Tuesday, February 28, 2006

They're not just for THANKSGIVING anymore!!!
...as you've probably found out, 'turkeys' are everywhere!!!

If you walk down the street, there might be one in front of you. Or in the cubicle next to you. There might be a few on the City Council. They might ride around on bicycles, issuing citations to everyone in City Park. There are rich ones, poor ones; there's even one in the White House! The almighty turkey is ALL AROUND US...as this foto shows...

...well, this wasn't really necessary...but it sure was FUN!!!

You can't keep a good HAND down...
...or, the merry misadnentures of the one-armed blogger......

I'm blogging single-handed right now due to arthritic inflammation in my right forearm. It's a lot slower of a procedure, let me tell ya! Instead of typing 75 words a minute, I'm down to FIVE. Words. Every three minutes! Well, it FEELS like that, anyway...so the thots aren't flowing freely and the sentences are stilted. But...I do have other ways of cranking out blogs...as witnessed below...

Oh wait...Prezzident Bushed is being interviewed right now on ABC News; let me hit the MUTE button...there...I've muzzled him for the time being. Anyway, there's many ways to blog, and I'll prove that with a foto-parody gleaned from Huckleberries online. (www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo) Here 'tis...

I actally DID wash cars for a living...and that job stunk about as bad as cleaning out Mr. Bull's pen. Never again! One advantage, though...car horns can't GORE ya. And, that's it...done for now...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Is this the mark of True Dedication?
...or am I just basically insane? (as think I might be right now)

I'm in the middle of an arthritis attack. It's kinda scary. My right elbow, my entire right forearm, into my fingers and thumb, are just screaming out at me as I type this. Is it gout, in which case the blood carries the gout crystals around to "dump" in various joints of the body? Is it osteoarthritis? I have been formally diagnosed with that as well as gout. For a while, I'll be okay, and then I'll wake up one morning with inflammation in a joint. Could be the big toe...or the left thumb...or the right shoulder...or the left hip...and even with meds, it takes a minimum of two weeks for the pain to subside. Not go away; just subside.

I have struggled with increasing arthritis for years. I am only 51. I've had symptoms for at least 20 years. This is no way to live. I'm going to the doctor Friday. Thru him, I'll hopefully make connections with a good rheumatologist. I'm not getting any better. While at the doctor, I'm also going to get a referral for a "back doctor". Due either to arthritis, or general wear and tear, possibly aggravated by the running I used to do, I have bone spurs on my lower back vertebrae. Just lately, if I stand more than 15 minutes or bend wrong, I have sharp debilitating pain. Will I need back surgery? Can the doctor "shave off" the bone spurs? Will I need a "disc fusion"?

So that's why this post is short tonite. My right forearm, every time I lift it from the keyboard, just screams bloody murder at me. I have some meds on hand; I'd better take 'em. This blog is often a reflection of things going on inside of my brain. Tonite, it is a summation of what's happening in my body. I'm at the place where just about "anything" would be less painful at this point. Desperation is the mother of invention, after all. So I'm about to relinquish myself to the medical community. Now, THAT'S a scary thought. I can't help but think of the "AFLAC" duck..."quack, quack, quack."

So I'll close now, but before I do, here's a picture of a location in the upper St. Maries area, rendered about 1910 or thereabouts:

...hopefully, if I can hang on and get thru all of this, I, too, will be sitting on top of the world. My first appointment is Friday. This should be interesting. Maybe I'm being too melodramatic and self-pitying here. Could be. But at least it's a short post, right?

I will now go take my meds, sit in the La-Z-boy, and whimper. Anyone got some cheese to go with my "whine"?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Am I a Tyrannosaurus Ignoramus???
...or, did I grow up to be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears; he kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak; he's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
Sometimes I feels like I'm just another fool...So I grew up to be a mule!!!

It's been a while since I "swung on a star" and I've never carried "moonbeams home in a jar". Sometimes I think that I am really out of it. Other times I think I must have the attention span of a mayfly...(the insect that's alive for one day, does its thing, then dies). I try to keep aware of stuff, I really do. But there's just something in my mind that never wants to get into anything too deeply. I just "shut down" after so much verbage; I've been that way all my life. It seems like I can only go "so far" and then I just "top out". I find that I'm always trying to simplify things, to read between the lines to get right to the point, whatever that point is. In the past, I've tried (in vain) to endure graduation speeches, church sermons, sales presentations, analyzations of complicated issues, pontificating at staff meetings, boring political speeches, state-of-the-union messages and Billy Graham crusades. I just can't help thinking that once a point is made, what's there left to say? I can also usually tell where a person is going with a thought LONG before he gets there.

No, I'm no genius, I'm not gifted, hell, I am barely FUNCTIONAL, and I know that! I'm an average guitar player; an average writer, an average individual, just average across the board. I do not enjoy debate. Present both sides briefly to me, then go away and let me think about it so I can determine how I feel, and then I'll state my case and that's it! I am a lousy job interview, I am lousy at relationships, basically lousy in anything that involves personal interaction. As I said, I KNOW all this! And, I'm basically at the age in my life where I just don't have to put up with it all anymore, and I don't! So where am I going with all of this? I do have a point, don't worry. When I watch the news or the endless pseudo-news programs on MSNBC or FOX or wherever, it soon becomes a wall of "YAK-YAK-YAKETY-YAK-YAK-YAK to me." I'll listen, but after a little while, nothing sinks in. NOTHING. All of these people pretending they are so educated, trying to manipulate others into seeing their points of view. Even a 3-minute commercial break burns me out; thank heavens I have a "mute" button on the remote!

At my favorite blogsite, "Huckleberries Online", us bloggers can interact with each other on various topics posed either by the Blogmeister, or by the bloggers themselves. On the weekends, things are a little more informal, since the Blogmeister does actually try to "live a life" two-days a week. (That's all he's allowed, by the way). Ever heard the old saying, "when the cat's away, the mice'll play"...well, all kinds of rodents crawl out of the woodwork in "Huckleberries" on the weekends. It's NOT a pretty picture. Go in there on a typical weekend...you'll find endlessly raging debates, theorizing, pontificating, postulating, question-begging, labeling, disarming, arguing, contradicting, this-ing, that-ing, and you just wanna yell, "SHAAAAAADUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Everyone is trying so hard to PROVE their POINT. I kinda think that's one way we as "human beans" go about things the wrong way; we're constantly manipulating each other in one way or another. Of course, I'm so paranoid that I won't let anyone (knowingly, anyway), manipulate me. But someone out there's got a new angle, so be on the lookout and BEWARE, right?

So I'll go to Huckleberries and look over the weekend posts. Sometimes there'll be close to 100 comments on a particular topic, which inevitably resort to name-calling, branding, criticizing, and muckraking, (and other "-ings") all put forth by people who are trying to make a point. I'm sorry, I just don't want to get caught up in all that. But a side of me does feel ignorant that I haven't jumped into the fray; sometimes I feel like I must be a moron because I'll look at this stuff, and I don't comprehend it, I don't care about it, and I don't have anything to say. I chime in on various things I can relate to, and then get out. Why would I want to spend hours and hours in battle with someone online, when I am paying for computer service that ends up totally irritating me? Answer: I DON'T. So why am I doing this right now? I'm a hypocrite, right? Well, I'll get something that festers within my brain for a coupla weeks and then it just explodes, and posts like this happen. On MY site, on MY blog, where I can be as civil (or not) as I want to be. I just don't have the stomach for ripping apart a person in a public place, whether in cyber-land or in the real world.

"Huckleberries Online" can be a fun place. I've spent a lot of time there and I thoroughly enjoy it. It's where bloggers from North Idaho and Eastern Washington get together and play silly games. Of course, some "don't play well with others", but I suppose that's the chance you take entering any site. www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo is the location. Of course, if you go there on a WEEKEND, you may wanna prepare yourself like the guy below:

...and I thought I didn't have anything to blog about this weekend!!! Now that I'm done with this post, I'll go trim the hair outta my long, funny ears. Hee-haw!!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

CURLING? You Gotta be KIDDING!!!
Ain't that just about the strangest sport you've ever seen?

It's all the rage at the Olympics, though. Break out your brooms and skate alongside your precious curling stone as you try to knock your opponent out of contention. What goes thru the minds of the players as they realize they're basically playing "glorified shuffleboard"? Here's a possible answer...

The curling stone travels at approximately one-quarter of a mile every three hours. Athletes skate alongside the stone, trying to navigate it with strange-looking brushes. Bonk, bonk, bonk, goes the curling stone as it strikes the opponent's stone on the curling ice. Probably good training, though, if you plan to take a cruise around the world and you end up playing shuffleboard on a ship. I can't believe this is actually classified as a SPORT, but, oh well!

Here's another photo-spoof; obviously, any photo of dogs behind the wheel is gonna generate all kinds of comment, so I've provided mine here. Kinda looks like these boys want to ride the "Gravy Train", huh? I also stole this photo from "Huckleberries Online", and indeed, how could I NOT spoof this photo? And it does kinda look like the dog behind the wheel is indeed concentrating on his driving!

Oh, these guys are TRICKY!!!
Or, if ya can't get it ONE way, you get it ANOTHER way!

