Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bill Buckley Sees It Too

If you haven't read William F. Buckley Jr.'s column today, I suggest you give it a read.

Money quote:

If Hitler had known in June, 1941, what would befall the German army — and him — in four years, he would not have invaded Russia. Four years! In four years we marched from Pearl Harbor to the heart of what was left of Tokyo and Berlin. In three years we can't yet take a cab from Baghdad to its airport without an armed guard.

True conservatives continue to back away from this president. Or perhaps Bill Buckley is now a liberal who hates freedom and America? Wait for it.

Tuesday Talkback

Never fear, Tuesday Talkback is here! Just in time to set those Monday Moaners straight -- except for the last one who is dead on.

"My beef is with people who have bad breath. My dentist, my hair stylist and others. Can't people smell their own breath? The worst is the awful next-day beer breath. It smells like the tar pits." - Brecksville

Smells like the tar pits? Wow. I never knew what tar pits smelled like -- though I do know what next-day beer breath smells like (and tastes like) so I will guess that tar pits smell (and taste) the same way. But in answer to your question, no, you cannot always smell your own breath. Gee, ever think about carrying some mints with you? Instead of calling Monday Moaning and risking catching a bug from a dirty telephone, might I suggest a lovely tin of Altoids, or after-coffee mints from Starbucks or Caribou? Who turns down a mint? I assure you that few people, especially people in the service industry, want to stun you with their dragon breath. Simply pull out the tin, and offer them a mint while you have one yourself.

"Advertisers, please, please, for seniors and hearing impaired, get closed captions for your commercials.'" - Cleveland Heights

I realize that you must feel left out, but I assure you, you are missing nothing. Besides, some things just don't caption well, like "I'm gonna save you a laaaaaaaaatta money," or "a-mer-a-kin, and prowwwwwwwwwd of it." Trust me, there is nothing interesting that Jared is saying on those sandwich ads. And there is nothing they are saying that explains why babies and puppies are used to sell toilet paper, when neither babies nor puppies use toilet paper.

"Don't blow your nose or discuss medical procedures while eating in a restaurant." - No city

First they came for the smokers, but I do not smoke, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the cell phone users, but I was silent. Then they come for the hypochondriacs -- and that was ok, because I am not a hypochondriac. But when they came for the noseblowers, aye -- there was no one left to stand up for me. Well, the parents with screaming children were still there, but they were too busy watching their kids drink ketchup straight out of the bottle to care.

"Someone tell Dick Goddard to leave his buttons alone on his sport coats. Talk about something annoying to watch day after day. Please, Dick, get some Velcro." - Cleveland

Um, Dick Goddard is not the only weather guy on TV. If it annoys you to watch him, change the channel! And if you think buttoning and unbuttoning a coat is an annoying nervous habit, try people who play with velcro. Oy! No one on broadcast television should be wearing velcro anything. Save that stuff for pay-per-view.

"Rather than have a foreign firm run the ports, maybe it would be better if it served in the White House. The current staff is in total disarray." - Middleburg Heights

I think Bill Maher stole your thunder when he suggested that the UAE provide Bush's Secret Service protection from now on. And speaking of stealing, I just stole his joke.

"Tom Noe really felt that he was above the law. I have a husband and son-in-law who have paid into workers' compensation for many years and for what? Tom Noe's dishonesty and stealing." - Lakewood

Time will tell whether he will be brought to justice. In the meantime, anyone want to buy this dime I just found under my desk? I'll start the bidding at $20.

"Our national anthem should be sung as written, not embellished by anyone. It is an embarrassment." - Rocky River

I hear that and I completely agree! Nothing grates on me like hearing some so-called singer warbling his or her way through the anthem. Their dirty little secret is that they CAN'T sing it as written. It is too hard! So they modulate, they twang, they ad-lib and improvise, they slide all around the notes, because that is ALL they can do.

If you cannot sing it straight, you should not sing it -- at least not as a featured performer when you are a so-called "recording artist." You know, I loved the way Ray Charles sang, but he NEVER performed the anthem because he didn't think he could do it justice. And really, it IS a hard song to sing well. But that is why public performances of the anthem should be by TALENTED singers with RANGE and GOOD PITCH. And you can't even boo these people because then you look unpatriotic, and the thought-police will come for you.

On a side note, I did approve of the instrumental arrangement of the anthem during the various Olympic medal ceremonies. But you know what? It was respectful. It was dignified. It wasn't a singer in a white warm-up suit and sweatband showing off that she could hit stratospheric notes that would make dogs run for cover when she couldn't hit the notes in between. And double-damn the lame-asses who lip-sync it.

