Tuesday, June 30, 2015

App of the Month

I feel like I'm cheating you and myself with some of these apps I feature here.

Lately, they've been coming to me free via a card from Starbucks. Normally I feature free apps because I'm too cheap to pay. I still am too cheap, but these Starbucks ones are free to me - but cost if you don't get them the week they're given away at their stores.

Case in point:  Travel Book.

Sure - they're pretty(ish) pictures of certain areas of the globe, but.....that seems to be all it does. Though one five-star review says it's 'the best app I've ever had!!!!'   Oh, that poor soul.

Travel book has categories like:  Wonders of the World, Wonders of Nature, Beautiful Cities (day and night), Mountains, Lakes/Bays, Historical places, etc.  You get the idea.

My parents had these on laminated place mats when I was growing up - but only to be used in the dining room. These were not for kitchen table use!!!!!  Though ours were mostly castles of Europe.

As classy as people think I grew up, we were just as tacky as anyone else back in the 60s and 70s. It was the style at the time.

In a way, this app could have been cool. Or, better.

It has a 'gyroscope' that lets you move around - kind of, to a degree - almost like Street View on Goooooogle Maps. But Street View does a better job.

I wanted to get closer to the terraces and steps of Machu Picchu. But you can't. 

You can't sense the depth of danger here. You can spin around to see what you kind of see from up there, but little of what you can see down from there. 
 New York is always pretty from high at night. 

Even in the day.  Except........

How old are these images? The Twin Towers are gone (so after 2001) and if WTC 1 is under construction yet, it's at ground level. 

Fog and the Golden Gate Bridge.  That's new!

Mount Elbrus in Russia was clearly one of the cooler images. 

Sure I could have picked Everest where you're looking on the path between Camps 2 and 3- and it would have been expected of me (oooh, btw, new Everest movie coming out later this year!)

I'm assuming this is just time-lapsed photography with the stars. Still a cool image. 

But you can see similar images on Goooooogle Images for free.....or whatever your DSL / Cable service costs you.  I'm not sure it's worth $2.99 to have them on your phone.

Sure an info button brings up a little factoid on what you're looking at, along with a map of where it is - but Goooooogle will do that for you too.

I guess it could keep kids busy for like 23 minutes on a car ride. But that's about it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Music Monday

As I did a year ago, I'm going with cover songs as my theme for the month of June I'm not sure why I'm doing this, as I vaguely remembering having to struggle for four songs last time out. And there are five Mondays in 2015, so.....there's that.

At the beginning of this month, I told you I contemplated doing all Beatles covers, but then opted not to. But I feel I should do at least one. And I have chosen one that I would guess is not well known - as a cover or as a Beatles tune in general. 

While the song is from Meet the Beatles, it's not a Lennon / McCartney number, but George Harrison. 

But back a few years ago, the Smithereens did a song for song copy (or homage) to the album, cleverly called Meet the Smithereens. While it had a recipe for disaster, the band actually pulled it off quite well - my opinion, of course. 

The band didn't play around with the arrangements and was quite true to the original material. 

While lead singer, Pat DiNinzio, took vocals regardless if Lennon or McCartney had handled them on the original versions, with my choice, "Don't Bother Me", drummer Dennis Diken takes lead vocals - and quite well. ...though oddly he sounds more like John than George.

Like most songs of the early 60's era, few went over the three minute mark and "Don't Bother Me" is no exception, barely clocking in at two and one-half minutes. It's quick, concise and catchy. 

the Smithereens - Don't Bother Me

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We Believe in Happy Endings

I guess I can do a follow-up to Friday's SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. I mean, why not?

I know it has only been less than 48 hours, though I have yet to hear a word from anyone in my immediate family.

My little right-winged sister will never say a word to me about this. Which is ok, as it would just spiral out into things that can never be taken back.

Unexpectedly - the first person I heard from was my cousin, Jack. If I think my sister is conservative, Jack beats her hands down. Just the day before, his FB page was ranting and raving about the ACA ruling. Yet, he congratulated me and wonders how 710 and I will proceed. I didn't understand that line of questioning, but he thought getting remarried by a judge here might be an easier way than having our marriage being recognized "by default".

I was a little taken back by that comment, but he's a lawyer and I think he was just looking out for our interests.

His sister, Claire, chimed in later in the day - and she was VERY happy for 710 and myself.

I had to admit to Claire (had to?) that I was happier than I ever anticipated. I found myself smiling all day long. I couldn't pull myself away from Facebook that easily. I was looking at all the love and support out there - and perhaps it was just my newsfeed, but I still have yet to see a negative comment. I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but I haven't seen them. It's probably a good thing I don't check Twitter.

In between those Jack & Claire were David - whose support is / was never in question, and then our cousin, Billy - who if he weren't already married to a woman might get gay-married himself. He just doesn't know it yet.

