Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dig a Little Deeper

Lovely, ain't it?

The house I referenced in a blog post earlier this week, that my parents building 42 years ago (and in which they still live), sits in a community with a lake.

Honest. Normally it has water.

Not these days. Nope, it's void for water for dredging. Currently it is a mud pit. I'm not sure what they need to dig it out for. Better water flow? Less sludge? Fewer mosquitos due to shallow water? I have no idea. I do know that when my sister was treasurer of the 'hood over a decade ago, the estimates to do this project exceeded a half a million dollars.

I'll assume it is even more now. Probably double.

I don't know what its worth is - as there is no direct return on investment when it comes to summertime fun. But as a kid growing up, I used that lake so much for our summer fun and my parents loved it that we were out of the house for hours on end. I'd say it was mostly for swimming, but hijinx that ensued there too.

"Burnout Cove" existed here. You'll have to figure that one out on your own and what went on there. It was also a place where juvenile delinquent Blobby participated in activities that might gotten him better acquainted with the Johnny Law.

I seriously do not know what happened to the Wagner's pontoon boat. We never took it out of that lake, just left it adrift and swam to shore after we were done with it. Honest.

ummmm....the golf cart that ended up in there? I plead the Fifth on grounds that I might incriminate myself. ....though the statute of limitations have probably long since expired, right?

Still it was a great place to hang and swim. Even now, if family is visiting from out of town and staying with my parents, I will go down to be beach and swim. The nieces and nephews like it when I let them hold onto me while we swim out to the deep end to some anchored rafts.

The big two story tall slide is gone - too much of a liability, considering you had to climb the ladder with a pail of water in hopes to have something slickery to make it down the scorching hot metal and into the water without having 2nd degree burns on the back of your legs. Hell, Greg Althans was the only one to fall off the thing! Hardly enough reason to take down the slide!

There had a been a pump to get water to the top, but that broke around 1973, so we carried buckets up one by one, step by step. Now and again, there was a pail and a string that you'd haul up to the top, but invariably, someone would steal the pail. Bastards!

Both the high and low diving boards are gone too. Same liability reasons, I suppose. I still remember the day the lifeguard spent hours with me helping me to get over my fear of jumping off the high dive. After that, you couldn't keep me off of it.

Hopefully the lake will be all up and operational for Memorial Day and that the families and kids have some place to go on those hot hot hot summer days.

Song by: the Watson Twins

Wednesday, March 30, 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!

I'm a little late getting to the review and now more and more folks have heard of the Sigh No More, the debut disk from Mumford & Sons, especially after their impressive performance on the Grammys last month.

At least I thought they were impressive. No studio trickery or wizardry, just talent. And from four guys from London all under 25 years old.

I like their harmonies and their playing. The songwriting is ok to be sure and maybe just not more than ok......but again, they are young.

The problem for me is that for the most part, the disk is pretty one note. Too many of the songs sound the same. It's hard for me to tell some songs apart.

At least with a group like Great Big Sea you get variety. I don't feel that way here.

That all being said, I still don't mind the overplayed "Little Lion Man" and I still really really like "The Cave".

Are they enough for the purchase of the entire disk? Overall, I'd say "no". It's not bad, the not so bad just needs some growth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Star

As Birdie says: You're a star!!!

Well, of course I am.

Duh, Winning!!!

Ok, we all know I'm not. Not really. It'd be nice, but I don't see it happening. Of course, if I were, then like Lindsay Lohan, I'll only need to go by one name. Nay, I'd insist on it.

Birdie wrote a piece on the Bilerico Project and I left a simple two sentence comment. Three, if you count me copying and pasting a reference from her original post. But my contribution was only two sentences.

Those 21 words garnered me the Comment of the Week. I'm sure it was only four of those words that got me the nod. And since it was "filed" by a doctor, you know it's official!!!

I'll let you go read the piece, the comment and the follow-up to my comment. But I was happy to start a discussion with just four words. I can't say I'm happy with how people came back at my comment. Not that they were attacking me or anything, it is just that I'm disappointed in their views. Disheartened, if you will.

I said to Birdie via email, that maybe this exposure will up my readership and get me back those 30 hits per day that have gone bye-bye. Of course, as soon as they read one or two of my posts, they'll be gone like the wind. And who could blame them?

ahhhh.....fame is fleeting.

Song by: 10,000 Maniacs

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Music Monday

Yes, it's that time of the week. The one where I get to bore you with my thoughts and opinions. Oh wait....that is every day! Yet you come back for more.

I've been a bit heavy on the female and country-ish artists lately, so I'll change it up a bit. I try to give you something new and not stuff you might have normally heard of - or seen.

Today's selection: Black.

A little known band from England - at least I think they are. Especially on this side of the pond.

I stumbled upon the cd in a used record store back in 1987. I have no idea what got me to purchase it other than its $0.99 sent price. I probably figured: what do I have to lose?

It turns out - nothing.

The disk was decent. Not stellar, but certainly worth a buck. It contained 3 or 4 good songs, ones that I still play today.

The song today is "Wonderful Life". Not that sappy crappy movie (yes, I know that some of you are thinking 'sacrilege', but the movie grates on every nerve I have, as does Jimmy Stewart for the most part), but a simply constructed pop song.

I do love how Wikipedia says: "Wonderful Life", was a massive hit worldwide.

