The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sorry I have been “absent” from blogging for a few days; being a grown-up sucks. Life always “gets in the way” of all (most?) of the fun stuff I’d like to do, like blogging, eating M&M’s all day, etc. One fun thing that DID happen was a great – and I mean GREAT – Halloween party over the weekend. Hosted by our friends Mike and Chris, this year’s party (themed CarnEVIL) was pretty kick ass, as always…

My beloved Martin LOVES Halloween – no, really, REALLY loves it. And that is OK – I kinda’ like it, too. It is a silly, scary holiday and it is fun getting dressed up for the parties and trick-or-treating. Anyway, it should come as no surprise that, given his love of Halloween, one of Martin’s favorite movies of all time is Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It is a super cute movie, very well done, and we had it playing Saturday as we were getting in character/costume for CarnEVIL. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, you must. It is a visual delight and the soundtrack? Perfection.

Speaking of the soundtrack, “This Is Halloween” (a song from the movie) has been running thru my head for the past 30 hours or so – click the image below to be “linked” to a recording with lyrics.


The movie is pretty spectacular – Jack Skellington and Sally? The perfect Romeo and Juliet for Halloween. Please, click the link above, give it a listen, then rent this movie. You will be glad you did!


Have a great week, everyone, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN in advance!

Teletubbies Goodnight

Today was my sixth day of working in a row, in a sequence of nine days before I get a day off. I am not complaining; in fact, I am thankful for both the jobs I have – it’s just that my mind is a bit “fuzzy” at this point and, try as I might, I have not been able to divine a clear topic or theme for tonight’s blog post. So, rather than “phone in” some lame-ass blathering, I will instead simply register my apologies in advance, and leave you all with this cute picture of the Teletubbies. Why, you ask? Why not? ‘Nite, y’all. Back tomorrow!


From left: Po, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Tinky-Winky (with purse)

DJ Pillow

For almost a year and half, when I was in my early twenties, I worked three jobs at once: I worked Monday thru Friday from 9A till noon at Richard’s Nite Club, cleaning  the club then serving lunch to between 20-30 guests every day; by 1P Monday thru Friday, I was at my second job as Stock Supervisor at Sport & Toy City, working there till 9P every day. And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, I doubled back to Richard’s, DJ-ing the hottest dance tracks from 10P till 2A, bar time. It was a lot of fun, I made (what felt like at the time) a ton of money and I never had a chance to spend any of it. Life was good.

I was also 21 to 22 years old. I am now 56. Yup – FIVE SIX.

I am currently working two jobs and today I pulled a “double” – I worked my first job 10A till noon, then worked my second job 1P till almost 8:45P. The second job, BTW, involves STANDING. ALWAYS. STANDING. I love BOTH my jobs a lot but I am a wee bit exhausted as I write this post…

Here are my plans for the rest of the evening; they hearken back, in a manner of speaking, to my old DJ “roots” some now 30+ years ago…

Off to bedThat’s right, “Club BED” here I come, I had fun today but my feet (as well as all the rest of me) are beat. B-E-A-T. So, see you back here tomorrow. ‘Nite!

Timmy the Tuba

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has had a great holiday. I have always loved the Fourth of July not only for all the standard reasons – parades, tons of food/cookouts, fireworks – but also because of the MUSIC. Yes, the music that is associated with The Fourth of July. As a former tuba player (hence the title of today’s post), no other holiday “embraced the tuba” like a fine, patriotic march on The Fourth. And, without a doubt, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa is one of my favorites – it’s a “tuba showcase.”

TubaTo learn a bit about the history of “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and to hear a beautiful performance of the march, please click the image above.

So, unfortunately, there was no parade, food or fireworks for me this year but I’ll always have this awesome march, and all the memories connected to it. If it possible that a composer can actually transfer his very soul into a single piece of music, this must be Sousa’s “soul piece.” Every time I hear it, I get goose bumps and on the occasions when I am fortunate enough to listen to this stirring march AND watch fireworks, I usually cry because it is so powerful and beautiful. Sigh… Once that tuba gets in your blood, LOL! Please enjoy.

