Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Year in Pictures

Well fuck. This post is a long standing tradition, and in a way it is a quasi-historical view of the year. Or my year. Or a version of my year. 

As Tracy Chapman once sang: "write it down but it doesn't mean, you're not just telling stories". 

And as Bread sang, "if a picture paints a thousand words......"  Well. I'm not painting you, because, well.......

Like most years, I try not to use images I have before - though some might be; or might be similar. Some will come from here. Some from my FB feed. Some from my Instagram page. Some no one has ever seen.  In the past, it was usually is 2-3 images per month, but.......2020 was an eff'd up year and we didn't get out and do much.......obvi.  

Selections might be a bit more sparse for this 2020 edition. 

So let's get going. 

January 2020 - Hike up in Lake County. 

January 2020 - Beachwood park on a very icy day. Everywhere. 

February 2020 - Section 3.  Lot 3.   I used to walk through this cemetery daily, as my office was adjacent 

February 2020 - a screen capture (along with my comment) from a Facebook post. It should be noted, that I was completely on the mark. 

February 2020 - 30 year hug.  This what it looks like when seeing my friend Craig for the first time in 25+ years. I was so grateful a random photographer captured the moment.   (Morty - that's Michael Foley to the right.)

March 2020 - snagging all the antibacterial wipes the store had. Oddly, not for me, but for a conference I was hosting that would never happen. 

March 2020 - work event at Browns Stadium. I went stag. 

March 2020 - cousin tea.  As it would turn out, it would be the same day Ohio would be put on Shelter in Place. 

April 2020 - PAYDIRT!  A store that had TP, albeit, no-name TP.  Still beats using your hand, I suppose. 

April 2020 - Oh yeah. We moved.  

Same zip, new digs.  Similar age to our other house, but everything was in A-1 shape. I didn't mention it because it seemed weird. We purchased right before the major Covid shit happened and closed after everything was locked down. 

I figured maybe you noticed new surroundings with some of the Sophie and Shep pics. We miss the old 'hood, but the new one is nice. I'm not missing the old house. 

May 2020 - Did you though?  Did you??

May 2020 - "Zoom*" drinking with friends.  Every Sunday.  One hour.  Two drinks. Infinite number of laughs.  

I say this not lightly.  These three helped me survive 2020, no question about it.  ....and we do this every Sunday now. Loving it. 

*we tried Zoom. And Houseparty. And FaceTime.  Facebook Messenger seems to be the best / easiest solution. 

June 2020 - Cousins reunited. Appropriately distanced and masked. 

June 2020 - White Coats for Black Lives. 

June 2020 - I took 710 and Shep to Salt Fork State Park for the former's birthday. We all took a walk near sunset. It was the first time we'd left the house since March. 

June 2020 - the stone setting for my mother. 

July 2020 - Shep and myself taking a hike break at an arboretum. 

July 2020 - as seen on the way to a drive-in funeral.  Yes. I stopped the car, got out, walked around and took the pic. 

August 2020 - the new dishwasher both soothes and spurs my OCD.

August 2020 - Getting temp screened at work. Daily.  96F is my norm.  98.6 I consider a fever. 

September 2020 - Vacation in NC.  After two hurricanes and one tropical storm in 12 months, at high tide, there is no beach left at Wrightsville Beach. 

September 2020 -  Late afternoon sun hitting the tops of the trees next to a reflective Shaker Lake.  ...whilst walking Shep. 

September 2020 - the entire year summed up in a singular image. 

October 2020 - Not my image.  Friend Jeremy (left) eloped in Colorado.  Covid cancelled their actual wedding, so I was denied a piece of wedding cake and the opportunity to see him marry Calvin.  ....but mostly the cake. 

October 2020 - Halloween display. Done very well. 

November 2020 - Determined voter.   He was one who fucked up his ballot, so this was his second try. 

November 2020 - "....but you should see the other guy!"  I paid him to do this to me. 

December 2020 - Blobby goes down hard.  

Three days before the end of this shiteous year, at 06:30 walking into work, I hit a patch of ice hidden under some snow and went down. Hard.  That is basically my body outline. I should be happy I didn't break anything or really slam my head. My clementines went flying (and as I had to point out to my friends, that was not a euphemism).    ....and even worse, next time I'm at the doc and they ask if I've fallen in the last year, I have to switch that answer from 'no' to 'yes'.  Bother. 

December 2020 - Exactly !!!!!  

