Friday, May 29, 2009

Yeah, we saw the bat signal. Please turn that sh%t off. We don't work Fridays. Thanks.
In Which I Reveal Mysel To Be An A-hole
I want to sue God to get back the hour of my life spent watching the national spelling bee. Just spell the word, kid! How frickin' many times do I have to hear "use it in a sentence," "are there any variant pronunciations," "what is the etymology?"
Let's just call this nerd-fest the "National Televsion Show of Words You Will Never Have A Use For In Your Whole Gotdam Life" and be done with it. Not that spelling is unimportant. I honor those who can spell properly in their writing life. But the the TV show? Feh. Go away.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Summertime
Don't hock me about the lack of posting.
Besides I had to get my haircut today and I look FABulous!
Speaking of which - how gay are the Pep Boys? Manny, Moe and Jack, well we don't have to imagine how he spends his time if his very name .... Yeesh. I'm not shopping there. It smells too much like rubber. They say it's tires but now I'm not sure.
In other news: The triple socket for the car is working like a chim ... champ. I had to get beefier hook and loop fasteners (velcro for those of you in Rio Linda) than the piece that came with. Holding up the iPod/radio thingie takes some support after all. And now I can charge my iPhone as I drive, listen to the iPod and run the GPS all at the same time. Technology is grand.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

As if this was not depressing enough...her efforts are in vain..
EM's practiced eye notices she missed a window...
she's doomed...

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Am Nonplussed
I'm listening to the radio. I'm listening to an ad for a hearing aid. On the radio. The one without pictures.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Plans, Plans, Plans
A weekend of reflection for me. my sadness at thinking of all the good men who had sacrificed all they have to offer in the service of freedom and the betterment of mankind deserve our reverence every day but a holiday weekend does draw it into a kind of sharper focus. We owe much to our fellow, flawed humans. Our gratitude does not end with god but must be offered to those who are willing to go to war, to fight to risk their lives as we live ours in the kind of comfort that only great sacrifice can ensure. I pray that every American soldier comes home safe and the need for them to go to war will someday not ask for such sacrifices.

But life does go on and I've come upon a couple of things this weekend that I've slated in for "down the road a bit." First, the good folks at Paul Reed Smith Guitars have opened registration for this year's "Experience." I'm already registered. I figure the Guitar Nazi will register as soon as he can and we'll gimp around the place together. A very good reason to drop as much weight by late September as humanly possibly!
And I've made the decision that I'm going to go to next year's Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC (link goes to this year's festival site). Late May in the Low Country. Culture from opera to dance to jazz and back again. Enough culture to make one leave a trail of it like a snail over dry soil. OK, bad metaphor. But it gives you the idea. I plan to be positively dripping, oozing the ecstasies of the muses. I'm hoping to rope at least one other person into the trip for our mutual edification and cultural experience.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just Wondering
I was talking recently (let's say some time in the last six months) with a pop-culty friend who is, in part, a comic aficionado. In discussing the spate of comic book movies and how varied the quality is therein from the absolutely craptacular (DareDevil, Fantastic Four) to the absolutely stellar (Dark Knight, Ironman), we pondered on the possibilities of the Green Lantern franchise: would it either make it to screen or be any good if it did.
But this set me off on speculation about the Green Lantern's powers. I most assuredly will not go into a discourse on the idea that almost God-like power is granted to a human by aliens with a piece of man jewelry. But, if I recall correctly from my reading of those pulpy pages oh! so many years ago, the Green Lantern's power comes a cropper against the color yellow.
That would pretty much mean he'd be impotent against most Asians then, wouldn't it? Not exactly God-like then.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Are Not Qualified
To criticize yourself. Gordon Ramsay, however, is.

And, as an anodyne to being abused by a world famous chef, more Jake blogging. First, here's an article in the Patriot Ledger about Jake and his father Taylor, their new CDs, their joint show and some nice words about the new disc. Good information and praise for PoW's favorite artist (well, mine - I won't speak for the Enigmatic Misanthrope who still carries a copy of Freddie Mercury's obituary in his wallet). Also, a visit to his website is in order to see his new "store" page. You see, I said, "in order" because you can order things like CDs and T-shirts. It's a comedy thing. But the music is serious. And I must assume that the lady pictured on the splash page is Mrs. Jake. Lovely lady, Jake. Congratulations.
I'll see him with Eddie From Ohio tomorrow night in Fredericksburg. Hmm. I do not want to fight Friday-exiting-DC traffic in the evening. Maybe I should head down there about noon and just take a nap before the show.

