Monday, February 28, 2011

My Music Monday


This week's pick? Blondie.

In 1979, Blondie came out with is what is probably the first video album. With the release of Eat to the Beat, they recorded a video for each and every track on the album.

Since, at the time, I believe it was only released on laser disk, and well, I knew of no one who owned a player, I didn't see most of the videos for years and years.

With the remaster of the CD a few years ago and the advent of DVD, the label combined them and released a audio/video version. I snapped it up.

Keep in mind the original release date - at least two years before MTV. There is nothing high quality about any of the videos......not really. Almost all of them were recorded in the same corrugated tin warehouse and seemingly on the same day.

I struggled with which track to choose, as it is one of my all time favourite albums. And yeah, it would have been easy to go with "Dreaming", and I love the song "Slow Motion", but I am going with "Union City Blue".

Shot outdoors, and Debbie Harry "playing" guitar. But I do love the song.

Sorry if you are forced to sit through some YouTube advertisement.

Sunday, February 27, 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!


Finally, new music I want to get my head around. The Decemberists have a new disk out, The King is Dead.

While I've liked the band over the last half-decade or so, I can't say I was a huge fan. An entire disk would grate on my nerves, but certain songs I just really really liked: "Engine Driver", "We Both Go Down Together", "The Perfect Crime" and "Here I Dreamt I was an Architect".

But I have to say, the release of the first single from tKiD, "Down by the Water" just really grabbed me - and I was eagerly hearing what else would be on the record when it was released late last year. I even picked it as one of the top songs of 2010.

I don't think my affection for the song had anything to do with the fact that Gillian Welch sings harmony on it. I didn't even know she, and her partner, David Rawlins, would appear on most of their album either. I love Gillian - though clearly an acquired taste, she is.

Normally harmonica would drive me up a wall, since most cannot use it effectively. That does not happen with this song. The harmonica gives the song a definite Neil Young vibe. ...which is good, if you like Young - and I do.

R.E.M.'s Peter Buck also shows up on a few tracks as well. And while clearly a good guitarist, he pretty much plagiarizes himself on "The Calamity Song". His guitar work sounds exactly like "Talk About the Passion".

Nothing against the majority of the band, but the songs are written and sung by Colin Meloy. Like the rest of their disks, normally this could get tiring and run the risk of repetition as you go through the disk. Yeah, this album has some of those spots, but it dodges them for the most part.

"This is Why We Fight" has really grown on me.

"Dear Avery" is a nice closer. Starting very stripped down, it slowly builds during it's five minutes and has some nice backing vocals that fit and seem out of place at the same time.

Overall, the band has put together a cohesive album that don't go too too deep into the storytelling realm they are used to. While that is what set them apart, for me it got a little old.

The band is talented, Meloy is a great songwriter. I like the slightly stripped down version of the band - the more acoustic (but not totally acoustic) approach. It's a really good album, but I'd stop short saying it was a great one.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February


Wasn't it just the other day I was saying I'm tired of Winter? Didn't I say it was the umpteenth time I have said it this year?

Well - you can make it umpteen and one now.

This pic was taken from my office. 11 floors up and yes, that is ice on the windows. The ice became worse before it finally melted.

Roads weren't touched (again). Almost every public office and school was closed (again). Five people showed up to the office - including myself.

Yes, I could have worked from home, but I had stuff that was office-related I really had to get done.

It was nice that my car has all-wheel drive. I hadn't had that before. Except for one major hill, going down it, I had little to no trouble on the roads, even though it was total anarchy out there. No lines to be seen - it was a frickin' free-for-all. For the most part, I led the way, so I was all good.

Oh, I should mention I cleared about 5" of snow before I left for work. Yes, another firing up of the snowblower at 06:30. I knew I wouldn't make it back into the drive when I got home from work - and oh, how true that would have been.

Upon my return 11 hours later, even though the snow had stopped hours before, I knew it was bad. A half a block from our house there was a mountain of snow so big, put there by plows, a front loader was trying to clean it up. I got home and still had to clear another 7" of snow.

Have I mentioned I'm tired of this? Because I am.



Song by: Dar Williams

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crash and Burn


Let me set the stage for this image, if I may.

My man-date, Scott, months ago was working at a hoteling desk at the top of this staircase. There he saw a co-worker actually fall down the steps to that landing you see right there.

However, her head kind of went through the wall. And by "kind of", I mean it did go through the wall.

Yes, I know we should all feel bad about this, but it turns out accidents like this get people talking and it turns out not tons of people had kind words to say about this woman. Oh, the things that bring the office closer together.

It's not like Scott pushed her down the stairs.......or so he claims.

It's not irony or kismet, but poor Scott took a tumble himself this last weekend. That co-worker didn't watch him. Some 20 year old hipsters had to pick him up after his fall. This was after "grandpa" went to an indoor BMX track and kind of did some damage on the course he was never meant to ride.

Should I mention he doesn't own a bike and hasn't ridden in years - let alone a mountain bike?