Good Riddance. Vaya Con Dios. Au Revoir. Sayōnara. L'hitraot. Ciao. Aloha. Arrivederci. Auf Wiedersehen. Adiós........

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Year in Music

Well, 2020 didn't fare well for music, as it didn't for most anything.  I got a lot of ok to subpar disks. Nothing was a home run. And the strongest of the bunch - in albums - were female driven. The majority - in songs - were male. 

There is no mathematical equation to my selections. All is in the gut - and how I sing in my car whilst alone. They are songs that might not mean a thing, but caught my attention and kept it. 

I used to try to do a top 5-ish thing here, but again 2020......all bets are off. I'm not making 5 albums worthy of a shout out, but you'll get more than 5 songs. 


It's a tie !!!

I honestly couldn't come up with a true winner.  The Chicks are there because with Gaslighter they have a very decent, but not great, disk. Granted my expectations, after 14 years, were super high and they didn't meet them consistently. Half the disk is flawless, one quarter is good and one quarter is fair. It was and is great hearing them again, and I'm ok with the veering away from country music, but they need something not quite as produced that show off the women's harmonies. 

And no one could be more surprised than I with Morissette making the cut on Such Pretty Forks in the Road. Having never purchased any of her past disks, I found myself coming back to this one time and again. Like the Chicks, it's not perfect by any means. Like the aforementioned disk, I skip a couple songs completely. Isn't it ironic - get it?  - that both have similarly titled songs ("For Her" and "Her" respectively) that I fast forward over?  Again, since I had zero expectations of this, it was easier to exceed them. 

In third place, we have Lucinda Williams with Good Souls Better Angels.


I have three I am directly linking here, two of which haven't made a My Music Monday segement, and a number of others I have. 

The Chicks - to me - have the best song of the year with "March March".  It's not like the traditional Chicks sound at all, and after I got over that, I really dug the song. While Natalie Maines' voice is as solid as ever, it's Emily Strayer's slide guitar and banjo, and really Martie Maguire's violin that make the song solid and different (though the vocal arrangement is harder than one would think). 

I could have posted the studio version, but with Covid they've been performing socially distanced live music from the audience and each other. While the rhythm track is pre-recorded the rest of the performance is live - on tv and from hundreds and thousands of miles from each other. 

Morissette gets a nod too. Two, really. I was torn between "Nemesis" which might be most ambitious song on the disk and the much more catchy, "The Reasons I Drink".  I'm embedding the former and just linking the latter. 

Matt Berninger's "Silver Springs" makes the list. It is different enough from his band, the National. I come back to it a lot. 

The Killer's disappointing disk had about three playable songs, one being "My Own Soul's Warning". This isn't even the original video. Maybe fans got tired of not seeing the now two sole members of the band in their videos? 

And I'm throwing this in here too. I didn't overly enjoy Hamilton.  But I enjoy the opening number enough and was duly impressed by a socially distanced Zoom presentation of it. They really don't suck considering the circumstances. 

But I do of the other songs on my list - two or three are Covid related / inspired: 

twenty one pilots - "Level of Concern" - possibly my most repeatedly played song of 2020. Have not tired of it in the slightest. Truly Covid-inspired. The use the word 'quarantine' well. does.......

Ben Gibbard - "Life in Quarantine" - the guy behind Death Cab for Cutie had potentially the first, and one of the best, songs about life in the time of Covid. 

Michael Stipe - "No Time For Love Like Now" - another National related song. This is just a demo for an alleged Stipe solo disk, but to me, it's in perfect form as is. 

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - "Temple" - definitely the most non-traditional track of my year. But I love it. Love the bass line. Love the vibe. 

Beck - "Uneventful Day" - ugh. I like a song from a Scientologist. So be it. The money he makes from it goes to the great and power Xenu. All hail Xenu. 

There are some honorable mentions with the Go-Go's, Cage the Elephant and yes, the Rolling Stones. Two of these three are a little on the nostalgia side.

More interesting to me was that Rosanne Cash, John Paul White & Rosanne Cash nor New Order made the cut. All decent tracks, but not necessarily noteworthy. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Well, I'll be damned (and I probably will be...........but not for this....) !

When Rupert Murdoch & Co print this, you kind of know you're fucked. 

Naturally, they kind of lose me on the "legacy" part, as they infer up until now, BLOTUS would have had a good one. 

Actually, they almost lost me at "Mr. President". 

Seriously Rupe, stop THAT insanity. 

