Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Call Me Renfield

I just had to rescue the office from a bat -- or vice versa.  He flew into PK's office and sat down on the windowsill.  I took a small trash can and covered him with it.  I then took a legal sized file folder and slid it underneath.  I could hear him rustling around inside. 
I carefully flipped the can and walked to the elevator.  I did NOT tell the two women in the elevator what was in the can UNTIL we got down to the lobby.  One woman ran the other way, and the other followed me outside to see him.  
Outside in the valet area, I walked over to the empty designated smoking area.  I gently tipped the can in a nearby flowerbed, and the bat slid into the mulch.  He sat there for a few seconds, seemingly confused.  He was a cute little guy, like a mouse with wings.   Then he took off, and flew in a couple of circles overhead before flying away.  His wingspan was maybe eight inches.  The woman who followed me out was ducking and laughing.
I returned to the office... As a fly fisherman himself, PK was impressed by my calm and efficient catch and release.

Tuesday Talkback

The moaners are out in force and I'm talking back.

"Turn your fog lights off! Turn your fog lights off! Turn your fog lights off! Idiots." - Bedford

What the hell do you care?

"This is in regards to our public 'Futilities' departments that dig up streets to make repairs. When they finish, they pour concrete, but it is about 2 to 3 inches below the level of the pavement. This eats tires and suspension parts. Someone please wake up." - Cleveland

Consider it a favor -- uneven pavement means you'll slow down, which means less mobile traffic camera tickets.

"I wish vegetarians would study the human body and realize we are carnivores." - Rocky River

Study it yourself, moron. We are omnivores.

"We live on a corner lot and people just take advantage of us, always turning in our driveway, even when we're trying to get out. I wish I had a dollar from everyone who did that." - North Olmsted

A pair of bib overalls and a shotgun, and your pesky neighbor problem can soon be solved.

"Frank Jackson stated, at the be ginning of his term, he would leave if he wasn't doing a good job. Why hasn't he left?" - Lorain

You live in Lorain, which makes Cleveland look like San Francisco -- I don't give a damn for Frank Jackson, but who the hell are you?

"Why do all supermarkets and restaurants - Marc's stores, Steak 'n Shakes, just to name two - have the music so loud? Everyone is going to have hearing problems sometime in their lives. Turn it down!" - Mentor-on-the-Lake

They turn up the music whenever you're around to drown out your nasally yap.

"When will Mary Worth stop minding everybody else's business?" - Parma

Never! No one at Charterstone can escape her meddling.

"Lets see: Worked all my life, always pay my bills and taxes on time, paid my way through college, have no credit card debt, took no handouts, didn't produce a kid that I could ill afford and would be a burden on the state and taxpayers to raise, paid my house off, etc. My question: Where is my handout?" - Lorain

Start collecting social security and Medicare, and you too can be part of the entitlement problem.

"In the section 'What the Boss Makes,' there are seldom any women in the 'Key Executive' positions. Maybe some of the region's economic woes are due, in part, to Northeast Ohio corporations stuck in the 'old boy' mentality." - Lakewood

Please, in this economy, we'd be just as fucked with the women in charge.

" 'Not economically feasible.' That is the answer I received after questioning why apartment buildings were not required to participate in recycling. Consequently, tons of recyclables end up in landfills. Why isn't something done about this? - Parma Heights

Because it really isn't economically feasible. Because if recycling were cheaper or more economical than throwing it all in the landfill, it would be done. Recycling costs more money than throwing stuff away, despite all the promises and hopes otherwise. Such platitudes are as unrealistic as those from 60 years ago that promised that with nuclear plants our electricity would be free, or if only we'd drill in ANWR, gas would be only a buck a gallon again. It is bullshit, and you need to get over yourself.

"In 2006, the Democrats said they were going to save us from all the Republican corruption. And they did. Ever since then, it's been nothing but Democrat corruption." - Strongsville

You give the Democrats far too much credit.

"RTA has cut back or discontinued suburban routes frequently, claiming low ridership. Yet it continues to run the Waterfront line. Traffic backs up every morning through the Flats as the train goes by in either direction with no riders. Talk about waste!" - no city

Call back in five years, and insert "Silver Line / Euclid Corridor Project" in place of "Waterfront Line."

