Archive for March, 2010

Water, Water

March 31, 2010

I really don’t have much to say today except that in case you didn’t catch McGinty Monday this week, you missed the introduction of a whole new branch of his family. And today is The New Shazzam and Herbert’s recap of American Idol.

On the other hand, I think the problem with the water getting in the basement had been resolved. At least I’m hoping so and keeping my fingers crossed. The trouble was a disconnected section of gutter behind some shrubbery against the house. Already, even though it rained like the dickens yesterday, the basement floor was already drying up except for one spot. But I’ll be able to tell better if and when this rain ever stops long enough to give the ground a chance to dry up.

Also on the water front….ha! Get it? Water front? “Hey, Stella!!!”  No, that’s not it, wrong movie. “I coulda had class.  I coulda been a contender.  I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am…”  <sob>  Gets me every time. I’m still waiting for the replacement part for my kitchen faucet to come in from the manufacturer so I hopefully get some water pressure again and can get a glass of water in under a minute. The customer service woman I spoke with on the phone said they don’t replace parts without proof of ownership, but would send the part out this once but in the future I’d have to show her a receipt. I told her I would get a hold of it and get it to her (it’s buried somewhere with some old papers from the last round of work we had done on the house) but she said it wouldn’t be necessary. So, where is it?

Ricky Martin is gay! Yeah? And the sky is blue, what’s your point?

So, let’s see, do I have anything else today?  Let me take a look around, see if anything is lurking that needs to be talked about…. Nope, I’m done. Just go check out Shazz and H-man.

Creepy And Kooky…

March 29, 2010

…and just plain fun. We saw the Addams Family on Saturday at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. I was never really a super fan of the TV show, I was more a Munsters watcher, but that’s not to say I don’t know enough of the Addams Family to make a fair assessment of the show. Also, to go on record I’m not a huge Nathan Lane fan, I kind of put him into the same category as Jim Carrey, obnoxious and unentertaining, but if I had to choose on over the other, I’d pick Nathan Lane. So, I wasn’t sure how this show was going to go for me, since I know I can also be overly critical.

From the moment the curtain opened, I had a such a good feeling about the show, I gave it my customary initial score, which in this particular instance was an 8. Even I was surprised by that.  But sometimes you just get a feeling, or at least I do, as soon as the curtain opens or the stage lights up. It’s all part of my rating system. To recount for those of you new to my blog, I never give anything a score of 1 (I have to at least acknowledge the gumption and effort of putting on even the least entertaining show) and I very rarely ever score anything a 10 (unless the show is another “Wicked” or “Sunset Boulevard”). Maybe I’m jaded, or just stubborn, but I know what entertains me so my basic rating scale is from 2-9.

To be critical, Nathan Lane was a bit over the top with Gomez’ Spanish accent, which seemed uneven at times and Carolee Carmello played her Alice Beineke with overt shades of Carol Burnett, and I can’t seem to recall any of the musical numbers in my head. I can see them in my mind’s eye, being performed, but I can’t “hear” them. Bebe Neuwirth’s Morticia was excellent and the show stealer was Jackie Hoffman’s Grandma. The show was just quirky good fun, the storyline adequate, a happy bright story of Wednesday’s desire to marry Lucas Beineke, which contrasted the customary and familiar darker side of the Addams’ existence. In the end, I gave the show an 8.

Ariel had activated the camera on his cell phone and instantly and usher came swooping over like a vulture warning him not to do so. I thought, Damn it, shouldn’t she be off texting someone rather than doing her job? I had thought of trying to sneak a shot of the cast during final curtain, but was too spooked that the same would happen to me so I nixed the thought.

Sandwiched in between Carnegie Hall and The Addams Family, we saw my friend Janet’s daughter in her high school production of Cabaret, in which she starred as Sally Bowles. I can only hope bigger and better things for Kelly in her future because she is such an unaffected (I have to use the word) professional and a darn good singer.  Her mic was out during her first number, but she was undaunted. Without so much as flinching, she just raised her voice enough so that the back row could still hear her. If I can be critical of just one thing… I wanted more Sally Bowles that night, but unfortunately, she’s not in every scene.

