Monday, November 30, 2015

My Music Monday

I am glad today is an end to Erik's nightmare of a theme - bad songs by favourite artists.

I thought of Arcade Fire, of course. And I'd say none of their songs are bad-bad. But that was wishful thinking. When RĂ©gine Chassagne takes lead vocals, watch out......things can plummet to the ground faster and more disastrous than a space shuttle with missing tiles. Feel free to search out their song "Black Wave / Bad Vibrations".  The song might not be all that bad, but when she starts it off in that screechy voice, it's hard not only to get to the good part but to erase the bad.

The National, I would like to say has no bad songs, but there are a few even just on Alligator, their first full-length release.

So just to highlight a bad song, I'm going with Paul Linda McCartney & Wings' "Cook of the House", off their album Speed of Sound.

I can't say Wings is one of my favourite groups, but there was a day I really loved their live disk Wings Over America. I was always fond of "Beware My Love", "Spirits of Ancient Egypt" "Time to Hide", and the trio of "Venus and Mars / Rock Show / Jet".  Only two of those are sung by Paul.

And let's not quibble, while McCartney can be a great artist, he has certainly served up enough crap with songs like "Let 'Em In", "Silly Love Songs" are two examples. Don't even get me started on "Wonderful Christmastime".

But the honours for worst song from this band belong to his first wife and Wings keyboardist / "vocalist",  Linda.

It should probably pain me to say that, as Linda was technically a family member. Her mother was cousins with my father. I never met Linda, Paul or her mother, nor did they attend the reunions. But it doesn't actually pain me - unless I have to listen to her sing.

There were stories of live engineers being fired while on the road for isolating Linda's backing vocals during concerts to show how bad of a singer she was. I don't know if any of those stories are true, and she didn't sound horrible on the live record, though who knows what trickery might have happened.

But for "Cook of the House", not only is it a questionable vocal, they are just horrible horrible lyrics. And that's a shame, as the music part is actually kind of interesting. But the two don't go together. Not that those lyrics would have gone with any music.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Brooklyn Bound

Since we don't participate in any Black Friday events (#allfridaysmatter), and it was raining out - we went to the cinema.

There are actually a few movies we wanted to see - and quite a few more coming before year's end. I am so going to have it over Magic Mike in next year's  Annual Academy Awards Guessing Game™.

This time out we went to see Brooklyn.

I found it a really good movie, as long as you don't mind film in 4/4 time. Actually, Brooklyn ranks in the top 3-4 movies so far this year. Not too shabby, considering it's been a pretty good year for film, if I say so myself.

Without giving up too many details - the story is almost like a tale of two countries, one being the traditional Irish upbringing and the 1950 land of opportunity in the U.S - and of course, the relationships of both.

While there are some parallels in the story at the separate location, there is a slight missing element, if Saoirse Ronan's character is to choose between two existences, one has life, one less so. This includes two suitors. One I felt, one I didn't. I wasn't sure if that was a fault with the script, the direction or if it was supposed to be a difference in cultural divide.

Ronan (whom you probably saw in the Grand Budapest Hotel) should be a shoe-in for an Academy Award best actress nomination (are you taking notes, Mike?). I mean, it will probably come down to her and Bryce Dallas Howard for Jurassic World. It could be a fight to the death.

I kid. I kid. Opie's daughter sucked monkey balls.

And there is an on screen mini-Harry Potter reunion with Molly and Bill Weasley and Professor Slughorn, though none appear in scenes together. There is also a decent turn by Don Draper's last wife too.

Emory Cohen, who plays the Italian boyfriend, Tony (I know, right?), is just frickin' adorable. You just root for him. And his little brother is hilarious. Molly Weasley Julie Walter also does a great job.

Artsy wise - the film is nicely shot and the music is well done and fits.

There are no chase scenes or explosions. It's just a story - a sometimes slower moving story.  Still it gets an A- from me.

As it stands, depending on release dates here in this medium-sized market, there are five more movies to see in 2015.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  17 of 12

Song by: the Black Keys

Saturday, November 28, 2015

House of Hope

Holiday Petey Time.

....and a little Sophie.  She doesn't care as much about the holiday, because she doesn't have the chance for extra food or car rides. She must think Petey to be very spoiled. Or just grateful that he leaves for a few hours.

Petey, watching the ducks at the Lower Shaker Lake. 

We were just completing our walk. 

Soph and Pete (and 710) chillaxing on the sofa. 

Impatient Petey. I load up the car with t-giving food. He wanted the food and the car. 

Hopeful Petey and Boomer at Nana's. the serving table as I loaded up with food. 

