Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pride

You know - I just don't know what to think of Pride.

Yes, I've been down this road with you folks before, and here we are again now and potentially again in the future.

While this could be about any Pride event, I'll try to focus on the Cleveland one, as I haven't been to  any other cities pride in years.

We did not attend last year, but did go two ago, right after New York legalized same-sex marriage.

With the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings just days ago, it was good to make an appearance (since I'm sure everyone was clamouring to see me!) this year.

No one clamoured. At least not for me. Can you imagine??? Though on the way out, a young-ish lesbian came up to ask me where I got my mountain bike t-shirt. She thought it was cool.

Yes, I didn't dress in rainbow anything.  I'm not a rainbow kind of guy. Or sunshine or lollipops.

It's not that I'm not proud to be gay - or even a Clevelander.  It's just that it seems we can't get it together in a combined regard.  Let's just say I'm underwhelmed.

It's not that I don't think people should be or act how they are.  I don't care about Dykes on Bikes. I don't care if there are drag queens and go-go boys, but won't say I truly get / understand that either.  I truly don't understand gay Republicans - but that's another post all together (....insert Airplane line here....)

I do get that those folks are much more colourful than say....I am.  That is what the media latches on to, and I get that. It's about ratings more than news.  Assuming there is media at all.

Perhaps there will be this year, just due to the SCOTUS rulings.  There is certainly no pre-parade news about.   Fuck, there is barely any information on the Cleveland Pride website - and it is certainly not easily found.

Sure, if you want to know the fucking vendors, it's right out front.  If you want to find out the DJ schedule - no problemo.  If you want to find the time of the parade, this is the info that is on the site............


Eventually, I dug hard and deep enough to find some info....under the 'welcome letter'.....for volunteers and participants. If you're looking just to view the parade, you have to really want that info.  Even in that letter, it talks about gathering time and places, but no step-off time.

Is it any wonder that no one goes to see the Cleveland parade?  In Columbus, I saw pictures of people 6-7-8 deep for miles.  I'd be surprised if even protesters came out to yell in Cleveland, as it took too much effort to even know we were having it, let alone when.

Again, I don't know how other cities operate their parades. I am more than a little suspect when the CEO of Cleveland Pride is also the biggest sponsor: the local bath house.

While I'm hardly one to judge, but we've put an event that was started to recognize the anniversary of Stonewall to a man who'll give you one towel, all the condoms you want and a buffet at 04:00....at least on Friday and Saturday nights.

On another note:  I spotted a man named Howard O.  My friend Jon and I used to work with him back in 1985.  Well for me it was a little earlier.  How I recognized Howard after 2+ decades is beyond me, but I did.

No, I didn't go out of my way to say "hello"....or any such thing.  I just planned my escape route - that was easier.

The irony?  The one thing I wanted to at Pride was to sign a petition to get marriage equality on the Ohio ballot.  Howard O was carrying that petition.  The price was too high.  I'm not proud.

....and Cleveland gays are smoking bunch.  Not smoking hot.  Just they certainly like to smoke - a lot! It's possible 710 and I were one of the few not doing that.

On another note - my title image is the Goodtime III, a boat that goes around the shore of Lake Erie and down the Cuyahoga River.  I'm old enough (cough) that I've ridden on the Goodtime, the Goodtime II and the Goodtime III.

Yes, I've outlived three maritime vessels.   I am proud!



Song by:  Robert Palmer

Saturday, June 29, 2013

App of the Month

There is a lot of hullabaloo about Vine.

Honestly, there are a lot of social media apps I just don't understand.  Maybe it is my age.  Perhaps it's my lack of caring.  No doubt, a bit of both.

Take Instagram.  Except for picking some quick ways to use shading or borders on a photograph you take, what's the big deal?  Yes, you can send the picture places, but guess what, I can still do that from my camera roll.

And now there's Vine.  I think it was launched around a year ago, and then last October, Twitter purchased them for I'm what is an ung-dly amount.

Vine is an app that allows you to film up to six seconds (no, not a typo - 6 fucking seconds) of video.  I mean, if you're not Coppola or Scorsese, you don't have to use all six seconds of your allotted time.

I suppose, the bonus is, it can instantly upload that artistic content to Twitter or Facebook.  When you simply gotta have that posted RIGHT NOW!  ...and not in half a minute.

As of April 2013, Vine became the most downloaded iPhone app.  I don't know if that is still the case, but you gotta figure that is a hell of a lot of users.  Users doing lord knows what with six second videos, but it's happening.

...and of course it's free.

Even what few apps I do pay for, to pay even $0.99 to upload six second videos is a crock of shit.  Of course, if I'm missing something with the app that is spectacular, please believe me Santa please - point it out my way.

Now, except for the upload part, I don't see anything you can't do with your iPhone camera and 28 seconds of time to post it to Twitter or Facebook.  I don't know about the former, but I know with the latter you can certainly upload longer content.

I did my one and probably own and only video I will make with the app. I'm not even sure I'll keep the app at all.

But, I had to download and try.............for you.

video

Friday, June 28, 2013

This Was the Year

As of yesterday, we have had him a year.  Petey, that is.

I would have posted yesterday, but that Supreme Court thingy kind of ruled over Petey - believe it or not.

Anyways............Yes, one year ago, my brother-in-law dropped off Petey for what was to be a trial run to see if we would keep him.

Clearly we did, and we haven't looked back.  He's our pride and joy.  Well, Sophie too.

It is actually hard to believe it's been a year. In ways it seems longer, but mostly, it seems like we just got him and are learning his needs, likes, and desires.

I know 365 ago, I said like I felt as though he would never be our dog, and that we'd just be caretakers for my sister's pooch.  That turned out never to be the case, or at least that thought went away early on.

