Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One Man Wrecking Crew

If I have any issues with buying my music electronically, it is that it has been the death of the art work and credits.

I was, and am, the geek who was all about reading the credits: who wrote the music, where it was recorded, the producers, engineers, who designed the artwork and the musicians.

With the advent of CDs, most artwork has gone by the side of the road. And when the artists made the attempt, reading the credits was a chore - with the teeny tiny print. Now with iTunes, most of the downloads don't even bother come with digital booklets.

As a youngster, I might have been a little let down when I heard the Monkees did none of their own playing of instruments, but even as a first grader, it never occurred to me that the Partridge Family were anything other than fronts for other musicians.

Even with my first Carpenters records, I noticed that Karen rarely ever actually played the drums - they were always played by Hal Blaine. A name that would come up over and over for years (including with the Partridge Family).

New York had the Brill Building. Detroit had Motown. But Los Angeles had a group of 12-20 studio musicians who played on many (most ?) popular records from the early 60s to mid 70s who were dubbed the Wrecking Crew.

Besides, Blaine, the now biggest known name with that cohort was probably Glen Campbell. The others were just studio musicians who were masters of their craft - and that is captured in a documentary called, the Wrecking Crew.

But the array of artists stretch on forever: the Monkees (sure), Mamas & Papas, Fifth Dimension, Elvis Presley, Herb Albert, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, most of Phil Spector's records, the Righteous Brothers, Jan & Dean......and the list goes on.

The more surprising fact is that they were the musicians on most of the hits by the Beach Boys (including Brian Wilson's masterpiece, Pet Sounds), the Grass Roots, the Association, Gary Lewis & the Playboys and the Byrds.

While the larger list I mentioned, were mostly vocal acts that didn't ever play instruments, there were a number of actual bands who rarely, if ever, played on their studio recordings.

The Wrecking Crew actually played Record of the Year Grammy winners six years in a row - never receiving one themselves. Most of the time, these musicians were uncredited, but not unpaid. Carol Kaye, the lone female of the Wrecking Crew, stated one year she made more than the President of the United States.

They're also given credit, in movie interviews, by the likes of Cher, Gary Lewis, Brian Wilson, Herb Albert and a lot of others, who readily admit their bands could not play as well, or pull of the kind of music as the Wrecking Crew.

These were men (and one woman) who could and would knock out three or four songs per day.....and sometimes a full album in one day. Producers would delay recording sessions if these folks were not available, though it sounds like they worked 16 hours per day every day.

I should mention they also played the themes to Green Acres, Bonanza, Mission Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, the Pink Panther.....and yes, the Partridge Family. And I'm sure others.

As the early 70s rolled around, with the emergence of singer-songwriters (Carole King, James Taylor, etc), and then full bands who wrote, played and produced, there was little need for many session musicians.

It was, at least for me, a very interesting topic.

The filmmaker was not an experienced one. He was the son of one of the Wrecking Crew guitarists, Tommy Tedesco. Most of the interviews are years and years old, as many of the Crew have passed on, and Glen Campbell is deep into Alzheimer's Disease. Obviously, the photos and few film clips that exist are ancient at well.

The film was actually completed in 2008, but it took another six to seven years to raise enough money to pay for the music licensing rights.

The storytelling, interviewing and editing could have been sharper, but it kept both 710 and I engaged for 90 minutes. This wasn't even our plan to see this movie, though when I saw the description, he agreed to go. The theater had a good crowd, considering what could be its limited appeal.

And while the movie does not address this, Glen Campbell had his final recorded song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You", (the title and lyrics which play into his Alzheimer's) which was up for an Oscar this year for Best Song - and it was credited to Glen Campbell & the Wrecking Crew.

A nice touch.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  2 of 12

Song by: Guster

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Music Monday

I am so digging the new Brandon Flowers song, "Can't Deny My Love". After a few listens, I am really digging it.

In theory, I love Flowers and his band, the Killers. But in reality, they are spotty at best. The first two Killers albums were...well....killers. They were both great. Their third album had 2-3 good songs and the rest just fell away as not much to listen to.

And I wasn't much of a fan of their last full length disk. Ditto of Flowers' first solo album, though Flamingo had 3 really good songs.

While Flowers is allegedly true to the Killers, he is doing another solo disk, which is out in May, called the Desired Effect. Just on paper, it has to be better than Flamingo, but I've been proven wrong before.

I like Brandon, he's like the gayest straight man out there. Mormon, but still fun and always an advocate for the gay community, even when his religion is not.