No worries, both were slipped some turkey from you know who. 

Song by: Toni Childs

Friday, November 27, 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!

Hard to believe (or is it?) that I've been listening to Chris Isaak for 30 years. His debut album came out in 1985, and I got it after seeing him on Friday Night Videos.  ....because I liked the music and he was dreamy.

Deep down, his music hasn't changed all that much and he is still dreamy.

He has a new disk out as of two weeks ago - First Comes the Night. For an extra $2, I got the DE-luxe model which has five more songs. I'm a marketer's dream. They see me coming a mile away.

Isaak certainly has a style, and while he's tweaked it here and there, it's never far off course from his origins. And while so many reviewers want to brand him as "an Elvis" and there is some of that here ("I Love the Way You Kiss Me"), but he is so much closer to "a Roy Orbison", yet still his own artist, his own style.

Recording in Nashville and using that cities musicians, it is hardly a "country" album, though Rolling Stone reviews it as such. But they are kind of idiots anyways. I will say there are other influences ("Running Down the Road"  -  Jerry Lee Lewis, but mostly the keyboards, not the vocals).

Like all Isaak albums, First Comes the Night is fraught with heartache, loneliness, melancholy - everything that Isaak is known for. As always most of it works, some of it doesn't. Well, about half of it works.

I love the title track - though when he sings 'wherever you are' followed by 'you're here in my....' I always assume he'll say 'car', because it rhymes more than 'heart' does. Weeks later, and I'm still going with 'car'.

Most likely, the best song is "Reverie". Sure, it starts out with the piano from the Lisa Kudrow show, Web Therapy (which possibly stole it from Suzanne Vega's "Pornographer's Dream"), but it is the song I enjoy most on the disk.

A close follow-up is "Kiss Me Like a Stranger", that would not be out of place if the Mavericks had covered it - with horns. But I always found Raul Malo and Isaak to be closer in style than most people probably notice.  I dog "Dry Your Eyes",  and "Perfect Lover" (really Mavericks material!),

And oddly, the "bonus" tracks are good. Normally, artists who don't have them on the standard album, they tend to be throwaway songs. But four of the five are better than some stuff on the normal disk.

There are things here that don't work - in my opinion: "Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do".  The plucking of violin strings seems out of place, but the vocal arrangement seem to compete with the musical arrangement. "Insect" is not bad, but it is not over the top good.

While I appreciate Isaak trying to shake things up with the Nashville routine and normally I'd say maybe working with other songwriters strays from who he is, but all the songs I like were co-writes.
Maybe the need for three producers made the album less cohesive, I don't know.

Don't get me wrong - First Comes the Night is by no means a bad disk, but it is not Chris Isaak's best work either.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Constantly Thank G-d for Esteban

I don't know who 'Esteban' is, but is suppose he is good enough to thank as anyone.

As you know, Thanksgiving isn't my holiday.

As I say that aloud, I'm not sure I have one. That is fine. One doesn't need to be a holiday person.

Parades?  No can do.

Cowboys or Detroit?  Why don't they just get it over with - have one game and have them play each other.

The food isn't my thing, as I'm not a fan of turkey that much, though I'm ok with a sandwich here and there. I will be ok that I get to make the potatoes - two kinds, I suspect, mashed for the traditionalist and possibly an 11-layer gratin with fried sage for,

My mother will send 710 home with pumpkin pie, but I'm sure I'll have to get whipped cream, as my mother won't have it, or we will forget to bring it home with us.

No one ever eats desserts at my mother's. I normally don't like what she makes and everyone else is too full to eat sugar and crust after such a big meal. And since dinner will be eaten at 16:00, there has to be something to snack on later in the evening.

Though this might not be my day, for everyone else, I certainly hope you have a nice one. Keep the political talk to a murmur, and enjoy the folks you are with.

I'll be here tomorrow.

Song by: Panic! at the Disco

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Remember When

I know World's AIDS Day is a few days away, but I have a post already slated for that.

Last night I went to an event called Yoga of Remembrance. We actually held the practice amongst sections of the AIDS Quilt.

I've seen the quilt before, of course. At the time, in the very early 90s, it was what was the full quilt at the time. Unfortunately, it grew larger as the years went on.

The practice itself was fair - at best. The folks who arranged it, and the instructor who led the practice, did nothing - NOTHING - to tie in the remembrance piece. I'm not quite sure why they did this, as it was held in the lobby of a hospital.

Most of the panels were from the 90s. Though one was from 2012.

That one actually made me stop to think.