It turns out, that every trauma doc in the city is aware of this indoor park. How does Scott know this? Well, since he had to be transported from one hospital to the trauma hospital, those docs dropped a little knowledge on him.

The story came to me as four broken ribs, a broken leg, punctured lung and bruised spleen.

It wasn't as bad as all that, but it still left him in the hospital for three days. I spoke to his wife, but not him.....well not until yesterday. I didn't want to make him laugh, since he was in so much pain.

But yesterday he sent me an email asking for me to just get it out of my system and say whatever I wanted to say since he was bracing for it.

Honestly, I had nothing snarky to say. For a half a day, before I knew of details, I was genuinely worried about him. He's good. He's at home, resting. I'll see him in a week or so.

Oddly enough, he still wants to buy a bike and go riding this summer. We'll see if follows through with that. I can't blame him if he doesn't.



Song by: the Bangles

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wait for You


We wait.

For the plane. For the cleaning of the plane thanks to some rugrat who either had an accident with a pistachio milkshake, or because of one. I blame the parents.

I blame the airline for having us line up to board (stupid Southwest) and then give no announcement for 45 minutes. And then make us wait for "5-10 more minutes", which of course means: infinity +1.

Seriously, they had to replace at least one seat. Replace. Not clean. How fucked up is that? They weren't even cloth seats, but leather. Shouldn't a "pistachio shake" be able to just be wiped up from leather seats?

The irony of course, is that I left Nashville at 16:20 so I could get home at 22:00. I could have taken a direct flight at 20:00 to get home at 23:00. As it turns out, I'm getting home later than the direct flight which left 3+ hours later. The jokes on me, I suppose.

So during my layover, I ate at Phillips, which you would think would be better than Quiznos or Subway, but in reality, crab cakes in an airport terminal, even from a reputable chain, is even dicey at best.

I'm tired. I'm skipping the morning gym routine - again. It's pushing midnight, I just got home (most of this was drafted in the airport last night) and I have to get to bed. Even I need to be in bed more than five hours.


Song by: Lindsey Buckingham

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tennessee Plates


Lordy Lordy Lordy - it is nice to be in a place that isn't under ice or dark as can be - and that could even mean the middle of the day.

Yet, here I am, in Tennessee - but not volunteering like others are in the state...at least according to their slogan.

Here it is in the 50s! I left Ohio and it was in the mid-teens, streets still almost impassable and covered in ice. Our home was not left in the dark, but a few thousand were. ...and then there were the delays at the airports - mostly with de-icing, but man some people are stupid when it comes to boarding a plane. This is why I hate Southwest. ...there is assigned seating for a reason. No standing around wondering where to sit and hoping it's not a middle seat. Just do what the the damned boarding ticket tells you.

As it turned out, I got in over an hour late, which means my day started way later than anticipated.

But that said, I do like being in the Nashville office. It is more populated than the Cleveland one and it's nice to see a lot of interaction - not to say I don't really like the folks I work with in Cleveland. But TN just has a different vibe.

Not that I'm looking to relocate here. I don't know I'd mind it that much, but I don't know if it is something Denton would want to do - not that it is really an option for me anyways. ...nor has it been offered.

Ahh well, whatta gonna do. I'll be back in Cleveburgh by 23:00 tonite. Back to the cold. Back to the Winter.


Song by: John Hiatt

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Like the Weather


I am so over Winter.

I feel like I have written that before. Possibly several times before. And that is just this year, forget the other umpteen years of blogging.

All that ice build-up we have had over the last few months, finally melted away with a few days of above 40 temps. Well, the slightly warmer weather and a bunch of ice chipping and scraping. And it is almost all back in the course of six hours. Lovely. Not to mention the grass we had all week is not covered with a few inches of snow, and possibly another 2-8", depending on which weather channel you listen to.

Fudge.

Naturally, this always happens when I have a client meeting that needs air travel to get to them. It won't help air-traffic matters much that Obama is coming to town today too. Stupid frickin' restricted air space.

At least where I'm going will be in the mid to upper 50s. I can't guarantee what it will be like upon my return, but first things first - I have to get out of town before I get back into it.



Song by: Suzy Bogguss

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Music Monday


Time for another male artist. I tend to skew more towards female artists in my collections and music posts, so I'm trying to make sure I mix it up a bit.

I'd say I'm going a bit off-track with this selection, but I'm not sure I have a track.

Robbie Robertson, if you know him, was a member of The Band, made famous for their song "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and even more famous by their farewell concert, The Last Waltz, which was made into a Martin Scorcese film of the same name.

Robertson went on to score a number of Scorcese's movies. He also did music in the recent Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Robertson, while Canadian, is part Mohawk, part Jew. Now there's a combination you don't see every day! I'm just sayin'.

Robertson made some solo disks after the break-up of the Band. Much of that work has elements of Native American music, including my selection - "Somewhere Down the Crazy River'.

It might not be such a surprise that Scorsese directed the video. Maybe his only music video helming. While simple in nature, the shadows and light are still kind of neat to me.

