Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tuesday Talkback -- Special Thursday Edition

The Monday Moanings were posted late. Be it Tuesday or Thursday, it is all still Talkback.

"The people who DO use their blinkers and think it's an automatic license to move over. To my understanding, you're still supposed to wait until you're clear to do so." - Shaker Heights

The best thing to do is not use your blinker at all. Don't warn anybody of your intentions -- or they might try to scoot up and block you.

"I've had it with the politically correct speech police. Little Johnny had to resign from his paper route for saying, 'Your mother wears combat boots.' " - Brecksville

If the little snot who delivered my newspaper insulted me, I'd let someone know about it. It has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with not being a fucking disrespectful little brat. And what kind of loser still uses that particular insult? That joke's so old, he should lose his day job.

"To all the people who call wanting to see my house that's for sale and never call to cancel. I rush home from work, straighten up the place, get a sitter to take the dog and kids and no one shows." - Parma

Perhaps, on their way to see this house, they realized it was in Parma.

"With the help of the federal government, we spent $5.2 million to build two ugly bridges for the Towpath Trail. Can't these people cross the street like normal people? We still have homeless people sleeping on these streets. They don't have any use for $5.2 million bridges just to cross the street." - Parma

Tell me -- as these bridges go over Granger and Warner roads in Valley View, just how many homeless are there on those streets? And supposing you do find one, since when is the merit of an infrastructure improvement determined by whether or not you first eradicated homelessness in the same area? And you bet I ride my bike on the Towpath Trail, so I'll tell you why the bridges are necessary -- because they go over busy streets that would be dangerous to cross by people (especially on bikes), and would cause a traffic bottleneck on BOTH those streets and the trail when both are operating at their peak volumes. These bridges will promote safer streets and a safer trail. As for any alleged homeless in Valley View, there are now two brand new bridges to sleep under.

"The thieves who take one bottle or can of beer out of the six pack. It cuts into a guy's profit margin, and I hope God takes double the amount off those guys when he settles up with them." - Euclid

Somewhere in Euclid, there is a man whose personal vision of God is that of a bartender -- a bartender who'll take it out of your ass at closing time. Last call, people of earth: you don't have to go to heaven, but you can't stay here! I guess we each have our own personal vision of God.

"I see they're gonna raise Medicare Part B again, which means more senior citizens will not be able to get their medication or buy food. I thought this new 'plan' was supposed to stop this." - Cleveland

Haaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa! You thought the new plans were to help PEOPLE? Well, if you count the shareholders of the drug companies, well then, yes, they do!

"I'm retired and living on a fixed income and have regularly donated blood. Recently, when I found out the obscene salaries and perks that Red Cross executives get, they can pay me for my blood." - Avon Lake

The marketplace determines how much executives get paid. If the Red Cross wants the top talent, it has to pay for it. You want to sell your blood? Go line up with the whores and junkies on West 25th and do that. That's your right.

"Why are the Medina city schools the first ones to get out for the summer and the last ones to go back?" - Medina

The state mandates a certain number of school days each year. Unless Medina is not in compliance, then it isn't getting away with anything. Perhaps Medina's vacations during the school year are shorter.

"Who's benefiting the most? Seniors in the low-income bracket spend 75 percent of their income for health care premiums and prescriptions drugs, whereas seniors in the high income bracket spend one percent of their income for health care premiums and prescriptions drugs." - Maple Heights

The people who busted their ass and got into the high bracket benefit the most, and that's the way it should be. Financial reward for hard work -- what is so difficult about this concept? Otherwise, what's the point of working so damn hard?

"They want you to compare natural gas prices. So why does Columbia Gas report its prices in cost per hundred cubic feet and Dominion report its prices in cost per thousand cubic feet? You have to move the decimal point around, and it makes it confusing." - Parma

Moving the decimal point. Oooooo. Math is hard, isn't it, Barbie?

"Why don't the Euclid police and Euclid city workers set an example and use their turn signals?" - Willoughby

Why don't people in Willoughby stay the hell out of Euclid?

"When driving during rush hour, we hear the radio traffic reports with background noise such as horns blowing, rescue squads, etc. More than once I had to slow down and almost caused an accident." - Parma

"Had to slow down" -- because of something you heard on the RADIO. I bet you drive a Buick too.

"The people who hang around the Get Go stations and watch for people filling up their tanks with Giant Eagle tokens. If you don't fill up your tank, they have the nerve to ask if they could use the balance of the amount for gas. I think that's pretty low." - Westlake

I don't know what these Giant Eagle "tokens" are. I only know about the shoppers card and the fuelperks offer. But anytime anyone tries to panhandle me at the gas station, I give them "the look" and I tell them, rather matter-of-factly, "I have nothing for you. Move along." Funny thing is, when I say it... they always move along. Not only are they not willing to work for anything, they aren't willing to fight for anything either. Except maybe the crazy ones. And then I point at the nearest Buick and tell them that they can have all the change from THAT car.

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This State



OK, this video obviously borrows extensively from the JibJab video of 2004 -- no new ground is broken as far as that goes. As for the content regarding Ohio politics, it hits awfully close to the mark.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Brownout

So, this morning I got up.  (shocking, yes.)  And as usual, I wandered to the bathroom and then to the computer to check my email.  Got an email from "Romangirl" who wanted me to know that the Monday Moanings have FINALLY been posted on Cleveland.com.  Yay!  So I sat down to write a belated edition of Tuesday Talkback.
 
