Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Honorary retitlement dept.: I'm thinking, that in honor of wintertime, (not that I honor winter, I kinda despise it) maybe I should re-title this blog. Yeah, I think I'll do that. Only I won't do anything drastic. How about, just for today, I give this blog the honorary title of "COLD AIR"? Because, baby, it's co-o-o-old outside!

It's beginning to look like one o'them winters dept.: Coeur d'Alene, being on the west side of the continental divide, can have wildly inconsistent winters, depending on "El Nino", that warm-ocean condition) that brings warm temperatures and a lotta rain. But, it kinda looks like what's happening this year is "El Nadie" in other words, 'nothing' is going on in the ocean, which leaves Mother Nature to rub her hands together and think, "oh boy, THIS YEAR, I can make things MISERABLE for everyone". And then she dumps tons of snow on us all season long. That's my highly scientific explanation, anyway.

This is an actual picture of snow removal in Coeur d'Alene (I think it's on one of the city's websites). Not sure which neighborhood it is, though. I have two guesses: either it's the "Fruitland lane" area north of Appleway, or it's one of the side streets south of Mullan Avenue, down below 15th Street. Your guess is as good as mine.

So here's where you come in, dear reader. Give me your best guess as to the location pictured here. Please leave a comment down below.

I know these guys do their best to keep the streets clear, but I do wish there was a way they could "lift their blades" whenever they pass a driveway. I understand that in some cities, residents can actually stick a red flag or something by their driveway, and the snowplow drivers see it, and "don't plow there". Once, I went outside, only to find my Chevy Chevette literally BURIED by the snowplow. And, that plowed snow is packed, concentrated, and is far harder to shovel than the freshly fallen stuff. I was so mad at the city, I took my shovel, proceeded to liberate my car, throwing the snow BACK INTO the street. It's a good thing the cops didn't come by and catch me doing that. I woulda been cuffed, taken into custody, and my snow shovel woulda been used as evidence against me. Isn't life grand?

Keep it under lock and key department: During one of our more "abundant" snowfalls, I think it was in 1998, I actually heard that there was an epidemic of SNOW SHOVEL THIEVERY! I can just see it now, black-market snow shovels, surreptitiously distributed by the Mob. And, instead of selling "insurance", Mob guys can stalk the downtown streets, forcing merchants to pay extortional prices to keep their sidewalks clean. Sounds like a "Fox" TV series, don't it?

Honorary retitlement, Vol 2 dept.: Okay, okay, I'm screwing around with this blog a little bit today...we're rounding the corner pretty fast, so hang on...anyway, I saw a story on the news today that made me look at things a bit differently. Just when you think you've heard it all, right? It turns out some developers in New York City are paying $200 a square foot for AIR. What they actually pay for is the right to build an exceedingly tall building, which, of course, takes the place of the air that was there before the building was built. So, I can retitle THIS section of the blog, "Precious Air".

Giving this issue a local slant, it makes me think that maybe if high-rise developers around here have to "pay for the air", they'll keep their buildings low. Well, since Mr. Hagadone has been able to usurp all other regulations (building height, proximity to lake, etc.), he's probably found a way to get around this air issue. Unless he already OWNS the air. Which is a distinct possibility.

Grinding it into the ground dept.: I don't understand, sometimes, the logic (or ill-logic) involved in the scheduling of commercials on TV, Radio, whatever. It seems that, if it's a really big offer, or something totally new, the business, manufacturer, restaurant, vendor, or whatever wants to have their commercial aired at every FRIGGIN' commercial break in the show, and if it's a long commercial break, you'll see the same commercial TWICE in one break!

Dear Business People, there is such a thing as "Burnout Factor". After seeing a commercial TOO MUCH, it has the opposite effect! If I see that damn Arby's commercial where the construction guys are going "hubba-hubba!" over a guy carrying an Arby's Reuben Sandwich ONE MORE TIME, I'm gonna UPCHUCK! Actually, "too much of a commercial" would be really great for the retail TV business, because commercial overexposure makes me wanna throw a BRICK at my TV screen! Sheeeeeeeeeeesh!!!!! Actually, it's good for the battery industry too. Why? Because batteries in TV remotes don't last as long as they used to because I find myself hitting the "Mute" button time and time again to block out those annoying, manipulative commercial breaks.

Cover your eyes, this is really gross dept.: As you know, I've been featuring "Ugly Stickers" in my posts for a while now. A depiction of some sort of hideous, deformed monster, with someone's name on it, is the format of your average "Ugly Sticker". I've saved a bunch of 'em in my computer, alphabetically arranged, and after all this time, I'm only up to the "J's". If I play my cards right, I might have a different "Ugly Sticker" each day, from now thru Christmas! (I'm not sure if that's good news or not!)

This, folks, is JAMES. The thought that came to mind when I first saw this picture was pretty weird. Try to imagine, if you will, that you're sitting down to dinner. A great big glass dish of SPAGHETTI is in the center of the table, and boy, does it look good! (I'm making myself hungry here)...and then, imagine, all of a sudden, the spaghetti begins MOVING...and up out of the bowels of that hot dish, rises "JAMES!"

Hmmm...that might be great fodder for a horror movie: "REVENGE OF THE CASSEROLES". Hey, that's no dumber than a lot of Hollywood movie ideas out there!


Well, another one of these weird posts grinds mercifully to a halt. Actually, after the previous long post, I thot I'd run out of ideas. Which remains a possibility, after evaluating the content of THIS post. Hopefully, I won't have to re-title it "STALE AIR"!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Somewhere, in a location not far away (could be YOUR house or business, in fact), that old winter carol is playing..."Let It Snow", "Let It Snow", "Let It Snow". If it's playing...turn OFF your radio, CD player, Turntable, I-pod, or whatever. It's snowing, OK? There are STORM WARNINGS out there! There is MORE snow headed our way! DO YOU HEAR ME? BOYCOTT that damn song! NOW!!!

School Daze, School Daze dept.: In Coeur d'Alene, it turns out that Lakes Jr. High is now "too expensive to be remodeled"; at least that's what we're being told so the powers that be can build a new school where Persons' Field is now, and rob Coeur d'Alene of MUCH NEEDED GREEN SPACE. Yet, plans to remodel Borah School, which is about as old as Lakes Jr. High are in the works. HUH??? Harder, I guess, to relocate an elementary school?

I went to Borah School a coupla years ago for its 50th anniversary celebration; I went inside, and the place looked great; 'twas the same old place as when I went there in 5th and 6th grade. And, I'm sure "Lakes" is still in pretty good shape, too. Why not just IMPROVE AN EXISTING FACILITY? It CAN be done! And that's my position on THAT.

And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind dept.: Looks like the developers (there I go using the "d-word" again) are once more trying to put a "push" on building new homes near Best Hill, down at the east end of Best Avenue. Opponents say the watershed is in danger if that happens. The proposal, rejected once, was submitted AGAIN with hardly any changes. Looks like the old "wear-down" strategy to me...just keep throwing it in our faces 'till the "permit" is "permitted". So the great Coeur d'Alene land grab continueth on. What with all the building activity around here, it's a good thing the north side of Best Hill is steep; the only houses you could build there would be for MOUNTAIN GOATS. BAAAA! And I'll bet a developer somewhere has thought about doing just that. Grab that land!


Trivial Pursuit dept.: Right now, Baba Wawa is interviewing the "ten most interesting people of 2005". Maybe I'm an old stick in the mud, but I don't care about any of those people. Interesting to who? Do I care about Charles and his blond pony Camilla Parker, Bowles? Do I care about the star of "Desperate Housewives"? Do I care about BABA WAWA herself? When you're talking about the average Barbara Walters special, it contains less important stuff than the increasingly fluffy and frothy "Entertainment Tonight". Plus, Mary Hart has better legs than Barbara, not that that's got anything to do with anything (or maybe it does).


"Up" pops another subject dept.: Turns out that our general area, and Spokane in particular, is great for us guys! Why? This area appears to have less of that malady referred to as "E.D." It's a dysfunctionality that has nothing to do with how well you get along with your significant other. Wait, maybe it does! Unless you happen to thrive on aggression. Otherwise, if you both are arguing and throwing things at each other, well, let's just say that's not a conducive climate for "conjugating". I think I'd better stop this thought before I type myself into a corner. Might be too late for that, though.


They get rich each time they pitch dept.: Two major-league relief pitchers were awarded lucrative contracts by their respective teams today. One guy got 1.43 MILLION over 3 years; another got 2.47 for a 5-year deal. Now, we're talking about guys who only throw an inning or two when their team is winning, and NOT AT ALL when their team is losing! (You don't want to waste those expensive arms on losing games after all!) In today's baseball economy, these "relief specialists" can end up making more money than a STARTING pitcher, who is required to go at least 6 innings in a game, or he's toast. Go figure!