"Can't Deny My Love" is certainly pop driven. And oddly enough, his vocal is better in the below video on how he wrote the song (the video is not the link to the actual song...that is farther below). If you can stand watching the video, it gets more interesting at the 1:18 mark or so.

I'm a fan of process, so I always like to know how a song is written or how an album is recorded and even marketed. For me, that is sometimes more enjoyable than the finished product.

As for the song, except for a fumble at the 36-48 second mark, the song is great, though that 12 seconds is kind of needed to launch into the rest of the tune.

The synth rises at marks 0:48 and 1:14 (and other places) are straight out of U2's "the Unforgettable Fire".  The part of the keyboard riff that Flowers plays sound familiar to the Pet Shop Boy's own, "It's a Sin".

But it works, even for some of its repetitiveness.

I'm hopeful that the Desired Effect will be good. 2015 hasn't had a great selection of new music as of yet.

Brandon Flowers - Can't Deny My Love

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana Wants Me

Well, except that they don't.

But it is unclear who they want. And it is unclear who in Indiana, other than the legislature and the Governor's office, wants this chance to discriminate.

Of course, the gov says he'd never think about legalizing discrimination, but I'm not sure you can call it anything else.

Religious Freedom.


I mean, I suppose that is well and good, if it is held to certain regulated standards across the board. But it isn't and it wouldn't be anyways.

At least be honest about it: they mean Christians.

They don't mean Jewish religious freedom and they most certainly do not mean Muslim or Islamic religious freedom. It's like the folks who want religion in school - but only their religion.

And let's be honest about it: while the gays are the ones up in arms, in reality, others should be too. That bakery you want for your second wedding: are you saying you've been divorced???  Sorry, can't serve you.

You're wearing two different kinds of threads at the same time:  GET OUT!!!!!

You're name is Feinberg??  Nooooo...........You'll want the Rosencrantz florist, in the "other part" of town.

But if we are still going with honesty - and we only kind of are - proprietors don't ask the questions of seemingly straight couples on their co-habitation, divorce, church-going behaviours. They just don't. They won't be discriminated against......but just for lack of a store owner being lazy........and wanting the revenue.

However, two same sex folks walking in......and all bets are off. Or people who look like Marcus Bachmann Lyle, the effeminate heterosexual are kind of screwed too.....and not in that good way.

I know that gays co-opt the likes of the civil rights fight of the 50s and 60s, but really, is it such a stretch for the governor to replace 'gay' with 'black' to think "yeahhhhhh.....maybe we shouldn't be doing this...."

In his mind, this is not discrimination. Until....................a Christian walks into a Jewish or Islamic owned business and is denied service based on 'religious freedom'.

As someone pointed out regarding Christian beliefs: "some people don't want part of your religion. that's called 'religious freedom', not a 'war on Christmas'". 

No longer can folks in Indiana (or Fox News) have that argument. Well....Indiana and 19 other states. Of course they will still make those claims.

I say great to Salesforce for taking a stand, though it is unclear how much business they do in Indiana. I say great to Angie's List who says they won't expand by $40M in Indiana by 2020 as they had planned (though the cynical side of me says their business model showed failure on that part and this was an easy way of backing out of that). And great to all the cities who said there will be no official business travel to Indiana (though all have caveats of 'except for 'emergency situations' - though no one has explained what one of those might be).

Pats on the back to the conventions who claim to be abandoning their plans to host in the state and robbing Indiana of upwards of $100M due to this bill being passed and signed. I'm hoping they actually follow through.

I say boo the NCAA. Based in Indianapolis their statement claimed to be worried about having an inclusive environment, but their statement really lies here:  "Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."

So.....they will consider considering.....something?

While we should be happy with any support we get in this fight, I say to Ashton Kutcher......"who gives a fuck what you think.....you're Ashton Kutcher".

All of this behaviour adds to my overall unrest - political and otherwise. I can't tell if the world is becoming much more intolerant in a quicker period of time, or if my fuse is just at its end. Or both.

I guess it's a good thing I don't have a German pilot's license.

What?  Too soon???

Song by: R. Dean Taylor

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Not much to see this week. Petey is still in the throes of his illness.....we're assuming it is still his tracheitis.  His coughing is substantially less, but is still there. His energy level is not where it needs to be.

We are currently waiting on another inhaler to see if that does the trick.  C'mon UPS!.  So we are babying him - at least as much as he'll allow.

Petey just trying to relax up in my office. My heart breaks a little every day. 

