Friday, February 27, 2015

12 Flawless Albums that only have Great Songs: The Commentary - Part 2

Picking up where I left off:

Jar of Flies - Alice in Chains
There is a lot of good about this record, technically an EP, but I would not place it on a list where the claim is that all is great within.

Lateralus - Tool
I can't say this doesn't belong here, just that it doesn't belong here if I were creating this list. I've never been a big Tool fan and in attempting to listen back to this record, nothing about it really moved me at all, I couldn't make it through an entire song.

Siamese Dream - The Smashing Pumpkins
When The Smashing Pumpkins first hit the scene, I wasn't right on board, it took a few years for me to warm up to them. While for me, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is my fave, this is a great record and has aged so very well.

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
If anyone reading this has any question as to whether or not this record belongs on such a list, please, listen to it; a timeless classic.

Boston - Boston
One of three vinyl records released in the 1970's that I've played enough times to actually wear out the vinyl and need to replace; I'm guessing you can figure out what that means in terms of this list.

OK Computer - Radiohead
I like Radiohead, but I am not one of their die hards - and while it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that I could take or leave them, most people would perceive that as a mostly negative statement, and I don't mean it to be.

Graceland - Paul Simon
I think Graceland is one of the most important records ever made, it stretches the boundaries of music through cultural discovery and has a social context. I have always loved this record and while I haven't listened to it in its entirety in a couple of years, I plan to do so soon.


Okay then, that covers this list from wherever I got it. I hope that seeing it at least stimulating some thinking, as it did with me. Of course, feel free to comment or drop me a line and offer some of your own commentary,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

12 Flawless Albums that only have Great Songs: The Commentary - Part 1

Time for some commentary on "12 Flawless Albums that only have Great Songs":

Kind of Blue - Mile Davis
This record has been around a few years longer than me, and somehow, it has eluded me until I saw it on this list and had to give it a listen. I was able to get a copy from the library and almost immediately was mesmerized at its brilliance. For certain, there is not a bad moment on this record.

Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come on Feel the Illinoise - Sufjan Stevens
While familiar with Sufjan Steven, I wasn not familiar with this record but have listened to it several times since learning of it from this list and i agree again, this is a beautiful record and every track is wonderful.

Deloused in the Comatorium - The Mars Volta
Yet another record I was not familiar with and decided to listen to yesterday. After getting through about half of the album, I had to stop it, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Revolver - The Beatles
Hard to find fault here, Revolver is spectacular. I must say that for me though, if I personally am only putting one Beatles record on this list, it's gotta be Rubber Soul.

2001 - Dr. Dre
Despite the incessant foul language and excessive misogyny, there is some credence to this record in the landscape of hip-hop music, it is hard to listen to though because it is just too sexist. That said, I'm torn as to whether or not it deserves to be on this list - I might replace it with Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys or Walking with A Panther by LL Cool J, perhaps Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood by DMX.

Will get to the rest of the list in another post.

35 Years Ago Today...

I was a sophomore at Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn. I had a crush on a classmate, and gave her a birthday card that had the following inside:

You may not be an angel
I know you're not a saint
But I like you for what you are
Not for what you ain't

I guess there is something to be said about a greeting card that can embed itself in your memory for 35 years.

Happy Birthday Annmarie, wherever you are!

:)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

12 Flawless Albums that only have Great Songs

I can't for the life of me recall where I saw this list, I do recall it was a few months ago and I wrote it on a piece of scrap paper. I'll offer the list first:

  1. Kind of Blue - Mile Davis
  2. Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come on Feel the Illinoise - Sufjan Stevens
  3. Deloused in the Comatorium - The Mars Volta
  4. Revolver - The Beatles
  5. 2001 - Dr. Dre
  6. Jar of Flies - Alice in Chains
  7. Lateralus - Tool
  8. Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
  9. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
  10. Boston - Boston
  11. OK Computer - Radiohead
  12. Graceland - Paul Simon
Over the next few days (or some as yet undetermined period of time, I will offer some commentary on each entry. Tell me what your first reaction is?

My initial reaction to the list was, "I don't know some of this stuff", then, "Boy has it been a while".

Monday, February 23, 2015

Support the Boob-tacular!


My friend Erin is taking on the 39 mile challenge to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Please, click the logo above to go to her fundraising page and contribute to help her reach her goal.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Perspective

If you were hosting a 4th of July BBQ in your back yard and had people coming over and a whole set up planned for the out of doors...then you woke up and it was 39 degrees (Fahrenheit), you'd be mortified, upset, freaking out and complaining about how it could possibly be so cold outside.

Today, it hit 39 degrees outside and you would have thought it was 3 degrees cooler than Hades. People had their coats unzipped, there were no hats or gloves to be found anywhere and I even saw one putz wearing a pair of shorts.

