Monday, July 31, 2006

My Pick...

...for the worst song of the 1980's is: The stunningly beautiful, but severely misguided in the year 1981, Olivia Newton John and her hit single "Physical." Let's look at the collection of words that has Webster rolling in his grave:

I'm saying all the things that I know you'll like
Making good conversation
I gotta handle you just right
You know what I mean
I took you to an intimate restaurant
Then to a suggestive movie
There's nothing left to talk about
Unless it's horizontally

Let's get physical, physical
I wanna get physical
Let's get into physical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

Want some more? Here you go...

I've been patient, I've been good
Tried to keep my hands on the table
It's gettin' hard this holdin' back
If you know what I mean
I'm sure you'll understand my point of view
We know each other mentally
You gotta know that you're bringin' out
The animal in me

My dear friends, there aren't too many people that have walked this earth that I respect more than my buddy Johnny Dee, whose choice of "Careless Whisper" by George Michael was quite excellent. "The song is 'Careless Whisper' by Wham, and the lyric is, 'Guilty feet have got no rhythm.' "

The non-confrontational side of me like both choices (mine a bit more). Anyone care to pitch in? Johnny?

Worst of the 80's Part 3

I feel like I have lots to say but I's mentally and emotionally drained that I just can't muster up the energy to say any of it. So, I offer you here the final of three parts of the...

What is the worst song from the 80's (Preferably from a 1-hit wonder band, but open)?
  • Everyone has named such great songs! Get a taste for music before commenting on a musical question.
  • Let the music play... i don't remember who sang it, but it was awful. anything by tiffany or debbie gibson. theme song from friends is from the 90's, but "do you really want to hurt me" truly makes me want to scream out "YES, I DO" and pull the ribbons out of his hair and strangle him with them.
  • A song I genuinely dislike from the 80's is Bryan Adams' "Cuts Like A Knife". I just despise Bryan Adams I think, anyway. He's equivalent to Michael Bolton for me, which makes him a no talent *** clown. I was only two when the song hit the airwaves, but... it sucks, big time...
  • I'd say the worse song is The Safety Dance...
  • Let me touch you there by Michael Bolton
  • How about "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Star. Mindless song about having an affair. "Secret Lovers, that's who we are..." There are much more awful pop songs from the 80's than some of the classics you guys are mentioning above.
  • Built this is pretty bad. So was the Amadeus song. Surprised by no mention of Nena's "99 Luftballons" ...gag....
  • Party all the time Eddie Murphy hands down
  • Okay, I haven't seen anyone mention "My girl wants to party all the time" by Eddie Murphy.
  • Caribbean queen by Billy ocean. still makes my skin crawl!
  • All of them
  • The song Puttin on the Ritz is retarted. He should be shot and Ritz crackers should be spread all over him
  • There were a lot of good music from the eighties too i was in high school then and some of those are classics
  • Puttin' on the Ritz and Walking on Sunshine definitely stand out; by the way, Creatix, Shannon sang "Let the Music Play". Another crappy song was the rap-dance song "The Roof is on Fire". Dont know who sang it, but it really sucked.
  • The Beach Boys' "Kokomo". Terrible how they tarnished their legacy with that dross. And the worst thing is that the mere mention of any of the Caribbean islands mentioned in the song (Jamaica, Aruba, Bahamas...) brings the song immediately back to mind. Criminal.
  • Anything from the Thompson Twins....everytime I hear them its like nails on a chalkboard! Scrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaacch!
  • The entire 80's were DREADFUL!
  • "Jessie’s girl" Rick Springfield...
  • Jessie's Girl is great. You guys are dumb. Oh and Tiffany rules.
  • What? There are no bad songs from the 80's!
  • It would have to be, I Can't drive 55
  • OMG!!! What about "You Can't Hurry Love" by Phil Collins?...... wait..... Anything by Phil Collins......or, "That's All" by the formerly-awesome-band Genesis....
  • Take your pick from the 80s, and you'll find a great number of horrible songs; listen to music from the 50s, and you'll find so many great songs!
  • Anything Boy George
  • Rio, by Duran Duran

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Welcome to the World

Meet John Connor Greenwood who weighed in at a whopping 10 lbs. 2 oz.! John is my cousin Brian and his wife Amy's first child.

Meet a 5 minute old Joseph Michael Barra at a more modest 6 lbs. 1 oz. Joseph is my friend Mike (a friend of more than 30 years) and his wife Christa's first child.

Recharging the Batteries

I've been laying low the last few days just trying to chill out and recharge my brain cells. I've been under a great deal of pressure in the workplace of late and top that off with the problems I've been having with my neck (causing my right arm to go numb regularly) - it's been a rough ride lately.

My sister just sent some pictures of my nephew and neice. Boy, they've grown up so fast! My nephew starts college in other nephew (my brothers son is in his 20's). I remember when all the kids were born and subsequently introduced themselves to uncle Chris with a healthy upchuck.

My Yankees have managed to hang in at the top despite that they have the worst pitching I can recall in more than thirty years. Johnny Damon has been terrific at the top of the lineup while Derek Jeter is having an amazing year and some of the "kids" have made some outstanding contributions. Sadly, unless they do something to upgrade the pitching, I just don't see how they could survive a post-season - but a guy can have hope (can't he?).

