Monday, October 31, 2005

The new, improved YAHOO E-MAIL...
Now, made MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than it has to be!

My main e-mail account is through YAHOO, and lately, just lately, they've began doing something "different" every time I send e-mail. After I've typed the e-mail, and hit the "send" button, up pops a "word match" screen. It's (supposedly) easy to do. Yahoo tells you to type the letters you see below, and once you do so correctly, then your e-mail gets sent. Fail it twice, and your e-mail gets flushed and you've gotta start over!

"How hard can this be", you ask. "How could you not be able to match the Yahoo letters, after all, Yahoo puts the letters right in front of you", you might say. To which I reply, "ah, but it's not as easy as it looks." Yahoo gives you DISTORTED LETTERS with lines protruding through them, and some of the letter sequences they've sent me have been impossible to read. Consider the following:

What the HELL is this? "aXB7"? "dVB7"? "aYB7"? See what I mean here? This site,, makes you do a word-match whever you make a "comment", but the "blogger" word-match is far easier than the damn gobbledygook YAHOO throws at me, now, each and every time I send an e-mail. I am never sure I've got the Yahoo word-match "right" until I actually find my e-mail has been sent.

I hope someone from Yahoo googles this blogsite and reads this entry. Yahoo has made e-mail far more DIFFICULT than it needs to be. Just goes to show what happens when computer-nerds with time on their hands get together to make things "better"! We are currently "inventing" ourselves into total obsolescence!

Going "Batty" on HALLOWEEN?

SOMEONE on the interactive blogsite I go to ( posted a picture of a Halloween pumpkin, only it was carved with the eyes and smile done "computer style" know, the semi-colon (;) followed by the end's sort of a sideways smile; you probably see it hundreds of times a week in e-mails, etc.

Well, the pumpkin didn't look quite right to me. The "sideways smile" (;)) and all that. So, I turned the pumpkin AROUND so that the smile was at the bottom and the eyes were at the top, you know, sorta like a human face...and here's the end result:

Somehow it STILL doesn't look right, but I think it's kinda cool. Freaky, even. Welcome to my left-handed, right-brained world. This is how I see things. Happy Halloween!


I usually go to the good ol' "Google" search engine to find pictures of things I wanna post about (like the "Goat" photo in the post below this one). Well, it looks like the folks at Google have a sense of humor; in honor of Halloween, they've revised their logo to look like this:

I think that's really cool...a big organization with a sense of humor. That's why I have "The Gecko" when it comes to car insurance. Their commercials are hilarious! Anyway, it is Halloween Evening; I've got candy by the front door, so hopefully some ghosts and goblins will stop by. If not, it looks like I'LL be "goblin" the candy!

I am probably in the minority on this issue, but if I see ONE MORE REFERENCE to that damn play that will be in Spokane for the next 6 weeks, I'm gonna dropkick my TV and Radio! It's "Lion King" this, "Lion King" that, and it's all over the newspapers as well. COME ON, PEOPLE, it's only a damn PLAY! It doesn't RATE that much importance! Talk about beating a DEAD HORSE! I am actually STEAMED about this!

Gasoline Dept.: I don't know if "where" I get gas is the cheapest place in town; I go there because their PUMPS are the easiest ones to use. Up at the A&D mini-mart on the corner of 4th and Appleway (I still think it's "Best Avenue"), I paid 2.36.9 today. I put in my customary $20 dollars-worth, and was happy to see the needle in the gas gauge actually above HALF-FULL for a change!

It's always fun going around to different businesses and seeing employees dressed up in Halloween costumes. A young lady dressed up like a '60's hippie served me breakfast this morning; elsewhere, restaurant employees were dressed as gangsters and witches. Same thing at the grocery store. I think it's great when businesses let their employees "get goofy" once in a while. I hope it's not a disappearing tradition!

While eating breakfast, Donovan's song, "Season of the Witch" came out over the restaurant's speakers. All I need to hear now is "Monster Mash" and my Halloween will be complete. Then, all I'll need is a woman who looks like Elvira, and I'll die a happy man. With a smile on my face.

Halloween Rimshot Dept.: I never buy a Halloween Costume. My regular everyday "Human Being" costume is scary enough. Ba-da-BING!

Speed Trap USA dept.: Exercise caution going down 15th Street, south of Harrison; that's one of the CDA cops' favorite places to hang a speeding ticket on ya. Sirens were a-blazin' this afternoon; cars were crawling down that narrow arterial; I wondered why everyone was going so slow...and right there, by Person Field, a crew-cut public servant in blue was scratching out a ticket, for a hapless motorist who was probably wishing he was somewhere else at the time.

Paperback Writer dept.: I guess there's another biography of the Beatles that's gonna be hitting the shelves soon, if it hasn't already been released. I have read so many Beatles' books by I have their 10-DVD set of the "Anthology" series. I have the $60.00 coffee-table "Anthology" BOOK. Now, THIS biography is supposed to tell the REAL story. All the infighting, all the head trips, all the facts. I suppose it's a case of "take it all with a grain of salt."

I'll wait for the new Beatles-Bio to come out in paperback. I'm one of those Beatles' collectors who says "NOT AGAIN!" whenever a new Beatles book or DVD is released, but then again, I fork out the wallet and part with hard cold cash. And I haven't even mentioned the "Beatles collectibles" I've bought on Ebay!

Well, that's the end of another posting. It's getting cooooold out there, so don't stand in the Pumpkin Patch, waiting for the "Great Pumpkin" too long or you might freeze. Time now for me to watch Monday Night Football and see if any unsuspecting trick-or-treaters are brave enough to approach my doorstep.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Murder, scandal, politics, debating, investigations, yadda yadda yadda. All these things are components of the news. Without bad news, there'd be no reason for newscasts. Yadda yadda yadda. But, in the news business, there's such a thing as "kickers". In short, a little off-the-wall news item that perhaps is designed to prove that even the scandal-mongering talking heads have a sense of humor, too.

At the end of the evening newscast tonight, there was a story about California's newest firefighters, who provide a unique service. In fact, they "fight nature with nature". I'm talking about GOATS...

In short, the goats roam the hillsides, eating almost everything in sight. Goats, of course, are known for eating plants almost down to the roots. Which is why goat farmers don't get along with sheep farmers. The goats leave virtually nothing behind. In fact, your typical goat consumes 5% of its body weight each day. A typical herd of goats can munch down an area equal to your typical golf course in nothing flat. And there are people who actually RENT OUT herds of goats! American capitalism in action!

This, of course, cuts down on the amount of foliage that can burn. Heck, the goats even eat POISON OAK! Maybe we oughta turn a herd loose on those annoying red ego-dendrums which mark the territory of a local hospitality magnate. That could be fun!

Halloween is upon us. BOO! Remember when kids used to say, "trick or treet, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!" Or perhaps you've heard the old joke: "What do you get when you grab a ghost from behind? A handful of SHEET!" When I became too old to trick or treat, I would take my little sister around to all the neighborhoods across the city I used to visit. She'd ride on the bar of my bicycle...she would take two sacks; first she would fill up her big sack, and then she'd fill up a little sack for me. She didn't mind. She got to trick-or-treat in neighborhoods she normally wouldn't get to go to. Halloween in CDA, way-back when.

I've heard ROD STEWART is releasing a FOURTH CD of "old" songs. Is this overkill? Who is buying these things? Sure, Rod's a great singer. To me, it feels like he's thumbing his nose at rock and roll. "Sell-out", I'm thinking. I remember back in the '70s...he was a really great SONGWRITER. Rod, what happened? Have you ever heard his song, "Mandolin Wind"? Absolutely masterful. Now he's doing "Making Whoopee" with ELTON JOHN. (In song, that is) (I felt I had to clarify that) I love Elton's music. But my image of him is tarnished. A recent "biography" program showed him sitting on the couch with his newest boyfriend. Sorry, I guess I'm just not that liberal.

Musical mis-match dept.: I heard that the macho-swaggering PAUL RODGERS, of Bad Company fame, is joining QUEEN? As with Elton, I loved Freddie Mercury's singing and writing, even if I didn't care for his lifestyle. And now Paul Rodgers is gonna take Freddie's place? Paul Rodgers in Queen would be sorta like HULK HOGAN guest-appearing with the New York Ballet Co. I just don't get it!

It must be Standard Time dept.: The shroud of darkness arrived a wee-bit early today. Gosh. I don't know; a day is a day is a day, I suppose. So now I've gotta cope with that, in addition to there being no more baseball on TV. I 'spose there's always football! In tonite's Buffalo-New England game, a young player who had a mild stroke earlier this season, is back in the lineup. I hope he does okay. With that, I'll close. Gonna watch the game now!

For those who don't come by here on the weekends, there are a couple of "new" posts below this one. I wouldn't want you to miss out on any of the excitement, after all! (ZZZZZzzzzzzzz)

IN THE VALLEY OF THE JOLLY (ho, ho, ho)...

