Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"FORREST GUMP" Revisited...
...or, what's REALLY on the President's mind when he speaks...

...the thought comes to mind that I'll probably pay eternal penance for posting this. But...it sure was fun!!!

Attention! TEN-HUT!!! Present ARMS!!! (I'll do anything to attract attention, won't I?) I have made my Super Bowl prediction; it's in this blog, also printed in red. Why red? To be totally obnoxious, I guess. If this had been an emergency, your computer would have shut down by now. Back to our regularly scheduled blog...already in progress...

...A Super Bowl revelation of sorts...

It has come to my attention (I could kick myself for not having realized it before) that the musical entertainment at this year's Super Bowl, which will be held in Detroit, will feature absolutely NO "Motown" musical entertainment, either in the pre-game segments, or during halftime! Of course you remember "Motown"...the Detroit-based record label that featured such acts as The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas and so many more immortal artists...

Here's a picture of the "Motown" label, one of the most beautiful record labels ever. Motown was such a "home-based" organization, that on its earlier singles, even the PHONE NUMBER was on the label, which I found highly unusual.

Of course, Motown had many subsidiary labels; among them, the yellow-&-brown "Tamla" label, the purple "Gordy" label, the blue-&-purplish "Soul" label, and even the quasi-psychedelic "Rare Earth" label. Although Motown was primarily home to black recording artists, the "Rare Earth" label was a more rock-oriented label.

Sadly, in the early '70s, Motown moved to Los Angeles, leaving behind their great studio musicians in Detroit, and as a result, "The Motown Sound" was largely lost. Some say the acoustics of the little Motown studio building in Detroit had a lot to do with the way the early Motown records sounded, and of course, the Motown Musicians (informally dubbed "The Funk Brothers") had a very distinctive style of playing. This individuality was basically lost when Motown moved its operations to California.

Anyway, Detroit is losing a golden opportunity to demonstrate to the world what "The Motown Sound" was all about. It is one of the most immortal-ever musical styles, and the Motown Artists continue to influence musicians today. My favorite Motown record? (Including the Motown subsidiary labels) I would have to boil it down to two: "Come See About Me" by the Supremes, and the immortal "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars. Good stuff indeed!


Another Super Bowl Prediction dept.: A sports columnist in today's Spokesman-Review, Norman Chad (who writes an ultra-hilarious column) predicted the outcome of the Superbowl thusly: Pittsburgh 29, Seattle 11 and a half. Huh? What? Chad said he once predicted the score of a chess match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, and from what I gather, "halves" are used in tallying chess scores. Me, I'm still trying to figure out how to do the 4-move checkmate!

UH OH! RED TYPE! MUST BE IMPORTANT! dept.: So, regarding this years' Super Bowl , I might as well be like the chicken who crossed the road half-way. Why? Cos she, the hen, wanted to "lay it on the line", ha ha. My prediction wasn't arrived at lightly (well, it did come about in a fit of insomnia)...If the Seahawks aren't "blown away" by the end of the first half, they've got a chance. Duh, huh? All of the 'Hawks' losses have been 'away' games. Detroit will definitely 'feel' like an away game to Coach Holmgren and company, Detroit being closer to Pittsburgh than Seattle, more Steelers fans in the stands than 'Hawks fans.

Pittsburgh runs an offense pattern that Seattle hasn't encountered a lot. I don't doubt the 'Hawks will score points; the question is, can the defense hold the Steelers? I know who I WANT to win, but I know who'll probably win...at best, I'm looking for the Steelers to win by a score of 31-21. A prediction like that, is like a TV weatherman being wrong when he predicts rain! If the sun shines, if the 'Hawks win, GRREAT!!! Blogger StebbiJo and I were discussing all this in the "comments" section of this entry. So I thot I might as well bring my views "out front", as a certain interactive-blogmeister would say. So, there it is. PUNT!!!


Ninety minutes of the toughest TV I've ever watched dept.: I tuned in A&E last night, for the debut of their 'original' movie, "Flight 93", and it was hard to watch, knowing what the outcome would be. Not only does the movie showcase the terror the passengers and their loved ones experienced, it also paints a horrific picture of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, before flight 93 itself crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. If you want to experience the "vibes" during 9/11, watching this show is a good way to do it. It's on A&E again tonight, and the network will probably show it a few more times during the next week or two.


The kind of gas that doesn't require "Beano" dept.: ConocoPhilips corp.'s 4th quarter earnings rose 51% to 3.68 BILLION dollars. Obviously the strategy of these big companies is to keep the shareholders happy, while at the same time not giving a damn for the average motorist out there. The combined 2005 PROFITS for the 3 major-integrated oil companies? Only $63 BILLION. I think I'll stop buying gas and instead buy FUEL STOCKS!

Something to "stew" over dept.: You might wanna check out your canned soup before you serve it; in Pennsylvania, a NEEDLE was found in a can of Progresso Minestrone Soup. So, if you had soup at dinner and you feel a "tickling" sensation in your throat, you might wanna head for the nearest metal detector. Remember a long time ago during the Tylenol poisoning scare, when someone put poison in Tylenol capsules? Around that time, "National Lampoon" magazine released a "spoof" of the whole product-tampering issue; one page showed a picture of nuclear bombs inserted into cereal boxes. BOOM!!!

Cutting the Cheese is never nice dept.: Kraft corporation is cutting 8,000 jobs and closing up to 20 of its plants in SPITE of 23% HIGHER 4th-quarter earnings. Let me get this straight, the company is showing signs of life and still, people are getting laid off? Oh, right, they're in the middle of a long-term "restructuring" plan. I suppose they'll lay off several thousand more people in order to get the profits up where they want them. Am I the only one who thinks there's just something wrong with this picture?

Too old to cut the mustard anymore? dept.: Two OLD-TIMERS are considering retirement: Roger Clemens, the pitcher who'll mow ya down if you get in his way; he's at the ripe old age of 43, and Brett Favre, the Green Bay Quarterback who's seen better days. He's all of 36! These guys have been around forever, and they're STILL THAT YOUNG? Now I really feel like an ancient artifact!

For once, I value their opinions dept.: Tonight is the President's "State Of The Union" message, in which cunning-linguist George W. Bushed will prop himself up behind the podium and try not to implode as he smirks and stutters his way through all of the nation's problems, all the while attempting to look like an intelligent human being, all the while knowing he's "faking it", hoping no one catches on. Usually I find network-news "talking heads" bitter and shrill, but this time around, I'll leave it to them, to tell me how Bush did, because I just can't bear to watch him myself. If I wanted to watch LOONEY TUNES, after all, I'd tune in to the Cartoon Network!


It ain't "Jonah's Whale" but it's close dept.: Yeah, I know I've posted pictures of this before, but this one's a little bit different. Yep, the FISH INN, which was located just off the St. Maries exit on I-90, east of Coeur d'Alene.

This is another old Ebay-merchant photo, probably taken in the '50s, and evidently one of the "strong points" that sells old documents such as this one is the inclusion of old automobiles, which establish a "time frame" in which the photo was taken, and enhances the collectability of a particular photo or photo-postcard.

I think that's an old Studebaker out in front of the "Fish"; at the left of the photo, you can see what was then the old highway as it headed east toward Wolf Lodge, and up and over Fourth of July Pass. Of course, "behind" the "Fish" was a quite large campground, and of course at that time, there was no interstate highway between the Fish's "tail" and the east end of Coeur d'Alene Lake, so one could catch their limit, and then hike back up to the Fish, I suppose. Ah, days gone by, eh?


And so another posting ends. I know I'm very rough on President Bush. I'm sorry if my views offend you, but I am so frustrated with the way this administration (and our country) is going, and I don't see much hope until this administration is OVER. I just can't help thinking, when I see him on TV, that "something's just WRONG with this guy." Or, maybe something's wrong with ME...which is also possible.

Monday, January 30, 2006

It's the State of the Union address...
I don't think I could bear to watch...
...this is one "train wreck" I'm gonna look away from!

In tomorrow night's State of the Union address, Prezzident George W. Bushed will have a chance to redeem himself. At this point, I'm kinda wondering if the "W" stands for "Weasel"...I just don't know. Lobbyist scandals...wiretapping that hasn't been done in the best of circumstances...inefficiency in responding to Hurricane Katrina survivors while needless war-related expenses, both in money and in lives increase; a war that we may have been misled into believing that we needed to be over there. I can't bear to watch our Prezzident "try" to communicate. He stumbles over his words, he smirks, he looks like his skull is going to cave in under pressure at any moment. I'm sorry, but the sight of him makes my skin absolutely crawl.

At this late date, over 60% of those surveyed (a recent "Time Magazine" survey) feel pretty much like I do. ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman have been seriously injured in Iraq; I believe this development will focus attention on the question of "what are we doing in Iraq?", a question that we need ANSWERS for, Mr. President. A question that he and those who are propping him up in power will probably continue to "skirt" as long as possible. I don't feel good about this administration at all. When Bill Clinton began his first term, I and a lot of others had hope for this country. I'm afraid that all we're doing now is treading water until the current administration is just GONE. I love this country, but I can't STAND this President. I'm sorry I feel that way; I can't help it.

Are you ready for some football? dept.: It's unavoidable, the degree of super-hype that surrounds this upcoming Super Bowl, and we in the northwest will be exposed to more of it than usual, since "our" team, the Seahawks, is gonna play in the big one. Maybe one reason Super Bowls are usually somewhat disappointing, is because of all the hype. It IS "just" a football game, after all! I 'spose that if the Seahawks lose, I can be thankful that at least I had a chance to see the Rolling Stones perform for free at halftime; I don't think I'd wanna shell out for a concert ticket to see those old codgers!

I wouldn't even pay to see Paul McCartney "live", even though he's an ex-Beatle. Why? He's so filthy rich, he doesn't need MY money! Besides, I bought the "deluxe edition that comes with DVD" version of his newest album. Anyway, getting back to the Super Bowl, leading up to the game, we'll probably know all the Seahawks' shoe sizes, what they had for dinner, where they went shopping after practice, and other details "ad nauseum", and we'll probably know all that about the Steelers, too. After all the hype, I'll be readier (is that a word?) for football than EVER. And I'll try my best to bypass the hype.

