Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show -- Episode Two

 
Not as funny as the first one, but still funny.  Good sophomore effort.  I like the unicow.
 
Bring on episode three!!

On the Road

Today on my way in to work I took the scenic route -- meaning I drove up MLK through the Cultural Gardens to 90 and took 90 into the city. 
 
When I got onto 90, there was a huge motorcade of police cars from all different jurisdictions (including places I'd never heard of), light bars flashing, riding in procession.  Presumably to Avon.  I could not count how many there were.  I tried, but I couldn't keep count.
 
I didn't know the officer that was murdered in the line of duty in the Heights.  But I know Anne, and she knew him.  And I thought of the family and friends he left behind.  And I thought about the restraint the other officers must have had in not killing the sick excuse for a man that shot him on the scene.  I heard he made a circus of his own arraignment, appearing without (and refusing) counsel, spouting off outlandish nonsense that surely will be used later to demonstrate his mental unfitness.  
 
It is at a time like this that what I normally would call justice seems grossly inadequate.  There is nothing that can be done that brings back Jason West

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Excellent Review of Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet

 
Porcupine Tree
Fear of a Blank Planet
(Roadrunner/Atlantic)
US release date: 24 April 2007
UK release date: 16 April 2007
by Andrew Blackie


Arguably the biggest so-called progressive band out of England since the days of Pink Floyd, Hertfordshire's Porcupine Tree have all but carved their own art metal niche for themselves. Mind, it hasn't come easy; it took them more than a decade ironing out what kind of sound they wanted to pursue under the radar before they really hit their stride with 2002's In Absentia. Their major label debut, it bore all the trademarks of their esoteric, chillingly other-worldly, intimate and masterful sound, hemmed in on all sides by a monolithic production job. It was such an impressive combination, in fact, that even the mainstream had to sit up and take notice. Deadwing came three years later, a nine-track set of extreme variation, ranging from progressive psychedelia ("Arriving Somewhere But Not Here") to disarming piano-driven balladry ("Lazarus"), that made its screenplay concept all the more confusing. Safe to say, hopes were high for a follow-up.

Fear of a Blank Planet, the band's ultimate wink to Public Enemy, and their first album for Roadrunner Records, strips away all the pretenses and takes prog-metal back to its logical basics: six very extensive, motif-laden tracks are all there is to be found here. They're also sounding more like Pink Floyd torchbearers than ever, favoring swirling, schizophrenic arrangements which lend themselves to epic, far-reaching guitar jangles and bewildering sound effects. Those who tirelessly sing the praises of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy should catch an earful of Gavin Harrison's skills on the kit; his unpredictable rhythms at times seem to be the only thing keeping the floating helixes of music from drifting off into outer space.

Spectacular the music may be, but it's the reflective lyrics that keep the album firmly on Earth. Planet's songwriting takes on a darker and edgier nature, leaving its predecessors up in the clouds by comparison. Frontman and mouthpiece Steven Wilson dismisses family values emotionlessly, name-dropping MTV, Pearl Jam, and pornography, but never seems callous. "My X-box is a god to me / My finger's on the switch / My mother is a bitch / My father gave up ever trying to talk to me", he sings spitefully on the title track. The latter is built exclusively around a simple minor-key arpeggio plucked on an acoustic guitar, finding a way to build and build upon it, and does no less than hold our attention for all of its seven and a half minutes—now that's progressive! Upheaving into a wordless chorus, it's not unusual to hear a fluttering piano next to a segment of full-on rocking out, for example.

That and second entry "My Ashes" seem like mere warm-ups, though, compared to "Anesthetize", the moody, fifteen-minute-plus mother of a centrepiece, where the band let both their emotions and ambitions run free. It sure does take its time. Wilson utilizes an unsettling, distant delivery not unlike that of Thom Yorke, while the lyrics are of a simple metaphorical nature: "The water so warm that day / I was counting out the waves / And I followed their short life / As they broke on the shoreline / I could see you ... but I couldn't hear you", searching lines stretched across the great divide. The texture and glazed-over harmonies are oozing, as thick as honey; the guitar weaves from one speaker to another, as the track lifts slowly towards hope and the bright side, while the relentless drum thumps into your consciousness throughout it all. A few breakdowns spanning impenetrably across several minutes herald ascending chord changes, followed by a backbreakingly heavy whirlwind of double kick and angry pummeling at the eleven minute mark, the only all-out moment on the disc. Everything fits perfectly: clever crescendos provide a tingling sensation of comfort, and the final four minutes of riffage are pure pre-Dark Side of the Moon Floydian glory. The last thirty seconds are just whitewashes of reverb, as if the cut is so huge it needs time just to slow down.