It seems there's a developer around these parts who wants to build a 20-to-30 story multiple-use tower here in Coeur d'Alene, only he can't do that because CDA has height restrictions in place which (so far) prohibit buildings that tall. So, this developer now wants to build his oversized monstrosity ACROSS THE STREET from the Coeur d'Alene City Limits, in Fernan Village. I, for one, did not know Fernan Village also included land between CDA Lake Drive and the freeway! Sneaky, sneaky! That means this guy may be able to build his building, NOT in Coeur d'Alene, but awfully close to it. And, Coeur d'Alene residents will still have to see that monstrosity when they cruise by, and it's Coeur d'Alene which will be forced to endure the additional traffic generated by the multipurpose-use tower, which will include offices and condos.

I personally favor new structures which don't tower over everyone and everything; more 'sympathetic' structures which are in greater harmony with the area. Oh yeah, but if you aren't at least 10 stories up, you're probably not gonna be able to see the sun setting over Coeur d'Alene Lake, which is quite a ways away from the location of the proposed tower. So, condo owners, in effect, are paying for the view! Shoot, I can get in my car, go down to the lake, and enjoy the view for FREE! (So far!) The city of CDA is already in the process of debating height restrictions; already, there's a 14-story structure in place at 7th and Front Avenue. You know, I've seen panoramic views of Miami, where skyscrapers dominate the shoreline, and Coeur d'Alene will be an awful lot like that someday if the brakes aren't put on development of tall structures. If one day tall buildings are allowed to be built anywhere in this area, well, I'll accept it, but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE it!

Let's go get stoned dept.: (One of my favorite Ray Charles songs, by the way) Five young ladies in nearby Rathdrum got STONED on Robitussin capsules, and they had to be taken from Rathdrum's junior high school to Kootenai Medical Center so they could "detox"! I guess this is happening more and more with over-the-counter stuff. Well, already I have to make a special request for allergy meds, because only the strongest stuff works for me, and that stuff is kept under lock and key behind a counter. They're afraid I'll go home and cook up a pot of Meth or some such thing, I guess.

Pretty soon, if this trend keeps up, there'll be more stuff locked up behind the counter, than is on the store shelves. "Nope, can't put Robitussin on the shelves, 'cos kids buy tons of it to get stoned"; I can just hear it now. "Let's see, we've gotta take Purex off the shelves because you can get high on the fumes. Oh yeah, we'd better remove bar soap, because kids'll take it to school and try to eat it. We'd better take all canned goods off the shelves, because a can thrown at someone's head will kill them." And so on, and so forth. It's gettin' purty crayzee out thar!

It's times like this I'm proud of our country dept.: The Arab Emirates have pulled back on their deal to take over several U.S. Seaports on the east coast. Prezzident Bush said he didn't even know the details of the agreement until it had been already approved! So who's running this country, anyway? But now, we have breathing room on this whole deal. Time to analyze it, and hopefully, time enough for the Prezzident to realize that no one wants our seaports managed by the Arab Emirates; after all, it's from that part of the world that we've been attacked. The argument has been put forth, that the British have managed our seaports for years...well, maybe so, but Britain has not attacked us since the Revolutionary War. So I'd say our country's relationship with Britain is a bit different (and less dangerous) than any of the sleazy oil-mongering countries in the Middle East. And I'm proud of all of the legislators who stood up against this thing! There is hope after all.

Is that a moustache or a hair-lip dept.: (Omigosh! Am I being politically incorrect?) This Adam Morrison moustache thing is just silly. This kid has obviously risen thru the ranks, played tons of basketball, kept up his grades so he could stay on the team, and is a big sparkplug for Gonzaga University's offense. And what do the masses remember him for? The MOUSTACHE! I don't get it...at all.

This is honestly how I feel about the whole Adam Morrison moustache situation. I mean, he's damned if he shaves it off, he's damned if he keeps it. I don't really understand why people seize on the smallest things about someone who has earned a certain amount of fame; I think all of this is just plain old silly, and come on, people, we're better than that! Adam just seems like a good guy...remember him for THAT, why don'tcha?

This has been, what's known in the blogging trade, as a "dental" post. Why? Because writing this thing was like PULLING TEETH! But, I never know about these things; it seems that my WORST blogs get the most positive comment; go figure, I guess. (Maybe I should grow a moustache?)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It was just another day at Coeur d'Alene High School in 1972...

It's a day I will never forget. In the lunchroom at Coeur d'Alene High School, were a couple of soft-drink machines. Only, these machines didn't spit out cans of pop; rather, they would drop a paper cup into a little holder, and then the glass would be filled with a prescribed amount of whatever soft drink you'd chosen. Well, there was an element of foreboding in the air, and things would never be the same again. (Well, yes they would, but it sounds good, anyway)

Well, I wanted some "Mountain Dew". This was long before I knew that it was saturated with Caffeine. Some people swear by it. So, I put my coin into the machine, selected that green carbonated liquid (which kinda looks like ANTIFREEZE), and the glass proceeded to be filled. So, I pulled out the glass, only the machine DIDN'T SHUT OFF! "Mountain Dew" everywhere! I told a bunch of other kids about it, and they all began lining up in front of the machine for free "Mountain Dew"! However much one of those big metal pressurized pop canisters hold, was all gone in a matter of moments. I don't know if "Mountain Dew" stock dropped that day or not.

The reason I wrote all THAT was so that I could achieve some sort of "tie-in" factor for the totally unnecessary photo I've featured below. Da-Daaaaa......................

Sorry 'bout that, folks. I couldn't help it. There are a couple more newer posts below, although they, too, might be unnecessary...


...this photo was shamelessly pilfered from "Huckleberries Online". And, I think it's pretty relevant. You can see the foto in its original context at www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo.

My reaction to the weather today!

I try to see "some good" in most every day. After all, I appreciate that I'm still around to enjoy what I can out of life. But today (almost) "took the cake". It was blustery and windy when I headed out the front door and got in the car. So I drove down to the Java place, parking on Front Ave, with the lake in full view. The winds blowing off the lake were forceful and cold, and it was all I could do to hang onto my hat as I trudged towards my "daily coffee". So I got coffee and sat down, and it began raining out there, so I guess I timed that out right. When I left, I walked back towards the car, and this time the winds whipping off the lake were blowing in my face. I got in my car and went to the store, and when I came out of the store, the wind was still whooshing by, PLUS, some obnoxious pellet-type snowfall started blowing in my face. Ack, Ack, Aaaaaack. I'm sorry, but today was just frickin' obnoxious out there. Aaaaaaack. Makes me wish for days like this...

Here's a picture of CDA Lake taken back in the '50s, and I THINK this picture looks northwest at the area between the west end of City Park and the beginnings of the Dike Road. (not sure, but I think I see the Sea Wall there) This is another one of those photos taken by the old Leo's Studio in Spokane. Even in black and white, that shimmering water looks really great, and if I could, RIGHT NOW, I'd jump in the "Wayback Machine", teleport myself back to 1950, and sit by the lake.

Mmmmm-good, mmmm-good dept.: There was an article in the paper today about how Campbell's Soup is coming out with a new "Healthy" line of soups which contain less sodium. Seems you can't put the word "healthy" on the label unless a serving of your company's soup registers 480mg or less of sodium. Campbell's is evidently gonna use sea salt for this allegedly "healthy" line, which is purported to contain 40% less sodium. That sounds like a good move to me. Now, if the people who manufacture "V-8" juice would do the same thing. "V-8" doesn't use the word "healthy" on its labels, but the "V-8" advertisements tout the stuff as being good for you, containing all sorts of vitamins and minerals that you need.

What they DON'T tell you is that "V-8" contains 600mg or MORE in a glassful. I wonder how that company sleeps at night. You drink a glass of that stuff, thinking you're preserving your health, not knowing that you're contributing to your own hardening of the arteries. Any tomato-based product is gonna have tons of sodium in it. Spaghetti-O's, Chili, Beanie-Weenie, you name it. It's amazing, to go up and down the aisles of a grocery store and check out how much of the stuff on the shelves is just BAAAAAD for you. I once asked a clerk why there's so much sodium in everything. "To increase the shelf life", he told me. Oh.

Taking aim at an elusive target dept.: I read where the "Coeur d'Alene Bowmen" archery club, which has been located in the basement of the Credit Bureau Bldg. on 4th Street, for AGES, is having to move somewhere else. I wish them luck. Back in high school, I was a "bowman", and all of us bowmen would go to the "archery club" (the "Bowmen" building) and shoot competitive archery. If you've ever been in a bowling league, competitive archery is like that; you shoot a round, you tally your score, and the team with the most points wins...we would alternate with different "rounds" each week. One round consisted of you shooting 5 arrows from 60 feet, and you did that 12 times. The other type of round consisted of shooting from various distances...50 feet, 20 feet, 45 feet, 60 feet, and so on; you really had to be on your toes for that one. I had a target bow; I shot aluminum arrows; I was really into it back then.

Another holiday that doesn't mean 'squat' to me dept.: The powers that be are trying to get a "St. Patrick's Day" parade going here in the City by the Lake. Yawnnnnn....I kinda think that any holiday where you get pinched and wind up in excruciating pain for not wearing GREEN ain't much of a holiday. Bah humbug several times! Honestly, "St. Patrick's Day" has never felt like a holiday to me! And the federal government agrees with me on this; after all, I still get MAIL delivered on March 17th!

