Friday, October 31, 2014

the Ghost on Every Corner

I always wish I had something interesting to say on Halloween...but I don't.

It's just never been my holiday, though I love watching others get excited about it - even if they don't really ever follow through with costumes or anything.

I get it. Work and life get in the way of having you being slathered in Karo syrup coloured red.

Alas, I am just not clever enough for a really good costume anyways. I somewhat admire the folks who go all out and do something fun and daring.

We did get invited to a Halloween open house. The hosts didn't mention costumes. I'd hate to show up without one and be the only ones not wearing a get-up - which is only slightly less embarrassing then dressing up when no one else does. They're having mulled wine, which isn't really a compelling reason to go.

It's also supposed to snow tonight. But since it's Cleveland, that is not a rarity for this night. More often than not, kids who go trick-or-treating have a parka covering their princess or cowboy outfit.  ....or whatever crazy kids dress as these days. Probably the two guys from Breaking Bad or any character from Games of Thrones.

If we make it through tonight with no trick-or-treaters, it will be years nine without one person stopping by for candy. Of course, we will buy a bag since Halloween is on a Friday. The traffic patterns might be different this year.

If we get no one, we get no one. Maybe I don't need a costume to scare the neighbor kids.

Song by: Marti Jones

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Year of the Cat

I thought I would give everyone a kitty cat update. I know you're all interested!

First off, my mother didn't like the name 'Gus', so for whatever reason, she went with Buddy.

That's ok, he's her cat. As it turns out, he really is her buddy.

Secondly, he isn't a he. He is a she.

Last Sunday, 710 and my sister did a check of the back-end and there is a socket and not a plug.

Also, my earlier assessment of Buddy's age is apparently all off. I said she was about three months old. My sister and 710 figure she might be about four weeks old. That made me feel sad that she was that young and on her own.

On the plus side, they say kittens need human interaction before week six to successfully bond with people.

I don't say Buddy is bonding with everyone, but she loves my mom - and that is really the important thing. Last Sunday, she was very very very comfortable in the family room with the five of us, but it was my mom she stayed next to most of the time.

We did put together a new vacuum cleaner for my mother and I gave Buddy the box. She had fun in it for a while.

My mother is trying to teach her name with Pounce. I'm not sure that part is working, but my sister is bribing the kitten with treats.

Buddy seems to have this ultra short tail. I'm not sure if it will grow or not. She also seem(ed) to have a grey undercoat, but the Furminator is pulling out some deep down dirt. She may have been outside on her own for longer than we know. Poor little girl. Except for her grey, she might be bright white.

She is also fascinated with the fireplace. That can only end well!

Still, my mom has really taken to Buddy as much as Buddy has taken to her. She just curls up with my mother on chairs and sofas. And if my mother isn't paying enough attention to her, she gets bit. My mother that is, not the cat.

I'm not sure this entire situation could have worked out much better.

Song by: Al Stewart

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

App of the Month

October's app is just one of those somewhat frivolous apps - almost a throw away.

But aren't they all?  Or many many many of them?

TonePad doesn't really do anything.

I'd have linked from the Apple site, but oddly it won't do anything if you don't hit 'launch the application' but then it gave me an error message when I hit 'launch the application'. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If you go search on the Apple site, it says the app does not exist. However, I just downloaded it via my phone. So I just don't know.

Some blurbs will say that using a virtual piano app is ok for a full iPad but not for an iPhone. I can see that, you would only see 5-6 keys out of the 88. Even on an iPad, I doubt you'd get a full keyboard.

But for those who want to "play with creating music" on the iPhone, TonePad will allow you to sequence notes and patterns of notes, which will play sequentially from how you put them in and repeat as necessary.....or ad nauseum......however one might see it.

The tones are not like actually playing a's more to help you process a tune of which you are thinking. The actual tones are something you're more likely to hear in a demo from Moby.

Low on the screen are - ta da - the lower notes....the higher ones are at the top of your screen.

I made two songs and saved them both.

Allegedly one can upload the 'song' you create to a website, but each time I attempt this, it says to check for an internet connection, which I clearly have.  So you miss out on my composing skills. Your loss.

With TonePad Pro ($0.99) you can create your own ringtones.'s not that fun of an app.

The non-pro version - naturally - is free. That's what I have.

