Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lady Antebellum Concert

The first stop on the "Summer of Concerts" tour for me was last evening at the amphitheater currently referred to as the "Xfinity Center"; the performers: Lady antebellum featuring Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt.

Sam Hunt opened the show with a crowd pleasing set. I like some of his stuff but there are a couple of new trends in country music that I don't like, one of them is sort of a pseudo-rap style withing the song, he does this, when he does, I'd rather not be listening. Overall though, as a live performer, Hunt did a nice job of getting the crowd ready.

Hunter Hayes impressed me. This 23 year old kid entertained me every moment he was on stage - my niece is a big fan, I had to text her and tell her that I approve of her love for him. Also, considering he played for almost as long as Lady Antebellum did after, I am considering him a co-headliner rather than an opener. The kid can do just about anything, from what I understand, plays about 30 instruments - of the ones I witnessed: piano, mandolin, and guitar, he's a real talent - quite a good guitarist.

Lady Antebellum was fantastic! You can easily forget how many hit songs a band has until you hear then sing for an hour and a half and realize that you know every single song.

This was a great kickoff to the summer of concerts.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The 100 Comedians List - Second Look

90. Dana Carvey - I don't think "stand up" is really where he came from but rather developed a stand up act from the characters and material he did in sketch work. That said, Carvey is funny, he has a knack for a voice, an facial expression, coupled with a scenario that really works.

89. Kevin James - I saw Kevin James do stand up very early in his career (about 1990-1991) at a very small club called Jimmy's Comedy Alley in Bayside, Queens. I remember laughing so hard that night! Years later, after his fame on television, I saw a stand up show and I laughed a lot for the same reasons, his machinations/histrionics are killer and his material is pretty relatable.

88. Paula Poundstone - It's been many years since I've seen/heard her work on stage; I do hear her often as a panelist on Wait, Wait Don't Tell me and her comic mind is as sharp as I recall. Poundstone is a funny lady.

87. Brett Butler - Butler had a run a while back gaining fame on a sitcom, which catapulted her stand up career. I've seen a few of her specials and always laughed. I sense that she played up the southern stereotype which made her sharp wit and intellect even sharper. I miss her.

86. Jay Mohr - I've seen Jay be funny and I've seen him not funny. I don't know if it's that early on I was watching a not yet fully developed act or if I just grew into the act - he's a good impressionist!

85. David Cross - Cross is one of those guys that just does his own thing. David Cross is inherently funny but I've seen bad sets, but when he is on, it's pretty mesmerizing.

84. Drew Carey - Been a while since he did stand up regularly and one thing I recall hat got me as much as the material, if not more, was his presence and delivery. I could never figure out if he was intentionally laughing at his material as part of the act or what - it was sometimes funny and sometimes disturbing...but I do recall laughing as well, so there's that.

83. Norm MacDonald - Norm is one of those guys I feel like you are either going to like or not like and not have any middle ground with. For me, I love him, his delivery, facial expressions, voice and seemingly not give a crap attitude all contribute to the overall experience and I can't help but laugh hard.

82. Howie Mandel - I can't speak to how Mandel may (or may not) have developed his material/act as her still performs but early in his career, I laughed a lot at the characters, voices and his general affect - and in hindsight, I wonder if that was funnier than the  material itself...I am not sure.

81. Dick Gregory - Boring!

80. Bobby Slayton - I saw him live about a year ago, and have enjoyed him for years. "The Pitbull" of comedy - does a lot of call backs and touches on material that could be considered risque but it's a powerful style and delivery that tie it all together.

79. Dom Irrera - I saw him in the early 90's and laughed really hard, I don't think his act has varied all that much over the years but it's probably unfair of me to say that without knowing for sure. I know he's made me laugh a lot and given the chance, I would see him again.

78. Sinbad - I can't say that I've never laughed at his stand up but I also can't say I'd have any interest in ever hearing it or seeing him perform again.

77. Paul Reiser - I'm sort of mixed about his stand up, what I recall of it, it was a bit schticky. Most of his work was from years ago, I believe he stopped for a long time before recently going back.

76. Robert Schimmel - Kills me that he is dead, to think that there'll never be new Robert Schimmel material. His material is very adult, but very very funny, gut busting funny and just typing his name made me laugh.