Global warming one day will kill every living inhabitant of our planet, but for now, it's kind of a pisser.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Grown up Boots

I first claimed to need warmer boots on this blog back in 2008, several times since, in more recent years, I talked of how it was time to buy a pair of "grown up boots".

Finally, after talking about it for years, then missing the damn inventory at L.L. Bean, I have placed my order!

These boots pictured here are hand made in Maine, and sell out every year. Of course, the past few years, I missed out and talk about how I am going to get in on the next batch and have missed out several times.

A few weeks ago, I got a 25% off coupon in email and thought this was the time, the 25% off was a nice incentive since these boots are a steep $199. I placed my order!!!

This morning, I get an email with a 30% off coupon. So, I placed another order, then when confirmed, I cancelled the order I placed at 25% off. Hey, another $10 is another $10.

Looking forward to a quality book that will keep my feet warm and dry and even have a lifetime guarantee; I feel so grown up.

An Update on The Wiper Fluid Situation

It wasn't until around noon, or somewhere around there, that I ventured out into the garage to see what the deal was. I noticed that some residual oil had floated to the top of the reservoir, so I siphoned out everything. I then filled the reservoir with warm water. I had to run out for groceries, so i did than and on my way back figured I'd give it a whirl...lo and behold, the liquid began shooting out as if all was fine.

On the ride home, I kept spraying with the intent of getting close to the bottom of the reservoir. When I got home, I couldn't see any residual oil, certainly not in any large enough quantity. I siphoned out the small amount of remaining water and refilled with the blue stuff.

Hopefully, all is going to be fine from here on out.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Please, Learn from My Mistake

Like most people dealing with the weather we've been having here, I've been blowing through windshield washer fluid quite rapidly. With the extreme cold though, of late, I can't get it to dispense all the time - I am assuming that there is a freezing situation as it does sometimes work fine.

I thought that instead of using the more common blue stuff, that I would fill up with the yellow - which I recall (not sure if I recall correctly, but that is neither here nor there at this point) can withstand colder temperatures. I knew that I had about half a gallon or so of the yellow stuff in the garage and my plan was to fill up the reservoir before leaving the house this morning.

My daughter was getting ready, we've been doing college tours this week and were soon to be leaving for our last one. I yelled up to her that I was heading into the garage for a few and off I went. I popped the hood, grabbed the jug with the yellow stuff and began to pour. As it was nearing the top off point and I adjusted the jug to prevent overflow, it seemed to me that the viscosity of the liquid was a bit thick. For some reason, I thought, let me take a little whiff, even though I couldn't imagine what a whiff would prove, turns out, taking a whiff was a good idea.

If you are not sitting down, this is a good time to do so, You are soon about to laugh at me so hard that you might fall down and injure yourself.

Once I took that whiff, all I could think is, "OH FUCK! What the hell have I done!" You see, the whiff made me realize that I just filled the windshield washer reservoir of my car with used vegetable oil. At some point, I must have used the jug to empty my deep fryer. What I failed to do is take a sharpie to the jug and/or remove the original label not thinking that a year later, I wouldn't recognize the difference between yellow windshield washer fluid and similarly yellow (not so sure how similar it would be side by side) used vegetable oil.

Just checking in, I hope you did not injure yourself while laughing at me. BTW, no need to feel any guilt for laughing at me, I deserve it.

Initially, I was in shock at myself and flustered, I only new that I had to drive to Boston for an appointment with my kid to tour a college and there was not much time to really do anything about it. I knew that I had to avoid triggering the sprayer or I'd end up with oily windows that would probably be way harder to see through than the already difficult to see through salt-laden windows,

As I pulled out of the driveway poking fun at myself, it occurred to me that I might be able to siphon out the vegetable oil. I didn't have a lot of time to spare but on the route to my destination is a Harbor Freight tools store and I knew they sell an inexpensive ($6.99) siphon pump, so I made my way with the intent to stop there to pick up one before heading off into Boston. I also kept repeating to myself that no matter how filthy the windshield got with road salt and residue, not to trigger the shpritzer!

As I write this, I have siphoned out as much of the vegetable oil as I could. I refilled with the blue stuff with the plan to flush out all of it then refill to get more oil residue out and have time to lean the windows. The plan was to use only the back window, which has a much smaller surface area and would be easier to clean. Unfortunately, the gizmo must have frozen from being out in the ultimate cold all day - maybe after a night in the less freezing garage, I can continue in the morning.

A Kitchen Nightmare Anniversary

One year ago today, I began the day filled with excitement about finally getting my kitchen remodeled. The deal was done and the contractors were on their way,

The demolition began really early and was rather swift, In fact, so swift, they began to install some of the new base cabinets, When I arrived home from work to see where they were with the job, the nightmare began,,,I noticed the species of wood on the new cabinets was not what I had ordered.

What was supposed to be a 3-5 week job ended up being a 4 month test of my patience. In the end, the job got done but it was not without constant complaining and arguing to get what I paid for.