You know what we need to hear more of? The Stars and Stripes Forever. There is nothing more rousing than a Sousa march. We need more of that!

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Feel Good Story

Watch this video, and see if you don't feel just so good for this kid.  Wow.

Fifteen Minutes

"In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes."
-- Andy Warhol
 
Lately I've been feeling that maybe blogging is a little too much like parading around with the blinds open.  While I set limits on the things I write about, I wonder if I can maintain such limits?  It is not as if it is a great secret who I am, although my name isn't plastered all over this thing.  And think it is a great way to let people know I'm alive and what I'm up to.  I certainly don't mind my friends knowing that.  But what about the people who are not my friends?  What about people who might actually mean to do me harm?  Harm need not mean turning up face down in the lake. 
 
Don't get me wrong -- I intend to keep blogging.  Yes, BMac, there will be a Tuesday Talkback tomorrow.  But the last few days I watched a couple other people take a few hits in connection to their blogging.  I am not going to link to it here, and I am not going to get into a discussion here about whether they had it coming.  But I know that I would not want to be on the receiving end of what they got.
 
Anyway, I hope everyone is keeping warm.  Love that snow that arrived this morning just in time for rush hour.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Special Programming

I haven't had much time to blog this week.  But MJ has put up a few things lately, so please feel free to go read over there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

Another taxing Monday Moaning begat another Tuesday Talkback.

"Dick Cheney made a mistake. He should have been hunting with George and carrying a 12-gauge." - Parma Heights

That's pretty clever. Did you know your phone was wiretapped when you called that in? I bet you do now -- enjoy your stay at Club Gitmo.

"When will the gullible public begin to rebel against that ridiculous sales gimmick of pricing a $20 item at $19? With the sales tax, I always feel like saying, 'keep the change.' " - Cleveland Heights

Merchants do it because it works. Rebel? What are you going to do, stop buying things? Good luck with that. Keep the change? What change? A $19 item with 7.5% tax totals out at $20.43. What are you trying to do, drop a twenty on the counter and run away, shortchanging the register by 43 cents? What are you, some sort of tax cheat? Of course, thanks to Bob Taft's enforcement of the Use Tax pretty much anyone who buys anything from a catalog or online or even on vacation outside of Ohio runs the risk of being a tax cheat. Thanks, Bob!

"The Bush administration is cutting funding to the cities, which will make it more difficult to man police and fire stations, but yet Dick Cheney has an ambulance that travels with him." - Eastlake

You know how silly that sounds? Allow me to rewrite it: The Bush administration is cutting funding to cities, which means cuts to public transportation, yet the president has a limo. Not to mention his own airplane. Yeah, maybe we should mothball Air Force One and he can fly Southwest? C'mon!

"Bush came to Ohio for his 39th visit. Where was he last August when we lost our beautiful heroes from the 325th from Brook Park? Shame on you, Bush." - Solon

Been saving this since last August? Well, here is the schedule of events from that day. No president, no veep, no civilian representative of the administration. Truthfully, I do not know the protocol for such events. Either way, I am not going to make any excuses for him.

"I'm amused with the obsession in the media to refer to Prophet Muhammad. When was the last time you heard anyone in the media refer to Lord Jesus Christ?" - Painesville Township

Interesting point. My thinking: they don't want anyone to mix him up with this guy.

"I'm sick of hearing about Dick Cheney in the media. You would have thought he committed murder." - No City

Remember when veeps would resign over such silliness as mere tax evasion? Ah, the good old days. I'd love to see the tax returns of our public officials and see how much Use Tax they report.

"Many supermarkets hire ladies to pass out food samples all day. They should give them a stool. Oh, my aching back!" - Berea

Who wants to take food samples from a lady with a stool? What if she touches her stool without washing her hands? That's how you spread hepatitis.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Jitters!

I don't usually drink coffee in the morning until I leave for work.  Then I pick some up along the way, or I drink some once I get to the office.
 
Last night I had a bright idea.  I programmed to the coffee maker to brew me a pot first thing. 
 
When I awoke this morning, I could smell the coffee.  And I went downstairs and had my first cup.
 
Then I checked my email.  Then I got a second cup.
 
Then I got out the shower and went for my third cup.
 
I had three cups of coffee before I even left the house. 
 
I've been bouncing off the walls ever since.  I've had no coffee since that third cup.  And three cups of coffee isn't usually a lot for me.  But the timing!  I threw off my whole routine.  Even now, I still feel jittery.  I didn't even have caffeinated soda with lunch! 
 
