Monday, March 31, 2014

My Music Monday

I am in a Rodney Crowell mood today.

Mr. Crowell, for those who don't know him, came to be as a member of Emmylou Harris' "Hot Band" back in the '70s.

From there he established himself as a songwriter (for Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, the Oak Ridge Boys, Bob Seger and eventually Tim McGraw) and record producer.

Crowell married Cash's daughter, Rosanne and produced (or co-produced) her first five albums.

But he is a recording artist in his own right, just not with the success as some of the artists he's worked with, though two years ago he and Emmylou Harris put out a record together - which unfortunately, I did not care for.

It was actually have he got dropped from the major labels that Crowell was able to do some of his best work - as if he'd been freed up by the big corporate wheel.

After getting bumped down from Sony to an independent and then back to Epic - which really doesn't have much of a country presence - Crowell released Fate's Right Hand in 2003.

The album is pretty great. And Crowell has always had a way with songwriting - as his phrasing and use of words rises above the moon-june-spoon stuff that can make-up Nashville music.

My first thought was to use the title track from Fate's Right Hand, but then I opted for "Earthbound". And then I went back, then forth and back again.

Then I decided it was my fucking blog and could do anything I please. So I'm doing both.

"Earthbound" has a video.  "Fate" does not. So now we have mixed mediums.

But with both songs, you get subjects, words, or people rarely mentioned in a sung verse.

When do you hear Seamus Heaney or Mary Karr in a song ("Earthbound")?  Or in one line do you get direct or indirect references about Ken Starr, Bill and Hillary and AIDS?  and then later on - the word 'poontang' ("Fate's Right Hand")?

(side note: Crowell has a disk out of his music to the words of Karr, sung by many vocalists - including Cash, Harris and Lucinda Williams.  He also mentions his nickname and 2001 album the Houston Kid on "Fate's Right Hand").

Fate's Right Hand

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Into the Night

Last night we went to see a play with friends.

To be fair, they asked if we'd be interested in seeing one and I believe we answered without asking the play. I suppose we go lucky that it wasn't something that sounds disastrous, like Legally Blonde: the musical, but it might have been just as depressing on another level.

'night Mother was the play. An "up" piece about a daughter telling her mother she's planning on ending her life before morning.

In my email group, Becky said she hoped Sissy Spacek (who actually was in the film version) or Kathy Bates would be in it.  I told everyone it was Goldie the daughter.

You'd have thought that response would have gotten even a lower case 'ror', but it was like crickets and tumbleweeds all at the same time.  Nothing.

I must be losing my touch.

While most of those actresses probably have a multitude of free time, chances are they're not hurting so much that they're doing a local production at the Beck Center.

I'd like to think that Cleveland has a vibrant regional theater scene, but perhaps not. We have seen only three plays at the Beck and all three have "starred" one woman. It cant' be coincidence.

Maybe she runs the place and casts herself in everything. I don't know.

I have not seen the movie, but I'm guessing Ann Bancroft and Spacek would be better. The mom was good - and to a point so was the daughter, but for the first two-thirds, I was distracted by what can only be described as her Forrest Gump vocal delivery. It was so frickin' annoying.

There was little reason (for me) to care this chick was contemplating suicide. If the playwright conveyed it in print, the actor and director didn't pull off a logical explanation, but maybe that's the point, maybe there is none.

I was taken more by the mother's lament of her being left behind at an old age and how it would be for her to die later. Honestly, to me, that is where the true emotional punch came from.

There were no song and dance numbers - not that those would have necessarily made the play better (or worse).

We went. I had a grown-up theater experience - like it or not.

Of course, we could barely get up our driveway thanks to 7-8" of new snow (!!!!!) that was wet and heavy. We probably lost some evergreens due to the weight of the snow.

I. am. over. this.

Song by: Benny Mardones

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Petey Porn Day.  With a smidge of Sophie thrown in.  I hope she doesn't think we favour him over her, because we don't.

710 says his snout reminds him of a Space Shuttle.  ....and it does. 

We just may as well make it official - Petey has taken over the couch as his own. Oddly, he does use his bed at night.  ...most of the time. 

...and he uses the pillows for comfort. Pampered. 

My favourite pic of the week.  Post yoga, no relaxing. 

I have zero leg room and you know something? Worth It. 

Song by:  the Rolling Stones

Friday, March 28, 2014

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there! 

I am a big fan of Crowded House and Split Enz. I really like the Finn Brothers too.

Neil Finn, as a songwriter, is a master craftsman - with melodies, harmonies and lyrics. He has been for three (+) decades.

Neil Finn, as a solo recording artist, never hits all the marks like he does in a group effort - even if in those bands he does the heavy lifting.

Granted, I was not totally enamoured of the last Crowded House cd,  Intriguer. It was fine and everything, but I always come to expect more than 'fine' when Finn's name is attached to a project. Even the disk before that, Time on Earth, didn't hit me right away. But it grew on me and I do like it an awful lot.

But I never overplayed any of Finn's true solo work, and it never stuck with me except for a few songs.

So I wasn't really surprised when Finn released a new disk, Dizzy Heights, and I was totally unaware of its existence. Not that he's ever getting massive press coverage over here in the States.

Dizzy Heights certainly isn't a bad album, but it isn't bound for classic status either. Part of the blame might lie Finn himself, or possibly producer Dave Fridmann.  Some reviews have made mention of Finn's higher register and to be fair to them, it is distracting at best ("Divebomber", "Recluse").

"Flying in the Face of Love" sounds like it was a track recorded for Time on Earth (which isn't a bad thing, just sounds way too familiar).  I am loving "Strangest Friends" - but right now that's the only track I truly love.

Others are certainly passable ("Dizzy Heights", "Flying in the Face of Love", "Better Than TV"), but with Finn, I want and expect better than passable.

And perhaps it is Fridmann, but there is a little experimentation with style going on here, but little of works ("In My Blood", "Impressions", "Divebomber", "White Lies and Alibis").