The vid also includes a number of other musicians - folks from the BoDeans, Daniel Lanois, Larry Klein and Maria McKee.

I apologize in advance if you're forced to sit through an ad. YouTube is becoming less fun this way.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Four Seasons in One Day

I was down at Cleveland Clinic over the weekend and wandered around, after doing what I had to do. I know most people are in and out of hospitals when they have to go, but I was always impressed by the Clinic's art collection.

One of my favourite pieces is there, and I actually contacted the artist. It was a one of a kind and way out of any price range I could afford - $33,000 !!! Je don't think so. Not that it was for sale anyways.

But the one theme they had going on currently (yes, they rotate it like a gallery would) is 'celestial art'. Some cool star-like art, a few pieces I like, but not house appropriate, I don't think. They are also not for sale. The Clinic does not sell their art.

They also have a few video installations too. The one I very amateurishly filmed is below. A tree that cycles through all seasons - from the artist Jennifer Steinkamp.

I apologize for the unsteady video shoot and even the clumsy editing. At the time of shooting it, I wasn't planning on posting it, or I would have been more consistent about the original taking of the video. I did set it the "film" to a really good Crowded House song though.

It seemed like a serene Sunday post.





Song by: Crowded House

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Last Night


My little plan of going out three nights in a row was a bust.

I am no longer a man in my 20s. Or even my 30s. Hell, I'm not even a man in my early 40s.

With the work week over and our temperatures dropping from the high 50s back to winter coat weather, I wasn't prepared to go out after my day was over. Frick, I didn't even bring a coat to work, as I was unaware that it was slated to get colder. ....and oy, the wind. Always with the wind. My office windows creaked all day long. Gusts of 40 mph.

I was happy to come home, change into sweats and do almost nothing. Veg. There is something to be said for it. Yeah, on the surface it seems like a waste of time, but in its own way, it can be kind of therapeutic. Kind of.

I'm actually (yes, posting this the night before) sitting around watching an Arcade Fire concert on cable. Since winning the Grammy for Album of the Year, there is a lot of blogger buzz about 'who are they'? Hipster title be damned, I'll take them over the shittylicious Lady Gaga song. Absolutely horrid.


(my nephew thought this was pretty funny - and I'd agree.)

But browsing the Billboard charts, as I am apt to do, their win didn't really translate into a huge sales bump for them - going from 80 to 52. A decent jump, but nothing you'd expect for that "award". Mumford & Sons and the Beibs got bigger bumps from their performances. I'm somewhat grateful I've never heard a Justin Beiber song, but I did enjoy M&S's performance.

Ok, now I'm just babbling. Time to wrap this up and go to bed so I can get up and possibly workout. Yes, I'm actually considering skipping the gym tomorrow. Somedays you just gotta veg - and work. I have a lot of work to do. On a weekend.

Blech.


Song by: Lush

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wine, Women and Song


Well, I had two out of three. No song.

Yesterday was my second night of socialization for the week. Two ex-co-workers from what Denton calls my 'temp job' - the one year stint I did just a little while ago.

It was just wine and small plates. Kobe (not Bryant) Beef Carpaccio, some fries with truffle oil and calamari in a spicy tomato based sauce. And wine - did I mention wine?

To be fair, out of the number of people I worked with at this job (and who did not work for me), these are the only two I stayed in touch with. I don't plan on ever using the folks from this place as a reference per se, but I guess keeping in touch with two people doesn't make the year I spent there a total loss.

For not seeing each other for quite a while, it was nice and easy discussion. ....and that isn't just the wine talking.

So, we'll see how social I want to be tonight, since I know I have stuff to do on Saturday too - and that event is a family one, so I have to really gird my loins for that.



Song by: Patty Loveless

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meal Marbed Shel Anaim


See what bastardization happens when you try to translate something from Spanish to Hebrew to English?

...and it doesn't fit the post, but I was looking for a song title with 'meal' in it. Actually, I was looking for one with 'broad' in it, but it only came up with 'broadway' - not what I was going for.

Last night I had dinner with a good friend and former co-worker. Actually Kathy took my position when I was outplaced 4+ years ago.

I love Kathy, but she is a broad. ...and I say that in the best possible way. She is brassy, brash, bawdy.....all of the 'b's. Never bitchy.

I had never met her husband, but he's heard a lot about me over the last 6-7 years and he joined us for dinner. What a great guy. He'd almost have to be though, right?

The plan was to meet on her side of town, since when we do meet-up, it's always closer to me. That's not fair and I'm ok with going on the other side of the Cuyahoga. Trust me, there are tons of folks east and west of the river that are not down with that. I know - right? Queer.

So we went to this little Eye-talian place. I had taken Denton here for his b-day dinner maybe 5-6 years ago. Kath, Dave and I had no reservation and when we got there, we were the only people there.

Do you have a reservation?, we were axed. Kathy looked around at all the empty seats and said, no, but if it was a problem, we could go to Tartine. She said it with a smile.