Boomer. Petey's brother. 

He came to my mom's house, thinking Petey might be with us, but we did not feel Petey was well enough to travel. 

Sophie.....plopping herself on me for a not great view for me. 

More rest for Pete. I'm glad when he can rest comfortably. It's been a tough 10 days or so for him. 

Here is hoping there better news to report on Mr. Pete next week.

Song by: matchbox twenty

Friday, March 27, 2015

App of the Month

Maybe I don't get it. Maybe, at my advanced age, I'm not supposed to get it.

Fotonica is an iTunes app / game - for one that I see no sense.

Let's start off, there is no tutorial - at least with the game. I'm sure there are websites upon websites to teach you the ins and outs and whys of the game, but do you really want to have to start a Goooooogle search to do that?

Of course, for you folks I did. I started with the iTunes site itself - and looked at the reviews:  4.5 stars.  Really?    ...and you get something like this....

I never in my entire life thought that a game on the App Store would be better than a game on a gaming console ex. (Playstation, Xbox, Wii etc.) but this game has gone way beyond that point.

Yes - in his / her entire life.....well, that is just sad. And on so many levels.  Still, that didn't tell me about the game itself. Nor does it say on the Apple site.

From the novice (i.e. me) view, it's a running game. You use your fingers to move down a path and maybe make jumps when there is a break in said path.

But to me, the graphics are inconclusive as to when to jump, how far to jump and where you land. It seems like a mish-mash.

And eventually you get to Escher like staircases that I never seem to land on - or any way to land on - and yet I always "win" my game. At least on one level. There are other settings that I seemingly lose, but they're not really good at telling you if you do.

There must be a way to lose, but if I am winning (or eventually losing) I'm not sure how or why. Even on these interminably long "jumps" that Steve Austin (a man barely alive), could not make, somehow I do.

If I look in Goooooogle images, the graphics get more and more elaborate than what I'm seeing. I can only assume it is at a higher level than I have gotten. Or am going to get. ...and it's not because I can't get there.....because, seemingly, there is no stopping me. It is just that I don't want to get there. I'm not like the earlier reviewer.

Fotonica is hardly worth $2.99 - but you know I paid nada for it.

This is why you should go to Starbucks at least once a week, kids. It is not for the coffee. You go when you  have to use their bathroom and / or pick up their App / Song / Book of the week card from iTunes. Because you'll get to download those items at no cost.

Or at least you a moderately decent bathroom in which to poop.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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! 

After years of absence, I was thrilled to see that the Mavericks have an album, Mono, out only two years after their reemergence.

While I do like the band, they can be hit and miss. Like their last album, In Time, had strong points, but were heavy on the Mariachi-like songs. There's only so much I can take of that.

I'm not sure I get the throwback to recording Mono in mono. It is certainly a more unique approach these days. And I get that the Mavericks can be a little throwback of a group themselves, but things were recorded in mono eons ago for a reason.

Sonically, the mono leaves the music a little flat......as mono usually does.

But there are troubles with the songs as well. Raul Malo's voice is fine - as always. The song selections or executions themselves?  Ehhhhh.....a little to be desired.

The problem might be that the Mavericks have done most of this before - and better. In a way they've painted themselves into a corner where they are happy to be. And many a time, I'm fine with them being there as well. But there isn't much new here.

I really like the opening number, "All Night Long", even if it sounds familiar. I like the big-bandish "Stories We Could Tell" if nothing else, for the newer approach.

Malo is great with a slower, vocal-driven song. He succeeds with "Let it Rain (On Me)". It kind of fails on "Fascinate Me".

There are late '50's and early '60s (mono years for sure) aspects to the disk: "the Only Question Is", "Stories We Could Tell", "Summertime (When I'm With You").  They hit their marks, but like In Time where the band over did it with the Mariachi stuff, with Mono they over do it with this vein.

Mono is all very pleasant, just not very special.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sea Cruise

I'm not even sure where to start with this one.  But here goes........

I don't actually believe Ted Cruz wants to be President - at least this election cycle. There is nothing in polling data that has him even having a remote chance at taking the nomination, let alone winning a general election for this office.

Of course, weirder things have happened, I suppose - and who knows what the 2016 flu strain will hold with all of the other hand-shaking / baby kissing candidates. They just might all drop over.

It could be like King Ralph, only funny.

Naturally, wide spread GOP/H1N1 flu would be the best case scenario - at least if the culminated in multiple fatalities. And even if Cruz was the only one spared, I'm thinking that Edwin Muskie could beat him in a general election, and he's been dead for almost two decades.