Billy's comments were the funniest - but probably just to me. He even sent me a little audio recording of "Mr. Sandman" played on his ukulele, which I'm convinced is the only song he knows. He didn't deny it when I called him out.

Still, if you're counting:   Cousins: 4.  Sisters / Mother: 0.

Even 710's sister sent a nice note.


We did not make it to Pride.  But no one did. Due to weather and rain, it was cancelled. Blerg.


In my original post, I mentioned not having read the dissents from the four Just-asses. At least now, I have read two. I'm not sure I can stomach the other two, though I can't imagine Alito and Roberts could possibly anything worse than Scalia and Thomas.

I'm not sure Voldemort and Senator Palpatine could be worse than those two.

There is much ado about Scalia's 'hippie' comment'. Personally between this dissent and the one for the ACA, it sounds like he might to see a neurologist as he slowly loses his grasp on sanity. Still the 'hippie' comment wasn't anything troubling.  To me, this was:

"It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best."

Who the fuck does he think he is - and where the fuck does he think he lives?

Scalia actually believes and every single U.S. citizen (all 320 million?) believes in his lord and saviour? It's 2015, not 1915 you stupid fuck.

And this is not about who rules 'you', Tony. This is about the law and the constitution, not the person to which you believe is the son of g-d. Since you've seemed to forget what your job duties actually entail, maybe you should consider retiring. And soon!

Lack of grasping your job is one thing. Losing your grasp on reality is quite another - case in point: Clarence Thomas:

"The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away."

I don't know Clarence's ancestry, but let's assume some descendants were African. He is saying being round up like animals, shackled in boats for months and forced to work for nothing at the hands of the white man, in a strange country, devoid of your own culture does not contain a loss of dignity. Nor does being interred for the length of a war, just due to your heritage. Both with the blessings of our government.

I mean, his understand of the word "dignity" might be a little skewed in terms of its definition. Just ask a female lawyer who worked for him at the EEOC a number of years back. I'm sure her "dignity" wasn't taken away from Long Dong Silver either.

I'm actually offended he's allowed to write ANY dissent or ruling.

As of February 2014, Thomas has not asked one single question in the previous EIGHT YEARS of anyone presenting to the high court. Not one. (If he has asked anything since, I cannot find it.)

Sometime in 2013, he made a comment to the other justices, but that is the only time he had talked aloud in the Supreme Court in the eight years prior.

Is he physically impaired? Is he just unqualified to ask pertinent questions? He is just lazy or dumb?

Who the fuck gets away with almost a decade at not speaking on the job? Even Marlee Matlin speaks out loud more than Clarence does.



As for our celebratory pizza night out?   meh. 

We ended up at our third choice place - which is usually just fine. But neither of us were thrilled at our pizza or beer selection. 

I know, right?  How can you fuck up pizza and beer? 

The beer is a rotating menu - you rarely get the same types twice. I'm ok with that, but we chose our selections unwisely, or it is possible that none of their selections were up our alley. 

We opted to order something new, which was probably a mistake. They asked me if I wanted "red sauce" on it - which I thought (to myself) "what other kind would there be?".  I should have asked the question out loud (oh no, am I just like Clarence Thomas???), as maybe they had "other sauces" of which I was unaware. 

The red sauce was questionable at best. But that was on 710's side of the pizza. My side was buffalo chicken. It was good, but not great. 

Still, it was a nice time out - both of us were pretty happy from the day, so it made it all better. 

Song by: Earl Thomas Coyne & Emmylou Harris

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Up and Down

Week 3 - plus two days. That's how long we are into Petey's Pneumonia 2015 recovery.

Mostly it is progressing well. Walks are still painfully slow. I mean, if he sees other people or other dogs, mind you, he HAS the energy. If it's just 710 or myself - it is sniffing every single thing. Normally our long walks used to take 40 minutes. Now that is the short route. A medium route took me 70 minutes.

But once we are home and treats are to be had, he has all the energy he'd ever need.  I don't get it.

And Wednesday and Thursday nights, I ended up sleeping on the sofa with him - as he seemed to be struggling a little. This was after many days of forward progress.

He still has life in him - don't get me wrong. I can't grasp what sets him off on energy - and lack of.

Still, he's chugging along.

And for the record, yesterday was the third anniversary of us taking Petey in. Even with doggie ailments, it's been a great ride......for all of us, I dare say.

I call this: Penis, Paws and Plaque

I love when he sleeps this way though. It's so odd. 

I like that Petey looks like he's smiling when he pants. 

Just a stop on the walk to look around and observe. 

Not sure why I love this so much. Sophie isn't a 'hiding' cat. I don't think she was stalking Petey. 

Petey feeling better mid-week. He was in a very playful mood.