Much obliged to those who sent me birfday greetings yesterday. Older no longer means better these days but it beats the other option by several furlongs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday?
It's my birthday too, yeah. The relentless measurable gyre about the sun carves another circle in the spiral toward oblivion. Conversely: Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!
I am usually asked "what are you doing for your birthday? So I'll short-circuit that with some graceless enumeration. I'll finish the Photoshop project which frustrated me yesterday. I had an inspiration in my hypnopompic state that should allow me to get the effect I want without totally screwing the image.
What else, what else? I mentioned the great new shirt I got. And I'm told that a couple of packages are on their way to me. Always excitement in anticipating what arrives unknown. Thanks to Lycurgus and the lovely lady. But I also got myself a couple of things. A triple car socket from Amazon. I'd like to be able to run both my GPS and the iPod player at the same time. And I'd still have a socket for, say, charging my iPhone if need be. This has the additional plus of being able to rearrange the positioning of the iPod radio thingie which has always been somewhat in the way.
And, a strange music purchase. I bought the LP (yes, vinyl) "Bongos, Bongos, Bongos" by a group called Los Amadores from which I plan to rip one song. Maybe more if I like them but there's one song thereon that is simply not available in digital form in all my investigations. It's an instrumental of the song "Tenderly." Here is a uToob viddy of the great Rosemary Clooney singing it which I won't embed. (Parenthetically, what a great beauty she was - astonishingly gorgeous though I may base my estimation of her partly on that liquid silver voice of hers. As much as I like much modern music, I can't think of a single woman singing popular music who can sing as well as Rosemary Clooney.)
The version of "Tenderly" I bought was used as the theme music to a nightly show on local radio for at least a couple of decades here in the DC area. Felix Grant had what was nominally a jazz show on WMAL (which is now all talk - practical for AM these days) that opened with, if I remember correctly, muted trumpets playing that song. I very much want to add that memory to my iTunes library. So I found the record on eBay and I bought it. So there!
What would you do for your birthday?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Quick One
Recent Netflixery has been the HBO series "Carnivale." I'm only a few episodes in and I like it. I'm sorry that it was canceled early so I expect to have my affection frustrated but it's nicely spooky and has some boobs-n-such. As HBO (Home Boobs Ontv) is wont to do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I guess I'm pretty boring lately. Not even the shadow of a whisper of a comment. Oh well. That's life in the big city. Fatalistic much? Sure. It's my birthday week. I'm too damn old to be a child prodigy at anything anymore. heh heh heh.
Consolations include getting a great shirt in the mail today. Sweetie - I love the clothes you pick. And the cards! How do you do it? I swear I'm going to have frame those. And I'm running out of space to hang the artwork. But don't stop. Don't you dare stop. You sexy beast.
Lite blogging for a couple of days as I work a Photoshop project for a friend and devote some direct attention to the Deck Farm™ 2009. Got to make two ErfBoxes, fix the hose bib, re-set the extant Boxen and do the planting. If the joints don't rebel, it's fun. If I ache (which has been happening a lot in the last couple of weeks), not so much.
Old. It's that damn old thing again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And A Good Saturday To You
"Good?" you say? Sure. I discovered something in the Apple Mail app today. A friend sent me an e-mail which contained the phrase "on Saturday." By happenstance, I let the cursor linger of the phrase and what should appear but a box with a drop-down arrow to its right. Hunh?
Turns out that Mail can pick days out of context and give you access to the calendar application with one click. That's pretty damn cool.