Kris Krocker has found a reason to live dept.: Oh, those nice, cloudless summer and fall days. Sunny and warm, day after day. After day. After day. After get the idea. The weather for the next ten days is a carbon-copy of the ten days before. When the weather's good, the average weather-caster is about as busy as the Maytag Repairman. I'll just betcha, though, when the snow flies and motorists are getting stuck and all kinds of winter inconveniences present themselves, these weathercasters just salivate at actually having some RELEVANT NEWS to broadcast! "Whoopee! It's SNOWING! ICE! SLUSH! DANGER! The world actually CARES what's in the WEATHER FORECAST! YESSSSSS!!!!"

(That's kinda like Steve Martin, in "The Jerk": I'M IN THE PHONE BOOK! I AM SOMEBODY! I'M IN THE PHONE BOOK! WHOOOPEEEEEE!!!")


Your job could be next dept.: MERCK is laying off 7,000 workers nationwide. Merck makes all kindsa pills for all kindsa thrills. You'd think Merck workers would have job security...everyone needs prescriptions, right? Whenever ELVIS wanted to get himself stoned, he'd consult the "Merck Manual", which would tell him what combinations of certain pills would do to him. He'd taken a bunch of pills right before he died. I'd say he took the "wrong" combination of drugs there!


If I take a little bit, they won't notice dept.: A long-established 63-year-old congressman, RANDY CUNNINGHAM, admitted that he took almost 2 and a half million dollars in bribes today. Coincidentally (or not), his affairs were already being investigated. I must ask, would we even be hearing about this if he WASN'T being investigated? Cry those crocodile tears, congressman Cunningham!


Some Guys Have All The Luck dept.: Rock sellout Rod Stewart has had his 6th child, by his latest "significant other". He's had 4 "significant others" in-between numerous boozy flings. He's 60. Slow down, Rod; your expenses will be mounting. You better record a few more rock-&-roll "sellout" CD's which feature lame versions of torch songs sung better by Sinatra years ago. You gotta make money somehow, right? In closing, it doesn't sound like Rod worries about "E.D."!


California Dreamin' becomes a Nightmare dept.: This here makes me feel old: Denny Doherty, male lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas, is 65 today. Remember their song, "Creeque Alley", which was a sort of musical history? Well, now, Denny can dedicate the song to his old, aging, aching bones...just by changing the spelling to "CREAK Alley". (okay, that's not funny, but it IS timely)


Who sez CDA Residents aren't fashion trendsetters? dept.: Whilst having coffee at the Java place today, I hauled my nose out of the newspaper long enough to see someone wearing a T-shirt which read: "I am out of my mind. Please leave a message." Hey, I resemble that!


I can't find a good way to end this post dept.: So I'll just pull the ol' "dump and run" strategy; a veritable cyber-"Chinese Fire Drill", if you will. That's right, time for another UGLY STICKER! Us kids used to buy 'em in the 60s, 5 stickers to a pack, along with a pink rectangular-shaped foreign substance that looked suspiciously like fiberglass concentrate, and tasted like it too. Without further adieu (whatever that means), may I present Miss IRIS:

Poor ol' lonely Iris. In spite of the fact that she's got a KILLER SMILE with breath to match, for some reason, guys just seem to stay away from her. They don't realize she'd be a fun date; she'd crawl all over any guy she went out with!

Alas, she is doomed to a solitary existence of sitting home, watching cartoons on TV. Her favorite? "Pop-eye"!


Okay, that was really, really stupid. But it got your attention! Nyaah! Nyaah!

Remembering GEORGE HARRISON...

Face it, for me, music begins and ends with the Beatles. The exuberance and creativity of John Lennon and Paul McCartney were undeniable. Beatles' music, whether it be from the heady early days of "Beatlemania" or later in their career when the group was falling apart, always makes me feel good when I hear it.

On "Meet The Beatles", there was a George Harrison song that was surprisingly good..."Don't Bother Me"...a catchy tune with a minor-key flavor and a sprightly rhythm...and though there are those who disagree with me, I thought that tune stood up respectably to everything else on that album. Later on, when I got their "Yesterday and Today" album, there was George's "If I Needed Someone"...again, easily as good anything else on that album.

How about "Taxman", the rocker from "Revolver"? "Within You, Without You", the sobering sitar excursion on "Sgt. Pepper"? How about the majesty of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"? And finally, "Something", which even Frank Sinatra called "the greatest love song of this century"...? Those are all "George" songs. Lennon and McCartney would let George do a song or two on each Beatles album, but George had many songs in his folio that were turned down in the Beatle days.

Many of those songs came out on "All Things Must Pass", and that album surprised everyone. Many people still feel that it's the best "solo-Beatles" album. I do know that it is very, very good. In a way, I "side" with George Harrison. I've had people "keep me down" when I felt I had so much to offer. I try to remain "above the fray" when people are confrontational or angry, as Harrison did when Lennon and McCartney bickered so much in the waning days of the Beatles.

I had known for a long time that George had been dealing with cancer. In December 1999, an intruder broke into his home and stabbed him. One of George's lungs was punctured. I don't know if that exacerbated the cancer, but George did have cancer in his lungs, throat, and brain. George smoked heavily all his life, which didn't do him any favors either.

On November 29, 2001, I was listening to the radio while ringing the Salvation Army Bell. The network news came over the radio, and the first few notes of "Taxman" led off the news. "Uh-oh", I thought, knowing that when a newscast leads off with a song, it's usually "bad news" about the artist, and this was no exception. The newsman said George had died. I finished out the day, ringing the bell, but I had a pit in my stomach all day. I went home that night, and fired up the computer. I looked up at my Beatles albums on the wall, and thought about the news I'd heard earlier that day. I don't cry often, but I did then. I'd kept a lot bottled up when my parents died earlier that year. Finally, everything just came out. George died and I felt like I'd lost a buddy. Whenever I read his lyrics, what he wrote seemed to parallel the way I felt about things.

"When you've seen beyond yourself then you will find peace of mind is waiting there...
And the time will come when you see we're all one and life flows on within you and without you".
--from "Sgt. Pepper" ("Within You, Without You")

"Why are you still crying; your pain is now through.
Please forget those teardrops; let me take them from you.
The love that you're blessed with, this world's waited for.
So let out your heart, please, please, from Behind That Locked Door."
--from "All Things Must Pass" ("Behind That Locked Door")

"Isn't it a pity; isn't it a we break each others' hearts and cause each other pain
How we take each other's love, without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back; isn't it a pity."
--from "All Things Must Pass" ("Isn't It A Pity")

"I don't know why nobody told you, how to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you...they bought and sold you."
--from the 'White Album' ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps")

These and other humanistic sentiments are in much of Harrison's writing, especially in the songs of his "later Beatles career" as well as in his own "solo" career. Yes, he was no perfect angel, but he aspired to be a good human being. I looked up to him, and felt a huge loss when he passed away. I remember ya, George.

One more verse from "Isn't It A Pity":

"Some things take so long...but how can I explain
When none too many people...can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears...their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds us...isn't it a pity?"

The Last Gasp of Good Weather...

Here's a photo I thought I would share. I think I've got an 'eye' for a good photo. Obviously, I don't have great camera equipment, though. I guess I'll have to get a digital camera someday. I don't wanna do it during the Christmas season, though! I don't want to get stomped to death at Best-Buy or Wal-Mart anytime soon.

Anyway, this photo, to me, feels like a sort of "goodbye" to good weather before we Coeur d'Alenians have to face the onslaught of the winter season.

It was taken on October 10th of this year at about 5:30pm, and it looks southwest across CDA Lake. What you're seeing here is the very southwestern tip of Tubbs Hill as the sun is just about ready to bid adieu.

This is actually a "photo of a photo"; a picture which I photographed with my webcam. That "2nd generation"procedure gives the image a rather ghostly appearance.

Actually, we did pretty good this year, in the ol' weather department. We had a lot of great sunny days this fall. I'm not much of an "outdoors animal" anymore, but I love a good view, and it's cool to be able to capture it on camera. When I do that, I feel like I'm taking the view with me. A way of proving to myself, probably, that I do indeed exist.


I'll be back later to post some more stuff, never fear; but now I've gotta go out and read the paper (and, indeed "live" some of my life), so as to obtain some blog-ammunition, thereby tricking my readers into thinking that I actually know something about something...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I must be losing my blog-marbles!!!

I posted this photo last night, and then I forgot I posted it. I shut my computer off and went to bed. So today, this photo lingered on my blog, without caption. I'm obviously losing my mind.

I might have posted this photo before, but it's a great photo of downtown Coeur d'Alene in ye old semi-early daze, sometime in the 40's, I believe. You can see the old Clark's Jewelry clock which still remains vigilant, posted as it is on the sidewalk. It sure would be cool to be able to "transmogrify" one's self for a day or two, and go back to these earlier times.