In what world was this? It barely made the top 10 in the UK - and it had been reissued like three times before it did that well.

Anyways, the video is nicely done. Some good images but still simple. And it is in black and white, so you know that automatically makes it artier and fartier.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Suburban War

g-d, isn't this building just so f'ugly?

Now imagine seeing it through the eyes of a five year old.

At the time, it was the greatest complex I had ever seen.

Keep in mind, I was only five, and it was probably the first building I had seen that was over three stories tall. A high rise in the middle of the 'burbs. It drew the eye of a kid. It seemed a much cooler place to live than a two-story, four bedroomed Ryan colonial.

Correction: a Ryan colonial rental.

For the last six months of kindergarten my parents rented this house while the one they were building (and still live in) was being completed. Oddly enough, the rental was pretty fucking close to what they ended up building. Keep in mind, it was a Ryan home so I'm not sure there was a lot of variation.

But every time we drove past it - which was almost daily - I'd sit in the backseat of the station wagon and stare. Oh, what a grand structure, I used to think.

It is really not. It probably never was, but what does a five year old know (except everything!!!!)? You have to figure at minimum, it's 42 years old and looks like it has never ever ever been updated. But it was a good indication on where we were and that we'd soon be home. It still is. I see it on every flight in and out of the Cleveland airport.

Yeah, I guess I'm reminiscing a bit...and for no good reason. Denton and I were over on "that" side of town a week or so ago. We attempted to drive past the old house, but I already knew it wasn't there. Years ago, it, and the entire street was eliminated for I-480. Just like we were temporary to that house, it was temporary for the world.

Yet the ugly ugly ugly apartment building stands tall - and remains. Much like my memories.

Song by: the Arcade Fire

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sleep Keeps Me Awake

I wonder what's like to sleep for what the medical industry likes to call the recommended amount?

The number of hours is something like eight. You can cut that in about half for me. Maybe a little more. ....and not in a row.

This last week has been especially bad for me.....sleep-wise. Oh, I can still fall asleep at the drop of a hat, which has always been my M.O., it's just that I can't stay asleep.

Bedtime seems to be getting later and later. It's not that I'm not tired, it's just that I like to think that if I go to bed later, I'll sleep later. Yeahhhhh.....that's not working.

The dreams have been heavy, but forgettable. The anxiety attacks however are very real.

I try to thwart both of those things with reading my book and/or doing a crossword right before lights out. Normally it helps, but not lately. Not this last week or two.

I should be way more exhausted than I am. For the decade and a half of my pseudo-sleepless nights I've adapted well - at least for the most part. This last week, not so much.

Sleepy-time drugs are not my thing, at least in theory. I have never used them and don't really care to start. I'm ok with 5-6 hours of sleep, even if interrupted. It's worked for me the since the turn of the 21st century. But less than that and waking up with a thumping heart beat and sweating is pushing my limits.

I will get it under control. It's just a phase.

Song by: Michelle Shocked

Friday, March 25, 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!

Remember in an earlier episode of The Simpsons, Lisa and Bart were sent to stay with their aunts, Patty and Selma?

If you do, and I know some of you do, then you will also remember that the only thing the Bouvier sisters had to drink in their apartment was buttermilk, Mr. Pibb and Clamato.

Yes, it is a line that my friends and I still use now and again. We use our powers of recall for nothing good or educational.

So imagine my disgust when I was pumping gas over the weekend and the husband pointed out the sign on the petrol station window.

I don't know that Clamato in beer would be any better than having a Bud mixed with buttermilk, but it all just seems so putrid.

At least by the sign, it looks like Budweiser is catering this product to the Hispanic demographic. I'd ask my friend Josh, as he is the closest thing (did I just call him a 'thing') to having a Hispanic friend. I know, that sounds horrible, but it is true.

Anyway, I'd ask him, but he was adopted from Colombia and raised in Youngstown by couple of gringos. Jewish at that. I don't know if he is the demographic that Bud is going for.

g-d knows that I'm not.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


On my quest to add different meals to our dinnertime repertoire, I went to make something simple: Lemon Chicken.

As Ina Garten would say - how easy is that???

Well, since it was her recipe, she should know - right?

It actually quite easy to prepare. 5-10 minutes prep time, tops. Then 30-40 for baking. That's it.'s easy on paper.

I think playing with the amount of lemon is a bit tricky....and necessary. I like lemon chicken, but this ended up tasting more like lemons with some chicken. Maybe it was because I used three chicken breasts instead of the four which was in the instructions. I don't really think so though.

Anyways, unless you go to your chicken monger (hey, if they have fish mongers, why not one for every main dish?), they just don't package them in fours anymore. Why is that? Not only that, I challenge you to find boneless breasts with the skin still on.

So in that regard, yes, I deviated from the recipe. Sue me.

As you can see in the title image, it's heavy on the garlic. Nine cloves. In my experience, you can never have too much garlic.

So the sauce is olive oil, wine, lemon, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. That's it. The sauce sits at the bottom of the dish - you don't even cover the chicken with it - and it all just bakes away.

The one challenge we faced was getting things to brown in some dishes. Even Ina says if it doesn't brown correctly, to throw under the broiler. Hence our issue: our oven does not have a broiler.

I know. It's sounds crazy, right?

The oven is so industrial and so old, it has no broiling element inside. Normally things brown ok, and while the chicken was completely moist, tender and edible, it seemed a little grey. It actually had better colour in the above picture than it did after cooking.