But like I said, I spent a few days sleeping on the sofa to make sure he was ok.
710 took a snap of sharing the same bed. 

Song by:  the Cars

Friday, June 26, 2015

a Legal Matter

You get a special second blog post today.

It is warranted.

SCOTUS has done the right thing - barely - by legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

And while maybe not needed due to the first ruling, the Court also vote in favour on the other matter - that all states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where same-sex marriage is legal and licensed.

At 09:45, I logged on to SCOTUSblog and just waited with baited breath on the ruling. It came right at 10:00. I mean, immediately.

Fucking A.

Odd. I didn't think I would be SO relieved, but I am. Happy, even. Sitting here smiling.

No one to sit and yell "YEAH!" too - besides the dog, and he's sleeping. So I turned to Facebook, and I think I was the first of my "friends" to post. I'm claiming that - no one can prove otherwise.

Since then - thanks to me - Facebook has blown-up.

I even posted before texting 710 with the news.

His response?  "I hope this makes taxes easier next year". 


"Oh. And I love you and am happy to be your lawfully wedded husband."

My reply?  "Too little. Too late."  

But followed up with all would be forgiven if we went out for pizza tonight.

Yes. My love can be bought. And yes. I'm cheap.

And yes, after 4.5+ years of being married, it is now legal in Ohio. Our marriage is valid.

So, to follow-up on my post yesterday, it was not 7-2, though I didn't think it would. It was the same 5-4 - and the same 5-4 voters as always. I mean, I know Kennedy would be the swing vote, but in terms of this I was pretty confident he'd vote this way.

The odd thing is, one Justice didn't write a dissent. All four dissenting judges wrote four different dissents. As of this posting, I have not read them. Nor do I know I will. Some of their crap will seep down to me, but I don't give a fuck what they have to say.

Of course, we will have to endure a week's worth of crap from the right wing media and the GOP presidential hopefuls.

Yesterday, fucking Ted Cruz, called SCOTUS, "unelected advocate judges".  Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure he's fit to be president not understanding the different branches of government.

And mind you, when SCOTUS ruled for Hobby Lobby, they weren't "unelected advocate judges". They never are when they vote the way of the GOP. He's such a fucking hypocrite. And Canadian!

But now we wait for pastors to set themselves on fire (please...do!). Now we wait for states who said they'll defy SCOTUS to do so (please do! I'm waiting to see how that all turns out for you.) Now we will have the GOP candidates saying how they'll overturn this decision. Knock yourselves out, but I think you'll be too busy overturning Obamacare.

For now, I will revel in this.

Of course, I think, weather permitting, a pop-in to Pride tomorrow is warranted. I'm not a fan of Cleveland's event, but why not show our support?

I mean - weather permitting.

So, rejoice folks. Or at least the folks who read my blog. I don't expect to get hater comments here, but you never know. We will leave that to other venues.

I know many of my readers already live in states where same-sex marriage is legal or recognized. Still, I think we all share in this - a great victory. Not for gay men and women, but for mankind.

Song by: the Who

Tentative Decisions


When did the Supreme Court last have a ruling that wasn't 5-4?

I'll be honest - I was much much much more worried about the ACA ruling than I am about same-sex marriage.

If reports are correct - and both Ginsberg and Scalia have hinted they are - that same-sex marriage will pass. But I'll believe that when I see it.....which may be today...or possibly Monday.

But in some new reports, the Supreme Court refused to hear another Alabama case invalidating the definition of marriage in that state, leading folks to believe it is because the Court has already decided on that matter.

The bigger news is with that refusal, only two of the judges publicly dissented: Thomas (shock!) and Scalia (double shock!!).  In theory, this could mean there is a 7-2 in favour of same-sex unions. But in reality, it just means they were the only two to publicly dissent on the Alabama case.

As for the ACA ruling: I do love how news outlets say "John Roberts saves Obamacare". Even without his vote it would have been 5-4. So what's that all about?

Let them have their rhetoric. People who disagree with the ruling won't read it - yet they'll still write Grandpa Simpson-like letters to their OpEd page of any local newspaper.

The court was interpreting a passage in the law that said the tax credits are authorized for those who buy health insurance on marketplaces that are “established by the state.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that while the law’s wording was problematic, Congress’s intent was clear.

So was the Second Amendment, but that doesn't stop dozens of cases per year on gun control (or lack of it).

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter,” Roberts wrote.

I'm sure there are many more lawsuits to come regarding the ACA. With rulings like this, it might weed out some of those - since a decision has been established. And one with a clear court majority.

As for 2016 and the Republicans constantly bringing up "Obamacare" (forgetting that it was passed in the House and Senate) - it will be hard for the GOP to repeal this. At least harder than they think. Not only will they have to have a better plan - and one that is obtainable through Congress - because they will be taking something away from MILLIONS of people. They might get a pat on the back from businesses (and that might be the only thing they care about), but when millions of people push back - they will be in for a world of hurt.