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eating the Young

From when I was a young aspriring music student, I remember a slogan my old choir director had hanging above the piano in the practice room closest to his office.  It proclaimed in typeset letters that had to be at least a fifth generation photocopy:
At the time, the sign confirmed for me something I already knew: that my choir director was an old prick.
Today, I can recall those words as plain as day, as if I were still sitting at that old piano, helping myself learn the second tenor line wherever the harmony wasn't intuitive.  I think of those words as I watch two weary and exhausted presidential candidates continue on. One, who is a younger candidate, trying to hold it together and maintain his hard fought lead into the convention, who has largely refrained from bringing up the worst of this opponent's excesses. And an older one who is willing to say anything -- no matter how nasty or false -- in an effort to make her argument that he cannot win be a prophesy that she fulfills by the virtue of her own scorched earth tactics. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fun with Google Maps Street View

Google Maps has vans crawling all over various municipalities taking panoramic photographs of city streets. I remember showing this feature to Gina a few months ago to show her what certain hotels looked like in New York City.

Recently, Google Maps has uploaded Street View for many of the streets in and around Cleveland. My street isn't on there, but several of the streets where I used to live are. Most streets within the city of Cleveland proper are on there. Yeah, I already depressed myself looking at boarded up homes in various neighborhoods.

Anyway, faces and license plates and things like that are generally blurred, or at least out of focus. Still, even if my face could not be seen, I wouldn't want to be one of these two people hanging out in front of the adult book store on West 25th Street. Even with a face out of focus, maybe someone would recognize my coat, or my general body shape.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


No Tuesday Talkback today -- today is the Pennsylvania primary.

A little inspirational film to celebrate.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Obama channels Jay-Z?

Not like Jay-Z invented the saying or the gesture, but still.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Best TV is a Mouse Click Away

I have not had time to partake in the hulu.com phenomenon, but I am amazed to see that all three seasons of the best television comedy ever made are available for viewing online.

If you haven't seen it, go take a couple days to watch it all. You can do it in about 22 hours if you take no more than a 3 minute break per episode.

You can start here with the pilot:

Phoenix Coffee Cups

I usually stop at Phoenix Coffee on my way to work for a my daily cup of inspiration.  The Free Times ran this article about Phoenix and their goal to phase out disposable cups.
If I wanted to carry around my own cup for coffee instead of a disposable cup, I'd make my own coffee at home and put it in a cup.  I don't like carrying around a cup.  I don't like forgetting it at work.  I don't like it knocking around in my car when I'm not using it.  I don't like washing it.  And yes, washing a cup using hot water and soap uses energy too.
Phoenix has been using Styrofoam cups instead of paper cups (like Starbucks and Caribou).  I prefer the Styrofoam cup.  The coffee stays hotter longer.  And those paper cups sometimes drip at the seam.  I HATE that. 
Next week, Phoenix wants their customers to commit to a full week of not using disposable cups.  They have pledge cards to sign.  It is mentioned in the article, and I've seen these pledge cards.  And I won't be signing, because I'm just not interested in carrying around my own cup. 
I used to drive out of my way to stop at Phoenix on my way to work.  Instead, this morning, I just stopped at Starbucks.  Yes, I prefer Phoenix's coffees -- if there is a better cup of coffee in town, I don't know of it.  The Victory Blend might be my favorite, but they have so many good coffees, and I've never had a bad cup of coffee there.  Today, Starbucks sold me a perfectly fine cup of coffee without the guilt -- and Phoenix used one less disposable cup today. 
Bless you, Phoenix, you can run your business any way you want.  But what I want is coffee in a disposable cup.  If you don't want to sell that to me, then I'll buy it someplace else.  I plan on skipping Phoenix all of next week, because I don't want any grief or guilt with my coffee. 
As I get to the bottom of my venti traditional, it is luke warm at the bottom.  Damn paper cup.  Grande tomorrow. Fits better in my cupholder anyway.

Prudy Talkback

I am a devoted reader of the weekly Dear Prudence advice column on Slate.  Today's opening letter had a response *I* would have written -- I love it, so I will share:

Dear Prudence,
My wedding is 59 days away, and I am concerned about my future mother-in-law's dress. She is a wonderful woman who makes me feel accepted as her son's choice for a wife. But with only two months left before the wedding, she had finally begun her search for a dress. Last Sunday, my mother-in-law held my bridal shower at her house. My mother told me that while she was there, she saw a photo of the dress my mother-in-law picked out. She described it as "young, low-cut, and flowing." I wanted to get to the bottom of this, as my mother-in-law had not even informed me that she had purchased anything. So, after the party, I sent her an e-mail, and she sent me a picture of the dress. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My 51-year-old mother-in-law has picked out a dress with a wispy skirt, a V-neck, and spaghetti straps. It's fit and styled for someone my age—25! And it's robin's egg blue—which doesn't even go with my champagne-colored dress, the bridesmaids' sage green, the chocolate brown tuxes, and my mother's pale pink dress. I can't swallow the fact that she would attempt such a daring wardrobe choice on a day so important to me and her son. This dress has been ordered and is not set to arrive until two weeks before our wedding! I really need advice on how to tell her that I do not feel it is appropriate to wear.