On the other side of that, there are still three excellent slices of music to be heard, and signify a clear progression after "Anesthetize". "You can't blame your parents anymore", Wilson declares in "Sentimental", "And I'm not really sure / If the pills I've been taking are helping". The former lives up to its name: fluffy piano chords adorn the track with classical flourishes, and by and large it seems a lot more—dare I say it—good-natured than anything that has gone by up till now.

The transcendental "Way Out of Here"'s only hook is a desperate plea—"Way out, way out of here"—emulated as a question, not a statement. Everything else is so pointedly subdued and pristine that when that hits, it's so yearning it's as if Wilson's very soul is trying to escape. It's understandable, then, that the arrival of ambient closer "Sleep Together", another experimental foray, this time into swelling techno and keyboards, with an ominous Nine Inch Nails bassline and orchestral strings, comes as a bit of a shock. It is almost a complete right-hand turn from the rest of the album, abandoning the paranoia for openly sexual catchphrases. Still, it's hard to pretend it's of a standard any lower than the five sagas that come before it, and it may even open doors for future directions.

Fear of a Blank Planet is like an ocean, so vast that it crams its many themes into your brain more than any of their other albums thus far. Holding together as one gigantic concept and as six masterful compositions, Fear of a Blank Planet kicks upstarts like Isis and Tool back into their place with a listen overflowing with ideas. Whereas younger prog bands seem to feel the need to prove their worth through sudden time changes and wildly cryptic lyrics—something even the mighty Iron Maiden have been prone to of late—this band's art is much more subtle. It's the kind of rare record that, long after it's gone, leaves whispers in your ears. Pause and appreciate that splendor. Breathe in its divinity.
 
Follow this link to see the review complete with video of the title track.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

Someone at the PD and/or cleveland.com took a holiday -- while Monday Moaning ran in the print edition of the PD yesterday, it is not available online. And I won't retype those silly moans -- cutting and pasting them is bad enough.

This weekend we got Gina moved. My dad and I did more work in the master bedroom, and it is close to finished. I'm working on the closets now.

Saturday night, Gina had a lovely night out with the ladies while I got some much needed sleep.

After a previous attempt, we finally got to the Monet exhibit on Sunday morning. Who takes a screaming child to the art museum? OK, you want to expose the little brat to the arts, I can respect that. When the kid kept shreaking, maybe its time to take the little bastard home. Little blonde boy kept howling, and his mom kept patting him on the head and looking at the water lilies. I so very badly wanted to go up to her and ask whether she ever swatted her kid, and if not, would she mind giving it a try just this once? Fine exhibit otherwise.

Memorial Day was spent at home, working on various projects. I did take a moment to think of our vets and think of those who died in service to our country. Mostly I thought about our recent losses and those we stand to lose over the next few months or years in Iraq. As P.J. O'Rourke said on Real Time on Friday night, we're fucked if we leave and we're fucked if we stay. And the congressional Democrats wussed out. OK, there is funding till September -- and then they'll find the resolve to fight to end this war? Unlikely.

I think this week's Opus summed it all up. Here it is if you didn't see it.



We say we honor the fallen, but every day we add to the rolls for no good reason. Iraq did not attack us. We went in without a clearly defined plan as to our objective and our exit strategy. And because of this lack of vision, we will keep adding to the list of the fallen. We'll have a parade and we'll plant more flowers.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Browns ePlaybook Instant Update!

Look at this.  The Browns are actually encouraging a quarterback controversy. 

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From: Cleveland Browns < Browns@browns.ed10.net>
Date: May 23, 2007 9:50 AM
Subject: ePlaybook Instant Update!


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Cleveland Browns ePlaybook Instant Update

Frye: "The bar has been raised"

Charlie Frye is thinking about winning the job. But more than that, he's thinking about winning -- and being a major reason for the Browns winning.

"When I envision this year, I don't see myself having a so-so year," Frye said. "The bar has been raised."

The Browns kicked off their three weeks of organized team activity (OTA) practices Tuesday. They'll practice 11 more times over the next two-plus weeks, then cap the entire offseason program with a full-squad minicamp June 12-14.