It is rare you hear of anyone dying of an AIDS related illness these days. Back in the day, I knew way too many folks, many with their own panel. If you are to believe the news of these days, people live mostly normal lives, assuming they see their doctor, are on meds and actually take them.

"They" say it is a manageable disease - and it can be. What they don't always says is, the disease manages the person as much as the person manages it. What you eat, when you eat it, activity levels, things of those nature.

I've worked in many a hospital. I could not believe the folks who were ok with walking around the lobby barefoot while waiting for the practice to start. I mean, I know they clean these places, but even I know better than to do that.  When I took off my socks - eventually - I stayed on my mat.

I'd say one-third of the 25 participants were new to yoga, so it was not a vigorous practice at all, and the floor was unforgiving. And with five assistants, one got adjusted constantly.

And I loathe lax instructors. If you have a start / end time, stick to it {she didn't}  If you can't or won't use a microphone so people can hear your instruction, don't use music - especially if it is louder than your voice {she did / it was}.

And as g-d is my witness, don't have someone with a guitar singing something in Hindi after the practice, but before the 'namaste'.  .....and expect you to sing along after mumbling the words for us to sing.....liked we'd know them after that brief intro.

That last act is just one of selfishness. Sorry, but it is. You're doing it for your own performance ego and nothing more. And it goes on and on and on and on and on.  I've seen it before. I'll see it again. There were few enough of us there that I'm sure they saw me rolling my eyes while I didn't even pretend to sing along.

As we hit the five minute mark of the song with maybe five words, repeated over and over and over....I started to think about the folks with those panel quilts and briefly thought how lucky they were to be gone and not to have to listen to this drivel she called 'singing'.

Hey - I said it was a 'brief' thought. Calm down.

At least the guy in front of me - with the man-bun - had great arms and possibly the best Balancing Half-Moon I have ever seen.

So......that was something.....

Song by: Liam Finn

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Little Sister

Sunday I attended a birthday party for my uncle. He turned 95.

95 !!!!!

Normally, I'd say, "isn't that something?", except for the fact that his 97 year old brother was in attendance. That is something.

My almost 87 year old mother - their sister - hosted the shindig.

For the record, neither the 95 or 97 year olds drove to the party.

My father died when he was just shy of 94. His mother when she was 94.

For long time readers, you might have remembered all of this. So these two brothers comprise my mother's side of the family, and you just saw my father's side.

So, as I've said in many previous posts, I'm not getting out of this life early - at least unless I'm visiting Paris, Mali or Belgium.

My remaining three cousins were there - all of them with some of their kids.....and then some of their kids. Yes, my first cousins on both sides of my family are considerably older than I am. Their children are my age.....hence the reason they have their own kids.

The morning and afternoon were ok. Like any large event, I probably spent a few minutes with most guests, though I did seek out my second cousin, Louise, to sit and talk with her and her husband.

Some of these second cousins are in their 50s, though most in their 40s. And still they have at least two grandparents alive. How is this possible? Granted - I might have been, as Morty's mother called him, "a pleasant surprise" (and my little sister a downright accident), but most of my grandparents were dead by the time I was 13.

Overall, most of those cousins are a nice bunch, though if the conversation turns to politics - and it usually does - I find another group of people to gravitate towards.  Or worse - at least three in attendance are police officers. Good men, for sure, but talks of "right or wrong" in policing that come up just could go south fast. I will say - one of them had a little talked about perspective on policing and the current climate, but more for that at another time.

And g-d love 710 for putting up with all of them, I must say.

Still it was an amiable afternoon - and I made it through without one drink. And I think that was the holiday miracle!

And here is a picture of my mother and her brothers.

Song by: Dwight Yoakam

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Music Monday

Well, I think I called it on the first Monday of this month - who the hell wants to listen to shitty songs?

And again, 'shitty' is all relative, but when your hosts brand something as 'bad', you, the reader, are not really jonesing to click 'play'.  I can't blame you. Yet I'm committed to finishing out this month.

This month's Monday posts are my least visited - and I'm guessing I know why.

So I will try to make it a little more palatable this week.

I really like the Cardigans. Their first albums weren't all that. They didn't really find their groove until Gran Turismo. I won't pick on those earlier albums, as I figure the band was finding their way. But as much as I do like them, they're not perfect.

On their 2003 release, Long Gone Before Daylight, they had a song called "And Then You Kissed Me". It's a song of love and / or violence. It works on different levels. Or I guess it can. For however one takes it, I really like the song.

On their follow-up album, Super Extra Gravity, they had sequel, "And Then You Kissed Me II"  No. I kid you not.

