Monday, July 31, 2006

Acrobats of the air...
Why would anyone want to hurt them?

Today in City Park, there was a gentleman sitting on one of the benches near the seawall who was feeding the seagulls. The gulls normally keep as far away from people as they can, but in this case, there were dozens perched on the seawall; after all, there were pieces of bread on top of the wall as well as on the concrete in front of the seawall. Other gulls were exploring the beach in that general area. Also in that general area, three teenage boys were swimming and goofing around in the water. They came up onto the sand and began throwing sand at the seagulls. Chalk it up to that old "peer pressure mentality", I guess. One of them picked up a big rock, heaved it at one of the seagulls and HIT IT. The gull, dazed, went down to the shoreline and just sat motionless on the beach, stunned. The boys then went up to that seagull, which somehow managed to recover, and it flew away. That bird could be hurt bad. Or not.

I took great offense at seeing all of this happen virtually in front of me. I've been feeding the birds off and on since last winter, when I took pity on them because it was so doggone cold outside. I used to hate the seagulls because they would squawk, beg, and peck each other into oblivion over a crust of bread. When I started feeding them, though, I began feeling differently about them. They have spirit, and they have their own personalities. And, they're just animals trying to survive. And, in some cases, they turn into "acrobats of the air"; some gulls have torn wings, or injuries to their feet or legs, but they carry on. I tend to favor the disabled seagulls, but when I feed them, I try to make sure that "everybody gets a little bit".

One gull, who only has a single leg, came up with a new system for getting food. This gull would fly around in circles, and I'd toss some bread up to it as it flew above me. The bird would then eat the bread while flying around in another circle, so I could toss it some more bread again. It was hard for that seagull to compete in the bird world, so it got resourceful and found another way to get food. Another seagull had two legs, but one leg had no foot. I would try to make sure that gull got its share of food. And, that one-footed gull was a fierce competitor, standing its own ground amidst all of the other gulls. Maybe that's a good lesson for all of us; despite our various infirmities, we can still try to hang in there and exist the best we can. Imagine, learning from them (expletive deleted) seagulls!

My first reflex was to scream and yell at these young guys who'd thrown sand and rocks at the birds. But all of a sudden, I went back to a time in my youth, and a memory presented itself. I had just gotten a BB-rifle, and I was a pretty good shot. I'd get a ping-pong ball, toss it out in the yard, and most of the time, I could hit that ball from 20 or 30 feet away. At the time, our family lived in an area that was mostly "woods", in the north part of our town. I took my BB rifle into those woods, and decided I'd become the "mighty hunter". I saw a robin perched way up high in one of the trees (I can see it as I write this), and I took aim and shot that robin in the chest. It keeled over and fell to the ground. Right then and there, I felt really bad that I'd done it. I have since never touched any kind of gun (Well, squirt guns, yeah, but you know what I mean).

And like these young guys who were strutting their stuff on the beach, terrorizing the poor defenseless seagulls, I, too, was "young and dumb". And if I'd yelled at those guys, I would have been a hypocrite. So I didn't do anything. I do hope that those young guys have learned a hard-earned lesson, and feel so bad that they won't do that anymore. It's been said that young boys who terrorize animals more often than not grow up to be abusive to wives, girlfriends and children. Well, I've never done any of that. I felt guilty after I shot that bird long ago. And I just can't bear the thought of doing or saying something that would hurt anyone. So maybe it worked out for me, and maybe things will work out for these young guys too.

If I see a gang of males together, I tend to shy away; "gang mentality" exists in all forms, shapes, and situations, after all. If there's a girl or two with the guys, it's amazing how much better-behaved the guys are. Once when I used to be a runner, one summers' evening, three young men in a car approached me from behind as I ran up a street, and one of them leaned out the window and soaked me with one of those machine-gun squirt guns. I thought, "wow, if that had been a real gun, those guys would've killed me." That was about 7 or 8 years ago. Are those guys well-behaved now, or did they get into trouble for some crime? I can see, now that I'm older, how vulnerable "old folks" feel whenever rowdy teenagers carry on, making all sorts of noises and rude gestures.

