Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random shots

Just some pics from my walk home from lunch yesterday.  Had lunch at the Squirrel Cage and decided to walk home rather than take a bus.  It was nice enough for a walk and let's be honest, I can use the exercise.  Cut through Schenley Park and hopped onto the Upper Panther Hollow Trail and snagged these pics.

For those of you playing at home

This originally was on my old blog, way back on Nov 17, 2006 but I decided I would grab it and bring it over here.  I took this quiz when I first saw it, scored a 41 though I wouldn't have put myself in that bracket (I would have put me in the 31-40 category).  Anyway feel free to indulge yourselves while I continue weeding my way through my past blogs and determining what to keep and what to throw away.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finding things

Just going through my old site and see what I want to keep and what I want to discard when I happened up on this, it is a speech given at Georgetown University by Bill Clinton back in 2006. I liked the speech then and I like it now, it is a good break from the non stop political smear ads that are running on TV.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Karaoke Friday - This is what sexy sounds like

I think one of my pet peeves with music today is that everyone sounds the same.  I know, that tends to be one of the arguments that older people make when talking about younger people's music, but really all of the men tend to fall into one of two categories when it comes to popular music. either they can't sing and therefore have their voice pushed through so many electronic devices that the end product doesn't even sound human anymore, or they end up trying to sound like women.  And the women, well they all sound like they just escaped from the Disney channel, all trained to sing the same way and oversing on the same notes (much the same way that all of animation from Japan (I call it Japanimation) looks an awful lot like Speed Racer), and all the women/girls dressed in the same revealing costume getups, because if you are looking at their tits they you are not focusing on the fact that they can't sing at all.

While I will not be helping the guys this evening, I will pass along a little lesson for the ladies, this is what it sounds like to sing and be sexy about it. 

Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high Mama's dancin' with baby on her shoulder The sun is settin' like molasses in the sky The boy could sing, knew how to move, everything Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Black velvet and that little boy's smile Black velvet with that slow southern style A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees Black velvet if you please
Up in Memphis the music's like a heatwave White lightening, bound to drive you wild Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl "Love me tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Black velvet and that little boy's smile Black velvet with that slow southern style A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees Black velvet if you please
Every word of every song that he sang was for you In a flash he was gone, it happened so soon, what could You do?
Black velvet and that little boy's smile Black velvet with that slow southern style A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees Black velvet if you please
Black velvet and that little boy's smile Black velvet with that slow southern style A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees Black velvet if you please If you please, if you please, if you please

The Neverending Thread saga

Okay, this is one of those blog entries that is coming over from the Multiply page, though it is and always will be a work in progress.  What the Neverending thread is is a list of books that I have read, updated after I have read them.  It is something I have been doing since 2008, and with the books (many if not all can be found on Shelfari to the right) I usually attach a link to a site where the book can be found (usually Amazon) for anyone who would like to get more infor mation about the book, because honestly I am not one who is big into doing book or movie reviews.  I recognize that there are far more skilled people in said professions than myself, so I let them to the heavy lifting.

When I did this idea originally, I did a specific blog entry for each year that I kept track of books, I will not do that here, rather I will just add to the blog entry as needed, so there will be only one entry to bookmark for those who are foolish enough to do so.

Anyway, I guess I could get this started with my 2008 entries and bring it current, though I am reading two different books now, so it will probably be updated a couple more times before this year is out.

"Mr. Adam's Last Crusade:  John Quincy Adams Extraordinary Post Presidential Life in Congress"


"I Am America (And So Can You)"

"The Venetian Betrayal"

"Basic Brown"

"The Quickie"

"Windy City: A Novel of Politics"

"Friends of Liberty: A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and the Betrayal that Divided a Nation: Thomas Jefferson, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull"


"Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness"


"If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy -From the Revolution to the War of 1812"

"The Brethren" 

"The Big Bamboo"

"Orange Crush"


"Florida Straits"

"Behind Hitler's Lines: The True Story of the Only Soldier to Fight for both America and the Soviet Union in World War II"

"Cold Day in Hell: A Novel of Suspense"


"Double Deuce"

"Thin Air"


"Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World"

"How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative"

"The Chief"

"Cold Service"

"McNally's Risk"

"A Hard Day's Death"

"Hammerhead Ranch Motel"

"Death: A Life"

"The Urban Hermit: A Memoir"

"McNally's Gamble"

"McNally's Trial"

"Mortal Stakes"

"Back Story"


"A Matter of Justice"

"Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter"

"Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid"

 "A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex"



"Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"
"Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Explains Cloning, Blouse Monsters, Voting Machines, Romance, Monkey Gods, How to Avoid Being Mistaken for a Rodent, and More"

"Down Here: A Burke Novel"

"Tales from Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major"
"The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart"

"The Stone Monkey" 

"Stone Cold"

"McNally's Dare"

"The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election"

"Hurricane Punch"


"Shark River"

"Rough Weather"

"McNally's Dilemma"


Monday, August 20, 2012

Three things

Two weeks and I have hit this feature twice, maybe I should change the title to "Six Things" or something.  Anyway, on to the show.....

Memo to Chad Ochocinconuevediez Johnson....Just be cause you are on a TV show called "Hard Knocks", that does not grant you the authority to head butt your wife.  Just saying.

Breeding is fundamental.......Only here could a boy steal a car and then the mother of said boy blame it on the owner of the car.  Priceless moment in the interview, when she says "Maybe he wanted to go further than he felt like walking."  Let's see if I can link up to the video goodness right here

Lastly, my life is turning into a Rick Sebak special, a la "Things That Aren't There Anymore".  Of my places that I liked to go to that have closed up in the past year or so, Jo Jo's Diner, Smithfield Cafe, Burger and Rice Bowl, Michael's and Smithfield Outlet.  I am becoming the kiss of death to places, pretty soon Deluca's will not even serve me when they see me coming.

