundling up in sweats and making a pizza or something - which would have been so easy to do. But we went to the old Baricelli Inn, which is now the Washington Place Inn.

The Baicelli was one of two 5-star places to eat in Cleveland. They shut their doors over last summer, leaving us with zero 5-stars on the AAA or Michelin rating guide. I guess that's ok with me - 5-star is too frou-frou for me anyways.

WP (as I'll call it, because I can) has some nice space and really good food - and a lot lower key fare, and atmosphere...........I'll assume. Oh, and our waiter, Arturo, was what Jessica Stein calls sexy-ugly. Ugly would be a very strong word, but he wasn't classically handsome, but still nice to look at and listen to.

So for the second time in a week, you get to see what I ate for dinner.

Cauliflower Bisque - with balsamic drizzle and a little blue cheese crumbled in the middle. Very well done. That was the appetizer.

Hangar Steak - medium rare. Butter/blue cheese sauce with it. The asparagus was good. The fries were ok. I don't like rosemary as much as Ina Garten thinks I should. The taste is ok, but I honestly don't think I like the smell that much. I wasn't wild about the aioli and it didn't seem to work on them. Denton tried them though, and he liked them.

This was a homemade brownie and two very very tiny scoops of chocolate ice cream. We shared - so it's not like we each got a dessert. I forgot to take the pic before we dug in.

We also killed a really good bottle of pino grigiot - one of the best I have ever had. But it had been a pretty bad work week for me, so I "needed" the alcohol.

So yeah, 26 years. It's nice that we've made it this far. We just might go the distance. The day wasn't horribly special, as I didn't even bother to shower until right before dinner. I didn't gussy up for him and no presents were exchanged. According to the web the gift of this year is: original photographs.

...and you have them.......three of them......right above in the post.

Song by: Patty Griffin

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just My Style

I was honored and humbled (well, as much as an egomaniac a blogger like me can be humbled) when I learned Larry from Patently Queer bestowed this prestigious award on me a few days ago. Thanks to Larry for thinking of me specially out the 10 or so bloggers worthy of this award. I accept this award with gratitude and appreciation....and for the children.

The rules for Stylish Blogger Award (yes, there are rules!) are simple:

Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this honor (check)
Share 7 things about yourself (check)
Award 15 other bloggers (reduced to 5) (check)
Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award (ehhh...probably not, but Larry did not do this part - I'm just sayin')
Here are my 7 thingies:

1. My first three cats were named 'Petunia'. Mind you, I was under 5 years old, so I'm not quite sure, but I think some may have involved untimely deaths or successful escape attempts, along with a total lack of imagination on my older sister's parts when it came to naming rights.

2. Due to various surgeries and accidents, I have scars on my forehead, my right leg, three on my abdomen (I really can't say 'abs', can I?) and my right testicle. Yeah - you read that correctly. btw....chicks dig scars! ............Ive heard.

3. The first record I ever purchased was the Carpenters self-titled disk - or their second album. The first record I received, a year or so before, was from Gilbert O'Sullivan. I have no idea why my father would have gotten that for me. I think he must have regifted it - though I can't imagine anyone actually giving him that - even though I was in 1st grade. Songs of suicide: is that really appropriate (and not well done, at that)?

4. I have played many an organized sport: baseball, football, basketball, swimming, wrestling, cross-country, track, golf and tennis. Most lasted 1-2 years. Golf lasted quite a bit longer. Cross-country and swim team lasted four.

5. I haven't had a soda in almost eight years. Almost never miss it.

6. My MMPI told me I had addictive characteristics. Like I needed a psychological exam to tell me that!

7. I still want to learn how to play guitar. I don't see it really ever happening.

I didn't have criteria to pick my bloggers who may or may not pick this up. I'll list them, but I'd never really call them out to do it. If they want to - great. If not - that's fine too.

Large Tony over at West of Mayberry (he's always looking for something blog about)
Tornwordo over at Sticky Crows
Chris at Mangina Monologues
Sean over at Just a Jeep Guy
Erik at Erik Rubright

Song by: Rachel Sweet

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Normally when I travel for work, I don't do much on the "downtime"....mainly because there really isn't much, if any. If it's not client dinners, it's team-member dinners, though I usually duck-out of the bar hopping afterwards.

Yeah, I used to be a big drinker, but I'd much rather go back to the room and veg. It's official, I'm an old man.