I scooped Channel 4 news dept.: Here in the blog last week, I posted a little article about Exxon corporation, those rabid fuel-mongerers...and how Exxon made its highest-EVER batch of profits in the "quarter" just done, while we peons here who have to buy gas pay ever-higher prices for fuel so we can get from "point A to point B". And, Channel 4 news is just getting around to broadcasting that development tonite! It just goes to show that if little old "me" can 'scoop' a professional news-gathering organization, there's a lot of BOZOS in charge of things out there.

It's on TONITE, don't miss it dept.: The A&E network will be showing an "original" movie, the story of Flight 93, the 9/11-hijacked plane that ended up crashing into a Pennsylvania field when passengers wrestled control away from the hijackers; evidently that plane was headed for the White House. A&E usually shows their original movies several times during the movie's "debut week", in the evenings and again, after midnite. And, one of the questions I wish Bush would answer in his State Of The Union address: "Mr. President, if IRAN was responsible for 9/11, why are we fighting in IRAQ?" I just don't get it. Maybe I'm just a political imbecile. Or not...

How about another really cool picture dept.: It is always interesting to go back in time, and lately, we've been doing that here in this blog. I found an Ebay merchant who posted a whole bunch of photos he was selling, taken by Leo's Studio in Spokane, and I'm always fascinated when I learn new things from old photos, such as in the photo below...

Here's another "circa 1950" photo of the old Desert Hotel, which was located on the north side of Sherman Avenue, between 1st and 2nd Street. I did not know that there was a "Cedar Dining Room" in the Desert Hotel. At this time, the building was already over 50 years old, and it would exist until 1972 when it burned down in a rather mysterious fire. An "Athletic Round Table" swimming pool had been built on the west side of the building, "at left" in this photo. I guess the "Athletic Round Table" was a "club" of sorts; way back when, my Dad was a member, so I got to swim in the pool. And how about that old car out front? Thoser old vehicles are just WAY COOL.

So endeth another posting. You can tell I'll have my nose glued to the TV tonite. Not that much different than any other night, ha ha. I found a cheap 2nd-hand VHS of a James Bond movie today, so that'll be fun to watch. I think I wish I could be James Bond. He's just so suave and debonaire. Everything I'll never be. Oh well...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I never knew what the letter "G" stood for...
...I only know it wasn't "good"!!!

That's a lyric line from an obscure Paul McCartney song, "Sally G", a hoe-down number he recorded in Nashville back in the '70s. For a long time, the only place you could find it was on the B-side of the "Junior's Farm" single, although it has been since issued as a "bonus track" on a CD. This is how the record companies get us to buy "the same old music" we already have on records, on CD's...by dangling "bonus tracks" in our faces. Regretfully, it works. I (and my wallet) speak from personal experience here.

But this post has nothing to do with Paul McCartney. "Really", you say...On the TeeVee tonite, I saw one commercial that featured Barry Manilow huckstering a CD of old torch songs he's recently recorded; I guess he thot, "well, if Rod Stewart can do it, I can too"...but this post isn't about Manilow either. (Except to say that, ironically, he DIDN'T write his biggest hit, "I Write The Songs".) No, this post is about that curly-haired semi-dreadlocked alto sax player, "Kenny G". I think his last name is something like "Gralnick" or "Grubnick" or "Geeknick", who knows? But I know what the letter "G" stands for in his case..."GAG!!!"

I saw another TV commercial tonite for a "Best of Kenny G" CD...his pattern of playing is to play the melody of a song for a couple of minutes, and then he shows off by throwing thousands of different notes into the mix, totally distorting the song, and after a while, the whiny alto sax he plays sounds like a live cat being run through the meat grinder! "Yowllllll.....Screeeeech!!!" And to top it off, one of the songs on Kenny G's CD is a DUET with the worst-ever-vocalist in the entire known universe, Michael Bolton! Listening to THAT would be kinda like eating lard and washing it down with castor oil! In short, "blecccccccch!!!"In closing this portion of this post, I'd like to think that this blog provides a valuable PUBLIC SERVICE...that of protecting the eardrums of unsuspecting listeners!

What am I doing, posting at 4:48am? dept.: I honestly don't know. I seem to get really side-tracked on weekends. Part of my problem tonite is that I taped the James Bond flick, "Tomorrow Never Dies", shown on A&E. It's a two-hour movie, but since any movie on commercial TV usually comes adorned with at least 5,000 commercials, it took me about 3 and a half hours to tape the whole thing! And to make things worse, I had to actually pay attention to the commercial breaks, because I was cutting them out of the taping. The movie began at 1am...But taping it was worth the effort...hey, for pure escapist entertainment value, nothing beats a "James Bond" picture!

It's that awkward time of year dept.: What, NO SPORTS this weekend? Well, there ain't none unless you like NBA Basketball or NHL hockey, which I DON'T. The last 3 weeks or so, I've been watching football almost as frequently as I used to do the entire season! The Super Bowl's coming up next Sunday, and that should be fun. "Go Seahawks", although they're 4-point underdogs. And, get this, 10 days after that, Spring Baseball (the pre-season "season") begins the soap opera we all know and love as the upcoming baseball season. I'm hoping that the Mariners can manage a winning season, even if they're only one game over .500. I still think the M's "Achilles Heel" this year will be PITCHING!

I am the Prezzident...I think...dept.: Prezzident Bush's overall approval rating is 41% as I type this, down 12 points from this time last year. That means, more Americans think Bush is an absolutely rotten Prezzident than in the previous year. I guess his "State of the Union" address is coming up in a couple days, and you'd have to shackle me and chain me to the chair and FORCE me to watch it against my will. I get uncomfortable seeing him trying to speak. He's like an "android artificial human being" going through the motions. No charm or warmth at ALL. It seems as if he's hovering "just above" a rising level of total ineptness. I may have been "totally UnAmerican" when I decided not to vote, but I am SO GLAD I didn't vote for him. Wiretaps. Wars. Scandals. Dishonesty. Obfuscation. All elements of this administration. If my Dad were alive, he'd probably use a term he used a LOT, to describe 'this Prezzident': "Village IDIOT!"

And the war drags on and on and on dept.: While typing the above blog entry, news came over MSNBC, just now, that the new co-anchor for ABC News, Bob Woodruff, along with his cameraman, have both been seriously injured in an "I.E.D." (whatever that is) attack somewhere in Iraq; evidently, they were both 'embedded' with the troops over there. CAN WE JUST GET OUT OF IRAQ, PLEASE???? Sing with me..."War!!! What is it good for? Absolutely NOTHIN'!!!"

An important "Side Note" dept.: A fairly frequent visitor to this blog, a guy who uses the name "Side Note" (he's also one of the interactive bloggers at www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo)
commented on one of the "Leo's" photos I posted in a post down below...he told me that "Leo's" was a top-quality photo studio which operated way back when, out there in the Spokane Valley. "Leo's" has been the source of the really cool black and white photos I've been posting of this area lately. One more such photo lurks ominously (!) below...

A couple of posts below, I posted a photo taken on Sanders Beach; you could see a large house in the background. You can see that same house in this photo, which was obviously taken from the east side of Tubbs Hill, and pictured here are some old "port" buildings (if someone wants to fill me in on the history here, be my guest). I do know, that in the '60s, there was a boat seller called "Ray Jones' Boat Works" which occupied this area. Anyway, I have a few more "Leo's" photos left that I haven't posted yet; look for those in upcoming posts. And, look through many of my earlier postings this month for still more "Leo's" gems.

Since I feel obligated, for reasons unknown to me, to try and post every day, well, this is my Sunday post, I guess! It is now 5:36am as I'm finishing up here. I think I'd better shut this thing down before I hear any more bad news!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

...a rebel without a clue...

Yeah, sometimes I resemble that! Actually, "Into The Great Wide Open" is both a song and the title of an album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1991. I've been searching for the "vinyl" version of it for over a decade...and I finally FOUND a copy last week up at Mt. Olympus Records, up on 4th Street, in the building that houses NAPA Auto Parts. I usually don't "plug" a lot of businesses, but Ron, the owner, is a friend of mine, a really nice guy, and his store has tons and tons of unusual music. I've also been a customer of "The Long Ear" record shop, ever since they opened up in Coeur d'Alene back in the mid-'80s. Both of these stores are across the street from each other; makes it convenient for me, eh?

Anyway, "Great Wide Open" is a great record, and it's the kind of music that is instantly enjoyable. It usually takes me a while to get used to a new record, but this LP felt like an old friend when I put it on the turntable. It's full of straight-ahead, melodic, UNDERSTANDABLE rock that is very well produced. I learned something about myself when I heard that record; it fell into my "natural groove"; the music just seemed "logical" somehow. Not angry, not sad, just a little fatalistic, with semi-gloomy overtones...heck, that kinda sums ME up, doesn't it? And, it seems that Tom Petty has just gotten better and better over the years.

Albums with a similar "feel" include George Harrison's "Cloud Nine", Roy Orbison's "Mystery Girl" and Jeff Lynne's "Armchair Theatre". All of those albums came out in the aftermath of the "Traveling Wilburys, all produced by ex-Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne, and all just sound really good. For me, the "Traveling Wilburys" was a dream come true. Where else are you gonna find George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne all in one place? I special-ordered it when I read of its release, and I'm positive I was the first person in Coeur d'Alene to have a copy of that album...purely enjoyable music.

I think I'd better stick a picture in here now dept.: Before I get too carried away, writing my rock and roll diatribes, I'd better put some kind of visual element in here; I wouldn't want this blog to get unnecessarily overwrought, after all. Let's hear it for READABILITY!!! Anyway, here's a picture that sorta depicts "The Great Wide Open"...

This is another picture from the early '50s, taken by Leo's Studio in Spokane, showing Coeur d'Alene Mountain, off in the distance, with the lake up front. There is a picnic area not too far from the top of the mountain that you can drive to, and when you're up there, it's almost as if you're looking straight down on the city of Coeur d'Alene and surrounding areas. I used to have a banged-up little Chevette that somehow made the climb up the mountain. That car was my "little tin can on wheels". Powered by a Briggs and Stratton lawn-mower engine. No, I take that back...a Briggs and Stratton engine would've had more power!