Around 7am the computer went down, taking Tuesday Talkback with it.  And then I noticed that the lights were dim.  Sure enough -- all the major appliances were down, and the lights were all halflit throughout the house.
 
I then wondered if I had remembered to pay my electric bill.
 
I took a quick shower, knowing that water (and hot water) could be limited.  Threw on some clothes and went to the garage where, naturally, the garage door won't budge.  Fortunately, I no longer have a bunch of stuff piled in front of the side door inside the garage.  I went in, figured out how to manually release the door from its opener, and then escaped.
 
Since I couldn't make coffee, I stopped at Starbucks on Cedar Hill, where I ran into my cousin Pat.  Pat just happened to have with him the suitcase I lent my mom when we rode to Bethany Beach.  Since I had a few minutes, I rode up to his office so he could show me where he worked.  His company bought an old church that was to be demolished and converted it -- it is beautiful.  They respected the original architecture while creating beautiful work space. 
 
I then got to work, called First Energy, and learned that there was a voltage problem in my neighborhood, and that it should be fixed this morning.  I got the automated call back that it was indeed fixed, so I assume that it is and that I won't be throwing out a freezer full of food when I go home tonight.
 
But, if it weren't for the brownout, I would have had Tuesday Talkback up today.  But also, if it weren't for the brownout, I wouldn't have gone to Starbucks and run into Pat, gotten my suitcase, and gotten to see his really cool workplace.  So for me, it evens out.  For you... I'll be rewriting Talkback, probably tonight.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Uhhhhh, Nevermind

CNN Breaking News:
 

Boulder, Colorado, D.A. drops charges against John Mark Karr in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, according to Karr's attorney.

 
What a riot.

So Much for Monday Moaning... and Tuesday Talkback

Today's Monday Moaning once again does not appear on http://www.cleveland.com/mondaymoaning/
 
I read it in today's paper.  The hardcopy edition of the PD has it on page 2.  It did run today.  But it isn't available online. 
 
I wonder why.

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Beavis and JonBenet

On Saturday, Gina took her mom to see the Cleveland Orchestra perform at Blossom.  I tagged along.  Going to Blossom to see the symphony is quite a different experience from going there for any other show.  The most notable difference is that you are permitted to bring in pretty much anything.  They don't search your bags.  And it is generally expected that people will bring in bottles of wine, wine glasses, corkscrews, sharp knives to cut your picnic dinner, hardsided coolers, folding chairs. Almost anything goes, so long as you stay out on the lawn with that stuff -- none of it is permitted in the pavilion seating area.
 
Now, I have a long established rule that I don't sit on the lawn at Blossom.  I've had too many bad experiences with asinine behavior.  And usually, whenever I have deviated from that rule, I've come to be reminded why I set that rule in the first instance.  And while the orchestra was lovely, the music delightful, the picnic dinner and the wine all divine, and of course the company of Gina and her mom -- we were not spared the asinine behavior.
 
Now, I am not a parent -- so I realize that I have not, first hand, had to be responsible for calming down unruly children -- or at the very least, I have never been primarily responsible.  Likewise, I can appreciate wanting to expose children to the arts.  But what I did not appreciate were the children 10 feet from us jumping up and down and talking and giggling through the entire show.  The little blond girl kept jumping in and out of their wagon like it was playground equipment.  The baby boy laughed like Beavis through the whole show while his daddy encouraged him by bouncing him up and down and playing peekaboo with him the whole frigging time.  
 
I made a few rather pointed comments in the dark, directed their way, that they ignored.  Children will be children, yes.  But the adults did NOTHING to try to calm these kids down.  They were oblivious and rude.  There were lots of children everywhere, but the others I could see were behaved.  Instead, these offending adults seemed to encourage the behavior, playing right along with them!  
 
We got to the featured Debussy piece at the end of the program, and it started off very quietly.  All I could hear was JonBenet playing peekaboo with Beavis, knocking over her chair, causing a fuss, and finally, all of us all around them had it.  They started speaking in pointed, hushed, disapproving tones, with an appropriate amount of cussing at them all -- and under the circumstances, I had no problem with the older gentleman of retirment age, whispering loudly at them, "what the fuck is the matter with you people?"  If it had been a Browns game, we'd have been throwing our empty wine bottles by now. 
 
The eldest child grabbed the two little cretins and took them away, while the adult cretins stayed behind, oblivious, drunk, whatever.     
 
Nonetheless, I would go back to the lawn for the orchestra.  Sitting on a blanket, drinking wine, eating coldcuts and cheese, in a pastoral setting -- at its best is worth the chance.  All day Sunday I was updating my iPod with classical music that had gone long unlistened.  But when Stephanie warned me on Friday of her similar experience earlier in the summer, she chalked it up to the youth-oriented program that evening.  But I must report that a program of Debussy, Prokofiev and Mozart is no less immune to unruly devil-spawn of asshole parents.   
 
Besides, we also saw Andy and Jim -- just by chance.  So not everyone you run into on the lawn is an asshole. 

