Thursday, June 28, 2012

A New FLASHBACK Slide Show

Just like the FLASHBACK posts themselves, videos featuring content from them, which I started a few years ago, have lately been a rare sight indeed.

Here's one I did this morning using this FLASHBACK as a "script".

Sad, I know. Not just the inherent loneliness of the idea of solo travelling but also the whole composition of the video itself. Ah screw it. It only took me about 45 minutes to put together, so what the fuck!

Grab some Kleenex now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Geo Politics

Watching "Face the Nation" this morning I heard Bob Scheiffer and others declare they had no idea who Mitt Romney would chose as his running mate.

Well, if history and logic is any indicator, I think I know...

Historically, let me show you how important geography has been in the selection of a VP running mate (in recent modern political times, that is)...

1960:
Richard M. Nixon - California
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. - Massachusetts
John F. Kennedy - Massachusetts
Lyndon B. Johnson -Texas

1964:
Lyndon B. Johnson - Texas
Hubert Humphrey - Minnesota
Barry Goldwater - Arizona
William E. Miller - New York

1968: Richard M. Nixon - California
Spiro Agnew - Maryland
Hubert Humphrey - Minnesota
Edmund Muskie - Maine

1972:
Richard M. Nixon - California
Spiro Agnew - Maryland
George McGovern - South Dakota
Sargent Shriver - Maryland

1976:
Gerald Ford - Michigan
Bob Dole - Kansas
Jimmy Carter- Georgia
Walter Mondale - Minnesota

1980:
Jimmy Carter - Georgia
Walter Mondale- Minnesota
Ronald Reagan - California
George H. W. Bush - Texas

1984:
Ronald Reagan - California
George H. W. Bush - Texas
Walter Mondale -Minnesota
Geraldine Ferraro - New York

1988:
George H. W. Bush - Texas
Dan Quayle - Indiana
Michael Dukakis -Massachusetts
Lloyd Bentsen - Texas

1992:
George H. W. Bush - Texas
Dan Quayle - Indiana
Bill Clinton - Arkansas
Al Gore - Tennessee

1996:
Bill Clinton - Arkansas
Al Gore - Tennessee
Bob Dole - Kansas
Jack Kemp - New York

2000:
Al Gore - Tennessee
Joe Lieberman- Connecticut
George W. Bush - Texas
Dick Cheney - Wyoming

2004:
George W. Bush - Texas
Dick Cheney - Wyoming
John Kerry -Massachusetts
John Edwards - North Carolina

2008:
John McCain - Arizona
Sarah Palin - Alaska
Barack Obama - Illinois
Joe Biden - Maryland

2012:
Barack Obama - Illinois
Joe Biden - Maryland
Mitt Romney -Massachusetts
??????

Well, history shows that candidates chose someone from a different region of the US in order to help get a more robust vote from differing areas of the country.

The main focus was on the West-East connection, but in recent years, it's been more important to have North-South...

So with Romney, a Massachusetts former governor with ties to his roots in Michigan...there will likely be a need to pick a running mate from the south.

Marco Rubio of Florida has been mentioned, but aside from the favorable impact in the Hispanic community, he's just too new to the political scene. And too Tea Party.

My bet's on a tried and true, tested Republican veteran, also from the south, who made great strides in the primaries. He'd be the most logical choice, IMHO...

I think Mitt Romney will chose Newt Gingrich.

Based on the historical data, and the desperation for this candidate to be appealing to a broader American audience, I feel strongly he'll pick him.

Let's wait and see...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Crackle, Thump, Chirp, Cha-ching!

Over the past few weeks or so there have been a few new developments of note:

On a whim, I decided to buy the Amazon Kindle Fire. It looks and works very much like the iPad I had a few months ago but at just $200, it doesn't make me cringe about its cost like that did. And for my needs, it suits me just fine. The supposed detriments when people compare it to the iPad are benefits for me. I don't need any camera, let alone two. I don't need 3G, since I don't have a wireless data plan. And the smaller size fits my hand much better than the rather cumbersome iPad.