No doubt it will be another campaign promise broken by a "Washington outsider" - as they all like to call themselves.

Well, let's now see what today or Monday brings us. On the selfish side, if SCOTUS rules on Monday, I don't really have to go to Pride on Sunday (my rationale on going is: regardless of the decision - after the fact - I can be there to support it or show support if a bad decision is made). Sure, Belinda Carlisle is performing, but that's a lot of vibrato just to hang out in iffy weather.

Song by: Talking Heads

Thursday, June 25, 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! 

Allison Moorer has a new album. 

I will totally admit to loving one of her albums, liking two others and detesting two. So - like any artist, it's a crapshoot. I'll also admit to not buying this disk, but picking it up at the liberry. 

I can almost say for certain, I may have been the first person to check out Down to Believing.

The thing with Moorer - she can be country, she can be Americana, she can be folk. At times even a little pop. Each album is little different - that works on some levels, and on others it doesn't. I like to be kept guessing here and there, but you just never what you're gonna get.

Down to Believing skews a little more country. Some of it older country, some of it new. To prove the latter, "Tear Me Apart" could easily be a Shania Twain song. I'm not saying this is a plus.

Moorer can do slower songs well - and her voice is totally suited for that, as she has a lovely one. But some of the slower material here doesn't work as well, as say as it did on the Duel. Some do - as I do really like the title track, "Gonna Get it Wrong" and "Thunderstorm / Hurricane" (though the latter really builds from a vocal piece to a fully fleshed instrumental rock gem - as the title might imply). But I am not feeling "If I Were Stronger".

On previous disk, Moorer could rock it too - as needed. On Believe, her results are a little more mixed. I totally dig "I Lost My Crystal Ball" and "Like it Used to Be".  While I like "Mama Let the Wolf In", I could just as easily see someone like Gretchen Wilson doing this track. And "Back of My Mind" is just fair as songs go. It's one of those tunes that could have been recorded and forgotten by just about anyone. Moorer is better than this song.

Still, the good certainly outweighs the bad. I enjoy this disk much more than Mockingbird, Crows or Getting Somewhere. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Like South Carolina doesn't have enough troubles.   ....and in no particular order.....

  • Ms. Lindsey Graham
  • Hate Crime Shootings in a Charleston church
  • Confederate Flags hoo-ha
  • Mark Sanford and his bag of lies
  • Bob from I Should be Laughing (I kid....I kid...)

I'm beginning to think this all has something to do with the Dark Side of the Force.

The lack of talent actor - who did very little before appearing as young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, Episode 1: the Phantom Menace, and who has done almost nothing since (and rightfully so) - made "news" by getting arrested for speeding and a high speed chase through Charleston, SC, along with evading police.

Apparently, Jake Lloyd thought his Nissan Maxima was in some kind of Podrace and that I-95 is miraculously somehow on Tatooine.

Perhaps, the young Padawan had a vision of a church shooting and was going there to use the force stop it - or to maybe lend his light saber to Dylann Roof so he could cut them all down, as young Skywalker would do himself to the Jedi council.

He gave into his hate and used his gas pedal as his weapon. Like most everything the elder Skywalker did - it ultimately ended in utter failure.

To be fair (?) to Lloyd, he is one of a slew of 'child actors' gone bad, but he waited 16 years to get there. That shows restraint. Or was just hoping to show up on TMZ.

Mission: Accomplished!

Qui-Gon Jinn got it wrong long ago in a galaxy far far away (fuck, it would have been epic had Lloyd been arrested driving a Ford Galaxy....or Ford Falcon) with Anakin being too old to train as a Jedi and there was something off about the boy. He didn't listen when he should have. Had he, we would have been spared some truly horrible prequels.

Of course, we shouldn't overlook the chance that Ani was chasing his elusive "career", but there were no exits or GPS directions to Oblivion.

Had there been, he'd have run into Hayden Christensen.

Song by: Five Finger Death Punch  

(I will go on record, I don't own this song. I DO love the band name, but not their music so much.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I'll be the first one to say it:

I hope those New York escaped prisoners make it.

Sure, I know they tortured and murdered folks. But by-gum, they have bested a correctional facility, police, U.S. Marshals and the likes.

They kind of have earned it.

It's not enough that at least one of them was making time with the frumpy prison worker. I know guys get hard up - and I know I'm gay - but you'd kind of really have to be at the bottom of the barrel to woo her.  I mean, clearly he / they had ulterior motives.

I think my favourite part of this story is that one of the killers painted a picture of that women's children for her.

I mean - how fucked up is that?

That makes John Wayne Gacy's clown paintings seem downright mundane.

