Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Look at THIS.  And let me ask you -- did anyone boycott Popeye for saying "I'yam what I'yam"??????????????????


I got Captain Tony's carryout for lunch today.  I ordered a pepperoni slice and a supreme slice.  I paid for two slices.  When I got back to my office, there were two pepperoni slices and a supreme slice.  I got an extra slice that I didn't pay for.  Not sure how they messed up the order.  I am pretty sure the same guy who took my order, filled my order, but I wasn't really paying attention.  And the funny things is, I wasn't that hungry.  I ate only one slice and the other two are now in the fridge, where, hopefully, they still will be later when I am hungry.  But if one of the slices disappears in the meantime, I really won't be out anything, I guess. 

Tuesday Talkback

Yesterday, the Monday Moaners moaned. Today it is talkback time, sorta.

"After the last ruling by the PUCO, why do I get the feeling that it's working for the utility companies instead of the taxpayers." - Independence

I don't know what ruling you mean, but I'm with you! Power to the people! Power to the people for less per kilowatt hour!

"Why can't the Browns learn from the Pittsburgh Steelers how to draft, trade and acquire talented players. It would be nice." -Parma

I feel that. Granted, the Browns were trying to learn from the Pats, who've been there three times in four years. But this year, the Steelers look like a good model. Consider. At the end of 1995 season, Art Modell was packing his boxes for Baltimore ... and the Steelers were going to the Super Bowl. Ten years later, we've had three seasons without football, three head coaches, at least six or seven starting quarterbacks, four to six wasted first round picks ... and the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl.

"Please don't think everyone in the old Brooklyn area feels that way toward the Dion Jones family. I think it's terrible and I hope they find those who vandalized their home." - Cleveland

If you didn't see the article, HERE it is. There is no excuse for what happened to this family's home. Period.

"With gas prices so high, service stations should give full service so customers can at least feel like they're getting something for their money." - Rocky River

For that kind of money, we DO get "full service." By that I mean we get screwed.

"I'm sick and tired of the Cleveland Indians trading off our best players for other teams' leftovers." - Cleveland

Ohhhh me too. Our team should not be a farm team for the richer teams.

"When, oh, when will they be done with 'American Idol'? It is one of the most stupid things we have seen on TV in a long time." - Solon

OK, I have to draw the line here. You don't have to like American Idol to appreciate its success. I'll agree that I don't care for most of the "talent" on it. But you know what? We've had lots of talent shows on TV over the years, whether you're talking Star Search or The Gong Show. And you don't have to like all of the talent to at least appreciate the model of giving relative unknowns their chance at celebrity. So, just because you don't like it, that doesn't make it stupid. Living in Solon and complaining about all the deer, THAT makes you stupid.


Monday, January 30, 2006

More Porcupine Tree Recognition

Sound and Vision magazine has released its list of the Top Ten CDs of 2005.

Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing" was number two, topped only by The White Stripes' "Get Behind Me Satan."

The complete list is HERE.

I am thrilled that someone other than Haves, MDC, ESC and me is listening to Porcupine Tree. 

Ten Things I Have Never Done

I have never...

10. Had a dog as a pet.

9. Gone skydiving.

8. Watched The Matrix.

7. Caught a fish.

6. Burned down the house.

5. Gone to Disneyland or Disneyworld.

4. Gone to Vegas.

3. Done a line of coke off a stripper's ass.

2. Won an olympic gold medal.

1. Gone camping.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mmmmmm coffee!

As some of you know, I work a lot of Saturdays. It isn't so bad, since MJ works Saturdays too. And strange as it may sound, I enjoy the feel of working on a Saturday (once I am there). The phone doesn't ring too much, I can wear pretty much anything, and it is pretty low stress (usually).

Today I finally set up my Christmas present from MJ: a Philips Senseo single serve coffee maker. We have coffee provided to us at the office, but it is nothing special. And as the day lags on, it cooks down to something not entirely unlike road tar. We also have a machine that grinds beans and makes espresso drinks, but its novelty has worn off for me.

The Senseo uses special coffee pods. They are, not surprisingly, more expensive than regular ground coffee. But they are still a little cheaper than going Starbucks. For instance, Coffeewhiz has Baronet pods on sale at $5.90 for 18 pods. One pod makes a 4 ounce coffee, two pods make an 8 ounce mug. Coffeewhiz sells other brands too, like Gevalia,Wolfgang Puck, Green Mountain, Eight O'Clock, and others. They have free shipping for orders over $50. Since there are two other guys in my office who use single serve machines as well, the three of us just placed an order together to get the free shipping. So I have some Colombian, European Roast, Guatemalan, Izzy's Blend, and French Toast (that is Toast not Roast -- a maple flavored coffee) coming my way.

Even Senseo's own brand of coffee is not bad, but the other guys who've had their machines longer think the Baronet and Green Mountain make a better brew. They also clued me in on a little trick -- if you moisten the pod a little before you brew the cup, you get a better, fuller flavored cup of coffee.

There are all kinds of reviews of the flavors over at singleservecoffee.com, and I look forward to trying all kinds of coffee in my new machine. Thanks, MJ!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The Administration's new FISA defense is factually false

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The Administration's new FISA defense is factually false

The Bush Administration, caught in their own lies. Give it a read!

Co-starring Ohio's own Senator Mike DeWine, who inadvertantly laid the booby-trap.

The E Song

I only know one chord
It's an E
That's all he taught me
But you can't hold it against me
I'm a drummer

I can try a B
Or A
C is worse
I think I'll stick with E

I only know one chord (one chord)
It's an E (it's an E)
That's all he taught me
But you can't hold it against me
I'm a drummer (drummer!)

I can try an F
Or a D minor-add-a-seventh
I think I'll stick to E

(Stick to E)

I can play it in Spanish
I can pick it too
But I think I stay with the singular chord that serves me well

I only know one chord (one chord)
It's an E (not a B or a G!)
That's all he taught me
But you can't hold it against me
I don't know any chords -- I'm a drummer

-- Michael Carrel

Terrorists Rule

Palestine just completed parliamentary elections. Hamas has won 76 seats. Fatah won 43, and other parties won 13.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. It is committed to the destruction of Israel, and it has carried out dozens of suicide bombings toward that end.