Now, BLOTUS has been railing against FOX "news" for the last few weeks (months?) because they're not only not blindly supporting him 100% of the time (though they still do a fuck a lot of the time), but the network has even gone on record to walk back false tales they have told. order to avoid a huge law suit.  One not brought on by bottled blonde anchors. Allegedly. 

Yes, FOX had to say take back all the nasty claims they made about election fraud in terms of certain voting machine companies.  And this was months after, at a trial,  lawyers for the network argued that no "reasonable viewer" takes the primetime host Tucker Carlson seriously. 

But by all means, let's call everyone else "fake news".   

So, Murdoch might have cut off his nose to spite his face with this. But no worries, Jerry Hall will still love his billions of dollars him, regardless!

January 6th is coming up. Proud Boys have already taken over a hotel in Downtown DC, and there is more than speculation that BLOTUS will rile the troops to impose violence. BLOTUS has that power, but oddly enough, he hasn't needed it - as these twats are gonna do it without the Orange Jim Jones telling them so.

Ironically enough, that time of potential violence could be more hurtful - literally - to #moscowmitch, as right now the head of the Senate gets to take care of approving the Electoral College votes. 

This might be enough reason for him to want both GOP folks from Georgia to lose the day before. His head won't be on the block - literally - should he not have to be the one to make that approval. 

I'd say I'm not a dick - but I think we all know this isn't true - but I wouldn't feel the slightest thing if something happened to Mitch, physically during turmoil in DC. 

Alas, I'm sure Mr. Murdoch's words got through to BLOTUS and now all will be well.   

(insert eye roll emoji) 

Song by: Oingo Boingo

Monday, December 28, 2020

My Music Monday

Fiona Apple, by all accounts, has one of the year's best disks - at least by reviewer's standards - with Fetch the Bolt Cutters, which is only her fifth album in 24 years. 

Prolific she is not. 

I can't say whether or not her album is good, as I have only heard one song.  

For me, I can take her or leave her. There were a number of good songs on her 2005 albums Extraordinary Machine, but I found her last disk, the 2012 - and yes, this is the title - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do to be difficult to take in. 

So, regardless of the reviews, I haven't sought out Apple's new disk, which is up for multiple Grammy awards (not that that is is the measure you want be applied to your work!).

Love her or hate her - and I think there is little room in between, though I fit into that window - Apple is possibly one of the few recording artists out there today who defies a genre. I think this adds to her being like or disliked. 

I truly believe my pick today will solidify that with all of you. "Shameika" is unconventional at best. 

Everytime this summer it came on the radio - no commercial radio, obvi - 710 and I kept it on. It's not really hummable, or singable, but it intrigued me. 

Shameika is real. Someone how Apple went to high school with, and was a tormentor of many at said school, save for Apple. it, or hate it. Here it is. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020


1 in 1,000. 

Think about it. One out of every 1,000 in the U.S. has died of Covid. In a one year(ish) timeframe. 

Save most people in the medical community, where is the collective outrage? I mean, unless you're a sports fan - because there is outrage that you can't have them they way they used to be. But that's outrage of a different kind.

The NBA annoys the fuck out of me - though they do so on most days, but... .  Honestly, what is the point of games where the teams travel, as opposed to just playing in one location?  The new schedule won't allow for spectators, so again.......why bother? 

I'm pretty sure you don't want me to start on the NBA's now twice per day Covid tests for all players, coaches and staff. By all means, let's protect the millionaire-ish athletes. That seems reasonable. 

There certainly seems more outrage at this Nashville bombing, where potentially - at most - one person died, and the don't even have that confirmed. And if so, it was probably the bomber itself. The 3,000+ per day now dying of Covid certainly makes the news, but doesn't seem to raise an eyebrow. 

I do love the irony of the Tennessee governor asking BLOTUS for FEMA relief for a catastrophic event when unemployed, starving and / or almost homeless folks can't get a dollar, let alone 600 of them, for a true catastrophe. 

Our local news confidently and proudly mentioned when we had only 7,800 new cases the other day that it was below the 8,300 average.  DUDE!  Three months ago it was around 800 per day.  That is how desensitized we are to all of this now. 

So, at this point, we have the equivalent of a 9/11 every. single. day.  So - again.....where is the outrage? 

I think Nashville has shown us. 10 second clips of ICUs on the evening news aren't 'real'. A 'blast' and physical damage are real. 

