Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Look Back

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I'm scheduled for a vasectomy on Saturday morning. Never done that before. I also went hunting for deer twice. Shot a doe on the first day. On the second day I learned more than I needed to know about the best way to dress a squirrel and stuff it with sausage for a SuperBowl halftime treat.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My blog sister, R, gave birth to bouncing baby B, with some help from H. We're not close per se, but I know she reads this from time to time and I couldn't be happier for their family. A good friend from high school, Bryan and his wife Missy adopted a little girl this year.

4. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A creative outlet. I left improv for the most part last year. Maybe I should finally do a radio pilot. Hey, there's a resolution!

5. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4. Big election. You might have remembered some of it.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The garage sale and the gazebo.

7. What was your biggest failure?
The gazebo. The gutter.

8. What was the best thing you bought?
Netflix has been pretty cool. The new lawnmower rocks.

9. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The wife, the kids.

10. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who continued to spread rumors as truth before, during and after the election. Especially after many were disproven. Both candidates. George W. Bush for continuing to block his people from answering questions on the record.

11. Where did most of your money go?
Home and Car Loans.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Thanksgiving. My kids being in the same school again.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier. Same weight. Richer.

A Look Back

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I'm scheduled for a vasectomy on Saturday morning. Never done that before. I also went hunting for deer twice. Shot a doe on the first day. On the second day I learned more than I needed to know about the best way to dress a squirrel and stuff it with sausage for a SuperBowl halftime treat.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My blog sister, R, gave birth to bouncing baby B, with some help from H. We're not close per se, but I know she reads this from time to time and I couldn't be happier for their family. A good friend from high school, Bryan and his wife Missy adopted a little girl this year.

4. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A creative outlet. I left improv for the most part last year. Maybe I should finally do a radio pilot. Hey, there's a resolution!

5. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4. Big election. You might have remembered some of it.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The garage sale and the gazebo.

7. What was your biggest failure?
The gazebo. The gutter.

8. What was the best thing you bought?
Netflix has been pretty cool. The new lawnmower rocks.

9. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The wife, the kids.

10. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who continued to spread rumors as truth before, during and after the election. Especially after many were disproven. Both candidates. George W. Bush for continuing to block his people from answering questions on the record.

11. Where did most of your money go?
Home and Car Loans.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Thanksgiving. My kids being in the same school again.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier. Same weight. Richer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Final Postdown

I'm putting the kibosh on Galoot's Hoot Page and all the other damned blogs I started. Time to focus on one blog and one blog only. If you'd like to know what's up with what's going down with me, you can find out at:

The Occasional Truth


Cut Your Hair

There is no delicate way of sharing this.

I was dropping a deuce this morning, when PGirl walked into the bathroom. She stood before me, hands cupped, holding several hanks of hair that resembled a Tribble that hadn't made it through the transporter. She said nothing.

"What is that?", I asked.

"PGirl Jr.'s hair.", she replied.

I looked at the hair again.

"Did it fall out?", I said, fearing that my princess was terminally ill.

"No. She cut it.", she said.

Hearing this, I wasn't exactly relieved as this could mean my daughter was deeply, psychologically scarred.

We're still not sure why the girl did this to herself. For the time being, I'll chalk it up to experimentation. I've had a few hair mishaps myself:
  1. In grade school, I cut some hair off of my bangs, just before class pictures.
  2. Out of 30 or so boys in my graduating class, 27 had some form of mullet going on for their senior pictures. I was in the majority group here.
  3. One Halloween in Florida, about 10 years ago, I was preparing to go to bed. In my jack-o-lantern were several tea candles. I decided to pour water in to extinguish them. Before the flame went away, it shot up through the top of the pumpkin shell and burned off some of the hair where a widow's peak would be. If I had a widow's peak.
  4. In the early nineties I grew my hair out longer than I'd ever before. When parted in the middle, it kind of looked like Bruce McCullough's wig in this video. The only folks, who had haircuts like this were 14 year old skatepunks and some lesbians.
  5. I shaved my ankles one year because getting them taped for basketball was getting to be a pain.
  6. I shaved my legs once in the shower, just because I could. I had a few nicks here and there, but it also uncovered scars I'd forgotten about.
  7. The summer before college saw me attempt my first moustache. It was a Chevron. This survived through an Olan Mills family portrait and my first I.D. card at Central Methodist College.
  8. The Chevron reappeared in 1994 during summer break, 1995 during summer stock and in 1996 during my first professional acting job - also in the summer!
  9. The Chevron's cousin - the Horseshoe, showed up for some acting gigs here in Jamestown, including Helen Keller's pop in the miracle worker and Buffalo Bill. Also appearing throughout adulthood were the Goatee and Moustache and the Chin Strip and Moustache.
  10. I cannot grow a full beard.
  11. My beard and moustache come out red.
  12. The soul patch or "flavor" have also grown on my face.
  13. Don't you dare laugh at this post.

Monday, June 09, 2008

"...a Cosby sweater!"

I inadvertently discovered part of my Father's Day gift when cleaning in the garage yesterday. I didn't unearth anything, rather I found that something was missing and likely being worked on. More on that next week.

If you are stumped on what to get Dad this Sunday, here is someting to consider:

Yes, Dr. William H. Cosby Junior, E.D.Dddddddd is auctioning off some of the iconic sweaters here.

Ya see.....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mate, Mates, Mistake, Lake

Part 3 - Flannery's Pub
PGirl and I ate here last August when we checked out Alamo Drafthouse's "A Christmas Story" screening. We convinced Social and Viking to go, walked across the street from the hotel and dined.

The food was Irish and Irish-American. PGirl had a grilled cheese sandwich (with tomatos and bacon) while I had a Turkey Pastrami. We both had potato cheese soup. Social ordered mussels. We all had a good mix of drinks. Social and I had Guiness blends. He went with a Black and Tan, I had a Black and Gold. PGirl had a shandy. I don't remember what Viking ate or drank. No elicit photo shoots from this leg of the excursion, I'm afraid.
Next: Part 4 - Girl Drink Drunk or How The Kids In The Hall Delivered The Goods, Mr. Social Saved A Dragonfly and Galoot Almost Followed A Somewhat Famous Musician Into A Starbucks Bathroom

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Me and My Mate And My Mates At The Mistake By The Lake

PGirl, The Viking, Mr. Social and I hopped in the man-i-van and headed out to Cleveland last Saturday. After a quick stop in Erie, PA for some cheap gas, chips and soda we made the short trek in under 3 hours.

1st Stop - Museum of Contemporary Art
Here, in a somewhat deserted parking lot, PreppyGirl hopped out to visit a fellow B.O.M. (Box Office Manager), Social and Viking admired some surrounding architecture, and I exchanged 17 paintings with a Chinese man. I kid you not. I was returning the paintings to our last gallery's resident, who is a professor in nearby Youngstown. We must have looked interesting.

2nd Stop - Marriott Residence Inn
We reserved a two bedroom, two bathroom suite downtown. Old hotel. Nice hotel. Old, nice hotel with an extra little room. Viking took advantage of it first by fluffing Mr. Social's pillow.

I used the room next in an ill-fated attempt to not use our toilets in order to "go green".

Finally, Mr. Social impressed us with his best reenactment of Marilyn Monroe in "Seven Year Itch".

For some unknown reason, PGirl declined to pose for a pic.

Coming Soon! 3rd Stop - Flannery's Pub

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Make Them Laugh

A tribute to some of Christopher Guest's creations at Media Del Arte.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dining Out With The Joneses

Top Chef and Indiana Jones reviewed at Media Del Arte.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beware The Blog!

I'll be putting my radio/tv/movie posts here "Media Del Arte"

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bad Sports

When it comes to sports radio, I mostly listen to ESPN radio and WGR550 out of Buffalo. ESPN has a mix of personalities on the air who seem to mostly favor the big three of MLB, NFL and NBA. WGR's hosts focus mostly on Sabres hockey and Buffalo Bills football. The emphasis at ESPN seems to be on the personality and the power of any given host to offer his/her opinion on what's going on in the sporting world and occassionally talk about pop culture. In Colin Cowherd's case, we find a host who makes a lot of analogies between sports and what a "normal" person might experience. He repeats a lot of his points within minutes of offering them (supposedly in case a new listener tunes in) and makes sure everyone knows he's a guy's guy. Whatever that means. Basically he treats his audience like two year olds. He does have one thing going for him over Jim Rome (the closest sports radio guy to him in terms of personality) and that is a lack of dead air. I applaud you for that Colin. Jim, do more thinking before the show, write it down and then perform. Just a tip.