"Have you heard about the jolly green giant (CORN!)
He's so big and mean (AND CELERY STALKS!)
He stands there laughin' with his hands on his hips,
And then he hits you with a can of BEANS! (ouch!)"
--The Kingsmen, big hit single, 1965

I like to read the papers, but while everyone seems to be obsessing on scandals, negativism and bad news (well, I do notice those things), it's the weird stuff that hits me...such as a little article which said that 80-year old Elmer Dressler died today. "Who's he?", you ask...well, he was the voice that said "HO HO HO" on the old Jolly Green Giant commercials. Rest in peace, Elmer!

Evidently there is a big statue of the Jolly Green Giant, somewhere back in Missouri, that seems to be quite the tourist attraction. This, then, would be that statue. I think the closest thing we've got to that would be at the Paul Bunyan drive-in on Northwest Boulevard, a sign that the ultra-repressive "sign committee" here can't touch, because it was grandfathered in, so to speak. In short, ol' "Paul Bunyan" was in place long before current sign regs were adopted.

So, as so often happens, "one thing" reminds me of "something else". The "Jolly Green Giant" inspired a hit record of the same name, back in 1965, and it was done by The Kingsmen, who achieved relative immortality with their version of "Louie Louie". (Which would make a GREAT "state song" for Washington State). I can just see it now...the senators and reps convene, after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and then singing "Louie Louie" en masse.

And here it is..."THE JOLLY GREEN GIANT" by the KIngsmen. I thot it was really cool, the way one of the band members yelled out names of 'vegetables' in-between the lead singer's phrasings. Really cool stuff. Although, I heard an early Paul Revere and the Raiders album, on which there is a song called "Big Boy Pete"...which has the SAME EXACT TUNE, albeit with different words. Did anyone ever sue the Kingsmen for stealing the tune of "Big Boy Pete"? By the way, "Big Boy Pete", I believe, was originally recorded by the Olympics, back in the 50's somewhere.

So anyway, while I was searching for "Jolly Green Giant" photos on Google, I ran across the following satirical item. Way back when, you could buy these little off-the-wall items and stick them everywhere. I remember when "Ugly stickers" were a big thing. They would picture a huge, slimy, slobbering monster with someone's name typed above. Well, this isn't one of those, but I thot it was kinda cool:

I used to love all of the old MAD magazine articles...I remember, as a kid, reading a Mad satire of "2001: A Space Odyssey"; only it was called, "20:01: A Space Idiocy". That kind of humor really appeals to me. Such as, for instance, you've seen the old sign that says, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Well, once, I saw a sign in a restaurant that caused me to do a double-take. The sign read:



Why do we do this to ourselves? I suppose you'd go nuts if you thought about it too much. It wasn't that long ago, after all, that we were speaking of that garguantian gargoyle of a slobbering, salivating, drooling, insatiable blog monster. (sounds gross, doesn't it?)

So, anyway, I found a neat little philosophy which does one of two things: (1) It sums up a blogger's objectives, and (2) it mentions the name of MY BLOG in the process. Way cool!

Of course, in my case, perhaps the ideas need to get weeded out once in a while, but you get the idea. In the meantime, a way-too-long posting lurks below. But it does contain ideas. Nothing concrete, but ideas.

"Nothing concrete, but ideas"? Hmmm...I would think most politicians would have that on their resumes!

(or, further adventures in listening to obscure vinyl artifacts!)

I've always prided myself on trying to listen to music that no one else listens to. Right now, as I'm typing this, I'm hearing the new 3-CD set of "Live" songs by "Yes", and I was really surprised to find that on disc 3, there are two songs on there that were never put on any studio album by "Yes"! Groovy, far out and SOLID, I say!

Anyway, I started off tonight's vinyl-spinning session by listening to 3 albums by NEKTAR. Nope, they never had a hit here, although some of their albums charted in the Billboard Hot 100, not that I give a damn about that. Some of the best music NEVER makes the charts. NEKTAR is a British band that resides in Germany. Might have something to do with the fact that if you're an entertainer in Britain, the government takes 95% of your taxes. Ack!!! Many British musicians end up being known as "tax exiles".

NEKTAR plays what is called "progressive rock"; rock that intersperses classical elements, as well as weird, jagged time signatures, and bands such as Nektar occasionally indulge in long song-suites, sometimes taking up an entire side of an album. Which is why I like "YES" so much; I love the instrumental interplay. I suppose it's no wonder that I found myself liking jazz as well; last nite, I listened to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" album for the first time. I'm not sure what he's doing there, but it's interesting! That's how I approach music. Hence, radio programmers and I often violently disagree on music matters.

I ended up listening to Nektar albums tonite, because a friend had lent me a "Reunion Concert" DVD featuring all the original Nektar members. It took place in New York, and I was surprised the band had that much of a following. I've had Nektar albums in my own collection for ages, and after seeing this DVD, I went in, dug out the old albums, and re-acquainted myself. I played "Down To Earth", "Remember The Future" and "A Tab In The Ocean"; those three albums are regarded as progressive-rock "classics" from the '70s.

After "Nektarizing" for a while, I was in the process of putting the albums back in my collection. I've got everything arranged alphabetically. Not far from the "N"'s were the "P"'s. And I spied a couple of albums by Premiata Formeria Marconi, an ITALIAN progressive-rock band. I remembered that one of those albums wasn't very good. So I played it again, and while there were good "Passages" in it, it was just kinda dull. It didn't help that the Italian Musicians had difficulty singing English lyrics, written for them by King Crimson's lyricist, Pete Sinfield.

So, I pulled out another album by that group...a "live", in-concert side recorded in New York, the other side in Toronto, during 1974. On this later album, Premiata Formeria Marconi shortened their name to "P.F.M.", and the album was titled, "Cook". I was hoping that on a live album, they'd play with a little more fire and urgency. And I tells ya, I wasn't disappointed! Here's the album:

In several places on this record, you'll find intense dueling between electric guitar and electric violin. In other places, there are hushed keyboard and acoustic guitar passages, and even though these Italians still sing English with a thick accent, this album is a lot more fun, because they're playing in front of a crowd, and they really KICK!!! I was surprised to find, that in places, P.F.M. sounds a lot like the Mahavishnu Orchestra, what with intense, intense instrumental battles between musicians.

I like pop music, too, and have followed the charts all my life. But sometimes, a song that takes its time "getting there" is just what the doctor ordered. I think I rebel, consciously or otherwise, against heavily formatted, programmed, dull, stupid music. So I try to seek out "what else" is out there. A blogger I know has been sending me "various-artists" compilation CD's of current material; some of that stuff is pretty interesting too. But not right now. I've got that YES CD playing right now, you see.


Well, as you see, I can get pretty long-winded about musical things. But I'll tell ya something; if it wasn't for music, I would've lost my mind long ago. Music has always been there. When times have been bad, when people have lied to me or used me, when I've been made fun of, music was always there.


There was an article in the paper today about the "ruts" in the roads over in Spokane, and how, next year, on-and-off ramps were going to be closed in the city's downtown in order to "de-rut" the roads. (As if driving on I-90 isn't hard enough now) It seems like, a couple years after roads have been smoothed out, ruts appear again. It's just not in Spokane; I notice 'em near State Line; I noticed 'em on I-5 heading south in Oregon when I was down there this year. Is pavement "cheaper quality" these days, or are there that many more people out there, wearing out the roads? I don't think it's just "studs" that wear ruts in the road; not many people in the Eugene, Oregon area have cause to use safety studs.


Tonite (Saturday)/Sunday Morning is the time we turn our clocks BACK one hour. I heard someone on TV provide a (unique or not) insight: (I've never heard it before)...this is actually the longest day of the year. It's 25 hours long. Of course, I've had some "Mondays" that felt 'double'-that. Especially when I was driving cab. The things we do to ourselves, huh?


Kids, you might wanna prepare yourselves for SCANDAL. An aide to Karl Rove (the "Scooter" guy) has been indicted. Rove has been told he won't be indicted YET, but the investigation will continue. Ties to the Vice President are being looked into. The old Watergate question will soon (if has not been already) be exhumed: "What did he know and when did he know it?" I wrote in a previous post that "it can't be fun to be Prezzident Bush these days", to which someone commented, "it's not fun having him for PRESIDENT these days".


On the YES Concert DVD I'm listening to right now, a song which, to me, is the perfect marriage of Top-40 popularity and progressive-rock respectability: "Owner of a Lonely Heart"...I just LOVE that song. Yeah, some of the more dyed-in-the-wool anti-top 40 YES diehards will think I'm nuts (always a possibility), but, hey, I was diggin' on "Heart Of The Sunrise", a bona-fide YES progressive classic before this song came on!


Here's something that should tell ya that the economy is gettin' real bad: A casino, Marilyn's Casino in Spokane, is being CLOSED! What next, will PAWN SHOPS be soon going out of business? And, the Tidyman's grocerial store in the Spokane Valley is closing too. Is it time to go back to the barter system yet? Should I be digging myself an underground bunker? And of course, the Penny Candy Store in downtown CDA is saying bye-bye. I guess people must be saving their pennies.