75. Eddie Izzard - Interesting, though provoking and sometimes shocking (he's done entire specials dressed in women's clothing). I can easily write that I don't think all of his material is funny but if I am being fair, it may just be that I don't get it all. Izzard is always compelling for sure and very smart.

74. Paul Rodriguez - At the time he was most popular, he was funny. I don't know that if I heard that material today if it would still make me laugh the same way and I think the times have changed enough that that act would no longer work; I have no idea what he is doing these days.

73. Billy Connolly - not for everyone...thick Scottish accent and a long form story telly more than just someone who tells jokes. Connolly has made me laugh but I've also seen sets that didn't work.

72. Bernie Mac - Always made me laugh.

71. Red Buttons - What I do recall of him, and that is not a lot, was his participation in the Dean Martin roasts, in fact, I am YouTube watching a few right now....funny!

The 100 Comedians List - First Look

Before I ramble on a bit about the people, I think in general this is a shitty list and in my opinion, does not say much for the breadth of understanding that Comedy Central has for comedy. Many of these names are those of funny people, people who make me laugh and that are very talented...but not "stand up" comics...there is a big difference. Ill talk a bit about #'s 91 through 100 in this post:

100. Gallagher - I can't say he's never made me laugh but I don't particularly thik he's a great comic. His material is not very thought provoking, which is okay in and of itself but he's not thought provoking. His position on this list does not alarm me.

99. Janeane Garofalo - Been a long time since I heard her do stand up but I know that was her roots. I don't think she's all that funny as a stand up, she's got some material that is okay but I find her rant too much and try to use the stage as more of a socio-political forum with a bit of "comedy" sprinkled in, and that to me is not entertaining. There are times I've seen her do more straight forward comedy and have laughed but overall, not great to me as a stand up/

98. Louis CK  - I have to assume the only reason Louis is so far down on this list is because it is an old list. Louis is one of the funniest guys out there to me and he;s also quite prolific.

97. Sandra Bernhard - A funny and interesting woman, though for me, not a great stand up comic. She's made me laugh, she's unique and talented in many ways buy as a straight off stand up, not one of the best in my opinion.

96. Joey Bishop - I remember seeing him on the Johnny Carson show when I was a kid and remember him making Johnny Carson laugh, and me. Does he belong in the top 100 of all time? Maybe, I can't say for sure with what I recall of him.

95. Andrew 'Dice' Clay - I think the persona was compelling in it's time, but the material is just more raunch and shock than well thought out comedy so it really doesn't have legs. that said, back in the day, I laughed.

94. David Alan Grier  - For me, not funny!

93. George Wallace - not horrible, but not great, very vanilla.

92. Louie Anderson - Oddly enough, I always thought of him as a gimmick comic, with his particular gimmick being his weight. He's funny, but for the most part a bit to vanilla for me.

91. Jim Breuer - Breuer has grown on me as a stand up, the last few times I've seen him have been pretty killer.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Comedy Central 100 Greatest Standups of All-Time

I just found this list, which I can't find the original publication date, though it may date as far back as 2005. I thought in this post I would simply present it to you and in a series of future posts, I will make commentary on each of the comics listed and perhaps dare reorder this list myself. Who knows, I may even notice someone is missing,,,here's the list as published by Comedy Central:

  1. Richard Pryor
  2. George Carlin
  3. Lenny Bruce
  4. Woody Allen
  5. Chris Rock
  6. Steve Martin
  7. Rodney Dangerfield
  8. Bill Cosby
  9. Roseanne Barr
  10. Eddie Murphy
  11. Johnny Carson
  12. Jerry Seinfeld
  13. Robin Williams
  14. Bob Newhart
  15.  David Letterman
  16. Ellen DeGeneres
  17. Don Rickles
  18. Jonathan Winters
  19. Bill Hicks
  20. Sam Kinison
  21. Dennis Miller
  22. Robert Klein
  23. Steven Wright
  24. Redd Foxx
  25.  Bob Hope
  26. Ray Romano
  27. Jay Leno
  28. Jack Benny
  29. Milton Berle
  30. Garry Shandling
  31. George Burns
  32. Albert Brooks
  33. Andy Kaufman
  34. Buddy Hackett
  35. Phyllis Diller
  36. Jim Carrey
  37. Martin Lawrence
  38. Bill Maher
  39. Billy Crystal
  40. Mort Sahl
  41. Jon Stewart
  42. Flip Wilson
  43. Dave Chappelle
  44. Joan Rivers
  45. Richard Lewis
  46. Adam Sandler
  47. Henny Youngman
  48. Tim Allen
  49. Freddie Prinze
  50. Denis Leary
  51. Lewis Black
  52. Damon Wayans
  53. David Brenner
  54. DL Hughley
  55. Alan King
  56. Colin Quinn
  57. Richard Jeni
  58. Larry Miller
  59. Gilbert Gottfried
  60. Jeff Foxworthy
  61. Bobcat Goldthwait
  62. Eddie Griffin
  63. Jackie Mason
  64. Richard Belzer
  65. Cedric the Entertainer
  66. Shelley Berman
  67. Kevin Pollak
  68. Dave Attell
  69. Pat Cooper
  70. Wanda Sykes
  71. Red Buttons
  72. Bernie Mac
  73. Billy Connolly
  74. Paul Rodriguez
  75. Eddie Izzard
  76. Robert Schimmel
  77. Paul Reiser
  78. Sinbad
  79. Dom Irrera
  80. Bobby Slayton
  81. Dick Gregory
  82. Howie Mandel
  83. Norm MacDonald
  84. Drew Carey
  85. David Cross
  86. Jay Mohr
  87. Brett Butler
  88. Paula Poundstone
  89. Kevin James
  90. Dana Carvey
  91. Jim Breuer
  92. Louie Anderson
  93. George Wallace
  94. David Alan Grier
  95. Andrew 'Dice' Clay
  96. Joey Bishop
  97. Sandra Bernhard
  98. Louis CK
  99. Janeane Garofalo
  100. Gallagher

It's Amazing, It's Colossal, It's a Podcast!

First and foremost, you need to have a good sense of humor. Next, a love of nostalgia, especially in the area of show business. Finally, be willing to surrender the idea of politically correct and just pull any sticks out of your ass (if there are any, reach deep, sometimes you never know). If you have and can do all of this, have I got a podcast for you!

I had to binge listen because I discovered the podcast a year or so after it started but I am all caught up now and have loved every episode, they are all worth listening to.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Let Go

In the past few days, two people who I really liked were let go at work. It's hard to deal with that stuff, especially when there is no explanation and no obvious reason.

I've learned to accept that since I do not know the answer that there must have been some reason that made sense and hope that is the case. I do believe both will land on their feet and be fine but it's just sad to experience.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

D.C. Bound ?

I am hopeful that I will in fact get to go to the annual Blackboard World conference this year. I asked my boss today, "Hey Mike, any update on Bb World?" "Your going..."

Until I get the green light to book the travel, I will remain cautiously optimistic.

I love going to this conference because I learn so much and make a lot of cool professional contacts. This year it is in Washington D.C. Trivia, I've never been to D.C. and the only Bb World I've missed since 2006 is the one they had in D.C. (been to ones in San Diego, Vegas, Boston, New Orleans, Orlando).

Turning out to be a very packed summer with all of the concerts and stuff!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MEME: The Weird, Unusual and Amusing Meme

The following statements are true. Your job is to explain why you think they are true. Just offer up your usual amusing quips! I'm betting we'll have some hysterical responses. Remember that somewhere somebody in the world needs to know these things and your tax dollars probably paid for the research that went into proving them true.

More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes.
This is an easy one, donkey is a euphemism for ass, as in asshole and some assholes do things like drive drunk, text and drive, play with guns, etc.

Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
Back in ancient Helsinki times, a pantless, gaseous duck was responsible for a massive fire at the Finlandia Swiss cheese factory which almost led to the bankruptcy of the corporation and did lead to many jobs being lost and an epidemic shortage in the availability of Swiss Cheese and allowing for Jarlsberg and Emmenthaler to gain inroads into the cheese market.

If you keep a Goldfish in the dark room, it will eventually turn white.
The algorithm that determines color orientation is even more complex than gender identity and sexual orientation. Suffice it to say that goldfish, as well as most other non-human inhabitants of the galaxy are far more adaptable and accepting than humankind.

The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes. Why were they fighting in the first place?
Zanzibar was getting all cocky after being mentioned in a Billy Joel song  but England told them it had nothing to do with them, it was a fictional sports bar - so they started bickering, but then football (soccer to us) came on the telly and they stopped bickering.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
I got nothing and I don't want any trouble.

