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Le Ballet D’Or

Spandau Ballet is reforming!!! Whoo-hooo?

Is this anything anyone was ever waiting for?  I’d vote for ‘no’ – unless you are their accountant or collected the rent on their flat every month.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with them, per se.  But there is nothing right with them either.  They are just…………..there.

I remember back in the day, my mother seeing them on some tv show singing, “True” – it couldn’t have been MTV, as we didn’t have cable then – and said aloud:  (paraphrasing, but close) “oh, why can’t all these bands be nice and wear suits like this group.”

I think I bruised my eyelids from rolling the eye balls so hard.

I’m sure she didn’t think that of the Beatles when they wore their suits back in 1963, so maybe she had come along with the times – to a degree.

“True” bored the ever-loving-shit out of me.  It was a time of decent enough music (though many would disagree), but man, the word “banal” just comes to mind.  I give credit where credit is due – their follow-up single, “Gold”, was the best song that was never a James Bond theme song (not that it was rejected or anything – I just meant in the style of…...).

But other than that?  Really – what is/was there?   How does reforming constitute anything more than playing rib-fests across the country?  They’re destined to be double billed with Rick Springfield for g-d’s sake!  Maybe it will be a throw-down to see who is the opening act.

Clearly they are serious about this little jaunt.  They even have an official website.  Hell, they were broken-up about 15 years before the inter-highway was even built.  Though I don’t think anyone other than these chaps were chomping at the bit to snag the URL.

Me?  I’m just holding out for the big Modern English reunion.  It’s coming.  Right?

Song by: Counting Crows

The Chain

Last Sunday we had dinner at my parent’s house the way we usually do. These gatherings can be completely innocuous, or incredibly painful. Rarely is it somewhere in between. We’ve been doing these dinners for eons and I imagine they will go on until, well, ummm…. my parents die or go into assisted living or something. Nice thought, huh?

We used to go my grandmother’s house every Sunday back in the day. And by ‘go’, I mean ‘dragged by my parents’. The house was huge and cool, but my grandparents were not. It was never for dinner, thank g-d! Just an afternoon visit. Painful!

I like to think the Sunday visits with my folks, for my nieces and nephews, aren’t nearly as bad for them. They seem to have fun, but they have much cooler uncles and aunts then I/we had.

This last trip was this weird confluence of events. One of those times that makes me feel old and finally grown-up. I’ve been fighting the latter all my life, but sometimes you just can’t ignore the inevitable.

It started with my sister coming in with a boot on her foot. She had broken a bone in her foot and has no idea how she had done it. As she is about to turn 50 (!), she just said, ‘it sucks getting old’. I hear that.

Right about then, my father pulls me aside and wants to speak with me upstairs. Deep down I knew what it had to do with. This wasn’t the first of these conversations we have had over the last few years. He wanted to talk stocks and annuities. He was not giving me financial advice – just where they were and what I was to do with them upon his death.

You see, later this year, my father will be 89. And we’ve had these types of conversations before – me to be his power of attorney and control their living will. I also know how both my parents would like to be dealt with after death. We’ve never had the ‘executor’ conversation, but maybe it’s implied. I should probably check that out.

The funny (?) thing was earlier in the week, I was driving behind some traffic at 06:45. Someone holding up cars at this time of the morning?WTF! I get closer and who should it be? My mother! Yes, she is 80 and still works daily. Don’t ask.

Later I called to tell her if she keeps that up, I will be taking her car keys and license. I was joking, but told her – we’ll joke about it now, but know that one day we will have to have this conversation. Why sugarcoat it?

So since she didn’t know about my father’s and my conversation, we just came downstairs and I did not prep my dad for what I was about to say and just blurted out, “so it’s settled, we’ll put your wife in a home later this month?” He just nodded. Either he played along really well, or his selective hearing was in place.

One of my brothers-in-law had also dropped off some DVDs he converted from old home movies. Old being 16 yrs old. Not ancient, but still from a dead medium. They were of my oldest niece and nephew – the latter had just been born.

…and there I was, holding and playing with him at 8 weeks old (him, not me). I was just kissing his head and all that stuff and there he was, sitting next to me – watching this. It was a bit surreal. Let’s add to the fact that I brought him over some sport coats that no longer fit me, but did him – as he is now 16 and as tall as I am.

