Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hit the Road Jack

Last night I had dinner with a friend I don't think I had seen since 1991.

Jack and I met the summer of 1984. I was working in Manhattan and, let's just say, we met in a less than work-like setting.  Later that day, I was surprisingly introduced to his partner (who must have been surprised himself), who became one of my bestest friends in the universe, David G.

You've heard me mention David here often.

As off-putting as my introduction to David  seemed must have been for him, ironically he and I were the ones who became and remain quite close while Jack and I clearly drifted apart. I think I've only even spoken to Jack once in the last decade, though I still get the occasional email from him.

Oddly enough, in 1990, Morty was in P-town having some annoyingly loud party at his rental when the next door neighbor had to come over at 02:00 to tell them to keep it down.  That neighbor?  Jack.  Morty called me at 02:10 to tell me who he had met.  I'm not quite sure how they put 2+2 together to get me into the equation, but they did.  Small world.

Even more odd was that 710 and I were going two weeks later to stay with Jack and David.  That is a story unto itself - that 23 years later, parts I don't even want to revisit. So you shan't be getting that tale from me.

Jack and David moved on from each other - and Jack and myself moved on as well.  David and me? Not so much.

So while having a free evening in Central California, I opted to take the plunge and call Jack.

I opened with, "Hey you big homo!".  He went on for ten minutes (!!!!) and I let him until he called me "John".  He had no fucking idea who was talking to him.  I guess I can't blame him when we have not really conversed in years.

Still we decided to get together for appetizers and a drink last night.  I'd say it was nice to catch up - and it was - but it's hard to cram 22 years into two hours.  ...and I was told long ago you know you're old when people only talk about their maladies.

I'm not saying I'm old (but I am), but I'm not sure at that point what else we had in common, so it was easy to commiserate. ...and that's what we did.

Two hours was about enough time.  He knows I'll be traveling back through the area and wants to get back together. It was a fun experiment, but I don't know if I can relive too many nights talking like we did.

I'm back in two weeks, but I don't know he'll know that.

pssst, David: don't tell him.

Song by: Ray Charles

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Case of You

It was a work travel day yesterday.  Out the door at 04:15 and didn't really start fully working until 16:00. Keep in mind, that is 19:00 body clock time.

And the indignity of being Platinum status amounts to the same as Gold. Maybe a 50% chance of getting upgraded.  I got First Class on the second (and longer) leg of the trip, so that was ok.  And it had Direct TV, but all the movies sucked.  When a Clint Eastwood baseball movie is the best of the bunch, you know you're fucked.  So I sat and watched three and one-half episodes of SVU.  Sigh.

I think I also learned my lesson not to eat the hot breakfast in First.  Just go for the corn flakes. Egads, those "eggs' are horrid, but the mystery meat is much too mysterious for my tastes.

It is not looking good for upgrades on the way home, but I'll have aisle and exit rows, so I'm good.  It beats the back half of the plane and middle seat.

I am finding it harder to be away from home and miss 710, the cat and dog more and more.  I feel Petey needs me at home, even though in the Winter months he snoozes more than he's awake. Maybe I need him more than he needs me - except at walk and feeding times.

I don't think they'd let me keep this job and not travel though.

Enough griping.

I'm currently a little south of Sacramento, but fly into that airport. I've been there a number of times and never noticed the art at the baggage claim area.

"Samson" has a similar installation a few hundred feet away, but I thought it was clever. I don't know the artist, but I guess I should give out a shout-out to Brian Goggin, since I did take notice and pictures.  I noticed after I took a snap, many others started to do the same.

I took pics from all angles but this seemed to be the best, but none conveyed the art itself.  I really liked it - but I mean, not to have it in my house or anything.

So another full day here then I head home. I refused to take the red-eye back, so I'm out on a 05:40 flight. I think that will be better.

Song by:  Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Measure of a Man

Sorry - my App of the Month segment was already done - and the reality is, I am not paying $1.99 for Apple to measure my peen.

Yes, an app to tell you not only how big you schwing-schwong is, but to correctly identify the size condom you should be using.....for her / his pleasure.

But here is what happens on a Monday morning when the paper boy man doesn't deliver the paper.  710 is reading news on-line and sends me this little ditty from PC Magazine.

The article itself was quite amusing - well, at least at 06:30.  It might not have all the yucks when fully awake and functioning.

And yes, you can see how big you are down there for condom style, but we all know that's not what guys are doing it for.

My favourite part is that you can, um, "hard member" up against the side of the screen to be measured.

Well, hell, I should have gone for the Galaxy S3 instead of my puny iPhone5.

Song by: Elton John

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Music Monday

Overall, I find the Cowboy Junkies quite hit and miss. Their stellar Trinity Sessions kind of minimizes some of the other good work they did - and obliterates the marginal recordings they might have had.

Not to say that their marginal stuff is bad. It's not, but it is nothing I'm rushing out to buy or put on heavy shuffle.

Three of the four members are brothers and sister. I wouldn't last a day with that set-up, but it works for them.

the Junkies never conformed to a certain standard, and always did their own thing - which I respect greatly. Being a minor name in the states and slightly bigger in Canada allows this.  They didn't have a huge formula they had to follow to keep the record company's good graces.

Of course, they are and were only a folk-rock combo, so the traditional standards wouldn't really apply anyways. Nor would the traditional label system keep them around. But the Junkies were good about rethinking that model.  In the last two and a half years, they released four (!!!!) self-published albums.

I haven't heard those yet, but I like the concept of the DYI.