I'm less fond of this song. The arrangement is much more sparse, which makes it sound greyer, bleaker. And the topic is less ambiguous. I can't see it being about anything but domestic violence. I guess I could be wrong.

So for fun (?) I'll put the both songs up here....and they are to be listened to in order.....assuming you click 'play'.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Writing's on the Wall

We finally got out on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon to see Spectre - the new James Bond film.


I have to say, the bigger the budget the movie of 2015, the more average they've been. Mostly this one and Jurassic World.

Now, I think Daniel Craig is a great Bond. I think he's done remarkably well (well, save Quantum of Solace, but that wasn't all his fault). He's nice to look at and is in all but maybe 3-4 scenes. So he works hard for the money. So hard for it, honey.

I have to say, while on the surface, the opening tracking shot of Craig doesn't look impressive, it really really was. And very well done. But then they go on a helicopter ride with green screen technology that was outdated before they even made the just looks so fake. You kind of want more out of a movie that has an alleged budget of $245MM !!!!!!!!

Now, save for the first scenes with Voldemort Ralph Fiennes looking and sounding like he had cotton stuffed in his lower jaw, the rest of the effects seemed fine.

The story? Ehhhhhhh.......what seemed somewhat clear at the beginning got more than a little convoluted. ...and there is a little spoiler alert next, so avert your eyes if you must.....It expects you to throw away all the previous villains from all the other movies to succumb to the premise that this villain (fairly well played by Christoph Waltz) was behind every other escapade that Bond went on....and scavenger hunt inexplicably kicked off by a posthumous M. The Judi Dench M, that is.


Of course, I'm still at a loss how two people can be taken hostage (or in pursuit of said hostage) with nothing but what's on their back, then be on a train with a beautiful gown and 6" heels and / or a white tux. Forget how they had money to purchase the luxury train ride to begin what do I know.

And at least Dame Judi got some kind of payment for her 48 seconds.

It was an ok movie, but nothing great. I thought the Bond girl - whom I've seen in a few other movies - was possibly one the better, and best fleshed out Bond girls that has existed. And of course one of the other villains, but unknown (?) to be a villain - another spoiler alert - well you kind of knew it from the get-go, let alone the second time you see him and he's trying to grow a cheesy villain-y moustache.

C'mon - the director has to work a little harder than making a guy look like a junior Snidely Whiplash.

I suppose I'm glad we didn't rush out to see it with the big crowds. There were maybe 10 others in the theater. Everyone else was at the Hungry Games - which was playing at seven other screens at the mega-plex.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  16 of 12

Song by: Sam Smith

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Animal Heart

Another week, another group of cat and dog images.

I lied about that final walk last week - we had another nice day, though "someone" refused to pose for the camera. What a fucking prima donna. 

It's still a very cute picture of him. 

Sophie lately seems to be about the reclining. 

It's total glamour shot. 

I do love their partnership - even if Petey is blithely unaware of their alliance.

Mid-week we found that Petey - unfortunately - has pneumonia........again.

Like clockwork, he almost always gets it in October or November. Unfortunately, this is the second time this year he has had it - June being the other time. But we caught it early, and he's rebounding nicely.  He has had no loss of appetite - so that is a huge plus. 

The vet also found he had a cracked nail - and he had to have it clipped. 
Let's just say it didn't go as planned. He recovered better than I did. 

As I was putting away clothes, Mr. Pete meandered upstairs, where he's not supposed to be, but considering his health, he was received with pets and kisses. 

Song by: Nina Persson

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dog Eat Dog

Remember when they filmed Captain America: the Winter Soldier in our 'hood ?  No?  Well they did.

Now they're filming another movie - not only in said 'hood, but in the frickin' same house.

It's a big budget science fiction thriller starring Cheryl Ladd. You see, one day some American thought: 'Hey, I want to make a terrible movie in Canada. Everybody else has!' I play the best friend of the time gate operator. He has one line, but he says it directly to me! The movie is full of Canadian actors with one line. It's great! It won't make a dime!

Ok, that last part was Buddy Cole from Kids in the Hall.  I couldn't resist. Just substitute 'Cleveland' for 'Canada'.

Still, in the last few years we've seen a number of movies filmed here in town - mostly misses. Only the Avengers and Captain America probably made bank. I don't think Kevin Costner's Training Day made a dime. And I'm 99% sure that Matthew Fox and Tyler Perry's Alex Cross didn't make a nickel.

Oh yeah, they filmed part of Spiderman III here too. I never saw that.  Though I never saw Costner's movie or the Fox / Perry juggernaut - but to be fair, almost no one did.

I guess you do have to be a big budget, science fiction thriller - with or without Cheryl Ladd -  to make a dime, if filmed in this town.