I'm going to have to rethink this.  As soon as I can properly focus on the subject.
 

Marketing the Assets We Have

The Sunday PD offered another examination of Cleveland's self-loathing: Cleveland Struggling to Believe in Itself.

And you know what -- it isn't exactly news that here in Cleveland we tend to take setbacks hard and take them badly.

When BP and Amoco merged we mourned the jobs that left here for Chicago. When Society and Key merged, we... failed to notice all the jobs we took from Albany. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is bringing 350 Quicken Loans jobs to Cleveland, but do we celebrate? Instead we brood over what cuts Ford will make next.

As strange as it may be to believe, even without casinos and a new convention center, we have assets we can market nationally. Yet we don't, or not nearly enough. And we should. I hereby propose a simple campaign. No, it won't solve all of our problems, but it doesn't have to -- it will get us noticed:

1. Did you know that in Cuyahoga County and the six counties that surround it there are 120 public golf courses? And this does not even count the private courses. Go to any major city with hefty commuting problems, and buy billboards about a half hour's drive outside of their downtowns that state something like:

"If your office were in downtown Cleveland, you could be teeing off right now at one of the 120 golf courses in the region, instead of sitting here in traffic."

And actually, that number would be higher, once you throw in the number of private courses.

2. Maybe you could throw this in as a parenthetical on the same billboards:

"And the average price for a single family home in the Cleveland area is just $132,400."

Granted, I don't know how current that figure is -- but the point remains: in many other major markets, real estate prices have risen to the point that the goal of home ownership is well out of reach of many people. That is not the case here.

My thinking: if the people who have the power to make the decisions know that they can readily golf and that their employees can attain affordable housing, those are two attractive things we can market RIGHT NOW. And there are lots of others too, the world class Cleveland Orchestra, Playhouse Square, fishing on Lake Erie, just to name a few. What are we waiting for?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Curry

So last night, instead of ordering a pizza, I thought I'd try something that might be better for me. Actually I have no idea whether it is better for me nutritionally or not, but I am going to pretend it is. I got carryout (takeaway, if HilyG is reading this) from Cafe Tandoor. Cafe Tandoor is my favorite Indian restaurant anywhere, and I had not eaten there in years. MJ has always seemed lukewarm toward the suggestion of going there for a meal, and her predecessor did not care for it, so we didn't go after that one time. But I got an order of Rogan Josh (curried lamb) and saffron rice. I took it home, and MJ and I split it. She liked it very much and it was as good as I remembered.

This morning I still have that warm feeling inside that I get only from eating curry. I love that.

I brought workout clothes with me to work today -- I'm going to the club either at lunchtime or after work. Haven't decided yet.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scared Straight ... to the Gym

Well, I considered last month rejoining the health club across the street from my office.  I even called over there, had them send me the application.

Today I called back over there, made an appointment to reaquaint myself with the facilities and to reactivate my membership.

Several things inspired this.  Events of last week helped, certainly.  Also, if I want to be serious about biking this coming year, I need to get into training now.  I need to do some spinning.  I have lined up a road bike to ride, though I'm going to need to tune it up, get new tires etc.  But I am in no shape at the moment to ride with the big boys.  I don't know that I will be even if I start training now, but I sure as hell am going to give it a try.  It'll be Spring before we know it, and if I start trying to get in shape then, I will never catch up.

Last year, MJ and I didn't begin to ride the wya we did the year before.  A lot of time was spent preoccupied with house hunting, house purchasing, moving, etc.  This year, I want to get out more.  I want to spend more time on the towpath next year -- I'd also like to ride that trail in Ashtabula county where the train tracks used to be.  

My appointment is at 4, so I am heading over in a couple of minutes.

Gas Station Gripe, and It Is NOT about the PRICE (for once)

I've got a pet peeve to air out.

It is bad enough that gas costs so much.  Because of that, I usually just prepay $20 and put that much in my car.

And this leads to my pet peeve.

When you pay before you pump, they set the pump to stop.  That's a good thing.  If I give them $20, I don't want it to run over.

For as long as I can remember, the flow of the pump slows down as it approaches the full amount of the prepay.  For years, it would slow down for the last ten cents.  (I worked at a gas station in Ashtabula summers home from college, so I tend to think that I have an above-average awareness of how things work at a gas station.)

But at some places now, I've noticed, the pumps begin slowing down a good forty or even fifty cents before the full amount of the prepay.

What is the purpose of that?  Since it isn't done everywhere, I assume there is no proper purpose, except to waste our time. 