It's enough to give you gas dept.: I passed the place where I get gas a couple of days ago (A & D Mini Mart), and saw that gas prices dropped 3 cents a gallon, currently at $2.13 a gallon, but prices are still "up there", and in a lot of places in the country, they're even higher. Ironically (or not), I read in the paper today that Chevron has made it's highest-ever quarterly profit in the last three months; that non-benevelant corporation raked in almost four and a quarter BILLION (that's right, "billion") dollars in the last three months. Maybe fuel costs are one of the reasons United Airlines has lost money for five and a half years in a row now? Or why my latest heating bill was up above $120 for my small, little, decrepid house?

I wonder what that phrase really means dept.: In another newspaper article, was a picture of Prezzident Bushed talking to a bunch of military people, and evidently, the universal military greeting is the silogism, "Whoo-ah!", and who knows what it means; according to the article, it can mean most anything, but is generally used as a positive rallying exclamation of sorts. And evidently, Bush was greeted with "Whoo-ah!" and he gave 'em a hearty "Whoo-ah!" back. Of course, to me, "Whoo-ah!" has a totally different meaning. It's the sound of me wretching whenever I see a news clip of Prezzident Bushed, when he's having obvious trouble stringing two garbled, laborious sentences together. Watching him makes me reach for the Pepto-Bismol!

Now I feel really, really old and decrepid dept.: I was always a huge fan of the "Mash" TV Series; many of today's shows can't stay fresh after 2 seasons, but "Mash" survived numerous casting changes, and maintained excellence for years and years, right up to the "final farewell" 2-hour series finale. Well, how about this? Alan "Hawkeye" Alda turned 70 years old today! More power to ya, Alan! Also, Paul McCartney, who wrote "When I'm 64" on 'Sgt. Pepper', will turn 64 in June of this year. Will anyone still need him? Will anyone still feed him? Actually, I'm not too worried about Paul...I hear he's got a few extra bucks stashed away somewhere.

That's it, that's enough; it's Saturday, and time for me to go out and make rude guitar noises again. I was gonna do that last Saturday, but when I got to the bar, I found out they were having a "Karaoke" party instead. You know life is tough when you can't even play for FREE!

Friday, January 27, 2006

And, all of a sudden...
...January's almost gone!!!

As I age, I find myself trying to appreciate every day just a little bit more. Yeah, I've made a lot of noise in this blog about how much I hate snow, cold, and almost everything else about winter. But at the same time, I've tried to enjoy these days as much as I can. I've got music, a few friends, I can laugh uproariously at the insane characters on the "Imus In The Morning" show I tape every day, I can have a cup of coffee at Java On Sherman, I can talk to my record-collector buddies up at Mt. Olympus records, and so on and so forth. I am really trying to appreciate the little things I value; obviously this winter season makes it harder for me to do so, but I try.

But anyway, there's only 3 days left 'til January is gone! Then another month will be upon us, and so on, and so forth. At the top of this blogsite, you can see a little "countdown device" that lets you know how much time is left in the year. And once those minutes and seconds are gone, they're GONE. Even the relatively few moments it takes me to type these inane blog entries slips by, disappearing forever. Could it be that's one reason we blog? We want to leave our "mark" somewhere, and instead of some big marble slab with my name on it, is this blog my memorial?

So, anyway, let me toss another one of those classy "Leo's Studio" black-&-white photos of our area into the mix...it was taken back in the '50s, so this image is half a century old. And I think it's a nice, if somewhat "stark" photo...

Of course, you probably recognize this as being taken on Sanders' Beach, up near where 11th Street runs headlong into Lakeshore Drive, long before contentious property owners moved into the area and tried to put up barbed-wire fences on the beach, keeping out the faithful riffraff who live in the city but aren't rich enough to have lakefront property. Okay, I exaggerate a bit, no "barbed wire", but when you try to fence off a beach, you might as well try to push the limit. I can just see it now...guard towers on either end of Sanders! (ssssh, don't give 'em any ideas!) I still think the city of Coeur d'Alene should just BUY this beach. Now, that, I'd pay increased taxes for!

How does it feel to be universally despised dept.: At a fun little social gathering last night over in Spokane, some 600 protesters voiced their opposition to a Wal-Mart being built up thar on the South Hill. Perhaps Wal-Mart should take a cue from this: Go build your stupor-centers in small, tiny towns where there's nothing else, like maybe in Northern Nevada or on the prairies of eastern Kansas. Maybe you'll be more appreciated there. The last thing our ravenously-growing area needs is another corrupt big-box retailer. Isn't there already a Wal-Mart out near the Spokane Valley Mall somewhere? And, it's not that much more trouble to hop onto I-90 and enjoy yer theoretical "price rollbacks" at the Wal-Mart Post Falls store. I kinda wonder, if the rampant proliferation of Wal-Mart stores in any given area ends up putting other Wal-Mart stores in the same area out of business? That would be the capitalistic equivalent of a dog chasing its own tail!

First you love me, then you snub me dept.: (That's a line from Lenny Welch's early '60s hit, "Since I Fell For You".) Prezzident Bushed says he doesn't know corrupt mafia-lookalike-accused of all-kinds-of-violations former-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Bush doesn't ever remember meeting the guy. This, in spite of the fact that at least 5 photos of Bush & Abramoff exist, and that Abramoff contributed $6,000 to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. This just reinforces my belief that 97.9% of politicians are crooks and liars. The other 2.1% are still in their first terms, so they haven't been in office long enough to become adequately corrupted.

What happened to the love we knew? dept.: I was gonna write about this yesterday. I was sitting in the Java place, when over the loudspeaker came one of my most favorite pop songs ever: "Yester-me, Yester-you, Yester-day" by Stevie Wonder. It's got an infectuous melody, Stevie sings great on it, and I've loved that tune ever since I first heard it back in the late '60s. It's just one of those songs that soothes my ears every time I hear it. A great example of "Ear Candy!"

Red Tape is never in short supply dept.: Earlier, I posted about having to get new PLATES this year, along with my license tags. I'd said it would be cheaper all around if we could KEEP our old plates and just buy tags. Our state would save on material costs, freight costs, and those savings would be offset by revenue generated by buying "tags only". But, for whatever reason, Idaho drivers hafta shell out for new plates. Well, today, I got my tags in the mail, but I can't USE THEM until my new plates (which are still "on order") show up. So, instead of a "freight cost", my new plates will be mailed to me, I guess! I have no idea!

So now, our beloved state has gone to the extra expense, now, of printing up and mailing out a "yellow" enclosure, saying "Your New License Plates Are On Order". Included with that is a "temporary registration" thing I've gotta display in my back window, with big numbers on it, indicating when that temporary registration expires, and that my plates are indeed on order! Now let's just hope I don't lose my TAGS during the time it takes for my plates to get here! Wouldn't it just be EASIER to keep the old plates and stick my tags on them? MAKES SENSE TO ME! But then again, no one listens to me...

Before I go, I said, in a previous posting, that I'd try to predict the outcome of the Super Bowl, which is NEXT Sunday. Look, I WANT the Seahawks to win, and several Seahawks do have some Super Bowl experience. The game will be played in Detroit, which is much closer to Pittsburgh, and there'll be a LOT of loud Pittsburgh fans at the game. Right now, the oddsmakers say that Pittsburgh is a 4.5-point favorite. I'm inclined to agree. The "Practical" side of me says the Steelers are gonna win, but the "dreamer" in me thinks, "how nice would it be for the Seahawks to win?" This ain't my FINAL prediction, but you can at least see which way I'm leaning right now.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Could this be yet another example of...

An "opinion" article in today's paper caught my eye, and caused me to take a look at how I've been blogging lately. The author of the article basically commented on how people distort various things in their blogs, because, after all, they CAN, since they are protected by the curtain of anonymity (theoretically, anyway). Instead of writing fairly, said the author, many bloggers basically turn into flame-belching egocentric shallow-minded simplistic computer androids. (So I've editorialized a bit in that last sentence. Shoot me!) The author listed three basic elements of "skilled idiotic blogging"; and I wondered, "do I do any of that?" The author's three blog-idiot criteria included:

1. Making up funny names. Why, I never do that! Not me! Not when I refer to our idiot Prezzident, not when I refer to the overpriced, money-grubbing CDA Rezzort, not when I refer to developers as scumsucking, shortsighted, ultra-ravenous, foaming-at-the-mouth, fire-breathing open-space eradicators...NOT ME! And DEFINITELY not when I refer to our city's own public-relations-oriented "snoozepaper" as the Coeur d'Alene DEpress...I don't make up funny names at ALL! Indeed, there's nothing funny at all about the names I give such entities, because, sadly, those names apply, (virtually) across the board. Reality...is very seldom funny.

2. Swear Angrily. DAMMIT, I never do this! What the HELL could that writer been thinking, "me swear angrily." That's a load of CRAP. Even though I think a lot of people are full of "$%#@", "&%@#" and "%&@!!!", I don't swear at them. The same thing goes for governmental blunders in our city and county which are perpetrated by a bunch of "&^%(**)'s", as well as those &%^$#$@@!!! idiots in Congress who wiretap phones, waste our tax dollars and attach self-serving "riders" to legislation which will make them look good to their constituents. I don't even swear at the "*&(^^%)#$@!!! traffic stings that area police forces subject us all to, even when some &^%&$$#!! Police Sergeant is standing at the end of a "*&(^%$ing" freeway on-ramp, deceiving motorists into thinking he's just an unfortunate guy looking for a handout, and all the while, he's scoping you out to see if you're wearing your "&%(($#%))!!!" seatbelt, and if you're not, he radios ahead to another "(*&^%$!!!" cop who then BUSTS you. I will NEVER swear in this blog, but that tactic is full of "(*&^&%#%$@#)"!!!.