This proves you can find ANYTHING on Ebay dept.: And I do mean EVERYTHING. A patch of gauze used by Gonzaga basketballer Adam Morrison, which was used to plug up a bloody nose, is now for sale on EBAY. The seller is advertising it as "used". Hmmmm....the next time I accidentally slice myself open, I'll be sure to have some gauze around the house. After all, I am a blogger of "some" note in my immediate area, so I must ask: "How much will you pay...for my D-N-A???"


Well, that's it for the time being. Not my most creative post, but I got it done early. I was so out of it yesterday, that I didn't even start the previous posting until after midnight TODAY. Hey, I may be erratic, but at least I'm consistently erratic; in other words, "you can count on not being able to count on me."


There's been quite the raging debate over the last few months about the welfare of newspapers in this age where you can get all of your information online. I'm sure that newspaper publishers everywhere are doing their best to try and make sure that their paper stays significant, relevant, and timely in today's market. Sure, newspapers have faced competition before, what with the immediacy of television and radio, and that competition has only increased, what with the 24-hour news channels out there.

Then, along came computers, and now it's possible to find anything about anyone or anything you want, and the power is right there in your fingertips. All of a sudden, newspapers are being seen by some as "old-style", a "relic", an "artifact" of a long bygone age. As such, it is important for publishers everywhere to use NEW TACTICS to get the MOST out of their employees; some are resorting to extreme measures. Indeed, tough times need tough people, after all.

The leader of the gang at "huckleberries online", a division of the Spokesman-Review newspaper, knows all too well how tough things are getting out there. Dave Oliviera is fast finding out that newspaper employees are encouraged to be ever-vigilant, and try to "scoop" everyone and everything, no matter how important (or not).

In closing...whenever people smile like that at ME...I get mighty suspicious!

...where people meet of one accord...

If you're saying to yourself, "hey, that sounds like a line from Elvis Presley's religious hit , Crying in the Chapel", you would be right. I remember going to church. I suppose that I am now a heathen backslider, because I haven't been to church in ages. I believe in God but I just don't like Churches. It is amazing how tirelessly boring I've always found ALL sermons. After listening to a Pastor for half-an-hour, I come very close to slipping into a coma. Heathen Backslider, indeed!

Our family, mainly at my Mom's urging, went to all kinds of churches...Pentecostal, Holy Rollers, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian; we all pretty much ran the gamut. I always liked the "musical" part of the services the best; I always thought that the old Hymns were some of the most beautiful music ever. Gosh, "The Old Rugged Cross", "How Great Thou Art", and I really liked "All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name", although I never knew what a "diadem" was. "Amazing Grace" is another of those immortal songs.

We attended a little "independent" church called "St. Paul Memorial", back in the '60s; it was a new church looking for a home, so for a while it used a local building of note...for a while, the congregation of St. Paul Memorial was headquartered here, in the old Fort Sherman Chapel, which has before and since, been used by many other smaller congregations trying to gain a foothold in the wide wonderful world of church attendance. I believe this little chapel dates back to around 1880; what a fascinating little building this is, and it is truly a historical landmark, and something we should all treasure.

Due to religious differences between our family and St. Paul Memorial, our family was basically ostracised from the church. Mom was treated badly by the pastor, Rev. Ray Fitzhugh, and I remember once, when I was supposed to bring all the treats for a weekly evening get-together of youth at the Church, nobody else showed up. Because I was hosting it. The week before, when someone ELSE brought all the treats, the place was packed. So I found out about religious phoniness at an early age. By that time, the church had relocated to 9th and Best Avenue; the church met in the basement, because at that time, a basement was all the church could afford; there were no "upper stories" on that building in those days.

"Thar's a bear, he's out there somewhere" dept. I don't know if truckers still use the term "bear" for a highway cop, but I know the term was used way back when. So, a policeman in a helicopter became a "bear in the air". And, truckers would wish their fellow co-horts well with the phrase, "keep yer shiny side up an' keep 'er between the ditches". (Which gets harder to do on the highway all the time). Well, in the future, "bears" ain't gonna be as obvious as before. In one of the desert states, "photographic sensors" are being installed along the highway, and if yer goin' too fast, it'll take a picture of you in yer car, and find out where ya live using your plate number, and before ya know it, you'll get a $157.00 speeding fine in the mail. So maybe, sometimes, computers AREN'T the best thing ever, huh? Actually, I set the cruise control around 62-63 mph, and just enjoy the tape deck as I zip on down the road. What's the hurry? Just give yerself time to git there!

The case of the disappearing Wetland dept.: Sounds like a case for Perry Mason. (Da-DAAAA-da-DAH!!! Da-DAAAAAA-da-da-DUH!!!!!!) (My approximation of the Perry Mason theme music) I think we're living in the Twilight Zone. We must be. A headline in today's SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (that re-designed "rag") screamed out, "WETLAND MYSTERIOUSLY FILLED IN". Now, I can see no one noticing that if the wetland was somewhere near Twisp or Othello somewhere, but this particular wetland is right in the city of SPOKANE, on the South Side. There are roads there, houses there, traffic goes by, so I must ask once again, "Huh? What?" The article then clarified things further by elucidating that, "wetlands aren't always wet". Oh. But didn't anyone notice someone doing SOMETHING out there? And then I read that the land in question is part of a proposed site for WAL-MART. 'Nuff said...somehow that makes cosmic sense, in a terribly morbid way. Pretty soon, developers will be building entire developments in the dead of night. Don't be surprised if you wake up one morning and have 96 new neighbors around you. Ack!!!

And the games drag on and on and on and on.....dept.: Harumph. Foolishness. Bah Humbug. I'm not watching the Olympics this time around. If you wanna see live Olympix transmissions, you've gotta be up at 3am our time to do so. Which is really inconvenient for me. The Olympix are being shown on MSNBC, which means that "Imus In The Morning" is being pre-empted quite a lot. Although I think MSNBC Olympic reporter Chris Jansing is a real BABE, the Olympics are messing with my viewing habits! I tape "Imus" religiously; it's amazing the number of political and otherwise-newsmaking movers and shakers appear on his show, and Imus shows no one any MERCY! But anyway, I have been paying attention to Olympic events every now and then, such as the skating event below...

I actually tried to ice-skate once. My parents had taken my sister and me to see the Ice Capades in the Spokane Coliseum one year. As I was watching the skaters glide around on the ice, I thought, "hey, I think I'd like to try that!" I think I was about 15 at the time, so I went and bought a pair of cheap-skates (hence, how people describe me), and went with a buddy over to Fernan Lake, which is guaranteed to freeze over almost every year. I had no grace or coordination. And I found out fast, skating is harder than it looks!

I used to be a runner. Why? Basically, I couldn't do anything else. I couldn't run and dribble a basketball at the same time; I didn't like the physical contact of football, and in 3 seasons of little league baseball, I had 3 TOTAL HITS. The captain of my last baseball team warned me, "if you don't get a hit today, don't come back!" Well, I spent the rest of the summer goofing off. But I'll tell ya what, I'm a great spectator. Of sports I like, that is.


I have felt purely AWFUL all day. I got up late, and every joint just hurt. Couldn't hardly move. I feel better now, but I was afraid I wouldn't have anything to post. So I just faked my way thru this one. Can't you tell?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I wish I'd thought of THAT!!!
...Still...this was an opportunity that was TOO GOOD to pass up!!!

I was about ready to shut down the blog after the previous post, but I heard something that was SO PERFECT, that I just had to present it here. I always keep the TV on in the background while blogging; it was tuned to MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann"...he's a cool guy and he presents a lot of off-the-wall stuff.

Anyway, he was speaking with one of his guests about Prezzident Bush's idiotic decision to let the Arabs control vital seaports around the country. And his guest started one of his answers with the following phrase, presented in the fractured photo below. Like I said...I WISH I'D THOUGHT OF THAT!

I'd seen this photo the other night when I was Googling stuff...when I heard that phrase, this photo came to mind. Aren't computers FUN?


DISCLAIMER: This is SATIRE. It is only SATIRE. It is NOT any kind of threat. So any of you paranoid government-types can breathe easy. I have never shot a gun. (One can never be too careful in this computer age!)

I'm on my way to setting an OLYMPIC RECORD!
...or at least a "personal best" and I'm not even an ATHLETE!

Back when I used to run, I was still big and slow. My lightest running weight was 215. So me trying to run up a hill was like a "semi-truck" going up Snoqualmie pass. Lugging all the way! I had the heart of an Olympic athlete, but the body of a couch potato. The last few years, my heart has pretty much gone the way of my body. Again, lugging all the way. Ergh.

In past years, I've watched my share of Olympic Games Coverage; I thot the ski-jumps were especially fascinating...they fly thru the air with the greatest of ease...and try all the while not to fall on their knees...(oops, got diverted there) But, this year, I'm setting a personal Olympics record. I am not watching a SINGLE event. As such, I'll not witness moments like these...

When I watched the Olympics, I used to also like the skiing "downhill" events; I remember rooting for Picabo Street, for example. But I just can't get into hockey. You know how monotonous hockey is? You don't? Well, just think of "soccer on ice" and you pretty-much get the idea.