I'm not sure if I'll keep Lemon Chicken in the food recipe playlist, albeit with a tweak or two, or if I'll just move on.

Song by: U2

Wednesday, March 23, 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.

No. No! Do NOT even laugh.

Fine. Have you gotten it all out of your system now? Good.

Now axe yourself (no....don't go all Lizzy Borden on me!), besides the massively overplayed "Take on Me" - have you even heard anything off of a-ha's Hunting High and Low?

No? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Is it the best album out there? No. Is it the worst? Far from it. But it is also not as bad as one might perceive it from their only true U.S. hit.

Truly, there is not an unlistenable song on the disk, though admittedly, even I hit 'skip' on "Take on Me". Mostly because it is overplayed, but even for background music, it is doable. Yes, there is a lot of synthesizer action on the album, but it was the 80s. But it's not all synths either.

Is the disk groundbreaking? No. But then maybe I have no perspective, considering I've owned it for {gulp} 26 years. But when you listen to it, similar stuff was being put out all over Europe and even the Americas - so no it was not ground breaking. a-ha just did it better than some of the others.

I'm a big fan of the title track and "Living a Boy's Adventure Tale", "Love is Reason" and "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.".

They try for some slower numbers, but even those seems more upbeat with the heavy synth action.

I expect no one to give it a listen, but as debuts go, it is not a bad one, though they had much better stuff on their follow-up disk.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skies the Limit

Here's making up for lost time - we are now 2 for 12.

Yup, we made our second movie in a month. Hell, we made it to two movies in eight days! So if you go by the average of one movie a month, we are almost on schedule. I think we can do this.

Anyhoo, we went to go see Limitless on Sunday. Becky had gone to see Paul (not her brother, I clarified that) the night before and was going on and on about it via SMS, but I think she might have been drunk.

Limitless is good. Actually, it's pretty good, but certainly not great. It's got familiar elements you've seen in most movies, it is just that they are done fairly well.

If you've seen the previews, you get the gist of the storyline, so I won't go into any spoilers. As you get into it, there are certain questions I had about "if he's soooo smart, then why didn't he think of...(fill in the blank)." I suppose that is a minor detail.

You know me, it's hard for me to suspend my disbelief. I am my father's son after all.

I suppose it is a plus that Bradley Cooper can somewhat carry a role. I mean he could carry the role on his looks, even if he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag, but he can pull off the other stuff besides just looking handsome.

Denton leaned over at one point and said "the camera sure does love him". I countered back in my best Homer Simpson only thinks he's whispering whisper (you know how that goes, right?) "not just the camera!!!!"

He can also wear a suit.

I will say this about Mr. Cooper: the movie camera is way more kind to him than a still photo. I searched and searched for a great one to use here, but moving pictures do him more justice.

...and now that he's finally allegedly broken up with Renee Zellweger I finally have a shot at him. Oh, who am I kidding? I have a better chance with that sweaty puffy coke whore.

I know I'll get shit for this, but I don't see the big hoo-hah about Robert DeNiro. He's fine and all, but all the accolades he gets? Have you seen those shitty Focker movies? Or Falling in Love? He's made more of those shitfests than he has of Raging Bull or The Deer Hunter.

The few reviews I read after the fact about Limitless just love him. Personally, I think they are too afraid to say anything bad about him. Pffffft.

I'll say it: he was average. Just average.

So yeah, it was worth a Sunday afternoon matinee price. Just make sure you buy a box of Milk Duds. Oh, and if you do, make sure you finally open them, eat some and not leave them in the theater. That was a waste of $3.75.

Oh - and zero good previews. They were 0 for 5 this time.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Music Monday

I'm still in Americana music mode.

Roseanne Cash's "September When it Comes", to me, is one of the best songs I own, and I think it is her best song by far. Naturally I will qualify this.

Cash wrote the song sometime around the turn of the 21st century. The story goes that her husband said it should be a duet with her father, as the song is about the passing of one's life. The other rationale was that they had never sung together. This last part is a nice story, but that's all it is.

Johnny and Roseanne Cash sang together on "The Ballad of a Teenage Queen" in the late 70s and then again with "That's How I Got to Memphis" in 1982.

Either way, I don't care for the duet of "September When it Comes" at all. Released in 2003, Johnny was in failing health and even worse singing voice. Of course, no critic would ever decry this and lauded it as some great performance. It's not.

However, three years earlier, Roseanne released a solo version via a BBC broadcast called The Transatlantic Sessions. There are a number of these disks out with various artists.

Having downloaded the solo song, I was so impressed with the arrangement and songwriting. I clearly liked the actual performance was well. So really colour me impressed when I finally found out that all Transatlantic Sessions are performed live. It did not sound that way to me via .mp3.

Backed by an Irish band (I do not think it's the Chieftains), it is one of few songs I can tolerate hearing a penny whistle.

The video version you see here is the version of the song on the Transatlantic Sessions Vol 2 disk. The audio version is cleaner, as there seems to be some distortion in the video.

Still, it's a great song that a decade later, I never tire of. It's not up, but then you know how I feel about that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Oh, it's been a while since I've done a vlog. December to be accurate.

Song by: Rickie Lee Jones

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Favorite

Yes - another meme that I stole from Kelly, who borrowed it from someone named Steve (whom I admittedly do not know from). But I thought it'd be an ok thing to do - not that you guys don't get enough music crud from me to begin with.