Here are the last 10 movies I've seen and how I rate them (on a 5 scale):
  1. Must Love Dogs 4.5
  2. Just Like Heaven 4.0
  3. Rumor Has It 3.0
  4. Lemony Snicket's A series of Unfortunate Events 2.0
  5. Match Point 2.0
  6. Hide and Seek 3.0
  7. Elizabethtown 5.0
  8. The Producers 4.0
  9. Failure to Launch 3.0
  10. Metallica:Some Kind of Monster 4.0
I've already talked about how much I loved Elizabethown, but I can't emphasize enough how great it was. The Producers was fun. I love musicals, I love movies, I rarely like the merging of the two. This was how a musical and a movie should be done - I say, let's stop here, it can't get better. The Metallica documentary was quite moving. Having been a fan since they began, seeing Lars in the same room with Dave Mustaine was chilling.
Out for now - Peace and Love!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Worst of the 80's Part 2

What is the worst song from the 80's (Preferably from a 1-hit wonder band, but open)?
  • "I wear my sun glasses at Night", worthless...kind of like the vast majority of Hip Hop we are forced to hear today!
  • "I'm wearing my sunglasses at night..." Stupidest song in history.
  • Without doubt... "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, 1983. Which happens to be my wife and my song, though we both hate it. While visiting South America a couple of years ago and they must own a license to that dong... we heard it no less than a dozen times in that week.
  • That "turn around Bright Eyes" song is bad too, the video even worse.
  • "Don't Worry Be Happy" - some black dude.. don't know his name... i freakin hate that song..... grrrrrrr!!!!!!
  • I'm with Ashlyn HATE that freaking Song so much that the word HATE just isn't Strong Enough!!!!!!! And the Name of the Person who wrote that piece Crap : Bobby Mcffarin
  • Like a Virgin by madonna
  • Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard
  • Our House - Madness
  • Lost In Your Eyes - Debbie Gibson
  • 867-5309 - Tommy Tutone
  • Straight Up - Paula Abdul
  • What is Love? - Howard Jones
  • Anything sung by New Kids On the Block, Menudo, Wham, Milli Vanilli
  • Theme song from "Silver Spoons", the TV sitcom.
  • "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo
  • Kajagoogoo-“too shy” Worst song, worst band name, worst "frosted, blow-dried, new wave mullet" hair...It's a trifecta
  • No one mentioned Life is Life by Opus???? Come on, that has to be the worst ever.
  • What about "I'm turning Japanese" or "You Spin Me"?
  • It’s a tie for me either Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Wang Chung) and that Turning Japanese song. Sooooo stupid.
  • Dance Hall Days or Everybody Wang Chung Tonite...Basically, anything by Wang Chung.
  • Ok i was in high school in the 80's (82-85) and most of u probably were not even born yet, we definitely had the best music.of course this is when rap was actually rap and not people sampling others songs .anyway, worst song would have to be "everybody wang chung tonight"
  • Hi being a radio dj....the worst song of the 80's was ...well there was 3.....Rock me Falco......heartbeat...Don Jonson..and Respect by Bruce Willis....Keep on Rocking..have a Great Weekend.....Ray aka Dr. Rock
  • One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head...from the musical Chess
  • Shake Your Love by Debbie Gibson
  • She's Like the Wind by Patrick Swayze
  • Pretty much anything by Air Supply or REO Speedwagon (i think they may have been the same group)
  • In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
  • Were there any bad songs in the 80's? Maybe the police do do do da da da. I'm too sexy for my shirt. The worst song EVER!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Worst of the 80's Part 1

I made the mistake of following a link on Yahoo the other day and found this list of "worst songs of the 80's." I just got a kick out of reading the commentary so I thought I'd share it here over the course of a few posts.

What is the worst song from the 80's (Preferably from a 1-hit wonder band, but open)?
  • "We Built this City" by the Starship...hands down.
  • I am with you on we built this city. Even though i love that song, i know it sucks.
  • We built this city on rock and roll! great now i have that song in my head.....grrrr!
  • Built This City out of my head till this time tomorrow probably. Reading these comments really makes me think about my age.
  • There were a lot of crappy songs from the 80s,yes,but We built This City really defines the decade of crap.This was the same group that once did Somebody to Love and White Rabbit?
  • … that Starship song..... and a couple other songs from that year...... and, no, this was not the same band that recorded White Rabbit and Somebody To Love..... just a couple members left by then.......
  • This would have been my second choice behind 'Walking on Sunshine'; this is such a phony-sounding song, and I remember they used to play this all the time; great submission/entry.
  • They'll be playing "Walking On Sunshine" in Hell. X0 Blacchh!
  • The song "fish heads" comes to mind. "fishheads, fishheads, roly-poly fishheads, eat them up, yum. ... I took a fishhead out to see a movie, ...didn't have to pay to get it in." ect. That was an awful song. Walking on sunshine was a catchy little ditty, that became extremely overplayed.
  • I despise 'Walking on Sunshine'; I fricken hate that song- it might drive me to murder someday! >:[
  • I Wanna Be A Cowboy - Boys Don't Cry
  • The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades) - Timbuk3
  • The Curley Shuffle - Jump N' The Saddle Band
  • We Built This City - Starship
  • Pac-Man Fever - Buckner & Garcia
  • Heartbeat - Don Johnson
  • "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners - utter mince.
  • Come on Eileen is enough to make anyone go postal, but walking on sunshine tops it all off
    That one annoying son "I walked so many hundred miles!!" I think it's called 500,000 miles....The video stinks also!!!
  • Hey, the proclaimers - I'm gonna be (500 miles) is an excellent song and brings out the spirit of all scottish people like me. The 80's was a good era! Doesn't top the 90's though
    I wanted to add the worst song ever to the list only to find it was technically 1979. Those other songs are Mozart to my ear when compared to "Pop Muzik" by M - awful song played endlessly on the radio until I wanted to scream.
  • 'We are the world'....we are the children.
  • Everything from the 80's suck. We need good ole rock N' roll.
  • Mr. Roboto by Styxx. Part of the downfall of a once great band.
  • This isn't even close because it could possibly be the worst song of all time...'Mr. Roboto' by Styx.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Latest Single

Since I've been basking in the glory of my vinyl records of late, I've come across a few odd vinyl related things. One of them allowed me to make this:

Cleaning Up the Inbox

I was sifting through my inbox this evening and found a slew of clever little emails that I'd been hanging on to longer than necessary. So, before deleting them from the inbox, I will place them here for posterity and for all of you.