In the video I had hair and he did not. Now it is the other way around. Here I was in Florida on crutches due to my leg surgery – and now his mother was in a similar situation.

Birth. Death. Circle of life.

My father and I have an ok relationship and actually have no issue or weirdness talking about these things. My nephew and I have a great relationship and we just sat their silent not mentioning anything on the screen. I’d love to know what he’s thinking, but hell, he’s 16. I remember 16 – we didn’t talk about that shit.

I’m just sayin’.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

Record of the Month

I figured I’d do a monthly ‘what I’m listening to’ kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it’s my blog! So there!

Have you (n)ever experienced Raul Malo? It’s possible you did – when going back a while he was a member of the Mavericks – a group deemed Country, but possibly too hip for that genre. If you weren’t Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson or the likes, you had a harder time making in-roads into radio and sales when they were around.

Like the Mavericks, Malo continues that style: Some Country. Part Latin influence. A little Tex-Mex.  And more than a hint of Roy Orbison thrown in. His newest disk, Lucky One, doesn’t stray too far from what he knows or what he has done in the past. This is not a bad thing.

Malo can mix all those together and pull them off as being pretty original, as no one else out there is really putting those things together. Being Cuban, Malo brings authentic latin vibes to his music, but it is not overpowering.

Malo has always been a strong vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – even if he has never attempted to downplay Orbison as an influence. That is not to say that all his songs sound like an Orbsion redux, Roy is an influence, Raul is not a copycat.

There are a number of strong songs on the disk – and I’ve always been a bigger fan of the things that go more in 2/4 time.  The 4/4 stuff is just fine, but I like what I like.

“Haunting Me” is hands down one of the best songs (if not the best) of 2009.  The guitar work is good, but it is really the vocals and the vocal arrangement that he totally nails.  I have played this song to death and it does not get old.

I really like the title track, “Lonely Hearts”, “Hello Again”.  “Moonlight Kiss” is fun, but it is not a continual play at this point.

As the slower stuff goes, let’s get this right off the table: “Something Tells Me” is one of the best songs Orbison never wrote or released. Malo pulls it off flawlessly.  He knows when to turn it on and not make it sound karaoke.

It is hard for me, sometimes, to listen to the slower stuff without hearing Orbison (“One More Angel”, “Crying for You”).  I’m a Roy fan, so it’s all good.  I think Raul finds it hard to sing slower songs any other way.  Or maybe I can’t turn off hearing what I think I hear.

Lucky One is a pretty strong album as a whole, but if you’re only into downloading .mp3s and not an entire disk, and had to pick only one song, it should be “Haunting Me”.   …but there are plenty of other good ones to chose from.

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun – though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!

This is actually Shopping with Dith.

She sent me this picture, via Facebook, from one of the Carolinas.  They are called Keister Fruit.  Allegedly.

That’s what Dith says, but no Goooooooogle search comes up with any such thing.  I think she’s making it up.   Just look at the butt cracks in them though.  I guess they could be ‘keisters’.

Yes, I’m stretching today.  I couldn’t get my Album of the Month post completed in time, so here you have this.  Maybe tomorrow you’ll have the aforementioned post.  Maybe.

g-d!  Maybe pushing four straight months of posting is over the top.  Maybe I need a day or two off.   But I’ll probably lose you guys.  All 16 of you.   Then what?

Talkin’ Myself Down

Just more G2H2 pre/during/post bitch sessions stories.

I wasn’t fully awake when I posted yesterday. I was just slow to get through the post and it’s all I could do to finish and publish the thing. In retrospect, I would have had one post (as opposed to this second one) and the entire thing would have not only been funnier, but flowed a bit better.

….at least in my dream world. I suppose this is why I need an editor. Not that I am great at taking constructive criticism.

I first invited my friend Todd to join me. Not my friend Todd, the porn ingenue. He lives in San Francisco where other male “stars” live. No, this Todd works in finance – which can be just as sleazy, I suppose.

Todd has a wicked sense of humour and he never fails to make me laugh. When I asked him (via email), his response was: I wish I had your courage to go out and consume hundreds of wasted calories that do untold destruction to my body. Bitch. …so alone I went.