In The Good Old Summertime dept.: I've had this photo crammed into my computer's memory banks for a while, and I thought now would be as good a time as any to reveal it:

Okay, let's all heave a collective sigh here: "AAAAAHHHHH". The good old summertime. Doesn't this photo look great, especially this time of year, when its cold, windy, and fairly miserable most of the time? I just tell myself that with each succeeding day of winter, we're that much closer to summer. A non-snow buff such as I fully recognizes that "winter" is the price I pay for living here. What a nice view this is, of CDA's City Beach.


You bunch of SLACKERS dept.: I'm hearing that there is now such a thing as "Cyber-Monday". Seems that, the Monday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days ever for cyber merchants as people go shopping online. And, furthermore, according to a news report (heard on Channel 4's news today), 52 MILLION people shopped online, while AT WORK, today. Sounds like perhaps it might be a good idea not to do any stock trading via computer on "Cyber Monday"!


The Kiss Of Death dept.: On that same newscast, I heard about a girl who DIED after kissing her boyfriend. Seems she had a toxic reaction to the peanuts he'd just eaten. Wow. Can't you just see one of those disclaimers printed on the side of a can of Planter's Peanuts? "Caution: ingesting peanuts may be hazardous to your or somebody else's health". What a tragedy it is, to think that some people can't enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I love 'em.


I didn't have a whole lot to post today so I'll just end it here dept: Yeah, I've still got some UGLY STICKERS hidden away in mine computer. They were sold in the '60's, 5 to a pack, along with a stick of gum that had approximately the same texture as your average shingle.

Here's HENRY, the sports nut. He never has trouble keeping his "eye on the ball". He's obviously enjoying himself here, although after a while, he's going to want some "different competition".

Actually, this is a pretty far-fetched monster creation which leads me to wonder what kind of serious medication the artist who created this picture was 'on'...?


Well, another post "over". Some of it was informative, some of it was entertaining, and some of it (the last item above), totally unnecessary. Which (sometimes) describes this whole blog!

One o'them lackadaisical Sunday Postings...
Or, "I got tired of watching TV all day; I had to do something else!"

Making it up as I go along dept.: Talk about 'truth in advertising'...that's exactly what this post is. Nothing in particular to write about; indeed, "posting for the sake of posting". As I type this, my brain is "whizzing" around the insides of my cranium at several hundred miles per hour, trying to think of subjects which will be at least partially interesting. I do have a quaint little picture included at the bottom of this post, though, which will insure that your perusal of this post won't be a 'total' waste of time. (See, I've got one paragraph done already. How do I do that?)

A 'sort-of' hat tip to our men in blue dept.: I know I tend to come down hard on the Coeur d'Alene cops for what I perceive to be "useless persual of revenue-generating crimes" (which I'll continue to do, never fear), but, here's the other side of the coin: I'm watching "Cops" right now on TV, and there's no way I'd want to do what THEY do for a living. In this episode, they're chasing a suspect with a stolen car who's shooting back at them. Not my idea of an entertaining evening. In spite of all I type here, making fun of the "blue meanies", theirs is an important job. At times, anyway! Speaking of revenue-generating, Spokane cops are "following the money". They're doing their traffic-sting-thing around area shopping malls. As I said..."sometimes", Cops do important stuff. To me, traffic "stings" are just PETTY.

I can see why they never won any Oscars dept.: In the "Huckleberries" site I visit ( , one of the topix people are talking about are baaad movies. The blog-meister of that site said he & the wife had seen the new version of "Bewitched" and how awful it was compared to the original TV series. You want bad movies? Try any of the mid-60's movies that ELVIS starred in. In my collection I have "Clambake" (ugh!), "Harum Scarum" (huh?), "Blue Hawaii" (dreck!) and "Fun In Acapulco" (almost believable, but ultimately as cheesy as all the others). In one movie, he's in a tiny little coupe with a woman, and all of a sudden, he sings, "No Room To Rhumba In A Sports Car"; in 'Blue Hawaii', he sings about "Queenie Wahini's Papaya". Ack. This from the man who gave us "Hound Dog", "Too Much", "Jailhouse Rock" and other classics.

In these cheesy movies, it seems Elvis breaks out into song at the slightest provocation (like, if his shorts ride up too tight or something). In one movie, he and a friend are walking along, and come upon a bunch of kids playing on an outdoor jungle gym. Ka-Bam, he starts singing some dumb song which has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. ("Clambake"). As a matter of fact, the "Clambake" scene only takes up about 5 minutes in the middle of the movie! Ah, but I know why Elvis' movies featured so many dumb songs. The tunes covered up all of the HOLES IN THE SCRIPT that the bad writing couldn't fill! Me, the movie critic, huh?

What's wrong with 'em? They're actually having a winning season dept.: The Seattle Seahawks have been having a really good year, but you couldn't tell it by how easily their opponents (I've forgotten who they were! Ack!) moved the ball against them towards the end of today's game. I thought, by watching, I'd "jinxed" the Seahawks! As the game ended, the score was tied, and their opponents missed THREE FIELD GOALS in overtime, any one of which woulda won the game. Finally, the Seahawks got tired of trying to lose the game and ended it all with a field goal of their own. Seahawks, 9-2. Pretty good so far.

Howling at the moon dept.: Got to go out last nite and fire up the old guitar. I have a really nice Washburn guitar that I don't play very much. It's like a work of art or a nice sculpture; I don't want it to get scratched up; it's that nice. I've got an old bashed-up acoustic guitar that I can play through an amp; that's the one I play the most. It was an unstructured occasion; we just had fun with the music. Not a lot of people in the bar, but that's okay. So, if you play guitar as a hobby, and just want to get together with like-minded people...Thursday nights at O'Shea's and Saturday Nights at Fort Ground Tavern. Be there or be square. Me, I'm round.

May I please get topical for a moment dept.: The whole Iraq situation is getting very interesting, and I wonder how it's all gonna pan out. More and more older, established congressmen seem to be questioning what our objectives are over there, and right now (on the re-broadcast of "Meet The Press" which I'm watching as I type this), Demagogue Senator Joe Biden just said, "Mr. President, TELL US what the plan is". I'm sure that a lot of people out there are "writing their local congressmen"; most congressmen don't just flop around and contradict a Presidential agenda without grassroots pressure. This whole thing is going to get interesting. Senator Biden emphatically said there is no EVIDENCE of "weapons of mass destruction", which backs up his earlier statement that "the Vice President lied and the President misled." That's a quote from that same "Meet The Press" program. And without that evidence...what the HELL are we doing over there?

There is debate among people I know, (and perhaps others out there) who believe that the Vice President and his cronies are actually running the war, and Prezzident Bush is merely a figurehead who is too proud to admit this war is WRONG. If nothing else, just remember that more of our troops have died since the war ENDED, than perished in the war itself. You know why President Bush keeps saying that "Iraq is not another Vietnam?" Because it IS. I understand, that a few of the troops over there don't want America's occupation to end until the job is done. I wonder how many of those same troops just want to go home before they die needlessly? The situation in Iraq is such that when our troops secure an area, then leave to secure another area, the Iraqi forces re-occupy the area our troops secured. That's how the whole country is, and it sounds counter-productive to me.

Okay, okay, here's the picture I promised you dept.: I might have posted this before, in the earlier incarnation of this blog, but it's worth another look. Someone took an old photo, and made an "artist's rendering" which is extremely colorful, and I love vivid colors. You've probably seen the old "Lake Steamers" sign at one of the turn-outs along CDA Lake Drive; well, this is one of the "Steamers" that sign refers to:

The Steamer "Flyer" in all her glory, somewhere around 1910. Although, that doesn't look like "steam" which the ship's chimney appears to be belching out. If that boat were in service today, the captain would probably have to file an environmental impact statement each time the boat went out for a cruise. If you click on the picture, it won't get much bigger, but it's the best I could do.

I heard an old dee-jay say once, "I may not know what I'm talking about, but I sound like I do!", and that philosophy definitely holds true, as is exemplified by this post. Actually, I'm not sure how to end this post, so I'll just.....................................................

You can rest easily now. This blogger has been forcibly removed from his computer.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

That has just got to be the most annoying Christmas song EVER!!!

Sitting today in the Java place, nursing my usual cup o'joe, as is apropos for the season, Christmas music was blaring out of the speaker above me. I suppose, if I hadn't been sitting so close to that speaker, I wouldn't have had the reaction I had. Out of the speaker came "THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS", which is just an AWFUL song. It not only repeats the same dumb stuff over and over, it ADDS to that dumb stuff with each verse! And for some unknown reason, the singer always stretches out the refrain, "FIIIIIIIIIVE.......GOLLLLLLDEN RIIIIIIIINGS!" and when the song hits the 12th verse, where again, everything is repeated ad nauseum, I just wanna NAUSEATE!!!