The guys at WGR are mostly easy on the ears. They are informed fans, passionate about their local teams and do not toe the line when it comes to respecting a franchise or league. They truly air it out when broadcasting. I love them for it. Which brings me to this...

What the hell is going on with coverage of Spygate? This scandal centers around the New England Patriots videotaping opposing teams' defensive signals. Allegations came out at the beginning of the season with a former Patriot employee singing to the media. I'm not entirely sure of the timeline of who said what, but this drama popped up its head throughout the season, but had little effect on the Patriots. The folks at ESPN seemed to want to quash the story there and then, with various personalities saying, essentially, "If the tapes mattered so much, why are the Patriots dominating their games?".

As most of you know, the Pats almost went undefeated and had a stellar season. The Pats were fined and lost a first round draft pick. Walsh, the former Pats employee, spoke with the head of the NFL. Arlen Spector (sp?) demanded answers from the NFL. What bugs the guys at WGR (and me, the more I think about it), is that the Pats taped other teams from 2000 to the fall of 2007. Seems to me that 3 super bowl wins and several winning seasons might have benefited from having those tapes. My beloved Bills haven't had the greatest teams since I've moved to their region. However, I gotta believe that the Pats cheating ways may have had a little to do with the Bills losing to them 14 out of the last 15 matchups. But ESPN hosts don't seem to want to talk about this. Like the worst politicians and tv talk show hosts, they'd rather attack the whistleblower and Senator than the issue. One of my favorite ESPN guys, Tony Kornheiser intimated that both should sit down and shut up.

I'm not sure if the U.S. Government should get involved here, but I sure wish the NFL would do more. My gut feeling? More teams have been doing this and the Pats have taken the fall for the league. If that isn't the case, I think there is more to this story.

"I Like Pie."

Last night's season finale of "The Office" was pretty damn good in my humble opinion. All of the characters seemed to be back in their comfort zones and the extension to an hour didn't feel like it. I won't spoil for those who haven't watched yet, but Kevin's relatively small subplot practically had me on the floor. I'm glad the producers didn't try to tie up all of the loose ends, despite the writer's strike. Some of the plots this year felt forced, but this season-ender didn't.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Producers

Watching "Top Chef"'s judges table last night, I had the feeling the producers of the show were bending rules to get a rivalry going between two of the contestants. For the sake of those who haven't seen it yet, we'll call these people Chef A, Chef B, and Chef C. All three were on the chopping block of last night's challenge for food that wasn't up to snuff. Chef B, however, completely missed one required ingredient. In season one, the third finalist was eliminated simply for omitting a required ingredient, despite the quality of his dish. The producers set their own standards then and there.

On last night's show, the judges mentioned B's omission while dining, but failed to bring it up at the judge's table. A red flag went up in my mind. Chef C, instead, brought it up at the table. B called C out because of the help he/she(B) he gave to him/her(C) earlier in the competition. Seemed to me that the producers wanted B's omission to not be considered. This way, A would be cut and B and C would be left to create some drama. Of course, I can't prove any of this, but it seemed fishy to me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

IPod-adise Found

I returned home tonight with the kiddoes in tow, tried the numerology thing again and hit the garage for one more look-around. I first checked our newspaper bin, in case it had fallen in. Then I checked in some darker corners of the garage. Still nothing. I decided to come back in. On the garage stairs landing were my old running shoes which I wear for yard work. I checked inside each. Nothing. I then retraced my steps in putting the shoes on. I hadn't sat on the steps to do it the last time. No, I'd sat in the back of the minivan because I had unloaded our new mower from it moments before. I opened the back hatch and there it was on the floor of the vehicle. Bingo.

Oh Yenta, My Yenta...

I've updated my relatively new blog, The People I Know. Didn't know about it before? Now you do. Keep reading and you just might be the subject of a post...

Little Lost IPod

So, I can't find the IPod. I hadn't used it for most of the last week. However, I was considering using it while doing some yard work. I never did though. Last I recall, it was on a table near the door leading to the garage.

So far I've prayed to Saints Anthony and Jude. Then I tried numerology. Basically I thought of the IPod while randomly typing numbers into a database. The first results stated that the object was near water or where we keep our alcohol. I checked. Nothing in the kitchen. The next try came up with the object being where we kept our Christmas decorations. They're up in the attic and I had put some coats up there before doing the yard work. I checked. Nothing doing. Finally, the last try yielded a suggestion of a dirty place. I checked the garage. Nope.

Still looking...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Squeezing The Tube...

The DVR is loading up with a lot of TV programs. PGirl and I have been catching up after the kids are asleep, but we have a ways to go....

Top Chef is in fine form this season. Clever challenges, less character-driven drama and an emphasis on the food! Finally. Food is what it is all about. Two of the chefs are lesbian partners...and I don't care. One of the chefs is a spastic white homeslice...and I don't care. Another chef has a faux-hawk hairstyle similar to one of the lesbians...and I don't care. Food, food, food.

Dexter finished it's run on CBS. I'm looking forward to catching season 2 on DVD. Funny and creepy. I don't care how watered down it came from being unrated on Showtime. Character and story are what counts for me.

Little People Big World rocks my world. Patriarch Matt Roloff still drives me nuts with his half-assed (no pun) planning of his family's lives and Matriarch Amy continues to live in the fantasy world of stereotyping boys, girls and store gawkers. Despite character flaws, they love each other and their kids. Fascinating stuff.

Battlestar Galactica is piling up on me. I have to make some frakkin' time late at night to catch up.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Jesus Saves....And Collects The Whole Set

PGirl Jr. was helping me bring the dog in this morning from the back porch when GalootJr. came to us. He was carrying one of those 50 States Quarters commemorative coin collecting books. Basically a big, flat children's book sized mini-tome. He was holding it above his head singing, "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.". PGirlJr. grabbed the book away from him and began to sing, "Money. Money. Money. Money." Their social commentary astounds me at times.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kids In The Hall....Again

PGirl arranged the tickets for a Kids In The Hall tour stop in Cleveland on May 31. I'm really jazzed. I've heard that all of the sketches will be new ones. One of the old ones I'd love to see is this little beauty...

If I turn out like this guy, I hope my kids let me live in their homes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Disney Meets The Kettle

So...Miley Cyrus and Disney aren't so crazy about a photo shoot she did with Vanity Fair magazine. From Disney, "Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines,"

That is unfortunate.

Most unfortunate.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

KY - No jelly.

The Galoots have returned from a 5 day trip to my old Kentucky home. Niece, M.I.A. was Christened on Saturday morning. Welcome to the church kiddo. The vacation was very relaxing - even the drive down and back. A few observations:
  • Things change. Two routes I revisited from my youth are heavily developed. Lots of subdivisions and the such.
  • No matter how built-up it has become, I always like driving through Cincinnati.
  • Skyline Chili makes for a tasty meal.
  • Yuengling beer travels well.
  • I miss living near some larger retails stores. While away I visited both Borders and Barnes & Noble.
  • Chuck E. Cheese abandoned the audience that built it. Kind of like MTV. What's next? Nickelodeon? Am I being childish?
  • People who hold cell phones to their ears while driving really need to get fined. Heavily. I had two of these drivers tailgate me and another cut me off in a span of a couple of hours.
  • My kids are growing up fast.
  • Babies are damned cute (inluding M.I.A. and high school friend Bryan With A "Y"'s daughter, Isabella.
  • Accountants rawk! Thanks for drinks and apps Debbie!
  • Finally, my folks are very hospitable. Big ups to the Colonel and Liz!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Train In Vain

After a fun-filled morning of forgetting my train ticket, playing “Catch Me If You Can” with PGirl and an unremarkable visit to the Buffalo Exchange Street Amtrak station, I am finally on my way to Albany for a conference with my peers and some teaching artists. For those of you not in the know, my position – in some circles – is a Generalist. An outsider might break this down to being a gallery curator, education director, editor and services liason. I’ll tell you straight up that I do a lot of shit and get paid dirt. But I do love this job…

I decided to take the train after realizing that mileage reimbursement would cost more than paying a business class fare on the Empire line. The Organ Grinder and Saint Eileen took the same train to Long Island last summer (Mom recommended the Angus burger, which I have yet to try.) I’m in the last compartment behind the food car and so far, it ain’t too bad. This is better than the Greyhound (fewer stops, scabs, coughs and smells) and coach class on an airline (people reclining their seat into my knees – that’s my space too asshole!).