You'd think they'd want you to fill up as quickly as possible to free up the pump for the next guy.  That way, they will sell more gas.

If it takes 90 seconds to get to $19.50, I don't want to spend another 60 seconds getting to $20.00.

Unless they think I will get frustrated and hang up the pump without getting my full $20.  And if you aren't willing to stand there to get the last 40 cents, you probably aren't going to walk in and get it either.  That's free money to the gas station (or a Slimjim for the guy working the register.)

Does anyone have any better idea as to why some stations are doing this?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheney's Got a Gun -- Late Night roundup

Jon Stewart:

"Yes, as you've just heard, a near-tragedy over the weekend in south Texas. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt at a political supporter's ranch. Making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting VP since Alexander Hamilton.

"Hamilton, of course, shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.

---------------------------------------

Jay Leno:

"Something I just found out today about the incident. Do you know that Dick Cheney tortured the guy for a half hour before he shot him?"

* * *

"Cheney's defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy.  Which means that Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House since Bill Clinton."

---------------------------------------

David Letterman:

"The guy who got gunned down is a Republican lawyer and a big Republican donor and fortunately the buck shot was deflected by wads of laundered cash. So he's fine. He took a little in the wallet."

* * *

From "Cheney's Excuses," Monday night's Top 10 list: "I thought the guy was trying to go gay cowboy on me."

---------------------------------------

Jimmy Kimmel:

"It's part of the president's new Social Security plan. Once you hit 78, kablamo."

* * *

"You know what they say, if Dick Cheney comes out of his hole and shoots an old man in the face, 6 more weeks of winter."

---------------------------------------


more at the Wall Street Journal

Today is V-Day

Happy Valentine's Day everybody.  And in recognition of that, how about a little Meat Loaf?

On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Will he offer me his mouth?
Yes!
Will he offer me his teeth?
Yes!
Will he offer me his jaws?
Yes!
Will he offer me his hunger?
Yes!
Again, will he offer me his hunger?
Yes!
And will he starve without me?
Yes!
And does he love me?
Yes!
Yes!
On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Yes!
I bet you say that to all the boys.

Great News for Mike DeWine

The PD doesn't have it, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer does: Hackett Drops Out.

This is really disappointing.  Paul Hackett represented what the future of the Democratic Party could have been.  Instead they will run tired old Sherrod Brown against Senator Mike DeWine. 

Hackett reportedly dropped out after various party officials worked behind the scenes to both try to convince Hackett that he should clear the field for Sherrod Brown, and take another run at Ohio's Second Congressional District, which he nearly won in a recent special election. 

Word is that other Democrats were approaching Hackett's donors, urging them to stop funding him if he doesn't switch races. 

Hackett promised the other candidates that he would not run in the Second.  They relied on that promise.  Hackett himself did not enter the senate race until Sherrod Brown said that he was passing on it.  Then Sherrod changed his mind. 

Money quote -- you can put this under the heading "don't piss off a Marine":

"For me, this is a second betrayal," Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."

This from Right Angle Blog:

Mr. Hackett said he was unwilling to run for the Congressional seat because he had given his word to three Democratic candidates that he would not enter that race.
"The party keeps saying for me not to worry about those promises because in politics they are broken all the time ," said Mr. Hackett, who plans to return to his practice as a lawyer in the Cincinnati area. "I don't work that way. My word is my bond."

Tuesday Talkback

Won't you be my Monday Moaner so I can Talkback to you on Tuesday?

"What's with these pregnant women wearing skin-tight shirts and low slung jeans so their belly buttons and huge stomachs are hanging out? . . . Don't these people have mirrors in their homes?" - Novelty

Their mirrors are too short, their shirts are too short, and their pants are too low. Perhaps you should start a charity for these poor disadvantaged women. Right. C'mon, nothing says "that's hot" like a pregnant belly with a pierced belly button.

"I wonder if the Cleveland Indians are really just a farm team. They develop the players and then they move them up to the big leagues." - Parma

Until baseball gets a salary cap, aren't they all just farm teams for the Yankees?

"W ould someone please inform the folks up in the Heights that it's time to take down you Gore/ Lieberman and Kerry/Edwards yard signs and bumper stickers. Your candidates lost, and now it's time to move on." - Mentor

Oh, how precious, the guy from Mentor telling the people in the Heights how to live. Does their little protest offend your sense of christianist-socialist order? Since they aren't with the president, they must be with the terrorists? What I can't get over are the people who still have W and Bush stickers on their cars -- if he'd've fulled me twice, I wouldn't still be bragging about it. Still, isn't it helpful when the morons freely identify themselves? Nothing accomplishes that like a bumper sticker.