There are posts all over this blog for the last 10 years, about me speaking my love of Petey.  Whether is was a visit to my sisters, getting him out of the kennel for her, or when talking of her other dogs - I would always say he was my favourite.

I don't know he's happy with us, but he's not unhappy.  I know it's not the life he had, but I think in other ways we give him ways more attention and love. He has run of all the downstairs, which he never had and he does love his walks.

Soon I'll have to get a video of his dance when he sees the leash.  He is so excitable.

Of course, we also had his bad bad bad pneumonia and one other serious infection - but he is 11.25 years old.  Dr. Mandel's office knows him all too well now, but such is the life.  Oddly enough, those bouts with sickness is what solidified how much we care for him and how we want to do right by him.

Yes, he's ours and we couldn't be happier with him - even through the few hundred poop bags, the two leashes we've gone through, the two dog beds he's ripped up, the pills he's been given, the cone he has worn and such.

We've gotten much more back in looks, wagging tails, kisses and doggie dancing.  And cuddling.

So you get your Petey Porn early this week.

Picture on his anniversary date with us.  He's going grey. 

Tuesday was bath day.  He's actually quite calm about it all. 

 One of four Instragram pics I've ever taken.  I am not as enamoured of that app as a few million other people seem to be.  But this pic came out purdy. 

 Someone has soulful brown eyes to go with his big black nose.  (oh, don't go all Paula Deen on me with that comment!)

....and one very large pink tongue.  Petey has one too. 


That's it.  One year down.  Hopefully many to go.




Song by: Nina Gordon

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Court and Spark

Being a gay blogger - actually, a blogger who happens to be gay - I am contractually obligated to write about the Supreme Court's decisions on DOMA and Prop 8.  It's in the by-laws people!

I will fully admit to being on the SCOTUSblog at 10:00 sharp for the past few weeks, every day there was possibility of a ruling, alas, none came until yesterday.

With it being the last decision day until the new session starts, I figured it might not be good news and after the rulings were made public that the justices would beat a path out of town - except for Thomas, who seems to lazy to do much of anything, or Scalia who'd stick around to possibly gloat.

While I was hopeful, I did brace myself for the worst.

Then came the DOMA ruling.

I would lie if I said I wasn't a little stunned. A lot happy, but a little stunned. Maybe overwhelmed.

It is hard to explain, but I have a feeling many felt the same thing:  vacations, xmas, birthdays, reunions all rolled into one.  A certain light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Yes, gay rights have been making great strides for the last 10 years, but that SCOTUS took on the case, one the GOP and Boehner kept funneling millions of taxpayer dollars (what - there's a debt ceiling?  what - there's a fiscal cliff?) to defend, was a hard-earned and, in my opinion, a well-deserved victory for gay couples everywhere.

Granted, currently this means nothing to me personally, and I'm trying not to let that dampen that we've cleared a huge hurdle in what has been and will be a long race (ooooh.....a sports metaphor.  Sorry to you non-sports homos).

While married to 710, through the District of Columbia, we do not reside there, or in any state where marriage is legal.  Federal rights regarding marriage will only be recognized in states that have gay marriage, not even in states that recognize gay marriage (of which I don't think anymore exist, since even those have now allow same-sex unions).

Ohio has neither. So right now, we're just kind of status quo.

Depending on which group is advocating Marriage Equality in Ohio, it might be on the ballot in 2014 or 2016 - which means a 2015-2017 enacted date, assuming it passes.

Still, I feel like I'm walking on air a little bit.

The decision on Prop 8, at least in theory, sounds promising.  The wording of the decision seems to be fraught with a loophole or two saying it wasn't properly before the court.  I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if that leaves anything open to appeal, but as of now, re-opening marriage in California seems to be a go.

As much jubilation as is out there from our side, lordy, the hate that is being spewed by NOM, FRC, Congress (!) is just revolting and demoralizing, even on this day.

Don't get me wrong, we all knew it would happen - and their words aren't really all that different than every single campaign they've done to rally against each state trying to pass same-sex marriage.  I think it's just the volume that has all come at once.

I have to stop reading their hate, because that is really all it is:  hate.

There is no logic to their argument - and I am trying to look at it objectively, but either I can't, or they have no leg to stand on.  I'm opting for the latter.

If Mike Huckabee can provide proof Jesus wept when the rulings came down - then do it or shut the fuck up.  Nancy Pelosi - thank you for your response to Michele Bachmann.  Besides being a nut job, Bachmann will be gone in 2014 and well, she's been quite ineffective in most everything she does.

Still, the folks bringing out the bible just have to quit what is defined as traditional marriage.  Is it the slave women that the men slept with?  Is it the multiple wives?  Is it Adam and Eve's children committing incest - I mean, because if it were only Adam and Eve, where did everyone else come from?

But when you talk from hate, you don't / can't / won't see that love is love.

It could be environmental, but all of my gay couple friends have been together for over a decade, some more than that.  Not some of them - all of them.  To the GOP, the religious nuts and the wingnuts - this isn't a fluke and it's not going away.

Yes, NOM is now (again) saying there will be a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Of course, they also put out a press release two days ago saying that SCOTUS will rule in favor of opposite-sex marriage........so.............they got that one wrong.  But in almost every (or is it every?) state they've fought against same-sex marriage, they've lost.

I'm not sure what their end-game is here. Is it just to pound a chest?  Is it ego?  Is it just a way to spend millions of dollars that you now don't have anything to show for it?   Somewhere, the economy thanks you.

The court breakdown on DOMA doesn't really surprise me. I mean, in the past 14 years, how many rulings have not been 5-4.  Normally I would think it would have less to do with the law than politics, but the difference in for / against was surprising to me.   Yes, Alito, Thomas are usual and constant suspects for cases like these.  But one expects Scalia too.