President Bush says that the US will not deal with Hamas as long as it remains committed to the destruction of Israel. That is quite an understatement. The destruction of Israel is the core principle of Hamas. President Bush might as well have said that he isn't going to watch Brokeback Mountain until they take the gay love story out of it.

At what point do we all finally look at this situation in the Middle East and firmly choose one side over another? When is enough enough? I used to agree that the problem with Israel and Palestine was not one of who is right and who is wrong, but a battle of competeing and conflicting rights. But when one side overwhelmingly elects as their standard bearers a terrorist organization committed to the death and destruction of the other side, an organization that has murdered and will continue to murder, and that it has done so at a juncture where Israel has done so much to move the peace process forward, and has given the Palestinians so much, can't we finally say enough?

I can.

Any doubts I had in my mind are vanquished now. What additional proof do we need? It is Israel that deserves our support, that deserves to exist in the face of Palestinian terrorism. And the Palestinian people, who in a free election overwhelmingly supported the destruction of Israel over cooperation and co-existence, have lost any right or claim they may have had. As far as I am concerned, Israel can take back everything it gave them. Giving up land to seek peace was a pragmatic idea, but look what it got Israel. Nothing. Israel has been placed in an untenable position. There is no negotiating with the Palestinians now. If Israel must vanquish them from the lands, so be it. Let them move to Jordan or elsewhere. I am done with them.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I sat in the room with a view
The girl in the photograph knew
Can't you see?
Why is she laughing at me?

I stumbled through the dark unaware
The face in the hall isn't there
Tomorrow has gone
Where do the voices come from?

Watching the leaves as they blew
Lost in the room with a view
Climb the walls
You did not know me at all

I fell through a hole in the floor
The audience cried out for more
It's just another day

Hit heaven far too high.

-- Alan Duffy

what a gas

I just got my gas bill. 

A few unseasonably warm days this month, third floor window now sealed shut, and a new thermostat thanks to Knob Enterprises (thanks Chad!)

My gas bill dropped from $377 to $282.  Yay, progress. 

Review: The Syn - 1/15/06 at The Beachland

This review is a little late, but I still wanted it to see the light of day, especially since it was my first concert of 2006. I started out with something old, something new: The Syn.

I had never heard of them until about a week or so before the concert, when Haves sent me an email about it. Indeed, I never heard one note of any of their music before I set foot into The Beachland that Sunday night. But they had one thing that gave me faith that it would be worth the trip, or at worst a pleasant waste of time:

Chris Squire

Yes, that Chris Squire, bassist for Yes. And while I've had third row for Yes before, I was drawn to the idea of seeing Chris Squire in a small club setting. Then, if any further swaying was needed, Alan White (also of Yes) was going to fill in on drums. Apparently The Syn's regular drummer, Jeremy Stacey, had to fulfill his contractual obligation with Sheryl Crow and couldn't tour with the band. Bringing in Alan White to fill in reminded of the time Whitesnake brought in Steve Vai to fill in for Adrian Vandenberg. Ok, he ain't Bill Bruford, but he is Alan White!

The Syn have an intriguing backstory. The Syn was Chris Squire's band PRIOR to Yes. The original 1960 rendition of The Syn recorded a couple of singles and no full length album. They played out quite a bit, and got to be this footnote in music history: the opened for Jimi Hendrix in his first UK performance. During the show, Squire even told the story of how he had no idea at the time who Hendrix was, but when he walked out onto stage and looked down into the front row and saw: all four Beatles, the Stones, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend and Jimmy Page, he felt the pressure of having to perform not only before Hendrix, but in front of all of his heros.

Hendrix, of course, burned bright and died young. The Syn -- you've never heard of them -- and that band died young as well. Squire and Peter Banks went off to form Yes. Lead singer Steve Nardelli left music and became a business man, first in the fashion industry, and then later selling sporting goods. And, almost forty years later, Nardelli and Squire "got the band back together." Sorta. They are the only two original members in the new incarnation. Keyboardist Andrew Jackman passed away in 2003, and Gerard Johnson now sits prominantly in the lineup in his place. Guitarist Peter Banks is not to be found here, though this letter may provide part of the explanation why.

But, with a new album, Syndestructable, the band is now on tour. And how are they? Well, it is a mixed bag. The new music is ambient and full of classical influences, and is very much in the prog tradition. The older music was forgettable 60s style rock reminiscent of psychedelic rock. The newer music was fresh, although I am not convinced that Alan White knew it all very well! There were several times when it looked as if Chris Squire was guiding him through certain sections of it!

But the weak link in the show was, unfortunately, the vocals. It would be unfair to compare Nardelli to Jon Anderson. But nonetheless, Nardelli is more than a little out of his element. He's been out of music for forty years and after all this time, finds himself back on the stage. I found his voice to be a little dry and inflexible. Not terrible, but not remarkable. And I will say this, I did like enough of what I heard to buy the new CD by The Syn anyway -- and the vocals on the CD sound considerably better. I did not pick up "Original Syn" -- a package of archival tracks and old recordings from the 1960s. I figured since I didn't care much for those songs live, there was no need to pick up the original recordings of those tunes.

The Beachland was respectably full. Not sold out, but it was crowded. Lots of old prog types in the audience -- it amazes me anymore when I go to a show and find myself among the youngest in attendance. After the show, The Syn came out to sign autographs, and I was especially glad that I had brought my Yes 90125 CD with me -- as I got Squire and White to autograph it.

So, as for Syndestructable, I've been listening to it at work. Cathedral of Love is a pleasant track, and the album's centerpiece. Even an old guy like Squire and a businessman trying to relive his youthful rock and roll days can still squeeze out some good music. Having heard them now, I wouldn't go to great lengths to see them, but I would call The Syn a pleasant evening out. Thank you, Haves, for suggesting it.