As of 6:15pm, I have:

• Purge unnecessary emails from my computer.
• Set up more email to send later. I pray that the hotel as actual, free internet service as promised.
• Edited half of a list-serve email.
• Almost completed a New York Times crossword puzzle.
• Scored some free business-class water and juice after a coach-classer was turned away from the food car for trying to make a purchase in stocking-feet.
• Listened to “On The Media”, “Only A Game”, “The Bryant Park Project”, “The Thundering Herd” and some tunes on the IPod.
• Talked to Saint Eileen (heading back from Cincy with The Organ Grinder), PGirl, The Viking Slacker and a board member
• Played some games on the IPod and my phone.
• Watched over the shoulder of another business-classer as he watched an eclectic mix of video on his ITunes including, “Nanny and the Professor”, Fleischer’s “Popeye”, an old sketch show with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman (the title escapes me) and “The Whitest Kids U Know”.

All in all, I can’t complain.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another Day. Another Blog.

I'm going to try and add to this new, past-perusing blog whenever I can't think of anything clever to write here.

Without further ado, I present....

People I Know

Thursday, Thursday

An old fallback:

Thirteen Things I Did Or Were Done To Me Today
  1. Saw a puppet show that was partially funded by a grant I administer.
  2. Showed my puppet street cred by dropping some puppet-speak (Paul Zaloom, "The Lion King") with the puppeteers. (I did the puppet thing about ten years ago. A live show, a street show and a public access show).
  3. Walked the kids home from school.
  4. Synced the IPod with some public radio programs. "All Songs Considered" is the bomb. I'm an effin' NPR geek.
  5. Was informed that my office's emails have been blacklisted by alltel, verizon, comcast and roadrunner subscribers.
  6. Attempted to fix things by putting on my "internet technology" hat.
  7. Cooked some burgers that PGirl picked up from a swanky little grocery.
  8. Microwaved zucchini, grated cheese, sour cream, flour and water as a side.
  9. Almost sent my dog over the edge by putting a piece of hamburger inside of a chew toy.
  10. Checked up on my Yahoo, fantasy baseball team, "Spitzer's 9".
  11. Geeked out on a Stephen Malkmus and the Jick's concert on the IPod.
  12. Red a piece about The New Kids On The Block reunion.
  13. Drooled over new CD releases that showed up at my office's radio station. Including R.E.M. and The Black Keys.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Madness: Part 1.2

The kiddoes have their own ways of dealing with the madness.

The Madness: Part 1

The most memorable opening days of March Madness occurred about 14 years ago. Due to an accident I had, falling into my apartment's stair well (long story), I was laid up for a long weekend with contusions. On the first day of the injury, I was to remain awake in order to ward off any possible concussion after-effects. Luckily, this fell on the opening of the national championship tournament. To date, this was the only time I've ever seen all of the televised games of the opening round.

You know you're a tournament junkie when the manager of your favorite watering hole has your father-in-law call you 30 minutes before tip-off to ensure you've gotten your bracket in.

My Wine Cellar Bracket:

I'm also 12 for 16 for Thursday's games in the bracket above. For clarification, my wins are highlighted, my losses are stricken through with the actual winners circled. The strike-throughs in the sweet 16 and beyond are last minute changes I made before submitting the bracket. I'm two games better in my Yahoo Bracket.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Madness

I'll be submitting one of my brackets at the Wine Cellar and a second bracket on Yahoo. There is no "Sheet of Integrity" as both have different outcomes. I figure I can double my chances. What the heck.

On a related note, Christian Laettner just admitted on the Dan Patrick Show that he'd likely pee in a bottle, instead of stopping at a gas station if he had to drive through the state of Kentucky. He was joking, of course, but there are still probably folks around who wouldn't help him if his car broke down. I'll admit that his shot capped off the greatest game in NCAA tournament history. Still, he acted like a punk-ass-bitch when he stomped on the chest of one of Kentucky's players in that game.

Since the "shot heard 'round the world" is played ad-nauseum at this time of the year, I'll leave you with a reenactment:

Here's a bit of video from the game. A moment I'd forgotten about. Watch the fine acting by Duke's player in this tangle:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Patty's Pot On All Y'all

The Galoots have survived yet another jam-packed weekend. I don't think we've ever been this active between January and April since moving to Western New York. A recap:

Friday saw the kiddoes and I heading up to PGirl's place of work. The three of them went to a youth series show called "The Gizmo Guys" while I joined The Unexpected Guests for Improvathon 2008 - basically 5 improv troupes performing a set each then joining for a "mixer" at the end of the night. Milton F. Hunter zinged a few audience members in "Good, Bad, Worse Advice" while Mr. Social poignantly became a punching/kicking bag, playing our disgraced governor in "Naive Replay". Jane brought the house down with a revelation of two sets of mommy parts in the final lyrics of "Way Off Broadway". A good time was had by all.

Saturday was mostly spent preparing for our St. Patrick's Day get-together, with some detours to swim class and ballet class. Galoot Jr. is taking to the pool like a fish out of H20. It was parent observation day at the ballet and PGirlJr. has some serious dancing chops. I couldn't be prouder. The St. Patrick's Day feast was bigger than we'd originally thought. Almost 30 folks showed up between 5:30 and 11:30pm. We went through:
  • 11 pounds of corned beef brisket
  • 2 shepherd's pie casseroles
  • 1 pot of Guiness stew
Much Guinness was consumed as well as several "Dirty Girl Scouts", which are mixed drinks, not filthy female troop members. Only one dart game was played in the back room, but we made it more fun by keeping score on PGirlJr.'s pink Magnadoodle.

Sunday was catch up day. We slowly cleaned around the house after a Sunday school presentation of the stations of the cross. PGirl can write more about that production. Selection Sunday saw few surprises. Looks like Kentucky will play a 3 seed on Thursday. Also, I've begun watching reruns of Showtime's "Dexter" on CBS. Funny, funky, scary show. I know some people are miffed that some of the gore and language have been cut or dubbed for network TV, but I'd imagine those same folks would admit it is character and story that bring them back. I'm just saying...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On This Day In History

Preppy Girl has a fairly accurate account of what went down between us that set up our first date 10 years ago.

I can tell you we've also been through:
  • One presidential impeachment.
  • One horrific attack on New York City.
  • Elian Gonzalez's brief stay in the United States.
  • Encounters with Richard Simmons and Scut Farkas.
  • About one thousand arguments (the last one was about answering telephones).
  • A decade long journey to get to a fairly comfortable place in our life together.
On March 12, 1998, PGirl came down to the production office where we worked to meet up with me for our date. In tow, was our future neighbor Sylvia (I thought she'd been brought along as insurance of some sort) who soon excused herself. I was probably wearing blue jeans and an oxford shirt. She was wearing a short, black skirt and a multi-paneled, short sleeved sweater (the pattern reminded me of the Partridge Family bus, and she had one with blue and another in green).

We walked to our destination, Dicey Riley's, an honest to goodness Irish pub in Fort Lauderdale. We drank, we smoked and we talked for a few hours. We shared divorce stories from our families and discovered that her father and my stepfather had grown up twenty miles from each other. I'd even traveled within miles of her hometown when I was a teen (we might have seen one another at the mall).

Two long years had passed since my last serious relationship had ended and my bastard period went into effect. Was I looking for the one? Sure. But there was no pressure with PGirl (from her or myself). Things just went easy from the first date. We kissed in the parking lot and parted ways. Within a few days we went from a first drink, to lap-sitting on the second date to meeting my future mother-in-law by date 3 (on St. Patrick's Day). By December we were shacking up and by the following August, we were engaged. We moved fast, but it was the right kind of speed. It was right.

It still is.

You make me a better person every day.


The Kids In The Hall will be touring for a third time this decade beginning in April. I'm hoping to catch their performance in Cleveland on May 31 with the wife (if St. Eileen is reading this, please know that I'll be on my knees, begging you and the Organ Grinder to watch the kids for the evening!)

You don't have to be familiar with their work to enjoy these guys. Apparently, the sketches will be all new, but feature some recurring characters from their television show. If you haven't had the pleasure, below are links to my favorite KITH bits:

Chicken Lady At A Strip Club

Buddy Cole Coaches Softball

Two Clearly Insane Sisters

King of Empty Promises

Secretaries Talking About The New Temp

The Dream

Spitzer Take

Our beloved, bulldog of a governor - the guy who told record companies that payola wasn't going to fly any more - may be leaving office. Elliott Spitzer seems to have illegally gotten some nookie to cross state lines for his pleasure. Maybe he and the young lady just got naked and talked. Whatever happened was bad enough for the dude to apologize for it publicly and hunker down with his closest advisors in NYC to figure out what to do next.