Prop 8 wow'd me (well, as much as I can be 'wow'd') with Sotomayor and Kennedy dissenting.  DOMA went with Roberts and Scalia joining Thomas and Alito.

Still, it was a big day.  There will be more fall-out, good and bad. I'd say there'd be more debates, but that is a formalized kind of event - so it will be screaming hate-speech.  And don't kid, it comes from both sides.

But fuck if these rulings didn't come so close to Cleveland Pride.  Now I feel I'll have to make an appearance - not that anyone was waiting for me to do so.  I had planned to skip for other reasons, but, this is a historic event.   Bother!



Song by: Joni Mitchell

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!

This actually comes via my friend, Jon.


I love marketing.  You know these "wipes" are the exact same kind that have bears or Dora the Explorer on them.  It's just different packaging. 

Of course, I'm only middle management, so I could never use them - or at least the scent. 

Honestly though, it wasn't the product itself that made me post it, but the accompanying video.




I mean, seriously, how often does this man poop?  ...and in the car?  Or does he just wipe himself there?  And if so, what does he do with the wipe?  Sure it's flushable, but certainly that's not a feature on his automobile, right?

Though, a few weeks ago when I had that stomach bug, maybe these things would have come in handy.

I don't know they would have would have made me feel as fresh as a country lane after a Spring shower (which is essentially mud), but I suppose, in theory, they are supposed to be the counter-effect of that wet dirty road.

And I'm not educated in the ways of pleasing a woman - clearly - so it must be one hell of wipe if it gives you confidence to satisfy her.  Again, I'm not savvy on the ways of men on women action, but something tells me they're not getting anywhere near "back there" with men.  

Oh sure.......there are some but it's not because he used (or didn't) a Manpower BizWipe.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dusk and Summer

To continue on with the beginning of summer celebration, Saturday 710 and I went to, what is now, an annual event at the Cleveland Museum of Art:  Summer Solstice.

What started off five years or so ago as a party of music and art at the museum, now has two separate entrance times and a total of 5,000 attendees.

Since this was our first go-round, we'll assume the older farts opted for the 20:00 time and the youths went for the cheaper (half priced) 22:30 time - you know when night life just gets going for them.

Long ago, I was one of those youths - one who never thought about going out before 23:30.  Now that's an hour past my bed time.

So yes, I am one of those old(er) farts.

I'll also assume that a bigger gay faction came at 22:30, but who knows.  I saw some gay men of our age, but they fall in with the older fart crowd - like us.

I didn't know what to expect, actually.  We weren't casual, but we weren't dressed up.  Yet some were there in seersucker and bow ties. Another guy had a cut off Puma t-shirt and workout shorts, and then there was everything in between.

Food and drink were reasonably cheap (and the the food was better than good!!!).

But the set-up is this:  a few DJs (including one I even heard of (!) Afrika Bambaataa), live bands outdoors - all of whom were great and great to listen to (not that I'd ever probably buy their music to play in my car, but it was great as live world music), dancing, access to the art museum, including the just opened North Wing, and then all the people viewing you wanted, or could, take in.  Oh, and balloon people.


Forget the entire balloon folks, I'm digging this chick's skirt made out of blown-up latex.

Tickets are not cheap - $60 per person for the 20:00 entrance time.  That doesn't cover food, drink or parking. If you were a big eater / drinker, for an additional $50 it was all you could eat / drink. We didn't do that.  I had yoga then next morning.

But we wandered the museum.  We listened to music - one what I would call World Music

video

One of the other bands had a song called "Brass & Drums", which couldn't have been a huge stretch since the entire band was made up of percussion and brass instruments (which I thought I videoed, but didn't).

We ate.  We drank. I did more people watching than 710, but that is my style.

And true to form, we left at 22:30.  Mostly because it was hot as the blazes.  Summer Solstice was actual:  we had gone from 70 degree days to 90, and it was a tad bit warm without 3,000 of our closest friends.

But for fun, here are some pictures of the evening.

Mummenschanz-like creatures.  Similar to what they have at Parade in the Circle.  Still fun to view. 

Front of the museum with the stage.  

Front of the museum with some early revelers. 

Projecting art on front of the building while the concert is going on. 


.....and then there is the dancing.  Maybe more people danced later on, but before 22:30, it was just the balloon folks..............plus one lady holding her purse.

video


I think we'll try to go again next year.  We might arrange things differently, but we have a few months to figure that out before tickets go on sale.  Oh - and yes, they sold out in a matter of days.



Song by:  Death Cab For Cutie

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Music Monday

Today I'm going with Depeche Mode.

In some recent pop-up internet ads for their last album (commercially bombed - at least in the States) and their upcoming tour (less than 20 US dates, none sold out at this point - that I can tell), their PR firm was touting them as re-defining music.

I like Depeche Mode and all, but I would not go that far.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  there is NOTHING like hyperbole!

I suppose I've been listening to DM since, I dunno, 1984.  I guess we're pushing 30 years here, though truth be told the last purchase was 2005's Playing the Angel.  Their music after that just kind of bored me a bit.

I'd say about half the songs on Playing the Angel are really good.  The others are fair.  But I've always come back to "John the Revelator".

While it certainly has some very vague biblical reference (none of which I think are accurate), the amateur / fan video is fun.  It take Bush out to task for basically being the devil.

There is an "official" video, but it's just shitty live footage overlayed with the studio track.  I'd rather go with the unofficial video.

The song itself seems to be classic / typical (later day) Mode. It's got a strong rhythm section and it has got a good drive.  Figuring that the song is 8-9 years old and still rotates regularly through my playlist at the gym, car and phone - that has to say something for how much I like it - no?



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Superstar

I know I gave a somewhat update on the Freezer Burn Captain America movie that was partially shot in the 'hood.