When I used to travel to DC, I'd try to have dinner with some friends and totally break away from work stuff. But I don't travel to DC much anymore and where I go now, not many of my friends reside.

So it was great fun that when in Philly the other day, I got to have dinner with my friend Sal. He's re.thinking real estate. And when he's not, he's fun to hang with.

Sal took me too a restaurant that is called Salt & Pepper. I'm not sure if it's new, but it is in a new location - according to those in the place. I have no reference, so it's all new to me. I do not think the menu is updated on the website, some things remain, but isn't quite the same items. And the site says BYO, but they clearly have a liquor license now. Oh, and the logo on their door is way cooler than the one on the website.

The irony? There are no salt or pepper shakers on the tables....or anywhere in sight.

The place is run by the husband of a co-worker of Sal's. Rachel is really really nice and I didn't mind that she hung out at our table - as she was tending bar and taking our order. She also sent over an appetizer that I didn't get a picture of......however, I did get pics of our other food.

A Gnocchi appetizer with crispy pancetta. I like Gnocchi, but I couldn't help look at these and kept coming back to that they looked like those bugs that would crawl out of ears in sick bay on the Star Trek Enterprise. At least they tasted good.

Hard to see, but Sal got a scallop appetizer. The scallops were incredible. I didn't get a pic of the rolled sashimi with wasabi that Rachel sent over as a courtesy.

Yes, a hamburger was my entree. A 10 oz one with Gruyere. The chopped parsley on the tomato was a nice touch. Honestly, after the appetizer, I didn't even need the 8 ounces that I eventually ate. No dessert was consumed, though a full bottle of red wine was.

As you can see from the title image, the pics we took (and had taken) of us, were only so-so. I kind of like the one atop, even if Sal is making a goofy face. Sure, the flash would have made them clearer, but we sat at a window seat and the reflection would have been horrific.

I took that pic, but the ones that Rachel took of us came out no better - well, except for Sal's goofy face. There is a much better one of him, but I cut the upper half of my face out (not a deal breaker for any of you - that's for sure), but it's my blog....not Sal's.

....and for the record, I had a hard time with the post title. I have very few songs with the words 'salt' and/or 'pepper', so you just got a Salt-n-Pepa song title, which I don't own. It's the only one I could think of except for "Let's Talk About Sex".....and that just seemed wrong.

But if you're in Philadelphia, I highly recommend Salt & Pepper.

Song by: Salt-n-Pepa

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Walk When You Can Fly

I'm back on the road - and to the east - Philly to be specific. Well, Allentown/Bethlehem to be very specific, but I stayed overnight in Philly. No one wants to stay overnight in Bethlehem. All of the sudden you're stuck in a La Quinta and it's one step above a manger....but without the amenities.

As you can see from the above image, travel in the east did not go particularly well yesterday. Storms consisting mostly of ice went from Chicago to NYC and DC - and everything in between.

Oddly enough, Cleveland was supposed to get hit, so to prep, I skipped my morning gym routine to build in extra time to get to the airport. I made it in 20 minutes on the bone-dry roads. So much for that forecast being nearly correct.

There were delays, but mostly for getting into Philly. The plane boarded late, took off later and then we circled and circle and circled. And then we sat on the tarmac for another 30 minutes.

I missed a lunch meeting with my team before a presentation - and arrived with like 15 minutes to spare - and an almost empty belly. I'm smart enough to pack food in my computer bag, but all I ate were two clementines and a granola bar. Oh, and the two packs of pretzels that the flight attendant gave me.

The drive from the airport to my meeting wasn't horrible - no icy roads, but the spray from the other cars and trucks made you have the wipers on at high speed - and it was slow(er) going.

The trip back was worse, but mostly because of rush hour. I saw that coming, which is why I spent last night in Philly. I knew I wouldn't make the last flight back to Cleveland based on how late the meeting was going and the commute. So I stayed and had dinner with a friend. More on that tomorrow.

Here is the lovely aerial Ohio shot before everything clouded over. This was the least gloomy the trip would be - how sad is that?

Here is the Ben Franklin Bridge - spanning from Philadelphia to Camden, NJ (one of the scarier places on earth!). Still, it's a nice view from my 14th floor hotel room.

That's it. That's all I got. I still like work travel, it's just that days like yesterday frustrate me on not being able to get from point A to B easily. Ahhh...that Mother Nature.....she sure is a mother.