TonePad is a time-waster, but it's something to do to try to make a listenable tune. Mine are somewhat hypnotic. But I bet they all are when they loop over and over.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Site of the Month

This one might not be exciting, unless you're into statistics or actuarial sciences.

Ziptapestry's tag line is: What Your Zip Code Says About You.

I totally get what it says about Median Age, Population and such. I think it might be a little more nebulous when it talks about patterns on households.

Our zip code does have a major university within its borders. So there can be a bunch of "singles" here. I'd find it hard to believe every zip doesn't have computers and cellphones are a major thing in their lives.

We do have a few assisted living facilities in our zip, so maybe that makes up for the living alone and fixed income parts. 44106 is part of Cleveland-proper, but part of Cleveland Heights as well. I'm not sure how they are determining the bingo at community center stuff. I suppose IF they are only talking about the folks receiving SSI benefits, then I'm guessing this would fit in with every zip with this explicit demographic. 

44106 does have modest income homes, but we also have the manse population too. And student housing. Our demographic I think is fairly split between African American and Caucasian, so I don't know I'm buying the gospel and R&B station stuff. If there is a gospel station, I have yet to come across it. 

Ouch. But I'm assuming this is from IRS info.

Ouch. But I'm assuming this is from Census info. But the reality is, I'm probably above the median age in most ever community.

To be fair, we are at the Cleveland proper zip. Ohio is lots and lots of farmland, as is the U.S. in general. It seems crowded, but honestly it is not. 

I haven't really played around with zips other than where I grew up. It might be fun to take it to Camden, NJ or Bel Air, CA to see the disparities. 

Is the info "accurate" for your zip?

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Music Monday

Technically, Blondie's Eat the the Beat was released in October 1979, but by-and-large, it was an album for 1980.

Save the first single, "Dreaming", the others were released in 1980.

"Slow Motion" was the slated fourth single from Eat to the Beat, but "Call Me" from the American Gigolo" gained popularity and "Slow Motion" was never released as a 45.

However, as good as most every song on Eat to the Beat is, "Slow Motion" has always held a special place for me.

While slightly new wave-y, it probably holds more common with girl group songs of the 60s. The song has a great drum beat, but drums/percussion was always a strong suit for Blondie up through their last few albums.

The melody is catchy, as are the lyrics. Had "Call Me" not come along, I think "Slow Motion" would have been a good radio hit.

....and it has Lorna Luft on backing vocals. You homos will know her from Grease 2 or as Judy Garland's other daughter.

Eat to the Beat also had one of, if not the first, video albums. Each song had an associated video, which was quite revolutionary back in 1979-80. None of them are that well done, but this was before video was truly a big thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Crumb by Crumb

Oh, I've made meat loaf before.

You have seen it here. I made Bo's Railroad Meatloaf. I've made others too.

But I was searching for dinner ideas - as there are only so many times you can make chicken, onions and peppers.

710 asked for meatloaf. And while it's never been a must-have for me, I like it, but I liked the idea of someone else coming up with a dinner selection.

Screw shopping, cooking or clean-up. It's the coming up with the 'what to have' for dinner that I find the most undesirable. I've inherited that gene from my mother.

So meatloaf it was. And since my mother never made it the same way twice - though it always tasted the same - I have that gene too. Each time is at least slightly different.

pre-heat oven to 350

1.5lb ground chuck
1lb ground pork
1T - olive oile
3 cups - chopped yellow onion
2 large eggs
3 T -  whatsthishere Worcestershire sauce
1.5T - tomato paste
1/3 cup - chicken stock
1/2 cup - dried / plain bread crumbs

In a skillet, soften onions for 8-10 minutes.  Off heat, add/mix chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Let cool slightly.

Add bread crumbs and beaten eggs to the meat mixture. 

Add onion mixture and salt and pepper to the meat and mix together with a fork. Do not use hands and compress the meat. 

Spread ketchup on top of your formed loaf...which is on a baking sheet. 

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours (or internal temp of 160). 
I had a pan of water on the rack below the meatloaf so it wouldn't crack. 

I served with mashed potatoes, as is the norm with meatloaf.

This dish worked and it didn't. It needed more seasoning. I'm not sure how one tastes raw meat mixture to see if there's enough salt and pepper in there - but there wasn't. Maybe some additional tomato paste would have worked. Or red pepper flakes.