"It's appalling that Barbara Byrd- Bennett is getting such lavish gifts, parties and money. Every penny of that money should be stripped from her hands and given to the schools, which need it the most. She should leave in disgrace." - Rocky River

Another suburbanite who knows so much about how Cleveland should run its schools. Blah blah blah. Whatever.

"To all of you tailgaters: I will not go faster because of you. Do you know that if you hit me from behind it's your fault? Bumpers are very expensive." - Parma

Yes, we know. And fault or not, getting hit from behind is -- shall we say -- inconvenient. Is that how you want to spend your afternoon? Attention all Buick drivers: the pedal on the right -- PRESS IT WITH YOUR FOOT!

"The month of February has two R's, not one." - Lorain

I get so confused. Either way, I guess we don't have time for all three Rs since it is a short month. No reading this month!

"I can't believe that the Habitat for Humanity in Portage County is having a sale on materials that it says it doesn't need. There are so many people in the Gulf coast that need these materials; why not donate them?" - Garfield Heights

My guess is that it wouldn't be cost effective to ship the materials. Or that Habitat, being a non-profit itself, needs to raise funds for itself here. You know, just because a hurricane hit the Gulf Coast doesn't mean that other charities elsewhere closed shop.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Bowler Hat

(picking up a derby)
It's called a bowler hat.
I have no wife.
The swallow flying through the sky
Is not as swift as I
Am, flying through my life.
You pour the milk before the tea.

The Dutch ambassador is no fool.
I must remember that.

I wear a bowler hat.
They send me wine.
The house is far too grand.

I've bought a new umbrella stand.

Today I visited the church beside the shrine.

I'm learning English from a book.

Most exciting.

It's called a bowler hat.


(bringing out a watch)

It's called a pocket watch.

I have a wife.

No eagle flies against the sky

As eagerly as I

Have flown against my life.

One smokes American cigars.

The Dutch ambassador was most rude.

I will remember that.


I wind my pocket watch.

We serve white wine.

The house is far too small.

I killed a spider on the wall.

One of the servants thought it was a lucky sign.

I read Spinoza every day.

Formidable.

Where is my bowler hat?


(putting a monocle to his eye)

It's called a monocle.

I've left my wife.

No bird exploring in the sky

Explores as well as I

The corners of my life.

One must keep moving with the times.

The Dutch ambassador is a fool.

He wears a bowler hat.


(putting on a pair of glasses)

They call them spectacles.

I drink much wine.

I take imported pills.
I have a house up in the hills

I've hired British architects to redesign.

One must accomodate the times

As one lives them.

One must remember that.


-- Stephen Sondheim (Pacific Overtures)

Ray is Home

Ray went home on Sunday.  It would be nice to say that life for Ray and Kristen will now be returning to some degree of normality.  To the extent that this means that new routines, new habits and a different way of life will become the new "normality," then yes.  Easier said than done, I know.  But after what Ray just went through, it could either scare him straight or make him think that he really is invincible -- heart attack? bah! done that!  But reasonably speaking, it is the end of bacon and other such delights.
 
I've read lots about heart healthy diets.  I have been very poor about applying what I read.  That needs to change. 
 
But in the meantime, I went to the dentist to have both of my fillings replaced.  I have one in my molars, and one where I had the root canal a few years ago.  The one in the molars is tricky.  I have a temporary filling in while the new one is being custom made.  Two weeks!  And it is difficult to chew on that side.  And cold drinks hurt!  I am beginning to understand why the Irish diet is made up of mashed potatoes and warm beer.
 
I also had my first experience with nitrous oxide.  Woo.  They gave me a little too much.  In about three minutes, I had that warm feeling you get when you've had way too much to drink, and try having one more to sustain it, only it brings it all crashing down.  Except that ninety seconds later, it was as if nothing had happened at all. 

Friday, February 10, 2006

Only Immortal for a Limited Time

I had just started at my present firm when I heard about Rick.  Rick couldn't have been but a couple years older than me.  He was smart and had a quick wit.  He rocked hard.  He had a privileged upbringing, but he was hardly someone you'd call pretentious.  He had a beautiful wife and a beautiful little baby girl.  I had only known him since 1999, but to meet Rick once was to know and love the guy.  And when we lost him, suddenly, unexpectedly, when he left that beautiful wife and daughter behind, and his family and friends, it was not to be believed.  When you are only in your early 30s, you aren't supposed to have heart problems and for god's sake you aren't supposed to die.  But Rick wasn't a perfect physical specimen, and no, he probably didn't do enough to take care of himself.