12/4/2003 REMEMBER THIS AT CHRISTMAS TIME...According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should've known -- ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.
* * * * *
12/5/2003 How Many Dogs does it take to Change a Light Bulb?
Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us and you're inside worrying about a stupid light bulb?
Border Collie: Just one. And then I'll replace all the wiring that's not up to code.
Dachshund: You know I can't reach the stupid lamp.
Rottweiler: Make me.
Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.
Labrador: Oh, me, me! PLEEEEEEZE! Let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? PLEEEEEEZE! Please! Please!
German Shepherd: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, checked to make sure I haven't missed any and made one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.
Jack Russell Terrier: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and the furniture.
Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I'm sorry, I don't see a light bulb.
Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.
Chihuahua: Yo quiero taco bulb.
Pointer: I see it! There it is! There it is, right there! I see it! There it is! There it is, right there! Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?
Australian Shepherd: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle.
Schiperke: If the light is not on, why be awake?
French Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.
The Cat: Dogs do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So the real question is how long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner and a massage.

All of which proves, once again, that while dogs have masters, cats have staff.
* * * * *
6-7 lb. chicken
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (Absorbs extra grease)

Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush chicken well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.

Listen for the popping sounds.

When the chicken's ass blows the oven door open and the chicken flies across the room, it is done.
* * * * *
4/13/2004 Lexus CarA lady walks into a Lexus dealership and browses. Suddenly she spots the most perfect, beautiful car and walks over to inspect it. As she bends forward to feel the fine leather upholstery, an unexpected little fart escapes her.

Very embarrassed, she anxiously looks around to see if anyone has noticed and hopes a sales person doesn't pop up right now. But, as she turns back, there standing next to her is a salesman.

With a pleasant smile he greets her, "Good day, Madame. How may we help you today?"

Trying to maintain an air of sophistication and acting as though nothing had happened, he smiles back and asks, "Sir, what is the price of this lovely vehicle?"

Still smiling pleasantly, he replies, "Madame, I'm very sorry to say that if you farted just touching it, you are gonna shit when you hear the price."

5/12/2004 Woman walks into a pharmacy and up to the prescription 'order here' counter..."I need some cyanide or some chemical like it to kill my husband" she says.

"Ma'am, you can't just walk in here and order chemicals like that and it's against the law to kill your husband'" answers the pharmacist. She rustles around in her purse and produces a manila folder and pulls out something and hands it to the pharmacist. It's a photo of her husband having sex with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist replies,"Oh, I didn't realize you had a prescription!"

9/30/2004 One Monday morning a mailman is walking the neighborhood on his usual route.As he approaches one of the homes he notices that both cars are in the driveway, his wonder is cut short by Bob the homeowner coming out with a load of empty beer and liquor bottles.

‘Wow Bob, looks like you guys had a hell of a party last night." The Mailman comments, Bob in obvious pain replies," Actually we had it Saturday night, this is the first I have felt like moving since 4 am Sunday morning."

We had about fifteen couples from around the neighborhood over for the Christmas Cheer and got a bit wild. Hell we even got so drunk that around midnight we started playing WHO AM I."

The Mailman thinks a moment and says, " How do you play that?"

Bob continues between hung over gasps," Well all the guys go in the bedroom and we come out one at a time with a sheet covering us and only our "units" showing through a hole in the sheet. Then the women try to guess who it is."

The Mailman laughs and says," Damn I am sorry I missed that."

"Probably a good thing you did," Bob responds," your name was guessed four or five times."

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Real Bowling

My dad was an avid bowler, leagues and everything. So, I was introduced to the sport at a rather early age. The balls came in varying weights from about 8 pounds on up to 16 with three holes, one for the thumb, one for the middle finger, and one for the ring finger. Some people actually owned their own balls which they kept in a bowling bag, which often had a little compartment to store a pair of bowling shoes. I just caught myself speaking in the past tense because I am speaking of a memory, but real bowling, good old-fashioned PBA bowling is alive and well using balls that look like the one in the upper left, and pins as pictured in the upper right. In my late 20's and early 30's I bowled with some frequency, even joining a league for one season but many years have passed since the last time I bowled.
After I moved to New England, I heard that there is a variation on the only game of bowling I knew, something called candlepin bowling. I've actually seen it on TV and all I could think was that an act of sacrilege was being commited wherever this candlepin stuff was happening.
This past Saturday afternoon, I entered a bowling alley for a youth birthday party and it turned out to be a place where candelpin bowling took place. I was taken aback at the apparent popularity so I took some time to observe. The pins were stick-like, reminiscent of their namesake while the balls were much smaller (about the size of a shotput) and of uniform weight.
I watched carefully and concluded that this is just a silly little game far more dependent on luck than skill (where real bowling is the reverse). Suffice it to say that I will never parttake in this odd little ditty.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Drowning in Vinyl Sunday

I have spent the last few hours just looking at my vinyl records and recording some to digital. I am having a dorky good time checking out the colored vinyl, the picture disks, the "bootlegs"...

There was one time, at bandcamp, I mean in my basement just a few minutes ago, I put on an album (33 1/3 rpm) but forgot to switch the turntable speed from 45 rpm - I forgot you could do that!

Back to the basement for now...more later.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Where Have All the Anvils Gone?