So glad that it in the past!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

College Tours - Just the Beginning

Been spending time this week visiting colleges with my daughter. We are being proactive, as she is a junior in high school but really, it's not that far away. It's all a bit surreal, when I began this blog, my daughter was a few months from her 6th birthday; this summer, she will be 17!

The whole thing is a bit nerve wracking, and it's mind boggling to even begin to think about the costs, but I am also a professional educator and academic adviser and I am sitting back and doing my part to be supportive and sensitive to her aspirations.

It's a scary ride, but also a rewarding one.

Mom at 90

My mom would have been 90 years old today and all I could do other than miss her is wonder just what she would be like at 90 years of age. Putting aside her ailments, just mom being mom, add to that those extra years of life with her children and grandchildren mixed in with her own personality.

It's reasonably true in my experience that time heals so many things but what it hasn't been able to do is make me miss my mom any less. Mom passed away in September of 1996, dad a few years before that, and still, I miss them both as much today as I ever did.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I (Co) Write the Songs...More of Them

Over the past number of weeks, my friend Barry Mangione has restarted his Barry on the Spot show where a bunch of us get together and collaborate on songs. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes just silly...but always a good time.

Here are some of the recent songs I had in writing; you can listen to them on the links provided (click on the images to go to the song) and heck, if you decide to pay for any or all of them, all of the proceeds are being donated to charity!

I've added links to some of the older stuff down below, there's at least one "serious" song in there!

Enjoy!





If you wanna check out some of the stuff I had a hand in back in 2012 and 2013, here are some links:



Monday, February 16, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 4 "A Journey through ELO"


This was about revisiting the studio recordings of the Electric Light Orchestra. Not too long ago, my buddy Dan alerted me to this net box set being sold by Amazon U.K. which was a collection of 11 ELO studio albums.

Over the last couple of weeks, I listened to all 11; it was good to revisit the stuff I was very familiar with but even better to discover stuff I really didn't know at all.

SNL40: Kind of a Bust

Last night, there was a massive three and a half hour 40th anniversary SNL show on in prime time, preceded by a one hour "red carpet" show. I have to say, I was disappointed with the overall package!

There were some good moments for sure, standouts for me were "celebrity jeopardy" and the music tribute that Martin Short with Maya Rudolph as Beyonce fronted. Of particular comedy gold in that segment was how Short made it appear that the fans that blew "Beyonce's" hair were so pwerful that he himself could not withstand their force (while Beyonce was just standing there being fabulously Beyonce). I also really liked the digital short piece that Andy Samberg did  with Adam Sandler.

There were some other moments that were good: Dan Akroyd's Bass-o-Matic was fun. Weekend update with Tina fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtain was okay (should have been way better)...

The Californians was decent, the Betty White portion saved if as overall, it ran too long. As one long sketch, it does not work as well as something that recurs throughout the show in smaller chunks., I know logistically for this show, that may not have been possible but in that case, edit effectively or drop it.

Chris Rock kissing Eddie Murphy's ass (as if he was eulogizing him) then Murphy coming out and doing absolutely nothing was a big disappointment. Chevy's appearance was a waste of time, he did nothing.

While I thought Miley Cyrus singing 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover would suck way more than it did, there was no point in it being there, it just did not fit in the context of the show - nor did Kanye performing, or evein being there. While I hate Kanye immeasurably, beyond that bias, he served no purpose on that show.

There was just so much mediocrity and filler...I suspect I could edit the three and a half hours into maybe ninety minutes worth watching; maybe ninety minutes,

All in all, for me, a disappointment. How about you?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Have You Heard About the Snow?

For those of you outside of a major snow zone, the idea of more than 7 FEET of snow in a three week period seems only mythical. last night into this morning left us another foot plus - I thought I would offer some photos of what things look like at this point: 

At this point, I had cleared about 2/3 of the garage door area. You can see he accumulation to that point, a bit more than a foot. The snowfall was probably closer to 15 inches but there was a bit of moisture that packed down the fluffier stuff.

This is looking down the driveway toward the street; I had not yet finished carving my way all the way through.

This is a small glimpse into the back yard. For some perspective as to the quantity of snow hanging around back there, there is a fenced in area of approximately 40' x 30' and the fence is around 4' tall; the entire fenced in area has snow to the height of the fence at a minimun, some areas have much taller drifts.

You'll notice there is a shed back there,.when it will be accessible again, only mother nature knows for sure.

I was able to carve out enough of the mailbox to allow the USPS to continue delivery.

This is a combination drift, plow, blower pile that reaches a height somewhere between 7' and 9'. The location of this pile, at the end of the driveway makes getting out of my driveway way more challenging.

Taken from the road looking at the house.

Earlier in the snow season I had actually carved a path to the front door - that won't be happening again for some time. Some of the drifts here are more than 8' tall.

Wider shot of house from side; you can see accumulation on roof and drifts up to front door.