Okay, time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More testing, I will get this yet

Yes, I am still in the tinkering phase somewhat when it comes to this page. Sure the amount of content has increased, but I still haven't learned everything I need to know in order to make a blog that I am happy with. One thing I haven't learned is how to place photos within a blog, so with that in mind I picked up the camera and went on my normal Sunday walk to see if I could snap a few pictures and see what would happen.

 So I thought I would start with some pictures of fish.  Well I didn't plan on taking pictures of fish, but as I was walking by the water gardens outside Phipps Conservatory I happened to peer into one of the gardens and saw some goldfish swimming around amongst the plants and figured that would be as good a place as any to get some new photos to try and add to the blog.

Of course if I made it no further than Schenley Park, it wouldn't be much of a Sunday walk, so I cut through the park and over to Carnegie Mellon University, where I got to see a little of the school's football practice, as well as plenty of freshman students milling about for their orientation. 

 Also on the CMU campus is this statue, located across the street from the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Morewood Avenue.  Since I had it in my head by then that I wanted to walk into Norrth Oakland and get something to eat, Morewood Avenue seemed as go a way as any to get there.

This is where I run out of pictures for a moment, see the plan was I would go grab a late lunch, early dinner from Michael's (formerly G's) and grab a cheesesteak sandwich and fries.  Michael's had, in my opinion, the best cheesesteak sandwiches in the area, and I was hoping I could get some pictures of the interior of the place as well as the awesome goodness that I expected on my plate.  Problem is, apparently Michael's no longer exists, replaced by a place called Amazing Cafe.  Sure, Amazing Cafe was open, but I would not want to take pictures of it after having been inside.  I placed an order to go and then proceeded to look around and there were tables that were wiped off, have drunk pitchers of beer still on some of the counters, even though the connected bar (Mitchell's) hadn't been open since the previous evening (it was 3:30 in the afternoon during my visit, plenty of time to clean up one would imagine), so I just got my food to go (the cheesesteak wasn't bad, but not as good as it used to be) and continued with my walk home.

This would seem to be a relatively innocent and rather un-photograph worthy spot, so one may be wondering why I would take this picture.  The thing is, they used to be a little whole in the wall type bar there called "Aces and Dueces".  Can't say that I ever had a drink there, or even went inside the bar for that matter, but what makes that spot noteworthy, or more to the point, the spot I am standing when I took this picture is that this is right about where I was standing years ago when I witnessed a drive by shooting, an event that would see two people get shot, one of whom would die from their wounds. 

Okay, this is a little less depressing, a shot of St Paul's Cathedral here in Oakland, probably the largest Catholic Church in the area.  This is as close as I will get to the church because if there is a God, then I am sure I will get struck down where I stand, and if there isn't a God, that doesn't mean that the priests aren't still going to be pawing at people of the male persuasion.  Thanks but no thanks to that.

The front steps of the Mellon Institute.  As to why I took this picture, well to some of you these steps will look familiar, this is where they shot the scene in the Batman movie with Batgirl riding down the steps on the Batcycle.  And why is it that everything in the Bat Universe has to start with the word Bat.  Is the audience really that stupid that we couldn't figure out Batman's car without calling in the Batmobile?  Or his bike without calling it the Batcycle?  Just saying!!!

Last photo to this entry is just a good old standby from picture taking perspective around here, go get a picture of the Cathedral of Learning.  What can I say, it is the landmark in my neighborhood, so maybe I should go walking in other neighborhoods for a while.

Anyway, time to see if I can actually do this.  If it works then I guess I taught myself a little something new about Blogger, if not then it is back to the drawing board.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Karaoke Friday - Showing my age

I honestly came into this with absolutely no idea of what video I would grab.  On one hand, there are quite a few from back in the day that technically I could repeat, after all this is a brand new blog page after all, and even some of the old ones were swallowed up when Myspace bought Imeem and pretty ruined a boatload of Karaoke Friday posts, not to mention some radio podcasts I will never get back, (thanks for that). 

So there is literally tons of material I could pull from, songs I like, songs that annoy people, all of it really.  Instead I will go with something I haven't used before, and something that doesn't annoy (at least me), but instead gives a glimmer into the types of things I like as a kid, so many, many moons ago.  As always, feel free to sing along, even if you are in the shower.  I know it is where I do my best singing.

I'm alone Sitting with my empty glass My 4 walls Follow me through my past
I was on a Paris train I emerged in London rain And you were waiting there Swimming through apologies
I remember searching for the perfect words I was hoping you might change your mind I remember a soldier sleeping next to me Riding on the Metro
You wore white Smiling as you took my hand So removed We spoke of wintertime in France
Minutes passed with shallow words Years have passed and still the hurt I can see you now Smiling as I pulled away
I remember the letter wrinkled in my hand "I'll love you always" filled my eyes I remember a night we walked along the Seine Riding on the Metro
I remember a feeling coming over me The soldier turned, looked away I remember hating you for loving me Riding on the Metro
I'm alone Sitting with my broken glass My 4 walls Follow me through my past
I was on a Paris train I emerged in London rain And you were waiting there Swimming through apologies sorry
I remember searching for the perfect words I was hoping you might change your mind I remember a soldier sleeping next to me Riding on the Metro