3. Hyperbolize Everything. Evidently it's this activity that turns you into an insatiable, drooling, antagonistic, idiotic, two-bagels-short-of-three-dozen "flame-belching troll" (the author actually used that phrase). "Hyperbolize"? I'm not sure what even MEANS, but it seems to imply that there's a lot of EXAGGERATION involved. In which case, I never do that, either. Not me! I don't constantly, mercilessly, without provocation, insanely elucidate my sheer desperation when I constantly observe how much short-sighted, inconsiderate, manipulative, mind-bending, useless, energy-draining, malicious behavior seems to be everywhere in society. I really do try to "police" myself when blogging. After all, I don't want to turn into just another doe-headed, scumsucking, muckraking sleazeball BLOG MORON. Not me!!!

Yes, it's good to know I'm not just another "Skilled Idiotic Blogger". I believe in being an individual, after all. I'd like to think that I'm a very UNIQUE "Skilled Idiotic Blogger". Always fair, biased and balanced. Okay, time now for me to end this section and embark on some other topics which I will mercilessly rip to shreds. Isn't blogging FUN!?!?


As if cell-phones weren't bad enough dept.: The idea is to get AWAY from the phone, right? Well, I guess not, since people basically want to give up their freedom by tying themselves to a cell-phone. I'd rather wear handcuffs. Anyway, these cell-phone people, well, a lot of them anyway, want YOU to know what kind of music they are fans of when their Cell-phone rings. So, they buy things called "ring-tones". When their cell-phone rings, a "snippet" of "whatever their favorite music is" can be heard far and wide. They're saying, "hey, everybody! This is ME! This is MY music! Now excuse me while I annoy you all, as I yak and yak and yak some more on my precious cell-phone!" My suggestion for a great ring-tone? Use the first few seconds of the 1967 song, "Fire" by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Your cell-phone would ring, and out of its speaker would come the words, "I AM THE GOD OF HELL-FIRE, AND I BRING YOU...FIRE!!!" Now, I think THAT would be GRREAT!!!


Uh-oh, another new word for the dictionary dept.: It looks like Webster's dictionary is gonna hafta update itself again, for there seems to be a new descriptive that's making the rounds; the word "brokeback"...as in the gay caballero movie, "Brokeback Mountain." For instance, if my blogpage was pink, with flowers on it, someone might say, "hey, that dude's blogsite looks awfully BROKEBACK to me!" The word "brokeback", coming to mean an "indicator of questionable masculinity" according to the news article I read. Sometimes I think I need to quit reading the paper for a while. Especially in instances like these. I feel kinda "brain-broke".


What was up...must come down dept.: The location: 6th and Sherman, downtown CDA. The subject: The former gas station that became I.C. Sweet's ice-cream place a coupla years ago. Why I give a "%$&#@!!!" about this: It's a comin' down. The canopy that formerly covered the gas pumps is now resting on the ground. Soon, the "Social Insecurity" office will also have to relocate. And, when more CONDO's are built on that block, more rich folks will "relocate" from elsewhere so they can live in an overpriced crows' nest of their own! It'll be interesting to take a survey someday, to find out what percentage of Coeur d'Alene's downtown residents live at least 75 feet off the ground. The new CDA Chamber of Commerce slogan may one day be, "Come To Coeur d'Alene and be ABOVE IT ALL!"


Is this blog entry ever gonna END? dept.: Well, yeah. But I think you can tell I've had serious fun with this posting. But, all good things must end. And so must this garbled example of brain-cell "overflow". So, here's a picture that might bring back ("bringback"?) some memories for a few of you out there. Since I never was a girl scout, it does nothing for me. (If I'd ever been a "girlscout", I guess I'd have been "severely brokebacked", right?) HEY, I WAS A CUB SCOUT! Got all the way thru "Webelos" before deciding that was wasting my time! Anyway, here's the picture...

This time around, we go out to "Windy Bay" (aren't they all?) on Coeur d'Alene Lake, where evidently, there was a girl scout camp. My sister was a girl scout; she went to "Camp Neewahlu" on CDA Lake; where was that located as opposed to "Windy Bay"?

Hey, us poor folks never have enough $$$ to have a boat or take cruises on the lake. That's the irony...the "natives" never get to go out on their own body of water. I wonder what percentage of lake boaters are financially-furnished, out-of-state folks who know absolutely nothing about the area? And what percentage of them stay at the out-of-touch, ultra-expensive, no-tip-is-big-enuff CDA Rezzort? So anyway, I'll close now before this blog entry veers any closer to "skilled idiocy".

Hey, don't blame me for this mess! I wasn't in my right mind when I wrote it. I plead ignorance! I had a tumultous childhood! Growing up, I didn't have positive role models! I accidentally got sick to my stomach on green apples at age 5! These are some of the many defenses I'll utilize should someone take me to task for sheer blog ineptitude. It's not my fault!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Laying low in JANUARY...
...it always seems that January is one of the toughest months!

I'm kinda "laying low" this month. It seems that "Januarys" are always one of the hardest months to get through. Why is that? Well, it's the third cold, rainy, gloomy month in a row, behind November and December. So, perhaps from a psychological perspective, 3 months is ENOUGH! It could have something to do with the fact I'm really "achy" this month, and the cold isn't doing me any favors in that department. It's hard to do much of anything with arthritic pain in both feet and knees, which the cold temperatures don't exactly SOOTHE. So when you can't go anywhere, you stay home, which results in cabin fever. Ack! It's no irony that "winter" carries with it several four-letter words: Cold, rain, snow, and, BRRR!

Mandatory Relocation Dept.: I read today that quite a few homes in Spokane are being forced to "scat" and "vamoose" in order to git outta the way of the North-South highway that evidently will soon be built in that town. So, some more changes will be happening over there. Houses are being sold for super ultra-cheap, but the rub is, those homes have gotta be relocated. So, lives will be uprooted, all in the name of progress, but Spokane has really needed a good north-south thoroughfare for a long time. Several years ago, when I went to a 10K race in Valley, Washington (north of Deer Park somewhere), it took me LESS time to get from Valley to the northern end of Spokane, than it did for me to get from Spokane's northern city limit down to interstate 90; well, after all, there've gotta be at least 10,000 stoplights on Division Avenue. I think that's where the "powers that be" got the idea for Kootenai County's present hiway 95; all the highway planners got together and decided to use Spokane's Division Avenue as a model! That's gotta be it!

Never let it be said that "thought" doesn't go into my posts dept.: I used to live in Spokane. I worked for several radio-stations over there on a part-time basis in the late '70s. To demonstrate how successful MY broadcast career was, my last job in Spokane was dishwashing at a Japanese Restaurant! "FLIED LICE"!!! I lived in a couple of different apartments in Browne's Addition, which I always thot was a really weird section of town. Of course, I also kinda like Peaceful Valley, and THAT'S a strange section of town too. But, I wanted to let you know that from time to time, I actually THINK about what I post here, and as such, for reasons of continuity, I offer the following picture:

Here's an old view of Spokane, from about the mid-1940's. Look at the railroad bridge which extends itself ABOVE the Monroe Street bridge! There was another such bridge north of that, which goes behind what is now Spokane's City Hall. At right, you can see the Clock Tower, in what is now Riverfront Park. And of course, if you were about to head north on the Monroe Street Bridge, the 'approach' to that bridge was a whole lot different back then!


For 3:15, I did feel a bit warmer today dept.: One of the nice things that the Java place does, is play some pretty good tunes over their speakers, and I heard one such tune today that I don't hear all that often anymore. Remember the singing group, "The 5th Dimension"...they had the big hit with "Up, Up and Away"? They recorded a lot of great tunes, but one of my favorites of theirs wasn't an especially big hit, but I always loved it; a tune called "California Soul". Every time I hear that song, I can picture myself on an ocean beach in the late afternoon, being all toasty-warm and feeling mellow, hypnotized by the sun and surf. And that's how I felt today, for three minutes and fifteen seconds. (That's how long the song is.)


More money going out the door dept.: Evidently the City of CDA has settled with the mother of a young girl who was murdered several years ago, to the tune of $30,000 dollars. From what I read, it seems the mother deserves the settlement; it seems she had a "just" case. That's not the issue. The issue is, there sure seems to be a lot of money being paid out in various settlement cases here in the CDA area, the biggest recent example of that being the situation at the county courthouse when Ms. Kalani was paid-off to keep her yap shut. Conversely, property taxes keep rising, utility and service bills continue to go up, and the occasional "revenue drives" (traffic stings) by the CDA Police Dept. rake in more money all the time. Say, the City of Coeur d'Alene and/or Kootenai County generate "X" amount of dollars in a given year. How much of that "X" amount of dollars will fly out the window to satisfy settlements? In short, "part of X" amount of taxes and fines we pay are totally WASTED, due to ineptitude, either on the city or county level. Is this a worthwhile observation? It sure makes ME wonder about things!


I don't think they will be missed dept.: I read where two cable networks, UPN and "the WB" are going to be shutting down later this year, and both networks will be combined into one. What does this mean? Instead of two networks no one watches, there'll now be ONE network no one watches! Of course, that's in addition to all the other networks no one watches! I have over 60 available cable channels, and I only watch 4 or 5 of them with anything resembling regularity. Plus, I understand the "combined" network that will result from UPN's and WB's demise, will be shown on WGN-TV, out of Chicago. Wait a minute...don't we already GET "WGN" on a cable channel here in CDA? So that means we'll get the "one" 'combined' network on two different channels? Okay, everyone say it with me: "Huh? What?"


Okay, I'll dry up and blow away dept.: But before I do, how about another one of those really classy black-and-white photos taken by Leo's studio in Spokane in the 1950's? Even though I've lived around here since before the Civil War, there are a lot of landmarks around the lake I've never seen. Well, I, like a lot of rezzidents here, aren't rich enough to have lake property; we all pretty much stay in CDA, go to the City Park or Sanders' Beach, and that's about it.

One such landmark I've never seen is "Toad Rock" out at Mica Bay, and the ironic thing is, I saw a landmark that I've never seen before in a picture taken before I was born! I tell ya, I'm pretty-much "lost" all the time, ain't I?

Is this rock still there? I have no clue. Hey, that's a great idea for a movie! "CLUELESS IN COEUR D'ALENE!!!" (Sometimes these posts just "write themselves", don't they?)