As expected, the quarterback position is where one of the most intriguing -- and most important -- battles is taking place. The addition of Brady Quinn and the taste of action Derek Anderson got in four starts last season while Frye was injured have added some spice to the battle, and some pressure on Frye.

For more on this story, click here.


Sights and Sounds of OTA's

Browns OTA's aren't open to the public, but ClevelandBrowns.com's cameras were there. Check back later today and over the next few days for player interviews and raw video from the Browns workouts.

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Cleveland Browns Youth Football Camps - Sign Up Today!

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Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

A solitary moan to which I will talk back...

"To the moaner who thinks we should 'apply the old adage . . . engage our brains.' The word adage definitively implies old. It doesn't need a qualifier. I've grown so tired of this redundancy. Please restate your point over again. You are what you write." - Sagamore Hills Township

First of all, you should use your brain and reason with it -- and not rely on so-called "old adages." People used to think leeches would cure disease and that lead could be turned into gold -- but you are going to take their word on how to run your life today?

And, redundant as it may seem, it would appear that the first recorded use of "adage" was within the phrase "old adage" -- that doesn't mean you have to like it, of course.

Here is a delightful list of redundant expressions.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

More Photos before the PT Show...





Good times!
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The PT Pre-show Meet Up

We met up at Flannery's before the show... here are some of the people that were there.
Betty & Phil, and Gina.



Haves, me and George.

Gina & me, Jorge, BJ, Jeremiah, Christine and Dan.



Eric & Katherine, Jim, Melanie and Mike.


And the show was excellent too... set the setlist I posted on Saturday.

For more photos... see the link in my post from earlier this morning.
Posted by Picasa

Pre-show meet up photos.

Photos from the meetup before the Porcupine Tree show (and few post-show photos) are posted over HERE.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Porcupine Tree Set List -- 5/18/07 House of Blues - Cleveland

Fear of a Blank Planet
My Ashes
Anesthetize
Sentimental
Way Out of Here
Sleep Together

(5 minute break)

Lightbulb Sun
Open Car
Gravity Eyelids
Drown with Me
Blackest Eyes
Half Light
Sever
Trains

Encore:
Mother and Child Divided
Halo

YES -- they played the whole FoaBP from beginning to end as the opening set. And I loved how John Wesley covered the Alex Lifeson solo (his own take on it -- true to the spirit of Alex's solo, but Wes made it his own.) Also, Wes sang the lead on the choruses of My Ashes and Way Out of Here, as well as the "bipolar disorder" part on FoaBP. Steven Wilson played some keyboard as well as the guitar -- especially on Sentimental.

More later, including photos before the show at Flannery's.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Musictoday Talks Back

I apparently have had an impact...

I just got exchanged some email with Diane Biesecker of Musictoday.com.

She wrote:

Michael,

The refund for your Rush Preorder ($78.13) has been applied to your credit card today. It may take your banking institution up to 3 business days to see this credit in their system.

Please understand that this cancellation is in direct conflict with instruction given to us by Rush, who is our client. My employees, who you have named and spoken badly about on the Internet, were following the policies clearly stated on the website when you placed this order. Your bashing of them and of Musictoday is inappropriate and I would appreciate it if you would stop this activity.

Your order for tickets is currently still in place and is expected to ship in August. Both Rush Management and Musictoday reserve the right to cancel any order at any time.

Regards,
Diane Biesecker
Call Center Director
Musictoday, LLC

I wrote her back:

Ms. Biesecker:

Are you threatening to cancel my ticket order?

Michael Brennan

She responded:

I most certainly am not.

So I responded:

Then what did you mean by: "Your order for tickets is currently still in place and is expected to ship in August. Both Rush Management and Musictoday reserve the right to cancel any order at any time."

Are you suggesting that Rush Management and/or Musictoday is threatening to cancel my ticket?

And she responded:

I was confirming that your ticket order is still intact.

I do know that your Internet bashing of Musictoday has been viewed by both sets of management teams. I am not aware of what action they plan to take.

So I replied:

All I have done is report my experience with Musictoday.

Like Harry Truman used to say: I don't give them hell. I tell the truth and they just think it is hell.

If you think it is "bashing," then that is a reflection of Musictoday's policies and the actions and activities of their employees and agents. I tell the truth and you think it is bashing.

And I have received no further response.

The above emails were sent back and forth between 2:51pm and 3:04pm today, Eastern Daylight Time.

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Musictoday.com Still Sucks -- Rush Snakes & Arrows Preorder Problems Continue

So here I am one week later without my promised refund for just the CD.