I suppose that it could have been manipulative. Letting the alleged accomplice lady know they know about her children, if she didn't cooperate.   ....which she didn't entirely. Had she, they could have been long gone. Or at least in Indiana....because really - who the fuck would look for them there?

They still might be long gone. DNA - and prison issued underwear - were left at a cabin 22 miles away. If you ask me, it sounds like these two are just taunting the authorities at this point. And this cabin stuff could have been a week ago. Or they could be in Pennsylvania. I mean, I'd rather be dead - or in prison - than in the Dutch Amish portion of PA.

Still power tools. Metal being smuggled through un-xray'd food. Internal walkways that led out of the prison. A scheduled pick-up. Planning on murdering that woman's husband. This is just stuff from bad spy novels...or Tom Cruise movies. ...and yet, these two murders seem more likable than Tommy boy. And more people are following this than ever watched the TV show, Prison Break.

I mean, I lust after love Dominic Purcell and even I never watched a minute of that show.

Still, these (now ex) prisoners put a fuck of a lot of time and effort into this entire escape plan. I say - just let them go.

Song by: Journey

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Music Monday

As I did a year ago, I'm going with cover songs as my theme for the month of June I'm not sure why I'm doing this, as I vaguely remembering having to struggle for four songs last time out. And there are five Mondays in 2015, so.....there's that.

For the most part, I can take or leave a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. I was no fan of The Master, Punch-Drunk Love,  the total and utter bomb, Inherent Vice.

For the most part, I can leave a Tom Cruise movie. There is no take.

Combine the two - as in Magnolia - and I'm fine skipping any viewing whatsoever.

The one thing the movie had going for it was the soundtrack - provided entirely by Aimee Mann. Three or four of those songs came from her almost concurrent release at the time, Bachelor No. 2., or the Last Remains of the Dodo.  

And while the soundtrack and solo album have a similar feel - the Magnolia soundtrack had some incredibly good music ("Momentum", "Wise Up" and the Oscar nominated "Save Me") that I'm not sure would have entirely fit on Bachelor No. 2.

It also had one cover - Three Dog Night's "One", which was actually written (and later recorded by) Harry Nilsson.

"One" is a fairly faithful cover version. Three Dog Night had more backing vocals and electric guitar, but in terms of arrangement, Mann is fairly spot-on.

....and save for a few seconds of Ms. Cruise talking, you don't have endure watching him on screen.

Aimee Mann - One

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Same Old Man

While I haven't really been counting them down, this is almost the last of the firsts.

Today is the first Father's Day without mine.

I'll go on record that I still think of Bob daily, even if it is just for a fleeting moment. But Father's Day wasn't his thing.

If he cared about the day at all, he kept it a good secret. It's not to say he wasn't appreciative of the things we tried to do for him, but I think he'd have been happy with a nod - no presents, no fuss, no attention.

Life father; like son.

I'm exactly that way with birthdays.

Still, I know these milestones are important to my mother, and I'm ok with that. I have noticed her bring him up more in conversation:  the day he went to the hospital. the day he went to rehab. the day he came home from there. We are dangerously close to his readmission and anniversary of his death. I think it will be hard for her.

My friend Glenn just lost his father in the last month or so. He's a little sensitive to getting ads about "it's not too late to order your Father's Day gift".  He at least found some humour in it when I asked if B&N told him their shipping details - and that maybe it wasn't too late.  Maybe they have drones that go to heaven.

Maybe it is in the timing, but ads like that don't really bother me at all. Of course, maybe that is because of my father's laissez faire attitude for the day.

Right now, the plan is to have dinner with my mother. But that is about it.

On another note: Summer Solstice begins at 12:38 EDT.  Happy Summer.

It's the first Summer Solstice since my father died.  :-)

Song by: John Hiatt

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Make You Better

Petey is slowly mending. Alas, like I've said - he might never fully be back to where he was. It's a harsh reality that 710 and I just have to learn to deal with.

His cough is there, but nothing prominent. His appetite is better, but nothing like it was. His walks are slow - and much shorter.

This might be life as we know it.

The Old Man finished his antibiotics on Thursday and he's back on his steroids, so hopefully that will help with the cough and reengaging his appetite. Then maybe that will give him strength for better walks.

I can hope.

But since no real Petey Porn last week - here's a healthy dose for you today.

Petey getting a steam. 

It's better if he's higher up, but those counter tops, steam condensation and his nails makes for one slippery surface. I have to hold him at all times. 

g-d knows, Sophie can't be left out of anything.  She's watching the steam. 

Boomer - Petey's brother - at my mom's house. 

Petey was too ill last weekend to take to my mom's and be harangued by such a high energy dog. 

Yesterday - Petey's first "long" walk. He did pretty well for most of it. 
We might be able to do one of those lengths once every few days. 