What else on this mitzvah Shabbos? Praise of customer service. First, Amazon. I recently ordered a couple of firewire adapters to be sure I got the proper one for my new iMac. And, indeed, one was right. The other was then made moot. So how difficult are returns at Amazon? I suppose they could be easier if someone else walks your package to the post office but with about two minutes and a few clicks, I have the return address, postage paid label printed and ready to affix to the box which I can now drop off. That's the way to do it!
And the same level of customer service was displayed by the garden folks at Burpee. Of all the plants I ordered for this year's Deck Farm™, two of the tomato plants arrived moribund. So I called. And with, really, no trouble a replacement set of plants (one extra actually as they ship in threes and I only need two) will be to me in a couple of weeks. I can't ask for anything more than they did. How nice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bloggy Shout Out
I'm remiss by a couple of days in mentioning Joe Sherlock's five year blogiversary. I'm darn glad you decided to take up the keyboard that half decade ago, Joe. We've had much of a richness of commentary on the auto industry, memories of Philadelphia (for all its problems, still a fascinating city), humor and generally interesting reading from the estimable Mr. Sherlock. In point of fact today's post over on TVTTW regarding the auto industry is very interesting. If you don't get what's happening, read Joe. He does.
Oh, and that "Happy Birthday" image - hubba, hubba!

Taking a page from Joe and his restaurant reviews, I recently had lunch at the Chart House in Olde Towne Alexandriae, VAe. Sorry. The 'e's started and then ran amok. The restaurant is on the Potomac at the city dock area so the view is delightful. I don't recall the last time I was there, but it's a beautiful facility, spacious, well appointed and our server, though eight months pregnant (yes, I asked, but with concern not prying), was reasonably attentive and very pleasant. We started with calamari which was very good although a second to my favorite version served at Clyde's restaurants. I then had fish and chips to which I must give full marks. I should have asked if they had malt vinegar but I just didn't think of it at the time. A dab of a slaw salad on the side was the first thing
on the plate I ate. I really liked the red onion therein but it was, as all slaw seems to be these day, overdressed. The fish was, in a word, superb. Brilliant white flesh, with a light, puffy batter. I'd go back just to have it again. Wonderful lunch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good Day To One And All
It's a cool day here in the NoVa, promising rain and patchy of clouds this am. I post out of obligation and to say that my previous post was a bit of a lie - just one more item about the new 'puter. My first task of the day is to suss out all the apps on the current machine that access data files and libraries and get all the good info onto my new one.
And a shopping to trip to dear old Costco. I am in the mood for rotisserie chicken. And they rotiss theirs very well.
The new machine also forced me into finding something that pleases me. I like to listen to Mark Levin (buy the book!) in the evening but the local station that carries him redirects its signal away from me at sundown so I've been using the "listen live" link on their website. The window that streams the sound wanted me to download a plug-in on the new iMac but I really didn't want to have a folder of "Flip 4 Mac" and all the attendant fooraw. So I thought I'd check iTunes radio "talk" category. Yeah, baby, yeah! Works like a champ.
UPDATE: After weeks of avid reading "The Other McCain," I am compelled to blogroll him. Staunch conservative, very funny and a DC area guy. If you don't already read him, please do.
UPDATE THE NEXT: Much progress on the iMac. It appears that the "migration assistant" works very well. It took a reboot and to disconnect the firewire cable to get Corvinus working as I think it should. Of course, I will be losing some apps and I'm going to have to wait for Intuit to release the rebuild of Quicken before I run that on the new computer. It seems there have been some ... "issues" in OS 10.5.X that don't exist on my PPC machine in OS 10.4.11. Not a problem. I'll wait. Besides, it's time to upgrade anyway.
So ... lemme see ... what do I have left to do? Dig up one registration code (at least I know where it is). Buy a copy of the excellent SuperDuper backup software. Buy a copy of ... nevermind, just bought it (Cocktail - utility software).
And So It Goes
One final post on the great iMac Migration, I promise. The good news is that the "migration assistant" finished its strange little dance and there is much new (actually old) on Corvinus. However, since I've moved from the PowerPC-based iMac to the Intel-based iMac, there will be a number of programs that will have to be updated. I do not want to spend the money to buy Photoshop though - $670 from Amazon. That's the cost of a whole new Windows computer.
But then, that's not really the point. The point is that as much as the migration moved, I have a whole shipload of data yet to get from the old onto the new. Ring out, ring in, yeah, yeah. At least Apple has a method, albeit rather a kluge in my estimation for using the iPod itself to move the iTiunes music library from on to another. And I do want Corvinus with his massive storage capacity, to be the iTunes base machine. The short of the long of it is that I'm going to have a nice, long desk session moving data and digging out passwords to get all the things I want'n'need running properly on Corvinus. Luckily for you though - this is the last I'll waste your time on it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wherein I Go All Upscale Clever
I've been having an ongoing e-mail conversation with a couple of erudite, opera-loving friends and I find myself amused enough at my own wit (or something that rhymes) that I have to share a couple.
First, one friend questioned the use of elephants in "Aida" with the idea that they wouldn't be delivered but walked into the Met. This led me to suggest that another opera that used elephants would be "The Babar of Seville."
And, with all the coruscating word play that we exchanged, I suggested that we should have a column in "Opera News." And I suggested a couple of reviews therefor such as: "This column is like the world's greatest basso profundo - a new low in opera" (which I ascribed to the "NY Review of Snark").