And I am on the phone with musictoday...talking to "Seng" -- he now tells me that there has been a mistake, that Bentley should not have told me that just the CD could be refunded, that they cannot refund my money on the CD. He said that they have a contract with the band for no cancellations. I told them I don't care what your arrangement is with the band, Bentley told me I was to be refunded, I want my refund.

So now he says he can't take it off. But I can mail it back to them for a refund. There is a label that comes with returns -- sz it is on the back of the invoice, or that I can print one off from the preorder store website, and that with that label, I don't have to pay for the return shipping. He asks me if that is cool.

I tell him, no, it isn't cool. Bentley told me it would be taken off my order and my credit card refunded within 72 hours last Friday. Well, he was misinformed, Seng said. I sd, I don't care, he as a representative of musictoday told me I would get a refund, and now musictoday won't honor it. He started to blame it on the band and I interrupted him: That is not on the band, I said, that is on musictoday.

He then offered to cancel my entire order. !!!!

And once I got clarification that by entire order, he meant the CD/DVD/Tshirt/Sticker -- nothing more, nothing less, and not any tickets I ordered -- and he confirmed this would be completely independent of any tickets I may have ordered, and I said, fine. Let's do that.

And he said I'd be refunded within 72 hours and that I would not be allowed to buy anything from their online store again, and I said, no prob, I assure you I had no plans of ever buying merchandise from musictoday ever again.

And I asked for a confirmation # and he said (no surprise) that he could not give me one (here we go again) but that I would get an email today confirming the cancellation (we'll see) and that the whole order should be off my creditcard within 72 hours.

I'll believe it when I see it. Lying bastards.

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Porcupine Tree TONIGHT at HOB, doors open at 7

I am very excited about this show!!!  As of last night there were still a few tix available.
 
Here is Scene's write-up:
 
If the title and sentiment of Porcupine Tree's new CD Fear of a Blank Planet seem a tad cynical, they merely reflect frontman Steve Wilson's current state of mind. "Technology is affecting the younger generation," he says. "We live vicariously through gadgets. We have iPods and 500 channels of TV. We have drugs for bipolar disorder. And we have Big Brother. There's a sense that the 21st century is a scary place for a young person."

The album -- a rage against television, video games, and "download culture" in general -- ties together six songs in a 51-minute suite. Yes, Fear of a Blank Planet is a modern-day prog-rock record. But the British band (which has been making records for 15 years) plays like it's a tribute to '70s rock and roll -- no more specific genre required. "The whole idea of the album is disappearing," says Wilson. "We have this jukebox mentality. Sequencing and flow is going out the window. And that's become a microcosm of the 21st century." Wilson builds Fear of a Blank Planet with a flurry of synths, strings, and head-spinning rhythms. There's even a 17-minute epic called "Anesthetize" that wraps the album's doubts, desires, and anxieties in an aurally complex ball of confusion. "I wanted to do something on a grand scale this time," says Wilson. "I wanted it to be a conceptual piece of music that hangs together -- all related lyrically, all related musically. It's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together." Yet, for all his apprehensions, Wilson believes hope is on the horizon. He hears it in bands like the Flaming Lips, Nine Inch Nails, and Sigur Rós, and he sees it in a select group of young fans that take the time to dissect the records. But there's still a long way to go, he says. "It's hard not to sneer at what's presented as entertainment and art these days. Look at American Idol -- a program that's creating a generation of singers who should be singing on cruise ships. How far would Tom Waits get on a program like that?"

Date/Time: Fri., May 18, 7:00pm

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Amazon Twofer

Amazon is offering Rush's new album and Porcupine Tree's new album together in a package deal.
 
And there are still tix available for tomorrow night's PT show
 

This Is Cleveland

Last night the Cavs came home to play the Nets.  The Cavs lead the series 3-1, and a win last night would have advanced them to the conference championship series.  But this is Cleveland, so our star can barely hit a shot in the final quarter and ends up limping off the court with a minute left to play while the Cavs lose. 
 
It is going to take 7 games, and I won't predict the winner.
 
* * *
 
For the last two nights I have dreamed of pythons.  Last night I dreamed that the python attacked me.  That it wrapped itself around me, trying to squeeze the life out of me.  I could feel myself suffocating and losing strength.  I then beat the python when I took the wallpaper scraper (one I was using over the weekend in real life) and sliced up its head.  Yeah, in my dream I killed the snake with a wallpaper scraper. 
 