Will this new movie, named, yes, Dog Eat Dog, starring scary Nicholas Cage and scarier Willem Dafoe be a box office bonanza?

And by "box office", of course, I mean "direct-to-video".

I'm guessing the two "stars" will have to arm-wrestle for top billing. The loser gets it.

I really don't know it will be a dud, but I can't say that Cage has the best track record either. Yes, yes, he has an Oscar.......but so does Cuba Gooding Jr.  (I know, right?)

I mean - great for Cleveland, getting the revenue of films actually getting produced here. I assume the reason the house is being used is that it has been up for sale forever and mostly vacant. Oh, and the head of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission lives not only in the 'hood, but on that street.

As it turns out, they filmed in the house for 4-5 days, which oddly correlates to the exact same number of days it will play in an actual cinema.

While I draft this, I keep coming back to Kent Brockman talking about the Itchy & Scratchy Movie and its historic, if fictional, run:

“Tomorrow a new movie starring Liza Minnelli and Mickey Rourke is opening. Will it be as successful? Only time will tell.”

Yes indeed Mr. Brockman - only time will tell.

Song by: Adam & the Ants

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Make Believe It's Your First Time

First off let me say what an awesomely bad song choice. It's from Karen Carpenter's ill-fated solo album that sat on a shelf for decades. Because who really wants to hear about Karen's denial of her past sexual history with a new man? 

No one.  That's who. 

Secondly, Dr. Spo did a meme last week. I'd have taken up the task of First Times sooner, but other posts kept me from moving forward with it. And as it turns out, my steel trap memory isn't that trappy. Of course, I could totally be suppressing memories, which Spo might be going for to generate a new referral pattern for his practice. He is devious that way. 

Feel free to participate on your own blog (assuming you have one) if you wish. 

My earliest memory 
I remember being in a play pen in Mrs. Napierala's basement with her son, who was a few months younger than me. It was a nice basement, as I recall. But she was doing laundry. Lord knows where my mother was - as she clearly abandoned me. 
First airline flight 
It was a trip to Florida - maybe when I was in seventh grade or so? . There was a huge airline strike and many carriers were not flying. My father not only got our flights switched, but the only available seats were in first class - ruining air travel for me after this forever. Stupid coach!
First time ‘doing it” 
Let's just say I was not at the age of consent. Let's just say he was. It was a confusing time. 
First surgery
Hydrocele repair.  My right testicle was far and away bigger than the left one (which, is a nice size anyway - thankyouverymuch!). Yes, I was "dating" 710 at the time and he took notice at the difference. As we both worked on an oncology floor, the thought of testicular cancer came into mine. 

Now a days, I'm sure it's an outpatient procedure. Back in 1985, it was inpatient. And it would not be my last inpatient surgery by far. 

First car
A waxberry (yes, it's a colour) 1971 Ford Maverick.  It wasn't the prettiest car, but functional and had power. And when I got it in 1985 it has 37,000 miles on it. 
First death of someone close
1973 the death of my maternal grandmother. I got a peripheral education on death as I would overhear a lot about probate, wills, etc after her death. 

I'd lose two more grandparents in the following 16 months. 
First drink
I was going to go with Miller High Life in a 32 oz bottle. But then I remembered someone (my grandfather?) giving me some Cold Duck on a Thanksgiving.  Blech. 
First regret
I really am drawing a blank. There have been sooooo many. 
First time rolling down grass hills
I'm assuming (my memory is failing) it was on a golf course next to my parents house. At the houses before that, I don't remember having hills with which to roll down.  I would have had to be 6 or 7. 
First pet 
Petunia. A cat.  I would have been 2-3, so it wasn't really my pet. There would end up being Petunia II and Petunia III (my sisters clearly were not good at naming animals) as the previous Petunia's would run away to a farm upstate.  
First time you knew you were different
Hard question to answer. Looking back I can't be sure if I had a 'crush' on Rusty Starner or just looked up to him because he was like 18.  I was 3. And this in no way relates to "doing it" question you big pervs. 

I do remember (at 14), seeing an episode of Family where Willie thinks he might be gay and his father said all boys go through that stage - and I felt relieved. I woke up one day at 15, reflected on that scene and said to myself, 'it's not a stage'. 
First presidential election
1984.  I voted for Mondale.  Well, not true. I voted against Reagan. 

First time you felt you were an adult
I held onto adolescence and immaturity as long as possible. I still thinking purchasing our first house was the first time I truly felt like an adult. 

I wrote the check for the Earnest Money with a Simpsons check.