CLE PRIDE “Wrap Up” 2014

Today (actually yesterday, at this point) was the 26th Annual Gay PRIDE celebration in Cleveland, Ohio. As with a number of years past, I was unable to attend due to work obligations and just general “grown-upp’ed-ness.” It is Sunday morning, 12:52 AM as I write this, and I know “the clubs” are still teeming with post-PRIDE revelers, riding the high of a day spent just “being gay,” fueled by inspiring speeches, I’m sure an electrifying performance by CLE PRIDE headliner Debra Gibson (the former “Electric Youth” Debbie Gibson of my early/mid 20’s), an army of female impersonators, gender queers, gay families with kids, gay families with dogs/cats/iguanas, LGBT vets, Gay and Gray groups, etc.

And The “Beer Garden,” the most popular attraction at any gay PRIDE celebration.   😉

PrideParadeRainbowBannerI found this image on BING; if you know the source/photographer, please let me know so I can credit it properly.

As for me? I just woke up beside three piles of clean-but-yet-to-be-folded laundry on my bed. It appears I have slept thru another PRIDE…

I mean no disrespect, and have actually enjoyed the images/status updates that have peppered my Facebook page all day. Cleveland PRIDE is 26 years old, one of the oldest continual PRIDE celebrations in America. That fact alone is a source of PRIDE (get it?) According to (see link above), early estimates place PRIDE attendance this year at around 32,000 people. Not bad, CLE, not bad. Is it the 500,000 that Capitol PRIDE (Columbus, Ohio) boasted, or the over one MILLION said to attend World PRIDE in Toronto a week or so ago? Not even close – but I am PROUD of our PRIDE here in Cleveland, and thankful for its continued presence in our community.

I wish I could have supported PRIDE this year, but as so often happens, life and responsibilities got in the way again. For years I attended PRIDE and felt connected to a much larger community than was typically my day-to-day existence. For one day, for those few hours, we ARE all just one people – the barriers of sexuality, gender, race, class, age and ability all seem to fall away and for those few magical hours, we are all the same. I think THAT is the true magic and meaning/purpose of any PRIDE event. I never thought of it as a coming together of all these diverse groups within our own community, our community just being one diverse group within the much larger context of the general population; instead, I always likened gay PRIDE to a pride rally in high school – you know, the event before a big game where all the sub-groups of school (jocks, nerds, The Plastics, the every mans, all of them) just come together under one, singular umbrella to celebrate and build spirit. That is what PRIDE feels like to me – a gathering of many different people with one common goal – to celebrate all the facets of the LGBTQQIT/SA experience (we have WAY too many letters now, LOL!)

So, CONGRATS Cleveland, on another year of PRIDE! I hope the “party” goes beyond the next few hours, after the bars close, and continues for days, weeks, months and years to come. If “The Gays” know one thing, it is how to throw a party – let’s keep the spirit and purpose of this one going for as long as possible…

Mid 70’s Summer Music

Today was the first day it really, REALLY felt like summer to me. The sun and sky were awesome, the temperature perfect and I had a really lovely day with my Beloved. And, weird as it sounds, a number of songs just kept playing over and over in my head…

The group performing my “head songs” was Seals & Crofts, a sort of pop/folk/easy listening duo from the mid/late 1970’s. I love them, and their music always reminds me of summer. I suppose they remind me of summer because at the first job I ever had, at fifteen in the summer of 1973, the jukebox at Paul’s Drive-In in Shelby, Ohio, had a LOT of Seals & Crofts tunes on it. After every shift, as we were closing the restaurant – breaking down the ice cream machines, mopping out the walk-ins, vacuuming the dining room, etc. – Bob, the awesome son-in-law-of-Paul-and-manager of Paul’s Drive-In would put unlimited tunes on the jukebox, turn it up crazy loud and let us have music as we cleaned/set up for the next day. That was when I fell in love with Seals & Crofts. And every time I hear their songs, I think back to two of the happiest summers of my life. I was fifteen/sixteen, working (making $1.05/hour – plus side tips from the car hops!) and I had free music at my fingertips. Take a listen to these three tunes. They are nostalgic, sweet and beautiful. Enjoy! 


summer breeze

Eurovision 2014

So tonight, after yet another annoying few days at the J-O-B, I plan on couch-crashing with my Sweetie and enjoying the second, semi-final round of Eurovision 2014.

What is Eurovision, you ask?


According to Wikipedia, the Eurovision Song Contest is “…an annual song competition held among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956. Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally.” So, yeah, take that American Idol, The Voice and every version of The X Factor. Before any of you, there was Eurovision.