The reality is, I've got about 14,000 songs in my music library and there isn't just one song to fit each category. Is it even possible to have a favourite song? I think I picked it because I just saw a documentary on Simon & Garfunkel from 40 years ago. Still - it is an incredible song.

And of course, I have trouble with 'happy' and 'sad' and what determines what makes me feel that way when I hear a song. It's not like it is going to be "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows" or "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word", respectively.

Suffice to say - I put way too much time into this post. WAY too much. But then I had 14,000 songs to go through.

1 - Your Favorite Song: Of all time?
Scarborough Fair-Canticle (Simon & Garfunkel)

2 - makes you feel sexy:
Is it a Crime (Sade)

3 - a song that makes you happy: Mary Jean (Marshall Crenshaw)
4 - a song that makes you sad: The River (Bruce Springsteen)
5 - reminds you of someone
When You Say Nothing at All (Alison Krauss + Union Station) Morty played it after Mitchell's funeral in 1995
6 - reminds you of somewhere: If You Could Only See (Tonic). I always remember it from a trip Key West circa 1996
7 - reminds you of a certain event: All Mixed Up (the Cars) 1978 World Series of Rock. 
8 - you know all the words to: Undun (Guess Who) but technically I know the words to most of my music liberry
9 - you can dance to: Hit that Perfect Beat (Bronski Beat)
10 - makes you fall asleep: nothing that I can think of
11 - from your favorite band: Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
12 - from a band that is overrated: Talk (Coldplay)
13 - guilty pleasure: Twist of Fate (Olivia Newton-John) I know....I know....don't say anything
14 - no one would expect you to love: Do What You Want, Be Who You Are (Hall & Oates)
15 - describes you: One Man Guy (Rufus Wainwright) listen to the lyrics, it's not quite what you think
16 - you used to love but now hate: With or Without You (U2)
17 - hear often on the radio: Little Lion Man (Mumford & Sons)
18 - a song you wish you heard on the radio: I Need Love (Sam Phillips)
19 - a song from your favorite album: Inside These Arms (Marti Jones - Match Game)
20 - a song you listen to when angry: Not Ready to Make Nice (Dixie Chicks)
21 - when happy: Losing Touch (the Killers)
22 - when sad: Famous Blue Raincoat (Jennifer Warnes)
23 - a song to be played at your wedding: too late for this one - we had no music
24 - at your funeral: Turn the Beat Around (Vickie Sue Robinson) it started as a joke, now I'm kind of committed to it
25 - makes you laugh: I'm Tired (Lili Von Shtupp)
26 - a favorite holiday song: The Coventry Carol (Alson Moyet)
27 - a song you wish you could play: September When it Comes (Roseanne Cash)
28 - makes you feel guilty: is this different from guilty pleasure? no song makes me feel guilt.
29 - From childhood: American Pie (Don McLean) My first 45 rpm
30 - Favorite cover: Top of the World (Dixie Chicks) Not a cover of the Carpenters, but Patty Griffin

Song by: Alison Krauss + Union Station

Friday, March 18, 2011

You're Too Hot

I know this has been floating around the internets for the last week or so. I'm sure some of you have seen it. Heck to some of my closest friends, I emailed it a while back. Oh, and I totally have nothing to blog about today.

Oh, and this is totally NSFW. Did you hear that?

It's possible that James Franco's brother, David, is cuter than he is. Probable.....really.

It's possible David is a better actor than James. He could talk to me dirty that way, any time of the day. Not so much for McLovin (the 25 year old, Hawaiian organ donor). At least they both have a great sense of humour, because I don't think either got paid for this gig.

Song by: Deborah Harry

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Big in Japan

It's been almost a week. I haven't touched the subject.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. I'm not even touching that country or the "holiday". I'd rather stick with Japan. I don't see the point in celebrating snakes leaving Ireland. I guess being an exterminator qualifies one for sainthood.

The media for Japan has been inescapable, and rightfully so. Attention should be paid. The devastation is horrible. ...and it knocked Charlie Sheen off the top of the news for all about 18 hours.

Some of the news has been interesting - mostly stuff like NPR's Talk of the Nation. Some great pieces on what is going on there, without all the hype. Human interest and science broadcasts. Naturally, Marketplace has stories on the economy and recovery. Unfortunately, this all takes place during NPR's pledge drive, but whatta gonna do?

I'm intrigued by the stories of the how the days shorten by a jolt like this shortens a day in time. Or how the magnetic pole either shifted due to the earthquake or how the ever shifting pole caused the earthquake.

Done of these diminish the actual tragedy, of course.

At work, I've been getting requests for Potassium Iodine, and if it can be shipped to clients of clients over are over in Japan.

Such panic. I get it, but like Cipro right after all those anthrax scares in 2001, the supply is limited and now extinct.

Suppliers are out. Production is not that easy and backed up for g-d knows how long. But of course, it doesn't really matter. You can't stock it for long periods of time anyways and it needs to be taken almost immediately upon exposure. By the time it was ordered and shipped, let alone arrived, it's too late to be effective. But that hasn't stopped the run on it.

I feel bad for a friend of mine, Tarek. Well, for his mother, sister, brother-in-law and their kids just fled Egypt during that countries recent unrest. Their destination? Japan.