In addition to that, I cannot help but notice that the Christmas music that the stores are "allowed" to play in this hyper-sensitive, everyone-has-rights, politically-correct society, seems to focus on the shallow, non-religious songs. "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"! ACK!!! "Frosty The Snowman". ACK!!! "Jingle Bells!" ACK!!! "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow". ACK!!! Don't get me wrong; I like "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting...); I think "White Christmas" is a grrrreat song (You oughta hear the Drifters' version of "White Christmas"; it's absolutely cool...), so I'm not an old grinch; there are some Christmas songs that are pretty good.

What I miss, though, are the religious songs, and I don't care WHO those songs offend. Because they SHOULDN'T offend anyone! I miss hearing, "Silent Night", "O Holy Night", "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", etc. Those are just beautiful songs. In a perfect world, we'd be able to hear a good mixture of secular and religious Christmas music. After all, with no "Christ", there'd be no "Christmas". But I understand that some chain-stores won't even let their employees wish their customers "Merry Christmas", for fear that some heathen unbeliever is going to be OFFENDED. There is nothing more enchanting than sitting on the couch, in front of the Christmas Tree, late in the evening, with "O Holy Night" playing in the background. One of my fond childhood memories.

I Gave Downtown CDA A Chance dept.: Every single day, I seem to hear about the delicate business situation downtown. Stores having to close because the rents are so high. Stores sweating it out, hoping that someone actually comes in and BUYS something. Well, today, I needed something. Shoes. I had about $25-$30 to spend (end of the month; money's a little tight). I went to one shoe vendor; they had a good price range, but they didn't have the "selection". So I went to another shoe store that is having a BIG SALE! And, the cheapest shoe the guy had on sale was still over $60.00.

Two downtown CDA shoe stores. Nothing in my price range. Nothing I was really looking for. So, I went uptown, to "Big 5" Sports in the CDA Town Center. Found just what I wanted for $20 bucks. Good price, good selection. But, as I stated previously, "I Gave Downtown CDA A Chance"!!! I think the downtown CDA Merchants should look a little bit harder at their business practices. Not everyone who lives in CDA is "upscale", DAMMIT! But downtown merchants don't seem to realize that.

This all came about, because I've been having tremendous lower back problems lately. It's been getting to the point where it's been hurting so bad, I could barely make it from one room to the other. I've been wearing old running shoes, with thick heels. I believe the heels were causing me some spinal mis-alignment. I noticed last nite when walking barefoot, I seemed to be walking easier. I thot, "hmmm, could the shoes be complicating things here?" So I went and got "walking shoes" with lower heels, and so far, I seem to be getting around easier.

From my running days, I remember reading a book by the late Dr. George Sheehan, who was a runner, and he'd said, that most skeletal problems begin with the feet. So, I decided to get new shoes. So far, so good. So if you're having problems with sore knees, hips or lower back, maybe it's the shoes! Especially if you've been wearing the same pair for a long time. Sometimes the worst pain can be caused by something so small, something you don't even think about. I'd been wearing these old running shoes for ages. Now I've got "walking shoes" on. They feel weird, but they feel good.

The people at the Java place told me that things had been just absolutely insane over the last couple of days, what with all of the holiday shoppers out and about, especially with people lining Sherman Avenue during last night's Holiday Parade that I didn't bother to even consider attending. I should've known something was up when I walked in there today; the place was absolutely packed, sorta like that Coffee Shop on the old "Frasier" TV show, where Frasier and Niles Crane always had such a hard time finding a place to sit down. Hmmm..."Frasier"...another witty and well-written TV show; it was always one of my favorites.

Well, y'all, have a good Saturday night. I get to live it up tonite! I'm gonna go play guitar! Will I get paid for it? No. And I don't care. Some folks go bowling, other people play pinochile; I play guitar. Same difference. Except that I make a lot more NOISE!

Could it be possible that IDAHO is a musical hotbed???
FAT CHANCE!!!, you're probably thinking...

Okay, okay, I think we can all agree that Idaho hasn't exactly been on the cutting edge when it comes to trends. No record company executives have ever swarmed the Gem State looking for the "next Beatles", the "next "Rolling Stones", or even the next "Milli Vanilli". It is sad to report that there probably is no such thing as the "Idaho Sound". No real music which is representative of potato fields, burning grasslands, or below-zero temperatures in January.

However, there are those of you who may not know that, back in the early '60's, a young burgermeister named Paul Revere and his ol' buddy Mark Lindsay got together in Boise, and found they shared a common musical dream. Voila, all of a sudden (well, somewhere on down the line anyway), Paul Revere and the Raiders were born. So it's nice to say that the Gem State had a hand in that situation.

Face it, without IDAHO, there may never have been such Raiders classics as "Just Like Me", "Don't Take It So Hard", or "Cinderella Sunshine". And, perhaps Idaho is somewhat of a fashion trendsetter. Had Mark Lindsay not become a Raider, he might not have grown a ponytail. Of lesser stuff, legends and non-legends alike are made. But even though I've been long-winded about the Raiders here, that's not who this post is about...

I was shopping in a 2nd-hand store recently...and I found one of those "unheard-of", "underground" record albums by a group I'd never heard of. The cool thing about new people coming up to this area, is that the vinyl they contribute to the 2nd hand stores can be really-out-of-the-way stuff that you could only find in major metro markets, not a "mainstream" location like Idaho.

See the title of this post? "Fat Chance"? Well, that's the name of the group who recorded the album I found. So I was looking at the back of the album, where all the credits are for producers, supporters, assistants, etc., and last in their list of thank-you's was a tip of the hat to "our friends in Idaho." Huh? What? Idaho? I mean, this group's album was on RCA Victor, a big nationwide label.

So, I looked up "Fat Chance" on the internet; I "googled" 'em, and this group is so obscure that within the zillions of Google cyber-files, there were only about 4 or 5 really brief entries concerning the group, "Fat Chance". It seems the band members all met up in Boise, Idaho, and gigged around the Pacific Northwest, and I guess "someone who knew someone" referred them to "someone else" who heard them and told RCA about 'em, and they got to make an album. Here is a picture of that album...

Here it is, "FAT CHANCE" (their first, and as far as I know, only album). And, this group is/was pretty good! In addition to having guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, there's also a trumpet/flugelhorn player and another guy who plays woodwinds. Their material sounds like "Chicago" or "Chase" in places; some of it reminds me of the Box Tops, and some of it is sweetly acoustic in nature.

Seems there were two main writers in this group, Steve Eaton, the guitarist (he's recorded a few CD's down thru the years), and Bill LaBounty, who has become a songwriter of note; he's written several chart hits for others, and co-wrote two songs that Peter Cetera sang; those songs ended up on Cetera's 1983 album, "One More Story". LaBounty also has a bunch of CD's out, and he even has his own website.

Well, not every musician can hit the top of the charts all of the time, but it looks like at least two members of this group kept their hands "in the business" and managed to scratch out livings for themselves. Whether the rest of the group members are now dishwashers or burger-flippers, or even still alive, who knows? I was surprised at how good the "Fat Chance" album was, and I suppose, if nothing else, the other band members can tell others, "Hey, I cut a record once!"


I've come to the conclusion that "I must be slipping" one's left any comments on my last 3 or 4 posts. Perhaps my readers subscribe to the old adage, "if ya ain't got nuttin' nice to say, don't say nuttin", and if that's the case, well, I'm not sure how to respond to that. But there's a pretty fresh post under this one. Not "Fresh" as opposed to "Stale", rather, "Fresh", meaning I wrote it only 12 hours ago. Now I'm getting neurotic. That's what I get for wearing my heart on my blog.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Where the coyotes howl...and the wind blows free..."
--old traditional cowboy song from the 1800's...

That old song was sung around campfires when cowboys had to rustle up them' ol' dogies and take 'em to the last roundup. Wide, open spaces. A place where you could breathe. Anyway, while reading the paper this morning, one of the news items made me think of that old song.

On our Rathdrum prairie, the wide open spaces are being consumed at the rate of about 1,000 acres a year, by greedy developers who build cheap vinyl-sided houses and surround them with fenced barriers. Pop! Pop! Pop! Every time you go out there, you see a new subdivision. The article stated that about 3,000 to 4,000 acres of open space remain on the Prairie, at this very moment.

If you do the math, that means, by 2009, we'll have lost the chance to preserve any green space out there. The only flat land left will be where cemeteries are! And I wouldn't put it past the developers to try and get THAT land someday. "Hey, how 'bout we dig up all these graves and stack the coffins one on top of the other, 'cos we're running outta land and people will pay SKYROCKETING prices to live here!" Scary thought!