710 loved it, so that was good. I liked it.

While the water pan worked for the loaf not cracking, I kind of like it cracked and a little crusty. My loaf was tender and moist. The fork mixing also made it less dense....which in theory is good, but it's not how I know meatloaf to be.

Prep time was simple and easy. Clean-up was a breeze, and all done well before the meal came out of the oven. Hell, well before 710 even go home. And there is plenty left for another meal or two - including meatloaf sandwiches, which are truly underrated.

Song by: Rufus Wainwright

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Autumn Lullabye

While Petey is handsome year round (I know, I'm biased), he seems to really look good in Autumn.  ...if I say so myself.

Petey's official Autumn portrait - taking a walk around the Shaker Lakes. 

Same walk as above. Love his white-tipped tail. He's sniffing every pooch that took the walk before him. 

Bending down to pick something off the floor, Sophie jumped in my lap and nuzzled. She's a doll. 

Maroon and Gold mums really bring out the 'autumn' in Petey. 

Song by: Natalie Merchant

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Dear Companion

Wednesday night we heard a cat meowing outside.

I went out and looked but could not find one.

The voice was so full, both 710 and I assumed it was a full grown cat. And of course, being the softie that I am wanted to make sure it was warm and had food, but was discouraged by exhibiting this behaviour as to not have a cat hang around.

Fine!  (though I pouted a little - and worried a lot.)

Thursday morning, I had almost forgotten about him/her when I heard the wail. Kitty in distress.

Petey was all leashed up and ready to go out - chomping at the bit, if you will - but I left him inside and went out to investigate.

It wasn't a cat at all, but a kitten that could be no more than three months old.

I felt horrible about leaving it out all night when it dropped to 40 degrees. So I run inside and get it some milk and a bowl of food. It wouldn't really come out from under the table, so I went to take Pete on his walk, knowing that the guy had been there all night, surely he'd remain for another half hour.

Upon return, I found the food bowl completely empty. Now I felt very bad - he had been cold and starving. So I trotted in for a little more food.

Right back to the dish it went. And I went to the basement to find Sophie's cat carrier.

Well, first I sent a neighborhood email to ask if anyone had lost a cat - but I knew they had not. I would have gotten a notice to send out and no way a little kitten just wandered so far onto our property. But while I did that email thing, I was contemplating what to do with a kitten I was now calling 'Gus'.

Oh yes, I was quick to name "him", which of course equals attachment issues.

But my plan was to go to Rescue Village, where we got Sophie - and because they are a no-kill shelter. However, in the back of my mind, I knew I had to pass my mother's house to get there. So I grabbed a litter pan and scoop and off I went.

As I drove, that 'attachment' issue would get the best of me. I started to feel guilty about putting a kitty in a shelter.

I stopped at my mom's first. She was out doing yard work, and surprised to see me in the middle of the day. She was more surprised when I pulled out the cat carrier.

She was excited, actually. Her first words: "I don't have a littler box", to which I replied, "I do".

I made it clear, she didn't have to keep him, but she had first dibs but I was really headed to Rescue Village.

She took to "him" right away.

While I would have let the cat come out of the carrier on its own, my mother reached in and cuddled with the cat and vice versa.

Though he didn't purr, he was very comfortable with my mom and nuzzled with her. We set up the laundry room as the induction center. I ran to the store to buy food and a few toys and some additional litter. My mom used that time for bonding.

We left the kitten alone while we had lunch, but the kitten mewed a lot. At this point, the cat had been wide awake for at least four hours and no signs of tiring - though I know when it crashes, it will crash hard.

Before I left, the kitten was in my mom's lap, seemingly as content as could be. The new times I went near it, he hissed at me. But that's to be expected. I had to stalk and trap it, but he was good in the car with me.

I don't doubt, my mother will disregard the intake area and have him out in the family room that first evening. I do know that "Gus" is now a purring machine for her - so that's great.

She must be excited because she called at least two of my sister with "the news".

I think this will be good for my newly widowed mother. And I think it will be good for the kitten too.

We really do need to find the gender so my mother can name it appropriately. So far the grandkids all have their ideas for names.