Non-Syn Side story: The Beachland has a vintage shop in its basement, old records, clothing, etc. I picked up a copy of Japan's Adolescent Sex album on vinyl. I picked it up one reason and one reason only: Richard Barbieri on keyboards. While Barbieri's work with Porcupine Tree is sublime, I had no idea what I was in for picking up the album. I have only listened to side one of it so far, and I am not sure what to make of it -- except that it is amazing that this keyboardist would end up recording such very different music later in life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Amy and Brian,

Your friends are thinking of you and are here for you. You have our condolences and our hearts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Broncos Fan Humilitated by Teacher before Broncos Humiliated by Steelers

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (AP) -- A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor during a midterm exam in his ethnicity class -- for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.

The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take the test Friday -- two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press on Monday.

Full article HERE.

This is good fun gone way too far.  I could say something like "what do you expect from classless Steeler fans," but that's a cheap shot.  But a teacher inviting the other kids to throw stuff at the student while he sits on the floor to take a test is probably carrying things a bit far. 

On the other hand, there is no crying in football.  What kind of skirt goes with a football jersey?  Where's Tim Couch when you need him?  He oughta know.

One Less Decision to Make, Thanks Betty

I have long admired Betty Montgomery.  And of the three major Republican candidates for governor of Ohio, she was the only one that I found not only acceptable, but worthy of my vote.

Well, that all ends today.  Betty is dropping out of the race for governor.

Psychobilly Democrat describes Petro and Blackwell (presumably in that order) as "wingnut & wingnuttier."  It would be too easy to dismiss that as partisan rhetoric, but for Petro's recent values ad and Blackwell's, well, record.  Sometimes a label fits, and this is one of those times. 

Strickland? Fingerhut? Flannery?  Whichever Dem comes out on top now has the whole middle wide open to campaign to.  Who will I be voting for this November?  The way it looks right now, one of those three, it would appear. 

Tuesday Talkback

The weather outside may not be so frightful, but people are still firing off to Monday Moaning, so I am still talking back.

"In California, seniors had to sell their houses because they couldn't afford taxes. In Ohio, we are going to have to sell our houses because we cannot afford the heat." - Brooklyn

You're kidding me, right? We've had almost no snow this month and you are still moaning about the price of gas? Oh sure, and it is only the seniors who are affected. You've had your whole lives to save up for these bills. How about the single mom with kids trying to pay these bills? No one is cutting her a break either. How many kids are you rearing these days? That's what I thought.

"Shame on the person who stole my jacket from my doctor's office on Jan. 13. I'm 80 years old."- Parma Heights

You may be 80, but you must be stylin'. That, or someone else mistakenly left with your coat. Did you call back at the end of the day to see if someone else called in looking for their coat because they left with the wrong coat on -- thus looking for their own? Or even to see if there was just an odd coat left behind -- there might have been something in the pocket that would reveal who left with your coat. A lot of coats look alike. Did you think of that? No. It is amazing you've managed to get by for 80 years.

"Where do all these starving artists get the money for those constant commercials?" - Berea

Judging by the *ahem* fine collection of velvet Elvises in your home, I would suggest a trip to the mirror might reveal your answer. C'mon what do you want to see, skinny artists with bloated bellies and flies in their eyes? What's the matter with you?

"Doctors and nurses, attending to patients in their offices, not washing their hands or wearing gloves, even when giving injections." - Brecksville

Oh, just because you didn't see them wash their hands you assume they didn't wash them? I bet you didn't sit in the back of the classroom and watch them get their medical degrees either.

"It would be nice if the millionaires and billionaires in the city of Cleveland and the county of Cuyahoga would donate enough money to build the homeless a decent shelter. It's a tax write-off, and it definitely would help the image of Cleveland, anyway." - Parma

I suspect there is more than one way to become a millionaire or billionaire -- but I don't imagine any of those ways involves taking tax advice from anonymous moaners printed in the newspaper.

"I thought the Mafia had disappeared from this country, but now it seems some of these same people have found jobs in the Senate and Congress of the United States." - Parma

You can't be serious. Besides, with Trafficant in prison, who could you possibly be taking about? Or do you just hate Italians? Bigot.

"I don't get it. We can build a space station, but we can't make our coal mines safe." - North Royalton

Oh yeah, no one ever died in the space program.

"Hey, Channel 8 morning news, 'American Idol' is not news" - Streetsboro

Amen to that. But how much hard news do you really want in the morning?


Monday, January 23, 2006

Getting Better -- and Miscellany

It seems like just about everyone is in some stage of fighting off the viruses that are floating around.  I made it through my Friday despite being less than 100%.  I did go see my dad at the store in Ashtabula -- hopefully I did not get him sick.  I headed back to Cleveland to meet up with MJ and to attend an open house for a friend of mine who recently moved his law office from downtown to Lakeshore Boulevard. 

I tried working on Saturday, but I felt just too lousy.  I ended up leaving after just a couple of hours and going home to relax and take it easy.  As for Sunday, I slept in longer than usual, then spent the better part of the day watching football.  I really expected these to be great games, but they weren't.  Both games were rather one-sided.  Pittsburgh dominated early and never lost the lead.  Same for Seattle.  Both teams looked great and played very well -- and I hope this means we'll be in for a real treat of a Super Bowl this year.  I think I heard on the radio that the line has opened favoring Pittsburgh by 3.5 points.  Naturally, I'll be rooting for the Seahawks to win this one.  But I agree that Pittsburgh is the slight favorite, despite being the number 6 seed in the AFC.

There has been a lot of chatter about Pittsburgh being the number 6 seed, and that no sixth seed has ever gone this far before.  I think people tend to forget that Roethlisberger did miss a few games midseason, and then was kind of stiff upon returning, leading to some midseason losses.  If Big Ben had been healthy the whole season, the Steelers likely would have been a higher seed.  Nevertheless, it has been 10 years since the last time the Steelers appeared in the "big game" (as Circuit City and Best Buy are required to call it, since they aren't sponsors of the game and thus have no right to use the term "Super Bowl" in their ads.)  Only that time, Neil O'Donnell did his best impression of Vinny Testaverde and threw pick after pick, giving it all up to Dallas. 

But getting back to colds and germs and the like.  I am feeling a little better today.  I am better, though not quite well.  And while I am getting better, MJ looked a little worse for the wear this morning.  It seems that as I am getting better, she is coming down with what I had.  It seems like this sort of thing is unavoidable.  The best you can do it to try to cushion the blow with making sure you get enough sleep, eat right, get your vitamin C, etc. 