Sophie - airing out her lady parts......I assume. 

In the weeds. 

Ranking up there for Top 3 Petey Pics of the 2015. It's really all about the tongue - isn't it folks?

Song by: the Decemberists

Friday, June 19, 2015


With the storms and flooding and all, I forgot Sophie's birthday.

Oh the shame. The shame!!!!!

Don't get me wrong, we figured out a few days ago, and made restitution. She got some treats and some extra rubs and kneading time.

And it's not like she knew when her birthday was.

She's been on a roll anyways. Her 'bathroom' is now (temporarily) in one of the guest rooms - which was actually where she started out her stay with us.

To acclimate her (and more to the point, Tovah) we gave her in her own bedroom along with her box. Or as I called it, her en suite bath. She was there for about three weeks until she climbed her way to freedom and found her way downstairs.

There was no going back.

A little under nine years later, she's still here - full of life (well, when she's not asleep). And each and every morning at 04:30, she starts pawing my nose. And then my face. Now she's taking to grooming my beard. Just to get me up early.

While I try to ignore it, I don't really deter her. I might only get 7-8 more years out of this - so she can do whatever she wants.

Sophie has always been more of a dog than cat, which is why I think she gets along so well with Petey.

She's a good egg. We love her to death.

Happy Belated to her.

Song by: Garbage

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Site of the Month

I am not a war historian, though I do like knowing about history.

I am a self-professed numbers geek. While not a CPA or actuary, I know enough about numbers, spreadsheets and statistics to make heads and / or tails of a P & L or any client reporting tools.

As I was told early on in my career: a good accountant will ask you - what do you want the number to be?

You can slice data any which way to skew numbers just enough to tell the story you want. And even with just being presented with raw data doesn't mean the numbers are telling you what they or you think.

While numbers don't lie - how we interpret them, or what we do with them, does....or can.

Still, a friend of mine  - Sal, from Philly - posted a video of World War II and the number of people killed (military and civilian) in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

The video is extremely well done - graphically, aurally, and even possibly, mathematically.

That last part has a caveat. There are no specific records of how many people truly died in WWII. And as the narrator will tell you, some groups people might not be considered causalities of war.

At some point, they talk about the total number dead, "give or take". My only problem with the video is the lack of follow-up on that line. There is no quantifier. "Give or take........" what?  What's the number?

I get why they did that. It's impossible to say - and unlike so many other historians, they don't claim to know.

Still, we know (or should) a lot about the U.S. and WWII.  I didn't study Russian history, so my eyes were just amazed at the numbers they rack up. It's quite unbelievable.

And for all the conflict we think we've seen in our lifetimes (well, most of my readers, I should say), it's fair to say we are still living in the most peaceful time in history.  Though, again, it's how you do the numbers.

Yes, the video is over 18 minutes long - and worth every second it takes to watch. I highly suggest you take the time.

I was fascinated. I think you will be too.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I hate being a grown-up. I mean, it just sucks. Save for legalized drinking, what does it got going for it?  Nothing, I tellz ya.

So yesterday, a worker was scheduled to come do some stuff that required basement access. Being the nice guy I am, I figured I would make sure the cat box was clean - and then sent 710 to do it. I am happy to do many a-thing around here, but I leave the litter box to him.

710 should have known something was wrong before he went down, as Sophie was at the top of the stairs, not wanting to go down to her box and yelling at him.

He came back with the news of having water in our basement.



These are things non-adults don't have to deal with.

On and off for weeks we've had rain - but torrential rain. Neighbors have had 4-10" of water in their basements these last few weeks. We've been bone dry. In the 10 years we've lived here, we've never seen a drop in the basement.

We went quickly into recovery mode. 710 called off work, we were at Home Depot at 08:00 to rent a pump, and before that I left several messages with clean-up companies....but clearly we sprang into action, not waiting for them to return the call.

As it turns out, we are on several waiting lists for clean-up companies. The rains have flooded everyone, it seems. Antiquated sewer systems could not handle the 2" per hour of rain we were getting, so lots of folks have water - or worse - in their houses.

Thank g-d for 710. I mean, I tried to help as much as I could, but he knew about the pumps (oh, plural, as our neighbor lent us one of his), how to hook them up and such.

Two different hoses. Two different pumps. Two different egresses. Lots and lots and lots of water being pumped over the hill.

I would say within four hours, we had the majority of water pumped out of the basement. The floors are still damp and the drains are still in question - but all of those things will be looked at.

While 710 placed fans for drying stuff out, I called insurance agents (covered!.....thank you!), Cleveland Sewer and got our first estimate for finishing pumping the water, sterilizing the floors and walls and drying.