The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
I don't know about the ant part and I haven't been intoxicated enough to fall over in years and years...that said, I might have descended from ants.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Not hard to believe, ostriches are evil and stupid fuckers, or they've proven to be so in all of my encounters with them.

In England, the Speaker of The House is not allowed to speak.
Probably gets more done that way. You ever hear that lowlife shit for brains John Boehner speak?

By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you cannot sink into quicksand.
How many perished until that was discovered?

On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.
That might be the reason...nevermind.

The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
And they wonder why nobody likes them.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dove Summer Care

I have not been paid by Dove to write this, I am doing so because this is the best product I have ever used thus far on my skin and I want to share that with you.

I have some annoying skin, thus far, after about two weeks of using this stuff, the improvement is significant. usually deeper into the summer, on the super hot, sunny days, I have some real problems with Excema, I am hoping this stuff will work as well as it has thus far; I have every reason to believe it will.

If you have issues with your skin, please, do yourself a favor and try this stuff, it's really great!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting My Ass Kicked

Right now, it's these damn allergies! I don't recall a worse allergy season in years, I mean I am barely functional, this is painful and I'd be willing to battle another few feet of snow to get rid of it; that is how bad it is.

I remember when my mom had bad allergies, her sneeze could be heard from a city block away, those of you reading this that knew her know exactly what I am talking about. I mentioned this to my daughter once and her almost immediate response was, "you inherited her sneeze."

In other news, I am hooked on a goofy cell phone app called dubsmash. I will post the videos here at some point...just pure silliness, which for me equals lots of fun.

Thanks for stopping by, see ya soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 8

Various Artists - The Only Folk Collection You'll Ever Need
If you click here, you can see the CD on the publisher site, view the track list and heck, even buy it if you are so inclined. I think a more accurate name might be "If You Are Only Going to Own One Folk Collection, This One is Pretty Rad!" There is not a bad moment on this collection. If I could make one change, I opt to not use the live Pete Seeger version of If I Had a Hammer and go with a studio recording where he isn't announcing the words he's about to sing so the audience may participate.

Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga - Cheek to Cheek
Great record! Bennett is himself and Gaga is just gorgeous as a chanteuse.

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
After a decade long hiatus from recording, Sleater-Kinney releases their best work yet.

Ex-Hex - Rips
First heard this all female rockers on NPR. Interestingly, the last two listens have been back to back with the all female Sleater-Kinney. Love this debut release from them, looking forward to whatever might come next.

Guster - Evermotion
latest released from this Boston based band that have been around since 1991, but I only learned of them (and fell in love with their sound), in the last couple of years. This is a good record taking their signature sound and keeping it fresh.

Various Artists - Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life
Usually, a collection like this can be scary...but this one is pretty awesome - even the Tenacious D cover of "The Last in Line". The collection ends with the haunting title cut sang by Dio himself

Bob Mould - The Last Dog & Pony Show
Regardless of where in his career you are listening to, if you are listening to Bob Mould, you are gonna enjoy it - the guy gives it every time.

The Kindness of Strangers

As see on Craigslist, under the "FREE" category:

Spare copies of some classic Genesis albums from the band's progressive era, for in-person pickup:

  • From Genesis to Revelation (1969) (Varese Sarabande 2008 remastering)
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) (Virgin 2007 remastering)
  • A Trick of the Tail (1976) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Wind & Wuthering (1977) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Seconds Out (1977) (Virgin 2001 remastering)
  • ... And Then There Were Three (1978) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Duke (1980) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
On not one of these albums does Phil Collins croon "Sus, sus, sus-sudio."

Hmmmmm, I said, I know I am missing a couple of those and the ones I have are not the remasters. So I sent an email, someone named "Dallas" got back to me...I now own them (and promised in return to pay it forward somehow).

Pretty cool transaction. Expect these to appear on future "In My Ears" posts.

Friday, May 22, 2015

This Brings Back Memories...

...but also, kind of makes a statement; don't ya think?

We had that model of rotary wall phone, ours was the yellow (if you were around back then, you know what I mean by "the yellow"). Also, ours had a volume control on the handset, because my mom was hearing impaired.