The only anvils I've encountered, at least on a regular basis was while watching Wile E. Coyote getting clobbered over the head with one (note the photoshopped in ACME logo). The occasional trip to the village restoration featuring a "working" blacksmith was the only time I've ever really seen one up close. Anyway, today Nancy posed and interesting question (actually one that she heard), "What happened to all of the anvils?" A little bit of research and believe it or not, there's an answer...they are in Laurel, Mississippi. Check this out:

Even in this book, it's going too far to call anvil shooting a sport, but Gene Mulloy, an old-time blacksmithing buff and co-founder of the World Anvil Shooting Society definitely disagrees. You see, in 1994 he organized the first anvil shooting competition in the nation, which has become an annual event at Laurel's Wood Expo held every April. "Anvil shooting dates back to the Civil War," he says, "when all them damn Yanks came through the South destroying all of our metal-working capabilities. They'd put powder underneath the anvils and try to blow them up. And up they went, up in the air." Now a small group of explosion enthusiasts from Mississippi and area states gather to compete for bragging rights in the South.
The rules are simple: shooters' anvils must be made of steel, weigh at least 100 pounds and no more than 2 pounds of black powder can be used to send that thing soaring. Two classes exist, those who shoot Traditional and those who shoot Super Modified. In the Traditional class, shooters use real, antique anvils. At the base of every anvil there is a hollow spot, where powder and a 90-second cannon fuse are packed. Then a second anvil is placed on top of the first. Once the fuse is ignited, the shooter has to haul ass to make it out of the 300-foot danger zone. "The first time I shot it went about two feet high," Mulloy admits. While anvils shot the traditional way now reach heights up to 100 feet, for some that just wasn't high enough -- hence the humble beginnings of the Super-Modified category. Not only can shooters in this class smith their own specialty anvils, but they are shot from heavy base plates that enhance height and accuracy.
At the beginning, Mulloy had trouble deciding how to measure height. "The first year, we tried tying a fishing line from a rod and reel to the anvil," he says. "But it just blew that thing all to heck." Then he got a little more sophisticated, had some local mathematicians clock the airtime. But that wasn't very accurate. Now he uses surveying equipment that offers precise readings. Then there's accuracy, which is measured by how far away from the launch pad the anvil lands. As odd as it seems, no one has ever been crushed by a falling anvil and no one has ever lost an arm to explosives.
While Mulloy calls himself the #1 anvil shooter in America, he doesn't hold the world record. You can say it's a sore spot. The world record is just over 400 feet and held by rival Mike Stringer. In fact, the competition is so heated between these two that Mulloy recently played a cruel trick on Stringer. He built an illegal aluminum alloy anvil that he shot over 800 feet. "His reaction was gorgeous," Mulloy says. "It was priceless. And we got it all on video. It still rubs him raw when I tell him I have the world record." Admission to the Expo is $2.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I’m sitting here watching America’s Got Talent and an act called Realis just finished performing; this got me thinking a bit about gymnastics, and in particular, watching gymnastics on television.

If someone were to ask me, “Hey Chris, you into Gymnastics at all?” My immediate response would be, “Nope!” However, as I think about it, it seems that when I am flipping channels in search of something to watch, and stumble upon gymnastics, more often than not I stop to watch.

I’ll say it up front, I am entertained by these gymnasts. I have no clue about any of the “technical” aspects of the sport but as amazed as I am at the incredible athleticism, there’s always a part of me waiting for a slip-up, or at least wondering what the heck could happen at the slightest screw-up. I know this is a bit twisted but I am certain that I am not alone. It’s not like I’m hoping for something bad to happen, but man do these people take some hairy risks – talk about no room for error.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I found a nifty little turntable that has a built-in preamp and directly connects to a PC and comes with the necessary software to digitize LP's. While I've replaced most of my vinyl with CD's, there are some rarities and "bootleg" materials that I am jazzed about the prospect of listening to with my iPod.

There was a time where I owned over 4,000 vinyl records! Once CD's came out I began to sell them off to used record shops and bought CD's. At that time, I worked for Titus Oaks Records in Brooklyn and pretty much never took home a single cent in pay thanks to the employee discount.

My vinyl collection is really small these days, 100 or so, but the CD's are 2500 or so. Have I mentioned that I love music?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A New Member of the Family

Saturday morning we trekked north to Lunenburg,the home of the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats. The usual pretentious shelter application was a prerequisite and because I hadn't used a vet (on account of not having a pet for the last seven years) in a long time, I needed to provide a personal reference who was a pet owner. My personal reference was then emailed and asked to ask me a series of question on my future pet care philosophies. Anyway, after all of the hoops and an hour or so in the kitty pen, we chose a 14 week old male named Robin #6, whom we immediately renamed Oliver. Here he is:

He's 14 weeks old an mostly (if not all) a flame point Siamese. He is very vocal, very playful, and an all around cutey pie. It's a bit odd that his eyes look golden in the photos when in reality they are as blue as blue eyes can get. Have I mentioned how cute he is? Ah, by now you can see that for yourself.

Everyone's Invited/The Choice is Yours

Radio & Television (in any of it's many forms:cable, satellite, VHF/UHF, fiber optic) offer many options/channels and when the channel you are listening to or viewing is broadcasting something that you don't like or may even find offensive, you have the convenience of changing the channel or even shutting it off at the push of a button. I know it may be an obvious statement, but I happen to know of at least one person who may not look at such a freedom with such basic observation. Those self-important, self-serving assholes at the FCC seem to be oblivious to much of this obvious freedom that they too share. While those assholes continue to make self-serving decisions that benefit nobody but themselves and their political position, they are...let me stop and just call them assholes once more.