Anyhoo - this week's My Music Monday selection, "A Common Disaster", comes from their 1996 release Lay It Down.

White the song is still fairly low-key, they execute it well and it just might be their closest thing to a radio "hit".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lunch Break

I just don't have tons to write about.

I had lunch with a college friend.  One I have only seen a handful of times in the last two decades.

I loved Lori. I still do.

From the first month on campus, she was one of my favourite people in the world.  I liked her sister and parents -  she liked the one sister of mine she met and my parents.

Folks in my fraternity tried to fix us up because we both wore tortoise horn rimmed glasses and Norwegian fishing sweaters from LL Bean.  Is that a reason to date?

But we just hung out.....mostly because you know, I didn't like girls "that way".   She went on to marry an ex-Ohio State football player and I of course, did not.

Anyways, she was in Akron as her son being reviewed by college soccer coaches, and she and I went to lunch.  It was a great time - but it always is.  We caught up on family and work and the promise to make a better effort when I'm back in Columbus or she's up here. It seems like a good deal.

For shits and giggles, I took a picture of a picture we had taken back in 1982!  I promised not to show anyone, but she doesn't know this blog exists, so just don't tell her.....ok??

Yes, I had hair.  And I was drunk.  Notice the alcohol spill on my pants.  What a waste of booze!

It was Lori's sorority thingy and I was her date. The funny thing was, she showed this same picture to her son when he asked who she was meeting.  Lori and I had a great time that night.  So did Shari in the black (next to me).

Poor Jeff on the far right.  First, he was my fraternity brother and I had a major crush on him....and he was way more handsome than this pic allows. He's even way more handsome today.  But his date?  Oy, his date.....Susie.  Whatever Jeff ordered, Susie just declined to order anything, saying "I'll just have some of his".  Jeff looked at me wide-eyed....not just thinking she was cheap (she was), but that she would infringe on his meal (she did)l.

Neither Lori or I have a clue who the guy with whom Shari is pictured.  He seems cute enough, but we guessed it seemed like a one date thing.

So that's what I have to write about - except that here's an odd fact:  if you take pain killers, it stops the hurt one might have had in his hands for a few weeks.  Crazy!!!

Song by: the Moody Blues

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I'm tired of being cold.

You all already know that I have trouble warming up in the Winter months.

What a shitty week for weather.  I hate to say it, but my doc appointment on Thursday was the first time I actually left the house since seeing Zero Dark Thirty on Sunday.

Yes, it sounds (and is) sad, but in my defense, I do work from home and did have to open the door often to let the dog out to do his bidness.

It's frigid out there!

I know Petey wanted to go for a walk, but in other ways, he wanted right back in after 52 seconds.  ....and I wasn't taking him on two or three 1.5 mile walks per day.

I'm a freeze baby.

I felt so bad when I was going to the doctor though.  He saw me put on my boots and coat and he was SO excited.  He thought it was go-time, but it was not.

Yesterday I made a concerted effort to get him out.  I took 30 minutes from my work day and froze my face for an around the long block walk.  It was all of 13 degrees - not including the wind.   I had my YakTrax on for good measure.  I can't afford another fall.

Allegedly it is getting up into the 20's the next two days.....and then to almost 40 by Tuesday.

Yeah, it's been a brutal week, but I have to remind myself:  it is January in Cleveland.  Usually it will be like this for three weeks in a row - and even colder and with more snow.  It's still be a decent enough  Winter.  Though I do hope this was the worst of it.

Song by:  Mose Allison

Friday, January 25, 2013

Still Unbroken

There are just some blog posts that write themselves.

If you read for content at all, you'll know during my January 12 of 12 almost two weeks ago, I fell on slippery hardwood and crashed my hand into a glass doorknob on the way to the ground.

Being who I am, I powered through the pain, yet stupid enough to not take anything for it. Because I'm a man!  I real live man.

Or to quote Ron Burgundy: "I'm a man who discovered the wheel, and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn! That's what kind of man I am. You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of ours. It's science."

Ok, I'm a stupid man.

While the pain has lessened, it is not as much as one would think after 12 days. I finally thought I should see someone about it.  Since there was no visible swelling or bruising, it occurred to me that I possibly broke a bone or two.

Now having been to see a doctor, that seems not to have been the case.

Clearly there was trauma to the hand, but nothing broken.  Only time can heal it.

Yes, the above is not the part of the post that was writing itself.  This is:

My nurse (?) signed into the electronic medical record so I could take this pic.  I just looked at him and asked if that was his real name.  It was.

Since I can't always control my mouth, my immediate follow-up was: "So how is that working out for you?"   He said it has not been good since 1972.  I would have guessed '58, but what do I know?

Coincidence of first name aside, "Nixon" is one of those names no one really know, like "Hitler".  Even if it did exist, no one is admitting to having it.  Well, except my nurse (?).

Mr. President asked me about my upcoming birthday.  Is it considered upcoming if it's over six months away?  It was an odd comment, but it I'll get back to that.

Looking at his name, it reminded me of a gay couple we knew in Columbus - Pat and Rich.  We called them the Nixons.  I was just sitting waiting for the doc thinking of that and it made me smile.

Anyways, the doc says if I still have pain by week six (four from now), that I should come back. I don't think there is anything they can do for me, so we'll see - even if I do have pain.

This hand view freaked me out.  I mean, it's fine if you're a character in Communion, or Close Encounters.  Even getting my hand into that position was odd.