I still had my cassette Walkman up until a year or two ago.

The encyclopedias (we had Encyclopedia Americana) lived on shelves above my sisters bed.

I had an Atari 2600, loved it! A year ago I bought one of those "retro" units with a bunch of the games built in, in all their pixelated glory.

Oh, the passing of notes.

Where I lived in Brooklyn, NY, we didn't get cable TV until the middle to late part of the 80's. In fact, I was on an MTV special in 1985 and had to have my cousins in New Jersey tape it for me - I still have the VHS tape, watched it a few months ago.

I used to LOVE the road atlas books, and the giant maps that were a challenge to refold. My dad would let me map out an navigate road trips - that was fun!

I've always loved the library - still do!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Know I Should Proofread Better, but...

I don't.

Most of the time, I can't type as fast as I am thinking and just need to get it down before I lose it. Most of the time I run the minimal spell checker in Blogger, make those corrections, then do a once over and make changes. However, that is not always enough to be sure that all of the err's are unerr'ed.

Three are times where at some point after a post is published that I read it and recognize errors, then fix them.

I just can't be the guy that only publishes to the blog when it's perfect though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Six it Yourself

At Wegman's,they have "create your own 6 pack" selection of craft beer's and ciders. While it's a couple of bucks more expensive than a standard 6-pack, it does give you a great opportunity to try things one bottle at a time, so that if you don't like it, you don't have to toss whole six of it.

Last time I was there, I though after seeing it for so long, I was going to treat myself; here's what I included in mine:

I didn't have my first "shandy" (not to be confused with the Yiddish "shanda") until last summer - and I liked it. Last year, I tried the grapefruit shandy by UFO called "Big Squeeze" and like it. I also tried a nice lemon shandy by Leinenkugel's and when I saw they made a grapefruit shandy, I thought I had to give it a shot.

Only recently got into the ciders, this was something that seemed quite unique, a blackberry pear cider from Crispin. This might be the one I am most looking forward to trying.

This is the only one of the six I have tried before, first on tap and then in a bottle (I will always choose the tap before a bottle when given that choice). I picked this in the six because I don't see it often and wanted to have one - it's good!

From the brewers of Grey Lady, this is a summer offering by the Nantucket, MA based cisco brewers.

The minute I saw this I began singing "Edge of Seventeen" in my head ("just like the white wing dove..."). I've like Belgian whites in the past and this had a cool label!

A cider, or as they say, cidre, from Stella...had to try.

That's my six. I haven't had any of them yet, this will last me a while....I'll try to remember to let you know what I think.
BONUS: Here is a cider that I first tried on tap at the British Beer Company in Framingham and LOVED LOVED LOVED. In fact, I turned others onto it as well...turns out Wegman;s had it in six packs, so I bought one:

Please try this, it's great!

Thanks for All the Laughs, Mr. Letterman

I hope at some point I can put an eloquent thought out on this blog about what David Letterman meant to me. With tonight's show being the last one, I wanted to present you with a very well written piece that my buddy Dan wrote over on his blog. Please read:

MEME: The Employment Enjoyment Meme

What kind of work do you do?
I work in higher education, academic computing (elearning). I also teach as an adjunct in the computer science department.

During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling?
This one for certain. I am pretty passionate about education everyone's role as an educator. While the time I spent in advertising wasn't as fulfilling as a whole, there were parts of it I really liked, in particular, the creative part.

Do you think it's necessary in your life to have a day-to-day "career" that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in "just a job" with a steady paycheck?
I think because I am in a position where I need to work to live, I am capable of good work under either pretense. However, if you are doing what you feel like you are supposed to be doing, there are far greater rewards beyond the paycheck. Of course, that is not to say there aren't ample frustrations and tough times, but working through those knowing what the good stuff is, is far easier.

Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household?
I can't really say this s applicable to me and my life.

Tell us your worst boss story.
I had a boss who was a cocaine addict and once I started managing the business, he virtually disappeared and it was tough to get paid or any other information from him.

Have your ever been the boss? Do you like this this role?
I've had management roles, it's really hard to manage people and almost impossible to manage a friend. That said, while I think I am okay at it, it's not my favorite thing to do.