* * *
 
Tomorrow is the PT show.  Scene wrote a short article that appeared in the print edition, but isn't online.  I thought the headline was unfortunate, but the article was decent.  Ran a picture of the band too.  I am happy to see them get the exposure.
 
* * *
 
I have a couple pairs of socks that look black next to blue pants, and look blue next to black pants.  I hate that.
 
* * *
 
Andy Rooney has always been an old man and he is also a dirty old man.  I caught him at the end of 60 Minutes last Sunday -- he was showing off footage of how his look has changed over the years.  Even in the 70s he looked like an old man.  Then he showed archival footage of Diane Sawyer and Leslie Stahl and compared their various looks to how they look today, and concluded they look better than ever.  Wow.  Way to sexually harass your female colleagues on live television.  Ya old coot.
 
* * *
 
So, in the last Heroes, how did Sylar know where to encounter the truck that was transporting Ted to prison?  Also, why is he a two-dimensional character again?  They finally gave him some depth with the episode with his mother, and where he comes to believe that his fate will be to blow up half of NYC.  But now he's back to being one-track evil killing machine.  "Boom" -- yeah, whatever.  And anyone think that Linderman used that kid to fix any other elections?  I bet Diebold didn't count on that.
 
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Big Day

A preview...


...thank you Kristen for putting it together.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Honor of the Departed Jerry Falwell

Lots of media outlets write obituaries years in advance of the actual deaths of public figures so they can dust them off and run them as soon as the old bastards shuffle off this mortal coil.

The Audient Files is not that sophisticated. All I have for you is...

... the parody ad that ran in Hustler magazine, for which Falwell sued Hustler for defamation.

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Wikipedia has the backstory here, if you aren't familiar with it.

The good news is, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech, meaning they ruled in favor of Hustler. Hustler 1, Falwall 0.

As for Falwell, he lost at the Supreme Court, and I have a hunch he's in for a surprise. Besides the fact that Larry Flynt outlived him.

For more fine Falwell reading, here is a great list of quotes.

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Hey PT Fans...

Sentimental acoustic -- just Steven Wilson and a guitar.
 
I never wanna be old
And I don't want dependents
It's no fun to be told
That you can't blame your parents anymore
 
I'm finding it hard
to hang from a star
Don't wanna be
I don't wanna be old
 
Sullen and bored the kids stay
And in this way they wish away each day
Stoned in the mall the kids play
And in this way they wish away each day
 
I don't really know
If I care what is normal
And I'm not really sure
If the pills I've been taking are helping
I'm wasting my life
Hurting inside
I don't really know
And I'm not really sure?...

Tuesday Talkback -- Good Neighbor Edition

Just a little talkback to this Monday Moaner:

"Why is it that when I don't have to get up on weekends for work, am I woken at 9 a.m. to someone mowing their lawn? Isn't it courtesy to wait till at least 10 a.m. to do so? Come on people! I think that is so rude." - Parma

No, it isn't necessary to wait till 10AM. Nine in the morning is late enough. Once the sun has been out long enough to take the dew off the grass, it is time to mow. Wait much beyond mid-morning, and it is too hot for the grass to be cutting it. Sure, ten is still mid-morning, but then you are just getting started at 10AM. Otherwise, you're looking at mowing at 7PM

I agree that even if the dew is gone before 9AM, you should wait till nine to mow. Then let her rip.

So drag your tail out of bed, and join your neighbor in a little weekend lawn care. The bad neighbor isn't the one mowing at 9AM -- the bad neighbor is the one with the overgrown lawn.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Grocery Store Musings

I was at Heinen's on Green Road on Saturday morning.  I was on a mission: frosted mini-wheats, blueberries, and a Plain Dealer.  Whole Foods does not carry the PD, and I wanted either Kellogs or Post frosted minis so, no Whole Foods this trip.  Armed with but a humble hand basket at the store, I go through several packs of berries before I choose what appears to be the nicest one.  Then I head for the cereal aisle.
 
There was this old woman slowly pushing her cart -- exactly down the middle of the aisle.  I tried to scan the cereal on both sides of the aisle to see where the mini-wheats might be.  There appeared to be healthy cereal on the far end of the aisle, on both sides.  I walk briefly behind the old woman, who, if she moved any slower, she would have stopped altogether.  Finally, I say excuse me, as I pass her to the left. 
 