Cruz's March 4, 2015 favorable rating is 22%. And while it's not his high, it's not his low either. His absolute high has been 29%.  Twenty-fucking-nine. I think Nixon's lowest numbers were even higher than that. Teddy's low is 21%.....so he's closer to that now.

Depending on witch Straw Poll data you see, Cruz finishes first......or third. Those first place finishes were conducted in 2014. The most recent ones have Rand Paul in first place.

Clearly I don't understand basic U.S. citizenship - but I'm a white American male, so I don't have to. Born in Canada, he's allowed to run for U.S. President. I get his mother was from America, but so was Obama's and yet.............    Well that is one for Donald Trump to figure out.

Of course, he renounced his Canadian citizenship (which I'm sure that country was more than happy to FedEx that paperwork to him at their own expense), so he probably has no issue with running, but it should be fun to watch people ask him about it time and time and time and time and time again. Or will the Birther's be conspicuously absent with this one.

I'm guessing they will be.......you know, because he's a white male.

No one in the Tea Party will ever blame him for the $24 BILLION shut down of the U.S. Government. No, that won't happen. But perhaps the rest of the actual GOP might - if they are to distance themselves in hopes of a possible win.

I did love how Cruz announced his candidacy early - so he got the news cycle for 48 hours. But I don't think that is sustainable. I love how he did it at Liberty University (as anyone ever checked his church going attendance record?), and that Liberty made it a mandatory attendance event for their students, or they'd be fined!!!!!!!  (to be fair, that is true of all of their Monday convocation sessions.)

I love how some subversive students actually went, but clearly didn't support Teddy boy. I'm sure the offending students will be docked a letter grade for that.

I love how in his official picture (atop), he looks like he is losing the battle at keeping in a slow leaking fart.

I love how he is the first to bring up 9/11 and that since then, he has only listened to country music. Dude - you can get your head out of Toby Keith and Charlie Daniels asses now. Stop the puckering.

I SUPER Love that Cruz wants to take aways the ACA. I get that. He's "fiscally conservative". He thinks healthcare should be 'personal, portable and affordable'.......which we know have. However, he has yet to say how he'd achieve his goal, should he actually be able to repeal the ACA.

But the SUPER part comes from that: well.....Ted Cruz just signed up for Obamacare because his wife lost their benefits when she left Goldman Sachs. Sure, he could have just paid a higher rate and not gone through the exchange........but he didn't. So he'll have to answer for that.

So will Marc Rubio - another advocate of repealing the ACA, but who signed up through its exchange.  Yet, the "liberal media" isn't really reporting this or badgering either of them on this. Liberal Media, my ass. Pussies - all of them.

(Of course, one must assume he's going to join just so he can vilify the program as a participant.)

But for the "party of inclusion", Cruz is not of that party. Women's Rights / Women's Health / Equal Pay?  Nada.  LGBT rights?  Nope. Immigration reform (you know, allowing Canadians across the border)?  No can do, daddy-o.

Even if you wanted the Hispanic and Black vote, your voter suppression laws have made it much harder for anyone to cast a ballot your way. But you don't really want "those people" in your camp - do you, Ted?

The party is as it ever was: white men who are at least in the upper 10%. That's how Ted is a man of the people. He's not just looking out for the 1%, but for another full 9%.  Beat THAT Jeb!

Cruz is all talk. All hot hair. All gas. The kind of that gives me indigestion.....just like his official portrait makes him look.

Cruz is out of the gates early, but what that usually means in presidential candidates is that they are the first to disappear.   ....at least for the 2016 cycle.

Here's hoping.

Song by: Herman's Hermits

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Watching You Without Me

I find the title image amusing, as I assume sending out DVDs for viewing isn't even part of the Netflix business model anymore. I wouldn't really know, nor can I be bothered to look it up.

Even with our failed attempt at breaking the cable a few months ago, we, as a family, have stepped one more foot into the 21st century:  we got Netflix.

Well, we got it as a side note I suppose.

710 got it for his mother, who lives in a senior living center, so she could watch some shows that she cannot get via her iPad without some kind of service - be it Netflix or HuluPlus, etc. For like and extra $2 you got a second user  - which turns out to be us.

I thought the fourth season of Arrested Development would have pushed us to Netflix, though it did not. Nor did the buzz about House of Cards (though Kevin Spacey just fucking creeps me out) or Orange is the New Black.