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Town

This is not a new video - actually, at this point it is a few years old and made waves around our fair city. Most of them not the good kind.

But it struck a nerve due mostly to its accurate depiction. Ok, it's not quite accurate, but one could see how it is like this here in Cleveburgh.

I had seen it before, but my long-time friend (I guess I'm not supposed to say 'old'), David G, sent this to me since he thought it was funny. ...he also thought it was new since Tosh.0, as goofy-looking cute as he is, must have featured it on one of his shows.

There is a sequel video too, which was just bad

....and yes, I'm traveling, so it's really easy to post stuff like this when I don't have tons of time to craft my own, more original, stuff.

Song by: the Michael Stanley Band

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Music Monday

Ya know, doing 365 posts per year is quite daunting and exhausting - especially when you're only two months eight years in and nothing to say.

I'm going to try out for a month or two My Music Monday.

On these days, I'll just post a video I like. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you won't. Maybe you'll listen to more of the artist's music, perhaps you will not.

While I'd like to have the videos be cool, I'm thinking it's more about the music. But you know, it can be hard to separate a good song from a bad video, so we'll see what happens.

Of course, I run the risk of not finding anything you like or be stymied by anything I even want to put forth to you folks. I mean, in theory, I could be giving you 52 of these a year......unless something totally awesome happens on a Sunday that I need to post on a Monday or 12 of 12 falls on a Monday. Exceptions to every rule.

I guess the video day could be any day, but then I'd have to come up with a whole new alliteration. That seems like work to me.

Up first: Marti Jones and I think what is her one and only video: 'Any Kind of Lie', the title track of her 1990 album.

It's not her best song, just the only one with a video. She never recorded much to begin with, but does it even less so now. Her last full album I think was in 2002. She spends her time painting in Canton, and the occasional concert.

Anyway - I hope you enjoy the new segment. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Walking With a Ghost

I won't even pretend I have anything to write about.

It's cold here. It's been snowy - not heavy snow, but still enough daily to keep things whiter than David Dukes' picnics......or John Kasich's administration.

Sounds like we're in for a potential 'wintry-mix' on Monday, you know, the day before I leave for a work trip. I love fighting for my own seat on the plane because four other flights have been canceled. Then I get to fly there and drive - and since I'm heading east, I'll most likely hit the storm a second time. Joy of joys.

The good news is - weathermen are wrong about 40% of the time, so who the hell knows what is what.

Let's see, what else? I ordered a new pair of eyeglasses yesterday. I'd show you a picture of them (I didn't go with the ones from my year-end photo least not yet), but that can be an entire other blog entry when they come in next week. I did take pics of me in them, but here's the deal: I look good in them (I think), but they (and me) photograph horribly. I tried like six times and each was worse than the last. No worries, when I get them, good or bad, I'll let you see them.

So, what do I have for you today? Well, I've been sitting on this image I snapped about a month ago. I was actually praying (ok, maybe wishing) for a red light - and I got one. Thanks Jambi.

Ghostbusters is real? Who knew? (and if you thought for a second, I'd have Ray Parker Jr., ripping off Huey Lewis, as my blog title, you don't even know me at all!)

Spiritfinders is 'real'. Or just a sham for the merch. That's my guess. They're GMC white van isn't nearly as cool as the ambulance in the movie. Where do they even store their charged particle beam proton packs?

I do like the decal of Casper though. Or as Bart Simpson said, he bore an uncanny resemblance to Richie Rich. But really - who the frick makes decals of Casper the Friendly Ghost? Can even creating the design, let alone producing and distributing it ever bring a return on investment?

For someone who had nothing to write about, I sure ended up writing a hell of a long post - and I'm not even drunk.

Song by: Tegan and Sara

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For the Birds

I have a new obsession. I've had it for weeks now. Months actually.

Angry Birds.

It is all the rage - it has been, as it was the biggest iTunes application download of 2010.

Naturally, I downloaded the 'lite' version, since that was a freebie. You know how cheap I am. But I pretty much breezed through most of the levels from the time I first booted it up on the way from CLE to the time I landed at LGA.

It took Denton a while to convince me to put a crowbar in the wallet to spend $0.99 for the full version.

It might be the best 99 cents I ever spent. The game really soothes my OCD, while perpetuating it at the same time. It sounds crazy, but it is true.