Maybe I have no business commenting on Politix because I'm so ignorant, but I'll throw this out there. George Nethercutt has now joined a law firm. He's a lawyer. And you've heard all the lawyer jokes. George should fit right in. After all, he'll be forever remembered for LYING to the voters on the term-limit thing. The voters remembered, too, years later when he tried to run against Patty Murray. She has a pretty positive image, so far.


Sheesh, this has been a long post. Sorry 'bout that. Hope some of it was interesting. Of course, sometimes when I go back and read over my old posts, I think I'M an idiot! Anyway, I'll leave you's guys with another little image, proving my "THIN AIR" concept is not original AT ALL:

Okay, that's it. Torture session over. You can go now. I've been informed and entertained by the comments I've been receiving here as of late. I try to answer all of them. So if you think I've got anything important to say (which is endlessly debatable), check the comments section of whatever post you originally commented on. Out and Over!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Coeur d'Alene actually had a USO???

You betcha...evidently we had one here back in the World War II days, and I do believe it was located in City Park (it might've still been called "Blackwell Park" back then).

At the top is a "real" "pre-color" photo of the USO, and at the bottom, is a color postcard (a drawing from a photo, I presume) which shows it surrounded by some sort of social gathering.

I know that the Farragut Naval Base in Bayview was a going concern back then, and perhaps there were others who were stationed in Spokane (was there an Air Force Base (Army Air corps?) over there back then, and perhaps other servicemen were stationed here in CDA. If indeed that's the case, there woulda been a lot of servicemen in this area who may have partaken of the USO's amenities.

As you can see, I'm really foggy on this, but I thought I'd throw it out there; perhaps I'll get comments from people who actually went into the USO or had older friends or relatives that did. Here, it looks like quite a big structure, but like so many other things around our fair city, it vanished without a trace.

There's another multi-part posting lurking below; I'd like to think that the reader who enters this blogsite approaches it with a spirit of "he/she'll never know what he'll/she'll get". Hence, this little single-item entry.

I "Googled" MY BLOG!!!

Since I have no social life at all, I have plenty of time for useless activity. Such as, "Googling" myself. So, I thot, for fun, I'd put my blog's title, "Thin Air" into the Google machinery to see what Google would spit back out at me. Turns out I'm not original at all. I ran into two other "Thin Air" blogsites, and the term "Thin Air" has been used for a whole lotta things. So over the next few postings, I'll feature various "Thin Air" things here and there. I wish I was more computer-savvy; I'd install the little gizmo you see below as a "header" for my blog. Oh well. But I think it's kinda cool...

I think this is used by some Colorado TV station; I suppose that anyone who lives in that state, has an inherent right to claim "thin air". Me, I use it because I grab my ideas out of thin air, whether they make sense or not. That's easy to tell as you read my postings!

News-4 aired a little "kicker" story about a little kid who emerged from a dentist's office with a bruised cheek. Seems that the little boy cried out in pain, even after several novocaine injections, and the dentist got P.O.'ed, swore at the kid, and HIT HIM and told him to shut up! That is not so far-fetched. I had the same thing happen to me in the dentist's chair. I was getting wisdom teeth pulled. I got injected over and over, and still there was pain. The dentist's face turned red, he clenched his shaking fist, and I thot he was gonna blow his stack. Hey, man, pain is PAIN and I don't think some dentists have any clue of how badly they scare people. Like me.

National news juxtaposition department: (2 stories in today's paper)

ITEM #1: Exxon Mobil is raking in high profits in spite of (or because of) all the hurricane disasters the southern U.S. has been facing. An interesting point in all of this: The service-station owners ain't gettin' any richer!

ITEM #2: The Red Cross is faced with borrowing money in its quest to (attempt to) alleviate the effects of the Hurricane disasters. So, I think Exxon Mobil should get together with the Red Cross and share the wealth! Yeah, right, dream on...

It didn't just RAIN this afternoon in Coeur d'Alene, it rained CATS AND DOGS! How do I know? I stepped in a "poodle". Let's just say that the coffee shop had a "captive clientele" for a couple of hours while the rain poureth down. Funny it was raining 'cats & dogs', I didn't see the "Animal Control" truck on the streets. But the Parking Nazi in his little tin cart was out there putting his infantile chalk marks on tires. I wonder how many people got parking tickets because the rain washed the chalk offa the tires? "Oh, no chalk mark YET, so I can park here a little longer!", a typical downtown worker who parks all day on the streets might say to him/herself upon checking the tyres of his/her vehicle.

Spokane's "Rookery" block, which contains historic old buildings in its downtown, is on "death watch" now. Look for a swinging wrecker ball to swing thru the atmosphere pretty soon. Hmmm, Spokane has something in common with obviously doesn't care about its history! Maybe the guy who bought the Davenport should buy the Rookery block. How 'bout it?

62% of those polled are in favor of recalling Spokane Mayor Jim West. One person who spoke of that situation said, that even if Mr. West has done a good job as mayor, he still has no ethics as far as his current troubles are concerned. Mr. West should just step down; he'd save the people of Spokane (as well as himself) a lot of grief and agony. Even if he has to forego some sort of "pension" or whatever in doing so.

I don't go "to the movies" as a rule, but there's a couple of new ones that I'm tempted to go see. And of course, if I go to the movies, I HAVE to get greasy popcorn. It's a rule. If you don't have greasy popcorn at a movie, you're a COMMUNIST! Anyway, one movie is the story of the Ed Murrow TV program that took Senator McCarthy (who accused everyone else of being a communist) to task for his pathologically fanatical pursuit of those he thought were "unamerican". The other movie is the story of Johnny Cash, who is one of my heroes. His "prison" albums (Folsom and San Quentin) are true musical documents. So, what's it gonna cost me to see two movies at CDA's new paranoid-complex multi-cinema monolith? Do I need to take out a loan to afford 'em?

I read that this year's World Series was the lowest-viewed, EVER. People weren't that interested in baseball this year. Why? Last year, Boston was the sentimental favorite because it hadn't won a series since the Ice Age, and this year, the White Sox embarked upon a similar quest. They hadn't won the series since the age of the Dinosaurs. But for those who didn't watch, you missed some great baseball. Every game was a thriller. Well, maybe next year the Chicago Cubs will win it all. They haven't won a world series since the dawn of creation.

I finally figured out how to program my VCR! Actually, if I can do it, that means one of two things: Either I'm smarter than I thot, or VCR's today are less complicated than when they first came out. The reason I did this was because the "Imus in the morning" show on MSNBC is on too damn early/late for me to watch conveniently. Don Imus and his gang are irreverent, they say what's on their minds, and there are 2 or 3 different "newsmakers" (or "newsFakers") on every day. I find it both hilariously entertaining and very informative. Plus, I miss the days when I used to work in a radio studio, surrounded by all that broadcast equipment. So, watching a "radio broadcast on TV" is actually kinda cool. I feel like a fly on the wall. SWAT!

One of Prezzident Bush's associates, "Scooter" something, found out today he's being indicted for telling "untruths" in the current scandal following the outing of a CIA Operative, whose husband was critical of the Bush administration. A guest on "Imus" this morning likened the current mental state of the administration to be not unlike that of the Iran/Contra scandal. Politicians snapping at everyone right and left, along with a general climate of paranoia. Which'll destroy ya. Maybe in the end, Bush's ignorance will save him. But only if he didn't know what was going on. Which, in his case, is a distinct possibility, especially with others on his staff "Rove-ing" around...stay tuned!

This week, I finally managed to get out to the Rustlers' Roost in Hayden Lake, for breakfast. Like the old song says, "Don't get around much anymore". I'd forgotten how large their breakfasts were! MMMMMM! I like the "Stagecoach" breakfast, which features a hamburger steak with home fries, biscuit and gravy. I also liked Woody McEver's campaign sign, which carried a "Western Rustler's" theme: "WANTED FOR CITY COUNCIL: WOODY". I guess that's his way, I've gotta say it...."Rustling" up votes?

As y'all can tell, I'm having fun with the blog these days. I read the paper most every day, and I'll jot down things to write about. Plus, I'll gripe about things I run across elsewhere, too. I am subject to 'energy fluctuations', though. Some days, maybe I won't post, or maybe I'll just do a single-item post. After all, when you're in "thin air", anything can happen. Including jumping out of the airplane if maybe once in a while I'll do the ol' "blog-bail". When you read my blogs, feel free to comment, and check the comments section, because I'll post my responses there. And without a doubt...I'm "over and out"!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Everybody put their foot down..."
--John Lennon & Paul McCartney, "I've Got A Feeling",
from the Beatles' "Let It Be" album, released 1970.
(Can it really be that long ago?)

First of all, I began this post with the above lyrics, because, what do you do when you check into a motel? Yeah, you unpack, take off yer sox, put 'em up somewhere and then put your feet "down" somewhere. Or you can put up your feet and put your sox down. I really don't care. You get the idea...(hopefully)...oh, you don't? Sheesh! Well, just read the &%$#@! post, then!