I think they might paint the floor too, which would be faboo - as I think it would look better whenever the time to sell arrives.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), we didn't seem to have any raw sewage issues you hear so much about. Oh, to be safe, we have utilized neighborhood vendor facilities if one had "the urge". But I think we're ok to use our own - which is good, because sometimes you don't have a lot of warning.

And ruckiry (again, not Jon's boss), we had little of value down in the basement that was directly on the floors. Boxes for small appliances, dishes, etc, that we kept for whenever we do move (not that there are any plans).  So out a lot of stuff went to the curb.

It is just our luck that trash day was the next morning (today!), so I dragged all this shit to the street.

Today, a plumber comes to check the sewer line. If it is a problem with the city, we get that money reimbursed!  If not, we'll eat that cost, I suppose - though maybe that can go towards our deductible too.

But in the next few days, someone will come to wash the floor, sterilize it, and dry it.....then paint it.

In the meantime, Sophie has to readjust to a different place to use her box.

If I were still a child, I'd be told not to go in the basement and that would have been the end of it all. Oh - those were happy times.

Song by: Jars of Clay

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baking with Blobby

With the lemon cookies a HUGE hit with 710 (yayy, me!), I didn't repeat them this time. But I didn't go back to M&M or Chocolate Chip. Still I used things in my cupboard - and well......who knew people made cookies out of boxed cake mix?

Apparently a lot of folks.

I just wasn't one of them.

I hate to say how long we've had a boxed cake mix in the pantry, but there it was. And still with a month to go on its expiration date. Score!

Five ingredients. Not stand-mixer. And no butter or salt - which just seems wrong. I love in the M&M, Triple Chocolate and Chocolate Chip cookies when you get a taste of salt with that sweet. It's kind of like if you were dating me.    ......in your dreams!!!

Cake Mix - (the recipe said yellow, but I had white. It worked) - 1 box.
Baking Powder - 1 t
Vegetable Oil - 1/2 C
Eggs - 2
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips - 1 C

Boom!  That's it.

Mix Baking Powder in with the cake mix.  Then add the vegetable oil and eggs. Beat till smooth. 

Stir in the semi-sweet chips. 

It was the easiest batter I've ever worked with. With a 1T scoop, they went on an ungreased baking sheet. They were supposed to make 24, I got 25 - and wasted zero of the batter. 

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350F.  Let them cool on the tray before moving them. They are soft even then, but they harden up, but just a bit. 

Because of the white cake, they're a little pale. But it's all good. They taste good. And they have that boxed vanilla smell that cake mixes have. 

I was worried they wouldn't be good (I didn't taste-test before 710 came home). His response: "it's cake mix and chocolate chips - how bad can it be? "

True that. 

I don't know it would be my go-to cookie, but it's super simple and it is a good way of clearing out stiff in the pantry.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Music Monday

As I did a year ago, I'm going with cover songs as my theme for the month of June I'm not sure why I'm doing this, as I vaguely remembering having to struggle for four songs last time out. And there are five Mondays in 2015, so.....there's that.

I can't say 'grunge' is my favourite kind of music, but it has its merits and moments.

I was ok with Pearl Jam, Audosalve (yes, a purposeful typo), Mudhoney and the likes. And yes, Nirvana.

While Pearl Jam has probably been the most prolific, Nirvana is still probably better known and made the bigger impact. And while I know a lot of Nirvana songs (not that they really had that many), the most oft covered song they have is, which is of no surprise, "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

I can't say for sure, but I would assume Tori Amos' cover is the most well known - I even bought the cd single.  I know - right???

But watching the Kurt Cobain HBO documentary Montage of Heck, they played another version in the background of a segment.

Credited to Scala & Kolacny Brothers, whomever they might be (the conductor and pianist?), clearly it is a choir doing the singing.

The vocals are more nuanced than Cobain (duh!), but the control they have give the song a very eerie and yet beautiful quality.

It reminds me of the beginning of Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, when the Hogwarts "choir" sings "Double Trouble".

It's a good cover. I'd even say powerful on some levels.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Ok folks, there is only so far I can go to suspend my disbelief.

In Jurassic World  (it's no longer just a park, but a frickin' world!) I can actually let it slide that genetically modified dinosaurs are created from blood in a mosquito trapped in amber for millions of years.

It's harder to swallow that considering what happened in installments 1, 2 and 3, that this place could get a license to operate and liability coverage from any insurance carrier. I don't care how good the waiver that you have guests sign might be. Those waivers have loopholes, people. Loopholes!

I cannot abide by the female lead wearing heels an off the rack Donna Karan (I'm guessing) dress as she tromps through the jungle. Even if she's an executive for the park, it's not really a corporate environment. Casual attire would be the norm.

On top of that, I cannot believe that Clint Howard's niece can - or should be allowed to - carry a movie with a $150MM budget.