The service was good (queer-ish waiter), the food was really good, but not as good as I remembered it. Perhaps I romanticized it over the years. ....but what a scam. Cash only. Lordy, those owners are skimming more than a little off the top, you just know it.

We chatted and, poor Dave - we attempted to not talk too much old job talk, and we didn't, but neither Kathy nor I are shy when it comes to blurting out what most would consider inappropriate conversation. I have to believe Dave is used to his end of it, so he was a good sport.

This is my socialization week. One of my non-travel weeks. Yesterday it was Kathy, tonite it's two women from another job, Friday, I'm contemplating going to G2H2 and Saturday is a family function.

...Sunday might be detox.


Oh oh oh....before I forget, look what they had in the men's room at the restaurant. Have you seen this before? Is it if you've had too much garlic?

Weird.


Song by: David Broza

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

See You in the Spring


I'll be honest, I don't have much to blog about today, but if there is a picture of my future husband (Denton? Denton, who?)....... Just give me a reason to post a pic of my ultimate.

Mr. Blobby Hafner.

Do I care that he's married? Do I care that I am? The question is rhetorical, naturally. Oh, and the answer is also, 'no'.

Anyhoo, Spring Training started yesterday. Another sure sign that Winter is coming to a close.

I love the thought of Spring Training. A new year full of hope that the Indians can crawl out of, and stay out of, last place in their division. I don't dream big, but I'm no fool either.

Being a Cleveland Indians fan is a frustrating and life-long position to be in. Save a few seasons in the mid to late '90s, you just have to tough it out and wait for the opportunity. I'd say it never comes, but then I go back to the mid to late 90s, the multiple division championships, the league ones and two appearances in the World Series.

Sure we lost, but what a ride.

I'm ready for the ride again. And if Mr. Hafner is off the DL (finally/again - and yes, for some readers here, I had to link what the DL is), and is driving, I call 'shotgun'.


Song by: the Courtyard Hounds

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pork Chop


I'd rather have a root canal than go out on certain nights of the year: New Year's Eve (unless it's a cool party at a close friend's house) and Valentine's Day come immediately to mind. Amateur hour.

The crowds. The hype. The planning. The price. ...and the inevitable let down.

Admittedly, we tend to be homebodies and especially when these days fall on a school night - like last night. But that is not to say we didn't plan ahead. There is nothing wrong with a nice meal at home - and that's what we had.

To be all Brady Bunch about it, we had pork chops & applesauce.



(really, just let it buffer and then skip to the 45 second mark.)


Don't ask me why, but for some g-d known reason, my mother thinks that phrase is just the funniest thing ever said. ....and she's been around since before George Burns and Grace Allen were famous. Ok....maybe that is a slight stretch, but only a slight one.

I don't think we've had this meal in the last 38 years without my mother quoting....ugh....the Brady Bunch. I just know, if she ever gets full on-set Alzheimer's, this is the one phrase she'll retain and say it over and over and over again.

Undoubtedly, the judge - any judge - will let me off with Justifiable Homicide.


It's a good thing I have a good husband, because the meal, while well intentioned, was just fair....much like any Brady Bunch episode.

......yeah, I brought it full circle.



Song by: the Jazz Passengers

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Music Monday

I've opted to combine a Valentine's post along with My Music Monday. I'm not sure VD is important enough to interrupt the M3 segment.

But to make it a themed post, I went through all the songs in my iTunes liberry that had 'heart' or 'valentine' in them. I almost went with a selection with the former, but went with the latter.

I only have three - three! - with that V word. ...and yes, one is "My Funny Valentine". Shocker, huh?

Since about 1985, I've been a big fan of Rickie Lee Jones' live version that is only available on her EP, Girl at Her Volcano. While I have (or had) that on vinyl, I think it's only available via import on CD.

While the video is similar to the record version, it's clearly not from the same performance. Feel free to skip the first minute of set-up for the song - it is just a guy tinkling on the ivories.



Oh, and cuz I'm in a Valentine's mood, I'll give you a shot of me, from a few years ago. You've seen a similar shot from years back, and it's from the same red hot photo session. Me modeling a t-shirt that Rebecca (don't bother going to the link, she hasn't updated in months or years!), sent to me.

I think I grew and keep my beard to cover up part of my jowls. I'd like to say that when this was taken back in 2009, I was heavier - and I was - but the pudge in my face is still there. They don't make a Nautilus machine to work on that. I think that is called: diet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 12th 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.

07:10. After a long hard night of sleeping, Stripey McBrownerson Sophie needed a nap. She really is an explosion of colour. ....the browns, the greys, the blacks and whites....and that terracotta nose.

08:00. Post-breakfast / Pre-gym tooth brushing. I think the dentist gave me a pediatric brush during my last visit. I gotta pitch it.

08:19. In the car, on the way to the gym.

11:05. A gate. Just because.

11:07. A walkway between my gym and some building on Case Western's campus. I liked the color of the brick(s) and the light to darker tone of the blue sky.