Here's a name I haven't heard for a while, but I remember seeing this place when I was a kid. Of course, I also see it nowadays, since I live not too far from there. The picture below is of the "HOLLAND MOTEL", which was located on what is now CDA Lake Drive and Mullan Avenue, down at the east end of town. It probably did a lot of business, back when CDA Lake Drive was old Hiway 10, and tired travelers would seek respite there. I think it's called the "Holiday" motel now. In back of the motel is the Catholic Cemetery, to the immediate west of the "Holland".

Here it is, the "Holland" motel. Perhaps it was named as such, because if you wrecked your room while staying there, you were "in dutch"? Oh my I've gone and offended all my readers from the Netherlands...

Some people write about various bumper stickers they see. Well, I saw one on a bicycle's chain-guard which read, "YOU DON'T NEED WAR TO POWER THIS VEHICLE." Let's see, that one slams the oil-producing countries, our country for being at war to protect oil interests, and the automakers for making them big ol' gas-guzzler-SUV's. Hmmm...three shots in one. Not bad! One possible source of cheap heat: Invite a politician over for dinner and conversation. Listen to him blather on, in the knowledge that you're being given an endless supply of hot air.

You're probably saying after reading the previous item about "political hot air", "GOSH, HE'S IGNORANT!" Okay, I'll take that risk. And, at the same time, I'll give you a choice here: (are you reading this, Stebbijo?) Who would you rather have come to your door and talk your ear off?

*A Politician
*A Jehovah's Witness

You choose!

Gotta blame it on somebody dept.: Avista Utilitarian Utilities is raising its rates by close to 25% for Washington natural gas customers; increases are on the way for electric users too, most probably. And who knows what's gonna happen here in Idaho. Let's all just assume we won't be eating as much filet mignon this winter, whilst trying to absorb the rate increases. Protest all you want, as some elderly residents in a Spokane Senior Apartment complex did; all you're doing is blowing more smoke than your average wood-burning furnace, because your protests are a-fallin' on deaf ears. Plus, think of the GAS you wasted, going to meetings to protest in the first place. A lose-lose situation all the way around.

Meaningful or meaningless? dept.: John Kerry, you know, the guy who's married to that wacko wife of his, came out with a statement recently. He said that President Bush oughta withdraw 25,000 troops outta Iraq by Christmas. I say, why wait that long? Kerry's theory is that the U.S. is actually worsening the situation over there by our very presence. In short, people in Iraq hate us. In Las Vegas right now, they're actually taking bets on how fast Iraq will fall after we pull out. Assuming we ever actually DO that. (I actually heard about that Vegas situation on the radio!)

I read today where scientific analysts have determined that there was RED WINE present in King Tut's tomb. I heard ol'Tut died while he was a teenager, so obviously an "underage drinking" law of some sort was violated way back when. Either that, or the bottles that were found in the tomb were "leftovers" from the celebration of Tut's death. Or, maybe Tut had the same outlook as Janis Joplin. In her will, Janis provided $1500 so that her friends could "party hearty" after her death.

I was watching "Newsnight" with Aaron Brown today. I first saw Aaron Brown when he was doing overnight news on the ABC network back in the '80s, and he just keeps getting better and better. He's really matured into his role. Anyway, just before commercial breaks on his show, somber music plays as the names of those who have died in Iraq scroll up on the screen. 2,004 dead and counting.

This is where I usually put in my last little "parting shot", printed in italics. Who am I to violate the format? So I'll do so once again, here. By the way, this "parting shot" is rated "R", so you might wanna make your little ones back away from the computer...Remember, how this post began with an item concerning a motel? An old guitarist that I used to play drums for would say at the end of every night, as he was telling everyone good night: "...and remember, MOTEL spelled backwards is...LET 'OM (let 'em)!"
Over and out!


I got in trouble last night. On the interactive blogsite I visit, I posted that President Bush is STUPID. Oh, did I ever hear about it from one reader who was tired of my Bush-bashing. Maybe I over-reached my bounds by posting that in a public-access website, after all, there are those who think President Bush is the best thing since "coo-coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs". So, I apologized. And then I removed a post from this blogsite that also referred blatantly to our President's incompetence.

All things reconsidered, though, why SHOULDN'T I post that on this blogsite, my blogsite, if I feel that way? I am non-partisan. When I have voted, it's always been split-ticket. I think I've adopted a philosophy of, "don't vote, that way you can hate all politicians equally." I included the above graphic to provide evidence that I am not the only person this side of the Great Wall of China who thinks that President Bush's 'faculties' have been laid off, for quite a while. Just look at the way that people, many DIFFERENT people around this country, disparage our current President for not being "intellectually adequate". Say what you want about Bill Clinton, I never saw anything, anywhere, that said he was STUPID!

Lately, I have seen reports that John Kerry actually has/had a lower I.Q. than George W. Bush. I wonder if this isn't some kind of smokescreen on the part of the Republicans. Their way of saying, perhaps, "hey, if you think our guy's dumb, consider the opposition"? I have also read editorials that comment on Bush's speaking style, his ability to put cognizant thoughts together, and I've read, from more than one columnist, that when he/she watches Bush on TV, Bush seems to be "stilted, animated, ill-at-ease", whatever.

My own perceptions? Because after all, I have to base my conclusions on something. And, since these are MY feelings, who are you to tell me I'm wrong? We all have a right to come to our own conclusions, after all. When I see the President, I see a man who has genuine difficulty coming across with any degree of warmth whatsoever. I see a President who refuses to admit mistakes, blaming Harriet Mier's stepdown from Supreme Court Candidacy on "the congress". I see a President, who refuses to believe that the Gulf War is WRONG. He says, the best way to preserve the memory of those killed in action is to "finish the job". In other words, get more soldiers killed!

President Bush can't even get thru a damn microscopic, encapsulated SOUND BITE without stuttering, "uh....ah....uhhhhh.....". Controversy is swirling right now amongst Bush associates such as Karl Rove and his underlings, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney and his connections to various things, "Halliburton" among them. The director of FEMA had to step down during the Hurricane Katrina crisis because he not only handled the job ineptly, he was inadequately qualified to handle that job to begin with. I have no way of proving it, but I just see a lack of flexibility, original thought, or any semblance of personal charm whatsoever with this President. And it's not like I haven't given him a chance. Look how long he's been in office now. I keep waiting. "Mr. President, show me something, ANYTHING!" So far...not a heckuva lot.

This posting is based upon my feelings, and there's every possibility that I'M the one who's stupid. I could dig and dig through all of the political stuff out there, and I don't really want to do that. But, every time I see the President "in action" (if he's capable of such a thing), I always come away with a sense of "incompleteness", somehow. And I must ask, if I feel this way, how many people across the country feel this way? I know at least ONE OTHER person feels the same way I do, after all...the person who put together that little bit of artwork at the top of this post.

After I finished this post, I saw an item on CNN...George Dubya's brother, Jeb (Guv'nor of Florida) spoke about people being unprepared for hurricane disasters, and he said, in part, "it shouldn't be that hard for people to pick up 72 hours' worth of provisions", in order to be hurricane-ready. Huh? What if those provisions get destroyed? Waterlogged? Or, if a person is too BROKE to get provisions in advance? Maybe this STUPIDITY runs in the family. Whether on George "41"'s side of the family or Barbara's, remains to be seen! It's either that, or President Bush is too stupid to be as evidently ARROGANT as his brother, Guv'nor Jeb seems to be. My humble opinion.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Then you know...I'll be around...
Oh, the Night Life...ain't no good life...
But it's my life...
--a timeless old Willie Nelson song

I found this rather interesting photo of downtown Coeur d'Alene at night, and I imagine this was taken in the late 60s or early 70s. That's when that "hotel" sign was blazing away for all to see; I can also see (at left) the "Dingles" Hardware sign; it's "yellowish"...each letter of "Dingles" was encased within a diamond-shaped yellow screen. We're on Sherman Avenue here, between 4th and 5th streets, looking westward, ho! I see the smear of timed-exposure tail-lights on the street; either that or it's some motorist who was zooming down Sherman too fast to be photographed. Things like that don't happen these days, with the "overprotective" and "overserve" philosophy of the current Coeur d'Alene police force.
You gotta admit, is an interesting photo!

The "Night Life" used to be my life; I used to be able to withstand hangovers quite well. Until one night when I had to hang my face over a toilet bowl and wait for the "inevitable". Now, the only "hangover" I have is when I sit on a small chair. (ha ha) I am hoping I can work up some incentive to get to the health club before hell freezes over, as it does here every year in the Lake City.

Got something of a musical shock today: I was listening to a Carlos Santana tape, "Havana Moon", which features his distinctive guitar playing set to various Latin rhythms. Up came a song about "Mexico", and on vocals...WILLIE NELSON. On a Carlos Santana album. Talk about musical whiplash! I haven't had a shock like that since I heard JOHNNY CASH singing on an album by "U2"!