Whomever read the xray while I was waiting for the doc placed an arrow at my wrist, indicating that is where they thought my issue might be.  It wasn't.  I did however, break the wrist when I was 11 or 12, but it still shows up  to this day.  Who knew?

So, while the nurse (?) asked if I was ok with turning 50 (in six months !!!!), I started to think about my ear, my foot, my shoulder and now my hand.  I am fucking falling apart - and even before I'm AARP certified.

On the way out, I passed my nurse (?) and he wished me a happy birthday (it is in six months!!!!).

I told him to say hello to Pat, Tricia and Julie.

Song by: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Thursday, January 24, 2013

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! 

Technically Lost Sirens is a new album by New Order.  Actually, the songs are old(er).

All eight songs were recorded during 2005's Waiting for the Siren's Call (one of their overall best disks)  sessions. While not included on that eight year old disk, the intent was to include these songs on the follow-up, which never happened.

In the last half decade (plus), Peter Hook allegedly left the band in 2007 and Bernard Sumner said he no longer wanted to work with / as New Order.  In 2011, some of the original members reunited along with a new member or two.

I'd say Lost Sirens was released quietly, but it is the U.S. and unless you spend your time in dance clubs (I do not), where else would you know that New Order had "new" music?

...and it is New Order, so while I enjoy their sound, it is not radically different album to album - and Lost Sirens is no exception.  Overall.

Starting off with "I'll Stay With You", it is classic / typical Order. Not a bad thing. The light guitar and the underlying synth, the similar drum beat and the all too familiar Sumner vocals. It is like visiting a good friend. Comforting and no surprises. As previously stated, this is not a bad thing.

Ditto with "Surgarcane"  "I've Got a Feeling" is good enough, but nothing you're going to remember forever.  ....and let's face it, I remember a lot of their music.

The two most interesting songs are "Hellbent" and and the very moody "I Told You So".
"Hellbent" has way more guitar on it than most songs they've ever recorded.  This is a good thing.  "I Told You So" has an early New Order or even Joy Division feel to it.  It is a good album closer.

Like any album, there are a few clunkers - but when you only have eight songs on a disk, you shouldn't have more than one.  They do.

"Shake it Up" starts sooooo badly. You almost have to get to the two minute mark before it hits its stride. But I like it after that. Still two minutes is a long time to wait.

"California Grass" kind of bores me.  To take a line from the song itself "I can't describe", but it just kind of sits there. There is a late '60s vocal vibe that runs through it, maybe to emulate music coming from that state back at that time.  Or maybe I'm must thinking too much about it.

As it stands, Lost Sirens isn't bad, but it is not standing up there with their stellar work. You can see why they opted not to include some of these songs on the original release, but some of them could have easily fit into that playlist.

Yet, I bought it, because I think I've purchased every new release New Order has put out. And even if some of the songs aren't stellar, they are better than most things that hit the airwaves, so why not give it a chance.

I suppose that is the good thing about iTunes and amazon - you can purchase individual tracks, but I'm still a full album guy.  But hey, it was only $7.82.  Cheap!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One More Year

Monday was our 28th anniversary.

It kind of sucks having a January anniversary.  Not that there is anything wrong with staying in and spending it together, but now and again you'd like to go out.  But when the temperature is half the number of the anniversary date (i.e. 21 ÷ 2),  and the wind chill makes it feel 15 degrees colder than that.

We almost always stay in.

It was cold like that almost three decades ago. I remember it well.

We had a date and the next day I was headed to New York City  - where if I thought Columbus was cold, Manhattan was fucking frigid x 40.  Each avenue was a wind tunnel.  It was a miserable trip. Don't even start me on the post Serendipity visit!  A crosstown bus and pressing intestinal need almost caused city-wide disaster.  But I really couldn't wait to get back to see what date #2 might be like - or if there'd be a date #2.

There was.  Obviously.

I was fine staying in.  We were both fine staying in.

Twenty-eight is nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn't seem like a milestone.

We thought we'd do something special at 25.  Go somewhere special.  We ended up going as far as DC and getting married instead.  That was a milestone.

Now we are thinking about our 30th and where to go.  Though I don't see us heading to Paris in January.  That is not my idea of fun.   Paris - yes.  Winter - no.

Oddly enough, 28 was fine to sit on the couch with the cat next to me and dog on 710's lap in a chair.  It was uneventful by most people's standards yet intimate - a true family time.  Both dog and cat were snoring.  Ours is a house of one of constant nasal distress.

It was cold inside too - but I think partially it was the howling wind outside that made me feel cold inside.  Or the tv crawlers saying somewhere between 8-20" of snow.  That is quite a gap.

One day, maybe I'll blog about how 710 and I met and all that goes with it. Part of me wants to, part of me wants to not share.  What to do?  What to do?

Either way, I figure I've bought another year or two before I tell that story.  I should get it down though - you know, before dementia sets in.

Song by:  Kasey Chambers

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zero Zero Zero

Third week of January and we finally got out first 2013 movie under our belt - and it was a good one:  Zero Dark Thirty.

Admittedly, when I started hearing about the movie back in early Fall, I wasn't all that chomping at the bit to see it, but it was getting decent buzz even though it was about a subject to which we all knew the ending.  But the same with Lincoln and people are eating that shit up.

ZDT (as I will refer to it going forward) ended up on our short list and we debated for a few seconds about this or Lincoln.  We'll do Abe the Babe, next.  I figure we need to get in some Oscar nominated shit before the awards, but mainly before Mr. Short Attention Span Theater puts up his challenge.  I need to have some frame of reference, right?

I have no intention of tying again this year.