I don't know if I believe in an afterlife or fate. In my father's eulogy, I talked about his love of animals, which he passed on to me. He made it clear he didn't want to leave my mother alone, before he passed and then here I am with a kitten with no home.

Even if all of it is coincidence, it makes for a great story.

Song by: Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unanswered Prayers

I won't pretend to be a scholar when it comes to religion.

I have never understood the 'power of prayer'. I chuckle at people's FB comments after someone says another person is ill or has died. "I'm praying for you...."

What exactly is the prayer for? Comfort from illness? A respite from dying?

People get sick and / or die every day. Even if all of them 'got prayers' some remain ill or pass away. Does that mean prayer is arbitrary on who it helps get better or lives?

Is that because g-d isn't keen on those who are being prayed for, or not keen on the ones doing the praying?

I made the grave mistake of reading a comment section to, maybe, on that woman in Oregon who is planning to end her own life due to her glioblastoma.

Sooooo many comments said to pray to g-d for survival.....for a cure. Then one said, if g-d was going to save her, why give her a brain tumor in the first place.

........annnnnnd.....the answer was because she was a sinner.

If the bible is to be believed, we are all sinners. Believing in Jesus does not make you less of a sinner. I'm guessing hundreds of millions of born again folks got ill and died. Where is their saviour then?

And please tell me, oh wise trolls of comment sections: what sin must one commit to receive an inoperable, painful, disfiguring brain tumor?? I'd like to know what the proportional response would be for that.

I actually had to stop and take a picture of this Catholic (?) school not far from us.

"Pray to End Abortion".

To be fair, I don't even know that pro-choice folks pray for abortion. I'm sure a few have thanked g-d after the fact.

Let's forget the numerous illegal abortions that happened prior to Roe v Wade. But since 1973 it is a legal practice, like it or not. And since 1973 countless people have offered countless prayers (and letters to the editor) to end abortion.

41 years of praying and not one has been answered. Abortion still exists, albeit sometimes a bit more limited in access.

Has it ever occurred to these people that their prayers have been asked and answered?

Perhaps g-d has listened and made his decision.

Even if he hasn't, how many prayers is he waiting for to end such a thing? Does he need critical mass? Or are the wrong people doing the praying? Maybe he doesn't like them is just waiting for the right person / people so he can bequeath their request.

Either way, you'd think that a merciful g-d wouldn't allow the 'murder of life' to even become an issue that has to be stopped. So are the prayers a believers way of begging g-d to stop his hatred of the unborn?

I'm thinking the unanswered prayers are actually the answers. Ironically, believers are just not willing to believe that. Where is their faith??

And say you what you will about magic vs. religion - at least Jambi always granted your wish.

Song by: Garth Brooks

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Blew. As in past tense of blow.

At the end of last Winter, our 12 year old snow blower died an ugly ugly death.

No one is quite sure what happened. It's just that both all the gas and oil lines leaked out everywhere into and onto the garage floor.

While repair was possible, it was also expensive and it's been serviced before, but never did come back as strong as when it was a young buck. It clogged easier. It didn't throw snow as far. But it always started.

It always started mainly because we were smart enough to get a key start ignition. Who the fuck wants to fool around with trying to pull start a device when it's subzero temps? Not me.

We got this at our last house a day before a 15" snow fall. 710 endeared himself to our neighbors when he just went over unannounced and cleared their drive as well. Tom, the male half of that household, never was too kind to us prior to that, but he came around after that. His wife, Annie, was always friendly.

With our current house, a snow blower is a necessity. The drive, as you might have read in any number of earlier posts, is at least 80' long. There is no way I could - or would - shovel that thing. And the drive is set up just oddly enough that there is no good way for a snow plow to maneuver in and out - let alone a place to pile up the snow - at least with out killing lots of landscaping.

So 710 ordered a new snow blower.

He's the one for the job on researching the best model, reliability, etc. But normally, I'm the one to use it. I got to see it up close and in person before we made the purchase.

Lord knows there are models with cup holders (not kidding) and flood lights. And while I have cleared the driveway after sunset (or before sun up) I've never had trouble seeing or the need for headlights.

The new one will have a better way to turn the snow chute. The intake it bigger. It cuts a bigger swath.