What's holed is nude again

     This entry will kick off with a little thing I call the change meter.  For those who have not been with my blogging since the early days, the change meter was one of the first features I ever attempted on the blog, and it remains so it is probably the longest running feature on the blog as well.  What the change meter actually is is a running total of all of the money that I find, usually it is money that is on the ground in the various places I go.  So, if you were wondering who it is that goes around and picks up pennies that you sometimes see on the floor of stores and what not, that would be me. 
      The old total from the changer meter (pre Blogger days) was $336.65.  Now ,mind you, that total is over the course of probably 7 years, I didn't find all of that in one sitting, but it would seem that eventually even the pennies do add up.  But for our first new total here we are going to add another $1.23 to the kitty, so the first ever change meter total on Blogger is, drum roll please, $337.88.
    Okay, with that out of the way, I guess I should talk about my job a little bit, or at least my most recent day at my job.  Again for those not in the know, I am employed at Smithfield News, one of three news stand/convenience stores in Pittsburgh owned by Weiss Enterprises.  I like to refer to myself as the purchasing manager, even though no such official title has been ever granted.  But chances are that if an item appears on the shelves of either of our two downtown Pittsburgh locations (Smithfield News, Universal News), there is probably a 75-80% chance that I had a hand in that process at some point.  Maybe it was placing the actual order or walking a rep through the order, maybe it was breaking down the subsequent invoice that crosses my desk, where better than $1 million dollars passes on a yearly basis, or I had at least a say with upper management in what we should and should be getting.  But somewhere along the line chances are very good that my fingerprints were on it.
      While I am the self dubbed purchasing manager, I am not what you would consider upper management, because I still have to do all of the tasks that people below that station have to do, whether that be stocking coolers or shelves, putting trash out, running register or fixing things that have broken.  So in my world "Manual Labor" is not the President of Mexico.
     It was during one of the manual tasks that the most noteworthy part of my day occurred.  I was sent to Universal News (our two downtown locations are about 4 blocks apart) to go check on the air conditioning units, and to show someone down there how to replace the filters (a job that would otherwise fall under the vast array of responsibilities I have).  So I make my way down to the store and nead upstairs to their stockroom, which is where the units are located.  I stoop beside one of the units so I can pull out the filter to check it and to see what size filter I will need to replace the one in thetre if it is too dirty.  That was when it happened, the dreaded ripping sound.  No, I am not talking about gas or farting, not to diminish how part that can be, especially if it is odorous, but the ripping sound of clothing. 
      This is when you in my mind I start to make deals with whatever type of creator there actually is, the first deal of course is hoping that the ripping sound was just a zipper flying open, because a simple zip up and that problem is solved.  But this wasn't that type of ripping sound, this was definitely a fabric ripping sound.   So knowing my first prayer isn't answered, the best I can hope for is for the tear to be as minimal as possible.  It wasn't.  The last thing I could hope for, and the thought that was racing through my mind was 'Don't be the ass, don't be the ass!!!!"   On that count I guess you could say I lucked out, because the tear was in fact on the front of my shorts (yes, I do wear shorts at work, I do way too much manual labor to be trapped in dress clothes), but the tear was a large one, covering nearly my entire upper thigh, enough that my red boxer briefs were clearly visible for anyone who was paying the slightest attention.
       The thing was, after I checked the air conditioning units, I still had to go back downstairs and place a grocery order for that store (another thing that falls under my array of responsibilities), before making my way the four blocks back down the street to Smithfield News to place a grocery order at that location as well, and afterward to meet with our ice cream vendor to go over some issues with our pricing.  So here I am, walking around Universal, scanning items into my handheld unit, while also tugging down on my t shirt, trying to cover as much of this gaping hole as I possibly can, while also getting my order done.  Then it was out into the public, where I got to walk down the street with my undies showing, because no matter how hard I tried, there was no way I was going to be able to cover this entire hole.
      I make it back to Smithfield News, and do the only thing I can think of when it comes to fixing this problem, bring on the duct tape.  So there I am, now placing an order at Smithfield, walking around the store with my shorts taped shut.  And it wasn't any better when the ice cream vendor arrived for his meeting and I am there, he is all dressed nice: Ed, my boss, is at least dressed okay, and I am sitting there trying to keep my clothing together with tape.  I am not sure people take you all that seriously when your shorts are taped shut.
    Not that that was the end of it, I still needed to make my way home, and since I rely on public transportation to get to and fro, that meant I acquired a second layer of tape to make sure things didn't go flying out on the bus ride on the way home.  Maybe it is just me, but I  think that people can get thrown off of  buses when their junk goes swinging out into pubic view.   And the only thing worse than taking the bus in that condition would be walking home with my stuff hanging out. 
     Thankfully I made it home with little incident, either people didn't notice or they kept their giggling to themselves.  Whatever the case, I made it home in one piece, not sure the same can be said for my shorts though.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hungry no more

Originally appeared Nov 21st, 2006

This just in, you can no longer be hungry in America.  Well, at least not according to the government, which will no longer use the term.  Bring on the stupidity, and "low food security".  All this needs is a color coded threat level to make the idiocy complete.

 No more 'hungry' Americans: US government says
Nov 20 6:37 PM US/Eastern

 The US government has tweaked its terminology in referring to the nearly 11 million Americans who face a constant struggle with hunger to refer to them as people with "very low food security."
According to a report released this month by the US Department of Agriculture, roughly 35 million Americans had difficulty feeding themselves in 2005 and of those some 10.8 million went hungry.
But unlike last year's report on hunger in America, which labeled families who don't get enough to eat as having "food insecurity with hunger," this year's report referred to them as having "very low food security."
The change in terminology has angered groups that fight hunger who say it is aimed at hiding a stark reality.
"There is very widespread feeling that it was a mistake to water down the language," Jim Weill, director of the Washington-based Food Research and Action Center, a non-profit organization, told AFP.
"There are 35 million people in this country who are struggling with hunger, no matter what you call it," he added. "An there is no way ultimately to obscure the fact that we're an incredibly wealthy country with 35 million people who are struggling with hunger."
US officials have defended the change, saying it is based on a recommendation from the National Academies, which advises the government on science and medical issues.