"Lights of New York" makes it sound like he was trying way too hard for a closing track.

I get that artists must change and grow, but Dizzy Heights isn't really working for me. I'd say it might grow on me like Time on Earth, but it might be more of a dust collector like Intriguer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tastes Good

Normally I get my new recipes from blogs, or possibly Ina Garten. Now and again, Cooks Illustrated / America's Test Kitchen.

I'm a fan of the Barefoot Contessa, as her dishes are doable. And for a a guy like me, I need them to be somewhat successful - even if I tweak them for my needs.

Normally, I would say I seek out recipes with ingredients I'm fairly comfortable with (using and eating) and rarely go by images. So it surprised me that I went for something I saw in the New York Times Magazine site.

I didn't recognize the chef's name - should I have? - so it seems unimportant for me to bring it up here. I mean, then I'd have to Goooogle it, and hyperlink it.....blah blah blah. It seems like work.

Anyhoo...I was drawn in by the picture of the dish:  Chicken with Shallots.

I like chicken. I like shallots. I also like the rest of the ingredients. All of them seem fairly standard.
  • 8 chicken thighs 
  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 12 to 15 whole medium shallots, peeled 
  • 2 cups white wine 
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • 2 sprigs tarragon 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
I rarely cook with tarragon (which besides the chicken, was the only ingredient I had to go buy) or wine. I drink wine, but I don't normally cook with it. I don't know why. But what the hell. And it seemed like a lot of shallots, but again - WTH.

I made a few changes, but very few. The package of chicken thighs came in six. I wasn't buying 12, so I just made do. And I was too lazy to try to convert the rest of the recipe for a 25% reduction in protein.

It takes longer to prepare this dish than I normally take (about 90 minutes in all), but it was well worth it. I did not take pics for each step.

1. Rinse chicken thighs in water, and pat them very dry with paper towels. Sprinkle over them the flour, salt and pepper.

(The drying, along with the flower helps them brown easier.)

2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, cook the chicken, in batches if necessary, until well browned and crisp on all sides. Set aside.

(Petey was very interested in the set-aside chicken.)

3. Add the whole shallots to the pot and sauté them in the butter and chicken fat until they begin to soften and caramelize, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, stir with a large spoon, then add the mustard and tarragon, then the chicken thighs. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

(I used maybe 10 shallots, but on some of the bigger ones, I cut them in half, as they seemed large - but next time I might not, more on that later. Also, my tablespoon doesn't fit into the Grey Poupon jar so I had to convert teaspoons to tablespoons - thank you Siri  !!!!)

4. Remove the lid, and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.

(Next time, I might turn up the heat a little to thicken the sauce a bit more.)

5. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot, stir lightly to combine and serve immediately.

(those three little pieces of chicken you see on the paper towel were reserved for one good beagle.)

The article said this serves 4 to 6. That would be with the eight thighs. Maybe the ones I bought were not huge, because those six might have served 3.  Both 710 and I had two thighs each, and I could have probably eaten a third.

Adding the cherry tomatoes after the fact, off the heat, was perfect. I'm not a fan of cooked tomatoes like that, so just stirring them in heats them without (over)cooking them. They don't get so mushy, as cooked tomatoes do.

All I can say on the flavours is: wow.   The dish smelled like mustard, but didn't taste like it. The mix of wine (2 cups seems like a lot, but hey!), mustard, shallots and tarragon were perfect. And OMG, the shallots were great. They were sweet and absorbed the sauce and I was (almost) happy just to eat those.

You needed no knife for the chicken. Now, the recipe didn't state whether the thighs should be boned or not. I got boneless, skinless, so cutting it with your fork was easy. The total 45 minute simmer time in the sauce really helped make it tender.

Not only would I do this again for us in a heartbeat (it's a love beat!), it's a great dish for guests. Fancy enough, but not too fancy.

A bonus would be: it's all made in one dish. Easy clean up (well, I used a cutting board....but other than that.....)

Naturally, I killed of the rest of the bottle of wine that didn't go into the dish.

Song by:  Mitchell Froom & David Hidlago

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

App of the Month

It is a free (duh) app with very limited use, I would suspect.

I am guessing in the last 10 years we have gone to maybe 20 concerts and maybe a handful of professional sporting events.

But a few months ago, when I booked tickets to see Arcade Fire, I don't remember being given the option of printing my tickets, having them sent to me or getting them electronically.

Given the choice (or having remembered if it was an option), I'd have gone for electronically.

I'm a modern girl, Iggy. I'm all for integration!

While there must have been options (I saw some people with actual tickets), I didn't see it. But as soon as I completed my transaction, I got an email from Live Nation, Ticketmaster, or whomever, about how to get my tickets. I immediately electronically filed the email until I needed it three months later.

Naturally, the day of the concert I was in mini-panic mode and I figured I had to find that email to print out said tickets. Alas, no, this is not the case.

I had to download the app Flash Seats, which took all of 20 seconds. It took longer to put in my password than the actual time to get the app.

Of course, every time I say "flash seats" - I hear Queen in my head, and sometimes escaping my lips, going "Flash. ah-aaaaah. Saviour of the universe...."   (if you don't get that - just YouTube Queen Flash)

You type your email address (that you used to order the tickets) in the box I have blanked out and you get your QR code. 

The problem (?) is, that while I ordered two tickets, the app doesn't confirm (or say anything) about the amount of tickets one purchased. I wasn't 100% sure that when we got down there that I'd be getting both of us in the door. least easily. 

The other problem (?) is that the Flash Seats (ah-aaaaaah) doesn't display your section and seat numbers. I wasn't exactly sure how this would work.  ....but off we went. 

Once at the arena, the nice lady scanned my code and from her hand held device, as I was just starting to axe about the seats, she printed off two of these: 

You see, it says it's not a ticket, just a print off of where your assigned seats are. 

Which brings me to another point - one that, yes, will most likely get my panties in a wad: Handling Fees. 

I almost understood them when Ticketmaster had to print out the tickets and mail them to you.  I kind of understood it when you went to Will Call and they printed them out for you on site. 