I don't know I'm much for binge watching either. Perhaps on a rainy Sunday or something. Though it is easy to get wrapped up in a Law & Order marathon, but it does depend on which assistant D.A. it is for me to be compelled to do that.

Even that DVD of OitNB that I got from the liberry a few weeks ago went unwatched. I returned it without ever popping it in the DVD player.

The reality is, our DVR sits half full with stuff we've taped but will probably never watch. I mean, we finally watched the last two episodes of Downton Abbey this last weekend.  It really has become the Bold & the Beautiful: 1924. When will Lord Grantham just shove his tongue down Branson's throat already?

So we've had the service for two weeks. Number of shows or movies watched: 0.

This is not surprising to me.

However, the thing that might get me into it, will be the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  It is the new Tina Fey created / written show that NBC passed on.  ....I mean, it has Jenna Maroney and D'Fwan from 30 Rock / the Queen of Jordan.

Maybe we'll have a rainy Saturday or Sunday where we can breeze through those shows.

On the plus side, 710's mom is deep into House of Cards, so I'm thrilled she's using this to her advantage.

Song by:  Kate Bush

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Music Monday

I admit, if I've read a book authored by Beryl Bainbridge I am unable to recall. I'm not sure if that says less about her writing or more about my lack of memory. Or both.

Still a song about her is on the new Mark Knopfler album, Tracker.

Well, it's kind of about her?

The lyric somewhat focuses on how she didn't win a Booker Medal until after she had died, though shortlisted for one five times in her career (yes, I had to look it up!).

The song is somewhat short and repetitive lyrics. But it is Knopfler's distinctive (if not familiar) guitar work and vocals that would make the lyrics become tertiary.

I say 'familiar' guitar work, as I swear parts of 'Beryl' has some elements of Dire Straits' "Down to the Waterline". I'm not complaining, as it's a great riff...and since the latter song is like 35 years old....few would even notice. ....but I'm not one of the 'few'.

And it is always good to hear Knopfler's voice. The song has a good hook....music wise....it almost let's put the lyrics in the background.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

Yes - another segment. And why not? It eat. Continually.

Thursday night, we went out to dinner with one of my sisters, her husband and my mother. A nice time was had by all. I wasn't playing around and just went for the burger, as I know they make it great. 710 and my brother in law got the same thing. But my sister got a penne pasta  dish.

That got me thinking on Friday morning. It looked good and I needed a dinner idea for Friday. Problem solved.

Sure, the easy way out is bottled sauce. But it's also heavy and full of lots of chemicals. And I enjoy doing things a little more from scratch.

So I made a lighter, garlic cream sauce.

Penne - 1 box (16 oz)
Butter - 3T
Flour - 3T
Garlic - 2t minced (I used heaping)
Milk - 1 cup
Chicken Broth - 1 cup  (veggie if you want to make this vegetarian)
Parmesan Cheese - 1/3 cup
Parsley - 2t chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

As water boils, then pasta cooks........

Melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic for a few minutes. Spoon in flour and stir until flour is fully incorporated. 

Slowly add milk, continually whisking. Then do the same with chicken broth.

Add cheese and parsley. Continue to stir. 

Drain pasta and put it in large bowl, pour on sauce. 

Mix.  Add salt and pepper as needed. 

Dish up.  Add more cheese (if you like). 

This makes more than plenty for two. I'd guess more four or six. 

I'd do it again, though I might use more pepper and more garlic. I might even through in a quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper too. I'm all about the heat. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Sophie and Petey.  Smut and Porn, respectively.  Saturdays rule!

 One of his big rest days - after another vet visit. 
At least he's good with the vet. He doesn't loathe it. 

Princess and the Pea Sophie - camped out in one of the guest rooms. 

 710 found an old holiday present for Petey. Even a sick Petey perked up when he saw that. Then took it and immediately ran to the dining room with it. 

Feeling better enough to follow me around when I'm prepping dinner. 

At least twice a day, I get a kitty cat sitting on me for pets and warmth. Usually at times where I need to be doing something else. 

Song by: Buddy Holly

Friday, March 20, 2015

If I Could Write

It's that time. Spring.  Well, Spring and the anniversary of this blog thingy.  Year 12 just wrapped up.

2003 - at the beginning, was eons ago. Since then, Martha Stewart was finally paroled. We've liberated the middle-east and now everyone is living peacefully. Somehow Sean Hayes has gotten another series.

What's next: a black man as President???     It's all so kooky!