This stems from my inability to Kerry on a conversation

Originally written on Nov 3rd, 2006

Not sure how much blogging I will get done here, though there is certainly enough to talk about these days, whether it be on the local front or the national. Certainly I could spend some time talking about myself, and I plan on doing just that.

I have been doing more reading, just polished off James Patterson's "Mary Mary". I saw it during one of my late night impulse binges at the 24 hr drugstore. Those places are a weakness for me, and where I live I have 2 within about 3 blocks of my apartment. I stopped after work the other night, hoping to find some microwave goodness for dinner and knowing that I was once again out of reading material I checked out the paperback section, and that was the best offering they had. I bought it on Monday and had it read by Wednesday night, I am just devouring the fiction reads these days. I picked up a couple more books today, another Robert Parker and a Christopher Buckley, who I have always heard good things about and wanted to read, and after seeing "Thank You for Smoking" which is based on one of his books, it was only a matter of time until I scooped one up.

I also get to whore my next public appearance. I will be on the Doug Hoerth Show on Thanksgiving Day from 3pm to 6pm on AM Newstalk 1360 ( Yes, I will save you the pun and say you get to eat a turkey and then hear one, though for the life of me, I can't imagine the family gathering around the radio on Thanksgiving, this isn't the 1920s after all.

Not sure how many people have been following the upcoming elections. It is part of my job, so I have been, though I have been more focused on the local stuff than the national races. That being said, some stories have filtered through, as evidenced by the post earlier in the blog over the whole Rush Limbaugh/Michael J Fox controversy from the Washington Post. MInd you, I am a pro stem cell research kind of guy, and I am even further along down the line than most in that I don't view embryos as life, so hate me if you will, but one of the concessions that the pro stem cell side seems to give up is whether embryos are in fact life, I refuse to even yield that point to the other side of the debate. I haven't seen conclusive evidence that would maintain that proposition, and furthermore, if that was truly the case, then why is it the government doesn't recognize embryos as life? They are not issued social security numbers, as all Americans are, nor are they counted in the census, which is the number of people in the country. If you are going to count the number of people and fail to count embryos, then you are acknowledging that, in the government's eye, they are not people. And, friends, they aren't. Mind you, they have the potential to be, just as if you have two sticks and rub them together, you can make fire, but that doesn't make the sticks themselves fire. They, like embryos, are but material. And just because you have two sticks doesn't limit your options to making fire, maybe you will use them to build a bird's nest, or a sling shot, because some materials have multiple uses. Likewise, once embryos are viewed as material, rather than people, one can begin to see that multiple uses may come from them as well and one of those uses may be curing actual living people of horrible diseases. The other argument is the religious one on defending life, but again the bible does not mention embryos, heck it doesn't even mention abortion for that matter, but I will limit my argument to embryos for now. There is no mandate in the bible of what to do or not to do with embryos, and while I concede the point that embryos can become life, if one buys the bible's argument, then we have to assume that anything has the potential to be life, after all, God created Adam from the dust on the ground. Therefore we couldn't create anything, for fear that it was one miracle away from being a human being. Mind you, it would also mean the end of our existence as a species, because while we are protecting all potential life, we would wither and die from lack of food and shelter. I don't say this to mock those of faith, rather to bring up a point, that we make compromises of sorts, one of those it was is and isn't life and I have yet to see the conclusive scientific argument presented that maintains that embryos are life, regardless of what is prostelytized from the party or pulpit.

Goodness, there goes some readers of the blog, heading for the exits as only I can make them do. Actually, for those of you that have paid particularly close attention, I have shown some people the door of my own accord. I am not one for collecting friends in here, but those people that stop by and ask to be added, I tend to let them join, but if in the course of my viewings I find that they aren't blogging, they are just out collecting friends and leaving their page blank, then I am of the attitude to cut them loose these days. While I like the fact some of you stop by to read my musings, I want visitors to be able to click on a friend and know that they are getting some original content from them as well. I don't ask that it be creative, hell I don't even think I am all that creative, just that you are making a small effort and that you are doing this for more than a vanity project.

We also learned this week why John Kerry is an idiot. First, the man can't tell a joke. If you aren't funny, don't try to be. It pretty much never works. Second, he has no political savvy-ness whatsoever. Given that you have botched a joke, and made it sound like you believe only the uneducated are serving in Iraq (with two of my family members having served there, even I was taken aback by that a little) the smart think to do is to apologize and get it out of the way as soon as possible. If you are really savvy, you can even make the apology an opportunity to tick off the litany of reasons why the President himself should apologize. But Kerry isn't savvy, and if you needed more proof than the Swift Boat campaign against him in 2004, where he waited thinking it would go away, rather than defending his record, this was you next example. Instead of getting the apology out of the way, he left it sit in the news cycle for two whole days before he apologizes. While his party is building up for a chance to take the House and Senate in a week's time, Kerry left the news story be about him for two full days. In the education known as politic's, John Kerry does indeed ride the little short bus.

That being said, the President saying that Kerry should apologize is just beyond the pale. I have tried to be pretty much a down the middle guy with this blog, but for George Bush to say that Kerry should apologize, then he damn well better apologize for the blood of nearly 3000 servicemen that is on his hands, with very little to show for that sacrifice of national treasure. He might want to apologize to all of the thousands of Katrina victims that his administration failed as well, or maybe he might just want to do us all a favor and shut the hell up.

Okay, enough of my musings for one evening, I am sure we all have better things to do, so maybe we should go do them, what say you all?

And away we go.....