The Internet is an even more glorious place! A free-for-all wealth of information, nonsense, and everything in between. We may happen upon a website or a blog that interests us, or one that offends us; that is what the favorites option is for, and that is what the home page button is for. We can choose to store permanently the address of a website that appeals to us or we can choose to click the home page button to quickly browse away from the offensive.

A little over two years ago I started this blog and promised myself that I will never be censored by anyone, especially myself. So, while everyone is invited here and everyone is welcome to stay for a while, read, and respond (even in protest to my words) - if you do not like it here, then GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY LIFE and move on with yours.

Peace and Love to all of you.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Here Comes the Weekend

This past week sucked and next week could suck more. But for now, I'm jazzed about getting a cat tomorrow; pictures and stories to follow.

Still trying to firm up vacation plans - why does everything about vacation suck except the vacation itself, sometimes?

By the time I remember to tell you about the movie Elizabethtown, I'll have forgotten most of it. Orlando Bloom was terrific (and I'm no big fan of his) and Kirsten Dunst (of whom I even lesser of a fan) was so good, I actually fell for her character big time. Cameron Crowe paints moving portraits of real life and real emotions and in my opionion completely captures everything emotionally that I think he tried to capture in Vanilla Sky (where I think he failed).

As I type this, I am watching Keane perform on "Later..with Jools Holland" (in HD of course).

May justice prevail.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Is Pedro There?

When I saw Napolean Dynamite, it was sometime after everyone in sight was quoting it and thinking that it was the awesomest movie while I thought otherwise. However, I can't seem to get enough of the classic Napolean lines. So, using my trusty Napolean Dynamite soundboard, I called a couple of friends today and had an entire conversation as Napolean. Even funnier, only one of three people even had a clue that it was me!

I suspect at some point I'll need to see it again with an open mind and a reminder about how much fun I had as Napolean phone caller.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Places, Dirty Words, and other assorted goodies

PlacesI got an itch for Vegas, a crazy Vegas itch made itchier by the fact that a colleague just came back and Egan was recently there. Lot’s of Vegas banter makes the Vegas itch itchier.
I’d like to visit Australia someday, also Venice (and other places in Italy), London, Ireland.
I have no desire to ever go to France or India.

George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words
The big seven words you weren't allowed to broadcast were: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits. For the entire text of the routine, click here.

Golden Girls

“Hey, was that the plumber?” “No mom, it was a girl scout selling Girl Scout toilets.” As I sit here and type this, I am watching The Golden Girls and this line was just uttered and I am laughing my ass off.

Podcasts that I currently subscribe to:

  1. The Onion Radio News
  2. The Gossip Game with Mike Walker
  3. Real Time with Bill Maher
  4. NPR: Wait…Wait Don’t Tell Me
  5. NPR: Driveway Moments
  6. NPR: All Songs Considered
  7. Joel Osteen Audio Podcast
Random PointsHere’s the magic trick of the night: For $6.14 I served dinner to three people and had enough leftover for two lunches…and I didn’t even need to cook!

I’m not sure if I prefer crayons or colored pencils so they’ll both have to do.

Remind me to tell you about one of the most awesome movies I have ever seen, Elizabethtown.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Please Go Home

I think I may have ranted about how much I dislike the people who've moved into Starbuck's. I have no problem with grabbing a cup of joe, maybe a scone and then hanging for a few, flip through the paper or a book for a while. However, the goofball with the notebook computer that has papers spread about, a cell phone tethered to his ear while the charger is greedily plugged into the barely hidden electrical outlet beside the seat and in the summer, capped of by the disgust of open feet in sandals. I have ranted in various venues about this displeasing event alot but nobody really gives a crap about what I am saying. So, I offer you an article from today's Boston Globle touching on this issue from the cafe owners themselves:

Wi-Fi wars
Loiterers can be a drag on businesses' bottom line
By Alison Lobron, Globe Correspondent July 9, 2006
Some wireless users sneak in their own food with their laptops. Others buy one cup of coffee at 9 a.m. and surf the Net until closing time. And the truly audacious sit for hours without making any pretense of a purchase.
In and around Boston, cafe owners who installed wireless signals to draw customers say they also are drawing Internet users who tie up seats for hours, buy little or nothing, and make coffee shops feel like the office as they tap away at their laptops. Now some owners are fighting back by charging for wireless access, shutting off their signal at peak business hours, or telling loitering laptoppers to shell out or ship out.
``There comes a time when you have to tell people, `Look, you've been here for three hours, and you've bought only a cup of coffee and it's time to move,' " said Adam Goldberg , owner of Emack & Bolio's in Jamaica Plain. ``We had points in time when people would sit for six or seven hours and not buy anything."
Goldberg, whose shop offers all-day free wireless, has tried to set time limits for customers to use the Internet. He has considered shutting off the signal during busy hours. Instead, he has chosen to keep a vigilant eye on the seating area and confront Internet idlers.
Cafe owners said they must determine which kind of Internet service -- paid or free -- will be most profitable, a calculation based largely on the number of seats and neighborhood competition. Owners of venues that offer free wireless believe it makes them attractive to customers. Shops that charge for wireless bank that they will make more from the access fees than they would in the additional traffic a free signal might bring. But in both paid and free hot spots, owners become concerned when tables are commandeered for hours and new customers cannot find seats.
In Davis Square, Diesel Cafe charges for wireless -- about $14 a month -- but co-owner Jen Park said she also confronts customers who are not buying food. Perhaps the worst offenders are the people who buy coffee at the Starbucks across Elm Street, then head for the comfortable red booths at Diesel with their Starbucks cup in hand, she said.
``My approach tends to be friendly, like `Can I get you anything?' " Park said. ``Usually, the answer is `no.' Sometimes people understand where I'm going and say they're going to come up [and buy something] once their friend gets here. Then there are some people who get offended and leave."
Some frequent customers at Wi-Fi cafes believe they have a right to surf without purchasing. At the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square, Hani Salehi , 27, a recent transplant from California, said he was shocked to discover how many Boston-area cafes charge for their Internet signals. In California, he said, more places offer signals for free, and in those establishments, he always bought something to eat or drink.
``If I pay for the Internet, I feel no obligation to spend more," Salehi said last Sunday .
Up the street in Davis Square, O'Naturals offers wireless as a free amenity, but recently began shutting off its signal during its busiest hours. Manager Sonja Seglin said laptop users used to linger on a single cup of coffee during lunch, leaving nowhere for newcomers to eat their soups and sandwiches. The lunch crowd complained, and O'Natural's now shuts off its Wi-Fi access from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
But cafe owners who are watching their bottom lines have noticed another side effect of wireless: Their coffee shops are starting to look and sound less like social spots and more like offices.
``Wireless has changed the atmosphere here," Park said . ``You see a lot more people buried in their computers as opposed to reading and chatting."
Many are students or self-employed. Jami Brandli , a writer and instructor at Emerson College, spends 25 to 30 hours a week with her computer at Diesel. ``This has become my office," she said gesturing at the red booths, black tables, and fellow laptop users .
The way Brandli sees it, Diesel offers ``a bargain" as far as workspaces go: Each month, she spends about $60 on food, plus $14 for the internet, much less than the cost of renting an office in Davis Square.
Some worry that wireless cafes are, like cell phones and iPods, one more way for 21st century Bostonians to tune out the larger world. But the laptoppers offer the reverse argument: they make work more fun by doing it in a social place. Srini Turaga , a graduate student at MIT, has an office, but prefers working at the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square.
``Sitting in my office by myself, I can't get work done," said Turaga, 26, who sat in 1369 last Sunday afternoon with an iced tea and his computer.
He finds it easier to work with people around him, and called 1369's blend of soft lighting, abundant power outlets, and other laptop users the perfect balance. ``This is kind of a work-like coffee shop," he said.
Turaga, who pays $13 a month to use 1369's wireless, said he also feels compelled to spend on food and drink. ``I do make sure I'm always drinking something."

Friday, July 07, 2006

End the Week with Chocolate

It's been a difficult week and the madness isn't yet over. I'd like to put it to rest for now and provide you all with a wonderful recipe that came my way during the time I was working on the cookbook project. I made the recipe and it is just outstanding! I highly recommend timing it so that the dessert is ready to serve at the same time you are ready to serve it. It is not the type of cake that keeps well but right out of the oven, it simply ROCKS!

Denver Chocolate Pudding Cake
dessert, serves 6 (optimistic!) [400 calories per serving]

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp baking cocoa
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp each white and brown sugar
4 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 1/2 cup cold water or coffee

Mix the 1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and 3 Tbsp cocoa. Stir in the butter and milk. Turn into a buttered 8” square baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining sugars and cocoa over. Pour the cold water or coffee over the cake. Bake in a preheated 350° oven 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Found in the 1959 edition of Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and used ever since!
Submitted by Emma Root - Surgical Technology Student

E N J O Y !!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Plug for the Evil Empire/Rip into this...

I've downloaded and installed Internet Explorer 7 beta 3 on my work PC. So far I am digging it. While I've used tab browsers briefly in the past (Opera & Firefox), I have used IE most of the time so IE7 is taking some time getting used to. For instance, while multitasking between two tabs, I forget about the tabs and go to the taskbar and end up minimizing IE. All in all, it seems pretty sweet and the early reviews from the harsh critics of the evil empire seem to agree that they "finally" got it right.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Brief memo for the one person whose read my blog recently and missed the lesson in English, the expression "rip into...", or "rip you a new one..." etc. refers to something of a verbal rampage. It's quite a common expression; ere are some examples:
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Scientists rip into Bush's policy, charge 'suppression of information'

rip into: To criticize harshly and devastatingly:...

Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition. Copyright © 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
rip into
Also, tear into. Attack or criticize vehemently, as in She ripped into her opponent's voting record. These expressions allude to the literal senses of the verbs rip and tear, that is, “cut” or “slash.”
There are many more on the Internet. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but sometimes it's just ignorance.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On the 5th of July...

One day after we celebrate our independence, I'd like to remind everyone of something that should be frightfully obvious, the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We often overlook the true meaning of the 4th of July hiding behind hotdogs, beer, and pretty fireworks. Hey, I'm all for a great celebration including all of the above and I too have been guilty of overlooking the true meaning of the day myself.
I'm going to stop here. Today was a horrible sad and hurtful day for me. Please read the first amendment over and over again and remember that those are your rights. I love you all.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th Memories

In our Brooklyn neighborhood, there was a common "alley" that we shared with East 27th street. To be precise, it was the "east side" of East 27th street, between avenues T & U. On the 4th, all of the "big kids" basically set the alley ablaze with a myriad of fireworks and homemade "bombs". The daytime was reserved for the noisy items such as firecrackers, bottle rockets,M-80's, and those homemade "bombs" of which the most unique was the "powder bomb". Though many variations existed, the most common was made with one of those small individual breakfast cereal boxes in which an M-80 was inserted along with as much flour that could be packed into it and then taped up tight. Once the M-80 was detonated, a giant mushroom cloud of flour would explode into the air, and whiten the surrounding pavement (and whatever else was near).

I remember getting old enough to save money up for the 4th so that I could buy my own fireworks. Each year weeks before the 4th, a "list" would appear mysteriously with all of the fireworks available and their prices. Looking back, even though there was always someone who appeared to be the "distributor", know one ever really knew where they came from (other than China) and who was behind the sale of these illegal gems, especially to us minors. Nobody cared though and we bought our works, thousands of dollars worth amongst us all in the alley way and it was always a predictable series of events. Somewhere there'd be a small bonfire where people would bravely throw in an entire "mat" (80 packs) of firecrackers at a time while others greedily tossed in a pack or even a single firecracker at a time.

