Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleveland, Ohio to Host 2014 Gay Games

No doubt the religious right in Northeast Ohio is collectively crapping its pants about this.

Cleveland won out over Boston (which didn't make much of an effort) and Washington, DC. Miami, once under consideration, dropped out.

Predictably, the chat boards are filling up with snide comments, particularly from sore losers in Boston. The bitterness, condescension, and sense of entitlement emanating from these chowderheads serve only to remind me of the nine largely miserable years I lived in Boston.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I Like Mondays

Most people don’t like Mondays, and complain about them no end. Not me.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my weekends, and I’m as happy as anybody when leaving work on Friday.

When I awaken on Monday mornings, I am invariably well rested. I am refreshed and my attitude needs no adjustment. I let the dog out, have a quick breakfast, and head to the gym.

The people at the gym at that hour are my comrades. They are not stand & pose muscle heads. They are middle aged, over weight, and non-pretentious. They are fighting gravity and the advancing years just as I am. They have a sense of humor about it, because the right attitude is worth a thousand sit ups.

When I walk into work, I see my co-workers. We catch up on each others’ weekends and share a few laughs. I’m lucky to have the greatest colleagues. There is work to be done as well, but I’m still riding my weekend high and the work is more enjoyable that way.

When I come home from work, Mason shows his appreciation for me. After a weekend together, he sometimes takes me for granted. But after I’ve been gone for ten hours, he misses me.

Danny and I enjoy a quiet evening together – settling down to watch Heroes.

It’s Tuesdays that I hate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My not-so-fabulous weekend.

Our house has a large basement, it runs underneath the entire structure – except the add-on. The basement is divided into two parts: an open area which has been filled with boxes and other items since we moved in; a utility room which holds the washer/dryer, sink, furnace and a small tool room.

Last Tuesday, I decided to look for some old piano videos I made from 1998-2001. I found one tape (there are several more) but also discovered mold leaching its way into some boxes in the basement. It was apparent that all cardboard boxes had to go and everything had to be sorted through again. With that in mind, on Wednesday I bought several large plastic containers at Target.

George Carlin had a routine about buying houses, and that the main reason one bought a house was to hold all of one’s “stuff” and as we accumulated more stuff, we moved into bigger houses. I have a lot of stuff, and going through things Friday evening and Saturday morning, it astonished me how much of it was unnecessary.

Among other items, I found three boxes of cassette tapes – many with music I would never listen to, or other items I now have on CD. Many of those tapes are now on their way to the landfill. There was a collection of paperwork which is far from relevant to my life. There was some bric-a-brac that was intended for my desk at Progressive – where it will return this week.

All in all, I was able to condense twelve boxes of varying sizes into three equally sized and stackable plastic containers. After going over the floor with a bleach solution, I restacked the containers and there is considerably more room in the basement. Danny also bought some containers and is doing the same with his stuff.

Unfortunately, during the restacking I strained the top of my back and my neck and was in considerable pain for much of Saturday. Taking a Flexeril with a Vicodin chaser did a bit to alleviate the pain, but I spent much of Saturday afternoon dozing on the futon.

Once I’m fully recovered, I’m going to reassemble the old kitchen table my grandfather built, which is currently unassembled in the basement. I’m also cranking up the dehumidifier.

Sunday afternoon, I felt well enough to see The Informant! with Matt Damon. An amusing romp, with a touch of Catch Me if You Can, and a dash of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

In other news: On Thursday, I ordered Vladimir Horowitz’s 1986 Berlin concert from Amazon in Germany – released for the first time. I’d been under the impression that it was being released in Germany only – as it stems from a radio broadcast with announcements in German. On Sunday evening, I found out it is being released on October 27 in the US. As the item was already on its way from Germany, it was too late to cancel the order. Grrrrr.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What do doctors REALLY favor?

A random poll of over 2,000 physicians found that over 70% favor access to a public option.  Most favor a public option as an alternative to private insurance.  Ten percent favor abandoning private insurance in favor of a single-payer system.  Only 27% are in favor of  keeping America's health system as-is. 

The numbers revealed in this poll are in stark contrast to the American Medical Association poll, which only questioned AMA member physicians (less than a third of all physicians).

Full story here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Requiem for the Classical music store

Once upon a time, namely, the mid-1980s, a classical music fan in Cleveland could hop the bus to Shaker Square and visit a record store dedicated to Classical music. This store, The Music Box, had a nearly comprehensive selection of Classical music on Lp, cassette tape, and a new format called Compact Disc. There was also a smattering a jazz, but this was stocked for appearances and seldom visited. Classical music, riding the coattails of the hit movie Amadeus, was in vogue. The emergence of the CD contributed to the renaissance, allowing novice and seasoned classical fans the opportunity the hear great music in pristine sound.

By the early 1990s, the entire active Classical repertoire was on CD, in multiple renditions, with reissues of historic recordings with refurbished sonics, performed by the greats of the past, alongside newer renditions by the well known, the moderately known, and the unknown. Even as hitherto forgotten repertoire was being rediscovered, the experts were talking of a CD glut – as titles sat on the shelves, some unsold for years. To the listener, this embarrassment of riches didn’t matter. We may have shed a crocodile tear when chain stores like Borders pushed aside independents like The Music Box and Music of Note. We may have even pontificated over the fate of the “little guy”, but that didn’t stop us from hightailing it to Borders on Tuesdays to browse the bins for the latest releases and enjoy an overpriced coffee. As for the clerks who didn’t know squat about Classical music: a small price to pay – and we didn’t have to hear a lot of opinionated talk from insolent music students.

Things became even easier for the consumer in the late-1990s, with the advent of online retailers like Amazon. Now, a selection dwarfing that of any brick & mortar retailer was just a click away, and often at deep discounts. Looking for a rare release from Europe or Japan? Not only could it be found online, we could read the reviews of listeners (the new version of the opinionated clerk), and we could listen to tantalizing sound-bytes from the recording in question. Eventually, we could skip the CD shipment and simply download the album, cover and all, to our computer. Instant gratification!

We could visit Borders one weekend in 2009, and see the Classical selection had been reduced to mere shadow of its former self – a victim of the Great Recession and the petrifaction of the recorded repertoire. We could head to Joseph-Beth, and find the entire selection of CDs, across all genres of music, had been eliminated – all that remained was a lonely box of closeout items. This time, we did not shed a tear, crocodile or otherwise. It was too late for tears.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson - Unstable Liar

Apparently, people were so outraged (and rightfully so) at South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst at President Obama, his own website was crashed.

If a Democrat had dared to do the same when George W. Bush lied about WMD in Iraq, he would have mysteriously disappeared, only to surface years later at Guantanamo.

At a minimum, Wilson should be censured. Speaker Pelosi needs to grow a pair and ensure that it is done. If Wilson had an ounce of class (which, judging from his previous record, he doesn't) he would resign from public life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009