I haven't done much blogging this last week, mostly because I've been busy and also because I haven't been feeling well.  I already read over the PD's Monday Moaning to think about my Talkback.  There are things I have wanted to write about but just haven't taken the time to sit down and write.  For instance, last Sunday I went to see The Syn over at The Beachland.  I thought I might write a bit about that.  Also, I just heard on the radio on the way in that West Wing apparently will not return after this season.  The show will end with the election of a new president.  And here I thought they would drive to carry on with the winner.  I guess that's not going to happen.  I wonder if it was ever really the plan -- or if the loss of John Spencer to a fatal heart attack recently sealed the end of the show.  I haven't gone looking yet for any official statement on it, so I'll admit, I'm not sure.  Perhaps it is for the best.  The show jumped the shark long ago.  But, with the demise of West Wing and the likely demise of Arrested Development, my regular TV viewing drops that much further.  I am beginning to think that I could live without a TV.  I could go out to watch sports, and I can get news online.  About the only "new" show I've been watching is the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, and it is pretty clever -- especially the regular segment called "The Word."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Business Takes Me Home

I've been very busy this week and Friday will be no different, except that I will be in Ashtabula all day on business.  Some people I know go to England on business.  Some people I know go to Florida and California on business.  My business travels do take me to some exotic places (does Cincinnati count?), but tomorrow: Ashtabula.  God's country.  Home.

The upside is, my dad is working the store in the afternoon -- and when I'm done I should have time to stop by. 

Zinc time...

Coming down with a cold -- better get the Cold-eze!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

I once again talkback to those gloomy moaners that brighten my Mondays with their Monday Moaning.

"It's just too bad that people who abuse both domestic and wild animals cannot be punished more severely. You people are lowlifes of the Earth, hurting innocent animals. They should be put away for life." - Brunswick

Look, I was disgusted by the light sentence given to that guy who stomped the cat to death in the bottom of a garbage can , but a life sentence? Why not capital punishment? Of the offender and their whole family, just to get them all out of the gene pool? If you are going to be extreme, why show any restraint about it? What if someone sprays for roaches? Or would this apply only to cute fur or feather types?

"Doctors who don't leave a doctor on call when going on vacation, therefore, stressing overcrowded emergency rooms." - Solon

Haven't we heard this one before? Here is moan for you – I can't stand it when the Plain Dealer runs the same Monday Moanings two weeks in a row. What, are they actually short on moans? Or did someone think this one was so good it deserved to be run twice? It isn't.

"I can't believe that an inmate is going to sue the state because his cell is too small. I'm sick of people who break the law getting more attention than law-abiding citizens. And the judges need to be sitting in that cell with them." - Cleveland

Sometimes you should quit while you are ahead. The first two sentences seem reasonable enough. That third sentence confirms that you are just a crank. Yeah, let's put the judges in the cells with them. What's that supposed to mean? You aren't clever enough for this to be a thinly veiled swipe at Alice Robie Resnick.

"I certainly hope that people who leave their carts in the handicapped parking spaces never become handicapped and have to use them." - North Ridgeville

Don't you really mean, that you wish that they DO become handicapped and have to use them? That would be karma biting them on the ass then. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN! You WISH that they will be crippled AND then inconvenienced further by stray shopping carts. Wow, you're a mean-hearted SOB, you know that?

"It's about time Pat Robertson starts practicing what he preaches." - Middleburg Heights

You mean instead of preaching that Hugo Chavez should be killed, and that Ariel Sharon deserved the stroke, he should go out there with his minions and get the job done himself? We have a word to decribe people like that: terrorists.

"Hey, tell me why it's OK for an ex-congressman/felon to sell paintings out of his jail cell rather than breaking rocks in the hot sun." - Olmsted Falls

The real idiots are the people buying the paintings. If Trafficant did smash a rock, there'd be people buying his gravel. And if he sold his poop, they'd buy it for air fresheners.

"All the commercials on TV for medicine and then they take a long time telling you why you can't take them." - Parma Heights

Uh, you mean the messages with all the warnings about how you might die if you take this pill when you suffer from some other condition or injure your unborn baby if you handle the pills? That's a pretty stupid thing to complain about. What are you going to moan about next, the guard that keeps you from sticking your hand in the spinning lawnmower blade? At least then you might not be able to dial the phone to call Monday Moaning.

"Why is it that so many drivers don't know how to use their turn signals? And that includes the Parma police." - Parma

I'll bet most of these people are Buick drivers. As for any police who don't use their signals, I bet I know what their civilian car is: LeSabre! Regal! Park Avenue! Limited! LaCrosse! Arrrgh!

Friday's front page announced that Paul Newman gave $10,000 to the Ensemble Theatre as if it's a big deal. We are glad that he gave it, but whoopty doo. People who did not play Butch Cassidy contribute $10,000 to charities all the time and it is hardly front page news. – Westlake

I bet it is a big deal to the people at the Ensemble Theatre. And I bet that is the story as much as the celebrity angle. Why yes, read the story here. Turns out that Newman started his career in the same theater this troupe uses now. It is a charming story, and for not thinking so, you're a bit of an asshole. Or are you bitter because you donated $10,000 to your favorite charity and merely received a tote bag? Somehow I doubt it.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Arrested Development Finale: Friday, February 10

No, Fox doesn't hate the show -- that's why the last four episodes are on yet another weeknight and opposite the Olympic opening ceremonies... (putting it opposite Monday Night Football was not enough.)

Put the "Arrested Development" deathwatch on hold--again.

Fox announced Friday that the much-loved (but low-rated) comedy will have a two-hour season--not series--finale on Feb. 10, the night that NBC will air the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Fox cut "Arrested Development" down to 13 episodes in its third season, but the network has not officially canceled the show. If it does, other networks are reportedly interested in bringing back the Emmy-winning comedy.

In the Feb. 10 finale, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) finds out he may have a long-lost sister, Nellie, who'll be played by Bateman's real-life sister, Justine Bateman.

Meanwhile, Michael's brother, Gob Bluth, played by Will Arnett, joins a USO tour and takes his magic act to Iraq, only to end up in prison there.