Song by: Sam Phillips

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mercedes Boy (Extended Dance Remix)

I'm annoyed.

...and while that could just be my everyday state of mine - to which my amigos will gladly attest - this time it is more specific.

For the second time in 17 months - nay, the second time in seven months (!!!) - basically the power on my car just failed. The first time was last August.

The entire scenario is a repeat from August: Minimal to no power in the car - while starting from a light or stop sign, the unhelpful service 'girl' who said she could take me on Thursday (this was Monday), and the indignant Blobby who - in much nicer words - told her to 'fuck off'.

"Well 'your' service rep isn't back until 3p, so......"  (I have A service rep?)  "Honey, (I says to her, I says), I'm on my way in now, so you can get a vehicle ready for me and explain the issue to him when he finally gets back."


Damn right it was ok.

I had the same service guy (who miraculously was there at 12:30p - not 3p - when I pulled in) with the same lame ass excuse about the service letter that they had received on this problem. Again, since it wasn't a "safety issue", the owners of the vehicles are not informed. I still argue that losing power while driving or at a major intersection IS a safety issue.

Again, I'm very unimpressed with Mercedes Benz's customer service. I assumed (ass / you / me) that being who they pretended to be that they'd be superior.  WRONG.

And you know, to add insult to injury, they had no little bottles of water w the MB logo on them. JFC - this is called 'service'????

I got the loaner, and unlike last time when I got the GLK - which I only think I liked until I got my car back - this time I got the C300.

Slightly longer and wider than my car, it drives soooooo much nicer.

Mine is sporty and meant to be lower, louder and a tighter drive. This was like riding on a cloud. And that's not a bad way to go. The car was nicely appointed (though the wheels were f'ugly) and I was truly digging the ride.

But now the car has not only a knob for navigating stuff (which I thought I'd hate, but kind of like), but it has an actual fucking track pad.

I can change .mp4 tracks or the radio with a swipe of my finger. And let me tell you, I figured that out about 2 hours before I could find the volume control or how the a/c / heat worked.

Like the GLK, the C300 is about $11-12k above what I paid for my car. I'm not sure I'm willing to go that high.

....and I'm really not paying that much for the shitty service MB has provided so far.  (btw, I'm STILL waiting for the sales guy to call my insurance company, like he said he'd do, to let them know of my new purchase. I'm also STILL waiting for him to come program the car with my garage door codes.)

Even with my Infiniti, when the car needed serviced, they brought me the new car and took mine back with them - and reversed the process when the job was complete. I've gotten no such offers from Mercedes of Bedford (that's right, I'm calling them out!).

So once again, it was the computer and the accelerator, though this time they didn't have to replace everything, though they did have to replace like 13 pins in the accelerator.  Yeah - I don't know what that means either.

No apology for inconvenience, though I suppose to say 'sorry' would imply fault with these folks. But I was in no mood to say 'thanks' or 'no problem' either.

I am so waiting to get my after-service survey from MB. I won't hold back (I know, shocking - right?), though it is doubtful they'll follow-up with a dissatisfied customer, if history has shown me anything with this brand.

It sucks too, because I really wanted to like them, because I really like(d) my car.

Did I mention I was annoyed?

Song by: Pebbles   (and no, I don't really have this song, let alone the 12" single)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

the Delivery Man

At the end of December (2014), I was down in C-bus visiting Morty & Co.

Whilst at dinner, he axed me if I'd take a birthday present to his friend and former roommate, Dale.

I do anything for the Mort-man and Dale lives fairly close to me - maybe four miles - and if you remember almost five years back (and why wouldn't you?) it turns out I allegedly "knew" Dale before Morty did.

My friends will attest that I have an awesome memory, but for the life of me, I don't remember "knowing" Dale back in the early '80s......and possibly again in the early '90s.

Just due to Mort and those alleged dalliances, I became FB friends with Dale (gentlemen, start your engines: watch all these people now scramble to go into FB stalk mode).

Of course I agreed to take the package to Dale - just not the package I allegedly delivered two to three decades ago. I'd do anything for Morty.

Apparently Dale won't.

After the first month, I finally stopped giving Morty updates on my failed attempts to snag 10 minutes of his former roommate's time. Every now and again, when Dale came up with better excuses, I'd pass them along.

But Blobby is nothing if not persistent. I FINALLY got an agreement for a meeting last weekend!!!! I think it was because I told him that Morty had gotten him a kitten and it has been in my trunk since December 27th (but who's counting???).