That was three years ago.  You'd have thought I'd have learned something from that experience.  I made no significant lifestyle changes, at least not any that I've stuck with.  If anything I have reverted to just about all of my nasty ways. 

But here we are again.  Three years later, almost to the day.  And this time, my friend should be ok.  But he is younger than me, and again this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen.  Before this all happened yesterday, the last time I saw Ray were were throwing back scotches at my house.  And while I am confident he is in good hands and that he is going to be ok, I don't suspect that we'll be throwing back the scotch any time soon, nor should we. 

And while I did eat at Wendy's after I left the hospital, it was a guilty lunch.  At least I felt bad for eating the cheeseburger.  No fries.

Read more about Ray HERE.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

another lunch twofer

Yesterday I went to Quizno's for lunch.  I ordered a Turkey Bacon Guacamole, and they made me a Turkey and Swiss.  They caught the error before they gave me the sandwich.  They remade the order then gave me both sandwiches.

With any luck, the Turkey and Swiss is waiting for me in the fridge.  Unfortunately, where I work we have someone who sometimes raids the fridge.  Even if not, I have no idea how good a day old Quizno's sub is. 

Damn it sure is snowing outside!  I just looked!  We had such a mild January, our luck was bound to run out.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Show Preview: Carbon Leaf

This Friday -- Haves, George and I are planning on going to the Carbon Leaf show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights. 

I've seen them one other time.  This Virginia based band provides a pleasant set of Irish influenced acoustic-based rock.  It will be a pleasant night out and the tickets are only $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 

The band's website streams tracks from their latest album, Indian Summer.  If you like what you hear, consider attending the show. 

From the band's FAQ section:

What are the band's influences?
Each of us has different musical influences, from classic rock to pop, jazz to jam, Celtic to bluegrass and roots.

I like Celtic music, bluegrass, but in smaller doses these days. As a kid, I grew up on too much Monkees and Beach Boys and Aha (some of the best lyrics out there), with adolescence spent on too much R.E.M., The Police & Sting, Nirvana, and Stone Roses. I like film scores. I am in need of time and money to pursue a lot of good music out there, but currently listen to some Strokes, David Gray, small doses of Coldplay & Radiohead, The Beatles, and Vanessa Daou.

Carter grew up with a lot of R.E.M., Phish and Bad Religion. Nowadays theres tons of different things on his radar: Brad Mehldau, David Grier, Danny Gatton, Uncle Tupelo, Bill Frisell, Pat Methany, Morphine, Mike Marshall, and Edgar Meyer.

Jordan grew up on Sting, Miles Davis, Barenaked Ladies, U2... while Terry favored Neil Young, AC/DC, The Pogues and The Chieftains.

Scott grew up on classic rock - Aerosmith, The Who, U2. In college, he was into Phish, Primus, 311, and the then "new" Seattle scene. These days, it's everything from Flaming Lips to Medeski, Martin & Wood, Fiona Apple to John Prine, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, Blink 182, Planet Drum, Calexico, Galactic, and The Roots.

Tuesday Talkback

They may be changing the Monday layout so they PD folks don't have to work so hard over the weekend, but there will still be Monday Moaning, and I will still be talking back.

"I'm disgusted with people who walk around in stores, etc., yawning without covering their mouths." -- Concord Township

This happens a lot? I have never noticed this. The custom of covering one's mouth while yawning began to prevent evil spirits from entering your body while your mouth was open. Are you a superstitious sort? A yawn helps get a quick hit of oxygen into the body when one is tired. Maybe you are just extremely boring to be around, thus making you the problem.

"Watching the food channels and all the women cooks have their hair flying around. They don't tie their hair back or use a hairnet." -- Euclid

Uh... I might not have HDTV, but there is no TV I am aware of that actually allows the food to pass through the screen so you can eat it. Do you have one of these? Or do you just resent having to wear a hairnet yourself at the shrimp shack?

"Why isn't there a theater on the West Side, like the Cedar Lee, featuring other than the mainstream movies? I think there is a real audience for these films." -- Brooklyn

Oh, the places I could go with this. I could make this an East side versus West side comment, or I could comment that if it was such a good idea it would already have been done, or if you think it is such a good idea, then quit whining and do it yourself! But really, I don't know why there isn't such a theater on the West side. Although the Cinemark in Valley View used to run a few independent and limited release films ... but since I live just blocks from the Cedar Lee, I'll admit I don't travel to the Cinemark much anymore. And don't get to the Cedar Lee nearly as often as I'd like.