Friday, August 25, 2006

Awful Parody Political Ad

This is a real ad for a congressional race down in North Carolina. 
 
It is paid for by the campaign for Republican Vernon Robinson, who is challenging the Democratic incumbent, Brad Miller -- in what is considered a safe seat for Miller. 
 
Done to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

The Morning Commute

My street is busier than usual thanks to the construction on Cedar, so backing out of my driveway is extra fun.  After waiting impatiently, I finally just backed out into traffic and made them deal with it.
 
I usually take MLK to 90 to get to work now.  I do this for two reasons.  One, it is such a lovely drive, especially with the top down.  Two, it avoids all those traffic cameras on Chester.  I get to that hideously designed traffic circle -- you know the one I'm talking about, by Harrison park.  Anyway, the dipshit Audi driver in front of me has the right of way, but stops and yields to the traffic in the circle.  Well fuck that motherfucker -- I laid on the horn and went around him on the right.  Which got him all agitated as he then tried to chase me down MLK.  He eventually backed off when I gave him "the look." 
 
Merging onto 90, this other fool in front of me is waiting for an engraved invitation.  I slow down to allow him room to merge, and he still doesn't!  I finally just speed up and go ahead, shrugging my shoulders as I pass him.
 
Walking from my parking garage to my office, I encounter a man dressed like a painter.  He had baggy cream colored clothes with what looked like paint (or blood) stains all over him.  Then I hit the smell.  Ohhh.  Ohhh.  Sulfer-lad!  I smell you from 5 yards away!  Goddamn!  He wasn't even begging for money. 
 
I then realize I forgot my cell phone.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  Well, I'm not going home for it now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cleveland Browns 2005 Highlights



Last year looks better than I remember...
Go Cleveland Browns



It is almost football season. GO BROWNS!!!
Trampoline Basketball

OWWWWWWW!


Get the Medics!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Halfway to Dead Sangria Recipe

Since some of you asked, here is how I made the sangria for the Halfway to Dead party.
 
48 hours before serving:
 
Blend together two quarts of not-from-concentrate orange juice with two cups of lemon juice and two cups of sugar. 
 
Once the sugar has dissolved in the juice, blend that juice/sugar mix into 8 liters of cheap red burgundy (I used two of those 4-liter glass jugs from Zagara's -- I forget the brand name of the wine, but if you shop at Zagara's it was the only wine they had that came in a 4 liter glass jug).  
 
Then blend in a heaping cup of brandy and a heaping half cup of Grand Marnier.   Refrigerate.
 
Take two ice cube trays, pour more orange juice into the trays and freeze.
 
Minutes before serving:
 
Pour wine/juice/sugar/alcohol mix into your punch bowl or cooler.  Add frozen orange juice cubes.  Pour in two 2-liter bottles of chilled 7up.
 
Cheers!

Rush to Judgment

A parody lawsuit, where a Rush fan sues the band for damages caused by being a Rush fanatic. 
 
Inspired in part by a recent court ruling:
 
NAPLES — Bandmates of Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson aren't entitled to damages stemming from his scuffle with deputy sheriffs at a hotel in 2003, a federal judge said. Geddy Lee Weinrib and Neil Peart argued that they lost business because of Lifeson's brawl with deputies at a party to ring in 2004 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples. Lifeson, whose real name is Alex Zivojinovich, tumbled down a stairwell, and his nose was broken in the tussle with officers who were trying to arrest his son, Justin.

Time Stand Still

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath
Before I start off again.
Driven on without a moment to spend
To pass an evening with a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
I'd like to pause
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim
Who learns to transcend
Learns to live as if each step was the end

(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away

I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes
Let my defenses down
All those wounds that I can't get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around

(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away...

Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away
The innocence slips away

--Neil Peart

 

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More Halfway to Dead Pics

Kristen has posted some HERE.
 
Chad has posted a couple THERE.
Good times!

Tuesday Talkback Will Not Be Shown at This Time

It isn't the first time. But once again the PD ran Monday Moaning in the print edition of the paper, but for whatever reason did not post it online at cleveland.com. I read Monday Moaning in yesterday's PD and there were some really obnoxious moans that I was looking forward to talking back to. But I am not going to retype their article.

I wonder why it is that the PD sometimes doesn't make Monday Moaning available online. I find myself wondering whether there was something especially obnoxious or objectionable that made it into the print edition, and that a deliberate decision was made to limit the availability of the feature by not publishing it online.

I don't know. And I am not pretending to know, or to have any good reason to speculate whether that is the reason, or if it is simply an oversight.

So, instead, I am going to write about something else that is on my mind. As you may have heard, I recently turned 35 years old. I know, damn. And while age is "just a number," there are a few instances of where I am beginning to feel and notice my age, and how it does affect my thinking.

For instance, there is a radio ad running on WTAM for a certain establishment that I will not name here that does investment advising and retirement planning. They make the statement that if you are 20 or 30, you still have plenty of time, but if you are 40 or 50, you are running out of time. Well, I do notice how I am now trending closer to running out of time versus having plenty of time.

But I don't have a whole lot more to say about that here. I like the play on words that a "broker" makes you "broker" -- and I prefer to do my own research when I invest.