Please forgive my hubris but I think both are pretty damn funny even if I did think of them myself.

Dreams by Darwin..
iMac Update
I've had a couple of people ask me about the iMac which caused the posting pause yesterday so I post briefly, not that I think this is of great general interest but ... what the heck, eh?
First, I watched a DVD on it last evening ("Carnivale" to be specific) and it is spec ... wait for it ... TACULAR. The 24" screen is bright (brighter than my PPC iMac) and crisp and huge. This would make a great TV if it weren't for all the fun computing doodadery contained within.
But the set up was interrupted. I couldn't get the "migration assistant" (which transfers all kinds of info from one's existing machine onto a new one) to operate properly over the wifi network. The cure for that is to tether the two together with a firewire cable but the firewire cables I have don't have the proper plug for the new iMac (which is named "Corvinus" for reasons of interest probably only to me). Not really a problem. I've just ordered a couple of adapters from Amazon and I'll retun the one I don't need. Those should be here either today or tomorrow and then I'll finish the Great iMac Swap Out. Yay.
As a side note, the wired mouse feels strange and too light after using a battery-filled wireless mouse for so long. Not bad per se but strange.
Today's Groaner
If you are faced with a situation where you have too many possibilities and you intentionally limit your options, are you biting off more than you can choose?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just a note to the readers that there'll be a brief cessation of posting as I spend the day setting up my new iMac (the reflective glass screen is very disconcerting if you sit, bleary-eyed and rumpled in the morning - eek! Is that me?) and working on the Deck Farm™. Yes, the plants have arrived and now action is urgent.
I'll take pictures.

Monday, May 11, 2009

You May Now Go To Jake's Place
My good friend and most excellent musician and songwriter, Jake Armerding (have I mentioned him before?) now has streaming samples from his new disc "Her" over at his website. If you click the link (and you'd bloody well better!) be prepared for autoplay.
And really, do I have say this? It's damn good stuff people! Buy his CD. Your life will be better for it.

I'm going to see him on the 22nd as he plays down in Fredericksburg, VA with Eddie From Ohio. He seems to be good friends with that band.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm a bit unsure (witness the question mark above) if this post could be properly categorized under my "gratitude" tag. And it's a prime candidate for "navel-gazing" but I can't help but think that there's something about being grateful in here.
Some years ago I signed onto the National Marrow Donor Program. As in bone marrow. As in 'this might save someone's life who has leukemia.' Gave a blood sample and all that. And I've never been contacted. Of course it might be a blessing on my part to be sure that my contact info is up to date and that I haven't been bureaucratically misplaced. Because, yes, I do know that this is strange, I would really like to donate bone marrow. I understand that it's painful, a rather large bore needle is inserted into the pelvis and a good hunk of the tasty stuff (c'mon - you know you've sucked out the gelatinous goodness of a beef bone!) is extracted.
But the pain, to my mind, would be nothing compared to the idea that what I've grown, casually and incidentally, might just let another person live more years of quality life. I'd like to be that guy. I'd like to be the one who gives.