Speaking of things 'musical', I watched the Concert for Bangladesh movie which I purchased yesterday. What a wonderful concert. Where else are you gonna see a concert that features George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan? Musical history that truly came alive. That's what I love about DVD's. Anytime I want, I can go to Woodstock, or the Monterey Pop Festival, or see Cream "live", or see Jimi Hendrix at the "Isle of Wight". It's magic, pure magic. And I need all the "magic" in my meager existence that I can get.

I absolutely hate it when people or corporations try to manipulate me. I got a thing in the mail today, saying, "DON'T USE YOUR 'PIN' NUMBER! USE THE 'CREDIT' FUNCTION INSTEAD!" So evidently now, when I use my debit card at the grocery store and the checker says, "enter your pin number", I can tell her, "no, I want to use the credit function instead". (?) The letter from the bank went on to say that I, with a debit card, could use the "credit" function, and cash would still be "debited" from my checking account. "What, I'm not supposed to use my pin number anymore?" "What's the angle here?" (For there ALWAYS is some kinda angle!)

So I called the "800" number and asked about this. In the end, I learned, that by using the 'Credit' function, "VISA" processes my transaction rather than the system used by my bank, with the net result being it's CHEAPER for my bank if "VISA" processes the transaction. I tell ya, IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY, isn't it? Oh yeah, by using the "Credit" function, I'm supposed to get some miniscule "points incentive" reward; if I spend 500 dollars, I might get six bits or whatever. In the bank mailing I got, nowhere does it say, "USE THE CREDIT FUNCTION! IT'S CHEAPER FOR US!!!" I guess, at this point, I must ask: Am I weird, or is there some 'subversion' going on here? I don't know...I guess I could just use some "basic honesty" for a change. How about you?

You wonder why I don't vote anymore? In the past, I've read everything about the candidates I could get my hands on. I've watched news shows, interview shows, read political digests, whatever. And the political flotsam, jetsam, ephemera and diatribes I've been exposed to every election year are full of more GOBBLEDYGOOK than the "bank mailing" I described above! I'm always relieved when election season is over. "Aaaah", I think to myself, "now all I have to deal with is all the other bad news I hear about every day!"

I'm not much into politics, but I've been able to glean the following from recent news reports: President Bush is trying to rally support for the Iraq war, in spite of the fact that now, over 2,000 soldiers have died over there. Bush Associate Karl Rove is being looked at for various violations. Vice Prezzident Dick Cheney "may or may not" have a connection with the "outing" of a CIA operative person. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot; we've gotta suffer with this current administration until 2009. Like I said, I'm not politically astute AT ALL, but it looks like the sun is setting fast for various parties in D.C. I just love a good scandal, don't you?

If you saw my previous post, well, this item is a continuation of that. I went out and visited the cemetery today and took out some flowers for Mom. It was rainy and gloomy. I only spent 5 minutes out there. If that. And then I left. They say cemeteries are for the "living" more than the "dearly departed" anyway. A place for "us" to go and remember. Thing is, I remember her every day, no matter what I do or where I go. And I prefer to remember her alive. Not lying under a headstone.

That's all for now. The World Series is on. Hopefully tonite's game will be over before midnite. Thanks also, to everyone who stops by and leaves comments here on this blog. Makes me think that maybe I'm doing something halfway worthwhile.

Remembering her...

She would have been 80 today. She's been in heaven since March of 2001. She's my Mom. I thought of her while sitting by the lake today. She also used to like to sit near the sea wall by City Beach.

The thought comes to mind occasionally, that when she passed away, I lost the only person on earth who would ever completely understand me. That thought saddens me greatly. She was a gentle spirit. Perhaps the best parts of her can come through me when I deal with others.

She played baritone ukelele and ministered to shut-ins and others through her music. She also played keyboards. I had a chance to "jam" with her several times; she'd play organ and I'd pick up her uke. I wish we could have done that more often.

One of her favorite spirituals contained the following lyrics:

"This world is not my home; I'm just a-passin' through
If heaven is not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's opened door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

We had times of discontent in our family. Mom was always trying to encourage us all to get along. Now that she's gone, I think perhaps I understand what she thought as she sang those words.

Mom...I miss you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My ATTENTION SPAN needs repair!

My attention span leaves a lot to be desired. In school, I used to think I was stupid, or I just didn't understand what was going on. Pretty soon every one of my teachers ended up sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher: "Wah Wah Wah...Wah Wah Wah WahWahWah" the old joke goes, "I was so broke I couldn't even pay attention!" I've come to the conclusion, though, that my attention span is in about the same shape that Spokane's Monroe Street Bridge (another "span", get it?) was before it got repaired.

I write this because I am, right now, watching game 3 of the World Series. It is the LONGEST World Series game in history! And, I told myself that tonight, I wasn't gonna go online until the game was over. It's my attention span, you see. If I post while the game is on, I miss all the action, even though the TV set is two and a half feet away from my computer. The damn game is in the 14th inning, and ********WAIT! WAIT! Jeff Blum of the White Sox JUST HIT A HOMER IN THE 14TH INNING AS I WAS TYPING if Houston doesn't score in their half of this inning, the game will be OVER. (How's that for on-the-spot blog reporting?)

Back in my running days, I wasn't the fastest runner ever. I probably had no business running; face it, my lightest running weight was still over 200 lbs. Me running up a hill was kinda like a Mack-truck, with trailer, going up Lookout pass...slow, agonizing, but eventually the truck makes it to the top. Well, that was me on the hills. My fastest marathon was over 4 hours. I daresay someone who takes 4 hours to run a marathon undergoes a lot more punishment than these scrawny stick-figures who blow through 26.2 miles in 2 and a half or 3 hours! I have to face it, though...I seem to have about a 4 hour attention span at the very longest. At the 4-hour mark in a marathon, I was ready to do something else! Ah, but I still had 3 or 4 miles (if not more) to go.

Well, this *&^$$#% World Series game has now gone over 5 hours! There goes my attention span! So here I am, posting. I COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE!!! THE GAME HAS DRAGGED ON AND ON AND ON!!! I LOVE WATCHING BASEBALL, BUT THIS IS PURE TORTURE!!! Oh, the TV is still on in the background, but I'm typing right now, and it's hard for me to focus. I'm one of these people who can't even juggle ONE ball! Some folks would probably call me "anal-retentive", but I think that term is just GROSS. Anyway, I'll type some more stuff below, and maybe the game will end as I'm posting. Who knows?

Note: The game did finally end after 14 innings; Chicago beat Houston 7-5, and it ended somewhere around midnight, local time. It took over 5 hours. I coulda almost driven from here to Seattle in that amount of time! Sportscaster Tim McCarver said that getting through the long game was like "swimming in syrup". Not a pretty picture, but true!

Funny commercials dept: In tonite's game, there's a commercial where two trucks face off, head to head. One truck faces the other, revving their engines. Well, the "featured" truck revs its engine loudly...and the other truck springs a leak of yellow fluid in its undercarriage. (When you buy a truck now, does it have to be house-trained?)

Funny commercials dept., part II: In another commercial, it's night-time, and a young doe deer is trotting down a paved road. It comes to a stop. Just then, a bunch of off-road vehicles cross in front of the deer. "Huh?" I thought, and then, SLAP! "Oh I get it now!" The commercial was reversing the old "deer-crossing" concept. Some commercials are so good, they oughta be the main-programming. And then the announcer will say, "we'll be back to our commercials in a moment, after this word from "Will & Grace" or whatever other crappy TV shows are on now."

We all have our opinions about WAL-MART. I have mine. A huge, gigantic, monolithic corporation that forces other businesses out of business through shady buying practices, and who doesn't seem to care very much about its own employees. But that's just my opinion. Based on documentaries I've seen and newspaper articles I've read. But, an article I read today really stuck with me: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the heavy-heavy shopping season, it's Wal-Mart's aim to do ONE BILLION DOLLARS worth of business every day! Out of which they'll probably pay $100,000 in salaries. What, "biased", who, me?

A current Jack-In-The-Box commercial features "Jack" and a bunch of employees wheeling a guy, who is asleep under covers on a gurney, up to a drive-thru sign. The premise of the commercial is that the guy has difficulty waking up in the morning, but it'll be easier for him once he learns about Jack-In-The-Box's groovy breakfast sandwiches. So they get to the loudspeaker, and a female voice blasts loudly thru the speaker, "HI, WELCOME TO JACK IN THE BOX!!!" which startles the guy awake, and he SPRINGS TO HIS FEET, jumping all over the place, scared out of his mind. What kinda shocks me is, he's still in his briefs. He wears no jammies. And there he is, (almost) dangling the "family jewels" in front of everyone. Is it me, or is TV getting VERY LAX these days? Or am I just anal-retentive? (I still hate that term) (Gross!)

I was going through some old papers today, when I found an old quote, that grabbed me, way back when, and it's pretty interesting, actually. It goes something like this:


Thought you'd like it!