First opera
"Faust".  My sister and future brother-in-law sang the roles of Marguerite and Faust respectively. 
First time out of the country
Canada. Niagara Falls and Toronto. 
First job
I try not to count cutting lawns, babysitting or caddying "jobs".  So I will go with something worse: at 13 I shined shoes at the country club for men who left them in the locker room while they played 9 or 18.  

Upon their return, I cleaned their golf spikes.  
First time you ate rats at Tewkesbury
Still waiting? 

If this is code for anything, then I don't know.  If it is not - then I haven't. 

First kiss
Honestly, I cannot remember. So when they say, 'you always remember your first', apparently they don't mean 'kiss'. 

First realization of the axiom “life is not fair”
I don't really remember the first time. I do remember my mother telling me at 17 that I was too young to be this cynical.  So, it's safe to say it was before I was 17. 

First disgraceful behavior
I shoplifted a copy of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".  I was in middle school at the time, though I'm sure I did other disgraceful things earlier - depending through whose eyes one might be looking. 

Song by: Karen Carpenter

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm Burning For You

I have a problem with Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

It is not his message. That is on point. I admire him for laying his cards on the table. I like the way he won't monger fear, just to get his name above the fold. I understand his position without demeaning his competitors. He doesn't have a superpac. He's not taking corporate money.

All admirable.

No, my issues are small, but possibly tell-tale.

Bernie was in Cleveland on Monday for a rally. I actually, drove downtown to attend. 710 met me on his way home from work. Via Facebook, I signed-up to attend.  Fine.  It took me to a Bernie Sander's rally link (not FB), to get 'tickets'.  Fine. I gave them the demographic info they needed for said tickets...........then nothing.

One didn't need a ticket to get in - not that anything actually said that. But then why the pretense? I know it's for my phone and email. I get that. But I expected a 'voucher' or confirmation to be sent to either. Nope.

At the event - they asked folks to sign a petition to get Sanders on the Ohio primary ballot. To date, he doesn't have the 6,000 signatures to get on the ballot. If the man speaking was correct, they had 345!  For the entire state!!!!  I'm hoping by nights end he was much closer to, if not past, the goal.

After I signed....or as I was signing, I guess....."oh, you are from Cuyahoga County...right?".  I was. I am.

The volunteers had to make sure, because there were different places to sign the petition depending on what county you were in. Ok folks - get it together. Ask me first, so things don't get invalidated later.

And why does it matter what county? You don't petition county by county to get on a state ballot.

The first (and only) speaker before Bernie was Rep. Nina Turner, who just last week changed her endorsement of Clinton to Sanders. She was great. She was charismatic. She was not introduced to the 6,000 or so who were in attendance as she came to the stage. Nor should she have had to introduce herself at such an event (not that she did either, I might add).

....and someone really should have prepped him that there is no State of Ohio University.

It's these little gaffes that bug me for someone running for the highest office. There is only so much down-home folksy you can be. At some point - superpac or not, no corporate funding or not - you have to have a professional campaign, at least behind the scenes. Pretend you're as grassroots as you want on the surface, but really - get it together.

As we sat and waited for things to get going, I don't think it was only 710 and myself who had Paris on our minds. Though we acknowledged it a bit later, we had looked for exit routes. I checked the semi-open rafters to see who could access them.

And Sanders started off somberly, speaking of Paris and ISIS. He acknowledged the tragedy, but was quick to follow-up with how he thought Obama was doing the right thing and building a coalition - even with Musilum dominated areas who are not traditionally our allies. He reminded us of 2003 and going into Iraq - and it's ok to be strong, but not to be stupid. He called out GWB on being both. He basically called - without mentioning names - other candidates the same.......but without the 'smart' piece.

I clapped at many things he said - speaking against Islamaphobia, Xenophobia, etc.  I applauded at him taking aim at the "family values" candidates limiting what a woman could and could not do with her body, but not pay for family leave or working a living wage, let alone one that was only $0.79 on the dollar.

Actually, the loudest noise from the audience were more on women's issues than any other.

I found it harder to put my hands together on the banking issues. And they are huge issues. I just don't know where or how, Sanders or anyone else as President, reigns those in. Does he sick the DOJ on them? And with what teeth? Legislation has been written (mostly by the banks) to make everything they do legal. Yes, he said he'd do something, but not what that something is.

And this isn't an issue I only have with Sanders - but with all. How do you sell people your ideas with details - let alone this early in the game? Yet some of the candidates (Sanders included), have to give details now or they won't be in the game three months down the road.

Still - Sanders spoke frankly of racism in this country. Ditto with education, drug laws and prisons. And he didn't let current or past democrats off the hook for some of these issues.