My guess is he'll resign. Not because of some partisan threat of impeachment (the 48 hour demand to step down is laughable posturing). No, I believe he'll resign because he likely committed one of the very crimes he built his career on prosecuting. If he gets boneheaded, and refuses to resign, then impeach the doofus.

The guy clearly messed up royally and should pay for it. I hope Spitzer will take the high road and do this because it is the right thing to do. I can't imagine that he'll do it the "Washington Way" and change the rules so he can legally fuck people.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Snow Day Like Today

The nasty snow that walloped Ohio hit us with its eastern edge from Friday through early this morning, leaving almost a foot of the white stuff. We lucked out, as PGirlJr’s ballet and religious education classes were cancelled. The extra time was used to clean the floors and kitchen (in preparation for our St. Patrick’s party next weekend), do laundry, watch television and eat off-schedule. As the first dusk of daylight savings time approached, we headed out to a park on the south side to take the kids sledding.

PGirl and I are awful parents, because this is the first time we’ve taken the kids for some honest-to-goodness, hill-shredding sledding. Some things we learned today:

  1. There is no simpler way to glide down a finely packed hill than on a molded piece of plastic. We took the Hudsucker route and chose roundly (“You know, for kids!”).
  2. My son has no fear. He proved this as he not only climbed up some park steps with his disc in tow, but also promptly turned around at the top and sledded down them.
  3. The more weight you have, the longer you’ll travel. We Galoots performed two tandem runs by linking to each other through a tangle of limbs and the grabbed edges of our cheap plastic vehicles. We must have looked like one of those Japanese cartoon teams, whose members operate individual vehicles which combine to form bigger vehicles or robot warriors.
  4. Texas Hots taste real good after sledding.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Marathon Man

The past week was a lot busier than it initially seemed. At work, I was sprinting to finish an online newsletter by Friday's end. Additionally, I spent a few hours, here and there, helping to set up for the ballet's fundraising ball. I accomplished all I set out to do, but the work is catching up to me. First of all, my eyes feel like they are bugging out of my head. Daddy needs some sleep. Secondly, I fell on some stairs at the ball venue. I was sore at first, but now I'm aching in my back a bit.

The ball was a modest success, raising over $3,000 for the ballet in a live and silent auction. PGirl and I were dressed up in formal duds. She wore a short, black cocktail dress with silver embroidery. I wore a tuxedo I bought at Value City a few weeks ago. Luckily, most of it was a good fit, though I had to have the jacket taken in. A Sicilian tailor on the south side of town did a bang-up job on it!

Since hitting the hay at 2 in the morning, I've been enjoying two marathons that have been playing on the satellite.
  • "Jackass 24 Hour Takeover" - This was live last weekend and aired again on MTV2 for the past day. I love "Jackass". It is a goofy damn delight. Always nice to see other people screw around and have fun.
  • "Little People, Big World" - I've never followed this one religously, but usually sit down to watch it. I don't know what draws me to it, but I suppose it might be because the show doesn't stress me out. PGirlJr. likes it too. The father, Mark Roloff, drives me nuts because he seems to push so much on his family. But he's a good guy. At least the kids are learning to be resourceful.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blog Share

As part of today's Blog Share, I'm hosting an anonymous poster. Some friends who are also hosting are Julia and Tracy. Thanks to R for the opportunity.

Letters to the men in my life:

Dear B,
I do not know what to say to you. I tried so hard to understand you but I never did. I still don't.

Dear __,
Why? Why? Why? That question has been my frequent companion for the past 22 years. Why did you pick me? Why did you prey on me? Could you see how vulnerable I was? Why did you rape me that night? Did you know that your choice would haunt me for the remainder of my days? Did you know it would have some effect on every future relationship I entered into? Did you know 22 years later I would still feel the emotional scars almost as freshly as I did that night because I see the physical scars every day in my mirror? Did you know how many lives your actions would change in that instant? Would knowing have made a difference? Would you have made a different choice that night? Do you ever think about what you did? Does it haunt you too? Why?

Dear D,
You told me you tried. You said you tried really hard but could not be the person I needed you to be. I needed you to be honest with me. I needed you to be my friend and not my worst enemy. Sometimes I only needed you to hold my hand and make me believe things were okay. I didn't ask you for the impossible, or at least I didn't think I did. I don't understand exactly what went wrong but it did go horribly wrong somewhere along the way. Our relationship made me overwhelmingly depressed. Now I know that the depression was a sign that my life needed to change. You wore me out emotionally. I had nothing left to give you. I had given up so much. I lost myself. I hope I didn't cause you as much pain as you caused me. I do want good things for you.

Dear G,
Thank you. You helped me heal and you probably don't know that. You probably don't understand how deeply damaged I was when we first met in a bar that night. In fact, there could not have been a more perfect man in the world than who you were when you approached me on that fateful evening. I had a flawed opinion of myself and you helped change that. The friendship that has blossomed between us is a beautiful thing. Thank you.

Dear M,
I learned a lot from you. I learned of a few new things I am unwilling to live with in a relationship. I learned how cruel one human can be to another. The most important thing I learned was that I am capable of standing up for myself. I do have a backbone. I can be the one who chooses to walk away. The fear of walking away was much worse than the actual walking was. You reminded me of that and I thank you.

Dear L,
I had never met a man who held me in such high esteem before you came into my life. But you are too serious all of the time. The timing was not right for us. That's what you told me when you ended things anyway. You hurt me when you did that but I know you were going through some things and it was best that we break it off. I'm glad we still talk occasionally. I hope you find someone deserving of your kindness, your gentleness, and your wonderful heart. You are a good, good man. When we have talked, you have said that you are comparing other women to me and have not met anyone you want to be with. Please don't. You did not think I was perfect for you when we were dating. If you did, we might still be together. I did get hurt by my relationship with you, but I'm still happy to know you are sharing this world with me. I smile when I think about you. Your ex-wife was foolish to treat you the way she did. She lost out on a good man.

Dear E,
Where did you come from? You are one of a kind, yet I wish all of the women I know could experience love with a man like you. After all of this time, I still get butterflies in the pit of my gut everytime I look at you and I look forward to many more years together. Thank you for your acceptance of me. I am flawed in many ways and you love me anyway. I feel fearless with you. I am unafraid of love for once. I wish you could get inside my head and know what it feels like for me to be with you. It feels pretty great. I think it is possible that God put all of those other creeps in my life so that I would realize a really good thing. I love you E.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Busy "B"'s

It has been a somewhat hectic week in the west side of Jamestown. To date:

  • The right pedal arm on our elliptical machine began to tear at a welding seam. Same thing happened last year with the left arm. Out of warranty with Sears and Nordictrak. No extended warranty. Nordictrak won't replace the damn thing even though there is clearly a defect. Screw you Nordictrak. Way to stand by your product.
  • I hooked up my travel plans for a conference in Albany this April. For the price of mileage reimbursement (and a boring-ass six hour drive in my own vehicle), I'll be heading there in business class on a train. So much sweeter...
  • PGirlJr. had some fun with Chinese New Year in her classroom. Both of the kids were trying to eat applesauce with chopsticks this morning.
  • In related food news, GalootJr. "delivered" baby pieces of roast beef and turkey from his sandwich at lunch time.
  • The family rejoined the YMCA (I was an employee almost 4 years ago) to work out on someone else's elliptical machines. Kids will start swimming lessons next weekend.
  • The last 50 seconds of a close Kentucky/Arkansas basketball game blacked out (looked like a glitch), only to be replaced with the start of a St. John's/Duke game. I sincerely hope this was coincidence, because the last thing a Kentucky fan wants to see is Dook instead of their own true blue. WTF CBS?

Friday, February 22, 2008

"I'm Going Where....

...there's No Depression". It was the title of a Carter Family song. Uncle Tupelo, covered that song and appropriated the title for their first album. A couple of music writers from Seattle took it a step further and used it as the name of their magazine. Sadly, after covering alternative-country, cow-punk, Americana, roots-rock and basically all the music that Nashville has the balls to not consider "country" music for 15 years, the print version of "No Depression" is ending.