And then there was the weekly weigh-in. Whoops. Ariel put on 2 pounds last week, so he’s now up to 203 and I sadly added a pesky 3 bringing me back to 215. BUT!!!, I did manage to get into a pair of 34 waist jeans the other night and sat comfortably in them through Cabaret.

Alright, enough of me, let’s see what’s happening in McGinty Chronicles.

I Put On A Tux For This?

March 26, 2010

Last night we went to hear Tchaikovsky at Carnegie Hall. It was the culmination of my birthday celebration from back in October when Ariel first presented me with the tickets. Being that it was Carnegie Hall, and dinner at the Redeye Grill across the street from the coveted hall, I decided I’d get gussied up in a shirt and tie.

I made my train with 10 minutes to spare; my street was a nightmare of rushing traffic and my cab driver, daredevil though he can be at times (who also turned down a few other fares on the way to station in favor of his “steady”–me) could barely budge from my driveway. I met Ariel at our normal pickup spot across from Penn Station Newark, by the Burger King and he deftly skirted around the old neighborhood of the Ironbound until we successfully avoided unimaginable traffic tie ups to get to the Turnpike towards the Lincoln tunnel. I don’t know what was going on yesterday, if there was a mass exodus we hadn’t heard about, but everywhere there was traffic at a near standstill and the approach to the tunnel was no better, with morer than the 45 minute wait the radio said. Fortunately the restaurant held our 6 o’clock reservation after a call to let them know we had just exited the tunnel at that time. We arrived close to thirty minutes later. I realized the power of Wiffy was in full swing. For those of you who don’t know Wiffy, that was my dear departed beagle, whose birthday happened to be yesterday, who did everything in her power to overtake my life and vex us at every turn. Man, I miss that dog!

Dinner at the Redeye Grill was adequate, the service impeccable and the Jack Daniels Manhattans a masterpiece. No time for dessert,though, but along with the check came a complimentary plate of pink cotton candy. Man, I haven’t had cotton candy in ages and neither, apparently, had the ladies at the next table. They all squealed in delight at the sight of my beehive of spun sugar until I couldn’t take it any longer and I offered it to them. Tourists!

The first thing I did when we got to our box…yes, a box!…was take this picture, even though the taking of pictures is strictly prohibited (yeah, yeah, prohibited, schmohibited). Wiffy was still at it even inside our box, a 9-seat affair, ranging from normal chair to bar stool height. It was already occupied by one other couple, who, in their two seats completely crowded the entire box. I don’t know how that was possible. As a side, I remember calling a particular person we used to see yearly in Provincetown, whose name I didn’t know, a circle of one. He just had this aura that no one crowded him. He wasn’t ogreish or anything, just had a stance that no one seemed able to approach or penetrate. But here at Carnegie Hall, we had those two and the confusion of 9 chairs to deal with.

I was surprised to see, first of all, the location of Carnegie Hall. I had always pictured it being set off, on a grand hilltop, with an immaculately trimmed lawn, (even though I know it’s in Manhattan) with fountains spraying elegant arches of colorfully lit water, or even in just plain white, which is also nice. And I imagined the interior to be much larger and grander, much more opulent than it appeared to be.

I won’t go into detail about the music selections, but I will applaud the San Franciso Symphony’s performance of Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 and Christian Tetzlaff’s solo performance on the violin. He played through the entire piece without sheet music.

The second half started and we had settled back onto our bar stools with one additional person who appeared from nowhere but it was obviously he knew the couple there. The man, by the way, kept shifting in his mid-height chair and bumping his elbow into my knee, then shooting me a look like it was my fault. Ariel whispered in my ear to keep an eye out for the Tracy Partridge of the orchestra. A distinguished man, a member of the percussion section, proudly pecked at a tambourine with his fingers closed into an outstretched rosebud. But he really excelled when it came time to play the triangle. I sat, thinking to myself, what must he be thinking; I put on a tux to do this on a nightly basis? And then I was fixated. But the man probably makes more money than I do, so bully for him!

All in all, it was a fun evening and a great experience to finally have been to Carnegie Hall. And to answer the age old question: how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Head into the city a little earlier! And never on your devil-dog’s birthday, that’s when all the loonies are out!