Anyhoo, ZDT was a great film.  I will admit, it started a little slow, but when things go going, it truly hit its stride and didn't let up.  And while if you read the papers back in May 2011, you know how it ends, there is still enough intrigue and suspense to remain engaged for nearly three hours.  ...and it doesn't end up feeling like that long.

You know (or should) that I don't really read reviews until after I've seen a movie (if even then). It seems like a lot of A ratings for ZDT.  Metacritic gave it a 95 and Rotten Tomatoes a 93.  Al Jazeera said it was "torture porn" and "propaganda".

Yeah, there were some detainee / torture scenes, but not as extensive as I thought might be there - and they were short-lived.  And there was some stunning violence in scenes, but not gratuitous, over the top or out of place.

I think I can honestly say I've never seen Jessica Chastain in anything.  I never saw Tree of Life or the Help.  But she was good in this. Like the movie, she started off 'eh', but there were a few scenes where I can see why she was nominated and might win the Academy Award.

A few folks I wasn't really expecting, including Tony Soprano as Leon Panetta or that goof, Andy, from Parks & Recreation. I found them to be good, but more of a distraction for what little both were in the film.

I had a few issues with some time lines, but shit no one else would most likely pick up on and I found it a little annoying that the only two women in the film were in competition with each other - at least for a while.  Because if we've learned nothing from movies:  women just can't get along with each other!  I found that behaviour to be trite.

While Chastain might win best actress, it is doubtful that ZDT will win best picture. For some reason, the director, Kathryn Bigelow, was not nominated for best director and rarely has a film won best picture without the director at least being nominated, let alone winning.

When it comes to Mike's contest, I'll have to think long and hard (hehehe, I said 'long and hard") about who I will choose for best picture.

Still I completely recommend this movie.  That's big praise coming from Blobby.

2013 Movie Count / Goal:   1 of 12. 

Song by:  Sam Phillips

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Music Monday

Picking the Talking Heads as the artist seemed like a no-brainer, and I'm kind of surprised I have not used one of their songs.

The Heads put out a number of good albums and a number of good songs until, in my opinion, David Byrne got too big for his britches and thought he was the band.

Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz were all great contributors and decent artists inside and outside the band. It wasn't all Byrne. Or shouldn't have been.

I also bound Byrne's solo work to purposefully become too obscure and he was more interested in making sure people thought he was making art instead of music. To me, his stuff became unappealing and unapproachable.

While I think "Psycho Killer" is one of their better songs, and I love the idea of the Heads' concert movie Stop Making Sense, but I wasn't in the mood, as if you know the movie, it starts out with only Byrne and starts to grow as the concert goes on, with musicians and equipment.  The opening number is "Killer" so it is only Byrne.

This week, I went with one of their later songs, "Road to Nowhere", and possibly the last song that was written by the entire band.  At this point in time, Byrne had taken over most of the songwriting - and it showed.

Allegedly, all songs from the Little Creatures albums were ones not used in Byrne's film, True Stories.  It's an ok album, but only an ok one.

Yet, I like "Road to Nowhere" and it seems in the last week it's come across my iPod 2-3 times, so it must be telling me something, right?

Eh - so here it is.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

the Dope Show

I was going to use the Go-Go's "Apology" for the title, but then I realized I don't give a fuck if Lance Armstrong apologized.   Nor did I care when Tiger Woods did - or Mark Sanford, or....

They apologized for their own gain, just as they cheated and lied for their own gain.  It means little, if not nothing.

I guess I could have used Elton John's "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word", but it wasn't hard for Lance - just an act.

Even without all the revelations of intimidation and threats to his teammates and spouses, I always thought Armstrong was insufferable.  It's actually that kind of behaviour that is worse than his performance enhancing usage.  The man thought he was untouchable - of course the joke is, everyone knew it, or suspected it, and just couldn't catch him.  Or they possibly looked the other way.

How is it he and his team could outsmart science and testing?

I hear the comments:  "yeah, he was doping, but he raised $500MM for cancer......".   The reality is, he probably couldn't have raised more than $1.15 without his notoriety from those enhanced wins.  And records are unclear how much he personally benefited financially from Livestrong, so I wouldn't say he raised that much for cancer.

Sure, there have been other on-line comments about how his inspirational speech to Peter LeFleur has forever ruined Dodgeball for many.  Or that with all his riding experience, that Lance should be better at back pedaling.  Both of those made me smile.

My perverted mind would like to think that his years of doping is what caused his own cancer. It would be sweet irony, but I don't think the timeline works out correctly - not that we should believe how long or to what extent his abuse started.

Perhaps Sheryl Crow should look into what gave her both breast and brain cancer.  Maybe she should have made Lance use a rubber when he was porking her.  

What?  Was that in bad taste?   Eh - so what, I've had to put up with her bad taste in music for years.

What I can't figure out is why he's coming "clean" now?  There is an underlying motive and it's not from guilt and it's not because he's been banned from running in triathlons.  It's something else.....I just don't know what.   ...and yet, I really don't care.

Song by:  Marilyn Manson

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cute as a Bug

There are no Muses today.  They've taken a day of PTO, it seems.  Maybe longer.  How else can you figure with 19 days in I've already done at least seven of my "standard" posts.  I'm not even pacing them.

But here's another good thing about having a dog - picture posts where everyone ooohs and aaahs - and it doesn't take me much thought, yet still allows me to publish.


He's a cutie.

Petey doesn't really get up onto the furniture anymore.  The first few weeks we had him, sure, but since then - not so much.  But truth be told, now and again we try to get him up to snuggle.  It's a non-starter.