Indianapolis Chokes

Wow, what a game.  Colts fans will have the whole off-season to ponder: were we victims of our own success?  Maybe we shouldn't have rested our starters?  Distractions like Dungy's son and Harper's wife -- what did that do to the team?  Or maybe, just maybe, the other team wanted it more?  Or maybe Tampa Bay was right when they fired Dungy for not being able to win the big game?  And how about Peyton Manning -- is he doomed to be a Dan Marino-like figure who puts up big numbers but never gets his Super Bowl ring?  And despite all the stupid playing by the Colts, are people going to gang up on the kicker for kicking the would be tying field goal wide right? 

I checked the Indianapolis Star's online poll about whether or not the season was a success or a failure.  Though not scientific, 88% say failure.  That 13-0 run was outstanding, but it counts for nothing.  Remember when the Falcons went to the Super Bowl in the late 90s?  The Vikings that year went 15-1 in the regular season -- and didn't make it to the Super Bowl either. 

The Stllrs are a history making first ever number 6 seed in a championship game, and that is amazing even if the Broncos win next week.  Except that the Broncos didn't look that good -- they didn't dominate the Pats as much as the Pats beat themselves, turrning the ball over, what, FIVE times?  C'mon. 

Well, I am a fan of AFC ball.  But the agony of the Elway years makes it impossible for me to root for Denver.  And I don't want to see the "Browncos" -- all former Browns that stunk in Cleveland but somehow remembered how to play up at Mile High -- go to the Super Bowl either.  But I most certainly cannot root for the Stllrs.  So, coming down to these final four teams, I will be rooting for a former AFC team to win it all: the Seattle Seahawks.  Seattle fans have been calling for GM/Coach Mike Holmgren's head for some time -- now is the time to show them that he did it in Green Bay, and he can do it in Seattle.  And the 'Hawks fans, who saw their team win their first playoff game since 1984 over the weekend, are more deserving. More than the Panthers, and certainly more than the Broncos or the Stllrs.

And things must now go back to normal for Indy fans.  Back to watching basketball.  And for my friends who live there who are refugees from NEO -- it is pain you know well, growing up with our Browns.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday night

Friday after 5 I got a call from Mr. Bebout while I was still at the office.  It would seem that he and Chad were having a beer, and since Chad lives right downtown, why don't I join them?  So 15 minutes later I was at Chad's incredibly spacious loft over on Payne.  Beaubridges was there, playing with Chad's dog.  And Chad's old neighbor Carl was there with his dog.  So the four of us plus three dogs drank Molsons and enjoyed the view of downtown from Chad's incredible downtown space.  Actually the dogs did not drink and they enjoyed sniffing each others butts more than the view.  But we all enjoyed the salt and vinegar kettle chips, Beaubridges included -- that is what happens when the chip bowl is at dog level. 

Mr. Bebout wanted to know when MJ is going to come over and walk the dog already. 

Speaking of MJ, I cut beers with the boys short since I had pre-existing dinner plans with MJ.  And while we had planned on Sushi Rock, we ended up at Shuhei instead.  And that was very good.  We had the Firecracker futomaki (fresh and smoked salmon, salmon roe, avocado, jalapeno and hot sauce), Rainbow futomaki (four or five different raw fishes sliced thin in an oversize roll, and various pieces of nigiri.  I had a couple of martinis (yes, MJ was driving).  And we argued about free will versus determinism.  I believe in free will, but took the role of the determinist for the sake of discussion.  As I ordered more sushi, I explained how I was bound in my menu choices by whether or not she wanted more sushi -- because if she didn't I could order the eel, but if she did, I really couldn't (because she doesn't like eel).  She then said I was free to order the eel if I wanted.  And really, I wasn't, because if she wanted more sushi and I ordered eel, that would not have been a good thing.  I passed on the eel, even though she said she didn't want any more, and I ordered the Scorpion futomaki (shrimp tempura, spicy mayo and hot sauce).  She did have a piece or two of it, thus validating that I was never really free to order the eel -- any choice I thought I had was an illusion.  Despite what I might of deserved, she did not poke me with a chopstick. 

It was a splendid evening, as I was full of alcohol and fish, and enjoyed good company with people I care about.  I slept well and woke up refreshed.

Friday, January 13, 2006

not coming to an art gallery near you...

What is a federal prisoner like Jim Trafficant to do but become an artist, er, a painter

poor kitty

I could try to have a cool and dispassionate discussion about this article.  But I cannot.  If anyone did this to my cat, they might not be around to get a prison sentence. 

It is up to ME to stimulate the economy...?

With the new year, my withholdings have changed.  Turns out there is a new tax cut or something.   I guess I should be singing the praises of W and the GOP congress.  Of course, the slight increase in my takehome pay wouldn't even cover the bar bill from one night out with Mr. Bebout .  But since I got a tax cut, I guess this makes me "wealthy" (as if), and it is now somehow my responsibility to stimulate the economy and create jobs. 

So, what is the best way for me to do that with an extra $11.89?  Suggestions please.  I have some important patriotic spending to do, and I am not sure if I should do it all in one place, though it might be unavoidable. 

Thursday, January 12, 2006

You Can't Raise Cows on a Two-Acre Spread...

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a local ordinance in Moreland Hills requiring that house lots be no smaller than two acres (article HERE).

Village officials, who viewed the case as a fight to maintain the semirural character of their community, hailed the decision.

I cannot tell you what a relief that is.  It has been my dream to buy two acres in Moreland Hills and put a trailer on it.  Do you know how much clothesline you can put up on a two acre lot?  I'm not sure either, but it has to be a whole bunch. 

"Semirural character," yeah.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Blogs I Enjoy

Over on the right are a few new additions, just added to the bottom of an every growing list:

  • Over a Candle -- Phil is a guy who lived down the hall from me in college -- he is a philosophy prof now.

  • Steel This Blog -- Waller split town and is preaching revolution in the Big Apple.

  • Peace Hugs -- My leftist mother's other blog -- finally included on the list.

  • Naked with a Stranger -- Carmen's blog -- I've run into her here and there at various parties and we have mutual friends.

  • Up the Downstair -- Eric's other blog.