I was introduced to Eurovision via Martin, and it was amazing to watch. The variety of acts and the differences between countries is astounding. I am pretty excited to watch Round Two of the Semi-Finals tonight with my Sweetie. I caught a few of the acts from Round One earlier this week – amazing…

The Eurovison 2014 stage and venue are ridiculous, as in ree-dick-yoo-lus…


To give you some idea of what the stage “does,” here is a video clip of Austrian contestant Conchita Wurst‘s second rehearsal – Conchita’s song entry is titled “Rise Like a Phoenix”: 

Conchita is an interesting contestant – s/he presents as a woman (beautiful woman) with a full beard. Here she is:


Conchita has a sort of Kim-Kardashian-meets-immaculately-groomed-Arabic-prince-meets-Shirley-Bassey presence. I personally really, really like her song, and I think the lyrics have personal significance to the performer. I know Conchita is a polarizing personality but, beyond all else, Eurovision IS a vocal competition so I hope the BEST vocalist wins, regardless of how he or she looks…

Check out Eurovision 2014 online here – and enjoy!

Pick 3 – Spin the Globe

Today is a tedious day at work – as in TEE.DEE.US. The day has been kinda’ slow and full of non-stop “busy work.” The highpoint? I am listening to “Spin the Globe” on iTunes. It is one of the stations that plays international music – some new, some old, all good. The songs are all good (at least to me!) Here are my three favorite picks from today’s playlist – please, listen and enjoy!

Easter (Musical) Memories

My therapist always tells me that “Once a Catholic, ALWAYS a Catholic.” I guess I have to agree with her, although that statement implies that everything about Catholicism is “bad.” There certainly are, without question, some “flaws” in that faith but I do have found memories of it growing up. I loved the pageantry of it all: priests in vestments, and candles and incense and murals and stained glass windows and even the “mystery” of Latin (I grew up in an old-skool parish, pre-Vatican 2).

And the music – gosh, I LOVED the music. At least prior to the “Folk/Guitar Mass” era, LOL!

Hymns. I love hymns. Music resonates deeply with me no matter the genre, and hymns? OMG. To write a hymn, a musical piece honoring God and your faith? Wow. As a devout composer, could it get ANY better than that? I like hymns because they move people – they stir the religious conviction inside the devout and practically possess them. I always thought that singing a hymn with conviction was one level below speaking in tongues. It was like your very soul turned to song for God to hear.

I have a personal “Sacred Top Ten” – maybe one day I will share that entire list with you all. But today, Easter Sunday, is the day that one of probably my top TWO, all-time favorite hymns happen. The hymn is “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” and it is amazing. Believed to have originally come down from a 14th century Latin carol, the song “grabs” people and even those parishioners who are stone cold tone deaf belt it out with brio and verve. I.Love.It. I almost cry every time I hear it (once a Catholic, right?) The song builds and builds until, by the final chorus, the ladies I always nicknamed the warblers are literally screaming the lyrics out in church at the top of their lungs. Their male counterparts, the guys I always nicknamed the growlers, are also mumbling along in their loudest, baritone monotones… Regrettably, most recordings available on YouTube are pretty perfect performance pieces but this vid clip is close to what I remember from growing up in The Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church parish in Shelby, Ohio. No matter your religious beliefs – or if you have none at all – there is no disputing that this song can “make you a believer,” if only for a few verses…

Enjoy, and Happy Easter, everyone!

BTW, here are a few images of The Most Pure Heart of Mary Church in Shelby – it still exists today, and is as beautiful now as it appears in the first undated image (which is how I will always remember the Church – only full of people.)

MPHM Shelby card



Brain Jello

We listen to a variety of music at work, coming to us through a variety of providers – Pandora, personal play lists, iTunes, etc. It’s nice to be able to have diversity in music – I mean some days you feel like losing yourself in Trance Radio and other days you feel more like jammin’ to “80’s Anthems,” am I right? Anyhow, today I selected “Today’s Smooth Jazz” as the channel that would be our background music.

After almost seven hours now, my brain feels like this:

brain jelloI mean, really – what the heck IS “smooth jazz” anyway, some sort of over-the-counter tranquilizer for your head? I have to admit, for the first hour or so, it was OK but at some point apparently I transitioned into a “Twilight Sleep” state and just now realized it is 5PM…

Today’s Smooth Jazz. Now available without a prescription on your favorite music service. Enjoy – but not too much…