Why pigs have army helmets and TNT is beyond me. Nor do I understand why birds who can actually fly need slingshot launches, but who am I to know these things?

Normally, I can figure out the levels pretty easily. I get which birds do which special things and the trajectory you need to knock down structures and crush the pigs. I like how the pigs get black eyes when part of the debris hits them, but I hate when the swine become cocky when you don't kill them and they smile, showing their teeth to you, in that superior, "ha-ha", kind of way.

Bastard pigs.

There are about 21 different challenges on each level. Right now I'm on level six, so you can do the math yourself how much I've been playing since December.

Yesterday, I finally made it through level 6-14. Honestly, it had been like two weeks of on and off attempting to make it through. Using toucans are not the easiest bird to bring down pigs or their houses - whether made out of hay, sticks or brick. (see how I made a reference to the three little pigs there?)

I will admit being stumped on level 6-14 and even back on 3-15. When you say it or spell it out, it sounds like scripture passages. They way I was muttering 'g-d fucking damn it' when failing for hours on end to get past them, you'd being to wonder if evil was upon me. It was.

Admittedly, I used Goooogle to look up 'tips' on how to get past these levels. It worked for 3-15, but the biggie, 6-14, it seemed I was completely on my own. Those suggestions meant nothing. Nothing, I tellz ya.

But last night, I finally made it past 6-14....and now it's time to set the game down until my next flight, which is on Tuesday. It's time to join the land of the living.

Song by: Juliana Hatfield

Friday, January 14, 2011

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.

For 2011, I thought I'd focus on debut disks - just to make it more challenging for me. I don't think you'll care one way or the other.
It was January 1980 and it was the first time I had heard "Brass in Pocket". I thought to myself, oh the '80's are gonna be a great time for music.

Well...............I wasn't totally right, but I wasn't totally wrong either. For every band like the Pretenders, you got two Kajagoogoos (yeah Dith, I said it!).

With the Pretenders self-titled debut, they possibly have the best opening and closing songs ("Precious" and "Mystery Achievement") of any record, not just a first time outing.

Overall, the entire disk is outstanding - and still holds its own. Ok, truth be told, I never liked "Space Invaders" and "Brass in Pocket" wore out its welcome two decades ago, but the rest of the disk is solid.

The band is incredibly talented, even though Chrissie Hynde got all the attention. Martin Chambers is probably the best drummer I have ever seen live. James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon were great too, though clearly short-lived. Their guitar and bass work were phenomenal.

They cover the heavier rock stuff ("Tattooed Love Boys", "The Phone Call", "Up the Neck" and "The Wait" - along with "Precious") and the lighter fare ("Kid", "Lovers of Today" and "Private Life") - and it all works. And one cover, the Kinks' "Stop Your Sobbing", which is still classic.

Chris Thomas did a great job producing the band and the disk and making it work on all levels.

I loved their second and third outings too, but they never truly topped their debut disk. It's still fun to listen to - even {gulp} 31 years later.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my eleventh 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. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

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. While he said he would stop it at the end of 2010, it still looks up and running to me, so I'm running with it.

I can't say this is my best effort. A work-at-home-snow-day leaves little to be imaginative about. At least half the pictures were taken within a 40 minute time frame, so I'm sorry about that. I tried to make them arty, but I don't think it worked so well.

06:15. I shoveled a path so I could get the paper and take out the garbage. Taken from inside the garage, the big streak is not a comet, just a passing by snow flake.

06:30. Some kind of winter-time decorations in the vestibule. I guess the pseudo-adult way to call it would be twig and berries.

09:30. My clementines for the week, minus 2.5 days worth. What? I've been eating five a day.

09:45. Front yard pine - and all the headlights from the on-coming cars going down the hill.

10:30. My home office. Not really, but the office is freezing, so I just set-up shop in the sun room. The Mac is my personal laptop and I just had it up for iTunes. The Dell is my work laptop.

16:00. The driveway (or part of it) with 6-7" of snow. Time to clear it.

16:10. Running a snow-blower and taking a picture is harder than one might think.

16:25. The driveway (or part of it), no longer with 6-7" of snow.

16:30. Grasses in the snow - side of the drive.

16:32. The oak tree after being pummeled by thrown snow from the snow blower.

16:34. A self-portrait in the snow. I took off my hat so you could all see my ginormous-sized melon head. Actually, I took some pics avec hat, but it looked even worse.