"If the angel Gabriel announced the end of the world, these idiot TV stations would push for 10 more commercials first." -- Lorain

And why shouldn't they. What a shame it would be for the world to end AND to owe money back to your sponsors. Not to mention that Gabriel did more than enough to stir things up last time he came around.

"In addition to smoking/nonsmoking sections in restaurants, they should have cell phone/noncell phone sections." -- Mayfield Heights

And they should have a section where you can lie back and get a massage while they feed you and you listen to Tangerine Dream. Your problem is you don't like being around people. So try eating at home more.

"Parma residents are being cited for cracked and unsightly driveway aprons, but yet in Parma they don't repair the cracked and unsightly roads." -- Parma

It is good to be the king. Even the king of Parma.

"I am boycotting any TV or radio station that sends the traffic helicopters up at 6 a.m. They should be fined." -- Rocky River

Why? Do you live by the airport? In which case, whose fool idea was that? Did you think that was a metropark over there?

"With the price of gas, why do certain service stations charge 50 cents for air? The last time I checked, air was free." -- Lyndhurst

You can have all the free air you want -- breath it in. You are paying for the compression system, and that isn't free. And most stations that charge for air are located in places where they've had problems with people vandalizing the machine. So we all end up paying for that. Maybe if you fix the slow leak in your tire, and you will fix the slow leak from your change tray.

"Why do teens have to be so violent, regarding the death of that kid at Kaos in the Flats? There's no end to this madness! It's sickening!" -- Middleburg Heights

People have been murdering each other since Cain slew Able, and probably a lot longer than that. You are thought this would change in your lifetime? Ah, boys will be boys.

"I have a new 36-inch-screen television, but the remote is so small you almost need a microscope to find the buttons." -- Parma

Maybe this is like the bizarre phenomenon of guys whipping out their mobile phones and bragging about whose is smallest? Does your remote have crime deterrent? I discovered my remote has cat deterrent, then learned my hardwood floor has remote deterrent. (Can you tell which Super Bowl ad was my favorite?)

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Monday, February 06, 2006

XL Bad Call

No matter what bad calls are made, in the end, you have to overcome them. Seattle didn't do that. But it remains that two blown calls could very well have changed the outcome of this game.

First, that bogus pass interference call on Seattle that took away the touchdown early in the game. Both players were in contact with each other, minimal as it was. Seattle had to settle for a field goal.

Second, Big Ben didn't break the plane of the end zone in the so-called rushing TD. They might have had to settle for a field goal.

Those two calls alone, and it is a three point game.

But like I said, Seattle still had to overcome the bad calls. And their clock management was terrible.

So my only question now is: will the officials be getting Super Bowl rings too? They surely deserve recognition for their role in the game's outcome.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Day Before "The Big Game"

Between the Seahawks and the Steelers, who will I be rooting for?

No doubt about it, I'll be cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Now, I have never been to Seattle, and I've been to Pittsburgh numerous times. But I have cheered for Seattle before -- and believe it or not, I cheered for them against the Browns.

In 1994, the Browns cut Bernie Kosar. And while I was not a big Kosar fan, I thought it was stupid to cut him when Vinny Testaverde was hurt and not ready to play. The Browns cut Kosar and started Todd Philcox at QB against ... the Seattle Seahawks.

My roommate, Matt, was a Seattle native, and he wore his Seahawks fully confident that no one would be giving him any shit. And no one did. We watched Seattle spank the Browns 22-5 on one screen, while Bernie filled in for Troy Aikman and led the Dallas Cowboys to victory.

Twelve years later, I am taking the opportunity to root for the 'Hawks again. Today I went to two malls plus Dick's Sporting Goods in search of anything with the Hawk on it. I found one fitted hat that was too big for my head, so I skipped it. There was loads of Steelers crap everywhere.

So what can I possibly wear tomorrow that is blue with lime green trim? Do I own anything with that odd color combo?

Why yes! My Geddy Lee t-shirt! Woo-hoo! And Seattle is almost in Canada to boot!

And to any Steelers fan who is wondering, why would I root for Seattle? First of all, they've never been to a Super Bowl before. Second, they are not the stinky Steelers. Third, I like Mike Holmgren. Fourth, to see a kid like Matt Hasselbeck succeed after being picked up late in the draft makes for a great story.