I said in last month’s G2H2 post, that these aren’t really flash mob scenes. It is all very controlled. The gay organization makes plans with the bars and it’s nothing more of a gathering of fags. No one is taking over any straight bar. We’re renting, basically. The only one benefiting from our disposable income are these bars. No straights are hurt or even offended in the process. Not even a little.

This time it was at the House of Blues. They have a very small bar and most of the place is a restaurant and a party room. Yes, we were in the party room. 100% segregated from any straight person who did not work behind the bar – which I’m not sure there was even one there.
This I do not get. Why not just have it at a fucking nice gay bar then? Why are we giving our money to these assholes who put baby in a corner! Nobody puts baby in a corner. (For the record – Dirty Dancing is another movie I have never seen. I just know of the quote. I think the first ‘b’ in baby should be upper cased, but whatever!)

So in I walk in and the hostess goes to me…..she goes…..oh you want the Cambridge room and tells me how to get there. Now I never said where I was going, or if I was just there for dinner or the bar. Bitch. Do I look that gay?

But back I went. There they made me show an ID! An ID!!!! Maybe if I were 30 I’d be flattered, but I am pushing 46. No one is thinking I’m underage or close to it. I made a crack to the other guy behind me, since he clearly was nowhere near the age of 21 either – but he didn’t think my crack about “our age” was funny. Bitch.

Then there was the room. Now you just know a gay man designed this room, well since…..someone had to and who do these jobs go to? All I can say is: Worst. Flow. Ever. The bar (only one) all the way at the back of the room. It was like a Great White concert at a Rhode Island in reverse.

…and let me tell you, there is a special place in hell for guys who pay for drinks with plastic. It is $4 for a beer! If you don’t have the money – get the fuck out of here! There are 300 thirsty fags behind you – and now the server has to stop, swipe your frickin ‘ card, rip the receipt off for you to sign, etc. Get out of our way. We are functioning and practicing alcoholics – we cannot be bothered by you.

I know it sounds like I’m moaning, and I kind of am. But if you want to interact with a few hundred homos, where does one go? As Todd said, he can’t do the gay bars, because by the time they get going, his hair is in curlers and the cucumber slices are already covering his eyes.

Will I go again? Maybe. I clearly would have to set aside my expectations and just go to go. There are flaws in the system but I guess I should just treat it as a bar and nothing else.  I don’t think I’ll go by my lonesome anymore.  First, as we saw with Eddie, the potential for me to get into trouble is too high.

I just want to drink and laugh with friends.

Song by: the G0-Go’s


Beer.  The root of all evil.

Ok, beer is made with Hops, female flower cones, also known as strobiles, of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus) and not a root at all…..but I digress.

Last night I went, once again, to G2H2 – or gay guy’s happy hour.  Once again, I went alone because someone was working late.  Once again, I was in a group of 300 gay men.

This time I knew a few more than last time – when I knew no one.  There were probably a half-dozen people I knew from past lives, one being from the guy I was chatting with at the last G2H2. He introduced me to a table of men he was with.  All were nice, though one guy was a little letchy with me.  And D-runk!  My g-d, it was 19:00.  How long had you been drinking, bud?  And a close talker too.  A very bad combo.

But while I was at that table, I kept seeing another guy.  What can I say?  He was attractive – in a way I would find, but I could see that to someone else, they might pass him over on the first go-around.  Let me tell you people:  it’s all in the nose.

Lest you think I was the only one doing the looking, think again.  He was doing it right back to me – even though we were at a distance.

Now I sound like a letch – and maybe I am.  But I think I was just being friendly.  His name was/is Eddie.  Not Edward or Ed.  He had a great sense of humour or at least tolerated mine.  I felt the need to mention his nose – which he immediately covered up, literally.

You know how caricature “artists” pick out your biggest flaw and accentuate it?  No doubt for Eddie, it would be his schnoz.  Me telling him it was a great nose probably could have come across as mocking – but honest, it wasn’t.

The thing is – I didn’t know where I was going with all of this.  I was being friendly, but let’s face it, nothing is coming from this.  Nothing can, or should.  To say in another place and time I wouldn’t have gone for it – who can say?  Who can say?

To say I did any of this because of beer would be unfair to the beer industry.  They are not the root of all evil.  How could they be?