—Frustrated Bride

Dear Frustrated,
The nerve of this 51-year-old woman to decide she's just going to march off and buy a dress that she finds flattering without asking permission of a 25-year-old. Sure, she has welcomed you into her family and thrown a shower for you. But now she has really shown her true colors—robin's egg blue, to be exact—by pulling this spaghetti-strap stunt. This V-neck desecration has to be stopped! You simply must tell her the hard truth. Something along the lines of, "Hey, you old hag, no one wants to see your saggy flesh. Your choice of color is an outrage. And, in case you've forgotten, in 59 days it's going to be my day, my day, my day, my day."


Normally she doesn't rant like that, but I love it -- wholly appropriate to this young, entitled bridezilla. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The more that things change, the more they stay the same.

The new Polaroid instant prints.

John Wesley Sighted at Rush Show

I got text messages and emails from last night's Rush show in Orlando. Wes was there!  He was sitting down front, right in front of some of my rushtour.com friends, and apparently he took the stage briefly to "baste the chicken" (there is a prop chicken rotisserie oven on stage behind Geddy Lee.)  That's when my friends (several of whom I personally introduced to PT) realized who he was.  When he returned to his seat, they asked him to autograph the "rushtour.com banner" -- which is travelling to all the shows.  He was super nice as always and was only too happy to sign.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BROWNS Schedule

EXCELLENT ... A Sunday Night game at home versus the Steelers in Week Two. 
Three Monday Night games -- including hosting the Giants, then away at the Bills and the Eagles.
A Thursday Night game on the NFL Network versus the Broncos.
Lots of national games for the Browns next year!
It is a tough schedule -- and we have to play hard to the end.  We may meet the Steelers a little too early again, but then we play them in week 17 in Pittsburgh! 


Date          Opponent    Time      TV NETWORK

Thur., Aug. 7 New York Jets 7:30 p.m. (WKYC TV-3)

Mon., Aug. 18 at New York Giants 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Sat., Aug. 23 at Detroit Lions 4:00 p.m. (WKYC TV-3)

Thur., Aug. 28 Chicago Bears 7:30 p.m. (WKYC TV-3)


Regular Season

Date          Opponent    Time      TV NETWORK

Sun., Sept. 7 Dallas Cowboys 4:15 p.m. (FOX)

Sun., Sept. 14 Pittsburgh Steelers 8:15 p.m. (NBC)

Sun., Sept. 21 at Baltimore Ravens 4:15 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Sept. 28 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Oct. 5 Bye Week

Mon., Oct. 13 New York Giants 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun., Oct. 19 at Washington Redskins 4:15 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Oct. 26 at Jacksonville Jaguars 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Nov. 2 Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. (CBS)

Thur., Nov. 6 Denver Broncos 8:15 p.m. (NFL Network)

Mon., Nov. 17 at Buffalo Bills 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun., Nov. 23 Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. (CBS) *

Sun., Nov. 30 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 p.m. (CBS) *

Sun., Dec. 7 at Tennessee Titans 1:00 p.m. (CBS) *

Mon., Dec. 15 at Philadelphia Eagles 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun., Dec. 21 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS) *

Sun., Dec. 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 p.m. (CBS) *

* Beginning Week 11, the NFL will move to a 'flexible' schedule, as games are subject to the possible change from a Sunday afternoon kickoff to a Sunday night prime time viewing.

I Forgot to Claim My Whaling Expenses Deduction

A little tax day humor.

Tuesday Talkback

A time to moan, a time to talk back.

"Biggest Moan: All those people who blow past stop signs and speed in the early morning through our development to get to work while my third-grade daughter and I stand in the dark waiting for her bus at 6:50 a.m. Slow down Avon, Ohio! You are not the only one on the road!" - Avon

You and your daughter need to stop standing in the road.