Not sure if I will ever be given the tools from Multiply to actually import my older writings from there to here, so for the next little while I will be grabbing some stuff from over there and doing ye olde copy and paste thing, trying to save some of the blog entries, like saving people before they drown while the ship is sinking. 

In any event, I will try to post the original blog date on those entries here, just so you know I am not speaking of anything currently, and if I need to, I might put a little disclaimer in the beginning of them, just to help set the mood, or explain something that needs some background for those who have not been along for the long road of Y360 to Multiply to here.  Not sure how many of these entries I will post, just the ones that I think I want to keep is all, but with almost 10 years of blogging under my belt, I can't be sure just how many entries that will be.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three things

     Just testing out a new blog feature, not sure if I will like it or not, it may stick around for a while, it may be gone after a week, but since it is in my head right now, I thought I would pick up the ball and run with a little thing I will call “3 Things”, just three things that we learned over the course of the weekend.

     The Pittsburgh Pirates are “Fight Club”.  I no more than mention how well they are doing a couple of blogs back and sure enough they lose two of three to the lowly San Diego Padres, including a Friday night contest where they gave up a 7-1 lead.  In the process the fell two more games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds and saw their lead in the wild card race shrink to 2.5 games.  The first rule of “Fight Club” is we don’t talk about “Fight Club”, and perhaps that should be the blog’s first rule about the Pittsburgh Pirates as well.

     Mitt Romney has selected Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate in his campaign to unseat the incumbent President Barack Obama.  To hear the talking heads blather on about it, this would be seemingly a big deal, when in fact it isn’t.  Rarely do Vice Presidential candidates help win an election, on average they are good for about 2 percentage point in that person’s home state, and little more.  Really, what else would you expect, anyone going to the polls and pulling a lever based on who the #2 men are on each ticket is all but saying, “Boy, I sure hope the side I voted for wins and that the head of the ticket then dies in office, because then my guy is in.”  It’s just nonsense to listen to all of the blathering going on about something that is relatively unimportant.

     I saw on the website that Jennifer Aniston may be engaged to her boyfriend.  Being single and male, I can’t really offer her any advice about her possible pending nuptials, but I can remind the groom to be of one simple thing, Lumberg fucked her.

    Good night!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I've made my bed, now.........

     Hey, it is my second week here and I haven’t quit yet, that could be a sign of things to come, no?
Hopefully you all had a good weekend, mine wasn’t bad, if only because I finally got my bed.   Back at Christmas time my mom said that she had gotten me a bed for Christmas, or at least was in the process of getting me one.  It was actually something that was turning from a want into a need here, my old bed was small (a twin) and the springs were starting to poke through the mattress.  Let me tell you a little secret,  when you roll over in the middle of the night and a bed spring pokes you in the ass, well let’s just say that it isn’t ll that enjoyable, no matter what anyone else may tell you to the contrary.

Well, just because my mom says she is going to do something, or that she wants to, doesn’t mean that it is going to happen.  That isn’t to speak poorly of my mom or anything, sometimes money does get in the way of such a purchase, and good intentions are not usually currency in most furniture stores.  So as the calendar did that thing you see in cartoons, with the days and then the months tearing away, I was becoming almost resigned to the idea that the bed thing just wasn’t going to happen.  Which is okay, I could just go out and by my own bed, but when I would talk to my mom, she would always bring up the topic of the bed she was about to buy.  So I kind of put the bed thing in a holding pattern. 

Then on Monday my mom and I spoke and she said they were getting the bed this week, and she asked if I would be home on Sunday if they were going to bring it to my apartment.  Sunday is pretty much the only day I can guarantee anyone that I will be home, since I usually work Monday through Saturday.   So I said that I would be here and started to slowly set about the process of cleaning my apartment for the incoming bad, which from what she was saying was going to be a full size as opposed to my old twin.  Now I know many people reading this probably sleep in queen sized, or king sized beds, and a full size wouldn’t seem like all that much room, but it would be nearly impossible to get something of that size in my apartment, unless I have no use for any other furniture.  Anyway, I started cleaning, thinking I have all week, I can take my time on Monday through Friday and then go on a massive cleaning binge Saturday night after work. 
As the week progress I would do some  laundry, or catch up on my dishes, things that don’t always happen in a single guy’s apartment (if you don’t believe me, drop in on one some time), but the major stuff, like deconstructing the bed of anal springs and moving furniture around was going to be done Saturday night.
Everything went according to plan, I went out and got about 5 loads of laundry done during the week, got my dishes done, the kitchen cleaned up somewhat and even started going through things I wanted to throw out and removing them from the premises.
Saturday comes around and it starts off just according to plan, I go to breakfast at Deluca’s (I am back on my Deluca’s kick these days) where I had a kielbasa, onion and cheddar omelet and more coffee than should be allowed by law, went into work and got my Saturday projects done for this week and proceeded to make my way home, somewhere around 3pm or so.
I get in the door to the sound of the phone ringing  (for those not in the know, I refuse to have a cell phone, if you want me, reach me on my landline, or here, or email, but you will never reach me on a cell phone) and because the answering machine picks up after 3 rings, I didn’t pick it up in time.  So I put my stuff down, took a quick pee break and went to check my phone and the call was from my mom.  I figured it was her calling to say what time they would be leaving on Sunday morning, or worse, a reason why they couldn’t get the bed.  So I call her back, we end up playing a little phone tag, but eventually we talk and she says, “Guess what, we are coming with your bed tonight.”   Yikes!!!   Now I have to do an entire evening’s worth of cleaning and furniture moving in about two to three hours. 
I hang up the phone and just start going crazy, tossing stuff out left and right, scrubbing, cleaning, just turning into a cleaning machine.  Then came the bed of anal springs.  I had already tossed the mattress out, no more poking of my ass, thank you very much, but I still had the frame and the box spring in my apartment.  So I grab the box spring and toss it out with no problem, then comes the frame and headboard.  It looks simple enough, the frame just looks like it latches into the headboard, so I go to unhook it what happens resembles a Wile E Coyote plan gone wrong.  That is when I see that not only in the frame latched into the headboard, but screwed in as well.  No problem, just grab a screwdriver and get to it.  Except I grab a Phillips head and I need a flat head.  So I go looking for a flat head and as you might guess, none is to be found. 
Enter panic mode in 3…2…1.  How to I dissemble this without a screwdriver, knowing my family will be here in an hour or so and this needs to be gone.  If you guessed butter knife, go to the head of the class.  So there I am trying to unscrew a headboard with a butter knife, a process that is far more sweat inducing than using the proper tool.  After some struggling though I managed to pull off the task.  So I take the headboard out and the frame and set them out for trash pick up and just get back inside to start moving furniture around when the phone rings again.  It’s my mom, I am thinking okay, they must have just left and will be here soon (it is about an hour drive), so I pick up the phone and my mom says, “We decided to wait until Sunday to come down.”  So I just took apart a bed with a butter knife for nothing.  Fuck me, bend me over and fuck me.
So I end up relaxing a bit, talked to my girlfriend online for a while and proceeded to think I will take a small nap and get up and finish my cleaning.  Well, I overslept a little, but managed to have the space ready for the bed when they did arrive Sunday morning, and as an added bonus they had tools so I didn’t have to build the new bed with a butter knife as well.  And it was pretty easy, the new bed took less than an hour to put together, though now I almost need a ladder or a grappling hook to get into bed, it is that high off of the floor.  But it is very nice and very comfy and worth every bit of the wait since Dec 25th. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Karaoke Friday - Almost an import