Then she moved very quickly to jam her cart right in front of me!  I turned and looked at her and probably gave her my WTF face.  She started scolding me about how rude I was for walking past her in the aisle.  I walked up to the mini-wheats and took a box.  I turned back at her and said that I meant no offense, and that I was sorry if she was offended.  She continued on about how offended she was, as I look over the other varieties of mini-wheats to see if there isn't another box I might rather try.  I turn again, and look at her and tell her, once again that I meant no offense, and that I was sorry. 
 
Still she would not let up.  Finally, I looked her in the eye and said, "How did you manage to grow so old, being so sensitive?"
 
She shut up. 
 
Satsified with my cereal selection, I announced that I would now be walking away.  I never even got into how she was the one being rude for walking down the middle of the aisle instead of picking a side. 
 
As I drove home, I thought about all the other things I could have said, even nastier things.  Then I wondered about how sad her existence must be if our exchange is what passes as human interaction in her life.  But mostly, I thought about how her grandchildren ought to put her in a home for Mother's Day.
 
* * *
 
The Tops at Severance became a Dave's.  I haven't been over there since it happened, but I heard it is dirty and pretty poor all around.
 
The Giant Eagle on Cedar Hill is now becoming a Dave's.  Does this mean the neighborhood there has officially turned?  That Cedar-Fairmount is now too urban and inner city (or whatever) to have a Giant Eagle -- that it has to be Dave's now?  I have to say, that Giant Eagle is in such a small space, that it often didn't have even some of the advertised sale items.  But somehow, by becoming a Dave's, it seems like a step down.  I've been to Dave's on Payne, and in Ohio City, and at Shaker Square, and while they are all serviceable, they are hardly my idea of great shopping.  
 
I have Whole Foods practically in my front yard.  But can we keep it?  Will it succeed?  If it doesn't, does that mean my neighborhood is going downhill?  We had a Tops, and that sits empty now.  How about that the KFC near me isn't actually a KFC but a "W Wingworks" or whatever they call that thing with the wings and the ribs and stuff -- that has the Colonel's image on it, but doesn't say KFC on the sign?  How about my neighbors who think they live on dandelion farms, spreading their nasty seed all over my formerly weed-free lawn?  Or maybe I'm driving down property values when I leave an old vacuum cleaner on the treelawn, hoping someone will take it, and no one does (though they took the old grill and the old rugs I put out with it just fine) and sits on my treelawn for 3 or 4 days before I finally return it to my garage to bag and dispose of on garage day. 

Magnify God

I was riding home the other day and I encountered yet another religiously themed vanity plate. Every time I see a plate like this, I recall how GODS DED has been and remains available. It seems like I see increasingly more religiously themed license plates.

So here is the plate I saw this time, near University Circle:

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"Magnify God." Magnify. Really. I thought, wow, is God so small? I thought, your God is a protozoan God, one which could be killed with a bleach wipe or a toilet cleanser. A microbial God that lives in your intestines would be one way to ensure that God is always with you. My E. Coli God is an angry God!

It turns out a Google search of "Magnify God" yields plenty of references that have nothing to do with God being a single-celled organism. A lot of it is in reference to speaking in tongues. Perhaps the driver in front of me at University Circle was having such a conversation, thus explaining why she was driving so slowly.

It look as if the last laugh was on me though, for on that same commute home I encountered... The Dark One!

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But he left me alone. I guess The Dark One doesn't sting unless you swat at him.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Taste It!

Yum.  Uh, no.
 
(thanks for the link, Gina!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Musictoday still sucks, but...

Now that the S&A DVD release has been postponed till June -- I called Musictoday again and asked them to cancel just the CD from my order -- telling them that when I placed my order, I did not expect to have to wait till June to get the CD.  THE ACTUALLY AGREED TO DO IT.  I talked to a guy who called himself "Bentley" -- I didn't have to argue with him or anything.

He said I should get a credit on my credit card in about 72 hours.
 
We'll see if they follow through.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

scotchie

I feel like a scotchie.  Is it quittin' time yet?

--
http://audientfiles.blogspot.com/

Mother's Day Cards

Mine are out.  If you haven't gotten yours yet, run, don't walk, run and get yours. For your mom or moms. 
 
Speaking of -- congrats to cousin Jim and his wife Beth -- I understand from Brent that you are expecting!
 

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

PT is coming to town!

Nine more days till May 18 -- and Porcupine Tree will be here! 

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

Not going to talk back this week.

Here are the moans if you want to see them. Pathetic lot, aren't they?