There is a lot of snow out there peeps! In fact, even along the sides of the driveway, something I couldn't capture effectively in pictures, the walls of snow are now so high, the snow blower is almost incapable of throwing snow over them; I experience a number of avalanches while cleaning today.

I believe the words of Alice Cooper are most appropriate here, "Welcome to My Nightmare!"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Latte Time

I shot some video while brewing a latte because I am silly and also wanted to mess with a friend.


In My Ears 2015 Vol. 3 "Don't Apologize (I Hope You Choke and Die)"

If you haven't read my last "In My ears" post, click here, this post and it's music are related. The second playlist that my daughter's magazine had was full of sad/angry songs; there are some gems and a few clunkers (for me) but it's all in the name of music!

Here is the list of songs/artist, YouTube playlist follows:

  1. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths
  2. If Only Duct Tape Could Fix Everything - The Movielife
  3. It's Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better - Piebald
  4. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad - Brand New
  5. My Friends Over You - New Found Glory
  6. Nothing Feels Good - The Promise Ring
  7. Pain - Jimmy Eat World
  8. Papercuts - Gym Class Heroes
  9. Purging - Boys Night Out
  10. See You in Hell - Aiden
  11. So Jealous - Tegan and Sara
  12. The Best Deceptions - Dashboard Confessional
  13. The Despair Factor - AFI
  14. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - The Anniversary
  15. The Suffering - Coheed and Cambria
  16. The World is Black - Good Charlotte
  17. When We Two Parted - The New Amsterdams
  18. You're So Last Summer - Taking Back Sunday



In My Ears 2015 Vol. 2 "This is The First Day of My Life (Glad I Didn't Die Before I Met You)"

This playlist came about a couple of years ago when my daughter handed me one of those teen angst magazines; or rather a page from one that had two playlists and asked if I could get her the music from each of them. Loving that she is so into music, I obliged and assembled each playlist into a CD.

This one is the "happy" one, and the one I actually like for the most part. The YouTube playlist included here is a compilation of various versions of the songs on that site in the case you wish to explore them a bit deeper than just the titles. Here is the list of songs and their artists:

  1. All is Full of Love - Bjork
  2. Always Love - Nada - Surf
  3. Anywhere with You - Save the Day
  4. Best of Me - The Starting Line
  5. Bury Me Deep Inside of Your Heart - H.I.M.
  6. Falling for You - Weezer
  7. Fatally Yours - Alkaline Trio
  8. First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
  9. Goodnight and Go - Imogen Heap
  10. I Love You So Much it's Killing Us Both - Jawbreaker
  11. I Want to Save You - Something Corporate
  12. I'm Glowing and You're the Reason - Braid
  13. Only One - Yellowcard
  14. This Modern Love - Bloc Party
  15. XO - Fall Out Boy
  16. You Remind Me of Home - Ben Gibbard
  17. You're So Damn Hot -OkGo
  18. Your Star - All American Rejects


 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Teens are N-V-T-S Nuts!

This happened on Thursday, 2/12/15 while having dinner at home:

Daughter: Hey dad, is it Tuesday?
Me: No, it's Thursday
Daughter: I totally forgot, I have to bring in brie for a French party at school tomorrow
Me: Tomorrow is Friday, you asked if it was Tuesday...you mixed up?
Daughter: I don't know...can wee go get some brie? Please?
Me: Sure, I'll take you after dinner.
Daughter: Where do you get brie?
Me: What? Are you serious?
Daughter: Well?
Me: [contemplating hard as to just how sarcastic I should be and ultimately deciding not to be] Just about any supermarket.

*** I immediately changed the topic because any further opportunity to be sarcastic would have been to hard to resist, dad or not, I am only human. ***

We went to get the brie and all was right with the world.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Seventeen Years (and a few days)

NOTE: I actually wrote this on 2/12/15 but forgot to hit the publish button!

On Feb 5th of this year, in fact, a week ago today, I celebrated my 17th anniversary working at my job - that is a pretty good run!

I've seen a lot of faces come and go in that amount of time. It's been an interesting ride.

The job I had before this one was the longest I had been at a job before this one and I've been at this one more than twice as long!

the perspective of being in Higher Education and a state run organization alone has made for witnessing the various changes over time interesting - add to that being in technology and in particular, the implementation of technology in education and elearning, just a brief look back is sometimes overwhelming.

Of all the things, good, bad and in between that I have been through in my time at Massbay - the death of my friend Wayne in July of 2013 was by far the most shocking and devastating.

All in all, it's been a good ride, I've learned a great deal and at least sometimes, feel like I have made a positive difference and doing more than just a job.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cheap Date

Just finished up with a crazy fun song writing session. The topic going in was "Cheap Date". After last week's session, our fearless leader posted the topic for the next session (tonight) and the name of it (Cheap Date) along with the funny graphic, inspired me immediately and I wrote a few things right away so I wouldn't forget them.