I've been a fan of these musical genres since 1991 when I heard Uncle Tupelo for the first time. After the group split in 1994, I was able to follow their type of music by reading what little coverage Rolling Stone gave it through groups like The Jayhawks, Freedy Johnston and UT's spinoffs, Son Volt and Wilco. Then, in 1997, I saw a band called Whiskeytown on the cover of a magazine I'd never seen before. Soon, I was picking up issues every other month at various bookstores, eventually becoming a subscriber.

No Depression introduced me to the wonders of Neko Case, informed me that Jimmie Dale Gilmore was part of a band before going solo called The Flatlanders, gave me some background on bands in my collection, including The Texas Tornados and The Flying Burrito Brothers. If you ever wanted to know more about Drive By Truckers, Iron and Wine, Alejandro Escovedo and Little Miss Cornshucks, No Depression was the magazine for you.

I heard Alden and Blackstock, the editors, on NPR last night. Sadly, it doesn't seem that they have much interest in keeping the articles going online. They're afraid that web-reader attention spans won't last past one page. I'm afraid they'd probably be right about that assumption. But I'd still read it all....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Expected Guest

I'm proud to announce that my first guest-post has made it to the blog of my dear Little Theater crony and native Oklahoman, Tracy at Tracy Outloud.

Hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane...

Monday, February 18, 2008

What weekend?

The Galoot/PGirl family fully intended to clean around the house this weekend. With only a ballet class scheduled, we were set to go Mr. Clean on our house's ass. What a difference two days will make. Not only did we only manage to do laundry and keep the kitchen and living room straight, we also escaped the property for several hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Not that Friday wasn't cool. After drinks at Mojo's and the Wine Cellar and a vegetable pizza at SubZone, PGirl accompanied me to the cinema to see "Definitely, Maybe", which was far better than I had anticipated. We saw a funny trailer for a Tina Fey movie too...

After PGirl Jr's ballet class on Saturday, we hiked out to Erie, PA (about 40 miles away) to hit the east side Value City. Seems that the ballet's fundraising dinner in March is a black tie affair (I'm a recent board member and will emcee a post-meal auction). So, I figured I'd pick up a tux for a good price. Little did we know that Value Citys all over are closing shop and selling everything. We wound up getting a tux, a suit, two dresses (one each for our ladies), shoes for PGirl, two ties, a tux shirt, a toy each for the kids and a bunch of other shit you wind up buying when a store is closing. Seriously. I bought four bottles of Cumin. Yup. Cumin.

We skipped mass yesterday (PGirl didn't have Sunday school), lounged a bit around the house, then headed over to a friend's house for chili, adult conversation and a mess of kids. Joining PGirlJr. and GalootJr. were a 5 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, a 3 year old boy, a 2 year old girl and a nearly year old boy. The kids went wild in a good way. No one seemed to get hurt and the girls and boys didn't fight. It was fun seeing the childless adults who might be closer to having kids watch the proceedings with a mixture of humor and terror. Fun was had by all. And my kids (at 9:30 a.m. as I type this) are still in bed after a hard day of play.

Friday, February 15, 2008


While watching "Lost" last night, I caught a promo for ABC's teleplay of "Raisin In The Sun". I love this play. I dug reading it in high school. I dug watching the Sidney Poitier/Ruby Dee starring film of it. I dug reading it with alternative education kids as a long term sub and watching the same movie with them 18 years after my first experience. I even dug the "Strangers With Candy" episode where all the speaking roles are filled with white kids while the black kids are all cast as trees in the background.

What I can't dig is a major bit of casting for this latest version. Sean Combs in the lead. This is a travesty in my opinion. I realize that the recent Broadway cast was transferred over to the new version and he was part of it, but I didn't like his casting then and I don't now. I haven't seen the show with Combs. My problem then and now is there are loads of actors struggling to make it that could have done wonders with the part. For the television version, why not Terrence Howard or Mekhi Pfifer? You know, actors? Combs tarnishes everything he touches. Even the commercial mentioned him as an executive producer. Why not a mention of Lorraine Hansbury?

This casting is the latest in irksome choices on the parts of broadcasters who choose gimmicks over substance. The recent "Grease" competition show and MTV's "Made" are guilty here. Both provide funding for coaches and instructors to elevate the participants to new heights, which is a smack in the face to people who take the long road, training hard for their craft. Disgusting.

The only good I could imagine coming of this is a new generation of kids will be able to experience the play for the first time. I can live with that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


As a public radio fan, I try to catch as much programming as my work and family will allow. Mostly this entails listening to "Morning Edition" in the shower or "All Things Considered" during the last hour of work. On the weekends I try to listen to "Car Talk", "Wait, Wait" and "This American Life" on Buffalo's NPR hub, WBFO. "Fresh Air" and "On The Media" are also on my radar.

All of these programs are produced at different affiliates and syndicated around the country, leaving local stations to schedule them as they wish. Since these syndicated programs only fill up to 12 hours a day sometimes, the locals have to subsidize this with their own shows. This is where I usually tune out. WBFO fills up most of its own slots with jazz music, which I'm okay with. It is usually a good selection with minimal DJ commentary. On the weekends, the station fills in with blues shows which I'm not crazy about. Most of the artists seem to be middle aged guys who make bland, can't tell them apart type of blues music. South Florida was loaded with these acts. Wasn't crazy about them then, and certainly not now. (Though the Dillengers from Palm Beach County were pretty damn fun. And they played original tunes from time to time.)

What bugs me about WBFO (and the local NPR affiliates in South Florida) was that these stations were run from colleges and universities but seemed to offer little if no programming input from the students. I realize that most subscribers who keep these stations afloat probably don't listen to the Pixies or Spoon, but I'd imagine that there are some interns at these stations that have something to offer. I was spoiled in Columbia, Missouri by a local affiliate that played jazz, blues, alt-country, college and classical.

WBFO gets to me when they pre-empt "Fresh Air" with their "Meet The Author" series, a show modeled after...."Fresh Air". I don't mind that they produce the show. I mind that they get you used to a program at a certain time and then give you something else. It is shrewd marketing, but it nags the shit out of me. Turns me off immediately. WBFO's listener commentaries find me tuning out as well. The authors of these seem to be trying to nail down the way NPR commentators talk as opposted to, you know, writing pieces with substance. Gag me with a Baxter Black clone.

Lately, WBFO has turned a new leaf. They're offering "Buffalo Avenues" on Friday nights at 8pm. The show captures live performances and interviews with alternative and rap groups from the region. No pretense. No bullshit. It is what it is. And I like it. They've also begun airing a second stream of music on HD radio and online. It seems to be modeled after XPN in Philadelphia (home of "World Cafe") and even borrows live performances from that station.

In another note, they've begun playing "This American Life" four times over Saturday and Sunday. Not a bad start, though they shouldn't brag too much about being the only station in the country to play the program this much. "TAL" has over 10 years of episodes to play, but WBFO has chosen to repeat the same episoded over consecutive weekends. I known they're trying to hit as many listeners as they can, but they should know that a show this popular will have fans that will listen to four different episodes in a weekend.

I'll give them a thumb up for trying new things, and maybe even a hand in pulling their head out of their keister a little further...

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Future of Tomorrow

I must be an internet addict because I continue to be astounded by how people new to the technology handle it.

An internet hoax made it to Jamestown's local music forum yesterday. Turns out when a volunteer fireman (disguised as a policeman in an unmarked car) turns on the light on top of his Honda Civic to pull you over and rape you, a quick call to #77 won't necessarily put you in touch with a police dispatcher.

Here's another tip. If you do join discussions on these amazing things called "forums", someone might not necessarily share your opinion on the matter at hand. A local real-life soap opera is sputtering along here in Lucy's hometown. When I tried to chime in, my ass was handed to me.
I used my real name on this one. And if you don't know it already, you can find another man who borrowed it famously right here.

Knowing the internet doesn't exempt you from wasting yours and other people's time with it. Loads of people seem to upload the same video clip to YouTube ad-nauseum. A simple Google check would tell you that many folks have already discovered a clip and have shared it with the world. Some young filmmakers have even recut films with edits they feel were better than the original.

I'm not above this either. I recently discovered live chats in Scrabulous and Gmail. Who knew?

Some pioneers of this genre (pre-interweb) are my Aunt Janet who told me a Carol Channing story once removed from the source. And my 8th grade music teacher who once told me an encounter her friend had with Eddie Murphy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Damn It All!