What is your dream occupation?
If we are talking broad strokes, I'd love to be a performer. I've dreamed so many times of commanding an audience. I do love what I do now, it's not always easy, in fact, it's rarely easy, but there is something wonderful about it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Project Mitzvah

A while back I saw a post from a woman in my town asking for recommendations for someone to do a slide show video for her daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I knew that whomever she found was going to charge a lot of money and for some reason, I felt compelled to step in.

I'm no professional, but I have some talent in this area and I know that I could probably get this family what they are looking for and charge a significantly lower fee - it felt like a way to do something community minded by helping a neighbor,

We had a phone conversation, and I was hired.

I've been working on the project for a while, it's almost done, but I have to say, it's been rewarding in ways beyond the civic-minded idea that prompted me to offer my services. Sequencing these pictures to music and editing the songs - it's really reminded me so much of the potential impact of setting pictures to music.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

R.I.P. Brian

We were never best of friends, never really hung out, but as the years since high school past and we reconnected as adults, I learned a bit about your years on the NYPD, I saw that you had become something of a troubadour, and most of all, I saw how you were a good man.

I think it always stings hardest when you lose someone from your generation, puts a real dose of reality in front of you.

I am saddened at your loss.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Not in a Rush

I drove to get gas and while I wasn't in a Rush, it seemed that fate had determined I was (see receipt at the right).

I've been snatching up concert tickets, it seems the theme of the summer is "see a concert, see another".

I've always loved going to concerts, my kid has heard all about many of my concert going adventures from years past and this year, I will be taking her to see a few.

One of the shows I have been attempting to get affordable tickets for is the band Rush. Rush is out on their 40th anniversary tour and it's commonly speculated it will be their last tour - and I have never seen them live.

BTW, for those of you really confused about the receipt, one of Rush's classic records is called 2112.

Thus far, between now and the end of July, I have tickets for 8 concerts; should be a blast.

Expensive Shit


The gift of being 50 years old, my doctor insisted that it is time for my first colonoscopy.

I received a prescription for stuff that is designed to power was the colon, so it will be nice and clean for the camera,

The kit to the left, is the stuff in questions and costs a fortune, I paid $50 out of pocket, regular price before insurance was $93.01...


I am baffled at why this shit is so expensive (pun intended).

I can't tell you how many people have told be about their colonoscopy experiences, apparently it's a thing. Having had an upper endoscopy, I know they knock you out so that's all good but the 30 or so hours leading up to the intrusion I am certain will be among the least pleasant block of time in my life.

For the record, date of intrusion in 6/10.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Casual Colonoscopy

My doctor is a riot, not because he ever intends to be funny, but he's just so laid back and humble, that he says things in a way that are unintentionally hilarious (unless he has me fooled and my reaction is the desired result of his delivery - which would make him a comic genius).

Today's comic brilliance was in the way he indicated that I should be sure to stop by the referrals office to schedule my colonoscopy - I can't really explain his delivery or why it was funny (though it's likely that it's because I have a juvenile sense of humor). Of course, I totally fucked with him by replying, "I'll get cracking on that."

In other news, I made an eye doctor appointment today, and saw a blue car.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

True Gangster Stories

My buddy, and excellent author, Dan O'Connor recently compiled a number of true gangster stories from the old days in the time and place we all grew up. If you like this sort of thing, they are a great read and I will offer links to both posts below; I encourage you all to take the time to read them, they are a fantastic read:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Limerick Day

Did you know that May 12th is Limerick day? You'll find a number of limericks on this blog over the years, I thought I would write one in honor of this particular day, here it is:

Once per year there is Limerick Day
On May 12th, hey wait, that's today
I'll come up with one
'Cause it seems like such fun
When I'm done, I'll get on with my day

Aside from the classic dirty limericks, do you have any limericks that you've heard, read or written over the years that are among your favorites? Share one in the comments...PLEASE!

Here's one I just wrote just now, inspired by the great Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind":

At the question they all stopped and grinned
Such a query one could not rescind
How many deaths will it take 'til we get
There's no second chances and no time for regret
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Monday, May 11, 2015

You Spin Me....Again

This morning while getting ready for work, I went down, pretty hard. Only thing that protected me from potentially serious injury is I felt it happening and was able to control the fall.

I suffer from something called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It doesn't strike often, and thankfully, never nearly as bad as the first time back on the night of my 40th birthday about a decade ago, but when it strikes, it's quite disconcerting.