One of the other writers in the group contributed from a really sweet perspective, coupled with the music, the direction seemed clear...then I hit up with my lyrics, which were funny, but kind of smutty...then the whole complexion of the song got turned around.

Yes, it's kinds of smutty, but in a funny way....Barry will record it this week and I will post a link here so you can hear it.

You know what....smutty is a bad choice of words, it's not smutty...it is very adult oriented..a perhaps dirty-ish...but not really smutty,

So much fun!

Happy, and Pharrell had Nothing to Do with it

One of my dearest friends saw a goal realized today when she got news of passing the NCLEX. I never once doubted her ability to accomplish this goal or overcome any of the obstacles en route because I've never known a stronger person.

Working in a school where Nursing is one of the primary programs, I see nursing students all day long and I have a pretty strong understanding of the challenges they face just from the perspective of education; add to that and and all of the complexities of life and it's a ride that is filled with pain, suffering, anxiety, emotion, trauma, joy, and any other dramatic adjective you can come up with.

I've seen people bow out, I've seen people hang in there so tight and then there are those who are persistent. Not everyone has what it takes to get through such a program, but I never doubted, not for a second that my friend would succeed - and I don't doubt that she's going to make as good a nurse as anyone has ever been.

So proud and happy for her!!!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In the News Today

NBC suspends Brian Williams for 6 months without pay - personally, I feel too much is being made of this. Yes, he told a lie - big deal, everyone reading this has told a lie at some point. He didn't commit a crime....an apology should suffice.

Jon Stewart to leave The Daily Show - For fans of Stewart and the show, it's a shock but they guy is definitely going out on top. I say it's a bold and courageous move - he could have chosen to stay indefinitely and just cash in. Here's to whatever is next.

The whole Bobbi Kristina Brown thing - tragic, for certain...but I am having a hard time giving a crap about this. Yes, she was born into dysfunction...but she's an adult and she's made enough bad choices on her own. I only hope that others can learn from this tragedy.

Samsung - apparently they had some very fine print that made it okay (in their eyes) for their smart televisions to listen in to their surroundings...WTF?

Heinz debuts new Sriracha flavored ketchup - the thing about this is that somehow, this actually made the national news.

$65

That's how much the plow guy charged me to plow my driveway. I had no bargaining or negotiating chips, my snow blower had died, I have been nursing some injuries incurred by manually shoveling the driveway and falling several times on the ice...I had no choice but to pay up.

I did get the chance to touch base with my small engine repair guy (whom I sometimes refer to as my snow blower repair guy) and he picked up my machine today...hopefully he will be able to get it running again; if not, then it'll be time to pony up for a new snow blower.

I'm glad that my roof is pitched. I have never had an issue with ice dams causing any damage or leaking back into the house, but I must confess that after more than 5 feet of snow in the last 17 days and more coming, I am at least a tad nervous - but hoping for the best.

What was a mild winter had turned into a challenging one for sure, but that's just the way it goes here in New England. I am a bit worn down and tired, but I am still very grateful for what I have.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Pathetic 2015 Grammy Awards Show

This is just how I saw the Grammy's. through my eyes and my feelings in the moment. I refused to watch them live, because I knew in advance that the show would suck overall so I watched the following day with the benefit of DVR technology.

LL...lose the hat.

AC/DC - interesting to see a band that the Grammy's would probably never give an award to, perform on their stage, they were amazing...I guess the rumor about Chris Slade was true...good to see him.

LL introducing Taylor Swift as T-Swizzle, digging it (btw, I love TS).

Best New Artist - Sam Smith...not a fan. Brandy Clark  should have won. Haim or Bastille would have been good choices.

Ariana Grande performance - she's too much of a shit stain/diva with way too little (if any) talent for me to watch...fast forward.

Tom Jones/Jesse J - love the music of Mann/Weil, well deserved recognition and a great tribute. Interesting outfits.

Best Pop Solo performance - Pharell Williams/Happy  I could live with this considering the field. I think The John Legend song is better but very glad that Sam Smith and Sia didn't win it. Happy is a super catchy tune, just got a bit over exposed.

Miranda Lambert performance - I've seen her perform since nobody knew her name. Now, everybody knows her name and that's how it should be...she's great and she crushed it on the show.

Lifetime Achievement - Bee Gees  Love them, well deserves. Barry, you can afford better teeth than that.

Best Pop Vocal Album - Sam Smith/in the Lonely Hour...Boo! Ed Sheeran deserved it more in my opinion. Katy Perry or even Coldplay would have been acceptable...the others...ugh.

Kanye performance - unless it's his funeral, I refuse to watch him on TV...he's a disgrace to life and to music...fast forward.

Madonna performance - why were people raving about this shitty performance? First off, once again, she lip synced, then she danced poorly with a bunch of Viking morons. Shit, shit, shit! I used to respect her, not anymore, not even a little.