Granted, he got some cheap applause at GWB. And of course he is / was a douche, but we are eight years out on that. Yes, Shrub made many of the messes we are in today, but we've also come a long way since his years of terror. Let's focus on the future, was my thought.

The joke is, many (most?) in attendance couldn't have voted for GWB, as they were in fucking grade school then. And many (most?) probably didn't vote in the 2012 Presidential election either - but more due to apathy.

It was a young crowd. Bernie is capturing those, but I hope it's enough to get them out to the polls - be it for him or another good candidate, assuming he cannot sustain momentum.

He also got what I could call cheap applause on the GOP candidates not wanting same-sex marriage.

Is this really still a talking point? I don't even think the viable GOP candidates are talking about attempting a repeal of this. Notice, I said "viable" candidates.

And naturally, I have to wonder / worry if this is Sanders' demographic when it comes to "likely voter"

Videoing on a flip-phone?  Adele, he's not

Ideally, Bernie is my choice for a candidate.  Realistically, I'm not sure he'll get that chance. 

Song by: Blue Oyster Cult

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Would You Believe

....that it has been five years since 710 and I got married?

Sure, you can tack on another 25 to that since we had been together, but today marks our fifth anniversary since getting hitched in DC.

Of course, now everyone can get married anywhere in the U.S. - save maybe one county in Kentucky if all of the other clerks are on PTO.

#5 is Wood.

Yes, the jokes just seem to write themselves, don't they?

So I'm taking the high road - which Magic Mike always wonders how I found that byway. It is certainly not on any map I own, nor could I ever follow there, as he's only 'read about it'.

Ok, I'll take the imaginary high road and no 'wood' jokes. I'm a properly married man now!

We are experiencing the same weather these last few days that we had back in 2010. Blue skies, temps in the 60s (in November!!!), and sun. And somewhere, someone has all my reception and rehearsal dinner pictures.........the bastards. Five years later, I'm still kicking myself over that one. I suspect I will be for another five as well.

And best yet - we didn't wear pastel tuxedos.  We just had simple sport coats and white shirts.

For any would-be groom or bride - I've said it before and will say it again: spring for a good photographer. Don't get an MFA candidate for $60 and hour.  We got 68 shots - most of them unusable. To be fair to Jordan, I didn't confirm that his MFA wasn't going to be in ceramics - so that one is on me. When you break it down, it's less than a dollar a shot. I totally got what I paid for.

I expect to get an email from Ed, our officiant, tomorrow. I was hoping to do a surprise for 710, but that didn't pan out. So I was going to do a special menu of some kind at home, but he'd like to go out - so that is what we will do.

Anything his heart desires.

Song by: the Mavericks

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Music Monday

Maria McKee is one of those artists that fall into one of three categories: you love her.  you hate her.  you've never heard of her.

She was a teenager when she sang with Lone Justice on their two excellent albums. She's written songs that have been covered by Bette Midler, Rosanne Cash and the Dixie Chicks. She's gone on to make some really great solo material - and some not so great stuff. When she's bad, she is BAD.

There's no way around that one.

Her first three solo disks were good. Two were REALLY good. But by her fourth, she faltered. She had some really good songs on High Dive, but a few were clunkers and the whole disk was riddled with bad production. Just beyond the pale.

It is a problem when you have no record company per se - and you produce and release your own material at will. There are fewer critical ears that would go "......are you sure about this.....?".

From High Dive, there are a few songs to pick for this month's theme: Bad Music from Favourite Artists. The song I opted for is called "Non Religious Building".

It never bodes well when a song actually starts with the word "suicide".

It is just a mess of guitar work and lyric work. IF you can stick through it - you'll hear a horn portion, and then computer generated noises.

The song becomes like a soundtrack to the worst acid trip ever.

Maria, as always, has a strong voice, but that is not enough to overcome a poorly written and produced song.

It is so bad - no one even bothered to make a fan video of it.

I don't feel that I'm really selling this for you to hit 'play'.

Maria McKee - Non Religious Building

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

I think I'm branching out in my cooking. The things we repeat are less and less. Sure, I still have my old stand-bys.

Still, I'm more interested in trying new things.

Or I think they're new things. Sometimes halfway through cooking I says to myself, I says.... "have I made this before?"   It all seems so familiar sometimes.

And I've been pacing these posts so it doesn't seem like I have an eating disorder (i.e. eat all the time) or that it is confused with a cooking blog.

Still - it turns out I had not made this before, or at least blogged about it. And yes, I looked at all my cooking posts to confirm this. I don't have much of a life.