I did not get the point when all of the sudden you were printing them off at home. My paper. My ink. My DSL connection. Yes, they had computers transmitting stuff, but they had the computers anyways. 

So with Flash Seats (ah-aaaaah), it was sad that there is still a frickin' Handling Fee. 

Ok, now the arenas have to pay for hand held devices with mini printers. Wouldn't it be easier to just have the seats pop up - and another code - after you check in and it remains on your phone? 

Clearly I need to work on long-term strategy for Live Nation. 

Since many of the venues we go to do not have this kind of technology - and I'm not sure the Cleveland Indians use it either - I'm not sure I'll be using the app much. 

It is interesting. It's the right way to go, but there doesn't seem to be critical mass yet. And even if there is, Handling Fees are going nowhere. It's how the promoters make their cash. 

Flash Seats (ah-aaaaah) has potential, but I don't think they're quite there yet. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Young Offender

I am the model of restraint.

Four boxes. That is all I purchased.

To be fair, it is possible I only purchased two Thin Mints and two Savannah Smiles because it was all the money I had on me at the time.

To be super fair, I also thought it was the last weekend the Girl Scouts were selling their wares in front of local grocery stores.

A quick perusal will tell me that I have at least one more weekend, should the need come up and I have extra cash floating around in my wallet.

...and I happen to be near a designated grocery store - which can easily be remedied with an automobile and some determination.

Last year I purchased a case of the Savannah Smiles - and maybe 2-3 boxes of Thin Mints.

First off, in my estimation, they are the only worthy purchases.  Sure Carmel Delights Samoas are good, but you get about eight to a pack and the price is still the same as boxes with more cookies in them.

I really wanted the smiles (obviously) as they are the only version of Lemon Coolers - which no longer exists since Sunshine was bought by Keebler and the latter company ceased production. It's my one chance per year to get and consume them.

I will have you know, that the case of cookies lasted me 10 months.

How am I not the model of restraint???

A box per month? Oh yes, cases of cookies are not like cases of beer - you don't get 12.  Mind you, I probably ate an entire box at one sitting, so I still have some work to do on that 'restraint' title.

...and speaking of......  a friend of mine (yes, a friend, not a 'friend') is not as much the model of restraint as he is 'restraining order'.  The very upstanding man took a random camera shot of the Scouts in front of the store, selling cookies and was accosted by their mothers.

I get his taking the picture was capturing an image of suburban life. But I kind of get the mother's take of a grown man taking pictures of pre-teen girls. I'm sure - and I'm not testing the theory - that there are probably weirdo fetish sites out there of pre-teen girls in uniform.

Still, by all accounts, the mom's went a little overboard in their vilification.

And I think I might understand why. The Scouts you see on the above hyperlinked website are what I think of Girl Scouts being - closer to teen years. The ones who sold me my cookies?  I'm not sure they could have been in 2nd grade. (Relax! I'm not saying taking pics of 12 year olds is better than 7 year olds.)

They certainly couldn't add. They told me my total was $8 for four boxes, when it was actually $16. I amusingly tried to hold them to their original quote, after one of the mothers corrected them. The moms were not buying it.

To be honest, the girl said more than once that her mother was 122 years old.  I told the lady she looked good for her age.  She did not laugh.  

I was hoping the GS would be in those green uniforms with their badge / sash and hat. I was hoping the moms would have a sense of humour and let me borrow both, so I could sit behind the table and they could take a pic of me.

It would have been a risky move, at best, after the altercation earlier in the week, but one that would have paid of for my readers.  C'mon - who wouldn't have wanted to see that?

But the girls do not seem to wear that outfit anymore. Stupid vests are now the style. And there is no way I'm fitting into a 2nd grader's vest.

They probably wouldn't have seen the humour in the whole thing anyways and called the cops on me. Not worth it.

...and then I'd end up on some registry, which means getting polarized Foster Grants and wearing a Member's Only jacket.

Song by: New Order

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Music Monday

I don't know how it came up in conversation with my cousin, but it did.

He couldn't remember the actual name of the song, let alone the group, but this brain of mine, well, there's no letting that slip through.

"Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne.

One could dismiss it as a throw away song, except for the fact that you can't toss it away. It sticks to you like a virus implanted in your brain - playing over and over.

Since David mentioned it - and as an idea for My Music Monday - on and off for the last 10 days it's been up in my grey matter. And now you're stuck with it.

Now, if you go and Goooooogle Fountains of Wayne (and I haven't), but at the time, critics were talking about how they were so under the radar and such an amazing band and great songwriters. I've never truly heard another song from them (more on that in a minute), so I don't know this to be true or not.

.....or if they just had a great fucking publicist.

Whether you like the song or not, it's hard to deny it's not catchy. Like that virus I mentioned.

Almost starting out like the Cars' "My Best Friend's Girl", they use repetition to their advantage. Almost every single line in the verse is used twice in a row. But it is the chorus that is infectious.

There's that virus thing again.

Nothing about the melody is rocket science yet it works.

As it turns out FoW did another song - in writing and producing:  Kathy Griffin's theme song to her ill-fated talk show. It doesn't work as well in the two minute version as it did in the 30 second edit for the show, but you can see in that 30 seconds it has pop potential. And lord help us, if you want to look, there are dance mixes.

The video does little for me - unless one wants to see one of Rod Stewart's exes (one of his many) pole dance and creep on a 12 year old faux masturbating.

But David - THIS is for you.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oh Daddy

I don't know - I am thinking of having an Ad of the Month segment.

There are enough fun and / or interesting ads - video or print - out there that I could get away with amusing ones.

It would be another 'placeholder' post, but in a way, aren't they all? I certainly don't seem to be doing both Record of the Month and Record of the Month - Classic anymore. It is usually one or the other, but not both - though I haven't abandoned that idea just yet.

No one seems to have noticed - or at least minded.

Since I haven't committed to doing an Ad of the Month, the title does not get this recognition. It's just an ad for Tesla.