So what does 710 do?  Picks him up to bring Petey to the chair to cuddle with.  After he finally settles in, he looks so comfortable - and 710 looks so happy with him being there.

Sophie, on the other hand, is quizzical at why Petey has her place next to her dad.

And at least once a day, every day, I have to get down on the floor to play with him.

This time, it was late in my workday and I figured I'd schmooze with Peter before I wrapped up the day.

I also took a pic and sent it to 710 to entice him to come home.  But until then, I was getting the kisses.

Song by: Lyle Lovett

Friday, January 18, 2013

Platinum Blonde Life

I have no idea how this happened.  I achieved Platinum status.

When last we tuned in, I was about 634 miles short of getting to this level.  I considered taking a short jaunt between xmas and New Year's just to get to Platinum, but when it came down to it, I could not stand to get on another flight.

Not only that, it wasn't an easy flight to NYC or Chicago and back.  Chicago didn't offer enough miles and the NYC and Boston routes were ridiculously expensive.

When it came down to it, it just wasn't worth it.  I'd suck it up and be Premiere Gold for 2013.

Even before xmas, United sent me my 2013 Gold mailer.  710 thought that very premature of them, since they couldn't be sure I wasn't going to take another trip.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I got the Platinum package. I mean, I even booked a trip two days ago and if it said something on the United site, I missed it - or wasn't paying attention.

As it is, there aren't tons of things for which I'd use the status upgrade. Priority boarding is one - yes, it seems like a little thing, but getting that overhead compartment space is key.  Yes, getting more upgrades to first class is a good thing too.  I won't be complaining about that.  IF I went anywhere that I used a suitcase that didn't fit into the overhead, I would be grateful for being able to check three bags at no cost, but I don't see that happening.

Oh, they also gave me a handful of complimentary drink vouchers - for alcohol!

The joke is - I dont' drink on flights, even when I'm in first class and don't need the vouchers.  I mean, I'm usually on 06:00 flights or red-eyes.  Either way, I'm trying to get some shut eye, not pounding the booze.

So, I got there and didn't even know it.  Now, let's see if I get upgraded more often.  Would be nice.

Song by: No Doubt

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sound of Trains

I rarely acknowledge friend's birthdays here. I even try to avoid speaking about mine.

I mean, we all have them, so if you think my My Music Monday posts are banal, can you imagine if I wrote about everyone I know when they had their special day?

But I can break the rules, since it is my blog.  

Today is Meredity's b-day. She's the one in this 1989 (?) picture looking like Michael Musto.  Sorry Dith - sad, but true.  But it says more about him than it does about you.  You've moved on from this look. 

Yes, that's me on the left.  Deal.   ...and yes, everyone else is drinking Heineken while I'm drinking Black Label. 

Anyways - way back in 1988 (?) Jon and I started hanging with Morty, Becky and Dith.  It was early into our group relationship and we were invited to Meredith's birthday and Gary and Jeffery's house.   Jon and I were trying to figure out how old she was and seemed a little surprised when we found out it was her 21st  Either way, she just didn't seem that young.  It was clear neither Jon or I would get jobs on a midway guessing peoples ages.

And since we didn't know her all that well way back when, and not wanting to go to a b-day party empty handed (and being pretty broke between the two of us), we chipped in and bought her an album. 

It wasn't something lame like some hip, college, alternative band.  Noooooooooo.  

We got her an album of Sound Effects.   All I can remember on it was wind and train noises.  Sure, someone put it on at the party, but it was twenty-something years ago and it is quite possible I was drunk. 

Many of those people at that party we rarely saw again, but our core five (seen above) remain to this day.  

Happy Birthday Ditto.  I mean, not that you'll read this - because I don't think you really read my blog.  Can you imagine????

Song by: Lori Carson

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

App of the Month

It's kind of an app.  It's kind of a website.

It was definitely a holiday gift.

In the never-ending quest for fitness and health in our house, 710 got me a fitbit and the accompanying scale.

Yes, you read that right - he got me a scale!   Albeit and electronic one with wifi, but a scale nonetheless.

I could harrumph about that, but you know - technology is involved and dare I say, give me a pedometer that that syncs to an iPhone app and a website to track my steps, my activity, calories burned, my food intake (I mean, if I bothered to enter that) and yes, my heftiness weight, and I'm golden.

It is a neat idea and I do seem to be more aware of my activity when I do wear such a device, even the kind that doesn't auto-sync to any electronics.  You can't change what you don't measure.

Yes, when I do step on the scale, it recognizes me, and distinguishes between 710 and myself, and sends my weight and body fat percentage to my fitbit site.  Both of those can be daunting, for sure. Hopefully it's meant to be more motivating than daunting.

As it is, I have been overestimating my weight, apparently.  I thought I was at the 185# mark, but I am actually under 180 - which is unheard of.  My body fat is 15.5%, which is on the mid-scale of 'fitness''.  You can see where it tracks if your weight or body fat has gone up or down since your last time on the scale.

One of the neat things is, if you wear the pedometer to bed, it tracks your sleep patterns.  It can tell exactly when I went to sleep.  Somehow it calculates how many times I awake during the night.

Even I will say that waking 12 times during the night is a lot for me.  Since wearing the thing, I think I average usually closer to waking six time per night, but two nights ago was a restless one - clearly.