Super-sized Art

March 25, 2010

If you’re watching the train wreck known as season 9 of American Idol and you’re a reader of my blog, then you know who Herbert and The New Shazzam decided should be voted off last night. Was either of them right in their predictions? Read on and find out.

And then there’s this one. Oh boy. A Cornell University professor, Brian Wansink, and his brother Craig, a Presbyterian minister and religious studies professor, have studied the increasing sizes of food portions as depicted in 52 different renditions of Leonard Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” over the last 1,000 years. With computer-aided technology the sizes of the entrees, bread and plates were relatively compared to the average size of the disciples’ heads.

The study shows the main meal or entree has grown progressively over the last millennium 69 percent. The plate size has increased 66 percent and the bread, about 23 percent. All these findings suggest, what they call the “phenomenon” of serving larger portions of food on larger plates, which of course leads to people eating more. According to Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”, the last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food. Not exactly sure phenomenon is the right word, but it’s not my study. But poor Leo, his paintings are all subject to academic ridicule lately; first the Mona Lisa showed signs of high cholesterol and was riddled with subcutaneous fatty deposits, and now we find Jesus wasn’t feeding his disciples enough food. Damn it!

In a study of my own, I discovered that dust bunnies get bigger also the less you vacuum…just sayin’.

Check out the newts to see who made the right prediction.

All Dressed Up…

March 24, 2010

…but not allowed to go anywhere. I wasn’t going to blog about this but after a conversation with some friends this weekend, I decided I would. It’s about that Mississippi lesbian, Constance McMillen who stirred up a storm of publicity when her school canceled the prom because she wanted to wear a tux and bring her girlfriend to the prom. What troubled us about this story was not so much that the school chose the path it did, but that, in our way of thinking, it was more like an unnecessary pre-emptive dustup on her part. Why did she go to the school board in the first place to make her request? Why didn’t she just show up at the prom in her tuxedo with her girlfriend on her arm and then see what kind of fury brewed and then contact the media if and when they didn’t let her attend? To us around the table, it just came across as a stab at her 15 minutes of fame.  Of course the media is eating this story up, playing the sympathy card for this girl, whose fellow classmates now see her as a pariah.

To be fair, another argument was that her intentions might have been completely innocent, coming from a place where same-sex couplings might not be as accepted as other areas and in that case her act could be looked upon as a responsible, albeit a confused one.

The school was scared, that much is obvious, but they were still willing to set some conditions by which this girl could attend the prom. No tux, first of all, and then no outward signs of affection between the two girls. After all, they had the rest of the student body to be concerned about, how they would be made uncomfortable. I don’t know for certain, but I would guess that this girl’s main objective was not to perform any lewd acts in front of everyone there, she just wanted to attend her prom with the person in her life.

I agree it’s an unfortunate turn of events for the other students–and hindsight is 20/20–but in my and my friends’ opinions, she really should have just kept her intentions quiet and showed up at the prom and then waited for the fallout. She might have had those that now see her as the bad guy rally behind her at that point rather than making her the social outcast she says she feels like. Then if she wasn’t allowed in for homophobic reasons, then call in the media. Don’t invite trouble where there might not be any–unless that really was her ulterior motive.  I don’t really know if this is as much a case of gay rights as it is just a bad decision on her part although now the ACLU is involved and claiming the school district violated Constance’s right to freedom of expression.

And let’s see how the newts handled American Idol last night!

To The Lady Of The House

March 23, 2010

I hadn’t intended on there being a blog today, but because of certain circumstances, there is one. In spite of the smallest pinchy tinge of pain (all too reminiscent of sciatica just waiting in the wings for the proper provocation to come out full blast) I was going to attempt a workout this morning. Last week, as you may remember, even though the major effects were gone from that stomach virus I had on my mother’s birthday weekend, I still wasn’t feeling quite up to snuff. And because I’d rather not be in the middle of a workout when the Lou Crew is here, I’ve been wanting to get back down there in the mornings before work. Not only would that afford me no potential audience, but it’s also good for the mind to get those endorphins and whatever other beneficial enzymes there are floating around on the move for a more productive work day.