11:11. CWRU's wind turbine. Taken from the parking deck next to the gym.

11:30. The Peter B. Lewis / Weatherhead School of Management building. Or our Frank Gehry building.

11:35. The Cleveland branch of the American Heart Association. It also happened to be both my cousin David's and my great-grandparent's house. Both my father and David's father were born in that house - and no, they were not brothers. Both lived there till our respective sets of grandparents moved into their own places. I have never stepped foot inside the building.

12:10. Clementines on an Apple. Part of my post-workout snack. One of the three I ate.

12:30. The carnage from my post-workout snack.

15:30. Pseudo Self Portrait on a lazy afternoon watching Wuthering Heights (Heathcliff, it's me, I'm camping......). I liked the light in my ever-greying beard. Not so much of the pores on my cheeks and on my big honking nose.

16:30. One more of Soph. She's not the lady you think she is. Another angle of her that just isn't flattering. Here she looks like a big cat, but she really isn't.

21:45. Your Baker's Dozen. No pun intended.

You know that healthy snack I had about 10 hours ago? I eat that, and workout so I can eat things like this. If I didn't do the first two things, I would still be eating the cake and such. But you'd read about me being carried out of my house after they had to cut a hole in the side of my house.

I'll be honest, I only ate about half of this. The rest will keep for another dessert on another night.


That's it. A full year of 12 of 12 for me. Who'd a thunk?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bleed to Love Her


Is it that time of the month?

No longer do you have to ask that question.

Etsy, which is all things handmade and vintage (even if the name makes no sense to me), now has menstruation calendars.

The calendar is handmade. The period is vintage.

This was almost my Site of the Month, but I wasn't ready to do another placeholder post, and yet that Muse still is on the lam.

It also reminds me of a little anecdote. I remember being able to torture my little sister who was just becoming a 'woman'. Right around the same time, there were some feminine protection ad where a girl is sitting on her bed, avec Walkman-like product and behind her on the wall was a poster of Led Zeppelin.

I turned to my sister and I says to her, I says, "you know, girls who listen to Led Zeppelin free-bleed".

"Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm".

Can you believe I got in trouble for that?

But for props and total credit, I did get the site from Meredity.

She's an Etsy-girl, but I think it is more for just knitting, and you can't knit-one, purl-two your Aunt Flo, no matter how hard you try.

...and c'mon, how can I not use that above image? Who needs a fuckin' Muse, when I got that?

Oh no. I just realized, what if that little bleeding Japanese, Princess Leia-doo'd avatar is my Muse? (though, really take a look at her t-shirt. love it!)



Song by: Fleetwood Mac

Friday, February 11, 2011

Black Mirror


Now and again Spo will write how his Muses have left him - and he has nothing to write about. I get that.

Unfortunately, I have never had a Muse......unless I count that handsome devil in the mirror! But even this week, he's been a harsh mistress.

Some days, let alone weeks, are torture to write. I don't know how the professionals survive. I do this for "fun", clearly not for cash.

I wasn't planning on doing my Shopping with Blobby or RotM-Classic segments so early in the month, but I had nothing. Nothing, I tellz ya.

Work has been brutal, but you know I don't talk much about specifics on that, and I won't now. But with that and the frigid weather, I'm ready for a get-away.

As you know, Denton and I are horrible about vacations (scheduling and taking) and such but I'm in need of making plans, even for a long long weekend. And I'm thinking it has to be somewhere warm - but as I look at the map, there ain't much out there that is boasting of "shorts weather".

I was supposed to go to Los Angeles this last week for work and that got 86'd. While out there, the plan was to see friends, but clearly that didn't happen either.

It's not that I want to spend my vacation time out in L.A., but at least it's a thought - and then take a few days in Palm Springs. Yeahhh....that sounds good right now.

Well, I'm off to check flight prices on a trip that will most likely never materialize. There would be no Muse on this trip, just tales of happenings on the road. See? I'd do it for you!



Song by: Arcade Fire

Thursday, February 10, 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.


What can I say - the Lion and the Cobra is a great debut album.....albeit the cover art is slightly different now than when it was released back in 1987.

Sinéad O'Connor was almost at the top of her game from the word 'go', being all of 21 years old when it came out, but the music spoke of a woman with a century of life experience. Maybe I'm just making that comparison due to the opening number "Jackie".

The song plays out like a play from the 19th century of a widow's tale about her husband lost at sea. It starts so softly and demure and just builds and builds, showing what control and strength O'Connor has in her voice.

It is not coincidence the next track goes right into a much more modern rock track of "Mandinka". With her voice dipping and peaking, she was immediately compared to Kate Bush - a thing she disliked, as I saw once. She said she had more in common with Elton John. Eeek.

Still it's a great song and was the first song I heard and saw from her (thank you '120 Minutes' on MTV).