Ahaaaaa! It's not even 7:30pm yet, and I'm already done! Of course, in my quest for perfection, I'll probably spend another coupla hours editing it. And it still won't be perfect. Which begs the question: "Why do I do this blog in the first place?" Answer: "I evidently thrive on ANGUISH!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

...or does it? (a lesson in posting under pressure with nothing to write about!)

That lyric line, of course, comes from Paul Simon's 1973 hit, "Kodachrome". (The only top-40 record in history to feature a registered trademark, by the way.) We live in an instant-color world. I remember back when, before every NBC program, the "peacock" would unfold its wings, and the announcer would say, "this program is brought to you in LIVING COLOR".

The first camera I ever had was an old Polaroid black and white model. You'd put a cartridge of film in, take your picture, and then out would pop a flap of paper. You'd pull HARD on that flap of paper, wait 15 seconds (I was always counting, 'one-one thousand, two-one thousand', etc...and then peel the picture from the sticky goopy film chemicals it had been stuck to, and voila, a picture! Wish I'd had the foresight to go around town and take LOTS of pictures back then. I took a few, of our house, our ducks, our family, etc. I can imagine, though, that taking pictures back in the 40's and 50's was a lot more cumbersome; I've actually developed photos in a darkroom, and it is an 'exacting' process. I was always in awe of my little Polaroid camera, and how magically the picture appeared.

Later on, I had a Kodak "Handle" camera; I'd take the shot, and then manually turn a crank and the photo would come out. I am still low-tech; I have one of those Polaroid cameras where you take the photo and the photo automatically emerges. Film for that camera ain't cheap!

I didn't have a whole lot of things to write about this evening, and I was kinda desperate for a blog topic, ANY blog topic! "Ah, but I've got LOTS of pictures on file!", I thought, thinking to myself. So here is yet another picture of City Beach and Playland Pier, taken sometime around 1950. (Click on it for an enlargement)

In the 60's and 70's, when I swam at the beach a lot, there was no "big waterslide", but it's not in this photo either. It must have disappeared sometime in the '40s. But the scene remains the same. You'd swim until you're too sunburned to stay outside any longer, then you'd take your nickels and dimes up to Playland Pier where you could get a soda, or ice cream cone, or perhaps take a spin on the Bumper Cars! This was taken "back in the day" when Coeur d'Alene was just a small, largely unnoticed "wide spot in the road". The city's population then was probably about 10,000. (Heck, there's almost that many people living in the Lake Villa Apartments now!)

Now that I've got ya hooked, I'll whine a little bit dept.: (don't worry, there's another photo coming up) I paid for my drivers' registration renewal today, and the City of CDA actually did something that makes sense...in the bill was a little yellow card saying something about "as our city grows, the lines get longer, so pay by mail." I like paying for things personally, but this made a lot of sense to me! Good job, CDA! You saved my arthritic feet from having to stand in line. What DOESN'T make sense to me, was that my bill went up $7.00 because I have to get new PLATES this year. Why not just let me keep the old ones, buy "stickers" for them, which would keep the prices down? Plus...where are those plates made? The Idaho State Pen? Money has to be spent to TRUCK those plates all the way up here, after all. Add to that the cost of ingredients for the new plates. Okay, prison labor ain't that much, but how much paint has to be bought for the several hundred-thousand new plates which will be stamped? In addition to the cost of the METAL which is used in each plate? How much is all that?

So, when you buy your new plates, the State probably isn't making all that much extra money. The way government works, I'd be surprised if our state's breaking EVEN on this deal. So let me see if I've got this right: The Governor is thinking about sending all us Idaho spuds $50 each for "tax relief"? Well, actually, now, it's $43, because you've gotta buy new plates. And I'm sure future raises, whether in property or sales taxes, will eat into that total even more. I've seen old 1963 Washington plates on some vehicles in that state recently, all with current tags. Why not let Idahoans keep their old plates? I don't get it! To me, a needless expense; just more "red tape" to go through in order to have the right to be overtaxed and overpoliced in Idaho. Oh yeah, and don't forget, as you pay more to drive this year, gas is going back up too. ACK!

Okay, one more picture and then I'm outta here dept.: I don't get out on the lake very much. Probably once every 10 years, on a cruise during our high school's class reunion. Maybe that's what I should do...get a modest little boat and tour the lake! (nah, maybe not; I'd have to get a boat license, and then I'd get stopped about 3 times an hour by overzealous Lake Cops who'd want to see if I had adequate life preservers; you just can't get AWAY from those guys!) They're everywhere! Back in the '80s, a friend of mine had a boat, and we headed south from the 3rd Street Ramp. Coeur d'Alene Lake isn't the biggest lake in the world, but I remember it took us several hours to get near the south end of the lake. We had to turn around prematurely because the Sun decided it didn't want to hang up there in the sky any longer. And me, I thot that lucky old Sun got nuttin' to do, but roll 'round heaven all day...

In this photo, evidently someone in the boat is showing off for his friends on the shore. I'm not sure "where" on the lake this photo was taken, but you can see Coeur d'Alene waaaay up there in the background. Gotham Bay, perhaps? I know you can see our town from there. This photo was also taken around 1950, and both photos in this post were taken by Leo's studio of Spokane, a business which evidently had a lot of time on its hands, since they obviously went around the countryside doing nothing but take pictures all the time. Sounds like an interesting job to me! So does everything look worse in black and white? I don't know, but these old photos have a historical charm all their own.

Wow, I'm late tonite! It's almost 10pm and I'm just getting done. That would be a good warning for Bloggers! "It's 10pm; do you know where YOU are?" This blog entry? I'd say it's a rather good fake job. Hopefully I'll have an actual topic to write about tomorrow. Accidents do happen!

Monday, January 23, 2006

"This is the LAST STICK!!!"
...yet another ode to our deteriorating culture...

I read once about a thing called the "Peter Principle", which postulates that some time ago, the human race "peaked" in terms of efficiency and overall awareness, and that basically, it's all downhill from here. You may have heard of the '80s group, "Devo"; that group's philosophy was that we have "evolved" all we're gonna, and now, we're "de-volving"; in short, we're fast becoming a nation of idiots and imbeciles. Well, I saw something on TV today that pretty much confirms that...

I was watching "Millionaire" today; the show where you're asked a bunch of questions, starting out with simple things, and as you work your way towards a million dollars, the questions get tougher. But, the questions at the beginning of each "game" are "softballs"; such questions as "who's buried in Grant's tomb?", for example. Each contestant gets these interrogative "softballs" up through about the $5,000 dollar level, then the questions begin to get pretty rough! To get to a million dollars, you have to answer questions like, "what was the 23rd scientific principle put forth, concerning NASA's utilization of the theory of relativity?" or some such thing.

On "millionaire" today, one of the guests was a young yuppie lawyer from Portland, Oregon. He and his wife, who is also a lawyer, took a year off to see the world. One of his goals was to go on "millionaire" and get some cash to replace the dough they'd spent on their worldwide trek. The first question he had to answer was: "What is a way of saying 'I'VE HAD ENOUGH'?" Included among the four possible answers, was the right answer, which of course is, "This is the LAST STRAW!". A true "softball" question which everyone knows, rrrright? The yuppie lawyer looked over all the choices, and he said "FINAL ANSWER", after he had chosen the phrase, "This is the last STICK"!!!

This picture is dedicated to that wet-behind-the-ears, earnest, but hopelessly dumb yuppie lawyer who basically BLEW IT BIG-TIME in front of a nationwide TV audience of zillions of people. I sure wouldn't want to be in his shoes when he has to go back to Portland and face his co-workers who saw the show. I'm not sure I'd wanna be him and face his WIFE, either. I can just hear her now: "Honey, I love you, but you are such a #@$%$@&**$#%!!!" Honestly, I just about fell off my chair when I heard he chose the wrong answer to a question that EVERYBODY KNOWS! Remind me not to retain his lawyering services if I ever get in trouble!


Proof that we ARE INDEED devolving dept.: I saw a TV commercial last night that literally shocked me; there I was, sitting in front of the boob tube with my slack jaw wide open like a blithering idiot. (I now consider myself ready for the "Millionaire" show, by the way.) The commercial that rendered me in this state of abject SHOCK, was for a new product, being made by the jam manufacturer, "Smuckers". With a name like that, it has to be good, right? Well, it seems that Smuckers is now making READY-MADE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES, without the crust.

Evidently, you buy a box of 'em (they're in the frozen goods section); you take 'em home, put 'em in the freezer, and then microwave one of 'em when you get the hungries. I must ask, "HUH? WHAT? WE'RE TOO LAZY TO MAKE OUR OWN PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES OR CUT AWAY THE CRUST ANYMORE? ARE WE BECOMING A NATION OF INCURABLE SLOBS, OR WHAT???" Have you ever heard that song, "In The Year 2525", which speaks of automation taking the place of ALL human functions? It's happening, people. The dumbing-down process is in PROGRESS!

I had an embarrassing "gas attack" today dept.: Yep, 'twas time to get gas today. I held out long as I could, but the tank was almost empty. The last time I bought gas? $1.99 a gallon. (I don't get around much!) Today's price at the same gas station? $2.16, at A&D mini-mart. I looked across the way at the burned-out mall where 7-11 used to be; their old $2.00 a gallon gas price is still posted above the pumps. I asked someone today, "is there some kind of crisis that's driving up gas prices?", and he told me, "yep, the George W. Bush administration is in power." Makes sense to me!

Speaking of embarrassing "gas attacks" dept.": Evidently one of them new-fangled diet pills is about to become an over-the-counter "med", namely, "Xenical". It is supposed to block the body's absorption of fats. It theoretically filters out all them ugly fat calories and sends 'em thru your digestive plumbing system. There's the rub, for, I heard on the "radio network news" this afternoon, that this pill can cause "embarrassing intestinal situations". So, if you decide you decide to take this pill...don't eat a can of Crisco Shortening anytime soon, or you'll be "indisposed" for the next month!

Further proof that Rod Stewart is a sell-out dept.: Today, whilst having coffee, I heard that really nice Rod Stewart tune, "Mandolin Wind"; replete with acoustic guitars and mandolins for the first half of the song, after which the entire band breaks in and sends the song to its conclusion. To me, it's a 5-minute masterpiece. Rod himself wrote the words AND melody to this 1971 song, which was on his landmark album "Every Picture Tells A Story". Back then, he was a true original. Now, he's immersed in singing old torch songs, catering to a public that's too burned out to rock, or doesn't remember how good he USED to be. Make that money, Rod!!!