There's a new tenant in the apartment adjoining my south wall (right where the head of my bed is). He does intrude "just a bit" when, on occasion, he gets busy fucking pussy. Oh he loves to pound it to his bitches while they moan like some porn star. More like slam them, and the bed they're on, right up against my wall. I got tired of it one night so I decided to loudly knock back. Now the banging is against another wall further away from me and much more muted. Thank you Thumper, you stud muffin you!

I introduced Ric to the wonderful world of online gaming and ever since, he's been hooking up with strangers on Steam for all night sessions of Civ V. Now, without the last tendril that held our failing friendship together, we really have pretty much nothing in common and the nights I used to either hang out with him or play online are so quiet I just listen to the crickets.



When I was on Amazon.com I was offered a $30 discount for my purchase if I applied for an Amazon.com VISA so I said, "Why not?". Within seconds I had been approved. So now this makes it my seventh open credit card. What a change from a few years ago when I couldn't get any credit. When it comes to credit, time is definitely on your side. Well, that and paying your bills.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

YUMMY!: Chicken Parmigiana


So when Publix has a sale on chicken breasts, shredded mozzarella cheese, olive oil and spaghetti what do you make?

Chicken Parmigiana!

No recipe needed folks, this one's a no brainer. Well, if like me you grew up in Italian-influenced Rhode Island. Since I had ground turkey, I used that in the meat sauce. Oh, and Panko breadcrumbs really make a nice crispy coating on the scallopined, pan-fried chicken breasts, other than that, it's pretty much like Mamma used to make.

Mangia!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Gay History Milestone?


Tonight I attended a performance of the most recent Broadway revival touring production of "La Cage Aux Folles" at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando.

Hollywood icon George Hamilton was slated to be one of the lead actors in the role of Georges but in this 6:30 pm Sunday evening showing, the finale for Orlando, he was replaced by Dale Hensley, who normally plays the much smaller role of stage director Francis.

I love George Hamilton (I don't really know why, I guess it's because I thought he was fantastic in the disco-themed 1970s comic send-up of Dracula in "Love at First Bite") and I was really looking forward to seeing him perform tonight, but after all is said and done, I guess I didn't miss him that much.

Of course the Playbill's insert announcing the cast change didn't explain why the change was needed (it never does). I heard an audience member behind me joke that he (Hamilton) had to go and work on his tan. And with the non-stop rainy weather we've been having this past week here in Central Florida, I'd be inclined to agree. We all know George mustn't let his famous bronze complexion turn ashen. Oh my, it might tend to reveal his true age...gasp!

His replacement, Dale Hensley, was the first on stage as our master of ceremonies Georges, welcoming us to his "transvestite club" (as it would have been known years ago) "La Cage Aux Folles". Immediately, I was not impressed. He seemed stiff and unsure. As the show progressed through the first act, he seemed actually to get worse as he stumbled through some of his lines in one scene and broke out into a big ol' greasy-looking flop sweat during his first and second musical numbers.

But during his vocals in "With You on My Arm", I could visibly see the nervousness lift. And it was magical. Suddenly, and thereafter, his whole performance improved dramatically. His voice slowly became more loud and clear and found its strength; much needed with the crappy Bob Carr Theater's inferior acoustics and inadequate sound equipment. Please, let's not get into how bad this place is...I'm anxiously counting the days until the new arts center, currently under construction a few blocks away, opens.

But the show stopper was undeniably Christopher Sieber in the role of Albin. Seiber has the comic sensibility, and heart, both of which are vital to this role. Not to mention, of course, the vocal range and volume to belt out these songs in true drag queen diva fashion. In fact, knowing now, thanks to Google, that he'd performed the role of Georges for years up 'till recently stymies me. He was MEANT for the role of Albin. And especially, the creature inside of Albin, the amazing Zaza. Seiber's performance of "I Am What I Am" could probably only be arguably better done, IMHO, by the legendary author of the lyrics himself Harvey Fierstein.