But today, the old when gets taken to the curb. Maybe some scavenger will pick it up before the trash guys get there. They can sell it for scrap somewhere, I suppose. It's not like any thing will leak into their it already spilled out months ago.

Goodbye old friend, you served us well.

Song by: Nirvana

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You Can't Count on Me

It's that time - the time when you mark your ballot to make your vote count.

Or hopefully count. Since 2000's hijacking of the Presidential election, I'm somewhat skeptical that my vote is ever truly tallied. The 2004 election, where dozens of boxes of uncounted absentee ballots were found on a loading dock here in Cuyahoga Country, after the fact,  left me suspicious we'd ever get it right.

Still, I fulfilled my civic duty by filling out my absentee ballot.

Oh yes, I don't go to the polls. At least anymore. Since 2006, when we went to electronic balloting and they could not produce a receipt to show me my confirmation of what I just put in, I opted not to trust that technology. Maybe they've worked out the kinks......but I'm not betting on it.

Of course, with the recent SCOTUS decision to uphold restricted voting laws, there is less and less to be positive about. Jim Crow is alive and well and SCOTUS-approved!

Here in Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State, made sure that early voting was decreased both in number of days and hours of those days......making it harder for people to vote.

At the actual polls, one must have a form or photo ID or a current utility bill with their name and current address on that. Which of course, presents problems when the utility is in one person's name and they don't drive. Of course, there area other documents you can provide, but it all seems problematic.

Oddly, voting by mail pretty much avoids all of those restrictions. Yes, you have to put either the last four of your SSN or your driver's license number, but that's it.

As for it being cost prohibitive, you pay postage ($0.47?) to register for mail voting and then $0.70 to mail in the ballot if it is two pages. That's cheaper than taking the bus to and from the polling place and you don't have to hassle with those voter restriction laws.

But, like in everything Ohio does, we as Democrats, are fucked.

There is no way John Kasich won't win a second term as governor. The Dem candidate, while idealistic and on paper was good, he fucked up time and time again with little stupid shit and just kept making a big pile of shit. He's a non-contender. There aren't even ads running for him.....that's how much he and the DNC know he was dead in the water.

Because of that, the lame Governor candidate helped drag down all the Dems for the top 5 spots, including Treasurer and Attorney General.

The joke is, the Secretary of State didn't even need to enact the voter ID laws to keep the lower income and minority populations from voting Democrat - the republicans have little chance of losing.

Of course, the SoS enacted those for the 2016 election. He's thinking ahead to make sure Ohio doesn't go Blue again. And the Governor is thinking ahead as well, as he will no doubt be making a bid for the White House.

Voting used to be a thing of pride, where one wanted to do it. Now it's just to stave off the super-creeps who get into politics. Sure, most were always creepy, but it seems to be up to a new level and the stakes are too high.

My ballot is in the mail. The one take-away (I hope) is there is now a tracking number on my ballot that I can track via a website. Is it full-proof? Probably not, but it's something.

Song by: Counting Crows

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Music Monday

I'm continuing on with the '80s, I suppose.

Being a young gay lad way back then, I was taken by Bronski Beat's "Hit That Perfect Beat" when I'd go to the Columbus Eagle.

It's not quite the same Bronski Beat as "Smalltown Boy" and "Why?".

Jimmy Somerville, who was lead vocalist for the band, left in 1984/1985 and was replaced by another singer, with whose name I am unfamiliar.

Mind you, none of Bronski Beat's music ever got me out to the dance floor. Well....maybe one or twice with this song, but I'd have to been pretty drunk.

However, with beer in hand and propped up against a wall, I probably grooved to it in my own way. To be Billy Idol about it, I was dancing with myself.....though only on the inside. My foot possibly tapping against the wall of which is was perched.

But I like the beat. I like the melody. I like the rhythm.....even 29 years later.

I no longer live in Columbus. The Eagle went kaput years ago. But I still have some of the music.

Sunday, October 19, 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!

I'd say something really really nasty about this product name, but this is a family blog.'s not, but........when I pointed it out in the store to Morty, Becky and 710, they all went 'ewww' and then laughed.

When I was young, and in my first real job, someone brought in the homemade version of this during the holidays. It was fairly addictive. Chex cereal covered in peanut butter, then chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar.

They called it Puppy Chow, mostly because it looks like dog food.