By partially, I mean one full day was filmed here.  That's it.

For all the potential hubbub, everything seemed pretty tame.  Only two of the stars were allegedly on-site:  Samuel L. Jackson (he's the alleged) and Scarlett Johansson (she was a for sure).  Chris Evans was shooting somewhere else in the city.

Not only that, as predicted, everything was an interior shoot to the house.  Cables and cameras were all dragged inside, leaving very little to be seen out, other than two dozen production assistants, security, food service workers and teamsters.

I did wander the streets a few times, twice with the dog, and once on my own.

On the latter time, there was me and three neighbors watching the "action".  If others had been by, they got bored and left and with good reason - nothing to see.  Not really.

As I approached the house, I saw a woman wandering around in a bathrobe and pajamas. Now, she could have been from the movie or the nursing home down the street - it was hard to say.  But as I stood across the street for a minute, I saw another "older woman" in similar garb come out of the house to the craft services table.


Clearly, it was Johannson.  It was clear to me, but no one else seemed to pay any mind, notice or care about "the old lady".  Until a production assistant shielded her with a black umbrella, so no one could take pictures.  I was too far away for the iPhone to get a good shot anyways.

The production team has been all bothered by people taking pictures where they shouldn't and giving possible spoilers to the film.  One being a kiss between the Black Widow and Capt. America.

Speculation is that the kiss is not real and was staged to throw off anyone who thinks they know about the movie.  Maybe the robe, pjs and old lady wig are too.  Who knows?  Again, I know nothing of either character other than was in the Avengers.  I don't read comics, and if I did, one might have to assume they stick to the comic storyline.

On the second doggie walk though, Petey was the star.

Security stopped me to ask if he could have some brisket.  Stupidly, I agreed.

Like the obedient dog that he rarely is, he trotted over, sat as still as could be, like he was the perfect angel of a dog. And then he got brisket.

And then he got a big head.

Teamsters, like the day before, wanted to pet him.  He was all for that - until he realized they had no food for him - then he treated them like the help.  And getting him off "the set" was a major hassle. There was food to be had and that nose could certainly smell the food trucks and tent.  Getting him 200 yards away was a 30 minute affair.

Even the day after they left, walking anywhere near that place, he stopped, looked, smelled, waited.....waited....waited.....waited.  What a ham!  A cute ham nonetheless.

He's had a taste of stardom.....and it tastes like brisket.



Song by:  the Carpenters

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hospital

Today's post falls under that 'Stuff & Nonsense' I originally based this blog-thingy on.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I was thinking about The Todd from the show Scrubs.

I honestly don't know anyone who watched the show, other than myself.  Yes, the last two years kind of sucked, but the first six were good. It was clever writing.

Having worked in hospitals most of my adult life, I would say on many levels, Scrubs was a more realistic portrayal of a hospital environment.  ER (ok, I actually never saw it, but the drama I heard about was way over the top - and way to many staff deaths), St. Elsewhere (closer than some other shows), Chicago Hope, etc, etc. etc.

Yes, Scrubs was tongue in cheek and with lots of fantasy moments, but some of the patient care and administration scenarios hit close to home.

But Scrubs could also be very ROR.  That's Kim Jong Un talk for LOL.  While there are way too many to go through, like I said, I was thinking about The Todd (a Scrubs character) and a quick YouTube search brought on quite a few funny one of him - but for pseudo-obvious reasons, I'm going with this one:





Song by:  Counting Crows

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Summer Moved On

The Summer Solstice happens at 01:04 (EDT).

Whoo-hoo?

Well, the sun is straight overhead the Tropic of Cancer at that time. Is that the same thing?

Either way, when it becomes daylight won't be the same in Cleveland as it is, say in Providence, Rhode Island.  And depending where you are on the latitude, daylight will range from 14-16 hours.  It's all a scam.

It's nice and all, but it still seem like summer is a long way coming.

Actually, the weather the last week has been grand.  High '70s, low humidity and very cool at night.  It is like optimal weather.

But it's not summer.  Not that I'm complaining.

As I walked out to get the paper in my bare feet, or check on the doggie - the sun drenched drive felt warm and inviting. I stood there for a moment thinking of being a kid and standing, without shoes or socks, on black asphalt seeing how long one could endure the pain and heat.

I could take it for an inordinate amount of time, but there was no one recording the accomplishment for posterity.

I'll miss the actual time of the Solstice, unless of course, I can't sleep.

Early this morning I'll be going yoga where we will be doing a full hour of sun salutations.  I suppose there are some groups who'd do something extreme like salutations for the entire time of sunlight. I have no way of confirming this of course, but considering I just a sign-up for "Yoga for Smokers", you gotta figure there is the other extreme.

But if I'm one of the first 10 folks into yoga today, I get a free mat.  I bet it's purple....or orange.  Oh well, it'll be free.

Welcome to summer folks.  Right on time.


Song by:  a-ha

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brushes

I know you want to know about my semi-annual (or is it bi-annual?) dental check-ups.

Look Ma, no cavities.

I love my dentist. She's great, but the entire process I could do without - thought I am 100% better about my fears than I was as a teen through my mid-30s.  Actually, I'm quite stoic when going to and being in that chair.

I've already had eight fillings done without Novocaine.  I've had a crown - that was botched. A redone crown.  I've had gum grafts and a few cracked fillings.  I'm only a set of partials away from being my father.

710 and I share the same dentist, as you might imagine.  Maybe not.  I don't know the dental habits of married couples - gay or straight.

Poor 710 - Dr. Dorothy always yaks on about me during his visits. I'd say about 50% of the time I get "so, how is 710....?" and that's where she just moves onto how are my sisters.

Dr. Dorothy doesn't know my sisters, has never met them and for the life of me, I don't remember initially talking about them. How can you talk at all with equipment or fingers in your mouth? Yet, she remembers and I end up talking more about them there than I even do at my parent's house - which admittedly, still isn't much.