Actually, it's a fan-ad for Tesla - done by a few college grads for $1500 (one of their father's owns a Tesla).  This is not a Tesla commissioned ad or used by the company, as they don't actually run advertisements,  though Elon Musk approves.

I'd say to stick with the ad at least until the 41 second mark.

Yeah - I'm guessing the majority of the $1500 spent was on this guy.


Feel free to weigh-in on the Ad of the Month thought. I cannot guarantee you they would all have a daddy this hot in any of them.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caught in a Dream

'Tis Saturday, so 'tis Petey Porn Day.

I'm thinking I might have to space these out to two Saturdays per month.  We will see.

Petey & I trying to nap on the couch. 
He is napping. I'm there to support him so he won't accidentally roll off the sofa. I did not actually end up napping.   Worth it. 

The slow wake-up. 

I call it a walk. He would call it a 'squirrel hunt'. 

At first I thought he might be chasing bunnies.  Then it kind of looked like a humping action. But Petey is not a humper - of legs or anything else.  I'm sticking with bunnies because it's less creepy. 

Song by:  Dusty Trails

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Am Missing

I have ignored posting anything on this Malaysian airline for almost two week now. Naturally, I opted to draft this right before they think they found debris.

Of course, like most folks, no one thought a missing Boeing 777-200 could just disappear for this length of a time.

As you've come to know me over the years, through these "pages", it would be no shock that airplane disasters would capture my interest.

One of those OCD things I did as a child was read every single book on the Bermuda Triangle. ...which seemingly doesn't seem to exist anymore, does it?  There are certainly no new books out about it - no new planes disappearing out of thin air..........well, until now. Though Malaysia is a long way from Bermuda.

Even a week ago, on social media, I made a "joke" about the situation being like the updated version of LOST.

Mind you, a number of folks chimed in hoping the ending would be more satisfying.

But like that frustrating show, I am guessing this story and ending are going to be just as convoluted, dissatisfying and debated upon years after the fact. And with this, there seem to be no Easter egg clues.

The only thing that seems to still be LOST is Matthew Fox's next acting gig.

....well, and Malaysian flight 370.

There are no known answers to this mystery, but lots of guesses, including UFO abduction. I mean, c'mon, if that frickin' crazy-assed bitch, Courtney Love, is chiming in and claiming to know things about this plane and flight, then this is one fucked up situation.

I'll take Close Encounters over the lead singer of Hole.

Naturally, I have a few questions - none of which have been touched on that I can tell from the 24 news cycle - not that I have really been reading too much detail - because there isn't much detail. It's all speculation. The networks are busy trying to figure out the whens, wheres and whys of the current situation, not the bigger questions.

I love all of CNN's on-line headlines. They all end in a question mark:  WHAT HAPPENED? WHERE IS FLIGHT 370?   IS THIS IT?  WHAT DO SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW?

I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a headline or if they're truly asking, hoping one or more of their viewers to just help them fill in the blanks.  Or maybe it's a Sex in the City thing, where Carrie starts all her columns in an upward inflection.

All 24/7 new orgs are pointing fingers at everyone and none of it is panning out, just casting doubt on any one and every one's character. They've all become Nancy Grace: guilty until proven innocent.

So here are a few questions I have:
  • Why is it even possible to ever turn off an airplane's transponder?  I figured after 9/11, that flaw would be done away with immediately. Don't say it's because in case of potential power failures the crew needs to conserve power. Transponders draw the most minimal amount of power than most any other part of a plane. 
  • Why can communication systems ever be disabled? I love that the majority of 777-200 pilots said, when questioned, they don't even know how to, but why in g-d's name (again, after 9/11), is this even an option? Of course, would the pilots actually admit to knowing how to do it in the first place?
  • People are so fucking worried about the CIA, NSA, Interpol etc finding shit out about them, yet 2 million passports are stolen and reused each year. You can book tickets on them and board planes. Satellites can and do track plane movements, but not exact locations and yet no one can fucking find an airliner with 237 passengers. I've feeling pretty safe no one is truly listening to my phone calls or reading my emails. 
I guess the last one isn't really a question, but I'll be curious how and when my first two questions are ever addressed by the airlines, or national transportation safety.

As for the plane, maybe it was UFOs, or maybe an electromagnetic burst had the plane crash on a remote island with smoke monsters, wild boars and an endless supply of food and fresh water, and with beard trimmers you were forced to use every three days (for the males). Perhaps it is purgatory, perhaps not.


Like the show's characters, everyone on board is actually dead.     ....just like Matthew Fox's career.

Song by: Dashboard Confessional

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring is Here

Allegedly Spring comes at 12:57 EDT today.

Not that one would truly believe that by looking or stepping outside. At least in Ohio. I can't really speak for the rest of you - but to paraphrase George Harrison - it's been a long, cold lonely Winter.

I guess that's quoting him, and not paraphrasing.

That said, the arrival of Spring (usually) coincides with my blogging anniversary. Finishing year 11. 3207 posts (including this one). Countless words. Innumerable of them spelled incorrectly. More than a few Far too many dedicated to Mike.  (I just like to get that dig in a little).

With my blogiversary (is there a correct spelling for that word?) I usually do a video piece. Why should 2014 be any different?

It's not.

Sorry about the second half. The wind kicked up and you get that noise in the mic. Such are the problems of an artist working outside of his known medium.

Like the video says, or implies, thanks for sticking with me. So far it's been a fun ride - and not all in the back of police cars.

Song by: Carly Simon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Police on My Back

Porn, once again, has lied to me.

Two fully uniformed cops at my house - and nothing!  Nothing, I tellz ya.

No close up of their eyes or mine. No one bead of sweat dripping down past any of our eyes, with an extreme close-up.

Nope - it was just disappointing.

I'll back up though.

Petey and I were on our morning constitutional, barely into it actually, when Mr. Pete turned around to look at something. Naturally, I followed his lead, as he's the brains (and beauty) behind his operation.