Of course Harvey's signature raspy voice couldn't truly do service to the notes required, but it's the implication behind the meaning of the song. It's with that in mind when I think that, after all is said and done, I may have been lucky to be in attendance during a performance as tonight's with the casting as is.

I am of those that feel that the true emotion of what it is to feel discrimination and the pressure to conform, some of the main themes of the production, can only truly be conveyed by those of us who are of the same ilk. That is, gay. Unless you in real life are gay, how can you not only fully "act" it, but also "feel" it for the audience?

Christopher Seiber is openly gay. George Hamilton is implicitly straight. So Hamilton's portrayal of Georges, the gay lover of Albin would have been an act, on stage and, arguably, in the heartfelt embodiment of personal experience in reality. Dale Hensley, Hamilton's stand in, may well be gay. I haven't been yet able to confirm it. But I got that feelin'.

If Hensley is gay, the coupling of him and Seiber may (I have to check it out further) but MAY be the first time these iconic gay stage characters have been portrayed by two actual gay men.

Hmmm, will Orlando go down in the gay history annals (or is it "anals"? LOL) as the city which hosted the first truly gay production of "La Cage"?

Gay Days just isn't enough!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ray Bradbury, My Childhood Hero

My real daddy wasn't much of a hero, as you probably have figured out by now. But Ray Bradbury filled that mentoring, supportive role, somewhat, from the first day I set eyes upon one of his works.

Back in my day, they had a program called RIF, Reading Is Fundamental. During a RIF Drive, the school would accommodate volunteers from RIF to allow us kids to spend one period in the auditorium where table upon table stacked high with books, mostly used paperbacks, would have been set up for us to browse. We were allowed a certain number of books, I'm not sure how many, to take and keep as our own. Free.

One book that caught my eye for its fascinating cover art was a collection of Ray Bradbury short stories, I think it was "S is for Space". I snatched this up, read it that night...the whole thing...and was hooked.

Thereafter, I sought out everything Ray Bradbury had ever written and ate up every word he wrote.

I was transported to strange new worlds, I looked at our world through different eyes and let my imagination soar.

Today, Ray left this world but in my heart he will live on.

Like Issac Asimov, another of my heroes, Ray Bradbury was not only a producer of fiction. He spoke up about social issues of our times, especially regarding the exploration of space.

Here's a quote of his from a couple of years ago with which I wholeheartedly agree:

"...We should go back to the moon. We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever."

The Woonsocket Cross: My Two Cents

If you haven't already heard, there's a big controversy starting to become national, even international news about a monument in none other than my hometown of Woonsocket, RI.

The monument in question is basically a white cross, constructed out of granite but fashioned to look like it was a simple log-based wood construct poised atop a simple blocky granite base. A bronze plaque identifies the reason for the monument's dedication, basically that it commemorates some local WWI and WWII vets who died in service to their country.

When I lived in Woonsocket, I'd passed by this monument countless times but never really thought much of it. I knew it was right in front of a fire station which would have been city property, of course, but I didn't think twice about its legality.

But perhaps that's because Woonsocket has always been a bit of an odd duck, in my experience, when it comes to the separation of church and state.

When I was in elementary school, public elementary school that is, it was not unusual for a priest to be a special guest speaker in the auditorium, under the guise, I guess, of community outreach, and talk to us kids about the importance of going to church.

The school allowed a priest to administer ashes on Ash Wednesday and, though it was "voluntary", kids would be looked at with ridicule if they didn't get them, and wear them for the rest of the day.

All school lunches on Fridays were strictly meatless. Don't like tuna salad or clam chowder? Too bad, there was nothing provided for you.

The public school I attended for my 6th grade year had recently been a former church building and still had a large cross atop the main entrance (this was later covered up). The priest would be available in one of the vacant classrooms for confession every Friday afternoon.