As it was, I got a text message from you know who saying he was down the street and to let’s have dinner.  I excused myself from Eddie and told him I hoped I would see him again.  …and I hope I do.

Song by: Squeeze

Younger Than Springtime

Today is the first day of Spring. Yayyyyyy.  It’s been a long long time coming.

Granted, it is not actually Spring until 23:47, but the Vernal Equinox still makes it under the wire to appear today.

The winter has been a harsh one up here in Northeast Ohio.  We got our January temps in mid-November, and they stayed. And stayed.  And stayed. We had our second snowiest January – missing the record by less than 2.5″.

But March has been ok.  I know there are a few more snow storms to come before we’re done with this season.  There always are.  Sometimes even in May – but we’re always hopeful.  …and that is something you rarely hear from me.

Yesterday, coming home from work, I saw true signs of Spring…..and right on the side of our drive

Pretty cool, huh?

Before you know it, Morty will be emailing, telling us that college-aged boys are out on the South Oval in shorts playing Hacky Sack.

Maybe we can finally get him to use his digital camera!

Song by: Ezio Pinza

Seven Year Ache

Today marks the beginning of my seventh year of blogging! Seven! Can you frickin’ believe it? I can’t.

Unfortunately it is also the beginning for the seventh year of the wars in the mid-east. Yes, I started this blog with that intent. I write that part every year at this time, don’t I?

I also write how this blog has evolved.  As I approach my 1400th post,  I do it a lot more consistently then I did back then.  Hell, right now I’m going on about 105 days in a row…or so.  My, how things change!

In the beginning the posts were as long as Twitter allows tweets to be.  I was just funning around then.  I still am.  The posts are a lot longer then they were back in the day, and every once in awhile might actually have a little bit of substance.

I said, a little bit!  …and might.

The sub-title of the blog is still Stuff & Nonsense (taken from a Split Enz song) because that’s what I’m about for the most part.  Ask anyone.  Or anyone who knows me.

Much like Bush and Iraq, I don’t have an exit strategy.   While running with the Iraq/blog metaphor, like most of America you probably think I should and wrap this debacle up.   But for the moment, I might just run it into the ground until my approval numbers get as low as his did.

HA!  Who am I kidding?  At my worst, they’d never be that bad!

Song by: Rosanne Cash


The iPhone has an app(lication) out that I am loving – and for absolutely no good reason.

PhotoSwap is just like it sounds. I guess. It’s easy for me to say that now that I have been playing with it for a few days.

What it is, is basically a random, could be anonymous, social networking kind of app through pictures.

Here’s how it works: You use your iPhone to take a picture – of anything you damn well choose. You have the option to use the picture or retake it. When you hit ‘use’, it just sends it to g-d knows who – since you have no way of knowing where into the ether it goes. You then immediately get one in return from someone else.

I got this one from an unknown chick.  A iPhone pic of a reflection of her in her 1st generation iPod.  How very meta.

Random for sure. Anonymous – if they choose (or you choose).  However, I was getting some photos back that would say something like, “Stan/Straight/32”. Whatever, dude!

I’d get some photos coming back that had nothing written. Since I can’t see exactly my end result of what I was sending out, I was hoping it didn’t have some text attached. Beau told me via Twitter (thank you Twitter – you were finally useful) how to get text on them thar messages.

How I got this info from Beau was that he was seeing folks’ text that said ‘no gays’. G-d, ya frickin homophobes, give it up. No one is wanting you so badly from a random snapshot that they are hunting you down to do you! No one!

I decided not to do age, sex, location. I’m not looking to hook-up. No, I went one worse. I just put this blog URL on it. Maybe it will drive others to said blog.

As for location, after you hit the ‘info button’ (see that above pic again), you get a location button’….and it brings up a Goooooogle map.  Not an exact location, but a relatively close one, I’m assuming.

There is also a ‘reply button’, but I have not used that, nor has anyone to me.  That’s ok, I’m into it for the randomness.   Another random feature, one I don’t like; the camera does not keep the picture I took.  It doesn’t go to my photo album, it just gets sent and then goes away, like it never existed.  In a way, that’s kind of cool, but I can’t show you any of my handy-dandy work.

Naturally, the app is free.  I just can’t see paying for it.  But I’m cheap – we all know that.

Song by: Weezer