Having said that, I urge everyone who's willing to register for the registry. You could save someone's life by doing so. It's worth it. I'd be grateful for the chance to donate even if there might be a little glimmer of hubris in there somewhere.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Iron Lady
I came upon a quote from the Baroness Thatcher which I had to write down for my own continuing edification and I thought is appropriate that I post it for all. She is one of the greatest leaders of our time, a brilliant and uncompromising woman.
"Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem and personal satisfaction."
This is something I need apply to my life. Deep and simple truth.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Installment The Second
This would be the second installment under the TTPMO tag. And what's making my sphincter itch today? Frakking jewelry ads on the radio masheen. Some jackanapes is advertising the "newest thing:" "chocolate diamonds." Oh just go straight to hell you lying peckers. It's bad enough that the deBeers people have cartelized the diamond industry but now we get "chocolate" diamonds.
Do you know what a "chocolate" diamond is (and this is where I really want to go full-bore Mark Levin on the monkey asses)? It's a freakin' industrial diamond that up until some ad man got hold of it was called a "brown diamond." It's crap, people!
And it pisses me off.
Even when the "mudhead" was re-named the "orange roughy" it wasn't as bad as this steaming Madison Avenue road muffin.
ERRATA: I was wrong about the orange roughy. According to Wikipedia, the fish is in the "slimehead" family. So that's "slimehead," not "mudhead." My mistake.
Oy! Such A Deal!
If you have any affection for classical guitar music, have I got a deal for you. The nice folks at Naxos are offering through Amazon almost 4 hours of such music for (wait for it) 99¢! The page is here. This does include a half hour long interview with the artistic director of the Naxos guitar collection but I imagine that it's pretty informative and need I remind you, 99¢! I won't pretend to any knowledge of the music (really, Scarlatti and Sor I know from nothing) but the performances I've listened to so far have been superb.
It's already in my iTunes as you may infer from my previous comment and it's lovely. At the very least it's perfect classical music to play in the background as you're concentrating on something else.
UPDATE: Saturday morning and the price on the collection is all the way up to $2.59 now. What a ripoff! OK. Not really. Still a buy.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Promised Pic
To wit: The Aero-Garden (as ever, click to embiggen):

(photo taken by iPhone - not bad for a phone camera)
There's Almost Nothing Sadder
Than an old queen. Except maybe the punctured fantasies of a generation of movie-going guys who'll have to give up on the idea of having their way with Kelly McGillis. At least she, at roughly my age is still an attractive woman. Stiers as a guy, not so much.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

That looks like effective birth control to me. By the time somebody figured that out, I'd be watching the Travel Channel instead! Just curious....How do you insert this thing?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Y'all Come Visit Me, Y'hear?
I mentioned my acquisition of the beefy KitchenAid stand mixer. But did I mention that it came with a coupon for a free attachment? I've ordered the meat grinding one. You come for a visit. I'll go to Costco, buy us some steaks and make you a top loin cheeseburger. Damn skippy that's some good eating!

And I'm jealous of the image my co-blogger scored (below). I want a character
who looks like that at!

I’m sorry to those who expect an inspirational post for today, but sometimes, I just want to be truthful rather than play the saint that I am not. Thanks for dropping by. There will be a better day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A New Tag: TTPMO
That would be "Things That Piss Me Off." Today's excursion into pique comes courtesy of my local noisepaper The Washington Times. Specifically, the book reviews in the Sunday paper. Even more specifically, the editing of that section. Let me winkle out a few examples of editorial malpractice for you.
First, in a review of a book called "The Art of The Heist," the find this paragraph:
Recounting his life of violence, theft and depravity, Mr. Connor (per Ms. Siler) speaks as if his criminal modus vivendi is perfectly natural, his God-given right. Quoting Thoreau (without attribution) that "men live lives of quite desperation" he says his "has been anything but."

Yes: "
quite desperation." Good grief.

Then one review with two, count 'em
two glaring errors. First in a very positive review of a Peter Leonard (son of Elmore apparently) work called "Trust Me" is this sentence:
Remember Chili Palmer, the movie-mad debt collector in Leonard the elder's "Get Shorty," who like a Lamars trainer, gently coaches a recipient of his massive blow to the solar plexus how to take short, sharp, breaths...."