Attention Span, part II: (This post is just kinda draggin' on...) I used to have a LOT of problems in math class. I just didn't get it. Algebra and Geometry were all but incomprehensible to me. I felt like everyone understood it except me. I got a "57" on my Geometry final exam, but the instructor gave me a passing overall grade of "70", just to get rid of me. Well, today, they have things like "Sylvan Learning Centers" which "identifies your child's learning problems and tailors a program suited to his needs", or something like that. WHERE THE HELL WAS GOOD OLD "SYLVAN" 30 YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL???

Finally...that last item reminds me of THIS item. (I'm really kinda thinking my attention span is shorter than a popsicle stick at this point)...Anyone who has lived in this area will remember the old Spokane TV commercials for "Sylvan Furniture"...which featured a folksy jingle that went something like this..."Good old Smilin' Sylvan...west 2-2-7 Riverside"...anyone besides me remember that? If any of you remember "Starlit Stairway", you oughta remember that "Sylvan Furniture" commercial. And with that...I'll end this "forgettable" posting. AAAAAHHHHH!

Monday, October 24, 2005


If you can't tell from the title of this post, I'm writing this while watching Monday Night Football. Somehow it's comforting to hear the voices of Al Michaels and John Madden; so much is changing so fast in this world, that it's good to hear these longtime broadcast partners describe the action.

Evidently the New York Jets have had some quarterback injuries; two of their tossers are sidelined. So, the Jets went and got 41-year old Vinny Testaverde. He came out of retirement to play for the Jets. He came out of retirement at 41? I guess I'm officially over the hill; I'm ten years older than that!

Football Put-Up or Shut-Up department: Last week, I posted that even though Seattle beat Houston convincingly (as the Seahawks were SUPPOSED to do), that I wouldn't be impressed with the 'Hawks 'til they beat some serious opponents. Well, Seattle beat Dallas in a game that had been a punishing defensive battle. So, Seattle is 5-2 so far this season. I don't wanna get my hopes up, but, so far, so good for Coach Holmgren and Co.

Water Therapy for free: Sunny afternoon; went down to CDA Lake and sat on the steps of Independence Point, just above the waterline. Ducks swam past, seagulls flew overhead, and the seaplanes took off and landed. Lake waves lapped up onto the concrete steps. After about 45 minutes, my brain began slowing down, and I found myself in a better mood. Beats any shrink I ever went to.

One of the columnists in today's Spokesman-Review wrote about a couple of people she'd observed recently: a lady sitting at a bus stop who evidently was sad about something, and a guy who was trying to make sense out of his life, but he couldn't make sense of things. She'd observed him adding numbers, trying to "balance" out 'something'. I was touched; someone out there is being observant of the human condition. We're all struggling. Hopefully, after the appearance of her column, maybe a few of us will be more observant...and compassionate.

High Spot of my day dept.: Walked into the Java place for coffee in an attempt to dis-entangle (is that a word?) the cobwebs outta my mind. The barista (coffee guy, that is), took my money, and said, "wait a couple of minutes; I'm brewing a fresh pot". It was definitely worth the wait. "MMMMM....Coffee....." (That's me doing my best Homer Simpson imitation there.)

Second High Spot of my day dept.: A record album I ordered over Ebay got here today. I haven't had a chance to play it. (I'm still watching football, you see.) It is the first and only album by a group called "FUSE". Never heard of them? Well, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson, the lead guitarist and bassist for CHEAP TRICK, were both in "Fuse" before that! Should be interesting to hear. You Cheap Trick fans may recall that Nielsen always had short hair and he wore a CAP all the time. Well, the "Fuse" album pictures him with long hair. Pretty cool, huh?

Watched a VHS movie last night, titled "Backbeat". It's the story of the Beatles in the early days, before worldwide fame. They got really good by playing 8 hours a night, 6 days a week, in Hamburg, Germany. Yeah, maybe the movie utilized "artistic license" here and there, but I've always found that period of the Beatles' history fascinating, and upon seeing this movie, I have (at least somewhat of) a "visual" idea of what the Beatles went thru during those times.

Do I know too much? dept.: I've read tons of books on the Beatles. I've read how weak-willed John Lennon was in his latter days; how authoritarian Paul McCartney was with Wings, always underpaying his band members and running the band like a dictator. I've read about the petty infighting between the Beatles in their last days. I've heard the "Anthology" albums where, at times, they sounded painfully human, bumbling their way through early takes of songs. Sometimes the more you know about your idols, the less you like them. I suppose, in the end, it's best to focus on the music, because those you revere always turn out to be..."human".

Lately, I've been seeing some "Mercury" automobile commercials, featuring an attractive lady who wears a tight light blue blouse and jeans that are a couple sizes too small for her. In the commercials, she says, "why blend in when you can STAND OUT?"; she also describes the cars as being "WELL-EQUIPPED", all the while "flaunting what she's got" and smiling into the camera in a most prurient manner. I must ask, "am I a dirty old man?", or is this a case of "sex sells?" And in cases like these, I feel like the male psyche is being manipulated just a wee bit. I hope she's not one of these women who complain about being treated like "objects"!

Well, I never know where to end these things, but I've typed more in this posting than I thought I would. After posting that last little item (about the "Mercury lady"), I've concluded that it's time to hose myself down and migrate over to the land of e-mail. Probably "junk mail", mostly. Just like in real life.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I couldn't think of anything constructive to post, so I took a day off. I might end up doing that more often, who knows. Couldn't think of anything to gripe about. So is that progress? Maybe...could be I'm a little more content with things these days. Me, content? Scary thought!

So here's a weird little thing I got from a computer friend of mine. You've heard of "hair of the dog", right? When you've really "tied one on", it can feel like you've shortened your life expectancy a bit. I used to do that until the hangovers began lasting longer and longer. So maybe, with "this" concoction, maybe you'll "add" lives? (Nine lives and all that).


Other assorted flotsam and jetsam, courtesy of THIN AIR:

If the first two games are any indication, this is gonna be one heckuva exciting World Series, between the White Sox and the Astros. Both teams have good pitching, but they've also got some great hitting going on. Sometimes scoreless 'pitchers' duels' can get boring; I wanna see them baseballs soar! And, there's been great defense, too. Especially on the part of White Sox 3rd baseman Joe Crede. (I think that's his first name...)

Driving adventures in good old CDA, Part One: Going to my regular Java place in downtown CDA on Saturday, I turned up 4th Street from Front Avenue, (a one-way street going north), and was promptly greeted by a doe-headed Washington motorist going THE WRONG WAY down the street. How the heck do you prepare for something like that? Maybe that's one of those cases where you actually want a "Hummer Gas Hog"...if someone hits you head-on and you're driving one of those, you'll WIN! (Unless the oncoming party is driving a SEMI!)

It's getting to be "political season" around these parts...heck, around the whole country, for that matter. I am so burned out on politics. The only time you see these people, really, is when they want your vote. And even the 'few' good politicians out there can succumb to dirty-tricks, attacks, lobbying, political pressures, whatever. The more I read about candidates and issues, the more confused I get. And when the political attack ads outnumber the positive ads, it just makes me want to ignore the whole process. I suppose the question should be asked (and seriously considered): "WHAT IF THEY GAVE AN ELECTION AND NO ONE CAME?"

Speaking of Politix, I came away with a creeping sense of perspective recently: One of the talking heads said that Prezzident Bush was gonna be in office, what, up thru January 2009? Gosh, we've got over 3 years left with this guy...he was a LAME DUCK before he got elected the first time! Will we be in Iraq that entire time? And how many more thousands of senseless deaths will result? I don't see our nation making a whole lotta progress in any one direction for quite a while. Just imagine the backlash against all things Republican in the 2008 elections! Because I feel that we, as a nation, will be 'stagnating' up until that time. Not a pretty picture.

The weathermaps show Hurricane Wilma increasing in intensity as it heads straight towards Florida; the MSNBC correspondent in Miami tried to do a "live report" and his jacket was being blown off by strong winds as he spoke. Never having lived on the East Coast or along the Gulf, I must ask: Why do people live there, if disastrous Hurricanes are a regular seasonal happening in those parts of the country? I suppose if it's "home", it's home! That's the only answer I can think of.

Driving adventures in good old CDA, part two: Heading down 15th Street, at about 7pm Saturday night, I had to look twice and tell myself, "no, you're NOT on the freeway". The speed limit is 25. It was dark. A bunch of cars were crawling down the street, doing the speed limit, me included. All of a sudden, the car in front of me PASSED the vehicle in front of it. On a busy 2-lane neighborhood street. Creeps like that...only make car insurance rates higher for EVERYONE.

If you're into music, especially the music of DEEP PURPLE, you're invited to check out the post below this one. Right now, I've run outta things to say. Thankfully, rrrright?

-a "Purple" posting-

I just wanna go on "record", and thank whoever is responsible for inventing EBAY. (No, this isn't a commercial plug; I don't think so anyway). Ebay is a great way for me, a record collector, to find things which I haven't been able to get for YEARS. Although there is a good selection of used vinyl at various area stores, there are some things you can't get here.