Totally sucks to be them. They arrived at JFK on Tuesday and are now staying with Tarek. I'm sure he's glad they are all safe, but on the other hand, they are now all living with him. We'll see how that goes - and for how long.

What are the chances you ever have to flee one country in your lifetime, let alone two? And even if it is two - what are the chances you have to do it within six weeks of each other?

I've got no tidy wrap-up for this post. No words of wisdom. I guess just thoughts of people over there going through this tragedy - and seemingly without the celebrity telethons that went with Katrina, Haiti and 9/11. Have they given up, or do they simply not care?

Song by: Alphaville

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Put Yourself in My Shoes

There is something about being a 40-something, isn't there? And it ain't all good.

My sister once said, you can tell the elderly when they start comparing their maladies. You can now count me in that group. You probably always could.

If it weren't one of my surgeries, then it was my time in physical therapy for my back. If it's not an injured shoulder, then it's my elbow. Oy.

I guess it would be no surprise to know that for the last month or so the outside of my right arch on my foot has been aching.

Is it all the walking I do to catch planes all the time? Is it the constant trips to the gym? Is it that they can't support all of my two tons of weight? All of the above?

Right now I am blaming my shoes, because that is easier than making and keeping an appointment with a podiatrist.

So I was at Blood Bath & Beyond and saw this nifty Dr. Scholls diagnostic machine thingy. And right there in the store, I went down to my es oh si que es (think about it!!!!) l and did the standing and electronic evaluating of my feet.

To be fair, I was more interested in getting a good picture (those are my actual feet graphically represented in that title image) than following the instructions just so. Lift right So many things to do, I couldn't be bothered. But really, what are the chances that Dr. Scholls is doing to tell me not to buy one of their $49.99 products and that they'd tell me that my feet are "fine"? Zero.

I was so confident in this assumption that I made asked Denton do it too. While he didn't get the exact same product suggestion, the price was still the same on the one they did choose for him. Shocking!

At some point, I probably will go to the doctor, because it is doubtful it will go away on its own. And spinning has been some of the most painful to do. Frick - and with outdoor biking season right around the corner.

So I didn't help stimulate the economy with a purchase from the good Dr. S, but I did go out and splurge on a new pair of New Balance shoes.

Black and grey are different for me. And the black is shiny!!!! I'm usually a guy who has white cross-trainers, though my spin/bike shoes are not. I'd love to go with the Modern Family quote of "if it ain't white, it ain't right" - but taken out of context, as it was in the show, it just comes across badly - doesn't it?

The shoes seem comfortable and they are my first pair in two years. The other ones had to go. Well...they're not gone. I'll wear them to cut the lawn and get grass stains on them. But their soles were separating from the bottom of the shoe and they stopped supporting me a while back. So maybe new shoes are the key to recovery.

And for inquiring minds: they are size 11.

You know what they say about big feet. ............big shoes.

Song by: Clint Black

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dance with the Tiger

I know we are two months / two movies behind, but generally in the first quarter of the year movies tend to suck more than the rest of the year.

Studios tend to put out the trash at this time knowing people are still taking in the art-house stuff that the Oscars are filled of. C'mon - you know that's when you went to see The King's Speech and Black Swan. Admit it.

So our goal is still 12 movies in 12 months - and ones without Ashton Kutcher (sp), Adam Sandler, a Johnny Depp lizard or anything partially based on Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously.

What is a boy to do?

We went to see Cedar Rapids (seriously, the movie is so low budget, it doesn't even look like it has its own url) last Saturday afternoon. I still want to see Blue Valentine, but I wasn't in the mood for a 'down' movie.

Yes, it looks and feels low budget, and it is. But it's a cute, if somewhat predictable, movie. It's kind of Glenngary Glen Ross meets Superbad.

Ed Helms is most every character ever played by Ed Helms. He does what he did in The Office or partially in the Hangover. He's naive, he's goofy, he's likable, he sings.

The dad from That '70s Show is the same character he's always played too. No stretch.

I will say, I really liked John C. Reilly. He's normally always good. Funnier than he was in The Hours {it's a joke, people}. He's even better when Will Farrell isn't around. And I do believe this might be the first thing I ever actually seen Anne Heche in. She was actually pretty good. Or I can say, I liked her.

And Sigourney Weaver. Is she ever bad, even in when it's a bad movie (Ghostbusters II notwithstanding)?

Of course the girl who played Maeby Fünke on Arrested Development (one of my favourite shows ever!). She was good too, but I tell ya, something about even comically smoking crack makes me uncomfortable.

Cedar Rapids was a good diversion for a few hours though. I needed that. And it is a bit under the radar, which I normally like too. I think the theater only had about 25-30 folks in it.

It is not going to win any awards, but it is better than most anything else currently out there - unless you are dying to see Mars Needs Moms. Ugh!

Oh - and previews. I think there was one decent looking film with Ewan McGregor and then OMFG - a remake of Arthur. It looks positively shiteous. Actually, that is too nice of a word for it. I picked out one or three lines that are lifted right from the original - as if you are going to remake that any better.

Rarely (ever? )has a remake of a good movie made it any better. Hell, remakes of bad movies rarely (ever?) improve upon the original.

Song by: Rosanne Cash

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Music Monday

First off, it's π day. mmmmm....π . back to our regularly scheduled program.....