I did all my pre-check routines before leaving the house:  brush? yes.  floss? yes.  bi-lateral boogerectomy?  yes (what? I'm going to be laying back with them seeing right up my nostrils!).  nose-hair trimming?  yes. (see the boogerectormy reason).  tongue scraping and brushing of said tongue?  yes.

I could only figure my breath wasn't bad - but if it was they didn't say anything, nor could you see a curled up nose with those masks they wear.

It was also xray day.  Lots of xrays for some reason.  Not just the bite-wing, but an entire series that would be more like a panorex.  I have no idea why.  And I also didn't get a lead vest for it - not that I'm so worried about radiation exposure.

As it turns out, all teeth were healthy. So were the gums. I got commended on my gums.

The new hygienist was fine.  She told me I had a 'wild tongue' and it was 'defensive'.  ...I'm sure that's what all my previous "dates" have said too.

But in reality, as much as I've come not to fear the dental arts, when they jab your gums, or scrape your teeth - yes, I try to keep Mr. Tongue out of the way.

I'm good for another six months.



Song by:  Fleetwood Mac

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Freezer Burn

So we get a notice in the 'hood about some inconveniences to traffic for this upcoming week.

The powers that be are using part of one street to film a movie called Freezer Burn, and residents were told there'd be semis, tractor-trailers, Suburbans (how...um..specific) and such on the streets, though nothing would be officially blocked and traffic would still flow as normal.

Being all Edward Snowden about it, I quickly Goooooogle searched "Freezer Burn movie" only to find it is the production title for the new Captain America movie - The Winter Soldier.

This is different than that Kevin Costner movie that I said was shooting here a few weeks ago.

Captain America 2 has been filming in Cleveland for over a month now.  Much to the dismay of the citizens of our fair city - the production team was allowed to close down major roads for two week stretches - doubling some people's commutes !!!!!!

Mind you - a commute in Cleveland is not like one in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles.  My commute downtown used to take seven minutes.

Granted, I don't have to drive that route of the movie, but it is a small price to pay (two weeks!) to get some much needed income and exposure to what some call the Mistake on the Lake.

We are a tough, resilient city, unless said driver can't get to their Starbucks by 07:42 promptly - then we are just fucking whiny babies.

Of course, they forgot 2-3 years ago when the Avengers (the third highest grossing movie of all time) was filmed downtown and closed one major street for a while. I have no idea how much money it brought to the city in fees, but also hotels, food, etc.  Yet it was fun to watch the movie to see the city that was to be New York.

Captain America, will be set in Washington DC, but it seems that town was unwilling to shutdown a major freeway for two weeks.

I'm not one to really go out of my way to go see the filming of these movies. Chris Evans is ok to look at but he was more appealing in Another Teen Movie than he is in something like this.  Oh, and I'm not a comic book guy.

One of my sisters wanted to take her son to see filming but opted not to come to our house, since I didn't know the exact shooting schedule and if she'd see any "stars".  Whatever.   Am I the personal assistant to the directors?  Am I to be privy to all the detailed information on the shoot?  Apparently someone thought I should.

Going downtown at anytime from a 6a-2a shooting schedule isn't really going to provide a guarantee.  But at least I provided parking, yet they're going downtown.

I did get a "complaint" by a neighbor regarding if we had a say and if the movie had any appeal to the neighborhood and what compensation we'd be getting for the inconvenience.

Duuuuuuuuude.  Chill.

Goooogle it like everyone else in the 'hood did.  Appeal is relative.  And no - you're not getting a dime, and you don't even live on the street where it's being filmed.  Get. A. Grip.

As it turns out, it looks like they're using one of the more interesting houses in the place to film exterior shots.  The owner, who is only in his early 60s has lived in the house for 50+ years. It's a grand old castle-like structure, so I'm sure they'll get good shots.  As far as I can tell, there are no "stars", but I'm not keeping a close eye on the matter.  Maybe Scarlet Johannsen will be there.  Maybe not.  Don't care.

Petey and I walked by just to see what was what, but all you saw were cables going into the house. Though the teamsters offered Petey a bottle of water, as he was panting - what was really nice.

Glad they didn't try to make him a star.  The pooch is spoiled and stubborn enough without that kind of hassle. I'd never hear the end of it.


Song by:  Sonic Youth

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Underground

I invited my cousin and his wife to go with us, but David said - and I paraphrase - "you party like rock stars, but we'll have to pass........"

Our "rock star" event was to go see the new Cleveland Convention Center.

Ohhhh.  Ahhhhh.

Yeah, I can kind of see David's point.

Cleveland has never been a convention town. Our weather isn't always optimal to have people and corporations clamouring to traipse around town in February.   ....and by "February", I mean November through April.

Also, our former, unusable convention center was outdated back in 1932.  I'm estimating.

So to compete with any city, we needed one, or so we were told.  And it's done.  90 days ahead of schedule (!!!!) and under budget (!!!!).   Of course, now it will sit empty, pretty much for 90 days, because nothing was scheduled to be in there so early.

Allegedly, we didn't get the Republican Convention because of the space - and lack of downtown hotel rooms.  That is changing as one hotel is being majorly rehabbed, another old building will be renovated into a luxury hotel and then a brand spankin' new one.

What you see in the title image is the entrance.  Heading south through the doors is the big open area (down a flight of stairs, that is) where any vendor fair would be. All the meeting rooms?  They are under that grassy space.

Yes, the majority of the convention center is underground.

At first you can think of that being a bit disconcerting until you think of any tomb of a convention center you've been in.  Except for the entrance, there is no natural light in most any of them.  Oddly enough, this does.  At the end of that green space, closer to where I'm taking they put in floor to ceiling windows that over look train tracks, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Lake Erie - bringing in tons of natural light.  I didn't think enough to take a pic of that.