There I saw two men walking towards the main road. Since we had not passed them, they had to have come through a neighbors back yard after we had already passed that parcel. They kept walking, never turning around. I kept watching, seeing what was what. We don't get a lot of foot traffic that isn't from our own neighbors and these weren't from our area.

Eventually, they went out of sight but not before I kind of / sort of took note of build, clothing etc. Since we got robbed 2+ years ago, I just do that. Stupid me - I never think of using my camera phone for this kind of thing.

Anyhoo, Petey and I walk about a mile and making the last leg of  heading home when we run into this:

Of course, with six cop cars, I am curious. Who wouldn't be?

I can see one cop in a back yard and there is one in the front. Where the other four are - I don't know. Of course, Petey is interested because there is someone who might give him pets, a car ride....or better yet, food.

But you know cops, they're all butch and stand-off-ish. I ask if everything was all right and I was pretty much dismissed, though from their perspective it wasn't any of my business - and it wasn't. Hell, in almost nine years, I'd only see the woman who owns the house twice. I don't even know if she lives there in the winter. But I couldn't help think about those two guys I'd seen earlier. And if they exited through that neighbors yard which I suspected, the one they'd have had to come from the house where all the cops were.

I got Petey home and fed and headed back out to at least give information to the cops, in case.

I didn't have to go far, as two were near the end of our drive. One was key-uuuute. We chatted about what I saw, the time frame from which I saw it, etc. They asked if someone could come by to get a statement from me and I agreed.

About 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door and a non-key-uuuute cop was there to get my statement. Just my luck. Anyhoo, I had to write it out being as detailed as possible. I've seen enough Law & Order franchises that I think I knew what to include.

Just as I was finishing, another cop showed up - still not the cute one {damn!}. While they chatted, and Petey circled them, one of them gets radioed that they picked up three guys down the street. Then I was asked if it was possible I could identify them.

I told them I only saw two from behind. There was no third. But the cop at the end of the drive seemed to think there were 3-4 guys, maybe they just took off in different directions. I said, all I could do is possibly pick them out from behind by the clothes they were wearing - which I had already put in my detailed statement.

But sure, I could at least try. So, I got into the back of the above car and started chuckling to myself:

A. would it be weird to ask the officer to take my pic from outside the car like I was a criminal. (the            answer, to myself was, 'yes'.)
B. if neighbors saw a cop car leaving my drive with me in, would they think that was strange. (I was
     hoping the answer was still 'yes' and not, 'yeah, it was only a matter of time'.

So I took the pick myself.

BTW - there really are no door handles or buttons to lower the windows back there.

So down the hill we go and there are another (?) five cop cars there, plus the one I'm in. Now maybe they're the same ones that were at that house, but if not, you could have robbed any bank in town because clearly all the cops were busy with me and these three guys.

Each "perp" (we, in the trade, call them "perps", dontcha know) was in a different car, I assume so they couldn't hear each other's story. They were brought out one by one and turned around for me to view, while I stayed in my cruiser.  (oh yes, we call them "cruisers" - for more than one reason.)

The first guy I recognized, because of his white sweatshirt hood and ugly grey jacket with orange sleeves.

Helpful Hint to all you would be felons out there:  Folks - if you don't want the neighborhood homo to pick you out of a line-up, don't wear such f'ugly clothes. We will notice you every. single. time.!

The other two were not as easy to say yes or no to. I was pretty sure of the second one, but not the third. I was asked to give a percentile on my 'maybe'.

Of course the one key-uuute cop was outside when they presented the second guy. Cutie Cop signaled me with a thumbs-up and thumbs-down motion. Naturally, I figured the cop was asking me if I thought he was cute or not and gave him the thumbs-up, but in retrospect, he probably meant did I think it was the guy or not.

I might have sent that perp to prison by accident, since the cop never followed up with his name or number (though he does have mine!).  {call me}

Each of the three in custody tried desperately to look into the car of which I sat, seeing if they could ID the guy who was ID'ing them.  So, lucky me!

I want Petey and I to go into the Witness Protection Program, but so far it hasn't been offered.

Still, I feel like I did my civic duty (hehehehe....I said 'duty'). What will come of it is anyone's guess. A defense attorney would easily dispel my ID since it was only from the back - and they can probably produce records that show hundreds of those ugly jackets had been sold. But I'm not sure it would ever get that far.

If nothing else, they should be able to get the guys for truancy.  I don't think they could have been old enough to be out of school.

Song by: the Clash

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here Comes the Night Time

I opted to post on FB that we were waiting for Arcade Fire to start their performance.

That got a snarky comment by CB (is there any other kind?) "asking" if I wasn't too old to for a rock concert. He also used the word 'gramps' in there too.

Normally, I'd call him a prick - and I probably did (in my head) - but there were times leading up to the concert the same thoughts had crossed my mind.  ....except for the 'gramps' part.  I had spent part of the day wondering,  'ugh, should we go?  It's so cold out (still)....wouldn't it be easier to stay at home?... and's a school night.....'   Those old man thoughts.

I'm really really glad we went.

First, there was a big to-do, when tickets were sold months ago. The band requested that people 'dress up' to attend. Some folks took that as mandatory and got their panties in a wad.

But 'dress up' can mean many things. Many took it as suit/tie or formal dress.  Many took it as to don a costume. There was both groups there.  Me?  Neither. I dressed for warmth as it was 11 degrees out. I might be a gramps, but fuck if I'm not going to be a practical, warm gramps.

Yes, 710 and I skewed a bit older than the mostly upper-20 something crowd. But then there was a guy who sat in front of us who looked like current-day Jerry Van Dyke, so I felt ok. Actually, there were a number of 40 and 50 somethings....and I'm pretty sure (though not overly confident) they just weren't transporting their kids there.

Arcade Fire put on a hell of a show. A great show, in fact.  One of the best I've seen. For some of their marginal material, they really made most of that sound great in a live setting.

In the studio the band are pretty much a sextet. On stage, they double that, with most of the band being all bets are off on who plays what on stage. It's kind of cool.