But my morning was spent mopping up another leak in the basement. Not quite as severe as two weekends ago, but enough to put my back up nonetheless and make me rethink that workout. And it looks like I have to make another call to my heating people who came to my rescue with a “remedy” for a leaky valve on my furnace last night, which still seems to be leaking. I need them to come back with a “fix”. See how everything’s water related? And I’m not even including the kitchen faucet, the relatively new kitchen faucet that seems to have lost water pressure. Every other water source (sure, include the leak in the basement) is at full throttle, but the kitchen faucet is practically dead.

Because everything seems to be going at once, coincidentally with the construction, I’m asking the spirits of those before… please, enough already. We’re only making the house even nicer, updating it, if you will. Believe me, dear woman, I know you’re here, watching over, but I love this house as much as you do. I’ve always said this house was haunted! For crying out loud I hear furniture moving sometimes upstairs.

For the record, though,  to those that come after me, watch out! I intend to be just as unforgiving!

My Aching Back

March 22, 2010

Busy, tiring weekend. I was finally able to get outside on Friday afternoon after work and clear the lawn of all the fallen branches from that Noreaster we had the weekend before, plus I cut down two huge ones that were leaning on the ground on two separate trees. Had I not moved as quickly as I did, one of them would have fallen on me. I was standing at a bad angle with my pole saw, my “saw on a stick” and the branch fell toward me instead of straight down. I had to stand on a ladder with regular saw to cut the branch off the second tree that was tangled up in another larger one. All the branches are way too large to be moved.  I got my chainsaw restrung and started (I thought I’d butch it up and hack them into firewood, or at least more manageable pieces)but  it wouldn’t cut and now the chain is falling off again.  So, undaunted, I put the dilapidated tool away and  the fallen tree-sized branches are now permanently residing on the ground until I can either take care of it myself or have someone do it. I then proceeded to rake up at least 8 huge barrels full of smaller branches from the front lawn. I started off bending and stooping and almost immediately the pinching pain in my lower back directed to me to the rake. Actually, it was a much more efficient method of cleaning the lawn. Ariel got home from work as I was finishing the front and together we spent an addition two plus hours in the backyard.

Most of the morning and into the afternoon on Saturday was spent sprucing up the house (dusting, vacuuming, washing floors) ridding the house of the dust and crud that had gathered in the corners the Lou Crew has been kicking up from the construction upstairs, and preparing food for company we were having. I still had to get outside to finish branch duty in a spot I had neglected the day before. That took about an hour, but I got it done and felt rather accomplished in spite of the fact I was decidedly unable to stand upright any longer and am, at this writing, still somewhere between a 75  amd 80 degree angle.

As we were setting up the table I noticed a bulb was out in the light fixture and that fascinated me. I was thinking how many light bulbs have possibly been changed over the course of the 11 years we’ve been in the house. It intrigues me because there are some light bulbs we have not yet replaced and are still burning. It just seems that the ones we’ve replaced, are the ones that are consistantly not lasting. So what does that say for the quality of today’s products? I’ve probably just jinxed the whole thing and they’ll all go “poof” and plunge us into darkness next time we flip their switches.

I almost forgot. We had our weigh-ins on Saturday morning. Ariel dropped 4 pounds bringing him down to 201 (a total loss of 12 from when we began) and I am now down to 212, having dropped three pounds, a total of 18.

Speaking of trees and limbs, the Sigleys of Illinois continue, not with a jinx, but with more good fortune as McGinty Chronicles continues.

Attention, Blog Readers: …

March 19, 2010

The pen is on the table. Does that sentence stick out?

We found our tile. It wasn’t what we originally had in mind which we thought might be just a tad on the “not right” side after all, but when I described to the guy what I was looking for he pointed out a tile I instantly fell in love with. Ariel came to look at it and the decision was in the bag. So, that’s taken care of. Speaking of the upstairs bathroom, the window is in, a new sub floor is down and drain and vent pipe are just about completed. I’m taking sequential pictures that I’ll share when it’s all done. I just have to locate a good shot of the original bathroom to start the whole presentation.

You’ll be glad to know that south Jersey Walmart has taken steps to curb the possibility of any more racial insults–”Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now”–by limiting the number of public-accessible phones with public address capabilities. I wonder if a certain mall I used to go to was ever able to limit the number of people who spit on the floor or throwing tissues with freshly deposited snot in them onto the floor. I wouldn’t know because the day that happened, was the last day I ever went there, and that was in the vicinity of about 20 years ago.