There is something else I have noticed about getting older and my tastes changing that I haven't really shared. In the past year, I've let my subscription to Playboy magazine lapse. I just don't relate to it anymore. And I've been reading and looking at Playboy a long time. I've had a subscription since I was 18. And I've read it and looked at since well before that, however I could get my hands on it. And I don't mind stating that I both read it and looked at it. The articles, interviews and pictorials were all integral parts of the experience.

But I have come to find the articles are less and less interesting to me. That the interview subjects are of less significance to me -- sometimes they are people I have barely heard of (another sign of age -- when your knowledge of pop culture stops growing... and you don't really care). I used to enjoy reading the fiction; now I skip over most of it as doggerel. (But they used to publish Bradbury and other good stuff!)

And finally, the girls they feature just do nothing for me: too fake, too plastic, too airbrushed, and too young. They are not attractive to me anymore. For instance, the issue currently on the newsstands features a Paris Hilton look-alike (not a nude link). I do not find Paris Hilton the least bit attractive, and I am not sure why anyone else does either. I don't understand why there is such a big deal made about her. Hilton is so skanky, that to call her a whore is insulting to real whores. And while the look-alike sure does look like Paris Hilton, this does not at all entice me to buy the magazine. Indeed, it only validates my decision to stop buying it.

And don't get me wrong. I still appreciate the female form. Very much so. I admit to a sort of duality about women. On one hand, I'm all about the T&A (among other features), and can appreciate/objectify a pretty girl walking down the street. But at the same time, some of my best and dearest friends are female, and I don't imagine actually sleeping with them. Yes they are female, yes they are attractive, but no.

But getting back to Playboy, I just don't get it anymore. And maybe that is how it is supposed to be. Maybe it has not changed, but it is me that has changed. I remember Hef once said that even as he grew older, his taste in women remained the same: that he still prefered the "girl next door" and she was young. Even Hef's own wives and girfriends never manage to stay with Hef but for just a few years. But Playboy models haven't always all been blond with gravity defying breast enhancement -- and that doesn't do it for me. I'm not sure if it ever did, but it certainly doesn't now. I don't view that as "the ideal." I don't look at a picture of a 19 year old with a boob job and think I have anything in common with that.

And as long as I am having this stream of consciousness about stuff that I probably shouldn't be writing about, let me add this: breast enhancement is waaay overrated. Now, if a woman has a mastectomy and wants reconstructive surgery, that's one thing. But other than that, I have to say that even the best surgeries still look fake. The breasts don't look right, and they don't feel right. And a lot of women lose sensitivity in their nipples when they have enhancements done, so I ask, why would anyone want that? Maybe I'm in the minority. Of course, if that's what you really want, well, then go have it. Just make sure you are doing it for yourself, and doing it for reasons you feel good about. And don't do it for some man.

Which brings me right back to Playboy. The airbrushed photos of the girl with the nose job and the boob job is simply not the girl next door. I don't know what she is, but she's not that.

So, no Tuesday Talkback this week. I hope the PD gets it together and puts Monday Moaning back on line next week -- lest I write about some other unsavory topic, like waxing your back.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Halfway to Dead ... The Credit


All I have to say is, Thank You, Kristen.

It was Kristen's idea to have the party. Kristen conceived, designed, printed and mailed the invitations. Kristen made all of the food ... on Friday night while I was out tailgating in the muni lot with Chad, Dave, Ray and Chris (and others) -- Kristen and Gina were cutting, spearing and marinating the meat-on-a-stick. While I made the sangria and mojitos, Kristen made the potato salad, the fruit cocktail, and EVERYTHING else other than the pasta salad Anne brought and the guacamole that Gina mashed together from Kathleen's popular recipe. Kristen designed the art for the cups, got the balloons, got all the party supplies and favors, and put together that great cake. Kat made me the fun t-shirt. The theme "Halfway to Dead" was conceived somewhere on Lee Road, in a brainstorm with Kristen, Ray and me. Lots of people brought things with them, wine, ice, little gifts to share -- and I appreciated all of them. All sorts of special people from different areas of my life made it out -- and I appreciate very much that everyone who made it out did make it out to wish me a happy 35th birthday. Thank you everybody!

But once again, thank you, Kristen. While I probably would have had some kind of get together to mark 35 years on the planet, it would not have begun to have been the event that you made it. I cannot fully express how much I appreciate what you did. I think it was the best party I've ever had. Posted by Picasa

Halfway to Dead Party, Some Collages




See more Halfway to Dead party pictures HERE. I know there were some other cameras at the party -- please send me your shots -- or if you've uploaded them, please send me a link. Posted by Picasa

Halfway to Dead Party, Some More Collages



Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

What Does Fire Taste Like?

Halfway to [Sangria]

I am excited about the party tomorrow night.  I started a batch of sangria last night.  I'm not putting a bunch of fruit in it, because I want it to dispense easily out of the cooler, and fruit will clog it all up.  I still think it will be good without the fruit, and if it isn't, then there will be a bunch leftover, won't there?
 
 

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Spoon



I loved this enough to share.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

huh?

CNN Breaking News:
 

A suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder has been arrested in Thailand, Denver TV station KUSA reports. CNN working to confirm.



No way!  No flippin' way!  Seriously?
 
Damn! 