My friend, Jon, who never remembers this story, but at a co-worker's re-wedding (eat, drink and remarry) we may have gotten drunk and I went out to my car and got a cassette (yes, a cassette!) and hijacked the reception music. We played "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" and danced together. We were the only ones dancing - I'm sure to stares, as two men danced to music others had never heard or would ever hear again.

All the songs are strong and to this day I love playing the entire disk start to finish. O'Connor's music, lyrics and voice are seemingly erratic, but when you listen to it, they are all extremely controlled. She is an artist who knows exactly what she is doing ("Drink Before the War", "Just Like U Said it Would B").

I really love "Just Like U Said it Would Be", but the stand out cut of the disk is "Troy". It is like a piece of art and truly the centerpiece of the disk. The vocals are so outstanding in terms of softness and strength, of love and defiance. I've listened to this song more than any other on the disk and it never gets old. Ever.

That all said, it's not a perfect album - not for me. I skip over two songs - "Never Get Old" and "Just Call Me Joe". They don't gel for me and while in some respects they keep in the spirit of the album, in other ways it breaks the flow. I don't think it is surprising that both these songs closed sides 1 and 2 of the vinyl version.

Yeah, I know most people know O'Connor from the SNL/Pope thing, but don't let that taint (hehehe......I said 'taint') your view of a great singer-songwriter. 24 years later and I'm still wow'd by this disk.

Wednesday, February 09, 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!

Who the fuck does Uncle Sam think he is ?? He can't tell me to eat free range yogurt.

It's like Obamacare and his Death Squads......with the government tellin' me what to eat and how to eat it. This is bullshit man. BULLSHIT.

Oh wait - I don't like yogurt....nor do I eat it.

Nevermind.




.....yeah, I had nothing else to blog about today. How'd ya guess?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I See You


For some, an impulse item is that pack of Freedent at the cashier counter when you're at the grocery store.

To others, I suppose it's a Corrine Bailey Rae CD at Starbucks when they get their daily half-caf, soy-light, double something or other. ....I don't drink coffee.....can you tell?

....if I could only get off that cheaply.

At the end of last year, when I went to pick out my new glasses, I had it narrowed down to two frames - the ones I got, and the ones I think I really wanted. I like the ones I chose, but honestly, this is the look I was going for.

You know how I say that ads never influence me to buy anything? I lied. Granted, I wasn't buying the car that was what they were selling, I wanted the glasses that John Slattery was wearing in the ad for said automobile.

If internet searches are to be believed - and we all know there are no lies on the web - the frames are from Tom Ford. Mr. Ford can be kind of nice to look at from time to time, but he seems way too full of himself and he just comes across as a twat. And while the frames are not sold in Cleveland, I doubt I'd pay whatever the marked up cost was, even if they were.

So I got what I chose and moved on. Kind of.

The other pair I was John Kerry'ing over, I just couldn't get them out of my mind. So when I went to pick up the pair I actually ordered, I tried on the frames again - and that was my impulse item.

I opted to get them. The frames were actually quite reasonable - it's my lenses that drive up the costs. I'm kind of / sort of blind. I have to get the special poly-carbonate lens or the pressure of the two tons of glass would break the bridge of my nose. Yes, I'm that blind.

In the back of my mind, I kept hearing something my cousin David (yes, him again. He makes a lot of appearances here, doesn't he?) said at lunch the other day about him being Mr. Magoo and I was thinking 'no, that's me.'

I think this could prove my point.

Part John Slattery; part Mr. Magoo. All me.

So I went home with my first pair and I kind of / sort of might have forgotten to mention to the husband that I plunked down some additional cash for yet another pair of glasses. Or as he pointed out the other day, to friends, I might have a few too many pairs already when he called me "Imelda".

So what? Now I have a pair of glasses for every day of the week. Big whoop. To be fair, two of those pair are only single vision and I can't wear them if I have to read anything.....so........there!

Actually, Denton does not begrudge me this luxury at all. I was just teasing, though he did call me "Imelda". And I know I won't buy any new pairs for at least two years now. I'm solid.

Yeah, it's a slightly geek(ier) look - even for me. I think the reason I opted not to get them in the first place was they are almost a bit casual for client meetings. So now I just won't wear them to those meetings.

But I did find out that I don't look as much like Mr. Magoo as I thought. Nor Mr. Slattery. Nope.

I think this is closer to the mark.

Song by: Raul Malo

Monday, February 07, 2011

My Music Monday


I'm going out on a limb here and assume that no one but Dith who reads my blog has heard of the Be Good Tanyas.

Can we just all agree on that?

Traditional music you could call it. Not quite country. Not quite bluegrass (somewhere, my cousin David is cringing!). Not quite plain folk. It's a nice mixture for the Canadian trio.

I first (and only) heard "The Little Birds" on MuchMusic, Canada's answer to MTV - and way cooler, at that. Of course, they never quite broke big here in the States. I don't think they broke big in Canada either. Admittedly, I never purchased one of their disks but downloaded some stuff off - wait for it - Napster! When Napster was Napster and not a pay site, but just pure file sharing. ....or stealing, if you believe the RIAA.