You might wonder where one clips the device onto when sleeping.  It's a no brainer if you wear pajamas - but I don't.  So before you start getting naughty, they provide an armband.  You are to wear that on your non-dominate arm.  I can only assume that if you pound the pud with that hand, you get activity that isn't easy to calculate and skews your data.

Naturally,  it does some of the basics - steps taken (when I work from home, I never make the 10,000), but I usually hit my marks with flights of stairs and calories burned.  I suppose that is why I'm 179 pounds and not 185.

While I don't mean to be obsessive about wearing it, it is safe to say, I have rarely been without it since breaking it out of the box.  I suppose I don't have to wear it every night to bed, but I have.  I also suppose I have to do something with the data instead of just collect it - that is if I want to sleep longer, hit 10,000 steps or lower my body fat.

It's only been two weeks.  I need time.

I need time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's Be Friends

So Jodie Foster is gay.  BFD.

As one of Scott Thompson's characters would say on Kids in the Hall - "well she's the last to know!".

I mean, really.  Snore.

Did you see her in The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane back in 1976?  Even Helen Keller could have told you then she was lesbionic.  (that said, it is a pretty good movie!)

It is 2013. I don't care that she bothered to come out - let alone on national television.  Yes, she should have done it eons ago, but you can't change the past. She made it seem all too easy to come out when she should have been leading the way for those decades younger than herself.

I'd say I was more shocked that she alluded to retiring from acting, but then I remember she's made the same move three times (Panic Room, Flight Plan, the Brave One), so I wasn't so broken-hearted. So she plays an vigilante mother time and time again - and not all that well.  Snore.

I'm probably one of the few who thought she actually took a risk and didn't suck at Anna and the King.

For every Silence of the Lambs, there was a Maverick.  For every Taxi Driver, there was a Nell.

If Jodie stays behind the camera, she'll just bring us more Beavers and Little Man Tates.  Snore.

So if Foster has sins to atone for, it should be for continuing to befriend Mel Gibson.  He's misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and has documented homophobic remarks.  While I don't think Jodie is Jewish, she seemingly gives Mel a free pass on the other two.

Two communities she belongs to - women and gays - and she buddies up to that douche.  While she might be condemned by some for not coming out, that won't be by me. But it's hard to let her off the hook for cavorting with an enemy.

I can't say I'll miss her.  There.  I said it.

Song by: the Lovemakers

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Music Monday

I don't know from Lhasa (or Lhasa de Sela).

I don't have tons of outlets for new music introduction.  I am rarely in my car, unless it's to the airport or gym.  I don't listen to the radio with any frequency and even then, Cleveland radio s.u.c.k.s.

No, "Love Came Here" was played by our yogini during last Saturday's class.  I never (well, I can't say that anymore) ask about someone's playlist, but I did after class was over.

Actually, many times, music - especially "popular" music - during yoga distracts me. Not so much this last class. She had a great playlist and it worked with the students, the space and the flow.

While I like "Love Came Here", listening to it now seems to have a much different feel than it did at 09:00 on a Saturday while residing in Child's Pose.   Then it seemed like a slow wake-up song to get class going.  Now it seems like a sultry, dark lounge, sitting in an oversized banquette, sipping a Tanqueray kind of song.

Both work in their own environment - which isn't a bad way to look at music or for it to be deemed a success.

Yes, I don't know from Lhasa, but a quick Wiki search tells me she died at 37, three years ago, with just three albums released.  Born in the U.S., raised in Mexico, lived in Montreal and can almost tell that by the song itself: nationally international.

There is no official video, as this was released as she was diagnosed with cancer around the same time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 35th 12 of 12

Normally it is 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 and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Janet Hughes is now hosting the link that puts many 12 of 12'ers together.  The number of people linking don't seem to be as robust as they once were, but that stands to reason.  

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most. 

06:50.  What every guy wants to be doing before 07:00 - cleaning his yoga mat.  But to be fair, it is the most use the dining room has gotten in months.  I should have done it a day or two before class, but I was lazy. 

08:50.  arrrgh. Roving gangs of seniors Mall walkers!

08:55.  Setting up for yoga.  Athleta: a great free place to practice on Saturdays.

11:15.  Coneheads in Nordstroms. "She" seems to be just as shocked as I was.

11:45.  59 degrees out (in January!!) and how is it this oak has kept all its leaves? I don't understand.

11:55.  Home physical therapy.  Gotta work on that shoulder every single fucking day. Several times per day, at that.

12:10.  Petey checking out a photo my cousin had given me.  Yes, that is his tongue on the packing tube.  Sophie is behind him, checking out the scene.

12:15.  David gave me a picture of our family reunion - in 1952 !!  Both our fathers are in the photo, but they had not met or married our mothers at this time.  My dad's parents and brothers are in the picture too.  It's a cool image.

  13:30. Socks + Slick varnished floor = Blobby falling hard.
I hit my hand on and dislodged the doorknob. My hand is in pain - all day; all night.

 15:00 (ish).  Actually a shot not taken by me, but by 710.

Even with my boldness, I was not sure how to capture the woman standing in the center.  Tanning Mom sporting one major unibrow.  It's hard to tell from this shot, so enlarge and zoom in, if you dare.  It didn't help that we were at a memorial service when this was taken.

17:30.  Accidental shot while the dog did his bidness!

20:45.  Passed out pooch.

21:00.  Your baker's dozen.

One tired feline. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nobody's Perfect

We are 12 days into the year and we have yet to see one movie.

Of course, we'll have to get cracking to see some of those other now Oscar nominees.  I mean, I'm sure Mike will be challenging me to that 'who will win' contest.  I have to say, it seems like a more difficult race this year than last - but hell, that was a guessing game, and one neither of us did well with.