  • Life's Idiosyncracies -- Stephanie's blog -- Steph in Cleveland as opposed to Steph in Muncie.

  • I'd Rather Be Shaving -- Curt's blog. Another one of those Jefferson types.

  • Evil John Blog -- Evil John also lived down the hall from me in college. He taught me that fish are food.
  • The Cleveland Browns ARE Number 1!!!

    The Cleveland Browns do make the top of one list.  ESPN's NFL MIsery Index.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Tuesday Talkback

    They moan, I talk back -- you decide.

    "I am deaf, and I rely totally on TV closed captions to understand the news. I am moaning about WEWS (Channel 5) and WJW (Channel 8) TV news that supply captions only for the scripted news and not for the weather, traffic news, breaking news or studio interviews. I give thanks to WKYC and WOIO/WUAB that provide live, real-time captions for all the news." - Twinsburg

    (don'tmakefunofthedeaf, don'tmakefunofthedeaf...) You overestimate the value of the local "news" whether you get every nauseating bit of it captioned for you or not. And if any of these stations caption that dreadful banter between stories, then you can moan with the rest of us over that.

    "I cannot believe that Michael and Sharen Gravelle were allowed to adopt all those children. It's hard enough and challenging enough trying to raise one biological special-needs child with patience. What were the officials thinking in allowing them to adopt 11 special-needs children. One special-needs child needs constant, exceptional care and love, and that is not possible with 11 adopted children. These poor children were treated like a herd." - Parma

    Oh sure, because there is a line of people beating down the door trying to adopt these kids, right! The Gravelles are like the crazy lady down the street who gets all the cats. She means well, but living downwind is no treat. And if she didn't use cages, she'd be out in the street every morning cleaning up the roadkill. I know, I'm terrible, comparing a special need child to a cat -- I love cats! And its not the same thing, because if cat acts up you can have it put down. Try explaining THAT to social services.

    "I'm so angry at the elderly couple who refused to move from my $45 reserved seats at Playhouse Square on Dec. 16. And, furthermore, the arrogant security staffer who did not check my tickets bluntly told me to go sit anywhere because I was being disruptive. This was not true and I was humiliated, as my sister and I had to take other seats." - Cleveland

    "Arrogant security staffer?" They are called USHERs, you moron. And if the first one wasn't helpful, try another. And because you couldn't figure out how to claim your rightful seats from a couple of geezers, you deserve every drop of humiliation you got.

    "It's too bad that a teenager who has done nothing and thought he was a citizen cannot stay here, but a Nazi war criminal cannot be deported. I lost half of my family because of people like him." - Lakewood

    That sure would suck, losing half of your family to a teenager who does nothing. It is hard enough to get one to shovel snow.

    "It looks as though we have another Browns' failed season and, chances are, it's probably due to the fact that the people in the front office can't get along. This is a team, folks; realize that yourself, and then maybe the balance of the players will follow." - Aurora

    "Chances are?" Yeah, the front office dropped all those balls. I mean, Antonio Bryant would have caught them, but he was stressing over the whether John Collins and Phil Savage were getting along.

    "Cities that insist on leaving the school traffic lights on during the holidays so thousands of people have to stop for nothing. It wastes time. It wastes gas." - Kirtland

    Is there a camera? No? Then the light is optional. Move along.

    "Have you ever tried to wipe up a spill with fast food napkins? The plastic bags are more absorbent." - Kirtland

    Try the bun. It is more absorbant than nutritious. How can it not be? But seriously, what are you talking about? Fast food is barely food, but I can't think of any fast food joint whose napkins don't work unless they are already saturated with grease.

    "Motorists should have to have their headlights on in inclement weather, especially the police cars who should be setting an example.." - Shaker Heights

    Oh please! You just hate it when a Shaker cop comes out of nowhere and cites your red-light crashing ass.

    "I have always been a fan of WOIO news. Why are they lowering their standards of vocabulary to 'damns' and 'hells,' and I think if I hear Denise Dufala say 'crap' one more time with regard to the bird-dropping story, and now the guy is in the 'can.' " - Maple Heights

    Just be glad you can hear it at all, bub. But even if you can't -- I understand every one of those "damns" and "hells" is available on closed captioning! And I think it is too bad, the way you used "Denise Dufala" and "can" in the same sentence. It was a missed opportunity at a double entendre.

    "Shame on the city of Newburgh Heights for putting in all of the new walking and bike paths near Washington Park when the streets are still full of potholes." -Parma

    Yeah, God forbid we'd encourage people to walk or ride bikes. "The fat-bottomed girls, they'll be riding today, so look out for those beauties [like Denise], oh yeah!" (Thank you, Freddy Mercury.)

    "I'm 75 and on Medicare. If I do not sign up for the present drug program, I will be penalized. My medication is an occasional aspirin. Should I be penalized for maintaining my good health?" - Lakewood

    No, you should be penalized for being a whiney old fart. I spoke with your children, and they all agree. And they want you to quit spending their inheritance on pornos and Cheetos.

    "Doctors who don't leave a doctor on call when going on vacation, therefore, stressing overcrowded emergency rooms." - Solon

    My Land Rover hit a deer and my regular doctor was sailing in Bermuda -- so I had to go to the ER! Oh, the humanity. Later, this man was found beaten to death with his own Sperry Top-Siders.


    Monday, January 09, 2006

    MLK and Tookie

    This man is actually allowed to teach at a college and THIS is what he writes.

    Can anybody refresh my memory and tell me who Martin Luther King Jr. killed?

    The suggestion that MLK's time in the Birmingham jail can be analogized to Tookie Williams' time on death row is as offensive as it is ignorant.  There is no analogy between civil disobedience and murder at a 7-Eleven.

    Another Team Leaves Cleveland, In Case You Didn't Notice...

    It is official: the Cleveland Barons are leaving our fair city.


    The Cleveland Barons -- our AHL team. 


    The Barons are a minor league hockey team, affiliated with the San Jose Sharks.  They came to town after the IHL folded, taking the Lumberjacks with them.  And now the Barons are leaving too, at the end of the season, for some town in Massachusetts whose name escapes me at the moment.

    How did it get here?