I DID take a panoramic view from the adjoining Medical Mart Global Center for Health Innovation of part of downtown Cleveland.


After we toured this, then we had dinner with the man who designed the tall federal building on the far left.   Oh, and I got drunk. Way drunk.  ...but that's another story.



Song by:  Lindsey Buckingham

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Music Monday

I went with Girl Rock this week.  That's not their name, just the genre.  David will hate it.

There have been few and far between girl-only groups who are rock oriented.  The Go-Gos and Bangles don't really count.  They were mostly pop, but they fit the niche at the time of the early to mid-80s.

The Donnas owe more to the Runaways than they ever will to Belinda Carlisle or Susanna Hoffs.

I can't say they were ever successful, but they had at least two videos on MuchMusic. I went back and forth between using "Take it Off" - which is actually harder rock than my actual choice, "Fall Behind Me".  I thought this one would have a little broader appeal and who doesn't like a video that basically has a unicorn farting rainbows?

I did download some of their music (ok, perhaps not legally - come get me NSA and RIAA!), but it was mostly to share with some of my nieces who play guitar to let them know there are girls who put it out there and are not middle-of-the-road recording artists.

BTW, it's been almost a year since Mike had offered to write a My Music Monday post.  And for the record - I'm still waiting for his submission.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father of Mine

Oh, so today is Father's Day.

At least in Cleveland and Columbus, it always interfered coincided with Pride Weekend.  Even the two cities would be back to back days - Saturday and Sunday respectively.

It is rare anyone shows up to watch the Cleveland parade.  I have no idea how many people march.  Everyone seems to be at the beer garden at the end of the route.  Columbus never seemed to have many folks watching, but always had a decent group marching, including myself, back in the day.

2013 has everything all discombobulated.  Columbus Pride is next Saturday (the 22nd) and Cleveland is the week after that.  I don't think it will draw anymore people to each other's town, but what do I know?

What I do know is Father's Day is left unobstructed.  No skipping one event for the other - not that I was really planning on going to Pride.

Don't judge, I've been pretty clear the last few times I went that anymore it is about the beer and vendor fair than it has anything to do with being proud to be gay.  It turns out I can buy beer anytime I want.

I only have one father and well, you know time is limited.  He is 92.5 years old. Regardless of how healthy he is, I'm not getting too many more of these.  I don't mean to be callous, it's just a reality one must face.

But due to inclement weather, my mother opted to have Father's Day a day early.  Possibly for convenience, but also, my brothers-in-law (or is it brother in laws?) can have their day on the actual day. Who knows?  A day won't make a difference.  As it turned out she changed it back to the actual day because she "forgot" she had an engagement on Saturday.

But in every Sunday's comics also contains the MiniPage. Below is from last Sunday.

Now, I don't read the MiniPage, because, well, I'm not six.  And that fucking Magic Eye - I can never get it anyways.  I just say it's a Pony or a Boat - I figure at one point I'll be right.  But 710 "scans" it, and this is what he found - and read to me:


Oh, I totally expect you all to be dirty about this.

But first off, since it is for kids, I do love how they left it as "Dear (blank)".

I think "Dad" would be appropriate to have just filled in automatically.  I get that there are blended families, and these are are kids, but they're not saying "dear dirtbag stepdad", are they?  They are also rarely saying "Fred", "Hank" or "Jacques".

However, the Salutation leaves you just one more part of this MadLib for you to complete, depending on how you feel about your father figure.

Naturally, after 710 read this to me, I just - "can you save that for me?".

I'm always thinking of you. The truth is, he was too - or he wouldn't have bothered to read it to me. He knew what I'd do with this kind of item.



Song by: Everclear

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Seven Wonders

I know that many Saturdays are reserved for Petey Porn.  We all love Petey. He's a handsome man.

But today is Sophie Smut.   Ok - it doesn't have the same ring of alliteration, but I got nothing else.

Today - if Rescue Village is to be believed - is Sophie's seventh birthday.  We got her four months later, but they say that June 15th is her date of birth.

I know she had at least two other siblings, as they were in the cage when she went to her forever home.  But I don't know if there were others who were adopted before her.

Her shelter name was, ugh, Fabiano.  A male name at that.  That wasn't going to do, but we struggled for a week and picked one while at her first vet visit when they asked for one.

Sophie wasn't the only cat we entertained.  There was another short-haired brown tabby that we played with.  I loved her, she was so sweet.  But she had a cold, and while that wasn't a set-back, we felt that maybe her true personality wasn't coming out because she was under the weather.

I'm sure I've said before, but when we did name her, it was after Sophie's Choice.  I mean, the shelter had hundreds of cats and picking one meant leaving another behind.  It was heartbreak - but it is a no-kill shelter, so I felt a little better.

I've also mentioned, she is pretty much a dog.  Always with us, comes when she's called, plays and fetches.

It's great that she gets along with her brother too. Pairing her with a dog, instead of another cat, is the best thing for her.  She is not in competition the way she was with Tovah.




Soph is good about sleeping with me.  Sure, she is all over 710 in bed, but when it comes to snoozeville, she presses against me.  It's not that she loves me more - she just knows I will accommodate her, however she wants.   710 will not.  She knows she has me wrapped around her little paw.

....and I'm happy to be that guy.

So she's 7.

Happy birthday Sophie!



Song by:  Fleetwood Mac

Friday, June 14, 2013

This River is Wild

My nephew, Max, well....and the rest of his family went white water rafting the other weekend.

...in the Adirondacks.  In June.

It seems a wee bit chilly for me, as it hasn't warmed up even for non-mountainous ranges that are even further south, but........