Like with Chex Party Snack Mix, the makers took the homespun idea and and packaged it for sale. But Chex Party Snack Mix fucked it up by taking out the peanuts because of stupid allergic people (I'm assuming).

But I'm not buying Muddy Buddies because I don't need it...........and it's a horrible horrible name for marketing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Running With the Pack

Traveling Petey Porn Day.

These pics were taken at Morty's house last weekend.

Poor Petey - so anxious to be let out of Morty's house. I don't truly think he was so distressed being housed with two other beagles. But he's never this excited to see me at home. 

Logan, Petey and Skeeter. 
Petey used to have that much brown in him, but now he's gone grey. 

Logan, Skeeter and Petey anxiously awaiting dinner time. 

Song by: Bad Company

Friday, October 17, 2014


I'm not big on dressing up for Halloween, but if I were do such a thing this year, I'd go as a strain of Ebola.


That would scare the shit out just about anyone, huh??

While there is nothing to laugh at - in theory, of course - about Ebola, you know me, I'll find a way to make it all sound ridiculous.

I mean, more ridiculous than the TV news is doing, which will be a challenge for me. But I'm up to the task.

Cleveburgh made national news with the second nurse to contract Ebola after taking care of that first Dallas patient. The RN flew into and out of Cleveland after that patient died. She had been exposed, yet showed no symptoms. Or some symptoms, depending on what story you hear and what timeline to which you subscribe.

Cleveland is always always always trying to tie (inter)national stories to our little town. If it were Malaysian Flight 370, they'd dig up a story on how one of the light attendants has a second cousin twice removed who once lived here 14 years ago.

Maybe every town tries that shit, but it seems pervasive here with Cleveland media.

While the 132 people on the plane might have had some exposure, the CDC are saying it would be minimal, if any.

Since United cut back on 60% of their flights from Cleveland, I can almost guarantee you that no one at the actual airport was exposed.

This is the view down concourse C in the middle of the day anymore. I had to catch my last flight at gate 27. I passed - I'm not kidding - 26 gates with no planes or people before I got to mine. There is no one there anymore. No one at Cleveland Hopkins is / was at risk.

Someone (ok, probably a few) people on FB got testy with me when countered the stupidity of the traveling RN. Yes, for the record she wasn't the wisest. Yes, technically the CDC didn't restrict travel for any immediate caregivers to said patient. But, even if they did, the CDC cannot control boarding of trains or buses, only planes, so.......there's still a gap.

Hell, NBC's quack doctor, who was exposed in Liberia, broke quarantine so she could go out and get fast food. She's reporting on this story from the petri dish that is Ebola and she does whatever she fucking pleases.

First, I said, "hell, they were flying Frontier.....Ebola was not their biggest risk taking that airline."

Anyways, some woman I don't know replied to my quip that if they didn't swap spit or weren't defected on by the RN, chances are they were safe. "What if the flight attendant touched the coke can she drank out has her saliva on it and then maybe she rubbed her eye......", she came back with.

Jesus honey.

First off, if the stewardess is collecting garbage and rubbing her eyes without washing her hands, she has bigger issues with hygiene. And I can count the flight attendants on one hand who just don't hold open the bag for me to drop the stuff into. Reach for my trash? Never!

Secondly, who can afford a $4.50 soft drink on Frontier Airlines? So I replied: "If I paid that much for a soda, someone should die".

I think there were audible gasps across Facebook Nation.

But another friend said air travel for healthcare workers who deal with these patients should be suspended. In ways I get that, but where is their quarantine? He found it fine they be allowed to go out to the grocery, theater, work or restaurants.

Let's just stick with work alone. For those who have never worked in a hospital, each employee comes in contact with hundreds of other employees per day (let's even leave patients and visitors out of this equation). Those dozens of employees then are in contact with dozens more. So wouldn't you have to shut the entire place down?

It's unrealistic. At least with airline itineraries, you have the manifest of everyone in the airport and planes. Not as much who was at the Piggly Wiggly when you went to get your Hostess cupcakes.

Of course, Cleveland has a love / hate with this story - it's horrible news, but they love to report it.

Two schools closed due to a precaution that one of the teachers MAY have been on a plane with this woman. Not the same flight......but the same plane. Sorry: PERHAPS the same plane.

So they closed TWO schools.