    Gordon Gund used to be the majority owner of the Sharks, so I am sure he had something to do with it.  Not surprisingly, when NHL Hockey came to Ohio, it didn't land in Cleveland -- not when Gordon Gund owned both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Jose Sharks.  Ohio's NHL team, the Bluejackets, landed in Columbus instead.  And therein lies the problem:

    Cleveland sports fans don't root for teams downstate -- unless it is the Buckeyes.  And who was the brilliant person who planted a team in Columbus and expected the fans to say "Go Blue"?

    Cleveland is a major league city.  Our rivals are Pittsburgh, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit.  Not Grand Rapids.

    MJ and I went to a Barons game once last season.  They were playing Grand Rapids.  We walked up to the boxoffice ten minutes before gametime, and we got seats on the glass, next to the penalty box.  On a Saturday night.  When they were giving away bobbleheads.  That should NOT have happened.

    I enjoyed the game, but you know what?  It didn't feel like it mattered.  It is one thing to drive to Eastlake for a minor league game -- but not downtown. 

    And I don't root for the Bluejackets either.  If the NHL was interested in my support, we'd have an NHL team here in Cleveland.  If I have to root for one in another city, I am going to root for one steeped in tradition, but damnified with the kind of bad luck that a Cleveland sports fan is used to.  It would be too easy to root for the Red Wings, with all their success.  And it is too hard to root for a Pittsburgh team.  No.  I am used to my teams not winning, and not ever having won in my lifetime.  So, I like the Toronto Maple Leafs. Promise, potential, but the prize ever denied, not having won the Stanley Cup since the 1960s.  That is my sort of team.  Go Leafs.

    Wildcard Weekend Observations

    Tampa Bay: If Chris Simms makes a great throw, but there is no one there who can catch it, does the ball make a sound when it hits the ground? 

    Jacksonville: If your starting QB is still hobbling, and the backup QB went 4-1, maybe going with the backup is not such a bad move.

    New York Giants: If you host a playoff game, then how do you manage to leave your game on the bus?

    Bengals: If you ever wanted to know the sound of your team's luck completely running out -- it sounds remarkably like the popping noise that eminated from Carson Palmer's left knee on the second play of the game.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    The Hollow Man

    I think I have become one of the hollow men
    As I shine on the outside more these days
    I can feel the outside feeding on my inside
    Leaves a growing darkness in it's place
    I think I have become one of the hollow men

    I think I have become one of the lonely
    Now that everybody talks to me
    I feel I have become one of the empty

    Hollow men can stop you with the twinkling of an eye
    Hollow men can take you without even reaching out
    Hollow men have got you long before you realise

    The poison paralyses

    I think I have become one of a pair of men
    It's a feeling I've been having for some time
    I look down upon myself and watch my movements
    A blind eye sees the fragile vandalised

    Watch this cold world dishing up these endless hollow men
    Find us anywhere you look
    Come and meet our friends
    Stand us in our silly clothes
    Put our batteries in
    Line us up like fairground ducks
    Watch us grin and grin
    See the lies behind our eyes
    See the will to win
    We'll buy you and we'll sell you
    But perhaps we'll save your skin

    Sit quietly and listen to the breeze
    The hollow and the lonely listen too
    Sniff the air for something we can use

    We're tin-hard and we rattle when we're shaken

    -- Steve Hogarth & John Helmer

    Dropping the Ball

    This film short is hysterical.

    The backstory (from Mediocre Films):

    Okay, here's the deal. Group 101 Films assigned me to make a short with the theme
    I Feel Like It's 1986, and said I must include two inventive transitions.
    Well, I just didn't have time to make a short this month. So I made one anyway.
    This took me half and hour, start to finish, to shoot, edit and record an original song.
    Ironically, this will probably be the one that gets me that elusive feature film deal.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    A Life, Wasted

    A local father writes of the loss of his son in Iraq.

    Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

    Vince Young

    I am not a college football fan.  I am an NFL football fan.  My interest in college football is limited to seeing who might be drafted in the NFL the following year.  And with all the buzz about USC's Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, I thought I'd watch the Rose Bowl. 

    It was an incredible game.  Bar none.  And it wasn't Leinart or Bush that stood out as much as it was Texas quarterback Vince Young.  The whole Longhorn team was incredible, but Vince Young was the one who rose to the occasion in the big game.  All I can say is, wow!

    Going into the game, I had no feelings for either team, except to root for the underdog.  And the underdog won.  Hats off to the Longhorns and to Vince Young.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Working Out Hard? Or Hardly Working Out?

    I didn't make any real new years resolutions, but nothing like the holiday fat to make you look in the mirror and say, "how ya doin' there, Jabba."

    A few years ago, I was a member of an athletic club downtown.  I won't mention here which one.  But I ended my membership when I moved to an apartment complex that had a workout facility.  The problem is, once I moved there I never used it.  And I've long since moved from that apartment complex.  When I was in the club, I got there twice a week, sometimes three times.

    MJ recently joined a fitness center, but it is on her way to her work and it is not convenient for me whatsoever.  However, I am thinking about rejoining my old club.  It isn't far from my office.  And I could use it.  I just got off the phone with them, and they are less expensive than I remember.  They are sending me the application.  Decisions, decisions.  Will I use it?  I think I really ought to.  If I am paying for it, I'm going to want to use it, I think.  I know I will hate seeing that expense every month if I am not using it.   Apparently the only advantage to committing for a year versus month-to-month is a discount on the enrollment fee.  So, maybe I do this month-to-month and see what happens. 

    I just know that I am about 40 pounds heavier than I was when I quit the club, and it ain't muscle.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Another Year Dumber, That's Me.

    Aliasgrace asked me the other night what was the last book I had read.  I struggled to find an answer.  MJ helpfully reminded me that I read Freakonomics.  It was a fine read.  But alas, I finished it in September.  I don't think I've read a book since then, except for reading Bill Maher's New Rules in the bathroom (inspirational bathroom reading to be sure) and it seems to me that AG and BMac gave me that book.