I also never have really figured out the biathalon thing, where they ski, then pause to shoot a gun, then ski some more, and perhaps shoot again. I've always thought that skiing and shooting a gun go together like a dead skunk at an ice cream social. Maybe it would be more interesting for the skiiers to shoot WHILE they're skiing. Not at each other, of course, although that would lend a degree of suspense to the event. Sorta like when all of the skiier-assassins were pursuing James Bond during the "For Your Eyes Only" movie. That was one cool chase!

(Some) credit where credit is due dept.: The newly-redesigned Spokesman-Review appears to be getting a little better; featured in the paper this week was a multi-part article on slimeballs in the witness-protection-program who were relocated in the Lilac City. Interesting stuff. Still, there is no "Handle" section anymore; it's now called the "Northwest" section, a more general term, which actually makes sense since, instead of lots of North Idaho stories, it consists of (mostly) legislative reports from our state capital, Boise, which is further away from CDA, and harder to get to, than Olympia is from Spokane. I wonder if the paper's Idaho News dept. has been 'cut back'. Honestly, now I have to look at the competing paper, the Coeur d'Alene de-Press, because more than likely, that paper will have local stories which the S-R doesn't have. Ah, progress, eh?

A big monster with an insatiable appetite dept.: F'rinstance, one story NOT in the Spokesman, that was in the de-Press, was a big article about North Idaho College's budget shortfall. LOOK OUT STUDENTS! Look for tuition to rise AGAIN, I guess! A Spokane TV station explained it thusly: The job market in North Idaho has gotten better, so more students are working, instead of going to school. So do your part, area employers...FIRE all of your college-age employees so North Idaho College can remain solvent! Of course, the hyoooge new buildings on campus, the monstrous addition to the Student Union Building, and the tearing-down of the old dorms, to be replaced with brand-new Conrad-Hilton sized dorms, probably cost the college a little bit, too. Didn't I just read recently that the College was the recipient of some "tax funds" which had been deferred? Chomp! Chomp! Slurrrrp! Drooool! Oh yeah, and support yer local college. Rrrrright.

Another sign o'the changing tymes dept.: A little humorous "kicker" story at the end of tonite's Channel-4 nooze, concerned kids who TEXT-message on their cellphones, and end up getting all kindsa text-messaging INJURIES because they text-message a hundred times a day on the average. Huh? What? I actually had a "Cricket" cell-phone, and I could never figure out how to put someone's name in my phone. There's only 10 keys on the phone, yet there's 26 letters in the alphabet, so it didn't make sense to me. But...if you text-message SO MUCH that you get INJURED, ain't it about time to toss away the cell-phone, because it then becomes nothing more than an electronically-oriented glorified BALL AND CHAIN? And I suppose teachers can't take cell-phones away from kids in the classroom because it'll violate the little monsters' precious civil rights or something. Like I said, "changing times"!

Okay, maybe I AM a total hypocrite dept.: Earlier in this post, I took the Spokesman-Review newspaper to task because lately, it hasn't featured a whole lotta local news. So what do I then go ahead and do? I post a photo, not of the Coeur d'Alene area, but of LEWISTON (Idaho's version of Tacoma, Washington, what with them ever-present paper mill fumes).

This is an old 1950's postcard by world-famous Sandpoint photographer Ross Hall, of the old Lewiston Hill road, as it winds down from a height of some 2400 feet, down to Lewiston, which is approximately 700 feet above sea level. Some fancy time-exposure techniques were used here, although I wouldn't want to have ever driven that old winding road at NIGHT! This old road's since been bypassed by a much safer NEW road.


Well, that's it, I'm done, da-dee-da-dee, that's all folks. You see, I've been typing so much that I'm beginning to come down with computer injuries. I'd scream out, "WORKMEN'S COMP!!!" but I'm doing this for free. So, in addition to seeing a doctor, maybe I should have my head examined too?

Monday, February 20, 2006

...NO, I haven't lost my mind...bear with me here...

Gonzaga University in nearby Spokane, Washington, has become quite the national basketball power over the last few years. How about that; something from around here actually MEANING SOMETHING in terms of nationwide relevance.

So what do the people seem to be seizing upon? In spite of all the positive press the Gonzaga Bulldogs seem to generate, one thing is causing mass speculation; it is the subject of debates and analyzation, with some wondering if it's 'politically correct' or not.

Of course, dear reader, what I'm talking about is Gonzaga star Adam Morrison's feeble attempt at a moustache. Everyone's pointing at it; commenting, ridiculing, satirizing. Are we that stupid, to seize on such a trivial thing? I must ask, WHAT IS GOING ON?

But, since I don't have any clear answers, I'll go ahead and jump on the bandwagon...I might as well take a cheap shot too...

Disgusting, huh? You're right; I know no shame. Another, more informative new post lurks under this one. I think I'll go have my head examined now.

I'm not sure I'm COMFORTABLE with this...
...Am I totally out in left field here? Or, do I have a valid point?

President Bush vowed long ago (yes, it IS almost "long ago") that those responsible for the horrific disaster of "9/11" would pay for their deeds. Let's see, that would have put the focus on IRAN, right? Since that's Osama's palatial home. So what did we do? We invaded IRAQ. Huh? And we all know that some terrorist activities have been channeled through the Arab Emirates. So, what did our country, through President Bush, do? Observe...

Am I totally off-base here? An Arab corporation will soon be, if not already "are", in charge of 6 vital seaports on our country's East Coast. Does it smack of racism if there are those in our country (including me) who are just really uncomfortable with this? Or, is it the fact that almost all of the terrorist actions directed at our country spring forth from THAT PART OF THE WORLD?

In my opinion, letting the Arabs control our seaports would be almost like putting Osama Bin Laden in the Oval Office! A decision like this makes me wonder if the oil-oriented Bush Family is looking out for its welfare after the Prezzident leaves office, which can't be soon enough for me. There are a whole lot of questionable political decisions that are made every day, and this is one of them. The Arabs in charge of our seaports? Huh? What? In this age of protecting the National Security, we go and do something like this? I probably sound like an anti-Arab racist here, but I am NOT. Would we give our seaports to CASTRO? PUTIN? QADDAFI? I think not. So why are we doing this? Look, I am not the most astute world citizen ever, so if you wish to enlighten me in the comments section...please do so. Because, so far, I JUST DON'T GET IT.

At least his excuse was original dept.: I read today about U.S. Olympic skater Johnny Weir, who evidently tanked, not winning a medal of any kind. I guess he had a bad performance. But the way he rationalized it was certainly different...he said that he blames his misfortune-on-ice on a "lack of inner piece" and a "malfunctioning aura." Huh? What? Uhhh, this is the Olympics, where pressure is INHERENT; in short, yer not gonna have inner peace! You just go out and do it! I kinda think it would make a lot of sense if Mr. Weir put a "d" on the end of his last name!

:.tped gniksam sdrawkcab (Backwards masking dept.): You've heard of secret messages in music, that were recorded backwards in a song. Well, evidently, "backwards masking" is seeing a resurgence these days; I guess producers are using it as a tool to sell today's music. Okay, fine and dandy. However, if you buy a CD with "backwards stuff" on it, how are you gonna hear it? You can't play a CD backwards, after all. You can't do that with a cassette, either. With a record, you can put the turntable in neutral, rotate the platter backwards, and hear "whatever" you're trying to hear. (I suppose there are programs which will play CD audio backwards, but it's so much more simple with records.) One prime example...on the original English pressings of the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper" album, there was about 2 seconds of crowd noise recorded in the groove that goes around the label. That little tidbit was released on the 1980 U.S. "Beatles Rarities" album, too. Well, there are those who say that if you play that crowd noise backwards, someone says "%$&# me like a Superman"...so I played it backwards, and that's kinda what it sounds like, all right!

What's it all about...ALFIE? dept.: "Alfie" was a late '60s movie about a young woman coming of age, and that's a line from the movie's title song. Today, I saw 2-page ad in the newest Rolling Stone, with the logo of "Dolce & Gabbana" printed at the bottom. In the ad, two couples are sitting on the ground on opposite sides of a dank, dark alleyway. The guys are sitting against each wall, and the ladies are sitting in the laps of the guys. It looks like the guys' hands are wandering to "all kinds of strange places" on the ladies' physiques. The ladies are staring blankly at the camera, not caring where the "Roman hands and Russian fingers" are going. My question is, what is this ad selling? It can't be fashion; their clothes are ragged, torn, or otherwise not stylish at all. It can't be shaving cream; both guys are unshaven. It can't be an ad for a charm school, 'cos these kids look like they'd mug ya if they had a chance. So..."what's it all about, Alfie?" I seem to understand less and less these days. As the Bob Dylan song "My Back Pages" says, "I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now."

"We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher" dept.: That's an idiotic thing us kids would say, back when I tried to play baseball in the Pee Wee league in CDA back in the 60s. My career was dismal. I don't even wanna go there. But, the Mariners have a new pitching coach! His name is Rafael (Raphael?) Chavez. Get this...he spent his entire career, his ENTIRE career, in the MINOR LEAGUES. Which makes him perfectly qualified for the Mariners, at least the way they played last year. It could be another long season. I'll be happy if the M's do .500 this year.