(Me, being me, in my mind, kept going back to Schrödinger's cat theory - that since I hadn't opened the package, the kitten could considered be alive and dead - but decided Dale just might find me weird(er) had I brought this up.)

I opted not to tell Morty in advance, in not wanting to get his hopes up.  (and btw, it really was not a kitten!)

Dale picked the place - a hip coffee shop in a hip part of town (see the unofficial Tremont sign in title image - which is in ways is cooler than the official one), in which he lives.

And apparently frequents the coffee shop enough to not have to order. They see him and they make his "usual". They have assorted pastries - and vinyl records.

....as if anyone but brettcajun is clamouring for AARP-ville Madonna singing songs about her pussy juice. Honey - you are 55+, so your pussy juice = Vagisil.  Ditto goes for you, Madonna!   (oh! and Blobby hits it out of the park........)

Honestly, I was hoping that seeing Dale in person would somehow spur a memory of him. But you know, it just didn't. Maybe it wasn't that good of a time. Or maybe it just never happened.

Seeing him (again?) was great. We sat and talked for 90 minutes, about Cleveland, Columbus - but mostly about Morty (nothing but good things Mort - honest!).

We talked about dogs and he had a great story of his beagles when he grew up. One had a litter of five puppies. After two were sold, the rest disappeared.

After days and days, a neighbor told them that there was a bunch of puppies underneath a shed in a back area. It seems the mom was so upset of losing her two puppies, she dug a hole under the shed and carried her three remaining puppies there for safe keeping.

She'd go out there, play with them, check on them, feed them, then go back to the human family. Smart dog. The story kind of broke my heart.

When we parted, I took a pic of us - as photographic proof of the gift exchange - and sent a copy to Morty and one to Dale.

Dale - knowing nothing of my blog (?) - shot a reply back:  "We look Asian".

(for long time blog readers and my Facebook friends - this is my exact reason of why I do not smile in pictures!)

And for all of my short-term memory: I don't think I slept with Dale this time out either. But you just never know....or at least I don't.

Song by: Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

Well, I threatened to write about making lasagna, so I guess I should follow through.

To me, making lasagna is a little like making meatloaf. It's never quite done the same way twice yet it always comes out tasking basically the same. I think it is probably really hard to fuck it up.

...and spoiler alert: I didn't.

I gathered my items (to your left - though I left out garlic and olive oil from the pic) and went to it.

My mother taught me long ago - well before the invention of no boil lasagna noodles - that you don't actually have to boil them at all. She never did. And I never have. With the right amount of sauce, it takes care of helping cook the noodles with enough moisture. I don't know if no-boil versions are more expensive than regular, but I just buy the regular.

Onion - 1 medium, chopped.
Ground beef - 0.5 lbs
Ground pork - 0.5 lbs
Ricotta - 15oz (I used reduced fat - NOT fat free)
Eggs - 2 (beaten)
Tomato paste - one 4oz can
Tomato sauce - one  8 oz can
Stewed tomatoes - one 14.5 oz can
Mozzarella cheese - 8oz shredded
Cheddar cheese - 6oz shredded
Parmesan cheese - 1 cup shredded
salt - 1t
pepper - 1t
olive oil - 1T

After heating the olive oil, add onions and soften. Then add garlic for about 30 seconds, then add the pork and ground beef (or if you're not a pork fan, just use a pound of ground beef). Simmer until meet is cooked through - drain off any fat. 

While the meat cooks, I combined the ricotta (or cottage cheese if you'd rather - yuck!), salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese

Add tomatoes - stewed, sauce and paste. Simmer for 10-15 until it thickens. It's almost like sloppy joes. 

In a 9x13x2 pan, start layering. 
Sauce on bottom. A layer of noodles. Half of the ricotta mixture. Half of the sauce/meat mixture. Half the shredded cheeses.  Then......repeat: noodles, ricotta, sauce and cheese. 

This is what it should look like. Honestly, I don't think I've ever added cheddar, but it works. But into a pre-heated 375F oven for 35 minutes. 

Take out - let it sit for 10-15 so it can set up. 

Cut a slice. Serve. Possibly with breadsticks and a salad (not shown).

It probably serves around 6-8.  It will keep us in lunches and dinners for a few days since there are only two of us.

....and as predicted, enough though things were changed, etc - it came out tasting exactly like it always does. You really can't fuck it up.

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Music Monday

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists isn't the best singer our there. His range is limited, his style can eerily be the same song to song.

Still, there is something about half his songs that just really works.