Baby, it's cold outside dept.: Gray skies. Drizzle. And cold. BRRRR! That's the way it's been lately. I went out for breakfast today, and I discovered yet another use for a hot cup of coffee. It makes one of the best HAND-WARMERS ever! Just the thing for the ol' arthritic wrists & knuckles. While I was in the restaurant, an elderly couple walked in and sat down. They were both "quite advanced" senior citizens. I heard the old guy talking to someone else, and he said he and his wife had been married 57 years. Wow. I can't stay in a relationship for 57 DAYS!

Blogger's disclaimer dept.: While proofreading this last item, I felt compelled to put in the following, for what it's worth: Regarding the hot cup of coffee being a good 'hand warmer', NO, DON'T POUR THE COFFEE ON YOUR HANDS! You merely wrap your hands around the cup, which is full of hot coffee! Whew! (Remember how McDonalds got in trouble over hot coffee?)


Does nothing make sense in the world, or is it just me? dept.: You remember good ol' Michael Brown. He was the head of "FEMA", the agency that dropped the ball during the New Orleans Hurricane Disaster. He was criticized roundly for not being qualified to be in that position. Ok, that much we know. Now, here's where it gets interesting. He is now in charge of a DISASTER CONSULTATION FIRM that advises homes and businesses about what to do in, you guessed it, DISASTERS! I don't know about you, but putting him in charge of disaster consultation would be kinda like putting Pee Wee Herman in charge of a children's DAYCARE facility. Or, putting George Dubya Bush in the Presidency! (whoops, we already DID that...TWICE!)


Isn't it just easier to tell the TRUTH, for crying out loud dept.: New Mexico Guv'nor Bill Richardson comes clean on a LIE he's been telling for almost 40 years? That he once was a draft pick of the Kansas City A's baseball team, when he actually WASN'T? What is the point of lying about that? It doesn't MEAN anything. Except, of course, that he's a LIAR. I think, if yer gonna LIE, lie about something that we actually CARE about so we can vote ya out of office, like the Washington State voters did in George Nethercutt's case. That way, we can all have a nice, juicy SCANDAL! Oh, what fun! Nethercutt LIED when he said he believed in term limits; that was the platform he defeated Tom Foley on. Ah, but the voters remembered. Nethercutt, unsuccessful in his senate bid, is now a lawyer. Which is where he belongs, the sleazeball.


I'm not a "hunk", I'm a "chunk" dept.: I heard a radio commercial today, for one of the local fitness centers. They want you to spend all kindsa mega-bucks so they can train you, so that you'll be buffed, toned, sculptered, and egomaniacally inclined because you look so wonderful. The commercial said, "Come in NOW, start exercising at OUR FACILITY, and you'll be BUFF BY NEW YEARS!"...Hmmm! As I look at my calendar watch here, well, there's 5 days left in NOvember, and 31 days in DecemBRRRR, which means, as of today, you'll be "BUFF" in just 36 days!. What do they do, put you under anesthetic and slice the fat OFF you when you enroll? Because that's the only way I could be "BUFF" in under 40 days!


It's A Gas, Tanks a Lot dept.: I'm kinda wond'rin what's the catch here...I went up to my favorite gas station, A & D mini-mart, and paid only $2.04 for unledded! Yet, at the convenience store at 15th and Sherman, it was $2.18. Quite a discrepancy there. I put in $20 each time, regardless of what the price is. Nice to see the ol' dollar being stretched a little bit here. Sure would be nice if the same thing happened with Natural Gas. How 'bout it, AVISTA???


Okay, it's time now for some silly stuff dept.: I used to like all of that wacky Mad magazine-type humor, where some product or a movie, or TV show would be intelligently (or not) satirized. I seem to carry that humor with me today. It gets me thru this crazy life.

Here's a case in point. This is a sticker, and I used to see 'em around in various places, and they'd satirize a well-known this case, "Hungry Jack" pancakes get victimized here. Yep, you can be one HEAVY DUDE if you eat "Hungry JERK" Extra-heavy pancakes! You can see here, that the guy on the front of the box is actually taking a bite out of the PLATE, which might just be more edible!

I remember another such sticker, which depicted "CRUST" Toothpaste..."CLEANS THE TEETH...RIGHT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!" I wonder if "Crust Toothpaste" featured that extra-special ingredient..."Flushistan!" After all, "Crest" was touted as having that cavity preventer, "Fluoristan."

This is almost too "ugly" to blog dept.: Yeah, I know you can't wait for today's "Ugly Sticker" installment. It is truly what the world has been anticipating. So, without further adieu, may I present HARVEY...

Well, yeah, he's ugly, but he seems to be friendly, and quite easily amused. It is obvious that he has no trouble "watching what he's doing". He can just pop out an eye when he needs something to do. He is quite an astute individual; he is one of those who can "see the total picture."

Of course, one day he'll get old, just like all of us do, and if he ever has to go in for a vision examination, he'll be in a heap of trouble. He'll get quite a large bill, since the optometrist would have to examine all those eyes. Can't you just hear Harvey's Mom yell in exasperation: "Harvey, put that eye back in your head, it's dinnertime!"


Well, fellow space cadets, this is where the voyage ends for now. I'd probably say that this edition went from the sublime to the ridiculous, but checking back, I couldn't find any sublime stuff at all. Guess I'm gonna have to work on that.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving Posting...

I feel kinda like I've gone "against the grain" all my life. Whenever I see lots of people doing "one thing", I tend to go the other way. And, that's how I feel about all of the joyous camraderie of the holiday season. It just doesn't mean an awful lot to me, and it hasnt, for a long time. So, if you're in a festive holiday mood, and don't wanna be bummed out, you don't have to read any further...

I don't really do an awful lot for holidays anymore. In a way, holidays are kinda rough; everything closes down, there aren't an awful lot of places you can go, and sometimes loneliness tends to intensify itself on holidays. I get thru holidays the best I can. Winter is always a "dark" period for me, so I think I go thru mental hibernation. At this point in my life, I am so far removed from anything called "family", that anymore, when people get together for large, full-of-life gatherings with all kinds of enthusiastic, ebullient noise, I tend to shy away.


It must be the holidays again dept.: On the news right 89-year-old lady was killed in Spokane this week by a member of her family that she trusted. In 1997, the killer's PARENTS were killed, and he spoke out against that murder in court. Makes sense to me!!!(not)

In the middle east, once again while U.S. troops were giving candy to kids, a suicide bomber did his thing, trying to take out our benevolent forces. A big floating balloon in one of the large parades broadcast nationally, was whipped by strong winds, and cables anchoring the balloon got tangled up with a street light; the light fell to the ground, injuring two spectators.

Meantime, folks are resting up tonite so they can go to 'Wal-Mart' and 'Best-Buy' tomorrow at 6 in the freaking MORNING and stomp all over each other trying to buy an "X-Box" (whatever THAT is), or any other of the things they really think they need to find on sale. "Black Friday", indeed.

And finally (I couldn't resist putting this one in)...a news story about a guy who was deep-fat-frying his turkey. He left the bird unattended for a few minutes; in the meantime, things started overflowing, things started catching on fire, and as a result, his house burned down. Seems to me it would be a lot less trouble to just go out and buy Turkey TV Dinners!


Why I'm so ambivalent about holidays dept.: I remember Thanksgiving at our house. Dad would slave over everything all day; constantly checking on the turkey, dressing, and all the other things associated with the meal. He was a great cook. And during the meal, he would always continually ask all of us, "Is It Good"? "What Do You think?" "Isn't That A Great Turkey"? etc. etc. No matter how much positive feedback he got on how WELL he'd done everything, I always felt that we could never tell him "enough" how fine of an effort he'd made. And, I always thought that he never really was happy about how anything went in his life. It was like, we couldn't compliment him enough.

Maybe it's me; maybe I'm a thankless S.O.B., but one of the big things I remember about family Thanksgivings...along with good food...there always was this TENSION. Dad could erupt in a moment about anything we said, or did, or whatever. One new years' eve, he made a great dinner for all of us. He began yelling at me about something. As I sat down to eat, the tension was so much, that I got up, without having taken a bite, walked out, got in my car and drove off. He raced out of the house, yelling and shaking his fists at me, and I just got the hell out of there. That...was our family. So I spend holidays alone. And I don't care, AT ALL.


Something I don't quite understand about Thanksgiving dept.: You cook and slave all day, trying to prepare the "meal of the year". You anticipate the holiday, and seeing everyone and talking and yakking and short, you drop everything you're doing, you interrupt your life, you look forward to this day so much, everyone sits down to eat, and in half-an-hour, the meal's eaten, all your guests go home, and the holiday is OVER. Sometimes I wonder what the "point of it all" IS. And I suppose I could apply this to any holiday. What's the point? This is HONESTLY the way I feel!