A few weeks ago, when writing my February Record of the Month segment, I mentioned Gillian Welch as guest on the Decemberists new disk.

It got me thinking that she could be on my My Music Monday.

It is my opinion that Welch is not the taste of most people. My friends, Jon and Dith, like her, but most people I know don't really care for Appalachian or Americana music.

What I love about her is that she's a city girl. Being from New York and Los Angeles, her roots are not based in either of these areas, but she comes across as very authentic. For the general public, you may have heard her music in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

While I've heard her music over the last 15 years, I really became a fan with her 2001 disk Time (The Revelator). There is not a bad song on that disk. Seriously.

...and while there isn't a bad song there, I thought I had a favourite, with the pseudo-title track, "Revelator", I found that I wasn't sure one stood out better than the rest. And as I tried to pick a video to represent here, I struggled with the few that are out there on the web.

All seem to have been shot at or around the same time. All are in black and white to give a depression era feeling, which I guess is what Appalachian music kind of does in the first place.

Since I couldn't really commit to one song, I am giving you three. All from the same album. I figure I can do this for a number of reasons - one that it is my blog; two is that it is doubtful I'd feature Welch a second time in My Monday Music segment.

I said it really isn't for everyone, but I challenge you to ride out the entire one or all of the videos and listen with open ears and an open mind.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 13th 12 of 12.

12 pictures taken on the 12
th 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.

06:30. Post Japan earthquake.

The Plain Dealer edition the day before was too early for the news of the quake; yesterday's was too late, in this world of 24 hour coverage. The headline could only deal with the aftermath, and assumed everyone already knew what had happened.

06:45. The pilot light in our gas fireplace. It didn't photograph horribly well.

08:15. Apparently, the sorting hat put us in Slytherin House.

Actually, our past housekeeper, Florida, was cleaning woodwork with a rag that had something on it which discolored the wood. That's what we suspect happened.

11:30. Sophie.

HRH Sophie, to you.

11:45. Out our bedroom window - screens still in. Blue sky - something we have not seen for eons. It helped melt some of the 8" of snow we got the day before.

12:00. Carnegie Avenue.
You see some church (got me what it is) and beyond that Jacobs Progressive Field.

13:20. Light above our table at Max & Erma's.

My "favourite" Max & Erma's is in Cranberry, PA. You know these places have a bunch of crazy crap on the wall (per Moe Sizlack). But this one has a poster of the movie Ordinary People. If anything says 'family fun', it's Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore in a movie about attempted suicide and family ostracization.

14:20. Apple Store.

Playing with the new iPad2, which has Photo Booth. I had to take a pic of my pic with my iPhone. I did not buy an iPad.

Scary frickin' self-portrait, no? I left it on the screen for the next user to be freaked out by.

I love me.

14:40. A real-life bookstore. With books. And escalators. No eels.

14:42. Honest to g-d. Is there nothing this woman won't do? (you really have to enlarge the image and see that I circled an area.)

15:00. Our first movie of this year.

Yes, we're already two behind the goal. Cedar Rapids was the flick. More on that later in another post. No, it was not in IMAX.

17:00 (or so). Technically, I did not take this picture. Denton did. I mean, how could I resist? I never went to prom, let alone wear a purdy frock like this.

For the record, I probably put my hands on my hips like that more than I care to admit.

I heard people laughing as I posed for the picture. I was hardly embarrassed.

17:30. Your Baker's Dozen.

A new movie with Matt Dillon and someone else no one has ever heard of. Filming in Cleveland. And tentatively titled Boot Tracks.

It won't make a dime.

That is it - for this month. Thanks for playing along.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Secret Love

In my ever-something quest to blog about something that doesn't look like a frickin' diary entry (seriously, I'm one step away from starting posts with "Dear Kitty...."), I took a challenge from Stevie B. to do five entries based on these topics.

Dumbest Thing
Toughest Choice
Happiest Moment
Crush / Lust
Secret Loves

I have no idea from where he got them or how he picked them, and while some of them seem like I have to put actual time and effort into them, sometimes that's better than coming up with a subject all on my own.

I'm already a day behind him, but I'm also on the last day - then it's back to my regular blogging schedule. So here you have it: Secret Loves

You know how I said one of Stevie B's other topics were the hardest. I take it back - this one might be. Not that I'm (too) embarrassed to write about a 'secret love', but maybe because it is too close to the Crush/Lust one.

Of course, I guess it could be a love of anything: Andy Gibb songs, Jewel's poetry, or the PWT* way I love to eat peanut butter and jelly on Saltine crackers. Oh the shame. By the way, only one of those three things is a truth. I'll let you figure out which one.

In my mind, I made up love (human love, that is) - but I doubt it was love. I was too young to know the difference. I've mentioned him once. Chris. Well, Christ - he dropped the 't'...and not pronounced in the Jesus-y kind of way. Thank g-d!!! .....pun totally intended. Greek by nature he was.

Cherubic in his face, but what a face. Handsome as all get out. Nice as could be and liked me for me. ....acne and bacne included....though things never got to a point where he saw anything but the zits on my face.

We hung out of a few months and both were oh-so-tentative on saying the word 'gay', that well, we actually never said it. We never said we liked each other or that we wanted more from each other (yes people, I'm talking about s-e-x). So nothing ever happened.

Naturally I am assuming he did like me and wanted more. I'm not assuming he is gay. Not anymore. I did run into him a few years ago - the first time in 20 years - with his partner.