I'll ignore the comma after "sharp" because the great thunder of calling "Lamaze" "Lamars" renders me incapable of increased dudgeon. Are there no editors of this page at TW Times? I'm left wondering that again after the final example of crime against language. Another sentence extracted:
Mr. Leonard packs a lot of detail and color into his book and may yet develop his father's mastery of the brushed back strokes, the dialog unspoken and the chrystalline sepia tones they evoke.

We have now descended into full-on WTF territory. "Brushed back strokes?" Can anyone explain that phrase to me? And have it make a lick of sense? Comments are welcomed, hell, encouraged. Then we have "dialog unspoken." Not a great crime against language but clichéd to beat the band (yes, I use a cliché to illustrate my opposition, it's very po-mo and ironic). Then a gross error in spelling only serves to draw our attention the phrase (and let's use the right word, eh?) "crystalline sepia tones." Does ... not ... follow. Sepia tones and crystalline are so fundamentally at odds that it renders the sentence meaningless.
Perhaps the reviewer (identified as "Lelei LeLaulu" which reads like an invented name - or, if real, should be) knew what he or she (?) had in mind but it most definitely wasn't communicated in that sentence. Isn't that what editors are in place to prevent?

Grace Notes
I suppose it's not fair to go into a situation about which I can't talk as it involves other people who are not party to this webby conversation but I am compelled to say that I got a revelatory e-mail from a very dear friend today. When we care about others, take them into our hearts unbidden as it were, we still don't necessarily understand much of those lives if we en-heart them later in life. Now I've been given much information about people I know and love and I find that it buoys me up. I had always seen the successes and the good life of these friends and now I learn of the other side of their life. It is encouraging to see what can be overcome and how much of life is still possible after deep troubles have laid their salt on the fertile land.
So why do I post this? Because I want to say that everyday allows us to do something better than the day before. As bad as things can be, better is still there. It may take a hell of a lot of work but it can happen. This month contains my natal anniversary. I'm getting old now. Past the point of being a child prodigy. But through all that I suffered (which I admitted here on the blog last year), I can make next May a brilliant diamond out of the lumps of coal that I'm sitting on now.
All from a long e-mail about others, a note of grace for which I'm thankful.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Centaur Of Attention
Women who walk with the horses and the men hoof love them...

What? No Posting?
Yeah, yeah. My picture is in the dictionary(.com) under "slack." But I've been Mr. Homebody lately. My deskal area is in the process of a massive re-build (which, by the way, will leave an LCD monitor/flat screen desk-mounted "arm" available if anyone is interested) which will result in increased usable space and less reason to mess about stacking up piles and piles of paper.
I'm going to take some pictures of my Aero-Garden herbs this after noon and post them. I've got to say, those things work rather startlingly well. I've got the "herb" collection (no, not "herb," - herbs) with parsley, dill, basil, purple basil thyme and mint. The basil and dill are really going to town. But, as I said, I'll post pics.
Otherwise, perhaps it's a weather thing for me but Saturday was just hell on my joints. Every single one of them ached. Not just the usual suspects, all the residents of Osteotown. At least today is not so bad. It's wet here but much cooler. So today I should be able to, oh, say, complete the desk rebuild. Have a nice brunchish sit down with the newspaper and a good pot of coffee. Shop Costco for the necessaries. (Oh, speaking of shopping - Today's Woot is a kitchen scale for $25 including shipping. It has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with 14 customer reviews at a cost of $45. Yes, I ordered one.)
Also, the blogroll update continues. I've moved two from the "Links" level to the "In Memoriam" level. Keep in mind that "In Memoriam" can refer to a blogger whose joined the Choir Eternal or one who's just stopped posting. By the way something, if you live in Maryland and have a pug named "Petey," you need to e-mail me. My last message to you bounced back.
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. I will do my best to get pictures posted this after noon.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Snip From Today's E-Mail
"Friendship is like wetting your pants.
Everyone can see it but only you can feel the true warmth."