This was a winner. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner for sure. I'd do this again in a heartbeat.

2 5-ounce chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Sprinkle the meat with the salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, brown the chicken for one-and-a-half minutes on each side.

Mix in the onion and continue cooking for one minute. Sprinkle the flour on the chicken pieces, turning them so that all the pieces are coated. Cook one minute to lightly brown the flour.

Add the water and stir to dissolve the flour until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the skillet and boil gently for five minutes.

Remove the meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Cook the sauce to reduce it to about one-and-a-half cups.

Mix the dry mustard with the Dijon mustard and stir until smooth. Stir the mustard mixture into the sauce and heat, but do not allow the sauce to boil after the mustard has been added.

Place the chicken pieces in the sauce and warm over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes to develop the flavor.

Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Again - it was easy and totally doable and will repeat this one.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fall On Me

A good collection this week, if I say so myself.  ....and I do.

I get Sophie for about 15 minutes per day. If 710 is home, that time is cut in half. She is all about 710.  Unless it's my bed time, then she sleeps with me. 

 .....later that same day, at the lake......

I won't say it was the last nice day of the year for this, but they are dwindling....and fast. 

Fall has fell. 

 "Someone" looks crabby. 

He looks ferocious, but he is actually quite gentle, though enthusiastic, to take the treat from your hand. Though this treat is glucosomine....for his aging joints. 

When Soph wants to be left alone, she heads into "the boy's room".  I still found her. 

Song by: Cry Cry Cry

Friday, November 13, 2015

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 68th 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.

04:36.  Clock set 15 minutes fast. 
Awake, but not up. 

 06:15.  Awake. Up. 
Putting on possibly the most important article of clothing. 

06:20.  Emptying the "coffee diaper". 
Even though I don't drink coffee. 

06:50.  Reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer electronically. 
It's time to cancel the physical paper - which is only delivered 4 x a week. 

07:45.  B'fast.
I've graduated from Cap N Crunch to Honey Nut Cherrios. 

08:35.  Morning Petey walk.  
Wind gusts 35-60 mph.

10:55. Working on a document due next week. 

12:20. Lunch. 
Left over spaghetti. 

16:00.  Errand #1

16:20.  Errand #2. 

16:30. Errand #3
Pet Supplies.  

Probably a mistake to take Mr. Pete with me, but I wanted to get him out. Too many smells in the store for him to enjoy his trip - though every kitten at the adoption center was looking his way. 

Then he took a big old dump in the middle of the aisle.

19:15.  Preparing dinner. 
It was my second time making the dish that was and is really good - so you can expect a Cooking with Blobby segment in the next week or so. 

.......and your Baker's Dozen......

21:20.  Paring down what is on the DVR liberry. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Virtual Insanity

Virtual Reality is here.

Thanks to the Sunday New York Times. And assuming you subscribe and have home delivery.

In this last week's Sunday edition, came a cardboard box that allowed you to insert your iPhone and venture off into the world of virtual reality. As long as you downloaded the app, of course.

I don't know why it says it takes you halfway around the world. Depending which direction you go, I think you can go all the way. Kind of.

There are different programs from which to view. The big one is a VR film Displaced  about children uprooted due to war. I suppose it is the right thing to say that is what you're actually using the device for.

You can also travel to other cities. I'm likening this part to be somewhere between a GAF ViewFiner and Google Street View. Say you're in Venice, you get a 360 view of the one place whomever took the picture is standing. It's nice. It's clear. But there are quite a few more square miles of city you'll never see this way. However, unlike Street View, you can look up at the sky, or tops of buildings, or you can look down at the walkway or street.

Personally, I had a lot of trouble not being able to click on the New York setting. It would skip right past Venice to Rome, even though NYC was next in line. And I tried about two dozen times. It wasn't there for me. 710 must have seen it, because he commented on it.

There are also ways to see a 3-D kaleidoscope. And you can be at the Smithsonian to see dinosaurs and the Enola Gay and a Space Shuttle. All very cool. Some very close up.

You do have to recalibrate your equilibrium a bit. The device and some of the programs throw off your sense of balance a little bit. And it's not horrible easy to use while using glasses. That is something someone will have to work on - though Google and the NYT did a decent enough job on one size fits all for the 1.7 million folks who received one of these devices.

I tried without glasses, but I'm blind enough to not get clear images - even that close up.

Of course, I'm hoping someone will add to the app, or other apps, where you're flying, or having a speeding train come right at you or some such activity. Maybe there are other apps out there already. I haven't looked.

But at least we now have the device to play with our reality.

Song by: Jamiroquai