16:35. If you can't see it say 'STOP', do you have to?

18:30. Your Baker's Dozen. Sophie.

She's a cat who likes heat and will sit next to this radiator when it's on. It doesn't hurt that it's next to Denton's shoes. She's a weird cat. She likes to make sweet sweet love to our shoes. She just sticks her nose in them and rolls around with them when they are off. Strange little girl.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Piece of Pie

So I'm 2 for 2. At least in my mind. And it is a beautiful mind.

No, seriously folks..........

I did another new meal last night, Spinach and Ricotta Pie.

I'm not sure why it's called that. I mean sure, it has spinach and ricotta in there, but it has eggs, mozzarella and Parmesan too. I think it has more mozzarella than it does spinach.

...and no, it's not quiche, as Denton called it when he walked through the door.

I'm a manly man and you know we don't eat that. It's pie. PIE. Of course, you say 'quiche' and I think of Sixteen Candles with Long Duck Dong at his first meal with the grandparents and the grandkids.

Long Duck Dong: Appetizing food fit neatly into interesting round pie.
Mike: It's a quiche
Long Duck Dong: How do you spell?
Grandpa Howard: Well, you don't spell it, son. You eat it.

I love Grandpa Howard.

The pie is way easy to make....once again, thanks to Bo's Bowl. I really do need to blogroll the guy. I'm assuming still that it's a guy. (update: he is a guy.)

If there is any criticism, it is that the posted recipe isn't necessarily complete. In the instructions it says to saute the onions and garlic, but in the ingredients it never says garlic, let alone how much. I used three cloves, minced. It worked.

Also in the instructions, it says to mix the mozzarella, parm and eggs together, but never mentions the ricotta. I took my chances and mixed that in as well. I wasn't wrong.

I would have taken more pictures, but I get so into the cooking and prep process, I forget to take pics as I go along. So I only took like three or four.

Here's a quick shot of me sauteing the onions, garlic and spinach.

Here is the finished product. Nice, huh? I think so.....and not just because I made it.

I'll fully admit, I used a store bought frozen pie crust. I wasn't getting home from work and making dough and such. It was so not going to happen. And the mixture just is heaping when you put it into the shell. I thought it was way too much and that it would overflow, but it did not. It cooked up perfectly.

And trust me, you only need one piece of pie to feel extremely full. Again, Bo doesn't say how many it will serve, but I think it would feed six folks nicely.

I can add this to my repertoire. Easily.

....and it's not quiche. Cuz I'm a man (yes I am, yes I am).

Song by: Stone Temple Pilots

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'll be honest, I didn't know what to do with the little tidbit my cousin, David, provided me when it came to a story on Andrew Christian underwear.

I still don't know where I'm going with this as I begin to write.

Was it fortuitous that Tony also happened to blog about it the other day? I feel like I'm behind even know about this underwear line - considering David isn't gay (not that one has to be to wear undergarments, or appreciate the article) and Tony doesn't normally like to wear designer briefs, or so he has mentioned.

Unlike Tony, I'm not on mailing lists for this kind of stuff (praise be!). I guess that is why I keep David around. He provides me all the info I need on Jeggings and underwear.

I get the appeal for the less fortunately endowed, but these briefs boast to add around 2 inches to a guy's frontal measurement.

Sure that might be good for picking someone up, but one would guess that someone is bound to be disappointed once the belts hit the floor. They're not heading back to one or the other's apartment based on your sparkling personality or renowned wit. Trust me on this.

Going based purely on myth, David wondered why the white and black ones were the same size. Don't judge - he was only joking. His second observation (which was actually my first), was the mohel.

His workmanship seems a bit shoddy here. Is the concept that these undies fit the bris and non-bris crowd? Even those with the Cabriolet cut?

I suppose I'll stick with whatever they sell at Kohl's or Filene's Basement.

Song by: Tom Jones

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kill the Messenger

I've had a day to try to take in, or deflect, the rhetoric of the weekend and of what this country keeps coming to.

We, as a nation, are completely fucked up, it would seem. That part does not surprise me, but the people who think they are here to make it better are really deluded. It's like a fucking virus that passes from one stupid person to the next.

I think of Steven King's Langoliers where, whatever evil it actually was, just swarms and ruins any semblance of life. These folks want change, but don't really know how to get it with out spewing hate and lies - and while they don't have any of the answers, it is worse that they think they do.