One of the more fun things we did in the day time we referred to as "puddle jobs". Our drainage in the alley had always been problematic and as a result, there was always a puddle of water nearby. We would take a bottle rocket and strategically place it into a position that when ignited, would launch into the puddle creating a series of bubbles, then an interestingly squelched pop and burst of water when it would finally detonate.

At night, we would literally paint the sky with things like "roman candles", "mortar shells", and an always impressive array of rockets. To this day, I can still recall the scent of the air as it was an interesting mix of charcoal and gun powder. Surprisingly, no one ever got hurt really bad - a few minor burns here and there. However, the parents always reminded us of the grim tales or people getting fingers blown off and the sort. As I got older, I visited a local emergency room on the 4th of July and it was life changing in a way. There really are some horror stories and as I got older and somewhat more responsible, I tried to make sure that the younger kids knew of the dangers and were careful.

Those days were lots of fun! It's crazy to think of how much money we spent on those fireworks but a that age, we didn't care. In fact we all use to brag about how much we spent - "Hey Mike, I got $200 worth of fireworks this year!" "Nice!, I spent like $400!" It was one-upsmanship at its finest, loudest, and most colorful.

Happy Birthday America!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ups and Downs and All Arounds

A recent upgrade of some classroom management software called Blackboard as well an upcoming upgrade of our Enterprise Resource Planning software (PeopleSoft) have breathed new life into my job and some of the things I'll be working on. In late February when I went to the Blackboard World conference and more recently at the MCO (Mass Colleges Online) conference, I learned alot about what types of things are going on in colleges around the country and am really excited about some of the new stuff I'll be doing.

Events of this past week have me really upset because while taking the opportunity to do something good, someone took an unnecessary and uncalled pot shot at me and I retaliated in self-defense. While I maintain that I remained respectful of both the person who attacked and the college email system - I know that the executives at the college are upset and it's just going to create unnecessary bad feelings. I really hate when that happens. On top of that, there's a certain level of unnecessary stalking like behavior that is somewhat creepy.

Putting all that aside, I had a productive physical therapy session today and spent some good quality time hanging out with my daughter.

I'm looking forward to going to see the fireworks tomorrow especially since all the nonsense stemmed from my kindness in passing on where they are in town this year.

All Arounds:

The top five movies on my Netflix queue:
The Family Stone
Failure to Launch
The Producers
Metallica:Some Kind of Monster
Deuce Bigalow:European Gigolo

The top Five People I miss the most:
Dr. Liz
My "Friends Reunion" Friends

My Top Five Gadgets:
Dual Tuner DVR
Bluetooth Headset
Sirius Satellite Radio

Later for now.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I've been meaning to talk about this for the last week but haven't gotten around to it. Douglas Belkin wrote a short piece in today's Boston Globe that pretty much summarizes the whole shebang; so here it is:

Fluff's free publicity leads to sweet payoffBy Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff July 2, 2006

Jonathan Durkee has two words for state Senator Jarrett Barrios : Thank you.

Durkee is treasurer of the Lynn company that produces Marshmallow Fluff, which Barrios targeted last month when he tried to ban the Fluffernutter sandwich from school lunches.

But Barrios did not realize how much of a New England icon sweet marshmallow spread slathered over white bread and twinned with peanut butter was. The bill to ban it drew legions of protective Fluffernutter patriots to arms. In a profile-in-courage counterattack, a state representative even proposed making the Fluffernutter the official sandwich of Massachusetts.

The Fluffernutter Wars were on.

``Nightline" chimed in, along with Regis and Kelly and The Los Angeles Times. Red-state Americans who never heard of Fluff began to wonder what it was, and displaced New Englanders around the country started licking their lips with a Pavlovian reflex forged in childhood. Fluffernutter: Home. Eat. Happy. Good.

Then the inevitable. Internet orders sent to the mother ship in Lynn skyrocketed 800 percent from 10 to 80 cases a day -- and not just from expatriate Bostonians. Curious Fluffernutter first-timers like James Harmon of Nashville dialed in.

``I read a couple articles and saw a story on CNN," he wrote in an e-mail. ``So I had to try [it]."
Durkee said it was too early to tell if the bump would carry through to the holiday season, when sales typically peak. In Lynn, fingers remained crossed. A thank-you letter to Barrios? Not yet in the mail.

Sermon Imitates Life

Today's sermon was delivered by a "supply priest" (a fancy term for a substitute for an outside clergy person who serves as the celebrant in the absence of the priests employed by the church) and it's topic spoke to some of the nonsense that played out yesterday (see previous three posts).

I don't have a clue what specifically prompted my colleague who replied so negatively to do so. I very intentionally waited to reply until I was on my own time and had at least some time to let the anger pass. Clearly it wasn't enough time, but I am certain - 100% certain that through everything that has transpired, as negative as it ended up, as unnecessary as it had to be, was completely justified. At this point, I can't go back in time though if I could, I would hope that I'd handle it differently.

While it is true that there are many justifiable paths to resolve such an issue, contemplation and trust/faith in a higher power will often lead to the best solution; that is the path I strive for and missed in this instance.

Though I know I can't put this experience fully behind me because it is inevitable that the powers that be at work will have their say. As far as I am concerned, I am at peace with how I handled it and have learned something about myself. What I regret most is that I have no idea who the colleague that decided to pick a fight with me is? In my eight plus years at the college I have tried hard to get to know people. Though it is much harder to do with part-timers, and especially those who aren't on the same campus - I have always held my colleagues in high regard. We are all human and all have our moments. Perhaps it would have been best to realize that a response like the one I got was more of a reason for concern and an opportunity to get to know someone better and help them through whatever provoked such a negative response to such a positive email.