Another great thing about them is their set-list. It changes nightly - the song choices and the order. There are so many acts that have the same song and order, but the exact same stage patter, movements, etc that you feel like you should be watching a fund raiser on PBS.

I had never seen Arcade Fire. Since I've lived in Cleveland, they played here once and it was for an Obama fundraiser - for like a total of 6 songs. I wasn't sure how this would go down:  it could be packed because they don't play here, but their last disk Reflektor seemed to have dropped from the charts immediately.

The place was pretty well sold out though. And the floor was SRO. General Admission.  Those were almost exclusively the 20-somethings (though I saw a few dinosaurs roaming there).

It was a long set - almost two hours and 21 songs, with the first five or six songs having no break and just great segues between each one. That is impressive anyways, but considering the set is different every night, I was more impressed.

The group relied heavily on Reflektor and the Suburbs. Even Funeral had a decent showing of tunes. Neon Bible was barely touched upon with only two songs. And one cover of Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge".

And in a nod to Devo, the Papier Mâché Reflektors "played" a cover of Devo's cover of the Stones' "Satisfaction", before Arcade Fire broke into "Reflektor" on the main stage.

There were a few missteps, if you axe me. Having Régine Chassagne sing lead vocals on three songs in a row was a bit much. She's a decent backing or harmony vocalist, but lead? No.

And for "Sprawl II" , she was finally halfway through the song when a concert-goer decided to pass out at the stage. The band stopped to assist (nice touch Win Butler!), but then he said they'd take the song 'from the top', so we had to hear that screeching again.

And while I'm ok with the song, "Here Comes the Night Time", it's not a closing number. (technically, I guess it wasn't with the encore of "Wake Up" from Funeral.)

But these are trivial things.  Butler did a great job engaging the audience and his vocals were strong. The band itself was phenomenal and if you have a chance to see them live, I suggest doing it.

If I have one regret it was not being able to take my nephew. He'd have loved it, but he's studying abroad (not 'a broad').  Maybe next go-around.

Song by: Arcade Fire

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Music Monday

I considered a song with 'green' in it.  Then scrapped that idea.

Then I thought I'd see what I had with 'Irish' in it - and there was only one.

For a few minutes I waffled about whether I'd use it, since I don't give one flying fuck about St. Patrick's Day.

That song, Morrissey's "Irish Blood, English Heart" from his disk You are the Quarry (2004).

It's a great song. It's a great disk. I've never truly grown tired of Morrissey or the Smiths.

Like many of his songs, Morrissey is railing against something or someone. This time it's reconciling his Irish heritage with his English upbringing - calling out the Tories, Labour and even Oliver Cromwell.

A decade old and I still love it (and looking forward to his new disk later this year!).

But this is the closest you'll get to me about a song of Ireland, snakes. It ain't easy being green.

And is it just me, or is Morrissey looking like a slightly older version of Joaquin Phoenix?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Site of the Month

Maybe five years ago, my friend, David G. told me I was a "daddy'.


Somewhere deep down, I knew this day would come. Me becoming one - not him calling me out on it.

I was relaying a story to him about me having a drink in DC on a work trip and this attractive man in a suit was chatting me up. He got zero of my cultural references and I finally asked how old he was, and he was 23.

To his credit, he looked more mature. But I wasn't interested in 23 year olds when I was 23. Not that I was searching anyone out that evening - I was just dodging a horrific thunderstorm. Honest.

As soon as the rain let up, I headed to my hotel, grabbing food along the way for an evening of work in my room.

Still, I suppose David was right. A man of a certain age, in gay terms, becomes a 'daddy'.  This is probably one reason I don't venture to gay bars. My friend Jon went to one a few weeks back and mentioned how young everyone was.

I suppose that's just a nice way of saying, "we're old".

But fuck it, I've earned this age. I did not come by it easily. But it doesn't mean I want to be categorized as a father figure.

So Joe had posted something about him being a "Daddy" from this Gay Cliques Census site. They didn't tell me anything I didn't really know.

I'm least like a twink.   Fucking wipe my brow right now.  Phew.

I might take offense at Density: soft body.  I've been working (fairly) hard at that. It might not be 'gym bunny' hard, but 'soft'?  FUCK YOU.

Now to be fair, I rounded up.  That's right - up.

I can squeeze into wear a 33" pair of pants - depending on the brand, but I went with 34" just in case I indulge in cake of some kind.  And my weight is 175 (sometimes lower), but I went with 180 because there is no 175....and then there is that cake thing, again.

If I went with the lower in both categories, I fall into the 'Muscle Bear' category, which just made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

No one - and I mean, no one - is mistaking me for a muscle bear. Even Louis Braille knew better. So did the girl from Mask.   ...the blind one, not the Cher one.

I guess I should be happy I wasn't called a 'Chub', a 'Gainer' (whatever that is),  or horror of horrors, 'Average'.

....and fuck, I (or 'Daddies') don't even rate on the 'heat map'.

I'm not sure if that means I appeal to all, or to none. I'd get it if I were a 'bear' and then I would be jusssssst right.   (get it?  get it???)

I'm not sure we even want to get into which category falls into the majority of 'top' or 'bottom'.

It seems these numbers (maybe all of them) are being derived from self-identifying, which you can do it if you back out the URL to  "/census/" part of the link.

This becomes like those thousands of buzzfeed surveys (btw, do they do anything but have stupid-assed surveys?) - you can probably manipulate it enough to get to the end result you desire. if anybody is watching or caring.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sleep Together

It's Saturday - you know what that means.  Petey Porn. 

As you've seen, the couch seems to be his habitat lately. He does spend time in his bed for sure, but if 710 or I are here, he's with us on the couch.

Sophie loves sleeping with Petey, but she puts up with a lot. Like kicking. His paw is just resting on her now, but be assured that he kicks in his sleep. She withstands it for about 15 minutes and then moves. But she's always back for more. 

Belly rubs !!!!!!!