Woonsocket, being a French-Canadian cultural enclave has always marched to the beat of its own drum. Even its geography, nestled in a winding valley cut through the Northern Rhode Island highlands by the Blackstone River, serves as a physical synonym to its social isolation.

People from Woonsocket are fiercely independent and provincial, ie. stubborn and uninterested in the world around them. With a longtime impoverished local economy still based on a decades old, long-dead industrial foundation, Woonsocketites are essentially bitter, poor and stupid. Add to that mix their blind and unwavering allegiance to a bastardized form of the Catholic religion and you have a steaming cauldron of "such terrible despite".

I personally feel entirely at peace with letting them have their little monument because if any enlightened, educated persons happen to see it in passing, they can simply drive on by since I'm sure they don't call Woonsocket home. Leave it for them, I say, the ignorant masses need their pablum. Or, like a weak little baby deprived of its momma's sore tit, the woeful wailing will commence.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

D3, DV, E3 And The TOV

Whew! What a weekend of distraction!

There was no lack of interesting things to keep me occupied this weekend. No time for crying over lost dreams, dire loneliness and the futility of life. No, none of that bull.

This weekend was full to the brim with new discoveries and fascinations.

First, I finally broke out the dusty wallet and bought Diablo III. Let me tell you, this game rocks! I never really got into the other 2 in the series and I'm not entirely sure why. But this one is holding my interest and the graphics are so pretty. Maybe that's what matters...because without luscious graphics, one gets bored of the same old slash and gash style of play as you enter one "dungeon" after another.

As I think of it, that's what set the Fallout series apart too. But it's more than just the graphics, it's the element of surprise, and a slow reveal of more and more interesting environments for your character. The music adds to it too as well as the plot and interactivity. I guess it'd be best to say it's the whole atmosphere of the game. It has to be just right...and Diablo III certainly is.

We'll see how enthusiastic I am about the game if my account gets hacked...as I hear that's a problem. The chat scroll on the bottom left of the game screen shows an already active spamming community buying and selling in-game gold. Oy veh!

I was watching the Yogscast play-through on YouTube when Simon mentioned some quote which Lewis felt would fall on deaf ears due to its apparent obscurity. Not one to be daunted by that, I figured it out to be from this guy who runs a daily podcast radio show called "Distorted View" featuring all manner of twisted things from the internet and beyond. On one YouTube video he did, it gave a bit of insight into his sick, twisted mind. He'd re-dubbed a clip of a Dutch comedy soap opera that features all Down's Syndrome actors called "Downisty"(a play on "Dynasty"). I kid you not, this is real. But his re-edited version makes it even more sick, if that's even possible!



Needless to say, I love this guy.

Of course E3 is going on this week and I watched G4 Channel's coverage of the opening day for hours last night. Who ever said that E3 was passé?

The Sony and Microsoft news media events were shown and I'll tell you, they seem to spare no expense. Microsoft's XBOX 360 people even rolled out Usher to plug its dance competition video game.

The upcoming games on either system look awesome, of course. It's getting quite difficult to distinguish live action from computer generated now. Truly some newer games are like watching, and being a part of, a big budget Hollywood action film. Even in D3, I noticed, the cut scenes, all CGI, looked so realistic, it is breathtaking. Man, we've come a long way from the Atari 2600 days of my youth!

Just an hour or so ago I was scanning my iGoogle headlines, reading about the drone attacks in Pakistan (Isn't that illegal in international law? Meh!) and other assorted humdrum stuff when I noticed that Venus was in transit across the sun right now. Cool! The Exploratorium in San Francisco was showing a live feed from Mauna Loa and accompanied it with some really cool new age riff that was being composed (presumably by computers) on the spot as the transit takes place. Sounded sweet!

So now I get ready to go back into work tonight and bid adieu to my interesting weekend. Only now to be supplanted with hours and hours of streaming indie films and documentaries, and perhaps a bit of a game or two.

Oh my job is so tough. Ya right...I'm living the dream, and I know it!