Cleveland media claims they hate to have to report this stuff, but then makes the entire broadcast / paper all about it, feeding the frenzy. Soon that 2nd cousin, twice removed, who lived here 14 years ago will be providing colour commentary for something they overheard.  It's insane.

The irony, of course, was less than 10 hours before the news broke of this careless RN. Please see story, top of the fold on the right.

The bigger news is that LeBron hasn't weighed in on this entire thing.

Song by: matchbox twenty

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I'm Going to Make a Cake

Another reason to hit Columbus last weekend was the then soon-to-be 50th of my dear dear friend, Morty.

It was soon-to-be last Saturday. The day is actually today.

So far, nothing major is planned for Mort's half-century, but no one says it has to be on the actual day. We have 364 more to celebrate. But I wasn't going to arrive empty-handed either.

I opted to come with refined white sugar - in the form of a cake.

Being the Halloween time, I totally stole a dessert that Dr. Spo was / is going to make. He posted his intentions and I took it and ran with them.

The way I see it, we have some readership overlap, but he's three time zones away and rarely do our party paths ever cross. And by 'rarely', I mean 'never'. I feel safe I won't be stepping on any toes here. Perhaps some bruised feelings, but not toes.

I'm not much of a baker, as you've read, but this is fairly full proof and all you need is boxed cake mixes. And pre-heat the oven to 350.

That's right: mixes. Two of them. Chocolate and White. And a can of white frosting and food colouring (good stuff from craft stores). Oh - and all the crap the cake box calls for (water, oil and eggs). Boom. Done. 

For chocolate cake: mix it all and add black food colouring. 

For white cake: mix, then split evenly into two bowls. Add violet colouring in one and orange in the other. colouring really stains your hands and counters. Be careful. White vinegar will get it out - for the most part. 

Pour about 1/3 of the black batter into the greased pan (rotate as necessary)
Pour all of the orange on top of that (or purple first - your choice)
Pour all of the purple on top of that. 
Pour another 1/3 or so (maybe a little more) of black on top of that. 

Do not mix this together. Let it set on top of each other. 

You will have about 1/4 of black cake batter left. You saw I used mine to make cupcakes. Or freeze it. Or eat it with a spatula. I'm not above the last one. 

Bake at 325-350 for 40-45 minutes. 

This is almost 2 cakes in one rises to be quite large. Make sure your racks are separated enough (or removed as needed) or you'll have trouble. 

While the cake cools (out of the pan), split the white frosting into thirds. Add the same colour of FDA approved chemicals into said frosting and mix. 

Place each bowl into microwave for 10-15 seconds. It will thin out the frosting enough for you to spoon-drizzle it over your cake after you stir it some more. 

Wait 1-2 minutes between each colour drizzle, so the frosting can set-up. I actually would drizzle one, then heat the next one, giving me (and the cake) time to do just that. If you look at the title image, I probably only used 1/2 of the frosting. Then I frosted the cupcakes and rinsed the rest down the drain. 

....and then cut and eat. And hear everyone oooh and aaah over your cake. 

It's festive. It's seasonal (and I'm sure you could do white cake with red and green for xmas). I think it went over, though I totally forgot that Morty is trying to cut out sugar. So he sent me home with some of the cake, though he did take some for himself and George. 

I took the rest to my mom's house where she kept some and my brother-in-law took the rest. We still had six frosted cupcakes at home. Whereas I would have taken all of the cake home - and ate it - I didn't need it. 

So happy 50th Mort.  Love you bunches.

Hope you didn't have a sugar reaction. I mean, you're already sweet enough.

Song by:  Philip Glass

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


One of the reasons 710 and I traveled to Columbus this past weekend was to go see Landfall, the new piece of work by Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet.

I'll admit to have heard of the Kronos Quartet for the last few decades, but never actually heard ( knowingly) anything they've ever performed.

While I was overall impressed with the piece, it was not the best Anderson show we had ever seen (10 or 11 and counting). Of course, I might have gone in with different expectations of Anderson's storytelling and the amount there might be.

The majority of the evening was music with some sporadic stories and a number of visual components that would tie back into the stories that had been told.