Here is an old lovely evangelical Christian cartoon going after the Mormons. I have no dog in that fight, but I somehow felt bad for Elder Romney Tanner.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Pleasing

When I worked for the government, there were certain plugger-types who had the following sign hanging up in their work area:
 
I can only please one person a day.
 
Today is not your day.
 
Tomorrow is not looking good either.
 
I hated those signs.  I remembered thinking that anyone displaying one ought to be fired on the spot.  I remember thinking that the statement that was being made was that the worker didn't give a shit about customer service, and stereotypically, the displayer being a low level bureaucrat, poor service is expected, sign or no sign.  That is almost axiomatic.
 
Looking back on it, maybe I misunderstood the statement.  Aren't such signs posted out of frustration?  Posted out of a sense of futility?  Almost no one who has business at the clerk of courts office or the BMV is ever happy to be there, no matter how smoothly it goes.  So no matter what the workers do, no one is really happy about how they went about doing it.  The workers know that.  And they are just being candid about.  It is very possible that some days, most days even, no one is pleased. Being able to please even one person a day might be unduly and irrationally optimistic.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Browns Tix for Sale!

First $900 buys them!

Cleveland+

Here is a map of the area touted as "Cleveland+."
 
Here is the main site of this pro-regionalism campaign.
 
I love that something is finally being done to market the region as a whole.
 
But looking at that map... there is a part of me that would be just as happy to see these counties be their own state.  The old Connecticut Western Reserve extended a little further west, and not as far south.  But still.  The Cleveland+ campaign recognizes that the fortunes of these counties are tied together, and as such, have embraced the idea.  What is good for Cleveland, good for Akron, good for Canton, good for Lorain, good for Warren, good for Ashtabula, good for Youngstown, good for Medina, good for Ashland, good for Mentor -- is good for us all.
 
So let's take it a step further.  Most of these lands were once part of Connecticut.  We could call it West Connecticut.  Yeah, I know the Connecticut river is nowhere near here.  What sounds better: Cleveland, Ohio?  Or Cleveland, West Connecticut?  OK, it is a mouthful.  And it sounds a little like West Virginia.  And it would abbreviate to WC -- like water closet.
 
Yeah, I just like causing trouble.  And giving the ax to the deadweight.  And by deadweight, I mean the other 75 counties in Ohio.  More than a third of Ohio's population resides in this part of the state, a little over four million people.  That's roughly the same number of people in North Carolina.  And eight times the people who live in Wyoming.  We'd get to keep our two senators, since they both live here.  And numbnuts in the statehouse can fight over what's left of Ohio, which I gotta tell you ain't all that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Historical Quotes of the Day

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

-- George W. Bush, 4/9/99, criticizing President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo.
 
 

"I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."

-- George W. Bush, 6/5/99

source
 

MusicToday Sucks

So I called back last night and spoke with Mary. Gave her my order number and asked to cancel my order. She refused. She said that they got a policy today that there would be no cancellations per the requirements of "the client." I asked who the client was. She said "Rush."

I asked her where on their website it shows us the policy of no cancellations. She said it was there. I said where? She said it is where you order. I said I don't see it. She gives me the website address -- of course I am already there. We walk through the website togather -- it isn't there. I try putting a CD in a cart and checking out -- it isn't there (althought I didn't hit the final button to purchase, but then it would be too late.) She then says that the no return policy was in the email confirmation I would have received when I ordered it. Again, I note that if the return policy is revealed only after purchase, then it is too late. Plus I then pull up my email confirmation and of course, there is no policy stated there.

She then tells me that if I don't want my order, I can mark the package -- unopened -- return to sender, and I'll be refunded for the CD, DVD, T-shirt. What about shipping, I ask? Not shipping. Only $62.98 of my $78.18 would be refunded. I confirm that my order hasn't shipped yet. I tell her it is ridiculous that I should be made to pay for shipping when I am telling her right now NOT TO SEND IT. She said too bad. She said have you ever heard of a pre-order that you could cancel? I said, I've never heard of ordering any merchandise that can't be cancelled before it is shipped. She said pre-orders are like concert tickets. I sd, no they are not. That is apples and oranges. Ordering a CD is like ordering a CD. She asks me again, have I ever heard of a preorder that can be cancelled? I said when I order FoaBP from newburycomics.com -- they didn't even charge me till they shipped. She said we're not newburycomics.com. I sd, well obviously, but you asked me about other preorders.