I resemble that cartoon dept.: In the "Non-sequitur" comic (in today's Spokesman-Review, by the way), a man walks by an apartment building and stops to read a sidewalk sign posted in front of a basement apartment. As he does so, he is observed by the resident of that basement apartment who is peering out his window, which is located at sidewalk level. The sign in front of that basement apartment says, "Meet The Blogger, 1am-3am." Well, I don't have a basement, but otherwise, that comic is ME, I tell ya! Although (hopefully) I'll be done with this blog entry by midnight, at least. (It is 6:31pm as I type this)

I caught a fish T-H-I-I-I-S B-I-G (Or, "the one that didn't get away") dept.: One of the stereotypes of the typical fisherman is that, when he tells others of his exploits, basically he catches a fish the size of a guppie, and then stretches his arms out to indicate the size of the fish he caught as he tells how ferocious of a battle it was to snag the monster that bit the hook. Well, pictured below is ONE North Idaho fisherman who didn't hafta exaggerate:

Here's a guy who, in 1947, caught a "world-champion sized" Kamloops trout, one Roger Hamlet, who hailed from right here in good ol' Coeur d'Alene. I look at that creature, and I'm thinkin' to myself, "wow, I wonder how many fishwiches that there fish contains?" That fish must have been a thrill to catch! (I'm assuming it was caught in Coeur d'Alene Lake, but I'm not sure.)

I haven't fished since the 1970's, and don't plan to anytime soon, but here's my fishing story: Our family went out to Sportsmans' Park, at the North End of Hayden Lake one summer, and I was fishing off the dock. I caught mostly Perch, and I'd snagged a bunch of 'em. After catching another one, I cast my line back in the water.

"OOOF!!!", I felt a really strong pull on my fishing pole. I actually had to fight the fish for about 10 minutes, and when I landed it, I found out it was definitely NOT a Perch; in fact, it was a Cutthroat Trout, and a pretty big one. (Not nearly as big as the Kamloops in the photo, by the way). Later on, we had fish for dinner, and I got to eat my Cutthroat Trout. A small event in the course of a lifetime, but at the time, what a thrill that was!


Keeping up the illusion of humanity dept.: Once in a while I have to make a mistake. The pressure of being perfect is just too much to handle. So here, I'm correcting an error, that was, I said WAS, in a post below this one. The A & E network is showing a movie called "Flight 93", NEXT Monday nite, January 30th. Not the 23rd as I'd said. THE 30TH. It's the story about the "9/11"-hijacked plane that crashed into that Pennsylvania field. Should be a very compelling movie. There; hope I fixed that one okay. I suppose I'll make 2 or 3 more mistakes the rest of the year. I'm only human, after all.


Well, other than Kobe Bryant's 81 points in an NBA game last night (which works out to 1.35 points per minute), or the fact that so far, the Seattle Seahawks are 4-point underdogs in the upcoming Super Bowl, there's not a lot to post. I'll be watching the Super Bowl, however. It'll be interesting to see the Rolling Stones at halftime. Will Mick Jagger Break a hip during "Jumping Jack Flash"? Will Keith Richard be able to actually play his guitar while standing up? Should be interesting!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well, that's the way the ball bounces...
SOMETIMES, I don't mind being WRONG...

Today was "Championship Sunday", the day that we all find out who's gonna be in the Super Bowl. And, I didn't watch that much football this year, so I had no idea of how convincingly the Seattle Seahawks would win over the Carolina Panthers, 34-14. And, I'll admit right here, right now, "I WAS WRONG". Not the first time! Of course, I also had no idea that the Carolina Quarterback would get intercepted three times, either! Or that the 'Hawks defense would totally shut Carolina down. The Fox Sports commentators had remarked that Carolina had won a lot of "road games" in a row to get to this game, and that the Panthers were "beaten up" with injuries and tired from traveling around the country the last few weeks. I don't think that should take anything away from the Seahawks' victory; after all, they had been undefeated at home and played a lot of good football this season. Now the 'Hawks go to play Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. Who will win?

Do I have to make a prediction now? Hoo-boy, the pressure's on! I would give Pittsburgh the edge, because the Seahawks have never been to the Super Bowl before. Of course, I'd given Carolina the edge today; the Seahawks hadn't won a playoff game since '84. So much for speculation! The Steelers will have "relative" home-field advantage in the Super Bowl; Detroit, where the Super Bowl is this year, is a lot closer to Pittsburgh than Seattle, after all. Both teams have dynamite offenses and defenses. It could be a high-point shootout or a low-scoring defensive battle. I WANT the Seahawks to win, but I don't have to predict anything right now. Coming up in the newspaper this week, I am sure the depth of both teams will be analyzed to the 'nth' degree. I'll predict the Super Bowl winner in this blog, sometime before the Super Bowl. I do believe it's gonna be one of the "better" Super Bowls; that event is known for not-so-good games where one team blows away the other.

Looking for "Love" in all the right places dept..: This week, a record I purchased on Ebay arrived in the mail, and I was really looking forward to hearing it. I'm a big fan of the late-60's group "Love" which was led by Arthur Lee, who wrote and sang most of the group's songs. In the early '70's, Lee, who is black, actually recorded a bunch of tracks with Jimi Hendrix. Well, due to complications, all but ONE of those tracks has been "locked in the vaults" for years. One Hendrix-Lee track did get out, and it's on 1970's "False Start" album, by "Love". The group underwent many different personnel lineups thru the years; Arthur Lee would then replace them, all the while, keeping the "Love" group name. (No "Love" lost, I guess, ha ha). In the late '60s, the member-lineup stayed relatively the same, but in the 70s, each Love album had a different set of group members.

In 1972, he made another album titled "Vindicator", totally replacing almost everyone in the group with 4 members of a band called "Band-Aid". This time around, he didn't use the "Love" name; he put his own name, Arthur Lee, on the album's cover. Again, Lee wrote everything on the album, which sounds like a "Love" album. (which it "is", really) Lee brings a really strange lyrical sense to his songs; in addition, the music can veer from bossa-nova to bone-crunching hard rock; you never know what to expect, which is what makes his music so interesting. I mentioned that Lee is black; that doesn't have anything to do with anything; but much of the time he doesn't sound black; he comes across as more of a flower-power psychedelic rocker who can throw elements of "soul" into his music as well. Just interesting stuff. This is the album I listened to last night and I really enjoyed it.

I do know that Rhino Records has re-issued quite a lot of "Love's" 60's music; the group had made 4 albums up thru 1969. Those "Love" CD's on "Rhino" are pretty easy to find. It might be harder to find his 70's stuff, because that music was recorded for several different record companies. I would say that if you crossed Jefferson Airplane with Jimi Hendrix and threw in a little bit of Sly and the Family Stone, you'd have an idea of what "Love's" music sounds like. Just another one of those really good bands that never became well-known. I've got 6 of "Love's" albums now and I have another one on order; it's a rare double-album from the early 70s. I'm really looking forward to hearing it.

For those of you who only come to this blog for the pictures dept.: I've got a really nice postcard coming up here; it's a really great 1971 view looking across Coeur d'Alene Lake with Higgens Point and Blue Creek Bay off in the far-off distance, and here 'tis:

I wouldn't be surprised if the spot where this picture was taken has a house on it now. This view gives one a good idea of how large our lake is. And, actually, this photo looks across one of the "narrower" portions of the lake. You can see where the hills were cut away, so the highway could skirt the lake's shore. Obviously, that photo wasn't taken in the wintertime, either! What a nice view; hope ya's enjoys it.

Speaking of being WRONG dept.: The A & E network is showing a movie MONDAY night (Monday, January 30th), called "Flight 93", about the plane hijacked on "9/11", the one that the passengers took over from the hijackers; it later crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. A & E will probably show that movie several times that week. (I previously listed the wrong date. (Jan. 23rd) Hope that didn't screw things up for ya too much.)

Looks like I kinda got long-winded this time, but I still managed to touch upon four different topics. It's my hope this blog is much more readable since I try to put different things in here. Not only that, but if I run across a noteworthy news item on TV or wherever, I can "pop" back into this blog entry and post yet another subject in it (which I've done several times). Speaking of which, 2 more coal miners died recently in West Virginia. How sad. It's a dangerous business, that coal mining. See ya during the coming week...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

...I keep on...
Holdin' On To Yesterday.....

It's fun to go back in time sometimes. I know that the pace of life in Coeur d'Alene is still slower than that of other hustling, bustling places, but especially when I'm in the suburb-like northern part of town, sometimes I just lose track of myself. I don't begrudge progress; I just kinda feel I'm at the age where I'm sorta "stuck"; I end up "enduring" society, more than "coping" with it. But there are still good times to be had around here. Spring is coming; City Park awaits, so does the Centennial Trail and Sanders Beach, as well as Fernan Lake and all sorts of other groovy (groovy?) places around here.

Here is an old photo that will leave you "Holdin' On To Yesterday", for a little while, at least. It was taken around 1950, and shows Coeur d'Alene way back when. Click on the pic; it enlarges. As you can see, Best Avenue was pretty much the "northern city limits" way back then. Out north of town, you can see the vast expanse of prairie area that now comprises Dalton Gardens. I'd like to "go back", just for a day; drive around the area and immerse myself in the "long ago", and experience what it felt like. I can't do that, though. I guess pictures are the next best thing. (By the way, "Holdin' On To Yesterday" is the title of a 1970's song by AMBROSIA.)

The last post before the big game dept.: Tomorrow, at about 3:30 our time, the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers will play in the NFC Championship game, and I honestly don't know what to think. Who is gonna win? My take on all of this? Seattle is undefeated at home this year. Carolina has won a whole bunch of games on the road. Seattle is playing better than ever. Carolina has more playoff experience. Both are good teams. In a previous post, I said, that while I hope Seattle wins, they'd probably lose by a touchdown or a field goal. On "Imus in the Morning", Chris Carlin, in his "fat boy lock of the week" says that Carolina is gonna get it done against the Seahawks. Terry Bradshaw was interviewed on "Imus" and he really had no idea who would win this game. I think the 'Hawks have a good chance if they don't melt down in the first half. Should be interesting. And, like a politician, I'm "waffling" a lot here, ain't I?