Petey never used to get a lot of rubs like this, so he's adjusting. There still seems to be fear or uncertainty in his eyes. Of course, I might just be projecting. 

Mad Dog !!!  Mad Dog !!!!

He's not. Ferocious is not an adjective one would use to describe this kind-hearted soul.  Still he was showing teeth as he napped. 

You need volume for this.  

710 snores. 710 "claims" I snore now and then. Sophie snores. And yes, Petey snores. 

Song by: Garbage

Friday, March 14, 2014

Girls and Boys

A month or so ago, I might have easily marginalized HBO's Looking, by calling it the "gay Girls"

That was kind of short-sighted of me, though one can easily make some comparisons to both shows. But only kind of.

While there are a lot of similarities, I may have sold Looking short.

Girls certainly has its place and time, but their episodes (while having many more of them) are a little uneven to me.  When they're good they can be great, but when they're not....well....ehhhhhh.

Maybe I don't relate as much to Girls, as I am not one. Or a 20-something one, at that.

Lena Dunham might be ok with her body, but I don't want to see it all the time - and I'm not talking about her dirty pillows or Sarlacc pit either. It's those badly drawn tattoos that look like they're just done with a medium tip Bic pen that seemingly make me uncomfortable. In my mind, I'm moving ahead 10 years and regretting her ink for her.

Looking, for me, is at least more relatable. They are gay men in their late 20s and now for some of the main characters, into their 40s.  If you throw Scott Bakula's character in there, now you have one in his 60s. It's a tad more diverse that way.

Like the four women on Girls, the three main guys in Looking are floundering - either professionally, personally, romantically or all of the above. And if you left it there, yes, the two shows are similar. I made my comparative statement after the second episode of Looking, so I had little to go on.

Looking does a better job of capturing the dynamics of friendships and / or relationship that can be difficult or new. They actually take time to process the whys, whens and whats. Girls can just gloss over those and never revisit. The girls never seem to learn much from their experiences.

Nor do the girls on Girls really seem to like each other, which I always saw as a huge flaw. Honestly, I have no idea why they're friends at all. They are much more self-absorbed than gay men - and that's saying something.

My favourite Girls episode of this season was a beach house weekend where they all just kind of lashed into each other. Things you wished they said year one. But how you come back from that scathingly honest discussion, or ever talk to one another after that, is beyond me.

It can be argued that Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is the Hanna(h) (Dunham) of Looking. His naïveté for being a 29 year old in the big city with big career is a little hard to fathom. I wasn't that young ten years prior. But he has better coping mechanisms than a Hanna(h). Not great, but better. Neither one knows exactly what they want.

It can be argued that each series has a character hitting rock bottom (Augustine / Jessa) and a pair that are starting to realize their professional and personal potential  (Dom / Marnie). But again, there is a level in the males that would negate that myth that women mature faster than boys.

And yes, Girls has their resident 'best gay' and Looking has their fag hag, so in that regards, they both have that covered.

Both Patrick and Hanna(h) deal with their parents and both with some animosity about each other's perceptions of their life choices.

It was great to see Patrick almost come to the realization (even though it was spelled out for him) that if he has dating issues because of what he perceives to be his mother's approval, that those rest solely on him.   ....and Julia Duffy, as Patrick's mother, was great casting. I almost didn't recognize her, but she did a great job.

Girls may have the advantage in acting. You feel that a lot of the time they're so annoying that it's not an act, so if they are applying their craft, it's working.  With Looking, they're all fine actors, though the strongest one might be Ritchie, Patrick's would-be boyfriend - he conveys a certain depth the other men don't seem to posses.

Still, I think HBO sold Looking short with only eight episodes. It is slower moving than Girls, so just as you started to get a little invested (especially with episodes 5 and 7 especially), it's over for another year (?).    (for the record, I really liked two of Girls episodes  - 7 and 9.)  

On the other hand, Girls has had some horrendously bad shows, while at its worst, Looking's were still decent.

Overall, I enjoy Looking much more, as I think it has better growth potential. I slightly care more about their characters than their female counterparts. I am looking forward to their second season, which HBO just picked up.

On a not completely unrelated note:  I'm thinking Disney must be shitting bricks that their newest animated prince is on HBO taking it up the butt.

Song by: Blur

Thursday, March 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 49th 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. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just ErikJim and myself - that I know of. 

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

01:40. I was up. Used the facilities. It had already started raining for the 'big storm'.  Allegedly 6-10", plus a glaze of ice.

This is a pic across the ravine (yes, the one Petey crossed) and a parking structure for a non-main campus Cleveland Clinic facility. 

06:50.  One diet green tea for 710 to take to work. 
I place them on the hood of his car, or he'd never take one - and then just buy it at his work cafeteria. 

08:30.  710 left out Petey's cup of fud and his Zyrtec.  
Well Wal-tec, because we buy the generic Walgreens brand. 

09:30.  Rain had turned to snow only minutes before our walk. Everything was covered in minutes. 

Our walk consisted of 20 ft. I forced Petey to do that much. He would have turned around when I opened the door had he had his way. To be fair,  the snow actually hurt as it was partially ice. 

12:05.  the obligatory 12 of 12 selfie.  
Picking up a few provisions at lunch time in case the storm actually does get worse. 

12:15.  the lower Shaker Lake.  I stopped by for a shot on the way back from the store. 

12:45.  Tuna salad sammich.  
For a kick, I put some Frank's Red Hot in with the tuna and Miracle Whip. 

15:50.  Heard a big crash. Then two. With the third crash in less than 60 seconds, I went to the window to see the third car just leave the scene. 

I went out in the snow to take a pic and ended up taking two - one with three cars and then four seconds later a new fourth car (not including the one that took off).  Within a few more minutes we were up to eight cars in the pile, including a cop car that came to assist. 

Oh - and I love how all the folks got out and stood BEHIND their cars, and had to scramble when another car got hit and sent vehicles flying.  Morons. 

Oh BTW - the storm did hit. Full swing. But I'm guessing you know that by now. 