When I travel, I almost always avoid the movie on the plane, that is, unless I'm in first class and have direct TV.  But when I was back in steerage lately, they showed Pitch Perfect, which I had heard about and it had decent word of mouth.


It wasn't bad, but whomever did PR to get the good word of mouth earned their paycheck.  Basically, the movie is Bring it On meets Glee.  While not horrid, it is horridly predictable.

A bunch of underdogs get together to sing a capella and overcome the stick-up-her-ass leader to do something wild and go all the way to Nationals !!!!!  

Sound familiar?   It should.

That said, there are a few worthy moments, mostly Rebel Wilson (who you all saw in Bridesmaids) and Anna Kendrick (who you might have seen in Up in the Air).   And Elizabeth Banks, who is usually better than the things she appears in, gets extra points as a commentator who used to be in a college a capella group called 'the Minstrel Cycles'.

There area one or two musical numbers that impressed (Dr. Dre's "No Diggity", which is included near the end of the video clip I embedded) and it was decent that Kendrick could actually sing, but many of the songs were just bad - though let's face it, they were meant to be, as the main group were the underdogs.

Yeah, it was an ok way to kill 90 minute in-flight - even if it was sanitized for the friendly skies.  ...and while it only came out in October, I think it's already on DVD - or at least in your wide bodied jets.

Song by:  Madonna

Friday, January 11, 2013

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.

Beginning 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.

Technically this is a debut.  Debbie Harry had clearly been recording for half a decade with Blondie, but this was her first solo album, KooKoo

Released in 1981 (between Blondie's releases of Autoamerican and the Hunter), I have always asserted that KooKoo was ahead of its time.  In many aspects, 32 years later, it still is. 

Produced (and some stuff co-written) by Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, it surpassed the shlock they were doing with the likes of Diana Ross, but would give glimpses to what would become the toned down sound they'd give David Bowie, Duran Duran, the Power Station and yes, Madonna. 

IF, the album had been a three song EP that included "Jump Jump", "The Jam Was Moving" and "Backfired" it still would have been killer disk.  But it also included some good stuff like "Chrome" and "Now I Know You Know". 

Like many Blondie disks, it doesn't fit easily into one category.  But it was a little more out there than Blondie fans were ready for and it didn't really fly or sell.  Oh sure, I bought a copy and my friend Jon bought a copy - but as far as I know, we're the only two people who own it.  Well, I bought two - one on vinyl then eventually on CD.

I will be honest, I was hoping she would put her cover she did on SNL of Teddy Pendergast's "Love TKO", but it wasn't meant to be.

Still, the songs Harry wrote, the sound Rodgers and Edward created were like nothing before and very little since.  It is definitely worth a listen. 

Oh - and the cover art?  Geiger was big in the late '70s early '80s (well, in some circles), but I remember  the UK banning the advertising of the album because of he graphic nature of the artwork.  Can you imagine?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Art of Almost

Oohh....last Saturday we went to the new Museum of Contemporary Art here in Cleveburgh.

It opened last October, and I put a shot in my year end pictures, which I took before it opened its doors.

Not everyone likes the black glass and cube meets geometric shaped design.  I do, if for no other reason than it's different and I'm ok with different.

I am different.

MOCA owns no art, unlike most museums.  Theirs are rotating exhibits, so they need no additional room for storing non-displayed pieces.  You this one.....

I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I liked it, even though the other side was hallowed out and had used auto parts or something inside.  And though I liked it, it's not like I wanted it - not that we'd have any room to display it in the house. Not that it was for sale.

Really, they should have moved the chair in which a security person might sit. It ruined my shot.

Only one actual floor had art, which was disappointing.  One floor was closed. One floor was classroom space and the ground floor was guest services and a gift shoppe.  And unlike the Cleveland Museum of Art, it's not free.  So I had to pay to see minimal art.

But still, it was something to do on a Saturday.

Song by: Wilco

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Runs in the Family

Over the weekend, 710 and I had a grand dinner with two of my other cousins.

I've been doing a lot of cousin time - on my father's side. ...and truly enjoying it.

Billy and Robyn were in town last weekend had dinner with 710 and some tall, drunk, Asian-looking man.

Seriously, what is up with how I look when I smile in pictures.  Awful!

I had to miss a dinner with them earlier in the week that included David.  That may have been a bit too much family at one table. Restaurant staff everywhere would rebel.....and rightfully so.

In the last four months, I've gotten to spend at least some time with all six of these cousins. The situations for the gatherings haven't always been the ultimate circumstances, but we've made the best of it and gotten to know each other more and more. Well, they've gotten to know me more and vice versa. They all knew each other much much more.

For me, it's a shame they're not all in town, but maybe that'd be asking too much. They've probably had their fill of each other, but I've been cousin deprived.

In October, I ran into Lisa and her husband at the airport.  Lisa took this pic to send to David - who immediately dubbed us 'crackers'. His two favourite crackers.

I'm not sure we're that white.  But it's safe to say we have little to no street crud cred.  And it was fun to hang with someone in the airport while our flights were delayed for hours.

If you go through a year or two of posts, you'll have seen me with five of the six cousins.  Laura, if you're reading this - we will need that photo at some point to complete my collection.  Or your brother could just photoshop one.

It's been a good few years of extended family - and I'm hoping to continue that streak.

Song by: the Roches

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Let Go

More yoga.

Last night I had a free pass to one of those mega-gyms - Lifetime Fitness.