Best Rock Album - Beck/Morning Phase  What? Petty's album was miles better than all the others...I could live with U2 but only because none of the others deserve to share the same stage with either Petty or U2. I can't really complain about Beck winning since I didn't hear the record...it's hit or miss with him for me and I like some of his stuff, but I really hate some of it too.

Lifetime Achievement - George Harrison...duh!

Best R&B Performance - Beyoncé/Drunk in Love I hate Jay Z but think Beyoncé has some talent. I also think what they are trying to pass of as R&B today is not anything close to what R&B was when that category was originally defined.

Ed Sheeran performance - I dig this cat. Solid performance, tasteful guest spots. In fact, the performance was quite outstanding.

(Jeff Lynne's) ELO performance - Sir Paul standing up and singing along speaks volumes...how they can let shit stains like Kanye perform on the same stage is disturbing and it still sickens me to think Sir Paul will perform with Kanye. I really like Ed Sheeran and I think he was perfectly fine, but since an ELO performance is so rare and special, I wish it was just them alone. I've been binge listening to ELO lately working through their catalog.

Adam Levine/Gwen Stefani performance - I like both performers but this was a bad production choice to place them right after the ELO performance. While I thought this spot was okay, it was anticlimactic and just okay...maybe even a bit less than okay considering what I know either or both of them are capable of...yeah, actually not okay, no reason to settle, they should have brought it but they didn't.

Hozier performance - I like this song, I love Annie Lennox, I'm torn a bit on the overall performance. I can say it was terribly shot, really poor camera work during the Hozier portion. When Lennox began sing "I Put a Spell On You", I completely forgot Hozier was there...she took over the stage and while it was entertaining, fantastic even, the idea was to showcase the new artist Hozier (wasn't it?)...she sounded fantastic, but it was a buzzkill for Hozier..she owned that stage.

Best Country Album - Miranda Lambert/Platinum Well deserved...all the albums in this category were strong.

Pharell performance - a note to that has been called Madonna, want to do something epic and memorable, check out this performance...though you are likely too arrogant to have stuck around...this is how to make a production number entertaining.

Domestic Violence thing...I support any and all awareness campaigns for this but I think it is misplaced in this show. I understand it was meant as a lead in to the Katy Perry performance but in this venue, it should only have been about the song.

Katy Perry performance - moving/powerful; proves my previous statement.

Imagine Dragons performance - I'm a fan...great remote performance.

Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga performance - perfect!

Trustees Award - George Wein  I have no comment, I don't know who he is. It did give me pause to think about how terrible a job LL Cool J is doing as host...I really do love LL, I am a fan, but he's a bore on this show...and the damn hat has got to go.

Usher performance - classy and beautiful...really great. Love that Stevie came out right when he did.

Lifetime achievements and such...they moved by too fast but the one that caught my eye was Buddy Guy, an amazing blues player.

Eric Church performance - intense...further proof of how music alone can send a message.

Brandy Clark (w/Dwight Yoakam) - superb!

McCartney and others performance - had to lose just a little respect for Sir Paul for standing beside that lowlife shit stain Kanye...fast forward.

Sam Smith (w/Mary J. Blige) - fast forward...I have no interest...hate her and while I think he has a good voice, I just don't care for him.

Juanes (?) performance - fast forward...no interest.

Album of the Year - Beck/Morning Phase...I'm not a huge fan, he's had some okay moments and put out some shit. I didn't listen to this record cause I hated his last one, so I don't know it it was worthy of such an accolade...in general, the category was weak. I've like some of his stuff, and some not. I will need to at least listen to his record at some point I think.

Sia performance - If she's not willing to show her face, she can go screw herself, I refuse to watch. I just don't give a shit about her at all! Fast forward.

Producer of the Year, Non-Clasical - Max Martin  No mention of who he is or what he produced...why bother mentioning his win then? Poor show production!

Song of the Year - Sam Smith/Stay With Me  with the exception of Sia, any of the other nominees deserved it way more and I even think Sia deserved it a little more, for the song alone...but a least Sam Smith shows his face when he performs. Of the songs nominated, I would have given it to Swift, easily the most catchy of all of them.

Beck (w/Chris Martin) performance - resisted my urge to fast forward, glad I did...nice song, I liked the song and the performance. More motivation to give a listen to Beck's record.

Jamie Foxx makes me sick!

Record of the Year - Sam Smith/Stay With Me  Puh-lease! Gag!

Necrology...unfortunately, Kanye wasn't on it

Beyoncé performance - stunning. Hey has-been Madonna, note how she actually sang her song, and did so amazingly?

John Legend and some rap dick face...loved it at the start, Legend is amazing, the minute the obligatory rap dick came out, I fast forward through the shit shack.

The End...thank god...shitty show overall, but I predicted that.

Recipe; Oreo Lasagna

I saw this picture first after someone posted it to their Facebook wall and was only able to get to the recipe by signing up for Pinterest.