I also haven’t had an M & M since they introduced the blue ones, but being an avid fan of my blog you’d already know that.

You also know that with tomorrow being Saturday, it’s our weekly weigh-ins, so hold good thoughts on that issue for us. What you might not know is that today is Poultry Day. I’ll be gobbling up some leftover corned beef and cabbage however. Alas.

What is really sad is that some areas in New Jersey are continuing to suffer the effects of last weekend’s storm; some have no power yet, and there are still some flooding conditions because of cresting rivers, but fortunately that is lessening as the week progresses. I was watching some news footage from the past week on the news yesterday, about how the Passaic River crested and in one shot, a 4 foot swimming pool in someone’s yard was just about under water; of streets being turned into rushing rivers; and of boat rescues to get people to safety. And that made me think of this old video I saw from a similar storm (to give credit where it’s due, I think my sister sent it to me originally a few years ago) and since it was apropos to this storm I thought it was only fitting I share it with you.

 

You gotta love the media!

Enjoy your weekend! Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Click on the flower below and then hold the left button down on your mouse and drag it across the screen.  This was froma friend of mine and now I’m passing it on to you.

What’s Today, Thursday?

March 17, 2010

Nothing much is going on. I had a little reprieve from the clatter yesterday because the Lou Crew (that’s my affectionate name for them, kind of like the Carlosians–the landscapers) was working next door. But that’s fine because we still have to pick out our tiles and all and once we have everything in line, they’ll be able to go full steam and get it done. We’re going tonight to one store to look at some tiles and if we don’t see anything that strikes our fancy, we have another place to try on Friday. And hopefully we won’t have to settle for something that’s not exactly what we want. Tile’s not so easily replaced and once this bathroom is done, it’s gonna stay done.

What’s today, Thursday?

You might have seen this before and if you have, here it is again. Stare at the center of this image for about 30 seconds and the look away at a blank surface and see what you see.

And then, saw this guy on TV the other night and it reminded me of something else, but when I found the other video, it wasn’t super clear to get the full import of it so I found the video of the guy I saw on TV. It’s basically the same thing as the other. Plus this one is not quite as long.

And, finally, take a look and see how the silly salamanders fared with their choices of who to vote off of American Idol.

PS. I might not have been clear with my picture of Pabst Blue Ribbon yesterday. That was found under the old soggy insulation when the heat pipe was leaking upstairs.

Faith And Begorrah

March 17, 2010

No computer issues. No leaks. No late night for the contractor. We actually got to sit down to dinner before 7pm last night, a nice quite St. Patrick’s Day Eve. By the way, have you gotten all your holiday shopping done?  Work progresses upstairs, (I still wish I had taken a before picture), the basement floor is dry, my tummy bug is completely gone and I’m getting my appetite back, but hey, I’m no fool, I’m not overdoing it. After all, I have another weigh in coming up at the end of the week.

Down the Hatch. Hatch, a ratter dog, the only known female to serve on King Henry VIII’s ship, The Mary Rose has been painstakingly reconstructed and was a hit at this year’s Cruft’s Dog Show in Britain. She got the job as ratter because superstitious Tudor sailors thought cats on board would bring bad luck. Hatch is the name she was given the two year old mongrel because her remains were discovered near the sliding hatch door to the carpenter’s cabin. Unfortunately, bones were found on either side of the door which indicates the poor pooch was trapped when the ship went down 465 years ago.

I was going to write about that Erin Andrews and her demand that her hotel room peep hole stalker get more jail time than the judge first ruled. She hemmed and hawed and he ended up with 30 months rather than 27. That he’s going to jail at all is silly. And that’s not to excuse what he did, he’s just a peeping Tom who happened to get caught. And now, on the heels of having been thrust into the public eye in such a deplorable manner, she’ll tackle Dancing With The Stars for even more ridicule.

Erin Go Bragh. Happy St. Patrick’s Day                        

 

Okay, the newts had a tough night deciding who they think should be voted off American Idol tonight. See if you agree.