Actually, the trip was provided for children with disabilities. I think I've mentioned before that Max is autistic.

He is a great kid - though lordy, he's a teenager now, almost 14! But he's a fun loving kid and sweet as can be.

If you've ever dealt with an autistic child or a teenager - (or worse, both!) - they can be stubborn little buggers when they want to be and it is hard to shake them of that.  My sister's email, though she won't want to hear it, made me smile when she wrote that Max was 'impossible' on the two and one-half hour ride, and until he got in the boat.

Max is like that.  Hell, any teenager is like that on their best of days.

But he loved the rafting part.  A "die-hard thrill seeker" now is he.

I can totally see that.

Once Max can get out of his routine he is golden. The only danger is incorporating something new like that into what he now wants his routine to be.  White water rafting might be harder to make an everyday normal thing - let alone over and over again, which is his way.

I got a number of action shots sent my way, but it is hard to really see faces, expressions etc.  Max is center at the front of the boat.

Luckily I didn't have to say it - my sister did - "It was more surprising to get Jon (her husband) in the boat".   True that.

But that's the great thing about these adventures:  not only is there an organization that provides trips and like this for special needs populations, but the entire family bonds - as my sister and Max's sister all were in the boat.

My sister "claims" the water wasn't bad at all - but I'm calling bullshit on that.  You know damn well it was bone chilling.  But I'm guessing their adrenaline kept them warmer than it actually was.

I can't wait to see how they're going to top this.



Song by:  the Killers

Thursday, June 13, 2013

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 40th (!!!!) 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 (sometimes she keeps current, mostly she does not, so I might have to drop this link / reference).  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.  

 06:45.  Petey leaning in to go #1.  He's usually not up this early anymore.  The Cone of Shame is on because he has a hot spot on this tail that he won't leave alone.

07:10. About all 710 needs to get out the door in the morning.  I'll assume his wallet is in his computer bag.  He has to get his travel mug himself - I don't know how to prepare his coffee.  

 09:15.  On a Petey Walk:  Neighbors having two huge, but dead, trees taken down.  Part of the crew was cute!

09:25.  I have to believe in one of these in the last 2-3 years of 12 of 12s, I've shown the neighborhood turtle (he's the little blob on the right).  I feel bad for the guy (?) because he's always in this enclosure in a yard. He has shelter under that tilted tupperware, but still........it seems like a sucky life. 

9:35.  I'm an excellent driver.
Just other neighbors having yard work done.

13:40.  At Temple to attend a funeral.  

13:45.  Head of Moses.   

15:00.  Wall of Leashes.  Petey got a new one - with Comfort Grip!  That's more for me than for him. 

17:30.   2nd Petey walk.  Still working on the tree. This is one - one!! - of the trees being taken away. 

19:00.  Panko encrusted Talapia.  Just waiting for 710 to walk through the door so I can put it in the oven. 

19:45.   Trying to get a shot of Sophie in action.  Not as easy as it would seem. 

22:00.  Not his prettiest picture.  The boy is out.  He almost always follows us to the kitchen and there was no even getting him to bat an eye.  But he had a few big walks today - and he is nursing that tail.

22:05.  Your Baker's Dozen.

Self-contained dessert.  A single serving of Hagen-Daas Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.  It keeps me in check on how many scoops I'd eat if I could scoop it into a bowl. 

Wednesday, June 12, 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! 


The National's 2010 album, High Violet, made my choice for Record of the Year.  It is still a great album and the songs that were my least favourite (though never bad), "Terrible Love", Vanderlyle Crybaby" are now my go-to songs.

So when the band "surprisingly" announced a few months ago that they had completed a new album, I was stoked.  Yes...I just said "stoked".

I went and pre-ordered Trouble Will Find Me, months before it was released. It got me an immediate download of one of their song, "Demons".  With that song, the album wasn't off to an auspicious start.  You have to get to minute two of a three and one half minute song before there is any kind of melody.

I know that Matt Berninger's baritone can make for challenging lead singer material, but the band has always made it work in the past.  I held off on judgement until listening to the entire disk.

With their previous releases, some of their appeal came from their whimsical rhythm section and the occasional understated horns and strings.  The drumming here is fine, but doesn't have that certain 'catch' that Bryan Devendorf has become known for. That drumming would literally make me smile - even unknowingly at first.  I'm not getting that this go-round.

With Trouble Will Fine Me, they deliver a perfectly serviceable album, but it's nothing outstanding.  I like that they don't try to make it out to be more than it is.

On High Violet or Boxer, any number of songs immediately jumped out as appealing.  There is nothing like that here.  The closest they come is "Humiliation", "Sea of Love"and "Don't Swallow the Cap".

But the songs, overall, are not overly melodic.  That's the best way to describe them. Not that 'melodic' is a great descriptor for the National, but their songs had a certain sing-a-long-able-ness to them.  Not so much with this grouping.

Even for Berninger's baritone, the music is a little monotone too - even more so than usual.  There is little hook and if there is any kind of musical change-up, it comes at least two minutes into the song, and by that time you're losing interest.

Normally I wouldn't read other reviews before finishing mine, but I could not help but seeing the majority of them being 5-star and I wasn't sure what I was missing - so I read.  I'm still not getting 5-star anything with any one song, let alone an overall disk.

I've been playing this album on and off for three weeks now and it is more than fine to listen to while doing other things, but their other disks would make me stop and really listen and replay and replay and replay.  Trouble Will Find Me isn't doing that.

...at least not yet. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Private Conversation

I know it will look that I am on the wrong side of this - to a certain degree - on the "revelation" that the NSA, CIA and U.S. Government have been collecting information about certain factions via internet and phone usage.

Shocking.

NOT!

First off - the Patriot Act via GWB-era (which Congress approved, so they can shut the fuck up about being morally outraged) and was well known even back in 2001 - I'm not sure where the surprise comes from.