"Payday lenders and pajama parties - what is a person to think? I stepped off the curb and saw honesty, ethics, and good judgment floating toward the sewer. I could not rescue them at the time, but I promised them I would keep informed and vote, so that one day they might be rescued." - Euclid

WTF?  The personification and victimization of honesty, ethics and good judgment, and the tale of one Euclid resident's promise to keep informed and vote so that they might someday be rescued. Yikes.

"This one's for the IRS: The FDIC bank account loss limit has been stagnant at $100,000, and the minimum amount that can be earned without being taxed has been $599, both for at least a decade or so. Yet the minimum 'red flag' cash transaction got dropped to $10,000 decades ago. You obviously want your cake and to eat it too." - no city

WTF?  What is this guy trying to say?  The FDIC isn't part of the IRS, and the insurance on deposits up to $100,000 has been around a lot longer than "decade or so."  And how is this related to the "red flag" amount -- which wasn't "dropped" to $10,000, but established at $10,000 in 1970 by the Bank Secrecy Act -- and not the IRS.  And the 2007 tax tables will tax you a dollar if your taxable income is as little as between $5 and $15 -- well below this $599.  So who exactly wants to have their cake and eat it too, and how? 

Friday, April 11, 2008

This Did Not Happen in Fargo...

Ew...poor SOB.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Taking License

My ongoing lie to the government: my weight, as I have represented it to the Ohio BMV.  That lie appears on my drivers license.  It is the smoking gun document.
That isn't to say I didn't once weigh that much -- or that little.  But it has been awhile.  Not that long awhile.  That was my weight at one time this century, I did weigh that little.
But that was my pre-9/11 weight.
I've let the carbohydrates win.  And while I cannot lose all that weight just overnight, a planned withdrawal makes sense. 
Got to be as careful about losing the weight as I was careless about putting it on. 
I could implement a timetable, but then the cravings for carbs and fat will just wait me out. 
I could implement benchmarks, but when I don't meet them, I'll just pretend there weren't any.  
All that food I ate, was it in vain?  Was it all consumed for nothing, just to go on a diet?  
I suppose I could just end this thing by cutting off funding to the grocery store, the restaurant, the bar.  That seems so ... extreme.  And it doesn't support the calories and nutrients that I do need.  
Maybe I need a surge of food.  If I binge on all the things I shouldn't eat, I'll be so sick of them I won't want to eat them anymore -- and that'll give me cover to lose the weight.
I don't have a hundred years to do this.  It needs to be done now.  Or soon.  It can't all be done with 60 days, but I can start drawing down within that time.  

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tuesday Talkback

Another Monday Moaning, another Talkback Talkback.

"Attention local business owners: Stop using your young children and grandchildren in your commercials. They are only darling to you. To us, they are annoying and insulting. Their voices are garbled and grating. Tell me about your quality, your service and accountability." -- Chardon

While I do agree that other people's children are not generally darling, especially not at the grocery store, the restaurant or the movie theater, I don't think you'll find local ads less annoying with children removed. Even without the kids, don't expect anything sincere. Even if they claim to speak to quality, service, accountability -- they won't be sincere about it. That just isn't what advertising is about. I think you will still be dissatisfied with the phoniness -- you just won't have it compounded by the presence of those young children.

"Where do they get the people who do the closed captioning on TV? Especially on the news. The proof readers' ought to turn off the sound and try to follow along to see what us hearing-impaired go through. They also need to learn how to spell." -- Mayfield Heights

The challenge of closed captioning live television is that it is live television. This is especially problematic during sports play-by-play announcing, not to mention the stream of words covering up the field of play. But local news -- isn't most of the text on the teleprompter anyway? I would think this would help, but maybe not.

"Moan to the shallow man who gave the manager at Longhorn Steakhouse in Strongsville a big mouth because he had to wait for a table. Some of us have kids and don't need them exposed to this behavior. He made a scene and a total jerk of himself. Go to anger management, and send the manager a written apology if you're man enough. You are invited to my place of business with this behavior. I'll fix you up." -- North Royalton

"[G]ave the manager... a big mouth?" That sounds something like giving someone a fat lip, as opposed to arguing with someone, which is what sounds like happened here. But I am not impressed by this delayed show of bravery. Come to my place and "I'll fix you up?" Well, what did you do to fix him up at the steakhouse? Especially if he was such a threat to your darling kids. And where is big mouth supposed to meet you now? While there are numerous businesses in North Royalton, how is one supposed to decide which one is yours?