The overall theme was that of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast almost two years ago. While Anderson's opening story said it happened October 12th, I know this not to be true, just because of the way the storm actually hit into Ohio at my cousin's funeral and subsequent missed flights out to California due to associated weather almost two weeks later than Anderson stated. Yes, I'm quibbling.

I say "overall theme" because there was a recurring dream portion and a great smaller piece on the stars that seemingly had nothing to do with a storm hitting land.

But Anderson tied in the storm with extinction, which I thought was very well done. There was a non-sequitur piece or two as well. Or perhaps I'm not sophisticated enough to understand how singing Korean songs in a Dutch karaoke bar fits into a hurricane storyline.

Kronos' music was, at times, very good. As you might expect, they can be considered avant garde and with the subject matter, at times their playing came across as frenetic. I suppose that is the nature of notes deciphering a hurricane.

Anderson, an accomplished violinist herself, did her normal few bars - tops - of playing on her electronic violin and stuck mostly with keyboards and voice. Her usual voice distortion contraption was present as well, and it might have been the mix, but I had to concentrate very hard as to watch she was saying. The speaking seemed muddied.

I think the folks who went with us to the event found it interesting, but I don't know they'd qualify it as good. I thought it was good, but not great.

Music by: Laurie Anderson & the Kronos Quartet

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Well, this hasn't happened to me in forever.

Back in 1987, when I first started actually living with 710 (you know, when both our names were on the lease - not just spending nights at each other's place), I had this horrible bout of coughing. It lasted days....then weeks. And with each passing day it got more intense and more painful.

It was totally non-productive, but became painful from just the hacking. And the constant coughing almost became a trigger for needing to vomit. It was unpleasant, to say the least.

My doctor at the time (Jon, it was Debbie Taylor - remember her?), put me on a succession of cough medications, each stronger than the last. Each worse tasting than the last. Until finally, there was nothing else to give me, since none of those touched my cough.

Off to a pulmonologist I went. I did my PFTs and they diagnosed me with something called "seasonal asthma".

I'd never heard of it before - or since - but apparently it's a thing.

I would say for 2-3 years I experienced some recurring issues from it, but then, boom, it just went away. But while going through it, I was put on Entax LA (which the FDA finally pulled from the market) and an inhaler.

But I have not used any medications since. Or few, if any. As I grew up, my allergies seemed to dissipate and my "asthma" seemed to go away.

Until the end of last week.

Oh, how I knew that cough. Even decades later. I tried (or hoped) to think it was just something else, but a trip to the doctor yesterday confirmed I was experiencing my old symptoms.


Of course, I missed my joke opportunity to tell them I just got off a plane from Liberia or the Congo. But the joke would have been on me, after they quarantined me and shut down the medical facility. No doubt I would have to pay damages for work lost time and numerous law suits - and I don't think the money in my HSA would cover that.

So, I'm back on inhaler....and an antibiotic. The latter for 5 days. The former, for who knows how long. I have some crud in my lungs they want to get rid of and I had a low grade fever. Let's hope I'm getting my annual illness out of the way early and I don't repeat a worse scenario in January / February.

Song by: Kate Bush

Monday, October 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 56th 12 of 12

Sorry My Music Monday. 12 of 12 takes precedence. 

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, any 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 Erik (and sometimes Jim) 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.

07:15. Late start to the morning. 
To be fair - only three of these bottles from the evening before were mine. 

07:45.  Petey being protective of his food from a notorious band of roving beagle would-be kibble thieves. 

08:30. As seen on a morning walk with Peter. 
F*@#ing Liberals

I had the Big Breakfast. 

11:30. Rebecca's dog, Barkley. He's ever so sweet

13:30. Hitting the road to go back home. 

14:40. Pulling off the road on Rt. 30 so someone could pee and poop. 
That someone was Petey. Honest. 

17:00. Boomer sitting with my mom. 

17:15. Boomer & Petey and my mother's house. 

18:30. Dinner at my moms. Chili, cornbread and salad. 

19:30. Stop off at Dave's Market for milk. 

21:40. Kranky Kitty.
Sophie must not have loved being left alone for 1.5 days. She bit me. (ssshhhh...don't tell Becca)

...and now your Baker's Dozen. Or half dozen

22:10. Cupcakes left over from when I made a Halloween cake that I stole from Spo
More on that later in the week. 710 and I had one each. 

.....until next time.......