Secondly, who the fuck thinks there has ever been privacy on the internet?  Or cellphones for that matter?

Your workplace can capture sites you've visited and even capture your keystrokes as to what you're writing.  If it gets that granular, why do you think the higher levels weren't always doing it.  So can parents monitoring their kids. And it's not like you didn't know Gooooogle, Amazon, Yahoo and anyone else wasn't mining this shit - and selling it at that.

If you've ever been on Yahoo email, have you never ever noticed that when emailing friends about, oh say, a vacation cruise, that your ads all the sudden were from Royal Carribean?  Our email group noticed that back in the '90s and even joke about how long it will be before such an ad appears as we chat about a certain subject.

There were law suits a decade ago, singling out Verizon for such tactics of selling information of your usage. This is nothing new.

You have GPS built into each and everyone of your cellphones (assuming you didn't buy it in 1997) that can ping wherever you are, the tower that is being used closest to your call, etc - and no doubt many-a-parent has used that to track their kids or cheating spouse.

There are video cameras on every street watching every move we make.  There is Google Earth, Street View and any number of weird sites posting pics of you on the street (see TapThatGuy).

I know I'm horribly cynical, but the line between being private and having absolute privacy are long gone. HIPAA?  Please!  Immediately on that is release of information for Treatment, Payment or Operations.  Those are some pretty fucking big loopholes.  Don't even get me started on if deemed a Public Health Risk.  An appointment center can't say you have an appointment, but there are dozens of areas who know who you've been to see and for what - so read that Notice of Privacy Practice very very carefully.

Now, do I truly think that the U.S. Gov't are reading my emails and monitoring my phone calls?  No.  No I don't.  If they did, they'd be mighty bored, so, they can knock themselves out listening to me determine what time Sunday dinner is and if I need to bring anything.

Do I think it's a slippery slope that they can monitor these things?  Sure.

But again, there are 300 million of us in this country alone - and they don't even have the resources to keep the airports open,  or roads fixed, so I think for the most part we're pretty sure they're missing big chunks of even the shit for which they're supposed to be looking.

For the disbelievers that think we are all being watched, you're not so important.  Get over yourselves.

...and no doubt you were the same  ones bemoaning that fact that the CIA and FBI had actually monitored the  movements of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects but didn't act on it.  You had no issue those two were being monitored, just that the agencies didn't move on those two guys prior to the event.

You were also the ones probably high-fiving each other because so many cameras caught the two on video that they could be identified and captured as quickly as they were.

This entire "monitoring" scenario doesn't go both ways.  It cannot be "I want it when I want it, and for whom I want it......just not me".  It just doesn't work that way.

If the government is to be believed, not only does someone being monitored have to have ties to terrorism or terrorist organizations, but a judge has to sign off on looking at the records.  Are they perfect stop-gaps - no?  Are they even real stop-gaps?  Who knows.

And let's face it, the government has been watching certain people and certain groups since the beginning of time - even if you just want to go back to pre-WWII.  We monitored Japanese and Japanese Americans.  Hell, we interred them - just in case.

In the '50s, we monitored activities of possible and actual Communists....and kept records on them.

Yeah, then we spied on each other's political party.  ....and then allegedly after 9/11, we monitored terrorists, and we all knew civil liberties were being stripped away.  Exactly which part of this is new to any of you?

We were all outraged 8-12 years ago.....and then all let it slide.  Now our panties are all in a wad again - yet I'm not sure - why now?

But the terrorists aren't abroad anymore.  Oklahoma City?  Boston Bombings?  We now are part of the terrorist community.

The NRA should be thrilled - because if the feds were truly watching, they'd have known of an Aurora, CO man who bought 4000 rounds of ammo on-line, or of a guy in Connecticut who had multiple assault rifles.

It's not to say the government didn't know, maybe they just couldn't get together to act on it - so I'm not sure which would be the worse offense.  Or maybe that nut job just didn't break any laws so there was nothing to be done.

The electronic era has more difficulties, more opportunity.  I am not saying I'm for what is going on, but at least I'm realistic - or just too beaten down - that it has always been happening.  Again, there is little new under the sun here.

In the meantime, I'll use all this renewed news to my advantage.  When my mother complains that I don't call or email enough, I can tell her that I'm afraid I'm being watched.



Song by:  Lyle Lovett

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Music Monday

We are going back to 1983 for this one (though I would have sworn it was '82).

Bowie...from Let's Dance.

I think was thinking '82, because that is when the song I'm picking, "Cat People (Putting Out Fire") was released in its original form.

The song was used in the movie, Cat People, which I will admit to seeing the first 15 minutes of, until someone gets their arm ripped off by a tiger - then I was kind of done.  Of course it wasn't really a tiger, but Nastassja Kinsk, though I'm not here to delve into the film.

Lyrics are all Bowie, but the music is all Gorgio Moroder -  infamous for working with many artists, including lots of Donna Summer songs, "Call Me" by Blondie and {ugh} "Take My Breath Away". I'd say that last one was by Berlin, and while they're credited, I don't think one band member played on it other than Terri Nunn.

The movie version of "Cat People" is much more tame than the re-recorded version on Let's Dance.  The original arrangement starts off as very sparse, and was much more low key. The vocal arrangement is much more stilted.  I don't like the background vocalists on that version either. Actually,  I can't say I ever enjoyed that iteration, but it showed promise, so I was much more pleased when a year later it was re-released.

The non-soundtrack version is way more energetic, but still retaining a Moroder feel, even though he doesn't produce this cut.  And Stevie Ray Vaughn plays guitar on the Let's Dance version - so there is definitely going to be a bigger difference.

"Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" has always been one of best things Bowie has done - which is saying a lot.