She sd again that they will not cancel. They've gotten lots of calls today. The policy they got TODAY is that there are no cancellations. I sd, if you got it today, then you were wasting my time (indeed LYING) when you said that it was on the website when I ordered it and in the confirmation email. She sd if they accept cancellations, they'll be in trouble with the client. They have a contract with them. I said, I am not a party to your contract, so that's musictoday's problem. And it is musictoday's problem that their anti-consumer policy of no cancellations is not advertised on the site, and you can't show me where it is. She insisted again that it was there -- I sd show me where -- she sd, I don't have time, that might take 10 minutes. I sd I have plenty of time, show me where it is. She sd I have other callers. I sd I don't care, show me. She sd preorders can't be cancelled because bands use them to know how much product to make. I sd, so what, show me the policy.

I then ask her where musictoday is located. She sd Virginia. I sd where in Virginia, she sd Charlottesville. I sd I've been to Charlottesville (which I have), and she is silent. I ask, does musictoday get sued a lot over its policies on preorders. She sd she doesn't know but she doesn't think so. I sd if you aren't going to refund my money on an order that hasn't even shipped yet, and since you can't show me a policy that allows you to do that, well then this is where this is headed. She sd, we have a contract with the band. I sd I'd like to see that contract. She sd I don't have it, I've never seen it. I sd, you can bet I'll be seeing it if I bring a suit on behalf of everybody burned on this preorder. She sd, this call is over, and she hung up.

I might file a complaint with the Attorney General's office in Virginia. And dispute it on my credit card -- let my bank fight it.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why I Didn't Get the New Rush Album Today Even though I Ordered It in March

When my CD didn't arrive today, I called Musictoday's toll free number 877-687-4277 -- Turns out I overlooked the fine print that if you order the CD and the DVD in the same order, you don't get any of it till the DVD release date.... May 15.

So I said fine. Take the CD off the order. They refused. Said the order is locked in and can't be changed. I asked to speak with a manager. After waiting 5 minutes for one, I get this rude bastard who won't tell me his name. He refused to change my order, and when I told him to cancel my order altogether he refused again. Said it was my fault for not reading the terms, and it was too bad. I told him that if he wouldn't fix it, I would dispute the charge with my credit card. He told me to go ahead, but since I failed to read the terms, I'll lose, and then he hung up on me.

I'll never preorder anything with Musictoday again. What a bunch of crap. $15.99 for a CD with expedited shipping (that I paid extra for) so I can get it on May 15 when the DVD gets released?

Hey, whatev. I can wait two more weeks. I refuse to go to even Circuit City and pay even the $9.99 sale price for it again. I overlooked the fine print, yes, but if they won't take it off, and if they have to be rude about it, then fuck 'em. And fuck the band's management for even affilliating with this Fly By Night (pun intended) company -- I did the preorder through the band's own website!

I downloaded it two weeks ago anyway, so I can wait two weeks for the real thing. So while I got it two weeks early, I'll be getting it two weeks late. Even tho I paid for it on March 27.

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I work for the Clinic, but...

There is a very good reason why an injured Cleveland Clinic police officer would go all the way to Metro for emergency treatment, but it still seems amusing to me.  You work for the world famous Cleveland Clinic, but for emergent care you go to Metro.  I get it.  It is still funny.  Not the part about being stabbed.  But having to go to Metro when you get hurt at the Clinic.
 
 
 

Officials: Hospital Officer Stabbed By Man With Mental Illness

POSTED: 9:38 am EDT May 1, 2007
UPDATED: 11:06 am EDT May 1, 2007

A man, who has a mental illness, attacked a Cleveland Clinic police officer, officials say.

The incident happened Tuesday morning.

The officer was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. There is no word on the extent of the injuries or what led to the stabbing.

A Moaner Talks Back

Last week, I commented about the dreariness that is Monday Moaning, instead of writing my more typical Tuesday Talkback.

This week, one of the Monday Moaners put it more succinctly:

"My Monday Moaning is the Monday Moaning. SHUT UP! Quit complaining! If you don't like the sports teams, root for someone else or don't watch. If you don't like what's on TV, don't watch. If you don't like what's on the radio, don't listen. If you don't like what your city is doing, do something about it. If everyone would just stop complaining and be concerned with what they can control, maybe the 'loser mindset' of this city will dissipate. Make a positive difference instead of bringing everyone down into the gutter with you." - Lakewood

I'm not the only one who has had enough of complaining in place of action.

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