So, anyway, I was "Googling" around, trying to find a picture of a Thanksgiving Turkey (what can I say, I'm a shameless photo cyber-thief), and I found the following little item. You might remember that Google's Halloween logo incorporated witches, goblins, bats flying around, etc...well, Google embellished their corporate logo in like-minded fashion for the Thanksgiving holiday...and I thot it was cool...check it out:

It's great to see a great big corporation that evidently has a sense of humor. What do we have here; turkey, pie, and a cup of cheer, all within the Google emblem. Hmm...that reminds me...I bought a turkey sandwich last nite at the deli, so I guess I'll end this post and go eat it. My way of rememberance, I guess.


I didn't mean to bum you all out at this supposedly 'festive' time of the year, but it seems like everyone's so jolly and merry; there's other ways of looking at this time of year. I'll be happy when the sun shines and it's warm out once again. A little over 3 months 'till spriing! I'm waiting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Well, it's a holiday, so I thought I'd use specially-colored typography to mark this holiday. As you can tell, I go all-out, don't I? Anyway, it's cold, taxes have gone up, nothing's as cheap as it used to be, and there's always problems around every corner.

I've got aches and pains now that I didn't have even 4 or 5 years ago. Sometimes it's hard just to do the little mundane things, and sometimes it gets a little scary. Yet I think of people who can't even walk, who are housebound. So, I have "hope" that I'll just get thru all this the best I can, and I give thanks that I've managed to make it so far.

So, my Thanksgiving wish for all of you, is that you can remember the good things that are around you, and give thanks. Even if your life is pure hell, you're alive, and that's something to be thankful for, because life is precious; it can be gone 'just like that'. Enjoy your turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes...and heap on plenty o' GRAVY! MMM!

Whatever floats yer boat dept.: I read in the paper today that the Tugboat business on Lake Coeur d'Alene is basically in "survival mode". There isn't as much for the tugboats to do these days, what with the lumber mill situation the way it is. Another mill in the area will be closing soon, it seems, and the tugboats are going to have to find other ways of staying "afloat"...

It looks like those in charge of the tugboats are going to have to find "other" types of jobs, such as performing "residential"-type duties on properties around the lake. It's a serene sight to look out over the lake and see a tugboat transporting its cargo. It would be sad not to ever see a tugboat on CDA lake again. Let's hope they don't disappear anytime soon.


As one business disappears, another one springs up dept.: I'm widely known for being very inobservant; something can just "up and leave" and I don't know about it for ages. That may be the case here...stopping in at the "Do It" center on 4th Street today, I noticed that the little "Medicine Shop" pharmacy, which was next door, is now a thing of the past. When did it disappear? I wouldn't be surprised that all of the mega-stores with discount pharmacies put that shop outta business.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Big "Y" truck stop (well, that's the old name for it, anyway) at the east end of Sherman Avenue is being re-constructed, and hopefully it'll open soon. Actually, the last few weeks may have been as good a time as any to be closed, since gas purchases went "down" as gas prices went "up". I hope the same crew is hired back; they're great folks.


Hey Hey Mama, like the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove dept: Last night, I watched a DVD that I've had in my collection for ages: "Led Zeppelin DVD", and I know what you're thinking: "Geez, they're LOUD, and they drive me crazy!"; well, I always have liked their louder stuff. However, there's a segment where they're all just sitting quietly on stage, playing acoustic guitars, mandolins, and doing their softer stuff like "Goin' To California", "That's The Way", and "Bron-y-aur Stomp"...such talented musicians. Talented because they can do such a wide range of material. I don't know if it's me gettin' old, but I like that softer stuff now, a lot more than I USED to. Nice stuff indeed.


Another talking head bids "adieu" dept: I watched "Nightline" last night, and I've been a semi-regular viewer of that show for years. Host Ted Koppel's struggles with the ABC Network management hierarchy have been well-documented over the years; it's always been a possibility that when one tuned in to ABC at 11:35 pm, instead of "Nightline", there'd be some inane late-night talk show taking its place, like the "Pee-Wee Herman Variety Hour", or something.

As the program drew to a close, Ted had one last "closing thought" in which he implored us viewers to give the new "Nightline" broadcast team a chance, or ABC would most definitely replace it with another silly talk show where overbearing movie stars, singers, rappers, professional athletes and other pseudo-influential beings of little note attempt to be so very witty, all the while hawking their latest new TV series, books, recordings, movies, veg-o-matics or whatever. Isn't there already enough of that CRAP on TV now? Ted Koppel went out at the top of his game, for sure, though. I wonder if the decision to retire was "totally his", though, given his conflicts with ABC over the years.


A quarter can be so little, yet so much dept: Beginning the day after Christmas every year, you'll see Salvation Army Bell-ringers in various places. Standing out in the cold, ringing the bell. (Although, surprisingly, there are businesses who DON'T WANT the bell-ringers to ring their bells! I think that's INSANE! That's as bad as outlawing fireworks on the 4th of July!) Of course, I also "rang the bell" for businesses who made me stand outside in the cold for 8 hours. Those SAME businesses would allow other charitable groups to sell brownies or candy inside their stores! I could never figure that out.

Anyway, I understand bell-ringers this year will be volunteers, rather than paid employees. I "rang the bell" in 3 different winter seasons not so long ago. I got paid for it, but without that Salvation Army job, I wouldn't have made it thru the winter. Some folks would contribute, some didn't; "oh well"! I always thought that if everyone who passed me dropped in a quarter, just a QUARTER, there would be a LOT of money in the ol' red kettle. So, that's something to think about. A relatively painless small sacrifice, and it goes to a good cause.


Well, that's it for this here post. I've now held off as long as I can; I've gotta finish what I'm doing here and turn the heat up! What with fuel increases on the way, I'm waiting as long as I can to do that, but I've got icicles on my toes, you see. Anyway, happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

John F. Kennedy and The Beatles...

The late President John F. Kennedy never heard "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and there's a good chance he never heard any Beatles songs at all. Although the Beatles recorded in 1962 and 1963, the big Beatle Invasion didn't happen over here until January 1964, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, and gave their first American Concert in Washington, D.C.

Some say the reason the Beatles hit so big here in America was because America needed something "good", a "breath of fresh air" after the tragedy of the Kennedy assassination. I don't know how much I would believe that; I suppose that from a sociological point of view, it's possible. Of course, it could also be that The Beatles were just very, very good at what they did.

However, in a way, JFK and the Beatles are tied together for all eternity. You see JFK at upper left; he was assassinated November 22, 1963. At right is the Beatles' second English album, "With The Beatles", which has many of the songs later issued on the U.S. Version of that album, "Meet The Beatles". And it turns out, that the English LP, "With The Beatles" was also released on November 22, 1963. As one life ended, a whole realm of possibilities began.

Strange how things work out, ain't it?

...and it looks like it's rising clear up to the sky..."
(With sincere apologies to those of you who are fans of "Oklahoma"...)

Sometimes I don't understand the human race. Wait...I take that back. MOST of the time I don't understand the human race. It seems like the rich inhabitants of the planet want to wreck it for those that aren't so rich. I am speaking of tall residential buildings springing up in old, established neighborhoods where the largest thing going is a 3-story house. And, then, up pops a condo which is half the size of a skyscraper, which wrecks the aesthetics of an old neighborhood. Excuse me, isn't that what ZONING is for? To establish "continuity" as a basis for construction within "said" neighborhood?

Well, it's too late for the corner of 7th and Front Avenue in CDA. And, another hi-rise will be going in across the street from that structure in the not-too-distant future. The 7th and Front condo in place now can be seen from miles away, as it juts up like a sore thumb, above the houses, above the trees, and above everything else in that neighborhood. What a shame. But, Coeur d'Alene doesn't have a monopoly on tall buildings built WHERE THEY SHOULDN'T be built. This picture appeared in today's Spokesman-Review:

If the "powers that be" have their way, this condo (it's an artist's rendition at this point) will tower WAAAAY above the quaint little neighborhood known as "Peaceful Valley", which sits along the Spokane River in the Western part of Spokane. I always admired that little neighborhood, and it's had to put up with a lot, with the Maple Street Bridge towering over it. And now, THIS? If built, this condo will take sunshine away from some residents' homes, add more traffic to that small neighborhood, and effectly wreck the aesthetics of the place. I'm not one of these wacko "anti-progress" people; rather, I favor construction which "enhances", rather than "interrupts" the beauty of the area that construction is taking place in.

Don't these builders know that these tall buildings are EYESORES??? If residences need to built, why not "lower" buildings, which are more sympathetic with the existing terrain, rather than gigantic towering monoliths which absolutely DWARF everything around them? It's like these builders basically "thumb their noses" at the residents of the neighborhood. They don't care about the neighborhoods; all they want to do is to build high-priced condos so they can line their pockets. Condos in semi-urban districts of cities are one thing, but when these "towering infernals" invade low-key, old neighborhoods, it just makes me sick to my stomach. I hope this condo isn't built in Peaceful Valley, but I suppose it all comes down to "who has the money". Sheeeeeesh.