I know it is mostly the horns, but the truly make the delivery of "Cavalry Captain".

As I said in my RotM review last month, I like the song, though some of the background vocals just annoy the crap out of me. This still stands true a month later.

Still the song has that '60's vibe mixed with the 10,000 Maniacs' "These Are the Days". Ok, the latter reference isn't so overt, but there is an underlying groove there that really does connect with that song.

There is something infectious about "Cavalry Captain". I like it. I play it. I sing along to it. But I think it's really about the horns.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the Real Slim Shady

Since paying off the Oscar contest with Mike -and he with me - I've been intrigued with eating my own feelings baking.

I think I mentioned I attempted another batch of chocolate chip that came out much much better than that first go around.

710 mentioned something about M&M cookies, and I filed it away for a later time.  .....but only like a week later.

Save two ingredients - one being the M&Ms, I had all the stuff. So why not?

There are a fuck of a lot of recipes out there for these types of cookies and they vary greatly. But I found one I liked more than others - though there is no rhyme or reason for this. Like Boston sang, it was more than a feeling.

The reviews made me cringe and laugh. "I followed it to the recipe to the letter - though I added more vanilla, more flour, lowered the temp and cooked for less time".

Honey - and you know it's a woman - that is not to the letter. It's like people who say "literally" when they have no idea what that means.

The one change to the dough (and I will get to that) made said dough way easier to work with. Though since it was so easy, it was easier to use all the dough for cookies and not eating from the bowl.  So it was a win-lose.

I would have thought that with M&M cookies, the brown sugar would be less than the chip cookies, but not so. And less white sugar too. Who knew?

So - and away. we. go.

All purpose flour - 2.25 cups
Baking powder - 1/4 t
Salt - 1/4 t
White sugar - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 1 cup (firmly packed)
Vanilla - 1 t
Eggs - 2
Butter - 1 stick of unsalted
Crisco -  1/2 cup
M&Ms - 1.5 cups

I didn't duplicate all the pics from my last baking adventure, but the first three are pretty much the same.

The recipe called for a full cup of Crisco (who knew you could use it for baking too???), but I saw some who did half butter, half Crisco and that seemed better to me. I don't know why - I have no knowledge base with which to back this up.

Still the sugars, Crisco and butter went in and I creamed it for 4-5 minutes on medium speed. Then the eggs and vanilla went in on low. I scraped down the sides of the bowl and one quick incorporation and done.

The recipe said to add 1/2 cup of M&Ms to the mixture, but by all accounts, people said that wasn't enough and added 3/4. That still seemed iffy.  Fold them in, don't use the stand-mixer.

This time I used parchment paper. While it seemed to work better for baking, I forgot it made 
clean-up a fuck of a lot easier. 

Anyhoo - 1 t scoops, flatten the tops with your fingers and add 2-3 (ok, always 3!) M&Ms to the surface of each cookie. 

Side note: there were an inordinate number of green M&Ms in the bag. And by all accounts, those make you horny.  : )

The recipe says 10-12 minutes at 375F.  I see why people went to 350F. While they were supposed to be brown only on edged when you take out and they set-up afterwards - 375F made them finish in the oven. So I immediately took them off to the cooling rack to decrease any additional external baking time.

Well, they look pretty. 

As 710 said, 'they taste fine'.  And he was right. They were fine. Not great.

They tasted better than a lot of store bought, that's for sure. I guess I could learn to tweak this, but we'll see. I'm not sure we need 3 dozen cookies sitting around the house at one time.

....but I'm not sure that we don't either.

Song by: Eminem  (get it?  get it????)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Doctor's Orders

It's Saturday. A little Sophie. More of Petey. And then one of of their cousins.

Another week; Another vet visit for Petey. 
We are now thinking of doing a daily inhaler for the poor guy. Dr. Smith and Karen are great with him though. 

Pete roaming around the vet office awaiting Dr. Smith's return. 

On the ottoman. He's rarely been on there and not sure why I'm getting the stare-down. 

Sophie resting and keeping me in my place - as she should be. 

It's cold in the morning before the heat kicks on. If 710 is up early, he'll cover Mr. Pete with a blanket to make sure he's extra comfortable. 

My niece's cat, Pippa. I call her Eva Braun.

My niece was home on Spring Break. I urged her to not bring the cat up from Florida, but she won't listen. Maybe this time she will, as her plane was delayed 8 hours leaving the cat in the carrier with no food, water or bathroom time. 

Song by: Carol Douglas