I am so addicted to Oreo,cookies and sweets that the mere sight of this recipe got me to sign up for a danm Pinterest account!

While I resist sugary things, I am still mesmerized at the thought of this and as such, felt it necessary to share it here,

I'll offer some commentary on the recipe itself at the end.

Ingredients:

1 package oreo cookies
4 tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. skim milk
12 oz fat free cool whip
6 Snack Pack Fat Free Chocolate Pudding cups (or make 1 package of chocolate pudding)

Instructions:

  1. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray
  2. In a food processor, or in a zip closed bag, crush the Oreo Cookies (I used the bag version and it was super easy without all the clean up of the food processor)
  3. Set aside 1 cup of crushed Oreos for topping
  4. Combine remaining crushed Oreo's with melted butter
  5. Press buttered Oreo's into the bottom of the prepared dish
  6. In a small bowl whip the softened cream cheese using a handheld mixer until light and fluffy
  7. Mix in sugar, milk and 1 1/4 cups of cool whip until well combined
  8. Spread cream cheese layer over the Oreo crust until smooth and even
  9. Layer chocolate pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese
  10. Spoon remaining cool whip over pudding and gently smooth
  11. Sprinkle on mini chocolate chips
  12. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours but overnight is best
  13. Serve & ENJOY!!
Commentary: Despite never having made this yet, I would definitely NOT use reduced fat cream cheese, fat free cool whip or snack pack pudding...there is no reason to, the "savings" are offset my so many factors...use the real stuff and make a delicious version,

The Flock of A**Holes

It's actually the name of a band, an 80's cover band; clever name if you ask me. If you want to go check out there Facebook page, click here. I went to see them the night before the Marshall Crenshaw show, any yes, I'm just getting around to writing about it now.

The crowd was robust and lively, the music was nostalgic and the band was there to perform and perform they did- a great combination of shtick and music and some great interplay with the crowd.

I met up with my buddy Ameesh, who brought along his buddy Joe. We were standing around for the entire first set then scored a table before the start of the second set.

At the table in front of us was a large group, which included four sisters. They were lit up at various levels, but were harmless and hysterical. One of them had a husband there who seemed to just laugh hysterically at them the whole time.

One of the sisters, Chris was her name (hard for me to not recall that one), was a real pip, i suspect by her being the most lit up. I think it's even more odd/interesting/whatever to observe since I basically refuse to get lit up any more. I'll occasionally have one or sometimes two drinks, then it's water with lemon if it's not soda water with lime.

Chris made her way over to our table and went into interview mode. "What's your name and what do you do for a living?" she asked each of us. then, she attempted to predict our ages, she came within a year for each of us...then she ran off and danced with her sisters before returning to utter some incoherent stuff and then insisting on taking selfies with each of us.

After taking the selfies, she went off and danced and her sisters kept coming over to us and apologizing for her. There was a point later where all of them where together, dancing with each other, just next to us. I had a funny idea, I took one of the salt shakers off of the table and carefully placed it in Chris' pocket. the silver end was sticking out, which made it funny for us...Joe and Ameesh were laughing their ass off! I though it might be both hysterical and a bit of a wake up call when she sobered up and found a salt shaker in her pocket not having any clue how it got there.

Its not the best picture in the world but if you look carefully, you can see the head of the salt shaker sticking out of the pocket. I know, it is a bit juvenile, but harmless and quite funny!

back to the band, I love the humor in the name of the band, I love the nostalgia of the music they play and they are super fun to see. The drummer is also in a 90's cover band called "How Bizarre". I saw "How Bizarre" a month or so before, I think I wrote about them here but if not, they too were quite great.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Making It Happen

There will be a crock pot beef stew tomorrow!

Heading out in a bit to take care of some last minute things then heading over the see The Road Dawgs...it'll be the debut of my snazzy new Patriots championship hoodie.

If you have a minute to think send some good thoughts - someone special is taking a very big test on Monday, send her some good vibrations.

How about a really beautiful song? Check this out:


As I type this I am listening to The Boomtown Rats.

I need to return some undershirts I bought earlier today because I accidentally bought the wrong size...and it is never pleasant when the right size is a larger one.

Off to have some fun!

Low and Slow

I may have already talked about how my daughter wants me to use the slow cooker more. I may have already mentioned that I plan to do so this year. I may have even said something about how I've gathered up a few recipes. Hopefully, I'll actually make a real effort to make one of these happen.

I must confess, that while I am not complaining so much about the snow, the fact that my snow blower has gone out of commission has made dealing with the snow of late physically demanding; so much so that I have very little motivation to do anything at all.

that said, I have been fumbling through some recipes over the past half hour and as long as weather permits, which doesn't look so good right now, my kid and I will have a slow cooker meal for dinner tomorrow.