Naturally, these are the same folks who blame the 'liberal media' for how this country and political system has deteriorated.

Let me mention something about the 'liberal media': PLEASE tell me where it truly exists in any major market!!! The Huffington Post isn't that widely hit or used that everyone is getting their news output from them.

Since I had just watched NBC's Nightly News, I was waiting for Kelly O'Donnell to mention Sarah Palin's name when the cleaned up/original image from her PAC was shown. It wasn't. It was dumbed down to say a 'tea party' something or other.

Sarah FUCKING Palin's name is right on it - along with her signature.

Call it out liberal media. Oh wait, they are. Let me try this again:

Call it out general mainstream, too scared to say anything of consequence, media!

Yes, I get free speech and that Palin's PAC can do what they did. Yes, I get that any of right wingers will say the targets are just to 'vote them out of office and nothing more'. But using gun sites?? Are you fucking kidding me. You're dealing with a reactionary group....and you know it. You're actually counting on it.

Here is the liberal media on this - back earlier in 2009 when it came out, there was barely a blip on this campaign from them. Maybe Olbermann and Maddow. But you can bet you sweet ass that if the DNC had done the same ad, Fox would have been all over this shit.

After the 2009 mid-term election, Palin boasted that 18 of the 20 listed had been eliminated and that there were still two more to go. Well now, maybe they're down to one. Happy?

Yeah, I get that the shooter was a complete loon, but I don't see how or why that excuses the likes of Palin, or her advisers (who will be the ones to take the fall - if it ever comes to that - for this). They put it out there, they plant these seeds. Seeds of hate, seeds of destruction, seeds of murder.

Everytime I think I'm fairy desensitized to shit like this, something always scrapes away to find a new layer.

I have no answers. I'd like to have answers. Right now I have anger, but it is so easy to become like they are and give into that. In some ways, I think that is the only way to fight them, but on other levels, what does that make me? Or us?

Montreal or Costa Rica is looking better and better. Maybe that's my answer.

Song by: Shawn Colvin

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hurts So Bad

I guess it was bound to happen. Someone got hurt in the gym yesterday - and no, it wasn't me.

We were finishing our hour of Spin and a woman ran up from the back of the class to Andy the instructor and said something in a frantic voice.

Andy jumped off his bike and hurried back to the room, and even though the place is entirely mirrored, I couldn't quite see the issue. Partially because other had gotten off their bikes, partially because we ride with minimal amount of lighting. It was also a completely full class, so my line of sight wasn't the best.

I started to get off my bike to see if I could help, but I already saw two people around the woman who could assist better - one a doctor and one a nurse practitioner. Another class member had gone downstairs to alert a full-time staff member.

The woman wasn't passed out or in coronary distress or anything like that, she clearly did something to her foot, ankle or leg - while Spinning.

The best I could come up with is that if she was wearing clips (and I am not sure she was) and they became disengaged during our heavy resistance ride. Or if she were strapped in, that her foot slipped out and somehow twisted.

The thing was, during this time, we were sitting, not standing and I just don't know how she did it. Maybe she re-injured an existing malady. Either way, they had to carry her out of the room and into the hallway.

My favourite thing about the entire event, an older Spin instructor came rushing into the room to see if he could assist.....................with our cool down. LOLLLLLLLLLL.

Yes, Andy was busy helping his student, but not only was our cool down the least important thing going, we had also pretty much done our own anyway - not that anyone was focused on that.

I hit the showers afterwards and when I dressed and was exiting the locker room, I almost ran into Andy. I mock pleaded with him "don't hurt me" - insinuating that his tough class had injured the lady. He at least laughed. I mean, it could have gone either way.

After Andy passed, I saw the stretcher.

At some point EMS was called and they were upstairs working on her. I'm sure getting her down the stairs wasn't going to be easy - for any of them. I did go outside to my car where I saw the EMS vehicle you see in the title image. I do hope she's alright though.

And speaking of injury - I don't have one from my personal training sessions. Mostly because they haven't begun. My trainer has not returned from his surgery. So far he's a week and a half later than expected. I hope his procedure didn't go awry. At some point I'll need him, though as of today, no financial transactions have taken place, so in that respect I'm good.

But I do expect to be gym-injured in the near future. No EMS is to be required. Hopefully.

Song by: Linda Ronstadt