Contemplating my own mortality dept.: It turns out that two Coeur d'Alene high school classmates of mine passed away this month. The guy who died evidently had some really bad kidney and/or liver problems, and he'd been ill for a while. The lady who died was super-vivacious in high school, she was musical, bright and smart, and later on, owned a travel agency here in CDA. I'd known her since the early '60s. Death, be not proud. At our 30th class reunion, the organizers of the event said they'd like to start, perhaps, reuniting every 5 years instead of every 10 years because, after all, we're all getting "up there"! Not pleasant to think about.

Just how are they gonna do this? dept.: I've read where the CDA Police are going to turn into "seatbelt nazi's", looking for motorists who are unbuckled and issuing them fines. Ah, but Idaho, in theory, doesn't work like Washington State. In Washington, helicopters with telephoto lenses can spot you from hundreds of feet up and relay info to the cop cars below..."10-4, unit 26, a motorist far below me at Sprague and Bowdish ain't a-buckled in, go get 'im!", etc. In Washington, if a cop SEES you not wearing a seatbelt, you're toast.

Anyway, the last I heard, you CAN'T be stopped for not wearing a seat belt in Idaho (here, it's not a "primary" offense) but you can bet that the "blue meanies" will be out there, just waiting for you to make some kind of mistake, such as not using a turn signal, improper lane change, doing 26mph in a 25mph zone, or just looking suspicious. And THAT'S when they'll getcha for being "unbuckled. Beware! Whenever a cop is following me, I get paranoid. I think, "am I driving as well as I think HE THINKS I should be driving?"

Not such a cool cat dept.: Again, I had to go up into the Northern part of town, an area I try to avoid, because the traffic up there drives me absolutely bonkers. I had to go and get a couple of x-rays. All of this mysterious machinery going "click....whirrrrr...", all of the while, I was freezing because I had to get into one of those hospital I lost what little dignity I had at the same time I was freezing. Turns out I was too cold to care.

So, when I got back home, I had some mail in ye olde mailbox. Including a heartfelt communication from Tom Malzahn, the tax assessor here...and when I saw what I owe, I coughed up a couple of HAIRBALLS and my mouth dropped open in disbelief. Sorta like ol' "Bill the Cat" here, from the long-departed and sorely missed "Bloom County" comic strip. "ACKTHPTF!!!"


All You Need Is "Love" dept.: So, after "grinding it out" today, I was in serious need of some LOVE. Love is all you need, right? And when you're NOT looking for love, supposedly, that's when love "finds you", or so I'm told. Which actually proved true today. I GOT SOME LOVE!

I ordered this record over EBAY a coupla weeks ago and it finally got here. The first album by "Love'. They had a minor chart hit with "My Little Red Book" in 1966. Their real masterpiece album, though, is their 3rd album, which is titled, "Forever Changes". But this album is good, too. "Garage Band"-styled rock with a twist; kinda dark and moody. Arthur Lee, the leader of "Love" (the guy in the checkered pants), actually recorded some sessions with Jimi Hendrix, but most of that stuff is hidden away somewhere; it sure would be interesting music to actually get to hear! "Love" was the first band on Elektra Records, which also released music by The Doors, Paul Butterfield, Crabby Appleton, and other subversive musicians. Subversive? Oh Yeah. My kind of music.


This "George" will never be on the dollar bill dept.: Time to end this here posting, which may have been "unfair", but at least it was balanced. One article about Spokane, One about CDA. Plus my various gripes thrown in for good measure. Anyway, it's "Ugly Sticker time" once again, so let's all say "HELLO!" to...ol' Georgie-boy here!

Oh gosh, this isn't very pleasant at all. But there have been times when I got a Pepsi "to go" and I got down the road a ways and found out that I forgot my STRAW! Ack!!! Well, from the looks of things, ol' Georgie-boy here never has to worry about that. And it looks like he's enjoying himself. Me, I'm not so sure if I'm comfortable with the idea of carbonated soda in my nasal cavity, but to each his own. I'll just hope that he's sucking stuff inward, and not the 'opposite' or I'll be extremely grossed out here.

"Ugly Stickers" were available in the late '60's, 5 to a pack, along with a brittle stick of razor-sharp calcified chewing gum that would slice the heck out of yer mouth till it got to the point where it was halfway chewable. Those were the days, mein friend! We thought they'd never end.


"When's he gonna go? When's he gonna end this post?" Okay, be patient. But, before I end this column, tonight is Ted Koppel's last appearance on Nightline. I saw the first-ever "Nightline", which concerned the 444 hostages in Iran, back in 1980. Wow. Am I getting old or what?

Monday, November 21, 2005


When I was a kid, sometimes my Dad would get irritated at me if I stayed indoors on a nice day, or if I'd been lazy, doing nothing. He was just that kind of guy. So he'd tell me, "go outside and blow the STINK off." And he would always say that rather emphatically. Needless to say, I got outta there as fast as I could.

So, anyway, with the gout attack I had last week, I couldn't go anywhere or do much of anything. Over the weekend, the pain subsided a bit. And, I needed to get out of the house and "blow the stink off". Nice to be out and about again. I tend to take the little things for granted, like going to the Java place for coffee and a newspaper, or shopping at 2nd hand stores.

One such item I found was a little Beanie-baby SKUNK. No, I don't collect the "Beanies", but the "skunk" kinda appealed to me. And that's where I got the idea for this posting. Blowing the "stink" off.

I now have two little creatures on top of my computer. Since I'm not disciplined enough to actually take care of a pet, these will have to do. I've had the little baby seal, "Chuck", forever, and how, he has company. "Stinky" the skunk.

Amazing, the stuff you find in 2nd hand shops. I got into the "2nd-hand" habit years ago; Mom used to take my sister and me shopping at St. Vinnies' here in CDA. So, you could say, I've been shopping at the same 2nd hand store for 40 years!


It's a sign of the times dept.: General Motors is laying off 30,000 workers. How awful, but I guess it has to be done, eh? Winter's coming and the big fuel "pinch" is on. Maybe the economy is such that people aren't buying as many new vehicles as before. Maybe folks are using their money for Christmas gifts instead of vehicles. Who knows? Listen to the radio, watch TV, turn to the business section of the paper; most every day, someone else is "laying off".


Super-sleuth investigative reporting dept.: After coffee today, I walked over to where the hydroplane park is, next to the CDA Rezzort. It's still fenced off, and I have no idea of wot's goin' on there. But I did see a big crane doing something on the east side of the Rezzort itself. A couple of "flagger" people were standing there, and I asked 'em what's going on. They said that an "extension" was being built onto the rezzort, which would contain, perhaps, a "spa", or "offices", or things of that ilk. I came to the unfair and unbalanced conclusion that, the influx of tourism dollars slows down during the winter, so if businesses reside inside the rezzort, that's one way that Hagga-corp can keep the bucks flowing during the wintertime. I wonder how much it costs to have a business inside the Rezzort...can't be cheep!

BLOGGER'S NOTE: It needs to be reiterated here, that this extension is being built onto the "existing" resort building. No building has (yet) taken place where the 'hydroplane memorial' is, although that area is still fenced off; why it's fenced off, I'm not sure. Okay...back to regular programming...


One more cup of coffee dept.:: Whilst having coffee today, a lady with fiery red/auburn hair walked in to get herself a cuppa hot "whatever" it was she came in for...and that red hair gave me pause. My Mom had the same color of hair. That brought back a whole lot of memories. But that's OK. I need to get out, see things, do things, in order to remind myself of who I am, whatever THAT is.


Another doe-headed motorist screws up dept.: I read in the paper today where a 21-year-old woman was killed in Whitman County, Washington; she was run into by a 79-year-old guy driving a pickup truck. Unfortunately, she wasn't driving. She was JOGGING. How awful. I remember, once when I used to run, down near the college, I saw a lady in a car pull up to an intersection. I was crossing the street and I thot she saw me. So, I ran in front of her car and just then, she ACCELERATED. I was literally ON THE HOOD OF HER CAR. I was extremely lucky. Sometimes motorists just aren't watching for bicyclists and runners. After that incident, if a car came up to that, or any other intersection, I always ran IN BACK of the car. Assuming they weren't going to accelerate in reverse. But, you never know, with the way drivers are these days!


Son Of A Gun dept.: I am not one to say whether or not people should or shouldn't have guns. However, I also believe that a lot of people who shouldn't have guns, have guns! Case in point: The shooter who wounded 6 innocent folks in a Tacoma, Washington, mall over the weekend. America, if you want to keep firearms available, according to constitutional principles, well, okay, fine and dandy. But as long as guns are easily available, things like this are gonna happen. The price we pay for being a democracy, huh?