I had some spin action on and off for a good part of the day, even a touch right now, and while not as scary now that I can attach it to a specific condition, having an inherent anxiety condition only amplifies it all.

hopefully, the symptoms will be short lived,

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Meme: "The Saturday 9 with "Harper Valley P.T.A."

Hear the song here:

This week's featured artist uses her middle initial (C. for Carolyn) all the time. Do you use your middle initial very often? 
I actually don't have a middle name, hence no middle initial. When I made confirmation in 7th grade, I took a confirmation name "Anthony" and have been know to on random occasion to refer to myself (and be referred even rarer, mostly by Johnny D, by my full name including the initial from my confirmation name.

In this song, a mother tells off the local PTA. What's the most recent school event you attended -- whether as a parent, a teacher or a student?
I work in a school, and the most recent event I attended was the employee recognition event. As a parent, I began doing college tours with my daughter not too long ago.

The lyrics reference the mom's miniskirts, which were trendy in the 1960s. The website Popsugar reports that gingham checks are trendy for 2015. Tell us about the most recent addition to your wardrobe.
Bow ties. I have wanted to jump into the bow tie arena for some time and then I just did it. I have begun a thing I call "Bow Tie Monday" where I wear a Bow Tie each Monday. I suspect I will take a break during summer session as I usually heavily relax the dress code during that period but look out for a return in the fall (and for the next Monday or two).

Thinking of moms, Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
In recent times, Betty Draper, because she is smoking hot...not going to sugar coat it.

Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
Not really, at least not any that really work awesomely. However, there are a couple of nostalgic things that come to mind such as using Witch Hazel on pimples, which kind of does work, ish - (though it's ridiculous that I still occasionally get a blemish at 50), and my dad's solution to fighting a fever of getting completely under the covers (I may even have that right, but I do it).

Sam's mother always tips 15% in restaurants. Sam has worked in food service and is more judgmental, tipping between 10% and 25%, depending on the quality of the service. What's your tipping policy? Are you more like Sam or her mother?
If you've been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know how much I hate the idea of tipping, and that tipping on a percentage basis is stupid, makes zero sense. That said, I base my tip on the quality of the service I receive but I will very rarely if ever go over 20%.

When the tip of her shoelace becomes frayed, Sam's mother snips off the end and then paints the tip with clear nail polish. Good as new! Sam thinks that's crazy because you can just buy new laces for less than $2. Are you more frugal like mother or spendthrift like daughter?
Forget about frugality, I want to try that method just to see if it really works - that would be awesome. By the way, those tips are called "aglets".

Mother Winters loves how french vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
Yes, not all the time, but on occasion.

Sam is celebrating Mother's Day with her mother's favorite, Hershey Bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate with almonds?
Dark chocolate with almonds, thanks for asking.

Video Right

I've spent a good amount of time producing tutorial videos at work in recent months. Not too long ago, on a local town bulletin board on Facebook, I saw that a local couple was looking for a referral to have a video/slide show made for their daughter's forthcoming Bat Mitzvah. I know how much this job would cost them in the open market and I decided to offer to work on the project for them at a significantly lower price than they would likely pay.

One of the things about this project that I have enjoyed most the remembering just how powerful it can be when you put images to music. I've just finished and will be delivering soon the first proof of the project, it's been hard work, but great fun as well; most of all, I find it rewarding to be able to contribute to my community in this way.

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Lot On the Table

It the end of the semester, so there is a lot of grading, cranky students who did nothing all semester begging for a second chance to pass the course (sorry, not gonna happen), and because I am insane-ish, I've taken on some side work creating a slide presentation/movie for a family in town as their daughter is having her Bat Mitzvah.

I am at the very beginning stages of planning a bathroom remodel, oh God, I am just in pain at the thought of dealing with another contractor at this point...but the job kind of needs to get done. I think my target is for late summer/early fall.

I am considering piloting a new text/software package for one of my fall courses. If it works out, it will ultimately save me time but to get to that point will require a considerable investment in time building out the course from scratch.

I'm going to go breathe a little, remember to be grateful at having these opportunities and think about what I might eat for lunch.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Concert Summer

My daughter said to me this morning as I was driving her to school, "you are getting into the concert scene again, aren't you?" My reply, "I guess it's my summer vacation."