Now that I put it in writing, the pressure is on :)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

They Aren't All Going to Be Peachy

For a while now, my washing machine has been acting somewhat strange. During high speed spin cycles, it can be quite loud and the entire machine will tend to take a bit of a walk - sometimes drifting close to a foot away from the wall.

I did some research on possible causes and thought, perhaps I should call in a professional. I found an "authorized LG repair" shop and they sent over a technician this morning. Turns out that none of the components that are usually the cause of such behavior really need replacing and the technician suggested that at 9 years old, there was no good reason for me to invest any money into this machine; of course he charged me $75.00 to tell me that.

I was a little bummed, as a kid, our washer and dryer lasted forever and it got beat up way more than mind does. I know that they just don't make things like they used to but it's bothers me when the reality hits. The technician has a few ideas that may help, and he said if I am at least somewhat cautious with the size of the loads and the spin speeds, I should be able to ride out another couple of years...maybe.

The snow was so harsh this morning that by the time he left, I needed to move snow before leaving for work. Of course, my snow blower is not working right at the moment, so I had to do the whole thing by hand...on top of recent snow activity, this boy is sore :)

Then I learn that my friend's 17 year old son was hospitalized.

It all hit me at one, made me really need a hug....thankfully, I got many of them!

Still sore, but hanging with my kid today and laughing with friends...along with many nice hugs.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Someday Someway

Released in 1982, Marshall Crenshaw's first album was instantly one of my favorites. More than 32 years later, it still is one of my favorite albums ever and I would put it up against any record ever released by any artist. From the moment I first heard this record I wanted to see Marshall Crenshaw perform live but for some reason, it just never happened.

A little over a week ago, on 1/24, I realized a wish of more than 32 years - I got to see Marshall Crenshaw perform live and after the show, I had the chance to meet him, say hello, and tell him how much of a fan of his music I am - such a great experience.

The show was at "The Center for Arts", a small local venue that only has about 275 seats; a very intimate and wonderful venue to see a performance. What was especially cool, just 24 hours earlier than Marshall Crenshaw taking the stage, my daughter performed on the very same stage.

Also cool, the opening act, a band called "The Bottle Rockets". While around for more than 20 years, I had never even heard of them - they were fantastic. Not only did The Bottle Rockets perform an opening set, they also served as Marshall Crenshaw's backing band.

Here are some pics from the event:

Before the show

The Bottle Rockets



There was a great story on how he acquired this Rickenbacker 12 string




Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets




Marshall Crenshaw

It's All About the Bass

There really needs to be a trained professional who knows how to take a cell phone picture at meet & greet events. The lady who had my phone looked like it was the first time she had ever taken a cell phone picture. I told her to "press the button with the camera on it", it really is pretty obvious. Then she's just standing there holding it and I'm feeling guilty taking up so much time when there are other fan's who wanna meet with the guy and it had to be uncomfortable for him to. She said, "boy, your phone takes a long time to take a picture." An illogical statement, and an inaccurate one. I told her to just press the button, then he goes over to check it out and show her...so funny. Somehow these two pics are what came out of it. In the second one, you can see it was snapped as he was going to her to help her. LOL!


Monday, February 02, 2015

Enought with Deflate-Gate Already!

After seeing the cover of the shit rag N.Y. Post and hearing people, some of which I otherwise respect, continuing with the thought that the New England Patriots cheated...I have to speak up.
If you genuinely believe that the Patriots cheated, that is, with intent, alter something about the game to gain an advantage, then I have to believe that you have no idea bout the game of football, about sports in general, or about basic sportsmanship.
You can hate the Pats, that's fine. You can think there might be some chance that there was some shady business - because there is always some possibility of something being true unless we have 100% undeniable evidence otherwise....but you can not, I repeat, you can not just outwardly say that the Patriots cheated.
If you wish to learn a little something about good sportsmanship and honor, take a minute to watch the interviews after the super bowl...you would be hard pressed to find a single member of the Pats organization that didn't give credit to their teammates.
If you've paid attention to the NFL the last few seasons in particular, you know that the officiating has been very poor, several game results have been altered significantly, even decided, by poor calls by the officials - it's simply become part of the game.
If in fact there were under inflated balls used in the game in question, it is the officials who should have caught this. An official has their hands on every ball before and after every single play and not once did an official question the air pressure in any of the balls.
If indeed on of the opposing players noticed that the air pressure was off, why did they not alert an official during the game?
It's all just hogwash folks. Hate the New England franchise if you wish, that is your prerogative. To blatantly call them cheaters at this point is wrong and disrespectful to the sport of football, to the families of the players and other members of the organization and to everyone...so cut it out, please. Move on....pitchers and catchers report in less than a month,
Not bothering to check for typos,

Sunday, February 01, 2015

New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions


What a sensational victory by the New England Patriots! I've have finally composed myself. Glad that tomorrow is a day off, though I am not looking forward to cleaning snow again...but I won't complain.