OMG, what a horrid experience.  Tooooooo many people.  The parking lot at 18:30 was like an Ohio State first day of classes.  Eight cars vying for each parking space.

Granted, it's the first full week of the year, and everyone is still pretending to work-out and keeping their goals.  So why they had a free yoga session during this week was beyond me.

I'm guessing there were 75 people in the class.  Immediately it was stifling in the room.  It wasn't a Bikram yoga class, but it was pushing the 90 degree mark.

We had the instructor before at one of our Sunday classes and she was no fun. The class was no fun - and not just because I couldn't do it all, and I couldn't.  But like two weeks ago, the yoga class, became a core class, then a boot camp class, going to aerobics and then worse - to dance.  And then it was  - do any pose you want to yoga.  It was anarchy!

I didn't sign up to do dance or aerobics.  I can deal (to a degree) with core / boot camp, though that's not what I signed up for.

Oh, and it was unannounced, but it turned out to be an hour and forty-five minute class.  Yikes.

But I had a hard time focusing and letting go.  The instructor was on 78rpm.  You couldn't get into one pose before she was two ahead of the rest of the class - no one could keep up.  That was the aerobics part - but I never felt we got into, let alone held, a pose.  To me, that was frustrating.

75 minutes into the class, someone did ask when it was over, which is when she mentioned it was an almost two hour class.  Audible groans were to be heard.....including from me.  I had to step out for five minutes for water and into the main gym which was 15 degrees cooler.

I will say, I went with the core of our Saturday and Sunday yoga class, so that was fun, and the women didn't mind the free form dance part.  Us three guys kind of stood around trying not to look or feel like douches. I don't think we were successful.

But chalk another experience up.

As for my 2013 goal of successfully doing a Crow pose: I am 0 for 6.   Sigh.  But it's only been seven days into the year.

Song by:  Frou Frou

Monday, January 07, 2013

My Music Monday

Yes, I know I normally do "established" artists for the My Music Monday segments, but I'm straying this week. 

In the past, I have given my niece, Katie, a focus here. I still would like to see Katie record more (she got a new mic from us for the holidays), but I fully support her school work coming first - and she graduates college in a few months, so who knows what she'll do (though she just posted an Aimee Mann cover). 

But Katie also inspired one of her younger cousins, Maddie, to pick up a guitar (and ukulele, and bass guitar).  Though both of Maddie's parents are very musical as well. 

Her mother played guitar (she still might), sings and "starred" in two of her high school musicals.  Oh yes, I learned Fiddler and South Pacific in grade school.  I had no chance of being straight.  None. 

Maddie's father sings opera. 

But Maddie was picked to perform original material last summer at the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.  She was one of a handful high school kids invited. 

A friend of hers posted one of her songs, "If I Come Back", which is what I'm featuring here, last week.  

The video is blurry and the audio could be a little better, but still you can hear the structure of the song and her songwriting.  It's pretty impressive for a 15 year old.  It's pretty impressive for most ages. And it's possible she wrote is before she was 15, she just performed it at that age. 

I'm hoping she puts some of her other stuff up on YouTube, or wherever.   And the song is also on iTunes.  

Sunday, January 06, 2013

I Miss My Mary

Oooooh. Season 3 of Downton Abbey starts tonight.

Yeah, it's already been on in the UK, but I've made my mind up not to read anything about it.  My friend Sal (Philly Sal, not Cleveland Sal) streamed the UK version weeks and weeks ago and has been threatening to drop spoilers.

Sal's an ass.

He never reads this, or rarely, so I'm feeling pretty confident in saying that without repercussions.

I don't exactly understand why it is shown on the BBC months before we get it. Show it simultaneously, why don't they?  Where's the harm?

My t-shirt? It was a gift from Rebecca.

For those who don't know the show, three of the main characters are sisters, Sybil, Edith and Mary.

Apparently, I am a Mary.

Sure she is strong-willed, adventurous and occasionally boffs the Turkish attaché to death, but Mr. Pamuk wasn't bad looking and he'd already turned down an advance by Thomas, the footman.

...and I'd rather be a Mary then an Edith. I could live with being a Sybil.  Mary has a cleaner shave than I do. least on her face.

Yes, being called 'a Mary' could take me to task regarding my masculinity, but a t-shirt or a name calling isn't going to bug me that much.  I've worn the shirt with pride, even to yoga.  Poor Roy asked me about the shirt.  I just said, "it's a gay thing".   .....but then really told him about it, as he had never seen the show.

I applaud Roy though.  No one else dared ask.  I'm sure they were afraid of the potential answer.

Well, here's hoping Shirley MacLaine doesn't ruin a good thing.  Oh - she'll be in an episode or two this  season.

Song by: Hal Ketchum

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Site of the Month

Well, it's been at least two months since you've seen a Site of the Month post from me.  Partially because none of been worthy, partially because I've been lazy, partially because I've had enough to write about that I wasn't using all my 'placeholder posts'.

But it is almost 08:00 and I haven't even drafted anything, mostly due to work and travel schedule, so here you go, early in the month.

It actually comes from 710, who showed it to me in December from a Science Friday segment.  I like Science Friday, if for nothing else, I can hear the host's name, Ira Flatow (though it sounds like Flado).

While the Science Friday site is not technically my SotM, what you will see originates from there. It is a show on landscape astrophotography. 

It. Is. So. Cool.

The segment is about 4 and one-half minutes, but so worth it.

Technically, is it a site or just a video?   Well, you know how this goes:  my blog; my rules.