    Anyway, I find it aggravating that I've been so busy lately that I haven't curled up with a nice book.  I was watching Meet the Press the other day and someone recommended this new book on Mao as a good read for the new year.  Amazon has it for $23.00, and Joseph-Beth and Borders both have it at full price, $35.  So did I order it from Amazon?  Nooooo. 

    On top of that, I have several books on my shelf, biographies mostly, that I've only read a few excerpts out of, if that.  I really ought to catch up on my old reading before I buy new books.

    As for fiction, hell if I know the last fiction work I read.  I bought The Da Vinci Code, but have I read it?  No.  I imagine I'd like it too.

    All this from a guy who once thought he'd be a writer.  As if.

    Tuesday Talkback

    It may be a new year, but they're still moaning, and I'm still talking back.

    "I'm a professional. Ten years ago, I retired at $14 per hour. Today I paid $25 to $45 per hour for labor on my house. Recently, a plumber charged me $75 to unplug my toilet, and it took him only five minutes. Do you know how much I had to pay for that tiny little purple pill called Nexium? Get the picture." - Parma

    You're a professional? More like, you WERE a professional. Just because you retired doesn't mean that everyone else did. Inflation didn't stop just because you stopped working. And if you didn't eat kielbasa and pierogis for dinner every night, you wouldn't need the Nexium -- or the plumber to unplug your toilet.

    "When are they going to start outlawing electric fences? On Sherbrook, everyone who has a dog puts in an electric fence, and the dog barks and barks. Why do they put the electric fence in the front yard? Why don't they put it in the back? We had to call the police at midnight because a dog barked for an hour." - Solon

    By "electric fences" I assume you mean the "invisible fences" that people install to keep their dogs from running out of the yard. I've got news for you, buddy -- you should be thrilled that you only have to dodge the deer in your street out there in Solon, and not all the dogs too. You want a nice quiet street? Move back to the city, where you can sleep to the gentle sounds of gunfire and subwoofers in 20 year old Buicks.

    "If Parma Mayor DiPiero is so worried what the north side of Parma looks like, why doesn't he have the Service Department pick the leaves up after they fall down instead of two weeks before." - Parma

    Why don't you get a rake? Lazy crybaby. Go work off that pierogi dinner.

    "I see the price of a barrel of oil has come down several dollars, but it's gone up a quarter a gallon at the pump. Here in Middleburg Heights anyway, where we have too many greedy dealers." - Middleburg Heights

    Blah blah blah, you don't like the price of gas, quit using so much of it. And quit acting like it the gas stations' fault that the price of gas is so high, and not the fault of the consumers who use so much of it and drive the price up. Eat more kielbasa, and use natural gas.

    "Why don't they let John Demjanjuk alone already? Doesn't the Justice Department have enough other ways of wasting our tax dollars instead of trying to deport this old man. Please leave him alone." - Seven Hills

    Leave him alone? The Justice Department has nothing on the Nazi death camps, whether Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible or merely played the role of Nazi death camp guard #2. But if the DOJ acted like Ivan did back in his day, there'd have been a bullet in Demjanjuk's skull long ago -- no trial, no deportation hearing, just a bullet. Happily we live in such an informed and enlightened society that we don't do such things to even the most reprehensible of people ... at least not as long as they remain on our soil.

    "What is so sad is the shooting and killing of the bisons that were loose. What kind of society are we that we have to kill everything. That should have been done with tranquilizers so they could be returned to their owner. We're killing our wildlife and animals at an alarming rate. We're becoming barbaric." - Medina

    What is barbaric is that you care more about a damn bison than the people who were injured -- and that you blame the authorities (whose job it is to promote public safety) rather than the bisons' irresponsible owner who let them break free. Tell me, how many tranquilizers does it take to sedate a bison? You don't know either, huh? Right. The animals are pretty till you get trampled by one, or hit one with your Kia Sedona. You know, they don't shoot tranquilizers at drug dealers, armed robbers or Maurice Clarett either, but I don't hear you moaning about that. I wonder if you can make kielbasa out of bison.

    "As a citizen of Rocky River, I'm really disappointed in the people who live here because they didn't show up at the City Council meeting to support the city workers. These workers are just asking about health coverage equal to other city employees. I feel that with the quality of service they give us, we should back them up more when they need our help because they never ask for it. Back up our city workers." - Rocky River

    Listen, I don't know what this is all about, but how should anyone know to help them when they "never ask" for help? This doesn't even make sense. I mean, if your kielbasa is cold, and they didn't bring you any sour cream for your pierogi, you have to speak up, or you will just suffer in silence.

    "They ought to add another section to restaurants - for no cell phones." - Strongsville

    They can put the cell phone users right there in the screaming baby section. And the mullet wearing section. And the belching, farting, mouth-breathing, nose-picking section. Of course, if the restaurant serves kielbasa and pierogis, the whole joint would be that section.

    Disclaimer: I went out for kielbasa and pierogis on Friday night, and washed down the whole plate with a cold Okocim beer. It was fantastic. Thank you, Sokolowski's!


    Monday, January 02, 2006

    BGSU at Cleveland Browns Stadium

    I heard about this on Sunday at the Browns game: BGSU and Wisconsin will play in Cleveland at Browns Stadium on Saturday, September 2.

    Yes, I want to go! My college team, coming to town... how can I not go?

    No me gusta la Fiesta Bowl.

    Look, I really couldn't care less about the Fiesta Bowl. Sure, since its on, I have the TV tuned to it. I see OSU is winning, and that neither offends nor excites me. And if Notre Dame were up by two touchdowns instead, I'd feel the same way.

    But the thing that really annoys me was the teaser I heard about Queen with Paul Rodgers coming up at halftime. I'll admit I was not watching it closely, but I thought that meant that Queen with Paul Rodgers would be playing at halftime. Turns out all they did was play a clip from the DVD of "We Will Rock You" -- not even the whole track (and as you know, it is a very short song) and then referred the viewer to some website to see more of it. Sorry, but what a rip. If I wanted to get ripped off by Queen with Paul Rodgers, I'd have bought tickets to their upcoming show at The Q.

    Somehow this is Tostitos' fault. It is their Fiesta Bowl, after all. With the corporate sponsorship comes the blame when something sucks. Like promising Queen and then playing us a clip of a DVD I could have bought at Best Buy.