Granted, I know this music isn't for everyone, but I am not sure you can deny their talent for harmony. But check it out, you might like them.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Superball


Ugh - yet another Super Bowl.

Can I even begin to tell you how little I care about this event? Actually, I can't. There are no words to describe my lack of interest.

I'm not sure Ben Roethlisberger has looked this good in a long time anyways. I don't mind that he plays for the Steelers, I don't even mind his exonerated rape charges. Yes, multiple.

I just can't get over how many fake teeth he probably has from his motorcycle accident a few years ago.

I'll probably watch the Puppy Bowl VII. I'm looking for Max to take the MVP. How can he not? He 'loves show tunes'.

...and how many more aging rock "stars" do we have to see piddle their way through a performance - if anything is plugged in to begin with. Yeah Pete Townsend, I'm talkin' to you!

I don't see the need to sit through the Super Bowl for the commercials anymore - they're out there anyway. Thank you internets. No reason to sit through football for commercials that are usually overrated anyways.

That being said, I am loving the new VW Passat ad. Yeah, I am a Star Wars geek - but you know that by now. Maybe you'll love it, maybe not.



I love the way the Lil Vader's cape flows behind him. I love his "eyes" at the end. I'm not sure how the look he gives make the eyes almost look expressive. But I like how the dad raises his eyebrow too. Congrats to Geo Lucas and John Williams for allowing this to happen.

Since I've already seen this ad, why turn on the Uber-bowl at all? I shant. I shant.


Song by: Aimee Mann

Saturday, February 05, 2011

I'm an Adult Now


I am an old man.

My nephew, Matt, turned 18 the other day. We celebrate tonight.

When my sister sent me this picture, I had to remind her he was 18.....not 21. Her response? "oooops".

I like to think my nieces and nephews are better behaved than their uncle was at that age. They'd almost have to be. I'm sure this probably wasn't his first beer, but in some ways, I'd like to think it was. I'm a little protective of him.

18 years. Where did the time go? Somewhere in the background, "Sunrise Sunset" is playing - no?

I remember the day he came home from the hospital. He wailed when I held him....but so did his sister. I had never held babies before those two. My then 20 month old niece was great....and thought he was great....and then promptly took that bag that came home with him from the hospital and placed it at the door. She was done. He was to be temporary.

When Matt was young, I decided I would mold him in my image. Scary, huh? I knew I wouldn't have kids, but I thought he'd be the perfect protegee. And for the most part, it has worked.

He has a great sense of humour. He has picked up excellent musical tastes. Well, I guess that's all there is that I can pass along. He's a lot more than I am - a straight A student, a ranked tennis player and he plays guitar, bass and drums.

I do have to say, his parents have never dissuaded me from this endeavor of me being his guide. They chuckle at our interaction and anymore he's become quite quick with his verbal jabs. In return when they were young, they were asked who they wanted as guardian if something happened their mom & dad. I got the nod. Their lawyer made it official.

Denton and I do a lot with Matt - movies, concerts, stuff like that. I can honestly say, I never had even one day out, let alone attended any events, with any of my uncles as I was growing up.

In six month, he'll be away at college. I tease my sister that they'll be all alone and lonely when he's gone, but in reality, so will I. But for now, I will enjoy the time with him.


Song by: Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, February 04, 2011

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)


Whatta do when you have nothing to write about?

I'm tired of writing about the weather - and even I felt that was stretching it the last few days. It's boring and it makes me feel boring.

As Tom G would say, "everyone's talking about the weather, but no one's doing anything about it!".

So all I got is stealing a link from Kenneth in the (212). It's not the best mash-up in the world, but it is not bad either, and it contains two great bands: Arcade Fire and Blondie. The songs are "Sprawl II" and "Heart of Glass" respectively.

Just something at the end of the week where I don't have to think too much about subject matter.


Song by: the Arcade Fire

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Motherly Bluster


As expected, we awoke to ice.

The forecast was for an inch of ice and allegedly it was only 0.7" of ice, so they were way off!

But it was slick, as ice normally is. I guess I mean, there was no traction at all, like the driveway had been Zamboni'd. Yes, it's a verb.

I got to take out the trash at about 06:00. Given that a year ago I fall down and go boom on the drive, with no one around, it was probably foolish of me to do this when Denton didn't know where I was - since he was still in bed.

Naturally, I didn't think of this until I was halfway down the drive with a bag of trash in each hand. Yes, my cousin will tell you we have a relatively flat drive, but that is until you get to the end of it. Then it's just this decline to the street and once I hit that, I just let Sir Isaac Newton's law do all the work. All I had to do was balance myself.

I didn't fall, I just didn't need to walk anymore to get to the street - not that I wanted to go that far. I really had little option.

Getting back up that little incline was a challenge too.....and I got to do it for another round of crud to put out at the street. But no falls.

Our ice wasn't as bad as Morty and Dith's in Columbus. Downed trees, no power and such. But still, I had already opted to work from home. Denton did not, but had little trouble getting to work.