Guess I'd better be like the Moody Blues and "GO NOW" dept.: Looking back thru this post, I can see that I've displayed for the entire world to see, just how ignorant I am of everything. Well, if "ignorance is bliss", why aren't I happier? A question for the ages. And I'm too tired to try and answer it now. So instead, once again, I will depict a vastly more innocent time, when life was simple, when "gay" meant 'happy' and "fruit" meant 'apples, oranges' or whatever.

I don't even know if these cabins are still keeping vigil on the shores of Hayden Lake; this postcard is from the late '40s/early '50s. Can't you imagine being here on a hot summer afternoon? Actually, being near the water is just soothing; at least I find it so. Sometimes I'll pull into the parking lot between Independence Point and the CDA Rezzort, and even in the dead of winter, well, there's just "something" about being by the lake. Maybe the constant motion of the water is indicative of life itself. Or, maybe I'm nuts. Which is possible, as all five of my faithful returning readers found out long, long ago.

Oh, by the way, before I go, I drove past the old CDA "7-11" store, which was located in a little strip-mall that burned down some time ago...and it looks like all the rubble has been cleared away, and the land has been nicely smoothed over for "whatever" is going to be there next. I can imagine that land, located at 4th and Best, will be worth a pretty penny. Location, location, location, after all!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

An exercise in DETENTE...
...and, truly, history was in the making!

Evidently, a great encounter took place fairly recently between Vice President Cheney, and Dave Oliveria, erstwhile leader of a gang of bloggers at www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo, otherwise known as "Huckleberries Online". By all accounts, Oliveria graciously turned down Cheney's offer to go quail hunting. Later, it was found that the Spokesman-Review, who employs Oliveria, doesn't include hunting accidents in its employee-insurance program.

How could I let this occasion slip by without documenting it in best commemorative style? Answer; I didn't. Here, for all to see, is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, frozen for posterity:

And you can bet that if Mr. Oliveria has after-dinner-cocktails with Prezzident Bush anytime soon, I'll be around to document that, too. Never fear!

What a lovely day for a SWIM!!!
...yep, the sun was out and it was 25 degrees outside...

...so, I went for a nice swim...INSIDE! (had ya goin' there for a moment, didn't I?) Due to the ultra-coldness we've had in our area lately, my house's plumbing system has reverted back to the pioneer days...no running water. No pipes have burst, but I've gotta wait 'til things thaw out a bit 'fore I can flip on the faucets. So, I went down to ye old health club today, to take a shower. While there, I thot, "why not try swimming a little bit"? I haven't swum yet this year; it's a psychological thing, something about developing an aversion to immersing myself in water when it's so COLD outside. But, I've been having really bad back problems lately, so swimming is all I've got left right now. Me, the basket case.

Ah, but the water was actually pretty WARM...mmmmm. I remember my old swimming days in the Coeur d'Alene YMCA, when I used to swim over 3 miles a week in the pool, and I'd cuss out the management, because they kept the water so warm (88+ degrees) for the senior citizens who recreated there. An 88+ temperature is pure hell on lap swimmers; it's like trying to run a marathon on a hot, sultry summer afternoon. Well, now, I'm closer to being a senior citizen than I used to be, and that warm pool sure felt nice. So I started swimming. OUCH! Arthritis in my right shoulder. Plus I couldn't kick because my back's in bad shape. Sheesh! I haven't even made it to the "golden years" yet!

Still...I did manage 10 laps; 10-times back and forth, that is, which amounts to about 500 yards. In addition to doing the "crawl", I also back-floated and did ye olde breast stroke, both of which were a bit easier on my ol' shoulder. I don't know what there is about exercising in the water; I always get a gentle, mild, serene buzz that lasts for a long time afterwards. So I guess I'm going to begin flopping and thrashing around in the pool like a baby seal now. Arf, Arf! And the HOT SHOWER afterwards was absolutely heavenly. At home, the hot water begins to "fade" after about 7 or 8 minutes, but the health club's hot water just kept flowing and flowing...probably good for me that the health club hasn't installed parking meters in the shower! So now I'm a clean blogger. Aren't you glad?

Ministering to my flock dept.: I've been feeding the birds lately, and in a way, I feel like I'm understanding them better. I used to hate seagulls, thinking they were no more than "rats with wings", but they catch on to the whole process fast. They'll hover overhead, I'll toss up a crumb, the seagull takes it in flight, eats it, circles back around at which time I "repeat process". I've taken a lot of pleasure watching them glide upon the air currents in the summer; somehow, I feel as if I'm paying them back. And the ducks...when it's really cold like it's been lately, it's too cold for them to even THINK about swimming. So, both the ducks and seagulls can be found laying down on the asphalt, which heats up from what little warmth the February sun can provide. I can hold a piece of bread out the car door, and the ducks will jump up and grab a bite, all the while quacking amongst themselves and shaking their tail feathers. I can tell when the ducks have had their fill; instead of leaping at a piece of bread, they'll just sit there. It seems the seagulls never get enough, though.

I pulled this picture from the "Huckleberries" website I visit, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Evidently, a goose was interrupting the photo session here. The location where the picture was taken looks a little bit like Coeur d'Alene's Independence point, although I think the photo was actually taken in the Tri-Cities area of southeastern Washington.

Maybe, if this materialistic concept progresses among our fair-feathered friends, one day a goose will walk up to someone, and extend a wing, and say, "hey, buddy, wanna buy a WATCH?" My source for this particular photo was one of the posts at www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo. Credit where credit is due.

How about a picture of somewhere else besides Coeur d'Alene dept.: It's kinda fun to pop in a picture of our area every now and then. You see, I have the attention span of a flea, so therefore it's important that I keep myself interested, or, well, I'll lose interest. (Something I hope my bank doesn't do) So anyway, I have posted a photo or two of Spokane, Washington (that town that tries to be all citi-fied, but will never quite get there), and now, I'm posting a picture of a location in POST FALLS, that little town that'll probably someday be bigger than CDA and Spokane put together. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present...

...the Post Falls Dam, back about 50 years ago. I'm no authority here, because I don't know a lot about Post Falls, but a lumber mill lurks behind the dam at "photo left". This dam is where Coeur d'Alene's lake level is maintained...maybe we could get the dam's operators to let a little more water outta the lake in the summertime so there'd be more of Sanders Beach for us all to enjoy? I'm sure the Lakeshore Drive homeowners would just LOVE that...


While reading the "huckleberries" blog this weekend, some of you who visit my blogsite here had some really nice things to say, and I want ya's to know I appreciate all of that very much. It shows that I can do something right once in a while, and that's always a satisfying feeling. Thanks again.

Friday, February 17, 2006

While I can't relate to most Olympic events, I think I'll tune in for this...

...somehow I think this is a sport Ted Nugent might like! Charlton Heston, too!

Quiet desperation under sunny skies?
...a sunny day with blue skies, but still uncomfortable...

Once, I read a joke in a joke book (a logical place to find jokes, right?), and the joke consisted of a teacher asking a student, "What is Canada's main export?", to which little Johnny replied, "COLD AIR". I'd like to take this time to inform our neighbors to the north that in spite of the fact they desired to share the coldness with us, 'Hey, you guys, you can STOP now!' After coffee today, I went down to feed the flock; I had a loaf of bread in the car. That was gone in a flash. I went and got two more loaves, and that, too, disappeared. The seagulls were their same old ravenously screeching selves, but I think I detected a certain amount of urgency with how the ducks approached me...they were literally jumping on me, ripping pieces of bread out of my hands; there was something about the "little noises" they made while eating; almost a sort-of ornothological whimper; a little bit of desperation in the flock, perhaps? Wow.

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. Here I go, feeding the birds when it gets cold, but what do I do to help my fellow man? I don't know. Maybe I've been hurt too much in my life and I can't get close to anyone, which is (probably) the case. It's been documented that people who can't handle the pressures of a "constant relationship" opt out for a pet instead. I can't even handle THAT. Last summer, I met more homeless people than ever in City Park; I wrote once about a homeless lady I met; I put her up for the night and drove her to Deer Park, Washington the next day. She was tired, wasted, and very obviously drunk. So many needy people everywhere. I know a blonde lady who frequents downtown Sherman Avenue; she lives in her CAR, and I keep wondering what's wrong with her? It takes one to know one, and I can tell without a doubt she has (at least minor, if not more severe) mental problems. And there, but for the grace of God, go I. I'm no Bible-toter, but I know beyond a DOUBT he's taken care of me over the years. He does so even now. Let's just hope it gets warmer soon.


How about some really cool music dept.: I have been aware of the group "Love" for a long time, but only recently, have I been really getting into the group's inventive, quirky and unusual style of rock and roll. Love was led by a black guy named Arthur Lee, who has the uncanny ability to sing gritty rock and roll, and then turn around and sing the sweetest ballad you ever heard. Arthur's had a weird life. He didn't want to tour worldwide in the '60s and '70s, and as such, never got really famous. He's been known for being kinda crazy, and he spent 6 years in jail on a three-strikes offense, getting out in 2002. He's written almost all of the group's repertoire, and his songs are jam-packed with strange chord changes, lush lyrical imagery and a very emotional delivery of each and every song he does. Maybe you DO have to be nuts to be a great artist. I think it helps...