I dropped some inquiries earlier today, looking at possibly importing all of my stuff from my old page to this one, though as of yet I haven't heard anything, but it is still very early.  I just have no desire to copy and paste what would amount to years worth of material simply to Blogger, one entry at a time.  Sure it could be done, but it would be a most tedious process.

One thing that will come over here from there though is a blog feature I like to run, called Karaoke Friday.  Simply put, I find a video on Youtube (or elsewhere), usually a song that I like, and the I bring it on to the page, as well as the song lyrics so you can sing along.

Tonight we go with "Disappear" by Motion City Soundtrack, because I have been on a MCS kick of late, only made moreso by the knowledge that they will be in Pittsburgh (technically Millvale, at Mr. Small's) in November.  I would like to go, but we will see just what happens when the time comes. 

Honestly I am not sure what the lyrics are supposed to mean, but they do seem to fit the video.  I should probably research that at some point.  Anyway, on with the festivities....

To the deep end, to the heart line 
Hold it straight together, man, hold it straight together if you can 
Little fevers wrapped in dedication 
All strung out on novelty, collapse yourself and try to comprehend
An angry island, a bitter bee sting 

Severing and shattering free the self and fix the between 
It's isolation, mark the earth around you 
Guess who's on the waiting list, 
I'll let you in on something secret
I can disappear anytime I want to, time I feel you 

Shovel through my skin, I am with you till the end
First you breathe out then you have to breathe in 

Lash yourself repeatedly until it sticks, until it sticks  
Under the eyelids, carry on cadaver  
Festering interiors, all hollow breach and vapor silhouette
Need medication, more medication coursing through your interstates  

All mad and great confused and counterfeit  
Kamikaze sear the blood inside me 
Guess who's got it figured out, I'll let you in on something secret
I can disappear anytime I want to, time I feel you  

Shovel through my skin, I am with you till the end 
And I can decompose when it suits me I accelerate it  
Wicked on all fours, I surrender to the storm
You'll never know how it feels 

You'll never know how it feels  
Can you feel it? Can you feel it?
I can disappear anytime I want to, time I feel you 

Shovel through my skin, I am with you till the end
I can decompose when it suits me I accelerate it 

Wicked on all fours, I surrender to the storm  
And I can disappear anytime I want to, time I feel you 
Shovel through my skin, I am with you till the end I am with you till the end