I love going to shows, back in the day, I went to lots and lots and lots (and lots) of them - sometime more than one in a day. Of course, it was affordable to do that back in the day, even working in a "crappy" job. Today, most average concert tickets are over $100, even little club shows can be over $50, so it's much harder to go to as many shows.

I've seen a number of shows this year so far and currently have tickets in hand for Kid/Rock & Foreigner, The Smashing Pumpkins with Marilyn Manson, The Rolling Stones, and I should be picking up tickets for Huey Lewis and the News after work today (if the Craigslist seller comes through). I am working on trying to get tickets for AC/DC and Foo Fighters - we shall see.

Some facts:
  • I've seen Bruce Springsteen 14 times
  • I've see Roy Orbison
  • I've seen The Kinks
  • The first time I ever drove on the highway was to go see Billy Joel at the Nassau Coliseum on a very rainy evening with a bunch of my friends in the car (I was scared to death the whole way)
  • The only concert I ever walked out on was Robert Plant. I know, seems odd but it was at a time in his career where he was in clear denial of the passage of time and played to an audience that wasn't his core fan base (happily, he's since recovered).
  • I blame Bryan Adams for taking some of my hearing, his was the loudest show I've ever been to (louder than Metallica, though there was one Metallica show in particular at Madison Square garden that may have technically been louder, but by that time, by hearing had been compromised from Bryan Adams)
Huey Lewis & The News tickets are now in hand.

Speaking my Mind

Yes, sometimes I say things that some might find offensive, but not all of them are meant to offend. I use strong language and harsh words sometimes, intentionally. Some may find some of the things I say in poor the end, I say what I feel, I will make jokes that are inappropriate sometimes, but if I think they are funny, more often than not an I going to lob them out there and let caution ride the wind.

I've had my first amendment rights violated - no, I am not looking for pity or trying to sound like I was held captive or imprisoned, but I was suspended from work without pay for saying something on my own time in my own space - now as far as I know, as an American citizen, I have that right regardless of what was said and and who I might have said it about.

After going through that experience, I vowed that I will continue to say whatever I want, whenever I want and I really don't care what anyone else thinks. That doesn't mean I ever planned to just go around and say ridiculous shit willy nilly. However, if I am expressing an opinion on a topic, asked a question about something or see an opportunity to make a silly joke, I am going to do it - and you may not like it, that is the same way that I respect your right to do the same, whether I agree or not with what you are saying or like it, I respect your right to say it.

This was all triggered by a conversation I was involved in at lunch on Monday, all is good, we all shall go on to lunch together again.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Sad Men

If you dig deep enough on this blog, you may find me praising the show Mad Men at some point earlier in its run. Today, with just two episodes left in the series, I can only tell you how much I can't wait for it to be over already.

I still think that some of the attention to detail with regard to set design, costume and general ambiance are and have always been on point, I think the quality of the writing had devolved almost to the point of being bad. The one thing the show has going for it is the quality of the characters, part of that credit of course has to go to the writing but most of it, in my opinion, goes to the actors who are all, and I mean all, just really good at their craft.

Having seen every episode, I will watch the last two and pray that there are some moments that make it worth the time but overall, the series for me goes in the what could have been pile, I just feel that over the last few seasons so much more has been bad than good.

I'm going to call the Burt dancing around the office after he died the official jump the shark moment but it may have actually been a little before that. I do look forward to seeing what the primary cast members do next. January Jones is currently in a fantastic sitcom called "Last Man on Earth" and she's very good in it.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Bruce Jenner

I just finished watching the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner today. I have read and heard many different thoughts and opinions. Sadly, I heard a lot of joking about this.

Let me right now say, this is not a joking matter, do not make fun of Bruce Jenner. If you do not understand what is going on, that's fine, but this is not a laughing matter and it is not a joke and if I see or hear you making fun of Bruce Jenner, I will call you out on it.

In 1976, Bruce Jenner became an American Hero. In my opinion, through this interview, once again Jenner is a hero.

In being a public figure and using such a public forum to come out and share his story, there is a chance that he may help others tell their stories and find the path to living their lives the way they were meant to be lived. Such a public forum could hep a nation to emerge from the ignorance and learn something.

I have gained so much respect for Jenner in watching this interview and can only wish the very best and hope that she will finally find peace and live out the rest of her life happily.