This is Love's 3rd album, released in 1967, titled "Forever Changes". It is widely regarded as one of the "Lost Classic Albums". It is a delicately emotional album, with soft acoustic guitars, violins, horns, and occasionally a scorching lead guitar that snaps you back to reality. On this album, Arthur Lee sings about his own unsettled mental state, things going on around him and life's unpredictability in general. And although "Love" really didn't do a lot of "love songs", there is a ballad on this album that'll break your heart; it's called "Andmoreagain". (Weird song titles abound in Love's repertoire.) Just a perfect record. Amazing music, it really is.

You can type "Love, Arthur Lee" into Google and get thousands of websites devoted to both him and the group. For some reason, "Love" has become a widely-known favorite in Europe and England, while almost forgotten in the states. What you see here is a DVD performance of the ENTIRE "Forever Changes" album, filmed in London, in 2003. There's also some tasty bonus performances of songs from other "Love" albums, too. It is amazing to see an artist such as Arthur Lee, who's had so much craziness in his life, perform this album in front of an enthusiastic audience and be so warmly accepted. Maybe he had to go thru all of "that" to get to "this". I feel like I've been lost in the ozone for years, too. I tell ya, when I saw this concert, it brought tears to my eyes. So much inspiration in this music. So much emotion. This is one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen, and I wanted to "share".

Photo-sabotage 101 is now in session dept.: Whoa, this post has been getting waaaay too heavy, so let's end this thing with some silliness. Only, this next item may not be so much silly, as tragical in a comical sort of way. Yep, yer right, I'm talking about the guy who tries so hard to be Prezzident of this great land...

I didn't want you think I'd gone off the emotional deep end, though I MIGHT if things don't warm up soon. I did another genteel-type 'photo-satire' last night; Prezzident George Bushed here, in all of his glory. (or not)

I've heard the Vice Prezzident will not be prosecuted; it was a hunting accident, and the administration is trying to get "past this". The major question is, though, why did it take so long for Cheney's hunting accident to get reported? Enquiring minds wanna know, but probably never will.


Baby, it's cold outside, so if yer gonna be out there for any length of time, wear about 67 sweatshirts so you can avoid the chill-factor. This weather might indeed be cold enough, that if you speak, your words will freeze, so whoever you're speaking to can take the words home and thaw them to find out what you said. (An Idaho Tall Tale)

I'll probably get in tons of trouble for this...
...but sometimes, things like this just have a way of presenting themselves!

Huckleberries Online (www.spokesmanreview.com/hbo/blogs) is a "home away from home" for all of us North Idaho and Eastern Washington bloggers who don't have anything better to do. In that blog, there were two pictures, one right above the other, and, well...I don't know if it's just my weird way of seeing things or what, but I sorta "combined" the two photos...no malice intended...

How could I resist doing this? I'll probably go straight to hell for posting this, but I didn't mean to slight the importance of our fowl-feathered friends, and I most certainly didn't mean to demean the nice lady depicted here; I just saw a parallel, that's all. Actually, one of my favorite cartoon characters was "Opus" the Penguin on the old "Bloom County" comic strip, and I guess he's back in a new Sunday-only comic strip, and he's the first thing I thot of when I saw Mr. Goose here.

This next quite subversive item refers in part to a political happening in Washington, D.C., where Dick Cheney and his staff are going to work. He's had his problems lately, and he'll probably have an even more difficult time finding hunting partners in the future.

There are those political pundits who are now saying that in light of the recent quail-hunting fiasco, Dick Cheney's influence will probably lessen, while that shrill, forceful woman, Condee Rice will probably begin to have more influence in the ways of our government.

Gosh, if Condee gets any more shrill, she'll start becoming mistaken in "sound" for Hillary Clinton. Can't you just imagine them in heated debate? If that ever happens, look for mushroom clouds!

And finally, we delve into the wide world of sports, what with spring-training right around the corner. "Spring-training" is major league baseball's version of sandlot baseball, and the pre-season is long. Could THAT be why so many pitchers lose velocity towards the end of the regular season? Here we have wily, crafty left-hander Jamie Moyer, who's back for another year with some really good news he shares with a training buddy...

So this "photo-sabotage" thing is another way to blog. Hmmm...it's pretty interesting. Another new post lurks below...with an old picture of CDA's Park on a summer's day...

What grows UP...must come down...
...or, a couple more trees bite the dust in City Park!

I read today that two diseased trees got chopped down recently in CDA's City Park. Me being an old softie, I hate to see trees come down. Still, it's better than having one fall on you, I guess. Not a good thing to happen during a picnic! A large limb actually fell off an old tree back in the late '80s, injuring a picknicker in the Park. I'm surprised the bicycle cops didn't ride over and issue the tree a ticket for littering! But, I'm sure we'll all have tons and tons of Park Shade to enjoy; I'm just waiting for when it gets warm enough to spend some serious time down there. And the picture I've included here shows people doing that, only in a different age:

The trees that came down today were over 100 years old; maybe those trees were mere saplings in THIS picture, taken sometime in the early 1900's. This was from the time when City Park was known as Blackwell Park. I suppose get-togethers weren't all that different back then, but fashions sure have changed! No THONGS, for sure.

I think I'd rather have a beagle dept.: I can't remember if this was in Spokane or Coeur d'Alene, but I read a news item about a lady who was almost eaten alive by four Rottweiler-Chow dogs that she kept in her yard. Yep, not only do those barracudas with legs attack strangers, they turn on their owners, too. I usually try to stay away from a dog with a jawbone big enough to bite thru a coconut. Charlie Brown had the right idea: He had a beagle.

I'm sure glad to know how my $$$ is spent dept.: I am so comforted to know that part of my humble payment to AVISTA Utilities each month goes to fatten the wallet of its CEO; he gets over 2 and a half million dollars a year in salary, bonuses and stock grants (translation: Money, Money, and More Money). We should all pay our bills with supreme dedication, because we sure wouldn't want him to fall off the Forbes most-rich-list; what kind of legacy for us taxpayers would that be? Do your duty. Make the fat cats fatter. Meow.

So, how is this gonna affect our state? dept.: In Washington State, taxpayers shelled out 12 million dollars last year so that Wal-Mart employees could collect Medicaid benefits. As in the above "Avista" article, it's the taxpayers' duty to pay taxes for causes like this, so that the Wal-Mart profits worldwide can increase, increase, and increase some more. I think Wal-Mart probably has a few fatcats running around, and as you know, fatcats have big appetites. Soon, Idaho will too be paying more mega-bucks for the privilege (?) of having more Wal-Marts. Get ready, Idaho taxpayers; even if you don't SHOP at Wal-Mart, you still may end up paying in part for the stores' existence here in the Gem State. Isn't that cool? Spend money at Wal-Mart without leaving your house. Just pay your taxes, and smile, because you've done your part.

A couple more stories I can do without dept.: Vice President Dick Cheney is not going to face any charges for using his hunting buddy for target practice. That's fine with me. Cheney is a sleazy slimeball, and I just don't want to hear about him anymore. Another sleazy slimeball, ex-Spokane Mayor Jim West isn't going to face federal prosecution for diddling his fingers (and who knows what else) while online, seeking "qualified and eager" job applicants, offering them the sun, moon, stars (and who knows what else). I have a bad enough attitude towards government, whether it be local, state or nationwide, without hearing about these two utterly DEPLORABLE people.

Maybe it's time for these guys to go dept.: It's unclear when, or even if, Barry Bonds will show up for spring training. He hasn't yet showed up at the San Francisco Giants training camp. Also, it's suspected that Sammy Sosa will retire this year, rather than face another lackluster year like last year. Of course, what these guys have in common is excruciating scrutiny; both players are built like comic-book superheroes, and the suspicion is, that didn't exactly come from eating WHEATIES, for cryin' our loud. But...on the bright side...baseball...and SPRING...draw ever closer, so I'll bite the bullet and do my best to endure the little cold snap we're having.

Maybe it's time for HER to go dept.: I just heard that Senator Hillary Clinton's figure is the latest addition to Madame Tussaud's wax museum in merrie olde London, England. I think there are a lot of politicians (and voters) who would just as soon see Hillary HERSELF put in the wax museum, and her wax-dummy image can stand in, in Congress. One positive effect, she wouldn't "put her foot in her mouth" quite as much...and to quote Hillary, "This (blog) is run like a plantation...YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN". Right on, sister! NOT!

And that there's the end of this post. I got started late on it. More important things to do! The AMC Channel showed a coupla James Bond movies tonite, so I videotaped them. Over 4 hours of movies; I feel like I chopped out about 400 obnoxious commercials in the process. That's tiring!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Marketable Skill...or Not(?)
...or, still more exercises in utter foolishness!

In a comment on the posting immediately below this one, a guy named "Phil", who posts on Huckleberries online (www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo) and oftentimes sends me really weird and strange CD's, commented that he thot I did a fair job of something called "photo satire". I must admit that every now and then, when I read a public newspaper in a coffeeshop or wherever, I'll draw little "speech balloons" on the photos, that have the effect of having politicians or whoever saying all kinds of weird things. So, I seem to have transferred that "exercise in futility" to computer photos, with the application of "PhotoExpress 7.0". Cyber-Graffiti! How about that. Anyway, Phil has a photo-blog somewhere on the 'net', and he encouraged me to deface one of the photos he took. Okay, Phil, you asked for it...