But between that time, while I knew he was still in Columbus, I started going "out" and never ran into him - and trust me, I was going out so often if he had, I would have encountered him.

So, was the love secret? Yeah. Secret for both of us.

I think the bigger question is - was the secret, love?

Song by: George Michael

*Poor White Trash

Friday, March 11, 2011


In my ever-something quest to blog about something that doesn't look like a frickin' diary entry (seriously, I'm one step away from starting posts with "Dear Kitty...."), I took a challenge from Stevie B. to do five entries based on these topics.

Dumbest Thing
Toughest Choice
Happiest Moment
Crush / Lust
Secret Loves

I have no idea from where he got them or how he picked them, and while some of them seem like I have to put actual time and effort into them, sometimes that's better than coming up with a subject all on my own.

I'm already a day behind him, but I'm up to topic #4:

What gay boy doesn't have crushes or lusts? What straight boy doesn't, either? Hormones run amok in the teen years and dealing with your sexuality and going to an all-boy's school just is a trifecta for overload. I was that boy.

Yeah, I'm sure we've all had a crush on someone, or lusted after one or two (dozen) people. But one does stand out for me. His name was Gene S. I won't put the last name, as you'll all just Gooooogle it anyways.

Gene was one of the only guys younger than myself that I had a crush on. My tendencies in men still skew older than me. Go figure. Granted, he was only a year behind me in school, but I was completely unaware of him at all until my senior year.

Gene sat next to me in typing class. His almost feathered blond hair (hey, it was 1980-81) probably wouldn't have looked good on anyone else.

While we had little interaction in class, I was acutely aware of him and how he carried himself. It turns out he was a varsity athlete - and had I been into sports at all, I might have known this. His sport was soccer. Remember, this was the 80's when no one really played soccer, so yeah, he was a varsity guy, but for a sport no one went to watch.

I went to watch. I wasn't quite a stalker, but I was a photographer on the yearbook my senior year. I "volunteered" to take pictures at a soccer game. Not surprisingly, most any picture I took had Gene in the shot. Ok - so maybe it was a little "Son of My Sister Sam" (double points if you get that double reference), but only just a little.

It was all harmless and it never went anywhere. Even in my own mind.

A funny anecdote: Gene always had this accent I could never pick up on. The entire year, it piqued my curiosity, but I could never pinpoint the origin.

Two years later, I ran into him on the campus of Ohio State. He had just transferred there and we walked and talked for a bit, as we made our way to south campus (even though I had no need to walk that way). Really the first true conversation I had with him. It was during this walk I found out his "accent".

On the walk I was on his left side. In class I was always on his right. Had I ever truly seen him from the other angle, I would have figured it out much much earlier. He wore a hearing aid. It wasn't an accent as much as he was deaf and struggled with speech.

It turns out, not only was he one of my first crushes, he was definitely my first differently-able crush.

Song by: Jennifer Paige

Thursday, March 10, 2011


In my ever-something quest to blog about something that doesn't look like a frickin' diary entry (seriously, I'm one step away from starting posts with "Dear Kitty...."), I took a challenge from Stevie B. to do five entries based on these topics.

Dumbest Thing
Toughest Choice
Happiest Moment
Crush / Lust
Secret Loves

I have no idea from where he got them or how he picked them, and while some of them seem like I have to put actual time and effort into them, sometimes that's better than coming up with a subject all on my own.

I'm already a day behind him, but I'm up to topic #3:

I don't find myself an unhappy person, but that is far from saying I am a happy one. And 'bubbly' certainly isn't one of the first few hundred adjectives you'd use to describe me. So of all of Stevie B's subjects, this is the hardest for me.

I'm sure when I was 8, going to Cedar Point was my happiest moment. Once I was drunk and was really happy to have a gyro at 03:30. I suppose getting through cancer treatment unscarred ( know what I mean) should be my happiest moment. So what qualifies at the happiest?

I don't think there is one. I don't think there can be. But since people, myself included, tend to think closer to the present I will go with getting married.

Yes, that old ball and chain. The institution.

Look, I'm so happy that I cropped him out of the picture.

Oh, you all know the deal. He signed up for me, not to be a starring member of my blog. Of course he's cropped out. But this was a self-portrait we took after our 'reception' at the W and on our walk back to our hotel after sending Becca off in her cab to the airport.

Yes, it's only been four months, but I still think back on that day fondly. The weather, the company, the actual ceremony itself, the lunch afterwards. Yeah, overall the official pictures came out fair at best and I lost my iPhone, but it was still a great day.

While I know our marriage means zilch in Ohio, I'm still very happy we did it.

Song by: Alison Krauss + Union Station

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tougher than the Rest

In my ever-something quest to blog about something that doesn't look like a frickin' diary entry (seriously, I'm one step away from starting posts with "Dear Kitty...."), I took a challenge from Stevie B. to do five entries based on these topics.

Dumbest Thing
Toughest Choice
Happiest Moment
Crush / Lust
Secret Loves

I have no idea from where he got them or how he picked them, and while some of them seem like I have to put actual time and effort into them, sometimes that's better than coming up with a subject all on my own.

I'm already a day behind him, but I'm moving on to topic #2:

No pun intended, this was a tough one to do. What is a tough choice? I mean, it's not like I ever had to decide which kid to give up while I stood in line at a concentration camp. (Wow, second Holocaust reference in two days - that can't be good.)