A head cold has been disrupting my sleep as well as these items:

  • A large standard poodle named Asa who lives with us, has recently discovered the joys of toilet water and kept nosing PGirl and myself a few nights ago.
  • A free credit report commercial whose jingle will not go away.

Something that has gotten into my head that I don't mind is a clip from "Tim and Eric's Awesome Show - Great Job!" on Adult Swim. If you view these videos, I cannot be blamed for their effects.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Day 7: We're Close To Heaven

Well, we made it. PGirl just opened the garage door and will soon be with us again. This morning started out with a blessing: at 5:40 a.m. I got an automated phone call from the school superintendant informing me of a snow day. Yeah, I had a lot to do at work, but it wasn't anything that couldn't be rescheduled. My 4 day work week turned into a two day work week and I couldn't have had a better time with my kids....

Day 6: Pick Up Sticks

Today was a wash at work. I managed to tackle almost none of what I'd hoped to as other work issues arose. Took the kiddoes to the Golden Arches for dinner and managed to finish the February newsletter while they played in Playland. We hit the hay early and woke up to....

Day 5: We're Still Alive

The boy was sick today, so I stayed home with him. Poor guy was snotty, stuffed up and coughing like mad. He slept for most of the morning and we had some homemade chicken soup for lunch. I managed to get some housework and work-work accomplished too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 4 - But There's So Much More

But not too much. The kids were back in school on Tuesday (Monday was a conference day). They did really well with their morning routine and pick-up wasn't a hassle. The boy started to come down with something, evident by his crashing on the couch in his coat, hat and mittens. He had some crackers and juice for dinner, but nothing else. Around 12:30 in the morning, he'd wet his bed and had to change. Poor guy.

Day 3 - It's Just You and Me

And we did next to nothing. The kids had a quiet bath, we played outside in the snow. Everyone helped out with the chores. Oh yeah, PGirlJr. hit GalootJr. on his wiener because he was "hiding a turtle in there". Turns out the boy stuffed one of her animal toys down his pants, like a kid hiding their bag of pot when mom comes a knockin'. That's my boy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day Two: There's So Much We Can Do

After I finished the last post, I headed upstairs to put the kids and myself to bed. I was met there by PGirlJr. wearing a bikini and GalootJr. wearing a pair of boxer shorts that resembled his swim trunks. They invited me upstairs to hang out in their "hot tub". In our house, this could mean one of three things:
  1. A gaggle of Barbie dolls lounging around the bathroom sinking with more water on the floor than in the sink.
  2. A bathtub full of hot water which the kids drew themselves. They haven't done this to us yet, but it is probably inevitable and would amount to more water on the floor and an angry response from me.
  3. An unimaginable scenario that would certainly chill me to the bone.
Thankfully, they produced a fourth option which was quite cute actually. On the bed that belongs to PGirl and myself, the kids had constructed pillows and the comforter in a small wall encircling a blue blanket meant to be the water. Damned adorable it was! We played for a bit, then watched "The Naked Brothers Band" which is a kid show that isn't as bad as you might think but not as good as it should be.

On Sunday, we slept in, ate some breakfast and dropped the girl off at Sunday school. The boy and I picked up a few groceries, returned to get the girl and had some lunch at home. At 1pm we headed to my offices because the current artist in the gallery had to take down her show. Luckily for us, she had a group mandala project as part of the exhibit, so the kids got to make a bit of art.

Napping, dinner and dessert filled the rest of the day - a good one.

P.S. If you're jonesing for a TV show with the chops of "My So Called Life", you should see "Friday Night Lights". I'm as serious as a heart attack here.

P.S.S. Some very recent dialogue:

Girl: GalootJr.'s in my room!
Me: GalootJr. get out of her room!
Sound of footsteps descending stairs.
Boy: Ow! My wiener!

more to come...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day One - We Can Have Lots of Fun

So far, so good. I crawled out of bed about 30 minutes after PGirl left to do some work on the newsletter and to work out on the elliptical. GalootJr. sulked on the couch for awhile, but soon made peace with his mother's business trip.

We did some breakfast, some dishes and some laundry, but mostly the kiddoes played. PGirlJr. made it to ballet class in time for one of the mothers to help her out with her bunhead. The trip to Chautauqua Comics was fun, and each of the kids picked out something to buy (Spiderman lunch box for the boy and Mickey Mouse comic book for the girl).

We attempted a nap in the late afternoon, and ate some dinner before having birthday cake. Both kids finished their veggies with a mix of regret, reluctance and nose-pinching. Ultimately they made it! A few phone calls to PGirl and Mr. Social (his birthday today) and now we're winding down for the evening. We'll live to see another morning.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I turned thirty six today. It says so on Myspace so it must be true. I asked PGirl to tell me what 36 is like and she scowled at me. She can't be too mad at me because I've received some pretty cool gifts today. They include:

  • Pair of black trousers from Old Navy courtesy of PGirl. I'm a big fan of Old Navy khaki's with flat fronts. I've pretty much worn out my two brownish pairs and a dark gray pair as well, so these are a nice addition to the wardrobe. Also, three long-sleeve tees.
  • Gift card to Chautauqua Comics from the kids. I'll take the kids there and let them pick up a couple from the $1.oo bins. I'll get the latest issue of "Angel - After The Fall". Yeah, not only am I a Joss Whedon geek, I'm also a bit of a comic book geek. Now Whedon is doing comics and my head is exploding.
  • Some cash from the Silver Fox which we used toward a sushi dinner and the babysitter.
  • Black sweater with collar and zipper from the Kentucky Colonel and Miss Elizabeth (got it at Christmas, but it's still cool.)
  • Don't know what I'm getting from Saint Eileen and the Organ Grinder, but I'll probably get it when they come back in April.
Finally, I wrangled sort of a free gift for myself that I'll share with the community. Within a week or so the radio station in my office will begin airing Harry Shearer's satirical radio program, "Le Show". As a preemptive move, I emailed Mr. Shearer last week to guage his interest in doing a phone interview with me for the radio version of "Arts On Fire". He wrote back, "sure" and I'm hoping to set something up this week. Once it is in the can, I'll post a link to it. If you don't know the man or his work, click here and read all about him.

Finally, finally. PGirl is heading out to the Windy City for some work and play. So, I get the kiddoes all to myself this week. I think I'll challenge myself to post each day about this potentially terrifying wonderful experience.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Moment Before....

Weather-permitting, I will be attending a production of "Our Town" at a prep school I used to teach at. Say what you will about the play, but it is one of my favorites. During my last year at graduate school, I played Dr. Gibbs on the mainstage - a role which my thesis would eventually be based on. I'm jazzed to see these kids do this show. Some of my former students are in it and cast perfectly (in my opinion).

When I did the show in grad school, I employed an acting technique that my teacher called the "moment before". Basically, you look at the play and figure out what your character was doing just before entering a scene. Sometimes it is stated in the dialogue, but often it is up to you or the audience to decide. In "Our Town", the first time we see Dr. Gibbs, he is returning home from deliviring twins in the Polish part of town. When I did the show, I'd go out into a common area outside the arts complex and walk out to one building one hundred yards away, then back and try to time it so I'd walk onstage precisely at the right time. Along the way I'd try to think about what the character would be pondering.

In the early days of Steppenwolf (out of Chicago), Gary Sinise and his castmates would run up on a hill behind their performance space (a church I believe), getting wound up and then run onto the stage for their cues. I think the characters were violent thugs in the play "Indian Wants The Bronx".

In 1997, one actor I worked with bested us all with his "moment before". I was playing Falstaff in "Merry Wives of Windsor" and running lights for "Romeo and Juliet" on alternate nights at Florida Playwright's Theater run by the generous Angela and Paul Thomas. These two gave me an acting opportunity I sorely needed, a couch to sleep on and occasional grunt work that kept food on the table. I love and miss you both! They also put together an eclectic cast for the Shakespeare repertory.

In R&J, the actor playing Romeo would come onto stage in his impending suicide scene, racked with grief. He was good. Tears were always hard for me to conjure up and I didn't like delving into "sense memory" to find them. Over the run of the show, some of the other actors noticed that Romeo would sit in a dark corner backstage and watch something on a video camera while listening to something else on headphones - just before he entered his emotional scene. Whatever he was experiencing would set him to tears. Finally, one of the cast picked up the equipment when Romeo was onstage to find out what was up. When he placed the headphones on, he heard Bonnie Tyler's version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Then he pushed play on the camera. Legend has it, that the video was footage of dogs and cats being euthanised at animal shelters. I kid you not. I shudder to think of it even now, but damn! The dude rocked the audience every night.