Sometimes I think the whole world's going to hell, but then I'll meet some nice young person, and that restores my faith in the human race. Not long ago, one longhaired boy, probably about 16, came over to listen to me playing guitar in the park, and we got to talking about a lot of things. He told me about how his parents had split up and how much he'd been bullied when he was younger (he was small with a slight build), and that reminded me of when I got bullied back in the 60's when I went to Borah Elementary here in CDA. I had the "gang experience" right here in this town, long ago. Those were dark days, and I'm sure I came close to having nervous breakdowns at age 12...waaay too young for that. To compound my fears, my parents expected me to fight everybody. I've been in 3 fights in my life and have lost them all. So I knew what this young man was talking about and shared that with him. Just talking about something can make a person feel better, and my hope is this young man felt a little better after talking to me.

We tend to look back on our lives, and wish we'd had better judgment when we were younger, but the problem is, kids don't have the judgment that adults (well, most adults) have, therefore, they do dumb, stupid things and get into trouble. Maybe there's just a fine line between us out here in the free world, and those in prison. Most crimes result from bad choices; some result from impulses that the person couldn't control. When I drove cab, I used to take jail inmates from their job, back up to the Kootenai County work-release facility. They made bad choices and got into a bad situation. The crime didn't make them bad, necessarily; they just did a bad thing. I had parents who were WAAAAY too restrictive, and I railed against their authority. But now I'm grateful I grew up like that. I am 52, and have not spent one MINUTE, not one SECOND, in jail. I have never been in ANY trouble. But we all learn in different ways. Sometimes people have to learn things "the hard way", and if they can learn from going to jail, fine. We all take different ways of getting through life, after all.

It's amazing, at 52, how little I know about things. Or maybe I know more than I think I do, but one fact remains: it seems that almost every day, I end up changing my outlook on something. I'm trying to understand why people are the way they are, why I'm the way I am, and why things are the way they are. That can be, and is, difficult in a world that is changing so fast. That's the price we pay for being alive. Learning how to cope with it all is a challenge, every single day. In that regard, I can only hope that life isn't as difficult as I make it out to be. But sometimes I wonder. Billy Joel once sang, "the good old days weren't always good, tomorrow's not as bad as it seems" (in his song "Keeping the Faith"), and so I keep living. What's the point of all of this, you ask after having read these multitudinous paragraphs? I guess I just needed to get all this out of my system. How about that..."computer therapy". Whod've thot?

You know how, sometimes your computer slows down and doesn't work out right, so you have to "defrag" it? From the looks of this post, I think that's what I've done...I've "defragged" my brain.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Good, but not Good ENOUGH!
...or, it looks like high gas prices are here to stay...

I read something in the newspaper today that made me think "huh? what?" I guess I think that quite a bit, don't I? And I went back and read the article again. And again. Even in this crazy day and age, I couldn't believe what I'd read. Have you ever done a really great job on something, and exhausted yourself in the process only to have your supervisor say, "well, it's okaaay, I guess, but do better next time, OKAY???" That's a pretty lousy feeling. And, I imagine this is the way the overpaid fatcat executives at Chevron must be feeling these days...

The article I read said that Chevron recently posted the "largest 3-month profits in (its) history", but yet Wall Street was disappointed because it expected Chevron's profits to be MORE than they were. In short, a RECORD PROFIT was not good enough for Wall Street! Evidently Chevron's price-per-share wasn't high enough for those in the financial community. This, at a time when the lowest gas prices in this area are $2.85.9 a gallon. It's no wonder that gas station is right next to a car-title-loans business. High gas prices will necessitate that there'll come a day when you surrender your car's title, in order to get a LOAN so you can buy GAS for it.