I can't believe I heard the whole thing dept.: I was sitting in the Java place yesterday. I've come to accept that 99.997% of the population feels the insane need to be "connected" all of the time, and that they're basically slaves to their cell phones. I'm getting "fairly" used to hearing one side of numerous phone calls while I'm trying to piece my brain cells together over a cup of coffee. So I am trying to be really accommodating here. Anyway, back to "Java", there was a guy who was talking on his cellphone, and he was standing clear over on the other side of the coffee-drinking area, 20 or 30 feet away from me. He'd say something in the cell-phone, and I could actually HEAR who he was talking to; he'd had the phone volume set that high. Huh? What? Well, I suppose the guy can go and try to sue the phone company if he ever comes down with a split eardrum or cell-phone deafness. Me, I always thot the idea was to get AWAY from the phone!

They couldn't quite 'free Willy' dept.: I just heard on CBS news, that the whale which swam up the Thames River in England, had indeed gotten lost. Rescuers did manage to get hold of the whale, and hoist it up onto a barge, and the barge was attempting to return the whale to ocean waters, where it could feed and get stronger. The poor creature had become weak while it had been disoriented in the river. Sadly, it died on the barge. I think, though, that the comforting thing about a story like this, is that it shows that we, the human race, still have compassion. People were lining the banks of the river, marvelling at the enormous creature. All I can say is, "Awwwwwww....."

Yep, a short post. It endeth now. I sleepeth in. Gotta go get something to eat before going out to make rude guitar noizzes. See ya after the Seahawks game. I'm kinda looking for a Carolina win, by a margin of about 24-20. Hope I'm wrong, tho. Go, 'Hawks!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Have you ever felt like THIS???
Or, sometimes, dear readers, Idaho ain't as much fun as one would think it should be!

I've got to go out and find one of these mugs; there's nothing else that so adequately symbolizes our warmth-deprived State of Idaho, especially in the murky dregs of winter. "Mashed", indeed. Tonite is a good example. We've got "freezing rain" happening out there. As much as I can't stand snow, I'd rather have it than this crap! With snow, at least you can SEE what you're slipping on before you bust your head on the pavement! Harrumph! One bright spot, though...I was parked in the same place downtown for over 3 hours today, and the "parking Nazi in his little tin cart" didn't give me a ticket. Maybe that pathological ticket guy was on the couch at his shrink's office, asking him, "why don't I have any FRIENDS?" I thought "bicycle cops" were the lowest of the low, but this "ticket guy" takes the cake. I truly think the Post Office stole their slogan from the "Diamond Parking" philosophy of, "neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night will keep our Parking Nazi from distributing revenue-raising tickets." I hear he already has a room reserved in Purgatory.

What goes around goes around and around and around some more dept.: I suppose Hostility maggot...er, Hospitality Magnate Duane Hagadone should be admired for his tenacity. The headlines screamed forth today, "Blackwell Island Dredge Plan Still Alive". Well, he's went and bought all that land on the river, but he can't really use it until he gets it dredged! I sure wouldn't want any landgrabbing millionaire to waste his MONEY, after all. Maybe he can park one of his luxury yachts at his newly-dredged harbour and then charge the riff-raff astronomical ticket prices to climb aboard, tour the boat, and see how the "other half" lives! (SSSSSHHHH, don't give him any ideas!) Actually, this all is probably part of a strategy: as long as we're focused on Blackwell Island dredging, we have our attention diverted away from other issues, such as ultra-tall buildings in downtown CDA, or the wistful landgrabbing fantasies of those who would like to build shopping centers on McEuen field. We all know Mr. H has nothing to do with any of that...rrrright? I said, "RRRIGHT?"

I sure feel a lot safer NOW dept.: It's always been my theory that if the world succumbed to nuclear war and all of its inherent destruction, that some goofball third-world wacko in a faraway land would push the button, beginning Armageddon. Well, French Prezzident Chirac says his country is ready to retaliate any warmongering nuclear attack with a nuclear attack of its own. France? Not 3rd-world, but close...that's why I try to stay "current" with world developments. I wanna know where the bomb's gonna fall so I can run for cover. Except that I can't run anymore. HELP!!!

Hey, we're not accomplishing much, but we're staying busy dept.: A 10-year, 20-million dollar investigation of former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros has basically accomplished NOTHING. He hasn't been HUD Secretary since 1997. He was charged with 18 felony acts of various kinds of deception; admitted to 1 such incident, and is probably now on some Golf Course somewhere laughing at it all. People these days are saying, "why are we sending probes to Pluto when it costs so much money"...at least a NASA Space Mission ignites the fantasy-prone inner child in all of us. But, millions and billions of dollars have been, and are still, being wasted by "pork" projects and needless other gov't expenditures of all kinds! Basically, in the Cisneros case, the federal government might as well have opened the incinerator door and shoveled in that $20 million, for all the good it did.

Is this all part of one big scheme dept.: One news article talks about how Vice Prezzident Cheney says "spying is lawful". He backs that up by saying these "wartime measures" will "safeguard civil liberties". Hmmm, interesting precedent. So if a Prezzidential administration wants total control, all they have to do is "declare war", whether that war is justified or not, and then SPY ON EVERYONE, with the blessings of the long arm of the law? AAAACK!!! Meanwhile, the search engine, GOOGLE, has been slapped with a federal subpeona, requesting (demanding?) records of people who have used that well-known search engine. Google is fighting it, but Yahoo has already "partially" complied with the governments' demands. The last line in that article said something about, us search-engine users had better be careful what we type in that innocuous little "search box". WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL? I think GOVERNMENT needs to BACK THE HELL OFF!!! This current administration may come off yet as being one of the most corrupt ever. Kinda makes me wish for the good old days of Watergate!

Meanwhile back in the Gem State dept.: I read that a bill has been presented, which says that State of Idaho employees should get a pay raise. Okay, fine concept. The cost of living is increasing after all. I guess it's "where" the money comes from that bugs me, namely taxes, which are being paid by citizens, who most of the time, aren't getting any wage increases, and consider themselves LUCKY to have even the most menial minimum-wage job. There are lots of issues out there; suffice it to say that if "one thing" doesn't raise your taxes, something else will. Not to put down state employees, for I know (some of) them work hard, but, if they had to make their living in the private sector, how well would they fare? I've always wondered that.

Paranoia strikes deep; into your life it will creep dept.: Oh by the way, don't look now, but there's a new way that you can get ripped off. Sometimes I wonder, "does all this news do us a favor or not", because all it does is give criminals or criminal wannabees new ideas for what new-fangled crimes to commit. This one involves "scrap metal". Thieves will actually find a house with aluminum siding, copper fixtures, or whatever else, and PEEL THEM off your house! Okay, well, it's easy to lock your house and protect what's INSIDE it, how do you protect against having the exterior "literally" RIPPED off? I'll bet the home-alarm companies out there will make LOTSA money offa this deal.

(It's the end of the world as we know it) I feel fine dept.: Not that this has anything to do with anything, but in my quest to (try to) stay somewhat relevant, that's the title of a song by R.E.M., a fairly new group whose records I have but I don't play them much. I found a bunch their of LP's that a second-hand record store was selling cheap; the store was getting rid of all its vinyl back when CD's first arrived on the scene. It's just hard for me to relate to R.E.M.'s cold approach. I know a lot of people like them; I don't DISLIKE them, but I don't find their sound very appealing either. Anyway, I thought I'd end this post with another idyllic scene of daze gone by here in the CDA area:

Here is the FISH INN, which was located at the Harrison Exit on I-90, east of town. Basically, you'd head north across the freeway, hang a left turn and you were there. This picture is from long, long ago, when cabins were standing on the adjacent campground.

I was in a rock band called "Flashback"; we played at the Fish quite a bit in the mid-80's. It's long-since burned down, and that's sad. And of course, if you wanted to go inside and have a beer, you had to go thru the Fish's "mouth" to get to the bar. Probably a better bet than what old Jonah had to go through, when, in a case of "man-overboard", he got swallowed whole by a whale. The roadway you see in the picture is the old OLD highway, heading into CDA. It was a small 2-laner, and once upon a time, the entire roadway, going over 4th of July Pass and points east, was quite a tenacious "goat trail" to navigate, from what I'm told.

Okay, okay, maybe I'm too pessimistic here; maybe it's not the end of the world. I hope not. I figure I've got 20 or 30 good years left; it can't end NOW! But I must admit, things are getting weirder all the time. Ah, but the weekend's here. And, it's time for me to jump on the bandwagon: GO SEAHAWKS! (Their big NFL playoff game with the Carolina Panthers is Sunday Afternoon). Will they win? They've got a chance, as long as they don't self-destruct in the first half! Carolina has more playoff experience, though. I think Carolina will win, by possibly a field goal or a touchdown. That said, I do hope the 'Hawks win.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The following photo might be a great antidote for all the rain we've had lately!

I've posted this before..."Winter" is the price we all pay for living here the rest of the year. I find it a bit ironic that both "snow" and "rain" are four-letter words. In the wintertime, I'm a relative hermit; I just don't like being cold. Maybe as you age, your blood thins? Brrr! I do know that in the "good old summertime", I'm outside as much as possible. Green grass, shade trees and WARMTH. In the meantime, I'll just warm my hands over my little space heater. Brrr!

Here's an old photo that'll put things a little bit more in perspective. It's an early 1950's photo of City Beach, with Playland Pier in the background and luscious shade trees up near the sea wall. You can tell from the swimsuits that this photo goes back a long, LONG ways. I guess you could say this photo was taken back in the "pre-thong" days? Summer, I'm WAITIN' for ya!