Maybe it was doing an internship at one of, if not the, oldest law firms in the country.

The job itself was nothing to write home about, but it did give me an opportunity to live in New York City. Well, Brooklyn, but still, it was only four stops inside of Brooklyn on the F train. And only another two into Manhattan for the job - though that ride still took 45 minutes and back then (yes, I said 'back then'), most of the subways were not air conditioned. I was normally soaked by the time I rolled into work.

At that short time job, I certainly made some good friends, whom I keep in contact with to this day.

A few weeks before my scheduled return to Ohio, I was asked to stay and work there full-time. It was so tempting. Me, a 20 year old in the big city. Single. Carefree. Broke.

I thought about it logically, which probably was the wrong way to go about it. I know. I know what you're thinking. But I'll get to that.

I considered what I was making and living barely hand to mouth. But the sublet was cheap, and ready to expire at the end of summer. It would have meant finding a place and moving. It would have meant giving up my lovely efficiency in Columbus.

At the time, it was not that difficult of a choice. I didn't really consider what other opportunities would have been possible in a city like that. I did not think that as a 20 year old, you could live in a 5th floor walk-up and in squalor, but that as much as you love the city, you probably wouldn't be willing to live in those same conditions at 30....or 40.

I could never live in NYC now. I'd love to, but I can't afford it. Even that 5th floor walk-up. I couldn't afford it then, but 20 year olds don't think about such things. They adapt.

By the time the wheels of the plane hit the runway, I regretted my decision. I should have stayed.

But you know how that works, one decision can affect your entire life. Had I stayed, I never would be friends with the people I am closest to. I never would have met Denton. ...or had the cats.

I can't say if it was a tough decision or not. I can't even say if it was the right one.......but it seems right.

Song by: Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


In my ever-something quest to blog about something that doesn't look like a frickin' diary entry (seriously, I'm one step away from starting posts with "Dear Kitty...."), I took a challenge from Stevie B. to do five entries based on these topics.

Dumbest Thing
Toughest Choice
Happiest Moment
Crush / Lust
Secret Loves

I have no idea from where he got them or how he picked them, and while some of them seem like I have to put actual time and effort into them, sometimes that's better than coming up with a subject all on my own.

I'm already a day behind him, but I wasn't really looking to move the My Monday Music post. So now, on with the first topic:

Let's time travel back to, I dunno, 1978 or so. I had been working as a mild-mannered shoe shine boy (no, I was not Underdog!) at a country club. Seriously, this was my job. I'd polish (not Polish) shoes while members went out to play golf. Upon their return, I'd clean their cleats. Oh, yes, I have led a glamorous life - much like Sheila E.

As one might imagine, it was a pretty crappy job. The boss who did none of the work, got all of the tips and never once split them with me or my work partner, Scott (not to be confused with my man-date, Scott). No wait - I think by this point I was "promoted" to busboy in the dining area. Either way..........

At one point, the manager of the club was down in the locker room and left his entire set of keys there. Me, being the ingenious boy of 14 that I was, delicately put them into my pocket for later use. One that would make me extremely popular, for about 48 hours.

My big plan was to just go into the liquor storage room and "borrow" some bottles of booze. There was tons there and would they miss a few bottles that myself and two friends could carry out of there? Doubtful.

As with the best laid plans, things didn't quite go the way I had thought. The one key that wasn't on that chain was the one to this certain room, but here we were, already in the club on a day that it was closed. So up through the ceiling seemed to be the best solution, right?

Whomever laid this place out really knew their shit. Chicken wire was lined on top of the room over the ceiling tiles. If you can say anything about three lads who normally at that age are so lazy, they'd have given up, someone should have given us credit for sticking to it.

I don't remember how we got through the wire, but we did. Bottles were handed back out through the ceiling and we had gotten out free and clear. To be honest, I'm never quite sure if we replaced the ceiling tile - which may have been our downfall.

Or it could have been Max Pensky, who allegedly saw us in the club.

Either way, one of my buddies was busted and he coughed me up like one big fucking hairball.

You'd think at 14 I was a nice little innocent, but let's just say the local police were well acquainted with me by this point. I'd been up at that station for any number of things - and that was only the stuff they knew about or that people complained about that included me. They never truly pinned anything on me, but now it was a potentially different story.

Being the savvy kid, I knew I was going to get busted, so best to confess to someone before they came a-knockin'. Also being savvy, I knew not to tell my mother. She was the disciplinarian of the house. My dad was understanding and took me down to the club for the face-to-face.

For whatever reason, the club did not press charges (maybe because my father was a member?), but I did have to pay to have all the locks changed. ....and let me tell ya, there were a fuck of a lot of locks in that club.

Needless to say, it was the end of my career in country club life. It must have killed them when I would go back there to play golf or have dinner with my parents.

Oh, as for the being popular part - several older kids were the beneficiary of that escapade. Southern Comfort and the likes were given out to make kids like us, more than us getting drunk. Even one of my older sisters was a recipient - and I love the fact that she never ever asked where or how I obtained it, though she'd find out soon enough.

If my dad ever said anything to my mom, I don't know. I didn't feel the repercussions, but there had to be questions of my now-unemployment, right? Oh, let's face it - I had probably broken my mother's spirit by that point.

...and I was only 14.

Song by: Garbage