Monday, January 21, 2008


So, for the first time in many months, I watched a lot of televison this past weekend. Lately, I haven't as much on weekend afternoons, but I felt compelled on these past couple of snowy days. I appreciate good drama, science fiction and a handful of reality shows (please, no competitions where deceiving people is rewarded), but comedy is still key with me. Television comedy takes many forms, so I'll hit different sub-genres. After a few recent conversations, I feel like posting my favorite sketch comedy programs that are at the forefront of my mind.

Kids In The Hall
Saturday Night Live introduced me to the genre, but it was my parent's show at the time. KITH was something I could claim as my own. Thematically, the show ran all over the place, but it seemed to have something for every taste. If you liked absurd, recurring characters (minus annoying title cards and theme songs) you could enjoy The Head Crusher, Chicken Lady and Mr. Cabbage Head. Do you enjoy television and film parodies? Try "The Darcy Panell Show", "The Pit of Ultimate Darkness" or the foreign movie work of Francesca Fiore and her lover/director/co-star, Bruno Puntz-Jones. How about some slice of life humor? Drop in on rebellious teenager Bobby, lonely housewife Fran, corporate drone Dan Husk or secretaries Cathy and Kathy. KITH had it all and it took five very different talents to pull it off. This one is available on DVD and if you want to give it a try, you can buy one of two "Best Of" discs that will give you a taste without having to eat all of the "salty ham". Or just type "Kids In The Hall" on YouTube. You'll see more favorites including: Gavin, Buddy Cole, and Mr. Heavy Foot.

Saturday Night Live
I recall watching the early episodes with my parents and enjoying the recurring characters - The European Brothers, The Samurai and The Killer Bees. The other stuff was over my head, though I returned to it later and appreciated the social satire. Many people consider the first cast, the best and they may be right. I grew up with the show and continue to watch it today. Sticking with it is like riding a rollercoaster. A lot of highs and lows, sometimes occuring back to back. (Compare the '84-'85 season featuring Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest with the '85-'86 season featuring Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Downey Jr.). My own favorites were the early '80's and the mid '90's, though great performers and writers existed throughout its history.

Monty Python's Flying Circus
I didn't see this until after watching "The Holy Grail", but I certainly enjoyed it. The fact that you had to live near a PBS station that ran it made it all the more special (though MTV aired it briefly in the latter part of the '80's.) You didn't have to be British to enjoy the comedy which mixed the absurd ("Argument Sketch") with social commentary (any time they played an English housewife). Some highlights include "Queen Victorie Steeplechase", "How Not To Be Seen" and "The Funniest Joke Ever Told".

Mr. Show
This was the closest thing in style and construction that Americans have ever come to Monty Python. Like KITH, this one was aired on HBO and certainly is best experienced uncut. Like Python, recurring characters seldom showed up, but you won't soon forget some of the situations that unfold into one another. I dare you to not laugh/cry if you get to see what happens when heavy metal band, Wycked Sceptre discovers they are gay through a record executive's intervention. Don't forget to check out a lost chapter in the history of American pornography.

The Dana Carvey Show
A brief-live, audacious cousin of Saturday Night Live, this one aired in the family hour on ABC. I'm astounded that some of the material got onto television. Carvey was the star, but the ensemble was destined for greatness. The cast included Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. The head writer was Robert Smigel (owner of Triump, the insult comic dog). Notable for the debut of "The Ambiguously Gay Duo".

Honorable Mention
  • The State - These guys and gal were closer to my age than any of the prior programs and were about half funny to me. With a cast of 11, I think that too many cooks spoiled the soup.
Dishonorable Mention

  • MadTV - I've tried. I've really tried to like this show, but I can't embrace it. I can't argue against the mastery of celebrity impersonations that occur here. But impersonation is just that. When you reduce a character to tics and weird voices there isn't much left to play with in a scene. I'm just saying.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nineties Music Episode 4: The Crappening

Damn it. I've become one of those snarky fuckers from Best Week Ever. I didn't mean to! I swear!

76. Blues Traveler “Run-Around” - A good song, but their older stuff was better. I'm glad more people found them because of this.

77. Ice Cube “It Was a Good Day” - I don't remember this song, but I would wager that he scowled in the video for it.

78. Lenny Kravitz “Are You Gonna Go My Way” - Again, the older stuff is better, but this was a good song. Not many people can do throwbacks like Lenny.

79. Meredith Brooks “Bitch” - How many young, talented female singers were signed to be the next Alanis? Too many to count. This one was probably number 46.

80. Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” - Another fraternity lip sync hit.

81. Paula Cole “I Don’t Want to Wait” - How many young, talented female singers were signed to be the next - insert name here? #24

2. Geto Boys “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” - A really good rap song. Really, really good. I'm not even going to mention the dwarf who raps. Oops.

83. The Breeders “Cannonball” - A rare, quality radio hit.

84. Snow “Informer” - I sort of recall this one. Didn't he look just like one of the Caucazoids from Color Me Badd?

85. Cypress Hill “Insane In The Brain” - Good enough to get them on the Simpsons. I liked this song.

86. The Cranberries “Linger” - Let's see. What kind of formula can we use to become famous? Rip off another band's sound - The Sundays. Totally change our sound to fit with another trend - No Doubt. Mix, stir, drink, rinse and repeat.

87. Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart” - A big pile of poop. The apple didn't fall far from the tree on the Disney Channel.

8. Duncan Sheik “Barely Breathing” - Sounded like a lot of other songs.

89. Liz Phair “Never Said” - Another fine debut. Sold out on the last record though. A shame.

90. New Radicals “You Get What You Give” - I think Archie Bunker's niece sang on this tune. Didn't make it any better.

91. Sarah McLachlan “Building a Mystery” - Good song. Didn't buy her stuff though.

92. Public Enemy “911 Is A Joke” - Trying to reach the mainstream a bit here. Still good though.

93. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories “Stay” - How many young, talented female singers....#78.

94. Fastball “The Way” - These guys had more recognizable songs on this album than you realize. Seriously, buy it, try it and you'll see. Way better than the one hit wonder status they were given.

95. Montell Jordan “This is How We Do It” - Bobby Brown? No. Could have been.

96. Nelson “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” - These two apples were launched miles away from the tree. What a waste.

97. Prince & The New Power Generation “Gett Off” - This dude still manages to put together stellar bands. NPG were second only to his "Little Red Corvette" line-up.

98. EMF "Unbelievable” - Jesus Jones did it better.

99. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” - A female version of Sean Combs. Just as crappy.

100. Gerardo “Rico Suave” - Why?

Why Do I Torture Myself?

Apparently, Galoot - the snob is about to crap on some more music.

51. Tupac (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) “California Love” - I used to dance to the song they sampled, "Woman To Woman" by Joe Cocker. It was called the plant dance. The plant dance consisted of me, nude dancing with a potted rubber plant held over my privates. I'm not kidding. I did this when completely hammered.

52. Sugar Ray “Fly” - Nice debut. Unfortunately they went with the flow of so many other groups around the same time and changed their sound whenever they had a hit.

53. Naughty by Nature “O.P.P.” - Good use of a popular sample.

54. Joan Osborne “One of Us” - Overplayed.

55. Fiona Apple “Criminal” - Her first single was better.

56. L.L. Cool J “Mama Said Knock You Out” - I bought the solo album of the guy who played guitar in that "Unplugged" session.

57. Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule “Can I Get A…” - I don't know this song.

58. Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” - Good tune. Didn't buy her records but still good.

59. Weezer “Buddy Holly” - The blue album still rocks the most. Not from this song, but I loved the lyric, "...wrestle with Jimmy...

60. Bell Biv DeVoe “Poison” - Really good song.

61. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” - Quite a debut song, the sound, the lyrics. Too bad she threw the rest of the band under the bus. Remember the "Tuesday Night Music" crew? That was the rest of the band. The guys who collaborated with her on the record. Cowrote some of it? Helped you to rise up from being a backup singer for the "King of Pop". Yeah. Remember them Sheryl?

62. Live “I Alone” - Great song!!!! I think it was the only one I played from that disc.

63. The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase & Puff Daddy “Mo Money Mo Problems” - Have you ever seen the print ads for Sean Combs' version of Def Comedy Jam? He's the only person in them. No comedians around. He pays off artists to use the most recognizable parts of their songs because he knows he can't produce an original song that would make enough money to pay for his umbrella carrier. Good for him.