In addition to Ebay, I also find some good vinyl at www.gemm.comm, so there's some "balance". I'm not hyping just one site. Not until I get on someone's payroll, that is. These two sites are indicative of the marketplace coming to you; it's a big country, after all, and sites like these give you the opportunity to shop the entire nation (and 'world', for that matter).

One question you're probably asking is, "why is he using PURPLE print?" A good question with an equally good answer: This post is about a fairly rare album by DEEP PURPLE that I bought over Ebay fairly recently. I had an "English" import copy of the record, but I wanted the U.S. Edition, which is hard-to-find, virtually anywhere.

Your second question might be, "okay, now that he's explained THAT, what's all this about CULTURE?" Okay, well, it'll take me a little bit longer to answer that one. Let me take you back to the University of Idaho, fall semester, 1975. I needed an "elective" course; a "Bachelor of Arts" necessitates that you've gotta take all kinds of flaky courses so that you can (theoretically) become a well-rounded person, or something like that.

Well, I found myself in a class called "SURVEY OF ART 101". The class was held in a huge auditorium, and there were about 200 students in the class. The instructor would show you SLIDES of old paintings and tell you about them. Some of the paintings he showed were "in the book", some weren't. There would be a huge test every 3 or 4 weeks, in which he would show you the slides and you had to write down the title of the painting and artist's name. Tough class! No matter how hard I studied, I could never get above a "C".

Which reminds me of a joke. Junior is bring home his report card to show to his Mom.
MOM: "Well, how were your grades?"
JUNIOR: "You could say they're under water".
MOM: "What do you mean by THAT?"
JUNIOR: "They're under C-level!"

Okay, back to the post (thankfully)...

One of the paintings we had to memorize was by German artist Hieronymous Bosch, and it was called "Musical Hell", or just "Hell", I think. Anyway, the painting was a bizarre montage of poor souls in the devil's playpen, with all kinds of cruel musical things being done to them. So me, being a musician, is this where I'll end up if I don't "repent"?

It turns out that the group DEEP PURPLE used this old Hieronymous Bosch painting (done in the 1800's) as an ALBUM COVER, would you believe. You can see the group posing under the "Harp" in the upper left of the album cover...ladies and gentlemen, may I present a Deep Purple album (their 3rd album), titled simply, "DEEP PURPLE"...cover art by Bosch:

(If you click on the picture, it'll enlarge.)

This was Deep Purple's 3rd album, and this album had a lot of strikes against it. First, some retailers refused to stock it, labeling it "profane", because of the nudity in Bosch's painting. Secondly, the names of the songs were not listed on the album jacket, so the buyer didn't know what he was getting. Third, it didn't even LOOK like a rock album; it was easy to miss the group's picture, scattered among all of the images in the painting.

If that weren't bad enough, Deep Purple's U.S. Label, "Tetragrammaton", went bankrupt shortly after the album was released, so it was only available for a short time here in the U.S. of A. That's sad, because this is a very good album. One of my favorites, in fact. Good, melodic heavy rock, interspersed with classical instruments and orchestrations. Previously, Deep Purple had hits with "Hush" and "Kentucky Woman", from their first two Tetragrammaton albums, but hardly anything from this 3rd album was ever heard.

Later on, the group moved over to Warner Bros. Records, where they had the big hit, "Smoke On The Water" and went on to worldwide fame with their really good hard-rocking albums on that label. I love those records, but I really think Deep Purple's first 3 albums on "Tetragrammaton" Records were flawless and highly listenable. The other two "Tetra" albums were "Shades of Deep Purple" and "The Book of Taliesyn", on which the group does a 10-minute version of "River Deep-Mountain High" which features musical motifs from "2001".

One more little bit of trivia: Tetragrammaton Records was co-owned by comedian BILL COSBY. Shows what happens when "Artists" try to manage a label. (Look at what happened to Apple records, the Beatles' label, in the '70s.) And you may not know this, but FRANK SINATRA was actually co-owner of Reprise Records, back in the '60s. He later sold that label to Warner Bros. records.

Finally, if you're interested in this early Deep Purple music, and can't find any of their 3 Tetragrammaton albums, Warner Bros. issued "Purple Passages", a 2-album set that features selections from those first three Deep Purple "Tetragrammaton" albums. Ebay or Gemm (both referred to above) are good places to begin, if melodic hard-rock like this sounds interesting to you.

Friday, October 21, 2005

(No, not THAT restaurant. There ain't no RESORT, either!)

Many moons ago, back when I featured a "darker" page on my blogs, you may recall that I was trying to find photos of the old TEMPLIN'S Restaurant/Motor Hotel. Templin's, of course, was located on 1st and Sherman Avenue, right on the lake. But, this building was built IN HARMONY with its surroundings; it didn't stick out like a sore thumb the way the existing "Resort by the Lake" does.

Templin's survived up through about the mid-80s, before it was renamed "Murphy's Landing", and then finally met its final fate, a date with destiny, courtesy of the old wrecking ball. Mr. Templin is alive and well and doing just fine over in Post Falls, where he appears to have a much better perception among Post Falls residents than Cda's current hospitality mogul has with 'his' city. Anyway, here's another look at Templin's...

Here's a "panorama" view of the old Templin's establishment, with Coeur d'Alene Lake in the background. I had to process this photo thru my "Paintbrush" program, 'cos the Ebay seller who posted this photo wrote his name all over the background. Anyway, you get an idea of the layout of the place...

And here is the interior of Templins' Restaurant. Again, I had to do some fancy "Paintbrush" work to eradicate the Ebay guy's writing on the photo, but again, this photo gives you a sense of what Templins' looked like inside. I think you've gotta admit, that even though this was a first-class place, it "fit" with Coeur d'Alene's identity. Casual, yet nice. Not "yuppy" or "preppie" at all.

I know the "good old days" may not have been so good, but they were indicative of simpler times when things around this area weren't so glitzy and touristy. Templin's was the kind of place where anyone felt at home, whether you were a blue-collar laborer or a bigwig "mover and shaker" type of individual. I am sure these photos will bring back A LOT of memories among those who've been around here a while.


On the interactive blogsite I visit, "Huckleberries Online" (, a guy who goes by the name "Family Phil" posted a gorgeous photo of someone sitting by the lake, with the sun's reflection gleaming off the water; the photo was so astonishingly "liquid" in nature, you could almost feel the moisture of the water.

So I decided to post a little something here...Sunset, over Coeur d'Alene Lake, this evening, about 4 hours ago, as I'm posting this now. My goofy camera sees things a "bit different" than the human eye does; there was much more light at that time than this photo indicates:

Plus, since this is a photo of a photo (a webcam shot of a photo I took), it appeared really "washed out", so I had to run this image through my computer's photo-enhancing program. In the photo, the sun is about ready to set; that's Mica Peak you see off in the distance, with the "#4" lifeguard tower on City Beach in the foreground, and the lake in-between.

It kinda looks like one of those "arty" shots, doesn't it? When you have a cheap Polaroid camera, you pretty-much hafta accept it's gonna see things the way IT sees things, and NOT the way YOU see things. So, you can try to adjust the light filter, but really when you shoot your shot, you've gotta hope for the best. Sunset in CDA. Gotta love it!

"I can't look away, I can't look away"...

"The record was playin' so loud and so clear
And it left a terrible taste in my ear
Though it's number one on our big hit parade,
It's the lousiest record that ever was made.
--Homer & Jethro, 1966

Whether or not it's a by-product of morbid curiosity, it is hard to look away from imminent disaster. Whether it be watching a scary movie with your hands in front of your eyes, but your fingers spread just far enough apart so you can see...or, driving past a gory traffic accident, we don't wanna look, but we just can't help ourselves. It's a spectacle, after all.

About 15 years ago, I worked off and on for a 2nd hand store that sold records. The owner had many albums laying around in the basement, and she paid me a little bit to help organize them. She also gave me record albums as partial payment. Hey, I'm easy, what can I say? One of the records I took for compensation was a strange-looking record, a 2-record set, with LONG songs, on a major label, by a group I'd never heard of before. Just the kind of thing that piques my interest. After all, I was taught to look for weird and strange music way back when I worked at the University of Idaho's campus radio station. I've been doing that ever since.

Anyway, I took this album home and played it. Gosh, I thought, "this is pretty bad". As a matter of fact, it was REALLY bad. So bad, that I had to play it again, because I couldn't believe it was actually that lousy. Musically, it's not bad (in places), but the lyrics...and most of all, the "singer" (in "quotes" because he barely qualifies), turns the proceedings into a musical TRAIN WRECK!

The first song is called "Halifax". It is about 20 minutes long. The singer screeches atonally at the top of his voice..."We'd like you to come to HAAAAAL-I-FAXXXXXX....masses of air moving EASTERLYYYYYYYY......."...and there's another part of the song where another of the group's singers goes on and on about "6-thousand miles of paved roads in HAAAAAAL-I-FAXXXXXX", believe me, I've heard weird stuff before, but when I heard THIS, it just blew my mind. Huh? What????