This might be one of Phil's kids, I don't know. In which case, PHIL, I apologize now. It's all in good fun, rrrright? So anyway, a couple more newer, but irrelevant and relatively psychotic posts lurk under this one...

The Sunshine is great, but we're paying for it at night...

So, how nice has it been outside lately? How about temperatures in the upper '30s' and lower '40s' with sunshine for quite a few days. Suntan weather, almost! So nice, in fact, that the KROKUS is a-bloomin'. However, it's still winter as this photo shows:

This is another Spokesman-Review photo that I defaced. Aren't computers fun? But, this cold weather reminds me of a story: once, back in the '80s, the place where I worked gave me a huge frozen Thanksgiving Turkey. As you know, I don't cook; I can't boil water. Well, we were in the midst of a cold snap. The turkey was TOO BIG for my freezer. So, for about a week, the turkey sat out in my car, and remained totally frozen until I found an agency I could donate it to!

Another 'new' post lurks below. So, if you've got some time to waste, ya might as well read it...

...or, sometimes, "less is more", but mostly, "less is just...less"...

One of the nicest little pleasures in my life is to have a cup of coffee and hunker down with a newspaper. Every day without fail, a fresh crop of stories designed to inform and enlighten readers; I'm always wondering, "what will be in today's paper", and after reading the paper, I feel like I've got an "inside track" on 'what's happening'. Or, at least, that's the way I WANT to feel after reading the paper.

My main source of newspaper info, the Spokesman-Review, recently underwent a design change. The paper is narrower (in appearance, if not in outlook), and new, rather strange typestyles are being utilized. One of that paper's editors said the paper now specializes in shorter, briefer stories for those "on the go" who don't have time to absorb longer, more detailed stories. In a way, that might be good, that way, one isn't bogged down with all the details. But, if you're in a mood to really explore an issue, well, sorry, what you see is what you get! Let me remind you, the paper I read was a WEDNESDAY issue, not a smallish 'Monday' issue, where, understandably, there might not be a lot of news available.

In that paper's "Idaho" section today, there were no specific articles about Coeur d'Alene, or indeed, Kootenai county, unless you count the article about the ASSESSOR running again. Ha! The Kootenai County Assessor is about as popular as the "Parking Nazi" in his little tin cart, so who gives a rip about that? There were articles about Idaho, but most of those were "legislative" reports that anyone can get from Associated Press or wherever. I used to read the S-R almost exclusively; I can't do that anymore. There is a better chance, now, that the Coeur d'Alene Press, that bastion of fractured journalism, will print stuff that's not in the S-R. And that...is sad.

What's wrong with this picture? dept.: It could be that my life is so dull nowadays, that I notice every little thing. It could also be, that I am such a Neanderthal, that I just don't understand a lot of things people do these days. Okay, I accept that. But, while trying to read what little news is in the newspaper these days, I looked up briefly, and saw a man and woman sitting at a small table in the coffee shop, and each was having separate cell-phone conversations with someone else while sitting together. Huh? What? Is life really that complicated, that you can't afford to put away the damn phone for a few minutes? So that kinda hit me wrong, but maybe it's just me. I don't know...

It's a good thing I waited dept.: I've seen gas rise, and I've seen gas fall. Then, I've seen gas rise some more, and I've seen it fall again. And so on, and so forth. Well, I've been needing to put gas in the tank for a couple of days now. I noticed that gas prices were falling again, though. It had fallen to about $2.20, then to $2.14...I don't know, maybe you need the prognosticating abilities of a stockbroker so you can accurately "speculate" when to buy gas. Anyway, I waited "one more day", and got gas today, and it had fallen to $2.09, so I guess I did good! Of course, with my luck, tomorrow it'll drop another ten cents, right?

A $340,000 drop in the bucket dept.: That's the amount that the Coeur d'Alene School district got from the Idaho State Lottery. Initially, I wondered, "wow, $340,000 dollars, and still the school levies keep coming and coming". Then, the more "rational" side of me realized that when it comes to our ever-ravenous education system, $340,000 would be spent faster than I could part with $20 at yer average sleaze-mart. It makes me think, though, that even though the School District may "need" the money from levies, don't worry, without the levies, there's still money coming in from all directions. Just not as much.

Turning over a new Leaf dept.: He had tremendous natural ability. He was a born leader. He could have been something really special. And he blew it, big time. I'm talking about washout quarterback Ryan Leaf, and the way he quarterbacked the Washington State Cougars was something to behold. Problem is, underneath that tremendous ability, he was a spoiled brat. Had he conducted himself with even a smattering of diplomacy, he'd be right in there with Peyton Manning and many other of today's fine quarterbacks. Hah! Leaf was as ineffective, if not more, as the San Diego Chargers' starting QB as Brian Bosworth, the "mighty-mouse on steroids" was with the Seattle Seahawks. Anyway, Ryan is now the QB coach at Texas A&M. Things could be worse, I guess. It's a good thing Leaf won't be teaching "football player etiquette" anytime soon.

Let's hope this thing just DIES dept.: I read today that a bill that proposed a 75mph speed limit for semi-trucks in Idaho has been withdrawn, for now, anyway. GOOD. Half the time, those damn big rigs try to blow me off the highway when I try to enter. The last thing I need is a big rig, who won't get into the other lane for me, doing 75 when I'm still trying to get my car up to speed. I have a fairly powerful car, but I'm sorry, there isn't an on-ramp long enough for me to hit 75 by the time I'm entering the freeway! I think on-ramps are one of the most dangerous features of the interstate highway system. Why can't the NATION impose a 65 mile-an-hour speed limit for cars and trucks and be DONE with it?

I don't think we're done yet with winter dept.: You can tell the weather-people are just rubbing their hands together while smacking their lips..."oh boy, some REALLY SEVERE winter weather is coming our way, with a whole bunch of DANGEROUSLY LOW temperatures which could set ALL KINDS of MISERABLE winter LOW TEMPERATURE records!!!" Chris Crocker must be in absolute HEAVEN these days. Ack!!! Well, go ahead, Mother Nature, give it your best shot!!! Winter's almost over, so go ahead, MAKE MY DAY! You'll be gone soon; March isn't all that far away. Hit me with your BEST SHOT! (psst...don't say that to Dick Cheney!) In the meantime, you can gaze at this old picture of a warmer day on Coeur d'Alene Lake...

This is an old "linen postcard" obviously drawn from an old black and white photo, and it shows the "point" on the southwest corner of Tubbs Hill. The Ebay merchant who's selling this card says, "it sure doesn't look that way now"; after all, this card is about 50 years old. The thing is, this area STILL looks like this. (Although if the City hadn't bought Tubbs Hill years ago, it wouldn't...you'd probably be seeing a 13-story CONDO on the "point" instead!)

Before I go, a bit of cautionary advice: If you haven't thought about it, it might behoove you to let the proverbial "pencil stream" of water flow from your faucets so your pipes don't burst. Especially since plumbers charge almost as much as brain surgeons these days!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sometimes we're just our own worst enemies, aren't we?
A-Huntin' we will go, A-Huntin' we will go...

In a way, you've gotta feel sorry for Dick Cheney. Our Vice President isn't a criminal (well, he ISN'T, is he?)...he's been made fun of because his heart can basically explode at any moment, and although he's probably nice enough and cordial enough, he doesn't appear to have a whole lot of admirers. Don Imus ("Imus in the morning") calls Cheney a "fat crook". (Of course, he also calls Prezzident Bushed "B-B Brain"...) And now the Veep could conceivably be in some hot water. The guy he (accidentally) shot during last weekend's "quail expedition" has had a piece of Cheney's buckshot lodge in his heart, (slightly) worsening his condition. Gosh...that's pretty close to manslaughter...Ack! Can't you just hear the Cheney jokes now? "Why did Cheney blast his hunting buddy? Because he wanted to prove that he is a big shot!" " How is a Cheney hunting expedition similar to the War in Iraq? Well, we didn't go after Bin Laden for 9-11; we chose Saddam Hussein and Iran, a more visible target. Conversely, on a hunting trip, if Cheney can't shoot something, he'll shoot something ELSE!" (okay, that's a long punch line, but you get the idea)

Can't you just see the satirical bumper stickers everywhere: "9 out of 10 outdoor sportsmen agree that hunting with the Vice President is a real BLAST!" "Dick Cheney's political skills will absolutely BLOW YOU AWAY!" "Dick Cheney...the DECISIVE Vice President...unafraid to set his sights and pull the trigger!" All I know is, if I ever encountered the Vice President in a hallway somewhere and he yelled at me, "GIT OUTTA MY WAY", you bet I would! And, for certain, everyone is gonna have fun with this Cheney Shooting Incident on the internet. Posting all kinds of silly pictures; sinking to new lows of cyber-debauchery. To wit...

My guitar-playing buddy, who puts up with all of the bad notes I am constantly hitting at out-of-control jam sessions where all kinds of individuals with no sense of rhythm or melody try to play in vain, sent me this picture, and this is typical of the stuff we're gonna be seeing here on the internet. I suppose, the subtext of this photo can be translated as, "if you are Dan QUAYLE and you have coffee with Vice President Cheney, you're in no danger of being shot should you make him mad at you!" Mr. Cheney, look at the bright side! At least your heart didn't rupture when you realized that you'd actually shot your hunting buddy!