Enjoy the Silence

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Cant you understand
Oh my little girl

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Enjoy the silence
 
-- Martin L. Gore

Salmon on Plank

Spotted over the weekend, zoomed in:


People, what year is this? These signs were hot, what, almost 20 years ago? And because you have this sign, so what? What are you trying to tell us? That you managed to procreate? That we are supposed to approach your car with caution, lest we catch the fumes of soiled nappies? And shouldn't your baby be in a carseat and not on a board? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

Still talking back to The Plain Dealer's Monday Moaning.

"To all those women who think it is so fashionable not to wear pantyhose with their outfits; it looks terrible, your legs are bony, especially those who are not in their 20s. Fifteen years ago, you never would be caught walking around like that." -Highland Heights

I am going to assume this is a man who said this because most men don't have any clue how uncomfortable pantyhose are. (I know because I listen! ooooo) Anyway, it seems to me that the primary thing pantyhose does is make the legs look smooth and uniform in color and texture. If you've got bony legs, you still have bony legs, even in hose. But what really gets me about this guy is that he expects women to respond and change the way they wear their clothes because he doesn't like the way they look. And he's obviously an older bastard, talking about the way women looked 15 years ago, and talking about how older women can't pull of the look compared with women in their 20s. And anyone want to bet this guy is nothing to look at either?

"I'm 85 years old and never once do any of my neighbors check to see if I'm alive, even when there's a power shortage. I would think the younger generation would have a little more consideration." - University Heights

If that is how you whine, I wouldn't go looking for you either.

"Since Time Warner took TV cable from Adelphia, the commercials seem to be getting longer and longer, including one of their own. Please tell me this isn't so." - Euclid

It sure it isn't. You are just looking for something more to complain about. You are naturally unhappy because (1) you are still using cable, and (2) you don't have a TiVo, because you are still watching commercials. But the real source of your unhappiness is that you spend too much time in front of the TV, with each passing breath, getting just a little bit dumber, thinking that as your useless life drags on that the real problem is these talking chickens who want to be french fries. Why would anyone want to be eaten like a french fry? Chickens are stupid, but c'mon!

"Can't companies do away with the coupons and just lower their prices . . . It is such a hassle for customers, clerks, and the people in line." - Richfield

Hell no. They don't want to give it all away. But for the people who take the time to clip and work hard to get the best deal -- they get the reward. And I support that. What pisses me off is mail-in rebates. I hate fronting my money, then waiting 10 weeks for a check that gets thrown away with the junk mail, if I even remember to fill out the paperwork. Which I usually set aside and forget about. Which is just what those bastards count on.

"Excluding the people along the rivers from last week's flooding, how many communities dredge out their sewer systems and clean the channels and culverts so the water is free to run?" - No city

Who moans about this sort of thing? Expect maybe a contractor looking for more work? Maybe I should try that... *ahem* ... It is too bad more people don't hire attorneys to help them stand up for their rights. Yeah, how brazen is that?

"The oil companies keep saying there's a shortage of oil, so they have to raise prices. I'm a construction worker and I'm going to tell my boss there's a lack of good weather, so he'll have to pay me more. It's about the same thing." - North Olmsted

No, it really isn't. Unless you provide the good weather. And if you've got that power, then provide some more oil already too, will you? I am so tired of all the moaning about oil and gas prices because the oil companies really do have us under the eight-ball. When we should be having an intelligent discussion about how to get out from under this, reduce consumption, and move on to alternate fuels, we get sheep that bleat this rubbish. So, instead of a lengthy and thoughtful intelligent discussion, allow me to put this out there: drive less, walk more, and don't drive a truck or SUV unless you need one for work (I tend to think that working construction counts.)

"Why do people refuse to use their blinkers when they're driving? I don't have a crystal ball in my car and can never figure out where they're going. Show a little courtesy." - Cleveland

Ah, they don't know where they are going either. And it isn't courtesy they need to show -- they need to follow the law. That said, some laws are meant to be broken, especially if they are invalid -- and later I'll tell you about my day in court yesterday, fighting the traffic cameras.

"If a local TV station insists on always taking the low road, it's good to see they get their just rewards." - Rocky River

More of this anti-channel 19 diatribe. Do people really care about this stuff? And I'll tell you, I love Browns football, but winning or losing the rights to show pre-season games, is that really such a big deal? What's the worst is these people they dig up to announce the games and do the color commentary. I am not going to argue here the place that Bernie Kosar has in the hearts of Cleveland sports fans -- but the guy looks and sounds awful on TV. He twirls his microphone, he fidgets and scratches his face, he makes funny faces, he leans and slouches, and he mumbles and sounds listless and intoxicated when he talks. For a guy who had no mobility outside the pocket, he needs to settle down and stop moving when he is front of a camera. And because he's Bernie Kosar, it seems like nobody has the balls to tell him what he needs to do to look and sound better on camera. Well, Bernie, there is your stage direction from Mr. Audient. You're welcome.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

WWJD about getting this Buick out of my way?


Cedar Hill last week. Here is someone very concerned about what Jesus would do -- especially for her/us. The Buick appears in its natural state: in front of me with the brake lights on. Admittedly, we are stopped at a light.