16:10.  Afternoon snack.  I'd have had more, but these were the last three.  Drats. 

17:00.  One is alert and one is snoozing. 

18:30.  PLEASE let this be the last time this season I have to fire this up. We ended up with about 4-5" of snow when I cleared the drive. On track to get another 1-2" before this publishes. 

20:00.  Orange Roughy and salad for dinner. 

21:20. Your baker's dozen. 

 the electric blanket turned on.  But hey, it's 11F, feels like -3. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flesh and Bone

Sometimes I just lose track of time.

Last week was 21 years since I had my cancer surgery, effectively making it 21 years since I've been cancer free.

There was no radiation. No chemo. If they couldn't get the entire tumor there was nothing they could truly do for me. But they got it.

I think the last time I wrote about it was two years ago. I also touched on it in 2008 and 2006.  But you know, this just might be the last of them.  How long can I milk this as a blog post?

I'm thinking 4-5 times in 11 years is enough.  Wow - half my survivor time has been blogging time too. Who knew?

I decided to gross you out with external images this time. Last time is was an x-ray of my pins and plate. (and my peen.....if you look closely enough).

But surgery is an ugly beast. And painful. Though it might be argued that removing of the staples and the growing back of my hair on my legs was as equally (say it like Snape!) painful.

Actually, the most difficult thing was learning how to step over the two inch lip of the shower base. Do I put my weak leg over that lip first, making me bear weight on it as the good leg follows?  Or do I put the good leg in first and have to hop the bad leg in with the risk of slipping?

They didn't teach me this in physical therapy - just how to get up and down stairs.  ....not helpful!

My father HATED taking these pictures of me. Not because his son was now a scarred monster or that he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer.  No, having your son hike up his tighty whities for a picture or two was never in his Parent's Manual.

Clearly the lighting was better in the post-staple removal image - and I played with the settings for the one with the staples, so imagine how much it looked before I lightened it up for you.

You're welcome.

The two "dots" you see at the bottom of the scar are where my drain was to get rid of extra fluid.  Pretty- huh?

I still have all those scars, though they have lightened up considerably, and that hair has grown back. Not grown back on the scar, but around the scar. I'm just so hairy, there is a comb-over like technique that hides it all unless I swim or shower and they get wet. Then all bets are off.

I'm good with showing off my scars. They are a weird badge of honour.

My internal med doc loves looking at them. Go figure. Almost every visit he asks to see them, on the premise to see how I'm doing - even if it is not cancer check-up related.

Since my cancer wasn't external, I'm not sure what he'd glean from eye-balling my right leg, but hey, if it makes him feel better, he can knock himself out.  If he's getting other jollies from seeing my hairy gam(s), well, I don't think it's billable, so I hope he just makes sure to lock his office door after I leave.

There is little to no risk of recurrence. The tumor is gone. Hell, my femur is gone along with it.  But I'm finding out I can't use that much as an excuse for stuff.

In yoga, this very nice woman was bemoaning not being able to do poses. I was trying to be encouraging by saying of course she could, as I can with a plate and nine pins.  But she had to one-up me on the number of additional pins and plates she has.

David just looked at me like "you can't top that one!"  ...and I couldn't. Somehow in the war of disease, I'd lost this one. And I lost by winning. It was all very strange.

Yes, I think this is my retirement from cancer update posts. But feel free to come back and enjoy the leg shots.

Song by:  the Killers

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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!

If we want good produce, we have to go out of the 'hood, as the grocery store a mile away has questionable fruits and veggies. Mostly fruits, but it's annoying there when you can't buy one head of garlic and have to buy a package of six.  Ditto with shallots.

So if we want good fruit, it's another trip.

Sure, sometimes we go to Whole Foods, but that means taking out a second mortgage. Normally we just head up to Heinens.  A great store, but no matter which one you go to, they have the shittiest parking situation ever.

And who knew there was anything new in the world of fruit?

Oh - it's probably not new, but I've never seen either of these things:

Some weird tangerine that looks like it has some skin ailment, like leprosy. They claimed to be sweet and they had a few peeled there to sample - so I did.  They were good, but I didn't buy any. I'm sure I'll never see them again.

And baby bananas?  Honestly, that is what the sign said.  They're totally a thing?  They were the only bunch on the table, so I'm not sure if the store only stocked one set or they were a quick sell-out.  Just for scale, I put my index finger next to one.

But next time a potential date says they can deep-throat a banana, I wouldn't get too excited by that prospect. It's all about asking the right questions.

I didn't buy these either.  It's all about size for me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Music Monday

Sometimes I don't have My Music Monday posts planned out.


I might think of a song earlier in the week, but if I don't start the post, lord knows where that thought or song choice eventually goes.

Somewhere into the ether.

I just kept thinking this week something would come to me, but it didn't. So this afternoon, I devised my selection process.

Most every Sunday, we go to see my parents. I decided that whatever the last song to hit my iPod on the trip would be the song of choice.  Random?  Sure, but why not?

You're getting Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer", from his 1974 disk, Late for the Sky.

I love the disk, I love the song. It ranks up in the top 5 of all of Browne's songs.  It's a nice tune, with a decent life-philosophy, comparing yourself and all humans as dancers - and no matter how many steps you learn from others, "in the end there is one dance you'll do alone".  You are unique and your own person.

Maybe a bit heavy-handed, but as a teenager, it spoke to me. It still does.

I admire Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, and while they did a cover of this song on their album, Western Wall, I found it a failed attempt.  But somewhere in my mind, I never thought the original studio song could ever be topped.

I don't know Browne's actual vocal category. Most of the time he seems to high for a tenor, but he is a difficult one for me to sing along to. His voice can go too low for my low range, but I can't maintain his upper range.  And yes, I like to sing along when I'm alone, but he ranks up there for hardest for me to do that.

"For a Dancer" is no different, though it's easier than some other stuff on that disk, like "Fountain of Sorrow" being the most difficult.

Here it is.  Like it or not.