I looked this band up on a website. It seems, back in 1970, word of mouth had spread to Columbia Records that this was a unique group, so Columbia, in its infinite wisdom, signed the Hampton Grease Band to a record deal. It was originally only going to be a single album. The band's "single" album had 3 long songs (including "Halifax") on it. So then, the Columbia execs decided to have the band record another record, and they'd put the album out as a "double".

Columbia wanted the Grease Band to record some "shorter" songs on the 2nd record, in hopes that the "shorter" songs might get airplay. Columbia couldn't just "flush" the first record, because they'd advanced the band $75,000 to record, and this was in 1970 dollars! So the band diligently re-entered the recording studio and recorded some more "songs" (in "quotes" because they barely qualify). One of the shorter songs had some really weird lyrics that went, "SPRAAAAAAY-PAIIIIIIINT, SPRAAAAAAAY-PAIIIIINT, contents under PRESSSSSSURE!!!"

As I watched the record spin round and round on my turntable, I thought, WHAT THE HELL?" Many years later (tonight, in fact) as I was reading about this group on a website, I found out two important things...the lyrics of the song "Halifax"...were taken from a publicity pamphlet about the city, which read, in part, "air masses moving eeeeeasterlyyyyyyy....", and the song about "Spray Paint", took its lyrics from the "caution instructions" on the side of a SPRAY PAINT CAN!

I am probably the only person in the Western United States that has this album. I understand it was reissued on CD. According to the website, the CD's liner notes say that "Music To Eat" by the Hampton Grease Band was the 2nd-worst-selling album that Columbia Records had ever issued. And, Columbia's been in business FOREVER, so they know all about lousy albums! (After all, Columbia recorded ROBERT GOULET, too!) And yeah, this "Grease Band" album is really BAAAAAD. So bad, in fact, that it becomes fascinating in a weird sort-of-way.

Whenever the band's singer is through honking, shouting, yelping and agonizing, the instruments take over, and you have two guitars zipping all over the place playing music that has a frenetic eastern-ragaish flavor, with each guitar's melody lines buzzing around each other, sorta like two blowflies in heat who've just discovered an animal carcass in the noonday sun. (nice picture, eh?)

Here it is...the infamous "MUSIC TO EAT" double-album by the Hampton Grease Band. Quite possibly the worst album EVER in the history of rock and roll. And, just as Columbia has issued a lot of records, I have heard THOUSANDS of albums...and believe me, I know a bad album when I hear one. This is a TRAIN-WRECK of an album. So bad, that I can't stop myself from hearing it once in a while. "We'd liiiiiike you to come to HAAAAAALIFAAAXXXXXXX!!!!"

Still, a record like this has a constructive purpose...if you want to get rid of annoying guests, all you gotta do is play this at top volume! (Careful, though, it might trip off air raid sirens!)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


You've probably heard all about the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene in the '50s and '60s, and that's so long ago now, it's almost ancient history! But, hydroplanes weren't the FIRST boats to race on the lake...

Let's go all the way back to an "even earlier" time...a race called the "Coeur d'Alene Regatta" was held each year. I'm not exactly sure "from when to when" the race took place, but I've seen several pictures taken from various years that the regatta was held. This picture is from 1913:

True, these boats didn't kick up quite as much of a wake as the hydros did, but they were far less noisy. You can see Tubbs Hill and Coeur d'Alene Mountain in the background. STROKE! STROKE! STROKE!

A "TERMINAL" Situation!!!
(as in "Bank Terminal", that is)

Blogger's note: This blogsite is NOT a traditional "current news" site. However, since I have the TV on in the background much of the time, if I learn of something that could affect you all (and me), I'll go ahead and post it. Beware of the "newest" form of electronic scam...details following...

I was watching Northwest Cable News Network last night, when I heard of a scam involving an ATM machine...and it happened at a U.S. Bank branch in Washington. I bank at U.S. Bank, so my ears perked up right away!

It seems that cyber-thieves can actually install official-looking equipment on an ATM Machine's card slot, which reads your account information and stores it for those thieves, who then retrieve the apparatus and invade your bank account. Of course, your card is returned to you like nothing happened. But, obviously, something did happen.

One guy said he thought "something looked fishy about the ATM card slot" and he actually reached out and jiggled the machine, and the card-thieving apparatus actually fell off the ATM machine. A picture of another ATM machine was taken, and where you slide the card in, there was a "white plastic lining" going around the slot opening.

So now, whenever you use an ATM machine, look closely at the front, to see if there's anything weird-looking about the machine you're using. So now the "caveat emptor" phrase (buyer beware) applies to ATM machines!

I went to a website to get a picture of an ATM, and the website said pretty much the same thing I typed above. In addition, this website said that a small camera can be stuck to the pamphlet holder on the ATM (see picture) which photographs you as you punch in your "pin" number!

I love ATM's; I use 'em all the time. They sure make things easy. You don't have to fumble around with clumsy travelers' checks when yer on vacation, and you don't have to stand in line at the bank to get money. But...the ATM's can, I 'spose, make it easier for you to get shafted!

Okay, so much for ultra-current events; I've got a new multi-part post immediately below this one. Be careful out there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Or, "dropkick me, puh-leeze!"

I've been reading all about the Seattle Seahawks' convincing win over Houston in last weekend's game. What was it, 42-10? The coach is saying that the team really brought it all together, and that all of the elements worked in perfect harmony during that game. Well, maybe, but I wonder, "much ado about nothing?" You see, Houston was WINLESS, and still IS. The Seahawks were SUPPOSED to win. Coach Holmgren, after the Seahawks beat several of the strongest teams in the NFL several weeks in a row, THEN, I might be convinced that the 'Hawks might 'almost' be worthy of respect.

In CDA, I see where the old "Henry's" restaurant at 10th and Sherman Avenue is being torn down. Anyone wanna bet on how many stories HIGH the replacement building will be? Well, it does seem that downtown developers are adopting a trend of exploring the upper reaches of the atmosphere with their structures. So you gotta assume a skyscraper will be built there, right?

I understand that beginning November 28th, "Nightline" will adopt a 3-anchor, multi-topic format. Longtime host Ted Koppel will no longer be part of the picture after November 22nd. The times they are a-changin'. Thing is, one of the new anchors, Terry Moran, looks like someone who might work at a fast-food restaurant; all preppie, yuppy and mock-sincere. Am I gonna believe him when he relates news of importance?

This particular post is being brought to you by a half-eaten box of Nabisco (TM) "Nilla" wafers. MMMMM. I hadn't had vanilla wafers in a long time. Oops, I'm thirsty...let's see, that bottle of Dr. Pepper's gotta be around here somewhere...hope it doesn't blow UP on me when I try to open it. (Dr. Pepper is about as volatile as nitroglycerin!) BOOM!

I have never seen the TV show, "Desperate Housewives". I'm kinda thinking, in Coeur d'Alene, there's probably no such thing. I can relate something I actually SAW today, though. Up above Locust Avenue on North 4th, is a little "Pot Pie" place. (no, not THAAT kind of pot! Sheesh!) And guess what they feature on their readerboard: "Desperate House Pies!" Maybe I'll try one. Hope they don't give me desperate indigestion. One advantage to flirting with a desperate house pie: You have no guilt, except if you're trying to watch your weight!

Well, it's gonna be the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros in the World Series. Both teams have great pitching; they'll probably end up shutting each other down. Houston has Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite, two really good pitchers. The Chisox have an effective pitching staff, too. I'd like to see the White Sox win; it would be their first World Series Victory since 1917, I believe. But this series could go either way. Both teams are strong in offense AND defense. In close, tension-filled games, usually a stupid mistake somewhere determines the outcome. This oughta be a great series.

People are wondering where I got my little "blog hit counter"; I got it at You have to open an account, but some of their stuff is free. That's where I got all the little gizmo's you see off to the left, including the "Word Match-up" thing; I've had several readers comment to me that they're having fun with it. See, that's my strategy: my inferior posts will seem to "suck less" if I have interesting little games on this site to keep readers entertained. It's all part of my master plan to achieve world domination. (I'm sure that'll take a while, though.)

Since you've really concentrated on reading all of this really THIN "Thin Air" posting, I thot I'd reward you with a cute little visual element here. It's the kind of item a tourist can buy and take back home to the east coast, or southern California, or wherever. But, if you've LIVED here for a while, Idaho probably HAS "mashed" you pretty good several times. "Mashed how?", you ask...well, let's just start with PROPERTY TAXES and go from there!

In closing: That little mug picture reminded me of something; a sweet memory of my late Mother. She would always ask me, when I was a kid, "would you get me half a cup of coffee?" She'd had rheumatic fever when she was a kid; she had an enlarged heart and sometimes she was short of breath. So, I'd "save her steps", and I was glad to do it. Anyway, she would always ask me to get her "half a cup of coffee". I was shopping for a birthday present for her, and I saw, at the old Modern Drug Gift Center, one of those little ceramic cups that has one round edge and one flat edge...and written on the side was "You Asked For Half A Cup Of Coffee!" She got the biggest kick out of that. And you know what? I'm glad I remembered that.