"All those drivers who pull out in front of you and then proceed not to go the speed limit and, also when there is no one behind you, they can't wait another 10 seconds until you pass. They can go as slow as they want behind me, just don't do it in front of me." -- Parma

Try not going 50 in a 25, and you'll find this problem fixes itself. You're welcome.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fake Plastic Commute

I have often justified the ownership of a second car as a substitute for therapy; money that would be saved by selling the convertible would then be spent on Prozac and weekly sessions. A top down ride in the morning puts a smile on my face even when I am driving to work.

Top down, I stopped at Phoenix on Coventry for my morning cup of inspiration -- usually it is just a large light roast. When I walked in, Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees was playing. It is a great song, and it both makes me think of Gina and makes me sad at the same time.

Coffee in hand, back in the car -- I selected Fake Plastic Trees on the iPod.

I have to tell you -- the joy of the morning top down ride was offset by the song. I then played a little Soggy Bottom Boys to try to counter the effects of morning Radiohead. It helped, but it wasn't quite enough, though normally that would do it. Always got a kick out of George Clooney lip-synching those words...

I am a man of constant sorrow,
I've seen trouble all my day...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Philip Sheridan / Sheridan Philip

Last night I started to sift through the old Rubbermaid tub of family papers that my dad lent me some time ago.  There were all sorts of letters, old photos, even some old glass negatives.  Many of the old photos, unfortunately, have no names on them.  I recognized some people outright, recognized the family resemblence in other photos, and have some memories of my Grandma Mary identifying some of the people in the photos.  And I seem to recall that young lady my dad took to the prom was named Zelda.
Several of those photos was of my great grandfather, Sheridan Philip.  Or Philip Sheridan, as he sometimes went by -- he flipped the order of his names when he became an adult.  One photo in particular is striking.  I'll have to scan it.  He looked to be in his early 20s, probably just before or after college.  His hair, his face, his build, the suit -- damn if he doesn't look like me.  
Philip Sheridan went to Penn State, was a Delta Tau Delta, class of 1913.  He played football and he majored in civil engineering. 
While he died in 1936, his wife, my great grandmother Mildred lived another 48 years -- long enough for me to have personal memories of her.   
Also in the box: Kat's baby book.  Kat would want to know that.  Hey Kat -- I have an envelope with the clippings from your first haircut in it.  Its sealed, but I could feel the hair through the paper.  If you think that's weird, I assure you, there is some weirder stuff in that box -- including a pony tail from Mildred's "last haircut."  She may be dead and buried over 20 years now -- but I have a box of her locks. 
There were lots of photos of houses out in Conneautville, PA, military records, a whole treasure trove of family memorabilia.  There is a photo of my great great grandmother Rosetta and her sisters -- the kind of photo so old it is developed on a piece of thin metal instead of paper.
And I found my own birth announcement.  The pic of me as a newborn, St. Vincent's, Erie -- I look like a little demon.  Damien-baby, I was, it seems.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The View from The Hill

Tho' my life was in a rut
Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, dear Gina.
I love you, babe.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tuesday Talkback - The Prog Edition

Opening day, opening moan:
"Prog. The Prog? OK, I guess it could be worse. But come on, Progressive. You're still a part of Cleveland, even in Mayfield Heights. It's the Cleveland Indians. Show some well-placed spirit and change the logo to reflect our home. And the city that has done so much for you." — Cleveland
Change the logo to reflect our home?  What is this person talking about?  The logo?  The Progressive Field logo?  Did the Jacobs Field logo "reflect our home"?
Well, the old logo didn't mention Cleveland.  The old signage did say "Home of the Cleveland Indians" on it.  But is that all this guy means? 
The new logo doesn't say Cleveland on it... It says Indians, but no Cleveland.  Ah.  So that's his moan.  Sheesh.
Well here's mine.  I don't think I like calling it "The Prog."  Although I'm sure Progressive doesn't want anyone calling it that -- because they don't market themselves as "Prog" but as "Progressive."  So, I guess if you want to dilute the value of the money they spent renaming the place, go ahead and call it The Prog. 
To me, the only thing that feels awkward about it is that it isn't the original name.  You call a place one name for 14 years, then suddenly you are supposed to call it something else.  But is that really so strange?  Other buildings get their names changed, around our city too -- the Sohio Tower became the BP Tower, for example.  And people change their names -- especially women when they marry -- and we get used to it.  That isn't so strange.  But it isn't done for cash.  It isn't like Paris Hilton ever opened her name for bidding to competing hotel chains.  But Paris Hotel 6 seems strangely appropriate.