Let's get this thing started already

     And so it begins, my first ever blog here or at least my first ever blog that doesn’t  involve me trying to break the ice or kicking the tires of this site, but rather just me prattling on.
     Actually the bog is on a road trip today, as I am having dinner at a little place called the Squirrel Cage.  That the local name for it anyway, it’s actual name is the Squirrel Hill CafĂ©,, the locals just call it the Squirrel Cage, or if we are being particularly lazy, just The Cage.
     The food at The Cage isn’t anything to write home about (perhaps that is why I am writing here and not sending a letter off to my mom) but it is good for bar food, and The Cage does offer one thing that most places in Pittsburgh no longer do, that is the ability to smoke and eat at the same time.  A state wide smoking ban was passed a while back, and I am not going to argue the merits of, or rail against the idea of a ban on smoking in public places, I only mention it to say that it exists.  As part of the ban though, certain bars were granted a waiver, provided that a high enough percentage of their sales was in alcohol versus food and they paid for a permit to allow smoking.  The Cage meets that requirement but still has food on the menu, so I can smoke and eat here, which suits me just fine.
     The Cage has it’s assortment of locals, as any watering hole of its type most assuredly does.  I can’t say I am a regular, though I come here enough that the bartender doesn’t even have to ask me what I am drinking, my iced tea (of the non-alcoholic variety) is usually poured for me as soon as I sit down.  I do not come here to drink, I just like being able to sit and eat and smoke and relax in some manner, either breaking down invoices for work, or reading a book or as you can see today, by writing about whatever it is that pops into ye olde cranium. 
     And there has been a lot in ye olde cranium recently, I am just not sure where to begin.  I suppose like most  Americans I have taken an interest in the Olympic Games currently taking place.  Not so much that I chant “USA, USA” at the TV screen, but just because I like watching the competition amongst nations.  Sure I like it when the United States does well, but I am not so invested in it that if we fail to medal in a specific event I get all upset about it, I just enjoy watching most of the events, regardless of who is actually competing.
     Most of my sporting attention this summer though has been focused surprisingly on the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I know, it shocks me too, considering the Pirates have run off 19 consecutive losing seasons, the longest such stretch in the history of professional sports in North America, so it is quite shocking to be sitting here in early August and see the Pirates somewhere around 12 games over .500 and within 2.5 games of the first place Cincinnati Reds.  Better still, the Pirates record is good enough that, if the season ended today, they would get one of the two wild card slots for the National League.   Honestly I think the locals would be happy just to see a winning season for a change (as would I), but this flirting with actual post season play has made me want to go to games for a change.  The atmosphere at the ballpark these days is just different.  It used to be that you could walk up on any given day an hour or so before the game and know you could buy relatively good seats, now if you don’t have tickets in advance there is no saying that you will get tickets at all. 
    Of course the Pirates aren’t the only thing that is hot this summer, there is also the actual weather.  Not that Pittsburgh is Siberia and we are happy to get any sun, but the average in Pittsburgh is that we will see 8 days a year where the thermometer breaks 90 degrees, so far this year we have had at least 20, and there is still a month and change left of summer yet.   Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, any time I start sweating along and am just at the point where I might complain about the heat I remind myself of one simple thing, it isn’t snow. 
     Not that the summer has been perfect, it hasn’t.  God know just the number of political advertisements that have aired already is enough to make me want to throw my TV out completely.  And don’t even try to get me to sit through what passes for news on TV, because it is to the point now where I can’t stomach it.  Just the other day I saw a segment on Fox News where the topic du jour was whether it was unpatriotic that Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas was unpatriotic because her outfit was pink, and not red, white and blue.  As if all of those hours training in the gym to represent her country on the international stage should somehow count for nothing because of her selection of apparel.  Really!   Not that the local news is any better, what with their desire to not do actual reporting, but instead to report on such insane nonsense as what people are saying on the station’s Facebook page.  Or to offer up man on the street interviews in lieu of actually interviewing someone involved in the story.  Prime example, a couple of months ago there was a story where a professional baseball player from a visiting team was staying in a downtown hotel.  Apparently during the night of a game, someone entered into his hotel room, tied up his girlfriend and proceeded to take valuables from his room.  The story seemed a little suspicious for a number of reasons (How did anyone know he would be staying there and what room he would be in, how did the culprit get past hotel security, why did the girlfriend let an unknown person into the room, just for starters) and interviewing people who might be tied to the story would perhaps help flesh it out a bit, such as the investigating officer, the head of hotel security or the hotel’s manager, the player or the girlfriend.  So, you might ask, who did we get for our breaking news interview?  How about a guy who works in a building across the street from the hotel and happens to be a baseball fan instead.  Yes, that is what passes for journalism these days.  Just stick a camera in someone’s face, create a reason that they are even slightly connected to the story and just ask stupid questions and your work here is done.    I am actually surprised that when we landed a rover on Mars last week, the local stations didn’t go out and interview a person from Mars, Pennsylvania who wanted to be an astronaut as a kid.
     Okay, I have now finished dinner (beer battered fish and French fries in case you were wondering) and am having the post meal cigarette, so now is just about as good a time as any to wrap this up for a while.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back.  I am like the common cold, hard to get rid of.  Until then, I am outtie, like a belly button.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Omega and the Alpha

What is the old phrase, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”?  I don’t know, I am not getting that vibe these days, for me it is more just a case of lasts and firsts, the last time I will do some things here and the first time I will do some things on my new page.  Honestly I think I am feeling better about the firsts than I am sad about the lasts.
     I have already started importing my gadgets to the new page, the globe is up, the bookshelf is up, the tracker is up, I have gotten the introductory stuff out of the way with a couple of initial posts, relearning how to post videos and pictures and learning about new layouts and page designs and what not and doing a brief introduction of who I am.
     But I still have a couple of lasts here to take care of as well, like my last change meter post, where I get to add another $3.38 to my total, bringing it up to $336.65.  That seems like a nice round number to start with on the new page.
     I am also doing some last personal messages around here, just the goodbyes and what not.  But I think I am just starting to get that motivation to write again, and maybe the new page has something to do with it, or maybe it is just the thought of being in front of a brand new audience where some of my material isn’t as old hat as it is here.  As NBC says when airing reruns, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.  Whatever the reason, I just feel the inner urgings of busting out of my shell and letting forth with words, both petty and profound.
     For those that are remaining here until the last little bit of life has been sucked out of Multiply, I will leave you with the same words I left my former coworker Greg when I was laid off from the radio station a few years back, “Be sure to turn out the lights when you are done.”

3rd time is a charm?