I wonder if Jesus would drive a Buick? Perhaps, but only if the path to salvation is paved with little tests of our patience while we drive.

Missing from this car is a bumpersticker that would read "In the event of rapture, this car will be unmanned." But with a Buick, will we really be able to tell?

As I mentioned, this was the middle of rush hour. Naturally, this Buick will end up attempting a left turn near the Giant Eagle. Love it. Posted by Picasa

The Buick Menace

I've said it and written it here repeatedly. Buick drivers are a menace on the road. They drive too slowly, react too slowly, and cause most of the backups on our nation's highways. At the front of almost every traffic jam, there is a Buick. And if it is anything other than a highway patrol cruiser or a Buick, chances are there is a Buick in that driver's garage at home.

Driving through Lake County on Saturday, I encountered the Buick Menace once again.

Look at this Buick driver. He is cruising in the passing lane, going barely the speed limit. That Lexus SUV is passing him on the right.


I prefer not to pass on the right, but this Buick driver is leaving me no choice. Unless caravaning behind a Buick travelling 63 miles per hour in the passing lane is a choice.


Looking back in my sideview mirror, the Buick driver still doesn't get it. He's had plenty of room to move over, but he doesn't. He's got a line of traffic behind him, and now a van passing him on his right.

Surely most of the nation's highway congestion problems would be ameliorated by simply suspending the drivers license of every person who owns or operates a Buick. I'd be willing to grant waivers, on a case by case basis, to people who drive the Riviera -- upon an affirmative showing by the preponderance of the evidence that they know the rules of road, and also that they sign a statement promising to drive deliberately. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kayaking in the Canal

My mom sent me this one:


I like it because for that one frame in time, it looks like we might know what we are doing in that kayak.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Halfway to Dead

It is official.  Today I turn 35 years old.  Weeeeeee.
 
I am having a party on the 19th.
 
Chances are, if you are a regular reader of The Audient Files (and if I had your mailing address), you received an invitation. (Thanks Kristen, for designing them and mailing them out.)
 
But if you didn't get one, and want the details, just send me an email.  (You can get my email from my profile if you don't already have it.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beach Kitties

Cozy

Comfy

Comfy and Cozy

Cozy and Comfy Posted by Picasa

More Bethany Beach Pictures





Even more Bethany Beach pictures HEREPosted by Picasa

Tuesday Talkback

Who needs death and taxes where there are petty grievances to moan about and talkback to?

"Cashiers who insist on licking their fingers to. . . count the money back into my hand. It's disgusting and has got to stop." - Hiram

That's the same reason I don't like books from the public library. Still, money is pretty filthy to begin with, even without a little spit -- don't be fooled that spit-free it isn't still filthy lucre.

"The nationally televised comments by Mary Rose Oakar and Dennis Kucinich did nothing to enhance the image of Cleveland, which we are trying to uplift. I was embarrassed. They are so uninformed." - Mayfield Heights

I have no idea what they said this time, but I don't doubt it. I am not sure that I would have used the word "uninformed," but they are certainly wrongheaded.

"Why does everyone refer to Ohio 176 as the Jennings Freeway when there are no signs indicating it is the Jennings Freeway?" - Orange

Because that's the name of that freeway, signs or no signs. I think the better question is why are there no signs on the Jennings Freeway identifying it as the Jennings Freeway. Locals have been referring to that highway as the Jennings Freeway since it was proposed and construction started back in the 1960s -- and not finished till 1998.

"Why is it that everywhere you go, such as a coffee shop, ice cream shop, there is always a tip jar? What is next, McDonalds? - Sagamore Hills Township

Because these people work for peanuts but make things to order that require a little bit of skill and care. And there is a little bit more care to making a grande triple no fat vanilla latte than there is to making a Big Mac (which are generally made six at a time.)

"Will Lorain County ever pave Columbia Township roads? - Columbia Township

Don't want dirt roads? Move out of the sticks. And if you live on a dirt road, you can be sure you will get assessed additional taxes to pay for that paving, Be careful what you wish for.

"Hey, sports bars, turn off 30 of the TVs that you're playing all day long and help conserve energy during the heat crisis." - Brooklyn

Right! And stop chilling your beer before you serve it too! Moron.

"Don't any of the newscasters in Cleveland know what the definition of 'next' is? You watch the news and they say 'coming up next', but you don't see it until the end of the hour." - North Olmsted

Not only that, but what you do get next is commercials. That said, if you are so easily and constantly tricked by what local newscasters have to say, have I got a freeway in the Heights to sell you.

"Why do they have to campaign on my telephone answering service with long messages three months before we will be voting? This just turns me off on whomever they are campaigning for." - South Euclid

Ohhhh, I hate being informed that there is an election going on, waaaah! But the whole process does stink, and nobody seems to be interested, as observed HERE.

"One percent of the sales tax in Cuyahoga County goes for RTA. To all the folks who like to poke along at 20 mph below the speed limit, they should ride some of these empty buses." - Berea

If everyone who drove a Buick rode the bus instead, the roads would be less congested. Except for being stuck in the lane behind that bus, picking up all those Depends-wearing Buick drivers, licking their money to pay the fare.