Win or lose, the list of teams that ever never been to the Super Bowl grows shorter. And my Browns are still on it. But that brings me to another point. Most of the time, we Browns fans don't make a big deal about the fact that the Browns won the NFL Championship back in the 60s, right before the Super Bowl was established. But Steelers fans crow about the four Super Bowls they won in the 70s -- as if this just happened recently! All this silliness about "one for the thumb." It is not like there is even one Steeler on the team now that has four rings already. This is ancient history. But you get a Steelers fan going and they talk about The Immaculate Reception as if it happened as recently as The Tuck. And that is one more reason why I don't want the Steelers to win. Steelers fans mock the Browns, but they too live in the past.

Friday, February 03, 2006

another Pho experience: Pho Hoa

On Tuesday, MJ and I tried expanding our horizons, and tried Pho Hoa for dinner.  Pho Hoa is at the Golden Plaza at 3030 Superior, right by #1 Pho.  Apparently it opened just a few months before #1 Pho, but since it is tucked inside the plaza, it is easy to overlook.  Even when we tried to find it, we ended up in the soul food joint up front first, before we realized we needed to park and enter through the back of the plaza.

The atmosphere is nothing like #1 Pho.  It is a small room with just a few very plain tables and track lighting.   Nothing fancy at all.  The menu has some different items, though like #1 Pho, they had Pho Tai, which is my favorite soup at #1.  They offered a special where you got a large pho of your choice, a Vietnamese sandwich and a can of soda for $9.95.  So I got that.  Marquise got the Pho Tai and the appetizer special, some sort of roll with veggies, egg and sausage in it (I forget the name.)

The Pho Tai was very similar to #1's.  There was a larger portion beef in the bowl, but some of it had a little fat on it.  Hoa's had a generous amount of green onion too, and plenty of noodles.  We agreed we preferred the broth at #1 Pho.    But it was tasty all the same.  Both restaurants serve the sprouts, lemon grass and lime on the side.  Bottles of the dipping sauces for the beef are on every table. 

The Vietnamese sandwich was outstanding -- and #1 Pho doesn't offer one that I recall.  It was french bread with a smokey spicy meat on it (it reminded me a little of SlimJims), and crunchy veggies and fresh jalapeno slices on it.  I'd go back just for that sandwich. 

So, I'd eat there again -- especially if I was in the mood for the sandwich.  If I just want the Pho Tai, I think I prefer #1's broth, though I think Hoa's was a meatier dish.  #1 has the better atmosphere and feels a little more upscale.  The prices are comparable.  The two of us got out of Pho Hoa for about $22 plus tip, and we got plenty of food.  A man who appeared to be the proprietor was on hand and was very friendly and attentive.  Much of the staff appeared to speak Vietnamese only.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

senseo update

The shipment arrived.  I am enjoying my first cup of "Izzy's Blend" -- it is a tasty, medium roast that surpassing the Senseo brand coffee that comes with the machine. 

I am tempted to try all the flavors this afternoon, but I might be really wired if I do -- especially since this is on top of all the coffee I already had today.

Addiction? What Addiction?

The Bush administration has clarified its position on reducing our "addiction" to oil and Middle Eastern oil in particular.

Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports

I guess we are still working on reaching step one of this addiction.  Perhaps for next year's SOTU, someone could stage an intervention?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The State of the Union

Just a few observations.

I thought this year's state of the union address lacked focus, and at times, coherency.  It decended at times into snide rhetoric that should be beneath the dignity of the event.  Bush did a rather transparent job of setting up strawmen and then burning them.  Please -- the idea that anyone who disagrees with his Iraq policy is an isolationist?  Does he even know what an isolationist is?

The "addicted to oil" line and the commitment to reduce American dependence on oil -- some folks are giving him a lot of credit for that.  To me, it has the makings of being as disingenuous as Bill Clinton's "the era of big government is over."  If only W could be taken at his word, then that would be something to be excited about.  So, what's he actually going to do to end oil dependency?  The surest (and politically deadliest) way would be to implement a massive gasoline tax.  I'd be happy to hear less painful alternatives.

I wonder which speech-writer's head is going to roll for giving the Democrats that applause line regarding social security.  I am sure that was not intended, even though the official white house transcipt does note the mid sentence applause.  The sad thing is, we really do need serious entitlement reform in this country.  Bush's plan for social security was lousy.  And he is the wrong man to call upon congress to put aside partisan differences over this or anything else. 

So, who else watched it?  Or read it?  It can be hard to sit through, when it takes an hour to listen to speech that can be read in just 5 minutes.  Any thoughts?