Rotating on a firm "foundation" dept.: After I went to St. Vinnies' today, I then went over to "Goodwill", where I found a record I've been searching for, for YEARS. It always bugged me that I didn't have it in my collection...the late-'60s big boss-smash hit, "Baby, Now That I've Found You", by The Foundations! I've had their other big hit, "Build Me Up Buttercup" for ages, but for some reason, I could never find this record! But now, I've got it, and I think that's cool.

Another '45' I've been looking for is Sandie Shaw's 1964 rendition of "Always Something There To Remind Me". I've looked for that for YEARS, and I can't find a copy. I do have it on an ALBUM, but I'd like to have the single!

Another record I'd been searching for, for DECADES, was "Land of 1000 Dances" by Wilson Pickett...the band on that record plays great, he sings great, and the song rocks. I looked for that single for years around here; couldn't find it. Finally, I was down in Pismo Beach, California, of all places about 20 years ago, and THAT'S where I found a copy.


It's All In How You Look At It dept.: The pundits on national TV, some of them anyway, are theorizing that "Prezzident Bush doesn't KNOW how to get out of Iraq." Could that really be the case? Does he think our nation will look "bad" if we pull out the troops now? Is he concerned about his own legacy, not wanting to be perceived as a "weak" President? (Well, it's probably too late for that last one!). However, I was thinking about this over the weekend...

Even though our country's going to Iran had NOTHING to do with "9-11", we went anyway. We took Saddam Hussein out of circulation. We've also nurtured that country to the point where, imperfect as it might be, Iran is actually holding ELECTIONS. So, we've accomplished a couple of terrific objectives. So, we've WON, right? So, let's turn Iran over to the Iranians and LEAVE! "Terrorism" will never be defeated; you can defeat an army, but you can't defeat a "condition". We've got Iran to the place where it's probably as good as it's gonna get over there. So let's leave and try solving our OWN internal problems here in the U.S.A. for a change. How about it, Mr. Prezzident? This way, we can leave without any more troops needlessly dying.


Prezzidential Parallels dept.: Prezzident Bush went to China for a few days, to be a statesman, to look important, to do "whatever". He didn't accomplish much, especially when he was trying to get China's leader to convert China into a democracy. (What are the Chinese words for "no way, Jose?") Prezzident Bush's poll numbers in the U.S.A. are at an all-time low. So he escaped to China for a while. I seem to remember that Prezzident NIXON did the same thing back in that Watergate-saturated year of 1974...scandal, rumors, all kinds of political juicy stuff going on, so Nixon went abroad so he could look like a diplomat. As I remember, his "approval ratings" were quite low, too. Will President Bush's Presidential Career end in a similar degree of shambles? Stay tuned!


Someone else said it better than I ever could dept.: A great letter-to-the-editor appeared today in the Spokesman-Review. It was about allocation of Police force resources. The writer implored the Spokane Police Dept. to focus more on "violent crimes rather than revenue-raising crimes" such as traffic stops, etc. Could that also apply to Coeur d'Alene's police force? In my humble and ignorant opinion, I TEND TO THINK SO!!!


What's that doing on there? dept.: While driving around CDA today, I found myself stopped behind a big black S.U.V. that probably gets 10 gallons to the mile...(yes, you read that right)...but what I really noticed was the GEORGIA license plate! You don't see many of those in "non-tourist-seasons". Anyway, at the top of the plate, it not only said "GEORGIA", it said, "," which made me think, it wasn't so long ago that nobody would have known what that meant! Click on the link if you want. Personally, I don't care. This blogsite makes "automatic links". For all I care, you can go to "". It's all the same to me.


Isn't this post over YET? dept.: Of course, I can't end a post (well, yes I could) without putting in yet another one of those relatively iconoclastic "UGLY STICKERS" that I've been forcing on my unsuspecting readers. So you think that it's just GUYS that "get ugly"? Think again...

Here is DORIS. She's a hopelessly confused lady, obviously. It looks like she doesn't know which way is up. Eyes on the bottom, mouth on top, and is she standing on her hands or her feet? It looks like she can flip herself over, and stand on her other set of "hands or feet", and look straight up. I bet she'd be great at doing "cartwheels".

"Ugly Stickers" were available in the late '60s, 5 to a pack, together with a pink rectangular stick of Bubblegum, which had the texture of floor tile until you chewed it a while. And after you HAD chewed it for a while, the flavor wore off, and it started TASTING like floor tile! So, after you spit out the gum, you could chew the STICKERS, I guess. By that time, the stickers would probably have had more flavor!


Ok, ok, everyone out of the pool! Post over! I had some serious fun with this one today. Plus, I got it done nice and early so I can watch Monday Nite Football. The Green Bay Packers are playing tonite. It's sad to see a good team go bad (sounds like an Everly Brothers song there!). Brett Favre's been a great quarterback, but it looks like he's not doing so well anymore. His career seems to be going the way of Prezzident Bush's!

Could "THIN AIR" be just a state of mind?
Or, as the Moody Blues once sang, "thinking is the best way to travel". Of course, if we all adopted that concept, travel agencies all over the nation would go out of business!

A while back, I "googled" the words, "Thin Air" to see what I could find. And up popped all kinds of "Thin Air" stuff; and the following little tidbit really intrigued me:

"Why dream of escape, when you can escape into your dreams?", the cover of this book suggests. Sounds like a good idea to me. Think of all the gas you'd save. You'd never have to make reservations anywhere.

Actually, this looks like one of those trashy romance novels where the plumber's younger brother is running around with the sister of the high-society lady who knows that her best friend is having a fling with the brother of the lady whose boss is hiding from the mob, the New York Stock Exchange and the Internal Revenue service.

Thing is, the book needs to be "short and sweet", in detailing the potentially tragic and festering circumstances which the book's plot alludes to. After all, wouldn't it be an "oxymoron" of sorts, if the Novel "Thin Air" was in reality, a "thick" book?

Is there a reason for all this? dept.: Well, yeah. I had a reason around here somewhere...where did it go? Makes me remember the old saying, "I finally got my (stuff) together, but I forgot where I put it!" Oh, yeah, I remember now. The gout symptoms have subsided enough for me to hobble around on a daily basis, so hopefully this blog will once again get a little more informative, as the layers of insulation around my brain dissipate, resulting from me not having to take pain medication. My knobby knees are back to normal. I'm not jumping for joy, tho. Can't jump!

Not much to say in this column, so here's a picture dept.: It's always nice to put pictures in a blog. Especially in a post like this, that so far, hasn't said much of anything, so here goes:

Here's an old picture of downtown Coeur d'Alene which dates in the early 40's, probably, judging from the vehicles, and this shot shows that Coeur d'Alene hasn't changed a lot over the years. You can see the "Clarks' Jewelry" clock at the left side of the street; not sure which "Cafe" that is..."Merrill's Cafe", maybe?

On the right is an establishment known as the "Sugar Bowl". A bakery, maybe? And, a store I remember from my own childhood, WOOLWORTH'S, which is just up the street from the "Sugar Bowl". It's that "lower" building with the red "strip" above the windows. A great place to buy music, look at all the fish in the tanks, and then have a Coke! And, of course, up the street on the right is the Hart Building, where "Java On Sherman" is now located, with the building that now contains the "Sports Cellar" across the street from it.


What other goodies has he got for us? dept.: You didn't think I was gonna let you off THAT easily, did you? No way! There's Hell to pay! Actually, not. But here's another groovy picture:

I've posted a picture of this before, but this is a better view. Way back in ye olde days when it was a "long and winding road" between here and the Montana Border, evidently old Hiway 10 was quite a treacherous and tedious road, and at the top of the 4th of July Pass, there was a tunnel that all the olde roadsters would motor through. The tunnel was by-passed when the 4-lane version of hiway 10 (later Interstate 90) rendered it obsolete.

For a number of years, before the present highway was re-graded near the top of the pass, you could see the old tunnel off to the left if you were headed east, but it was all boarded up, and I think the State Highway dept. stored vehicles or whatever in the tunnel. (Some of you reading this may know more than I about this; feel free to "comment".)

It's always really weird going through a tunnel; there are tunnels on a couple of the 2-lane roads that head west from Interstate 5 in Oregon, and there's another one in the eastbound lanes of I-84 near The Dalles. I've always wondered about those tunnels; they sure don't give you much "escape room" from the edge of the road in case you happen to find yourself in dire circumstances thrust upon you by some hosehead motorist.


This has been a lackluster post, obviously. I took my vacant mind and hung it out to dry here. But, I think the pictures are pretty cool. The post underneath this is kinda interesting. Especially for people named DAVE. All you's "Daves" out there, be forewarned!