"I think the women who are highlighted in Arts & Life every Friday need to realize they are not in their 20s anymore, and they need to dress in a classic sense of style. They look ridiculous. You need to dress your age." - Cleveland

B-o-r-i-n-g. No need to photograph classic fashion, we already know what that looks like. Personally, I prefer the Dillards and Kaufmanns ads. You can't whip out a Playboy or even a lad mag in polite company, but you can sit on the bus and look at a Dillard's ad for a bra sale without question. There is something comforting about reading a newsstory on jihadists placed next to a model showing off her cleavage. "Death to the infidels" next to "lift and separate." Yay, decadence.

"I will only conserve so much when it gets hot. The electric companies have known for a while that their equipment is old and does not perform right for this day and age. I'm paying good money, and when I need to use my fans, I will use them. Not on high, but I will use them." - Cleveland Heights

"Not on high" or "not while high"?

"Shame on the sign company on State Road for that vulgar message for all our children to see. I'm an adult and I don't even want to see that trash." - Cleveland

I don't know what this sign said, but the sooner that children realize that we live in a vile and vulgar world, the better off they'll be. It is part of growing up.

"I'm not a smoker, but why don't they tax fast food, with all the heart disease, weight gain and diabetes they cause? I'm sure they could raise some money there." - Solon

Why don't we just raise taxes on people who have homes in Solon? I don't live in Solon, but with all the deer that get displaced and all the flooding that occurs due to overdevelopment, I bet we could raise some money there. How do you like that?

"Restaurant owners who don't instruct or don't care that the bus people wipe the tables off with the same rag as the seats, and they don't even have place mats. You won't get my business." - Brook Park

Maybe we could tax them extra too. I worked at a McDonald's when I was a teen, and I knew better than to use the same towel to wipe off both tables and seats.

"I don't know why they reinstated the ice cream trucks coming around. They are an unnecessary nuisance, the ice cream is expensive and the little ones who can't afford it are crying because they don't understand why they can't get ice cream." - Parma

I think it is a beautiful life lesson for the children. Just because you hear the sound of the ice cream truck, doesn't mean you are getting ice cream. Stop coddling the children. Let them suffer a little bit. It builds character. We're talking ice cream here, not insulin. Deprive them a little, it'll motivate them. Maybe they'll realize that money has value, and you don't just piss it away on any old nonsense that rides by.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Mini (revised)


This is Minerva -- or Mini-cat, or Mini. This is the last picture I ever took of her. I loved this little kitty. Fully grown, she was tiny for a cat. She loved attention. She never hissed, she never bit (except for affectionate little nibbles). She loved to be held and cuddled. She was beautiful. I loved her. I'd come home and she'd be waiting for me at the door. She'd flop down on the floor in front of me and she'd start purring. I'd pick her up and hold her close to me while she nuzzled and purred. I've had a lot of cats of the years, but I don't know if I ever had one as sweet as Mini.

Mini is gone now, gone to parts unknown. Someone else was entitled to take her. Sadly, and for whatever reason, when she took Mini she did not keep her for herself, but gave her away to strangers. Somehow she thought that was better than keeping Mini with one of the two people who adopted her as a kitten.

I hope that somewhere, out there, Mini has a good home, and people who appreciate her. She was so friendly, I want to believe she will have no problem adjusting to new people, so long as they care for her. I would have been happy to continue providing that home, and offered to do so. It was not to be.

But I will never forget Mini-cat. I will never forget the way she'd sometimes drool when I would pet her. I will never forget her squeaky little meow. I will never forget how she'd attack drinking straws and drink stirs. Or the way she'd jump and fly around the living room when we played with the feather.

Her feather sits on top of a bookshelf in the living room. Her food and water dishes sit empty and washed out. Her litter box is out in the garage. When Mini went away, she left with nothing. Even her cat carrier was left behind.

And Mini-cat is gone. There isn't much I miss about the things set aside and left behind from the last couple of years. Really, about the only thing I miss from that time is Mini.

And for the first time in almost 12 years, I live in a cat-free home. Strange, really. The slate is cleared. While the intent might have been mean, the positive side is that I will never have Mini-cat to remind me constantly of someone better forgotten.

And when the time is right, there will be a new kitty or two. And I now know just the person to help me pick them out. For me, it is usually right when things seem their worst that things open up and work out for the best. It doesn't happen on its own; I will be doing what I can to make sure this time is no different.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rush - Lock And Key LIVE (1988)

Here is the missing track from the re-release of "A Show of Hands." Originally, "Lock and Key" was available only on the laser disc version. One would have thought that when ASOH was finally remastered and rereleased (as part of Rush Replay x3) that they would have released the LD version, not the VHS version of the concert. But no dice. For anyone who hasn't seen it, here it is. Enjoy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

42

The DOD has asked Congress to raise the maximum age of recruitment for the armed forces from 35 to 42.

Article here.

Quote of Rep. Vic Snyder, Democrat of Arkansas, from the article:

“Recruitment is a challenge right now,” Snyder said. “Both the military and Congress are working on solutions, but I expect these challenges will be with us for some time. Military service is honorable and can be a real growing opportunity for a young man or woman.”

And maybe for a middle-aged man or woman, too.

How soon before we can see a father and son go through boot camp together? That'd make a fun movie, wouldn't it?