06:00 was 41 degrees! But then an hour later it was 28, then 22. So the rain and ice then became snow and ice. Then the snow became blustery snow. See?



It was a good day to stay home, but I will attempt the gym and the office this morning. I like not leaving the house, or my sweats on days like these, but I feel like I'm not apart of the land of the living.

Sophie likes having me home though.



Song by: Ghost

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shadowland


About the only thing that could make this "holiday" worthy, is of course, a cupcake.

Cupcakes make everything better.

You've heard my rant before - shadow or not, Winter still ends March 19th or 20th. The groundhog does not predict six more weeks of "Winter-like" weather....just six more weeks of Winter.

Guess what fucking happens in six weeks from today? It's March 19th or 20th. SHOCKER!!!!!

Anyway, with the "1000 mile big storm" that varmint would be best to stay underground and out of the snow, freezing rain and sleet that is supposed to hit and rehit us and Punxsutawney.

Yesterday, I left for the gym at my normal time because the weathermen (not the radical '60s group) said we'd have 1-3" of snow overnight. ummmmm...those must have been reverse internet inches, since we had about 6-7".

Yeah, I could have just made my way out of the driveway, but the prediction was for 4-8" at some point over the next day or so. My worry was getting back in the driveway after I got home from work.

So you wanna know how to possibly probably piss off the neighbors? Fire up the snow-blower at 05:20. ....but to my suffering, I did it in sweat pants and cross-trainers.

And I did get to the gym about 25 minutes late, but I was all sweaty. Yes, the snow-blower does a lot of the work, obviously, but lug that machine up and down 80' of driveway for 30 minutes and it's kind of a workout. So I skipped my cardio routine and went right to the weights to make the most of my time.

The plan is to work from home today. I see no reason to trek into the office where almost no one showed up the day before. All I have is conference calls anyways. I can do that with a cat sleeping next to me......not a groundhog.

Six more weeks people. Six more weeks. Its always six more weeks. ....but now I'm in a mood for a cupcake.



Song by: k.d. lang

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Payin' the Cost to be the Boss


It was a matter of 'when', not 'if.

I travel a lot. The boss who hired me when we moved to Cleveland, way back in 1996, also travels a lot. We parted ways about 12 years ago and I haven't seen him for 11. But with all of my ins and outs at the airport, running into him was bound to happen - right?

Clint and I had a weird relationship. I spent more time with him for almost three years than I did with Denton. Actually, I did spend more time with him.

I was the only male who reported directly to him and he provided me tons of opportunities - which really helped me become the professional I was. However, he also provided me with how not to be a manager. His appropriateness, or lack of, were just textbook on what not to do or how not to behave.

That being said, the man helped fuel my heavy drinking. We'd go out 3-4 nights per week after work. We'd even stop to get a drink on the way out to drink. Denton was not outwardly unhappy with me, but was relieved when Clint and work parted ways. He didn't like it when I was out until 11pm drunk drunk drunk.....and then drive home that way. That I never had an accident or DUI is a major miracle. I should be beatified by now.

He even intruded on times when out of town friends would come to Cleveland. Morty and Becca can attest to this.....though Morty made the most of it with funny, still-used quips.

On the plus side, he turned me onto darts, and I played so often, I own two sets and became quite good at it. But I was playing 3-4 nights a week.....and doing it drunk.

Denton and I would go out with Clint and his wife quite often for dinner, but I was always so uncomfortable in how he treated her, and she really was a nice woman. But it got to the point that we just stopped accepting invitations and then it just became no communication for the last decade.

People I had worked with or that I was in professional organizations would ask me about him, but I had no idea. He really just dropped off the face of my earth.

But there he was - in Concourse D. Standing with a woman not his wife.

Correction: standing with a woman, not the wife that I knew.

I made the first move and went up to say 'hello'. He had to have seen me, but I figure I'd be the "bigger man". It was an ok conversation, but somewhere stilted, and in there he slipped in that "Diane", the woman he was with (I honestly don't remember her name) was his wife. Ooohhhhhh.

Guess the starter-wife, of 25 years, had had enough. Can't blame her for that.

The stranger thing was that she traveled with him weekly, or would never see him. I joked, 'well at least you get to see the sites when he's working 12 hour days'. The answer was 'no', she mostly stayed in the hotel room. Ewwwww. What's up with that?

Weirder - I think - was that when introduced to her, she seemingly recognized me by name. She commented, "he talks about you all the time". I'll say it again: 11 years since I have seen him.

I guess it was nice that he asked about Denton. But hell, he had a new wife, why did he not think I did too? Don't I deserve a trophy husband? (ok, this lady seemed nice, but hardly 'trophy' anything.)

Maybe he was being nice, but said he would like to get together for dinner. I don't think that's a relationship I'd like to start up again. It would be too strange.

However, he is a VP at a big medical firm - and I could always use a new lead.......you know, just in case......



Song by: Pat Benatar