Whatever becomes of this, wherever it may lead - I'll place my trust in the Lord. (Thank Rev. Chris for the perspective).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Collegiality Gone Awry? - Part III

It appears that my work e-mail address has been disabled! I hope that someone only sought to stop the silliness for the weekend and perhaps wishes to have a discussion about it next week.

After all, as far as I can tell, I was within the boundaries of the usage rules, I responded on my own time, and I couldn't imagine that anyone would intentionally deny me my first ammendment rights.

I'll keep you all posted.

Collegiality Gone Awry? - Part II

The saga continues. It's almost embarassing because it has gotten to the point where I realize that when someone does or says something to anger you, you really should consider waiting like a week before rebutting. Though the anger may be justified, often the best retaliation is to just let it go. While I stand by all that I have done, Scrooge has clearly been affected. And though Scrooge truly did hurt my feelings and anger me, it was not necessary for me to do the same in return (though justified).

Here is the follow up email exchange:

(A) In a response sent to the entire college, Scrooge had this to say:
To All

Just to let everyone know I did not send my response to Chris's inital email to the It was his decision to make this public. And while his response to my email was very cordial he has also included me in his blog. His blog is quite different and has upest me greatly. Because of this I will not be returning to Massbay.
(B) Here's her repsonse sent to me and my response to that sent to Scrooge and the rest of the college:

Thank you for responding. I did not send my note to you through the chat room . I am very upset that you posted my name and my email on your blog. I am not a a bitch. I would have respected your response and apologized. You didn't need to put that on your blog. It doesn't seem like a very Christian thing to do.
Being from the Bronx I tend to be a bit straight forward. I am truly sorry if I made you angry.

Dear Scrooge,

Being from the Bronx, perhaps you could appreciate how someone from Brooklyn might respond? You took what was something special to me and totally demeaned it - that made me mad.

While I am glad that you've taken to reading my blog, you may note that any reference to you does not include any reference to your name or email address. My blog is a reflection of thoughts, feelings, anecdotes, and a variety of other things based on my life and my interpretation of the events of the world as I bear witness to them. Unfortunately, your email response was something that deeply disturbed me on a personal level and I am certain that posting the email there, in the fashion that I did, was well within the boundaries.

I think this whole thing has gone too far and too negative. Therefore, I will offer an apology publicly if you have been upset. I agree that it is not the most Christian like way of going about things. I did expect you to be upset at my response and while you did upset me greatly, upsetting you in return was not the best approach.

I do ask that you reread my original response as to the intent of my "fireworks" email. By default, you were one of the colleagues for whom I was trying to offer information and greetings. I extend those greetings and if your implication of an apology from you is correctly interpreted, I accept your apology.


Collegiality Gone Awry?

Here's the text of an email I sent to all of my colleagues via the Chat distribution list; which was designed to be used to communicate to the college community about non college-specific issues.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subject: Fireworks and Festivities

Happy 4th to all of you!

Chris Daniele
Technical Specialist
MassBay Community College
19 Flagg Drive
Framingham, MA 01721
* * * * * * * * * *
The link simply points to a local newspaper that talks about all of the July 4th events in all of the surrounding towns. It's especially helpful to those of use in the areas surrounding the Framingham campus considering the town of Natick will not have fireworks this year because of construction. Anyway, it was just a simple, nice gesture. I received dozens of nice replies - people thanking me for the info and wishing me a happy 4th - it was really nice until I got this response from one scrooge (the name(s) have been changed to protect the guilty):
From: Scrooge
Sent: Fri 6/30/2006 1:50 PM
To: Daniele, Christopher
I noticed that you sent an email about fireworks at 10:53. Don't you ever do any work?
Its just that adjuncts get a little upset when they see full-timers who don't have enough to do and the administration is asking us to do things for free.
* * * * * * * * * *
I was so fucking pissed at this b***h that I knew that I had to wait until after work hours. Initially I wanted to really rip into this person. I let some time pass and early this morning sent the following:
Dear Scrooge,

I don't know who you are, at least not by name but I find you response in poor taste and out of line. I have had the opportunity and privilege to work with many of my colleagues at Massbay (both part and full-time). Most of us have lives, interests and families beyond the boundaries of college property. As such, I chose to take a brief moment to share something that I was certain to be of interest to many people.

Sending that email at 10:53 to me was work because I consider part of my job to respect, care for, and look out for the people I work with; it's part of what I consider to be collegiality - all that aside, I just thought it was a nice thing to do - and I enjoy doing nice things.

I hope that when sending your email, you might simply have found yourself wrapped up in a moment of personal frustration. I further hope that realize that it wasn't a nice thing to take out that frustration on me. I wish you all the best and hope that you enjoy your holiday weekend.

Chris Daniele

P.S. In response to your question, yes, I always work. I think most people at Massbay that have actually taken the time to get to know me will tell you how passionate I can me about the work that I do. In my eight plus years I have never once seen a full-timer with "not enough to do", in fact, it's always been the complete opposite. Having served as an adjunct since 1999 here I can also say that I've never once felt I was being asked to do anything for "free" by the administration. Perhaps you should spend some time reassessing your feelings and your role in your profession.
* * * * * * * * * *
Oh, I CC:ed the rest of the college as well, not to be a jerk, but because I thought it was fair. Although, I originally CC:'ed everyone because I thought Scrooge did that to me when in fact I now realize in hindsight that Scrooge did send the response to me alone. However, I still feel Scrooge's response was inappropriate. Any thoughts?