     Well, since this is going to be my new blogging home, I guess I should get about introducing myself to the new person or persons that might visit the page.  The easy part is my name, which is Matt.  That shouldn’t be too hard for anyone here to remember.   As for what I do, well at least for now I am the purchasing manager for Weiss Enterprises two downtown Pittsburgh locations, Smithfield News and Universal  News. 
     In a previous life I was a talk radio show producer, a job which I had for 12+ years until the format for the station changed and the layoffs came.  Those who live in Pittsburgh will recognize some of the names that I sat across the glass from; Jerry Bowyer, Doug Hoerth, Lynn Cullen to name a few, to most everyone else those names probably will not ring a bell at all.
     What actually got me into blogging many moons ago was just a need to, as the phrase goes, get some shit off of my chest.  I originally started posting on a friend’s message board and from that grew a need to have a space all my own, thus I found a place called Yahoo 360, where I blogged until Yahoo literally let the wheels fall off that wagon.  I migrated, taking the show on the road to Multiply, in part because the service was easy to use, and in part because Multiply allowed us the option of importing our Yahoo content, lest in get lost in the vast internet wasteland.
     Now I find myself here, because like 360, Multiply is closing their social networking application leaving those of us who blogged there to find a new home.  But if you have read more than this entry, you probably know that.  If you want to go check out that page, feel free.  The address is , though that page will be lost come Dec. 1st.  If Blogger allows me to import that content over here, I will make arrangements to do so, but if not then I am not sure how much of it I will end up reposting here.  Some things I would like to keep, other things can just be left to fall by the wayside.
     As for what one might expect from future blogs here, well I will say that I am an avid hockey fan, and living in Pittsburgh, it is pretty much a given that I follow the Steelers and Pirates as well (and it looks like the 19 consecutive years of losing may finally be coming to an end on that front).  So do not be surprised to read blogs about the local sports teams, maybe even some pictures from time to time (if I can score me some tickets).  And after 12 years in radio, it is not uncommon for me to unburden my own opinions on politics and pop culture from time to time.  Let’s not forget. There is also the subject to which I am an absolute authority on, that being me.  So there will be plenty of doses of my own personal trials and tribulations as well. 
     There will even be some things (I can’t call them features) that I will be continuing from the old blog(s) that I just don’t want to let go of, but I will explain them as needed.  Right now it isn’t needed.
     Commenting on anything I write is always open to the public, though name calling in the comments is not permitted.  I do not mind people disagreeing with me, but I do mind disagreeable people. 
     Anyway, things will unfold as they should and eventually if you stick around long enough you will ether come to love or loathe the page, but as my boss would say, “it is what it is”.  For now what this is is my new blogging home.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

If you are like me, you have probably gotten the message in your inbox (or soon will) that Multiply will be locking the doors on the social networking aspect of this page come Dec 1st.  It doesn't come as ,much of a shock at this point, it seemed like the next step when they had announced that Multiply would be focusing on the commerce end of things.  I will say that if the announcement today is to be believed in total, then knowing we may be given tools or means to take our content down and relocate it elsewhere is about as nice of a step as a company could take while at the same time eliminating and entire facet of their online enterprise.  We will see how that all plays out though.

If you had asked me a couple of years how I would feel about the possibility of Multiply shutting down (as least for what I use it for), I probably would have been pretty distraught about the whole thing.  But now?  Honestly, not sure I care all that much.  I think I am getting as much aggravation out of being here as I am enjoyment, so perhaps a change of venue is exactly what is needed and called for at this point. 

As of this typing, I do not know where I will end up next.  I have dabbled a bit and may have a new home already picked out, but until I am certain that is where I will be, I am not extending invitations to join me there.  Nor will that information be made public here, those that I want to know will know, those that I don't will not.  Simple as that really.

So as the end times for this page approach, they come as both a bit of sadness, but a bit of relief as well.  Sadness for the amount of time and effort that was put into the page only to see it go by the wayside, and because no matter where I end up, I know not everyone I have met here and would like to stay in touch with will be joining me elsewhere.  But relief also because honestly I think I have lost my voice here, and perhaps a new place will be just what I need to once again shout from the mountaintops into the digital void.

Hi honey, I'm home

I guess I am what you would call a refugee, or worse, someone who is cursed.  So beware all ye people of Blogger, now that I am here bad things will most assuredly happen. 

The things is I have been doing this blogging thing for quite a few years now, dare I say maybe even a decade.  And this is now my third home, having first been an occupant of a little place called Y360.  Some of you may have had the same misfortune as I on that site, Yahoo basically let the entire place fall apart, because they wanted to focus on a new social networking platform called Mash.  Never heard of it?  That is because it lasted about as long as Michelle Bachmann's Presidential campaign.  Lots of noise, little in the way of substance and in a mere few short months it was exactly what we thought it would be, sound and fury signifying nothing.  As was the case with Yahoo and Mash, it was going to be oh so cool, like Facebook and Myspace (Myspace was still something back in those days) but better because your friends could come and "mash up" you page.  Yeah, that's not a selling point.  If it were, well then I might not be here.  In the meantime Y360 was left to crumble until Yahoo pulled the plug on it. 

So I went looking for a new place to blog, and after some looking around I found myself on a place called Multiply.  A nice place and very easy to use for those like myself who are not particularly tech savvy.  Posting and commenting was easy, plus they provided an easy import feature for all of the people escaping Y360 to bring their content over. 

And Multiply was good for quite a while, it is still good actually.  If left to my own devices I would probably still be there, but the company moved it's headquarters from Florida to Indonesia and began focusing their attentions not on bloggers and social content but in ecommerce, especially in Southeast Asia.  I have nothing against Southeast Asia, but the closest I get to it is when I stop at Hong Kong Express after work and order combo lo mien.  And now the word it that the social networking aspect of it will be gone on Dec 1st, and it will strictly be an ecommerce site, which is why I am here.

This page may end up being nothing, after two forays into blogging only to get shot down two times I might just say fuck it and forget about blogging altogether.  Or I may play with the bells and whistles here and see if I like it, and start to pull my old content over to this site, while at the same time adding new stuff as well.  I really haven't decided yet.  Part of that may be dependent upon how easy/hard it is to save (and republish) my old work, or I may just be content to start from scratch.  I don't know.  All I know is that for now I am here, which for the rest of you may mean that the end times for Blogger may soon be at hand.

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