View from the Dock



View of the canal from the dock at Phish Inn, South Bethany, DE. Taken one week ago tonight. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Things I Learned Today, Part 13

Yesterday's Big Mac reheated in the microwave does NOT make for a good breakfast.  Should've gone for the maple scone.
Straub beer is so clean and refreshing, one can use it to wash down a large frozen bar of dark chocolate.  (Or so I have observed.)
 
Funerals and vacations really cut into one's billable hours.  Ouch!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

The moaning continues, and I'm tanned, rested, and ready to talk back.

"These wine connoisseurs who claim they smell strawberries, lilacs, peppers and rosemary during wine tastings have got to be smoking something illegal." - Lorain

Ohhh, because they have a palate more sophisticated that your Miracle Whip eating face, they must be smoking something. I bet you can't tell the difference between a yam and a sweet potato either.

"I hate it when they take my music and turn it into a marketing tool to sell me stuff. They took The Who's 'Magic Bus' and turned it into a Nissan commercial. I won't buy anything from The Who, and I won't buy anything from Nissan." - North Olmsted

What did you say? "My music"? Whose music? You think that is your music? Ha! Did you write that song? Did you windmill that guitar? Did you go apeshit on those drums? Are you their record label? And if you won't buy anything from The Who, then you shouldn't mind that Nissan is ... aw nevermind, you'd bitch if they played March Slav to a Japanese car ad... by the way, did you call in twice? More later...

"My intense disapproval to the in sensitive bozos at Channel 19 for airing the mother's call of her daughter's death. I think that is despicable." - Middleburg Heights

Oh yeah, you left out one small detail as to whose family this was... The Lerner family. But I must agree that it was unnecessary to play the tape. Funny that you left that out.

"Regarding your 'Retire at your Own Risk' series: When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey comes to Washington to pick up all the aging clowns, then will someone please step in to save the boomers from retirement hell? Please!" - Lakewood

I didn't read this series but I must say this: clowns, like the band Kiss, both have a great thing going for them. No matter how old they get, they can slather on that makeup and cover up their wrinkles and liver spots. And despite threats every couple of years, Gene Simmons will never retire. He just keeps coming back for the final time, again.

"Would someone please tell these women who are overweight to stop wearing all those tight clothes? Either lose weight or wear a girdle." - Cleveland

Uh oh, the fashion police has arrived, and not a moment too soon. I bet this kielbasa eating slug has no problem showing off his man-boobs under his Hooters t-shirt. We can all be grateful they don't make orange shorts in his size.

"I want to know why food manufacturers cannot stamp the expiration date on the product so that we can read it. It's either hidden or smeared." - Hudson

Because there is enough high fructose corn syrup in it to keep it fresh forever. Those dates are just for rotating stock. They are aspirational. Just the other day I tasted a beer that was over one year past its date. And you know what? It tasted like ass! And do you know why? Because there is no high fructose corn syrup in beer.

"Shame on all the people who think they are still entitled to park in a handicapped spot when the person in need of the extra closeness due to a handicap is not even traveling with them." - Solon

What kind of a world do we live in when we cannot even say "handicapped person" anymore, but instead say "the person in need of the extra closeness due to a handicap"? In answer to your question, apparently they issue those permits to the mentally challenged as well. (Yes, Audi A6 driver at the Giant Eagle at Legacy Village who nearly ran me over last Wednesday night, I am talking to you!) And the emotionally crippled. And the socially retarded. And other idiots and invalids.

"It irritates me that restaurants only serve mayonnaise with their sandwiches and never Miracle Whip." - Parma

Here is a tip for you to help you find a restaurant that serves Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise. Whenever you enter a restaurant, proceed immediately to the restroom. If it looks and smells like the entire attendance of the World Cup went in there and relieved themselves -- or if it looks anything like the restroom at the McDonald's at I-76 and I-79 near Pittsburgh, then order with confidence. You'll either get Miracle Whip, or mayonnaise so spoiled it'll taste like Miracle Whip.

There is only one thing for which Miracle Whip is good: chipped chopped ham sandwiches. On Wonder bread. With Velveeta. With a side of high fructose corn syrup to wash it all down. I don't eat that anymore, and neither should you.

"Edgewater Park and the piers that were broken up by the ice years ago look ugly. Nothing was ever done." - Parma

Someone in Parma calling something outside of Parma "ugly." Damn.

"Bush must be happy with the problems going on in this world. He always has that stupid grin on his face." - Maple Heights

What, me worry?

"First day of Browns training camp and the Cleveland jinx hits again. Hooray Browns." - Parma

Ohhhhh nooooo! I've been out of town the last few days. I have no idea what this is referring to, and I don't want to know. Dammit dammit dammit.

"It's a sin how high my home value increased. I could never sell it for that much." - Parma

I just got my adjusted real estate appraisal in the mail too. Who needs to raise taxes when they can just declare that your house is worth more? Bastards.

"With oil companies' profits sky rocketing and politicians doing nothing, I'll bet I get their attention come November." - Middleburg Heights

Ummmm, and someone thought the smile on the president's face was dopey?

"Why do foreign car companies have to use good American music to sell their product?" - Twinsburg

I'd love to see a Japanese car ad with the song "I Think I'm Turning Japanese" -- that would rock! Thus, it will probably never happen.

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