So anyway, my friend threw down the gauntlet. By sending me that doctored "quail photo", he in effect challenged me to retaliate with something halfway intelligent. But actually, HE is to blame for all of this, because he's the one who showed me how to subvert photos, thus providing me with yet another way to mock everything around me. I put this photo together, and it combines my ever-present paranoia with a satirical depiction of people who are so gun-happy they can't wait to blow the smithereens outta anything that's moving (or not).

And, to show you how relentlessly obtuse I am, I took an innocent photo of two sweet little girls upside down, swinging from a playground bar, and flipped it over, using it for my own subversive purposes. And, there's a little bit of paranoia tossed in for good measure. I suppose one could venture that, here we are, in this technocratic age, blessed with the intricacies of computer transmission, and what do we do with all of that? Stuff like you've seen on this post.

When you think that I probably have 30 times the technical features inside my little desktop computer than NASA had during the Apollo 11 mission, well, we've come a long way, baby! Or have we? And yet I look back 10 or 15 years ago, and I wonder, how did I ever get along without a computer? I mean, I must have done "something"! I know what my Dad would say about all of this: "Pure foolishness! A total waste of time!"

I'm always searching for new ways to blog. Now, I've got picture-defacing capabilities! Pictures are worth a thousand words? Well, I'll just go ahead and put words on em! That smacks of cyber-overkill! Yep...I resemble that...

(Another photo I couldn't resist tampering with...)
"One Sunny Afternoon whilst
Driving Down a Local Thoroughfare"...

Gasoline prices have dipped back down a bit lately, haven't they? The Exxon Station up by I-90 on 3rd Street was selling the stuff for $2.14 a gallon. Not baad, all things considered. However, I've seen news reports that take into account the relative downturn in gas prices, citing that, after all, this is not the "peak season" for gasoline consumption. Which means, dear motorist, take care against being lulled into a false sense of security...when the weather gits better, gas prices are goin' back up. How much? Who knows...but let's hope it doesn't get THIS bad...

I must admit that I stole this photo from "Huckleberries Online" (www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo); my humble apologies to Mr. Granati, who took this picture. DON'T LEAVE THIS BLOG YET! My next posting contains my NEW DESIGN for the NEW IDAHO LICENSE PLATE!

The great IDAHO License Plate Controversy!

There's been a lot of noise made lately that our great State of Idaho should cease using the eternally timeless slogan, "famous potatoes" on LICENSE PLATES. I say, "phooey to that!" If you live in Idaho, potatoes, whether you know it or not, are your heritage! It's bad enough that no one in the contiguous 48 states even knows where Idaho IS...when I attended the University of (you guessed it) IDAHO, I found that many of the out-of-state college transfers originally thot Idaho was near Michigan or Ohio, obviously confusing our (very) humble state with Iowa or Indiana. We can't have that; we must EDUCATE those potato-state-ignorant folks! When you tell them about Idaho POTATOES, they realize, "oh, Idaho must be out WEST somewhere". That way, at least they've got the REGION of our country right, if not the exact location of our state. And, that's a start.

Also, without POTATOES, what do we have? The timber industry in this state has basically bitten the dust, what with lumber mills closing left and right and "spotted owl" freaks trying to shut down what's left of our timber-harvesting industry. So Idaho can't wrap its identity around a pile of logs anymore. And, what about mining, our other big industry? Yeah, rrrright, what with metals prices down, EPA sanctions everywhere, and those miners who are still mining thinking maybe they oughta do something else, after hearing about the tragic news of those coal miners trapped underground back east...face it, our MINING industry isn't what it once was. So we won't be known for that anymore, either.

So what's left? POTATOES, that's what's left. Face it, farmers in Idaho will be growing spuds until the next Ice Age. And even if we North Idahoans never see an Idaho potato, well, at least they're grown in our state, so we can cling to that. So I say, fellow Idahoans, let's not tamper with our identity. Instead, let's EMBRACE OUR HERITAGE, fall on our knees, and defend our rights to keep our state's collective identity intact. Rather than remove any reference to potatoes on our license plates, I say, WE SHOULD STRUT OUR STUFF!!! POTATOES FOREVER!!! With that in mind, I humbly submit MY new Idaho License Plate design...

Imagine this baby, baked, split wide-open with melted butter, chives, tons of sour cream and maybe some bacon bits scattered on top...folks, THIS IS WHAT WE ARE! A bunch of SPUDS! It's time we owned up to our humble yet durable mascot...the mighty POTATO. I'd pay for a plate like this!

Another new post lurks below. It's almost as dumb as this one was.

Monday, February 13, 2006

...but, I FORGOT where I PUT IT!!!

Hmmm...pretty blatant blogpost title there, huh? Thing is, I had made all kinds of notes about what I was gonna post today. Me, with pen in hand, reading the newspaper, jotting down all kindsa stuff that I was gonna comment on. And when I got home, the pocket I thot I'd put my notes in was empty. So now I hafta type from memory. I think my one working brain cell's gonna get a workout, for sure.

How to "fake it" thru a blog posting dept.: Rule #1: Don't let 'em see you sweat. Rule #2: When there's a lack of information, shove a picture in there, that'll keep 'em fooled. So, that's what I've done here...

Here's a rather bizarre-looking 1948 photo of Templins' Restaurant in downtown CDA, located near 1st and Sherman on the south side of the street, near where that clock tower, with the ultra-annoying off-key chimes is located. I had to "black out" some of the photo, near where the upper windows are, because again, the Ebay merchant who was selling this photo, put annoying yellow type on the picture. But, this is such a dark photo, that my "blacking out" didn't really affect the image all that much. How about all of those old 1940's automobiles parked outside there? On the front of the building, you can see a sign, in the shape of a "chef". I don't remember that sign being there, whenever I saw the building in the '60s or '70s, so that must have been a feature of 'older' times. A bit of history there.

I guess we can go ahead and do it now dept.: There are those who say that Prezzident Dubya Bushed oughta be impeached because of his terrible handling of the war, terrible response to the Hurricane Katrina situation, alleged non-approved telephone spying and various other things. I had thot, "no, don't do that! If Bush gets impeached, we'll be stuck with Dick Cheney, the veep, as our (fearless or not) leader!" Well, you've all heard about Cheney's hunting accident over the weekend. He accidently SHOT one of his hunting buddies (or maybe someone he didn't like all that much)...after all, who wants a gun-toting maniac in the White House, other than Charlton Heston and the NRA?) and instead, pick someone from Congress who can do as good a job as Bush. Such as the guy who sweeps the floors after Congress locks up for the night.

I don't think they actually "settle" dept.: I guess that so far, the press is really disappointed with the fact that in the Winter Olympix so far, the U.S. hasn't won a heck of a lot of Gold medals. Oh boy! More BAD NEWS to sensationalize! DROOL!!! And, when an athlete, who has trained years and years and made countless sacrifices to get to where he/she is, DOESN'T win a Gold Medal, but they finish "2nd", what does the press say? That the athlete has had to "SETTLE" for a silver medal! "SETTLE"? That makes it sound like a silver medal is some sort of cheap consolation prize. Like, it's "not enough", like somehow the athlete owes the country more than just a Silver Medal. Out of all the athletes in the world, what percentage get to go to the Olympics, much less win a medal of any kind? I never "won" a marathon, but I have 11 "Marathon FINISHER" medals. I'm proud of those! And, a "Silver" medal should be something to be PROUD of. Whenever I read that an Olympic Athlete "settled for silver", it just makes my blood boil!

Does anyone really care about these kinds of games dept.: I guess the "Pro Bowl" football game was held in Hawaii this weekend. How does one end up rooting for one team or the other, seeing as how each squad features athletes from several different teams? I've watched a few of these games in the past; they're more like "football players' conventions" where members play an obligatory quarter or so of football, and then just kinda goof around the rest of the time. Does anyone care who wins? Unless there's some monetary incentive, do the players themselves care who wins? I would tend to think that there's more genuine action in yer average televised poker tournament than in the "Pro bowl"! I would daresay that CURLING (that really weird foreign version of ice-oriented shuffleboard) is more exciting! Which, brings up an ironic point: "Curling" is an Olympic sport, and Football...isn't.

The great Coeur d'Alene Lake mystery photo! dept.: I get a lot of my photos from postcard merchants on Ebay, and there's a lot of Coeur d'Alene memorabilia scattered around the world, I'm finding out. Of course, a merchant from far, far away isn't necessarily gonna know a lot about our locale...to wit...

...the Ebay merchant who had this postcard photo for sale only specified that it was a photo of Lake Coeur d'Alene; okay, well, he's probably correct, as far as he went. But where would this be on Lake Coeur d'Alene? I have absolutely no idea. Although, I sure would like to own that cabin you can see in the upper center; it looks placid, peaceful, and tranquil. It was probably worth about $10,000 back in the '50s, which means it's probably worth 25 gazillion-dollars today, what with the way property taxes have been going up for lake properties. (Social comment, there!) If you know where this property is/was located, lemme know. We can all share the knowledge, if not the wealth.

As I reflect upon this post, I can't help but think that someone, somewhere, has found the notes I made for today's post, and they're thinking, "what the HECK is this all about?" What you've seen here is "some" of what I made notes about. The rest is pure ad-lib...as is painfully obvious.