Sure, I'll take dinosaurs jumping out of tanks ala Shamu at Sea World to eat dangling animals, splashing visitors in the first few rows, but the rest is malarkey.

You're probably wondering why we went. Well, it wasn't exactly my choice. Our friends, David & James, who we haven't seen in a while wanted to go. James is all about the big popcorn movies. Allegedly, the new Mad Max was "fan-fucking-tastic".  And these are not men who drop the f-bomb.

There are other movies I would rather be seeing, but......

Since we were going, I chose the theater and movie distribution system in which it would be shown. 3D - sure. DBox?  Didn't know of it. As it turns out, it's not like DBag.

For my readers who were not around during the 1974 release of Earthquake in Sensurround®, well, first, I hate you, but second, it is supposed to simulate what you feel compared to what is up on the screen. Now it's called DBox.

Oh - and at least for initial weekend and due to limited number of Dbox seats, these had to be reserved - at the costly sum of  - are you ready? - $21.50 per ticket!!!!!

However, since you reserve on-line and there is zero way for them to check your status, I snagged four 'senior' seats at the low low price of $18.50. I really don't know how much non-3D, non-DBox tickets are.

Oh yeah - the movie......

It was fine. I wasn't expecting any more than fine and it lived up to all those expectations. Product placement abounds and there are holes big enough to drive a tractor trailer, or three, through, but I suppose a big budget spectacular is not really about the 'story'.

I don't think it is just me, that with a film like this, as they introduce characters, you started wagering in your head if they'll be killed......or when. It's no huge spoiler alert, but when you see the inept slovenly security guard - you already know he's a goner.

I think I was at a 90+% success rate on who I figured would bite it.

I love Chris Pratt.....well, Andy Dwyer. By his own admission, he has three looks in the movie. I counted two.

Opie's daughter was fair - but anyone could have played her. The running in 4" heels for the entire movie was implausible. Her nephews were subpar at best. They didn't play moody, unimpressed teens very well - they didn't play any one emotion very well.

Vincent D'Onofrio (g-d love him!), chews his scenes fairly well. And the guy from New Girl was good.

As for another implausible piece I couldn't overlook - not one park visitor used a smart phone to video or take pics of any of their adventures at seeing a prehistoric beast right in front of them. Even the main kid character used a camera where he had to advance the film (!!!!!)

They can clone dinosaurs, but using a medium that went out of fashion almost a decade ago is ok?

Like with most adventure movies, they try to inject a few humourous moments to relieve the tension. I would say there were about a half-dozen, maybe 10, here. I think I smiled twice and laughed once.

And of course, there are the cheeeeeeeesy lines and scenes. Expected, and yet still unwelcome.

The DBox was an ok addition - especially after the D-Rex came into play, but it is nothing you needed to spend extra for. I thought the 3D was very well done.

Like James said: it's a summer popcorn movie. You're not supposed to think too hard on these and they are not there to be considered great movies. I mean, it's going to make a ton of money - though after seeing the credits and the amount of folks - if they got paid even minimum wage, it had to cost more than $150MM.

One of the last lines of the movie?  "Where do we go from here?"

Jurassic Universe...........obviously!

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  6 of 12

Song by: David Byrne

Saturday, June 13, 2015

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 64th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th 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.

06:20.  Strip the bed. Time to change the sheets. 

Once a year - whether I like it or not!

06:50. Time to moisturize the noggin.  Face and head. Post shower. 

07:45.  Pete is getting his bedding washed too. The room was smelling too much like 'dog'. 

09:40.  A mid-morning snack (and back-up). And an envelop of things my mother thought I might want to have from her house. I've had it for three weeks and have yet to look inside.

12:12.  Shot of a Google Image page.

Most purposefully taken at this time on this date.

12:35.  Petey enjoying the outdoors before alleged t-storms rolled in. 

14:50. Hopped up to Luna, where my mother had b'fast a few days ago. She left her coat. She asked me to pick it up for her.

I was in there for less than 2 minutes. 

14:54.  TEEMING - as my mother would call it. 

It was pouring before I ever left Luna, but I couldn't wait for it to let up (not that it did for another 30 minutes), mainly because too many windows in the house were open. I had to get home.

17:10. Petey getting tag-teamed from neighborhood dogs. 

They are some of the last in the 'hood that Petey has not met. I thought maybe they weren't friendly, but everyone got along. 

Petey's tail hasn't been this active all week. 

18:35.  Lost.  Now found.

Costco run.

19:20.  Sophie: always a lady

20:10. Dinner.

Don't judge. It's been a long week and the temps and humidity were both in upper 80s. Subs, pizza and salad - where I didn't have to make any of it was fine with me.

...and now......Your Baker's Dozen.

22:10. Dessert.

Love the combo of chocolate ice cream and orange sherbet.

There's also a cookie. That recipe is coming up this week.