Run of the MILL dept.: "In a short time, little evidence will remain that generations of workers drew paychecks there". That's a quote from a story in today's paper, in an article about the auctioning off of equipment at the old Atlas Mill, a landmark building complex that's gonna be torn down soon, as those with LOTS OF MONEY are going to buy expensive property along the Spokane River. I think the above quote could have also applied to the old Potlatch Mill, back in the '80s. Now, millworkers at Potlatch have been replaced by forecaddies, golf carts and golfers who have to stay at the ultra-expensive Rezzort for the privilege of losing golf balls in the water when they try to reach the floating green. And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on...

I think we're spinning our wheels dept.: Many Americans feel that the war in Iraq is useless, and that we should get outta there. I think that our entire country was misdirected, going to Iraq in the aftermath of "9/11", when Iraq had NOTHING to do with that horrific event. It was Osama Bin Laden's Iran that "9/11" was traced to. Yet we go and tear Iraq apart and topple their government. Meanwhile, 4 and a half years lader, TODAY, Osama Bin Laden is STILL out there threatening us. A new tape surfaced today, with Bin Laden's voice on it, warning us to expect all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things from he and his Iranian cohorts. So, what HAVE our soldiers been dying for the last 4 years? Am I the only one who sees absolutely no sense in all this? WHY are we still worrying about Bin Laden? He should've been dealt with YEARS ago.

In a related note, the A & E network, beginning Monday, will show a movie that I really wanna see; the movie is about flight 93, the airplane that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, on "9/11"; a plane that, reportedly, Iranian hijackers wanted to crash into the White House, until passengers on that plane rose up against their captors, evidently thwarting a disastrous crash into the center of our nation's government.

He's got a lot of "gall" dept.: This next item is even sillier than someone selling an ages-old grilled cheese sandwich that contains a picture of the Madonna for beaucoups bucks; I read today that a KIDNEY STONE that used to belong to William Shatner, has been sold for $25,000. Ouch! First, the Kidney Stone evidently caused Shatner "pain", then someone else got socked in the wallet ("OOF"!) when the kidney stone was purchased. There's no intelligent life here; "Beam Me Up, Scotty"! The $25K was donated to Habitat for Humanity. My question is, what do you do with a kidney stone? Do you mount it in a ring? Do you encase it in a pendant, worn around the neck? If the kidney stone is big enough, do you use it for a paperweight? Or do ya just throw it away 'cos it totally grosses you out? Enquiring minds wanna know!

A tasty way to end this post dept.: (doing my best Homer Simpson imitation here) "mmmm....Peanut Butter Cookies" My mom used to make peanut butter cookies quite a lot, and it's a taste that takes me back to my childhood. (Some people say I've NEVER left my childhood!) Anyway, at the Java place, they sell delicious peanut butter cookies. So now, in addition to being in Coffee Nirvana (with that maple sugar, after all), I can top it off with a peanut butter cookie! Notice how all peanut butter cookies have the same "design"? My Mom used it, and so do the folks at the Java place...little ridges that come from a spatula pressed gently into the cookie dough. It appears to be a universal design, found ONLY on peanut butter cookies. When I went to Oregon last year, I stopped at a rest stop east of Ritzville...and there they were, the ladies' auxiliary, and they also sold peanut butter cookies...with that SAME "peanut butter cookie indicator". It must be universal! As you can tell, I never met a peanut butter cookie I didn't like!

Better slow your Mustang down dept.: I've got the TV on as I'm typing this, and I just now heard over the news that soul singer WILSON PICKETT died today, at the age of 64. He was one of my most favorite '60s singers...I spent ages trying to find the single of his version of "Land of 1000 Dances"...his songs are immortal..."634-5789", "Mustang Sally", and of course, "In The Midnight Hour"...it always saddens me when a musician dies, especially when their music was such a welcome part of my life. How sad.

I was gonna end this post after that "peanut butter cookie" blurb, and, "pow!", that Wilson Pickett news item presented itself. You just never know what's gonna happen from day to day. I'm thinking, "wow, he was only 64; pretty doggone young!" But, am I saying "64 is young" because I'm 51? In short, he wasn't that much older than me! I do fear the "grim reaper" is out there somewhere!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You, too, could GO TO JAIL (do not collect $200) if you annoy someone with your blog!

It looks like longtime gasbag Senator Arlen Specter has managed to get a "rider" he authored, which was attached to a bigger bill approved. That "rider" says you can't "annoy" someone anonymously online, or you could risk a fine and jail time. So you're safer if you annoy someone and give your NAME? Ok, I'll put this to the test: Because this bill was signed into law by Prezzident Bushed, BUSH, YOU ARE AN IDIOT, AND SPECTER, YOU'RE A MORON! And all of you congressmen who VOTED for this bill, you're a bunch of SLEAZY JERKS! You don't like what I said? COME AND GET ME, HERE I AM!!! According to an editorial in today's paper, anonymity tends to foster frank discussion of issues, such as THE PRESIDENT is a PUPPET, and the IRAQ WAR is just plain old WRONG! Of course, there are many who don't think that at all, but do we now have to be more careful of what we post because BIG BROTHER can obtain our "computer numbers"?

The crazy thing about this is, that a person cannot be annoyed online without actually GOING online. It's kinda like going to the rough side of town and complaining because you got beaten up, mugged, and left for dead. In short, if you don't wanna run the risk of getting annoyed online, STAY OFF THE WEB! Actually, though, most of us know how to police ourselves without things getting out of hand. There are those who say that the Bush Administration wants total control over everything, a la 1984, and I'm hearing that all the time. So, all of those people who have SAID "that" run the risk of suspicion as well. A certain German Leader had "total control" during World War II; is our country moving in that direction? What is the motivation behind this Internet Law? Who benefits? Does this law grant permission for the "powers that be" to put anyone who blogs under surveillance? First, it was with phones...now computers? And, ain't it nice to know your tax dollars are being spent on these laws which threaten our rights?


The Mariners made a heckuva good move today dept.: Invaluable utility-man Willie Bloomquist was signed today to a 2-year deal. He's a pretty good hitter, he can steal bases and play almost any position. Let's hope he gets a lot of playing time this year. He hit .261 last year; think of how much he could better that if he played every day. Go Willie!

Every good move is followed by a bad move dept.: Continuing with the Mariners, the most inconsistent pitcher of them all, Gil Meche, is holding out for a big PAY RAISE. Meche has a fluid delivery, and he can throw hard. But, he can be wild at times; he's never shown any real consistency, and he got hit HARD last year. Do the "M's" really want him? Negotiations are proceeding as I write this. Meanwhile, the M's LET GO pitcher Ryan Franklin, who pitched his heart out and never got any run support for all his trouble. I hope Ryan gets the "Cy Young" award; I don't care WHO he's playing for. Go Ryan!


Okay, I know I've bored you to tears, so here's a photo dept.: Brrrr. It's Winter. What can I say? One thing about Winter I've noticed, though, is that "color" pictures of winter don't look all that much different from "black and white" pictures. Snow is "white" no matter what, and a pine tree in a snow-covered field is "dark green", not that far away from "black". These are the things that torment my mind sometimes. Anyway, how about winter 50 years ago in the CDA area?

This view was taken east of Coeur d'Alene, on what was then Hiway 10, when there were no trees lining the lake! That's Tubbs Hill, at upper left. If you went out to this very spot today, you'd be standing near the Centennial Trail. It must've been a cold winter; the Lake looks frozen over, and it's gotta be sub-zero for quite a while for the lake to freeze. I believe this photo was taken about a mile east of where the Beach-House restaurant sits now.


Is there any 'reality' in realty? dept.: An article in today's paper says that housing prices around the area rose 30% last year. Something about scarce inventories and bidding wars. Well, not so much now, but earlier in the year when the weather was better, I kept getting mailings from area Real Estaters, something along the lines of "We sold a home in your neighborhood for BEAUCOUPS BUCKS; call us and let us show YOU what we can do for YOU!!!" Down here in the "older" neighborhood I live in, CDA looks like the same ol' town to me. Is it really that DESIRABLE here? Or, perhaps it's that all of the big-city dwellers are trying to get out of their own personal "Hells", looking for Nirvana and/or Utopia up here.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't associate "Utopia" with snow, ice and pipes bursting. Maybe I should put myself in a position to do the old switcheroo: I could arrange, to TRADE my house here in Coeur d'Alene, for someone else's house of a similar size in Southern California, where it's warmer. Somehow, I don't think I'd get many takers. But then again, my $50,000 house might actually be a $150,000 house somewhere else. So if it were a swap based on monetary value, I'd move out of my crackerbox-of-a-house into someone else's STORAGE UNIT in Southern California. Maybe I should just stay put. I honestly don't know!


Just for the Record dept.: I was record-buying at Mt. Olympus records up on North 4th Street, near the Donut Shop, and I came across a strange-looking record made in Germany; funny thing about foreign-pressings; the album jackets are always really flimsy. I'd never heard of the group, I'd never heard any of their music, and what was really strange, each side had ONE song that ran for about 16 minutes. You could say this band likes to jam, jam, JAM. Lots of extended instrumental soloing (yeah, a few vocal parts too). What surprised me, is that I thot, "wow, these German guys sing English really well." Well, to prove you can find anything, ANYTHING, on the internet, I googled the band, and the album title, and voila, I found this picture:

The group is called "Sweet Smoke", and the title of the album is "Just A Poke". Why they gave it that title, I'll never know. On side one's 16-minute song, they go semi-symphonic, with slow and fast portions interspersing themselves throughout the song. On side two's 16-minute song, they start out in a medium-tempo heavy funk groove and hold that the entire way. If you've ever heard the Dutch Band "Focus" (they of "Hocus Pocus" fame), this group reminds me of that group. The record was made in Germany. On the internet, I found that the band consisted of five AMERICAN musicians who moved to Europe and got really popular over there. This album came out in 1975. Shows ya how much different the music scene was over there! While everyone over here was heading down to the disco in the mid-70's, European music fans were sitting still, appreciating the instrumental complexities of a band playing music that needed to be paid attention to. Music like this "sneaks up" on you; it sinks way inside your mind. If you let it.


Well, before I close this post, I wonder if I should set up some kind of "blogger defense" fund in case I get thrown in the slammer because I annoyed someone. Actually, I plead "insanity"; after all, I wasn't "in my right mind" when I typed this post!