64. The Presidents of the United States of America “Peaches” - Obnoxious song.

65. Digital Underground “The Humpty Dance” - A group that was better than this novelty made them out to be.

66. Edwin McCain “I’ll Be” - I don't think I know this song.

67. Deee-Lite “Groove Is In The Heart” - Very good dance song. Played this a lot at fraternity parties.

68. Will Smith “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” - He should have stuck with acting at this point.

69. Korn “Freak on a Leash” - Waste of space.

70. Jamiroquai “Virtual Insanity” - This guy might have been the next Stevie Wonder.

71. Arrested Development “Tennessee” - As overplayed as this was, I really liked this song back then. Still do.

72. Barenaked Ladies “One Week” - Shitty song from a good band. They do great live shows.

73. Marcy Playground “Sex and Candy” - You sound like Kurt Cobain? Cool, let's do a song.

74. Cher “Believe” - I actually have a story for this. A couple of years after this came out, my family went to Ireland to visit with Saint Eileen's cousins. On the first two nights, we stayed at the house of a man who worked for my stepdad, The Organ Grinder. While riding back from a Pub in his car, the host began to play this album. He asked the Drunk Mick and myself about how Cher's music was perceived in our country. We lied to him, telling him that her music was considered borderline genious and that she was a virtuoso to boot.

75. Kris Kross “Jump” - Another catchy hip hop song.

Mo' Music Mo' Problems

26. Eminem “My Name Is” - I liked this song. Video was very funny. Unfortunately, this artists who seemed like he had a sense of humor turned out to be a guy who couldn't take jokes aimed at him. What a waste.

27. Counting Crows “Mr. Jones” - See last post.

28. Ricky Martin “Livin’ la Vida Loca” - Obnoxious song.

29. Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” - If you like the novelty of a white rapper, please try some with chops (Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, MC Paul Barman)

30. *NSYNC “Tearin’ Up My Heart” - I wouldn't know this song if it bit me on my ass.

31. Radiohead “Creep” - Cool debut by a very talented group. Glad they elevated themselves past MTV's flavor of the year.

2. BLACKstreet “No Diggity” - Again, I don't know this song.

33. Spice Girls “Wannabe” - I liked red haired spice.

34. Third Eye Blind “Semi-Charmed Life” - How many movies used this in their trailers?

35. Oasis “Wonderwall” - Hate Oasis. Hate, hate, hatidy hate them.

36. C+C Music Factory “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” - Another lip sinc favorite at the college.

37. Green Day “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” - I'm thanking goodness that they didn't sell out after this cross-over hit like other groups (I'm talking to you No Doubt).

38. Christina Aguilera “Genie In A Bottle” - Yawn.

39. Goo Goo Dolls “Iris” - Yeah, they sold out.

40. Color Me Badd “I Wanna Sex You Up” - Catchy.

41. Spin Doctors “Two Princes” - It's too bad these guys got the hype that other deserving bands of their ilk could have.

42. Collective Soul “Shine” - Wish I could forget it.

43. En Vogue “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” - These gals had class, chops and great producers. They should have been more successful than they were.

44. The Fugees “Killing Me Softly With His Song” - Remake. Boooring.

45. Hootie & the Blowfish “Only Wanna Be With You” - Nice enough guys. Wasn't a fan.

46. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One” - I hate new country.

47. Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch “Good Vibrations” - Please, God, no.

48. Matchbox Twenty “3 AM” - Should have focused on their music more than their haircuts.

49. Jewel “Who Will Save Your Soul” - Not a Jewel fan.

50. Alice in Chains “Man in the Box” - They said shit on the radio!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mr. Jones and Galoot

In regard to the 90's music list....

I only posted on the top 25. "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows wound up later on the list. I do have a memory of this that I want to share. At my college, lip synching competitions reigned supreme during homecoming and Greek Week activities. My fraternity had a pretty good track record of wins, including:
  • "YMCA" - In full costume.
  • "ABC" by Jackson 5 - performed by my African American brothers, a.k.a. Delta Sig Dark
  • "Thing" - Aretha Franklin - I was in this one as Elwood Blues.
Some of my best friends (Skippy and Grinder) were in another fraternity. I remember being rushed by these guys, but went another route. In another life, who knows? Anyway, these guys did a lip sync of Mr. Jones that consisted mostly of Corey doing the lead part, just hopping around the stage. Whenever the chorus would come up, another brother, Frank would come out like a 20 year old Charles Nelson Reilly/Fred Schneider hybrid and yell out, "Look everyone, it's Mr. Jones!" At this point, Skippy (whose last name was Jones) would come out and dance for a bit. I loved the gag and still think fondly of it.

Smells Like A Memory List...

Both In Java & R have posted their recollections of these songs from the nineties. Let's see, I started the decade as a high school senior and ended it engaged and about to be married. Should be fun...
01. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – I remember picking up the disc on the same day I bought Uncle Tupelo's "Still Feel Gone". I probably got them both at Streetside Records in Columbia, Missouri. I think "Polly" was my favorite song, but despite it's constant video airings on MTV, I wouldn't skip this track.
02. U2 “One” – I wasn't crazy about this song, or much of U2's output in this decade. Sadly, I remember the Ben Stiller Show on Fox spoofing the video. The band (Stiller as Bono, Bob Odenkirk as Larry Mullen Jr. and Andy Dick as Adam Clayton) hawked "Lucky Clovers" cereal.
03. Backstreet Boys "I Want It That Way" - It took my future wife to recognize a pretty good pop song. Maybe they didn't suck that bad.
04. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” – I pretty much switched the stations when this came on.
05. Madonna “Vogue” – Good song. Good video. Good lord Madonna never looked so good.
06. Sir Mix-A-Lot “Baby Got Back” – I remember a lot of people being turned on to hip-hop with this one. In a bad way.
07. Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” - This was the last video where she wore clothes that didn't accentuate the weirder parts of her body (a linebacker's neck, for instance).
08. TLC “Waterfalls” – How many of you got tested for H.I.V. after seeing this video. Catchy tune about catching sickness.
9. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” – I skipped "Out of Time" and picked up again with "Automatic For The People". Probably inspired a lot of folks to try mandolin.
10. SinĂ©ad O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Really good song. Compelling video.
11. Pearl Jam “Jeremy” – I think Jeremy shot himself and not the rest of his class. What do you think?
12. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” – I remember girls in grad school at parties, huddling up to sing along when this came on. Kind of like they used to when the Violent Femmes would come on at a party. Ironically, with more violent undertones.
13. Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg) “Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang” – I probably remember this one because of the sample and not what they did with it.
14. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” – Last pop record I bought for myself. If she had married me, she would have been Mariah Barry.
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” – Really good song. I dare say I like their introspective stuff more than their white-boy rap, goofball shit.
16. MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” – Another tune that turned white kids onto "hip-hop"
17. Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” - I have no recollection of this song. Beyonce is a hack.
18. Metallica “Enter Sandman” - Overplayed. Way overplayed. Brought them a new audience. Good for them.
19. Beastie Boys “Sabotage” - A video that MTV overplayed that I loved! Good song. Lots of moshers emerged from the crowd at Lollapalooza 1994 for this one.
20. Hanson “MMMBop” - Crap.
21. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” - Shit.
22. Beck “Loser” - The shit.
23. Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue “Whatta Man” - The shiznit.
24. House of Pain “Jump Around” - Good for getting the college kids out on the dance floor.
25. Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” - Underrated band for sure. These fellas got lumped in with the Seattle sound. They were better than a label. I mean, listen to their stuff..

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekend Update

Some random thoughts on the weekend:

  • Degrassi has turned really crappy as of late. 90210 crappy. Characters just out of high school who are running their own businesses crappy. Crap, crap, crappy.
  • The commercial with the guy getting ready to buy a big tv, who then gets his hand slapped by the dude in the pig make up - creeps me out. If you haven't seen it, please don't seek it out.
  • The kiddoes were playing really well together this weekend. A lot of make-believe stuff. It was fun to watch them. GalootJr. was doing great in the mall to boot. Didn't take off once!
  • We upgraded to an HD package on our main tv. Holy shit the picture is clear! Our locals from Buffalo don't come in HD through our system, but we get to see a lot of our favorites (Discovery, ESPN, TNT, etc.). I'll get to see some Kentucky games crystal clear.
  • Miley Cyrus seems to be channeling Reba for her sitcom skills. Reba's sitcom skills suck. Miley Cyrus is channeling suck.