330,000 dead.  That is 111 September 11s.  Or......444 planes crashing into things.  Every. Single. Day.  ....well, for 111 days.  So far. 

Maybe this is the way to get it through the pea-brained public and political minds. 

A bottle of water through a TSA checkpoint is unallowable, but not wearing a mask is my g-d given right! Or so say some people to the latter. I don't see them taking their AR-15s to those checkpoints to be allowed get their boxcutter on an aircraft. 

I think the Covid graphs should be bar ones, but the bars should be WTC buildings. Any linear portion can be a 727.  Maybe that would raise awareness. 

I mean, obvi it won't happen, but we, as a nation, are as dead inside as 330,000 (and counting) are on the outside. 

While I was thinking of saving this for my January Ad of the Month, I'm doing it now. The Ohio Department of Health, in theory, has put out an extremely effective ad.  Though for the deniers, or the people who just outright don't care, it won't make a lick of difference. 

Song by: Booker T & the MGs

Saturday, December 26, 2020

the Next Day

 Post holiday post. 

Little known secret - Sophie does most of my blogging, which is surprising with all the Shep pictures. 

Photo-Op at one of the five (?) 'Cleveland' signs strategically placed signs abbout town. 

Winter time means bed time. 

Holiday Feline. Hangin' on the sofa arm, next to dad #2. 

We got 14" of snow between xmas eve and xmas morning.  Poor Shep, forced to do his business in the unplowed streets as his little legs wouldn't allow him into tree lawns or yards. 

Still, he had a blast jumping in and out of deep piles. 

Sophie had comments on me getting ready to take Shep out for a walk. Or an attempted walk. 

....and a holiday Bailey.  I didn't even ask what she was up to when I got sent this pic.

Due to the weather, we didn't get a chance to see my sister from a distance. Hopefully, this weekend? 

Song by: David Bowie

Friday, December 25, 2020

Lucky Star

This all seems about right.  2020 right.    ....and HI-larious. 

.....that all said, hope you all enjoy your holiday. 

Song by: Madonna

Thursday, December 24, 2020


Had my father lived, he'd have been 100 years old - as of yesterday. 

Today would have been my mother's 92nd. know, had she lived. 

I don't have any words of wisdom about this. Oddly, I'm more surprised that in one form or another, I think about each of them daily. 

Maybe only for nanoseconds, but it comes up. I don't think it helps that on a daily basis I walk the dog past a house where my father lived when he was five-ish. 

If I wanted to annoy my mother, I'd tell her I was a probable mistake. If I wanted to piss her off, I'd mention my little sister was a definite one. 

710 and I mention longevity often. I've mentioned it here too. Both sides of my family live into their 90s - and above. This does not bode well for me. I have zero desire to live to that age. 

There was an interesting article a few weeks back about a man who wanted to live only around to 75. He stopped doing colonoscopies, prostate screenings, flu shots, pneumonia vaccines et al, and let nature take its inevitable course. 

All-in-all, it's not bad planning. It's controlled (to a degree) expiration. And it would certainly beat being 94 and all alone.

That all said, I came across a bunch of pics my grandfather took in 1920-21. 

My father was their first born. True to his nature, the picture mentions the hospital, the room, the date. Not a word about his newborn son or even his wife.  My grandfather, by most accounts, was kind of a dick. Even as a nine year old, I knew it. However, I've had corroboration. 

In the past, this is the evening we'd get together - for my parent's birthdays. Last year, we did it with one of my sisters. This year, again, it will just be 710 and myself. Perhaps we will go stand on my sister's driveway, as it has been months and months since we've seen each other. But before that, I'll drive over to the cemetery just to check in on both my parents. 

Song by: Feist

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Shopping With Morty

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think.

Has it really been since March since I've had a Shopping with Blobby segment?  

At first that seemed insane, until you realize I am almost never in a store and when I am, it's very focused - in and out - no dillying or dallying. 

While I would love to take credit for this beauty - alas, I cannot.  This all goes to Morty. 

Mind you, when I first saw it - albeit a quick look - I thought it was a breakfast cereal. And in reality, that would still work too.  I mean, what 12 7 year old wouldn't want a Pull My Finger Flakes (now with Dingleberrys!). 

But even as a video game, you've got the male contingent  - ages 6-99 - all locked up.  ....and mother's everywhere are rolling their eyes. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Ain't Nothin' Goin' on but the Rent

Yeah. I got nothing. 

One of those lazy days. Well, I did go to the dentist. It is not exciting enough to write about, that's for sure. Good check-up, so........there's that. 

No. I'm sitting here starting to doze off and it's only 21:00. 

So, that's it. I'm going to bed soon.  Perhaps the muses will visit me tomorrow. 

Song by: Gwen Guthrie

Monday, December 21, 2020

My Music Monday

You know the deal.  This time of year gets on holiday song from me. I mean, not FROM me.  I'm not singing for you.  Ever. 

But a MMM selection becomes a holiday one. I'm not big on the 14 songs that seemed to get re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-recorded. There is no originality there (though Grace Jones' "Little Drummer Boy" is pretty great - for such a crappy song).

I clearly not above mixing it up - if anyone remembers that shit-tastic Pat Benatar xmas song.  If not, I'll just link it up for you here. Yes, I'm that kind of asshole. 

But I was in a store (I know, right???!) a few weeks back and had to SoundHound a song of which I didn't know. 

To be honest, I heard and felt the beat more than the song for its specificities. However, I seemed to be digging it. 

In reality - Teddy Thompson's song, "Christmas" is ok. In a non-store setting with other distractions, the song is not as groovin' as I perceived. It has a very reggae-lite lite lite vibe. 

It's clearly not the best holiday song ever, but it's different, not traditional and I'd never heard it before - so........why not give it a shot? 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Martial Law

I think the multiple stories in the NYT and other outlets tells you exactly where we are with BLOTUS. 

Michael Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI, fired by BLOTUS himself, was convicted and sentenced by the courts and then given a full pardon by BLOTUS himself, still has access to the Oval Office.  Physical and influential. 

........and is suggesting stating there BLOTUS should invoke martial law to turn over the election. 

This happened.  This week. After the Electoral College. 

Mull on that. 

Allegedly Flynn accused others in the room who questioned this line of defense of abandoning the "president".  The same guy who fired him. 

I guess when you get a pardon, you gotta stick that tongue up the ass (literally and figuratively) of the guy who gave it to you and wiggle it around but good.......and for a long time. Like the rest of your life. 

So, this is where we are. You think it's over and then it's not. 

Oh - and there are reports that BLOTUS is "suggesting" large protests should happen in DC on January 6th when Congress counts those electoral votes. 

So no. This is not over. This is going to be a shit show. I know you already thought it was.  You were wrong. 

.....on a complete other note. When I wrote about Saturn and Jupiter converging happening tomorrow, but you'd be able to see them get closer day after day - we have not had one day of clear sky. And it doesn't look like we will for tomorrow either.  I guess I will have to wait another 800 years to catch that.  Bother!

Song by: Lou Reed

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Dear Old Friend

Tis my annual friend, family, blogroll, commenter pet post. 

This turned out much better than I thought, as I was gung-ho at first and then my enthusiasm for chasing down pictures wained. I actually considered delaying it a week and then last night went, "nahhhhhh". 

I'm down with pets!   I mean, as long as they're not birds.....or ferrets. Or snakes. 

A Harper themed holiday. 
It could be a Hallmark movie starring incidental characters just as a wayward doctor from - ugh - Michigan and Someone. 

Chris' Luna.  She is a looker. 

Friends Peter & Mike have soooooo many cute pics of Ollie, who is now 2, they had a difficult time picking just one. But they did.  Boop. 

Raybeard's foursome. 
Patchie, then Snowball, Bobby (not Blobby) and Blackso

My cousin David's buddy - Siggie. 

Rebecca's Zoey and Albus

....and her co-op dog, Barkley.  I LOVE Barkley. 

Ditto's Bosch....who has the best face, and Rollo, who is the gentlest of gentle giants. 

Bailey - loves the snow.  Loves just about everything. 

My niece's cats - Pippa and their nice cat beds. 

Reader James' Peyton & Grace

"I've been a good dog" is a little cropped out there. 
Coincidentally, Shep's collar is being tightly reigned in by Santa, as well as caught between "his" thighs. 

Xmas Cat. 
Pretty and sweet as all get out. 

And we do have an 'in memorium' section this year.  

My sister's other dog, Boomer - who was Petey's brother - passed on a month ago. I loved Boomer, he was such a love sponge.......though he wasn't fond of Shep, the sometimes bully. 

Morty & George's sweet, shy-ish Logan. 
He was such a good boy. 

That wraps it for another year. Thanks everyone for your participation. 

Song by: Patty Griffin