So, making money isn't good enough; record profits are needed. It's not like any of the big oil companies are going bankrupt. In the meantime, Joe Bluecollar and his family and friends are having to think twice about filling up the tank because they're worried there won't be enough money left over for groceries. I have not completely filled my tank for over a year now. I just drive less. Each time I grudgingly get gas, I fork over a $20 dollar bill and NO MORE. Could it be that conserving gas is actually COSTING us? Because the less we buy, the more they jack up the price in order to get record profits? Now, THAT sounds crazy! Or does it? Whatever the case, when its made known that record PROFITS aren't enough, I don't see gas going down anytime soon.

Midtown evidently ain't what it used to be dept.: When I was growing up in Coeur d'Alene, oftentimes my Mom and I would go to the Salvation Army store in Midtown. Now, that building houses an antiques business. We also banked at the old Idaho First National Bank, in the building that houses "Pawn 1", near the 4th Street Safeway. But, back then, "Midtown" was considered to begin at (roughly) Foster Avenue and end at Harrison Avenue. Nowadays, it's said that "Midtown" extends all the way up to Interstate 90. I can't believe that! The aesthetics of the area north of Harrison Avenue have absolutely nothing in common with the area south of Harrison. So it just kinda throws me when people refer to Midtown as extending a good mile further north than I'm accustomed to. And the City of CDA is looking for a developer to build a multi-story in Midtown. So where would that be built? In the "800" block of north 4th. Smack-dab in the middle of what I consider to be, "Midtown".

Sheer Irony dept.: Evidently multi-zillionaire actor Mel Gibson was recently arrested for driving under the influence. Well, he and everyone else has been advised of the dangers of drunk driving. I think ol' Mel's smart enough to know that a drunk driver can turn a car into a "Lethal Weapon" (which, of course, is the title of a SERIES, not just one, movie(s) that he's done).

They're right on track dept.: I've posted before that I believe the Seattle Mariners will achieve no more than a .500 winning percentage this year. Well, they actually did reach .500, only to lose a few more games. But they're adding new people; they've got a great new relief pitcher and a new designated hitter, and Eddie Guardado, who "used" to save games "every day", is long gone. Carl Everett, the former DH, has been "designated for assignment" (a nice way of saying, "put out to pasture"). With these additions, the M's may yet make some headway. However, there are under 100 games left in the season now, and the M's are still "just shy" of .500. I don't really mind; I enjoy listening to baseball games, and the voices of Rick Rizzs and Dave Niehaus are an enjoyable part of my summer. Although Rizzs would be better if he quit trying to snow us all with facts and observations 100% of the time, which is also something Bob Costas does. Niehaus just lets the games flow. He's much more relaxing to listen to. And his grand-slam home run calls are something else..."get out the rye bread and mustard Grandma, 'cos it's GRAND SALOME TIME!!!"

Great tunes heard whilst coffee-drinking dept.: I hated to leave the coffee shop today, 'cos there was so much good music (well, music I think is good) pouring forth from the speakers. Get a load of this lineup: "Pinball Wizard" by The Who, "Junior's Farm" by Paul McCartney and Wings, "Question" by the Moody Blues, "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones, and even though he sounds like he sings with marbles in his mouth, ol' Bruce Springsteen sounded pretty good on the song, "Pink Cadillac".


A bit of temperature relief this weekend; Coeur d'Alene wasn't the temporary Hell on Earth that it was last weekend. Last Sunday, I was afraid that my brain was gonna melt. Which probably wouldn't faze me too much, since it's already SCRAMBLED.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just when I thot I knew EVERYTHING...
...I found out I didn't. It happens all the time!

This here ultra-weirdo blogsite has become known for picturing historical (hysterical?) pictures of our area. Well, most of the photos that come my way anymore, are photos I'd posted previously here. The last thing this unreadable port of linguistical hyperextension needs is to start airing RERUNS! So anyway, I received a picture of a motel I'd pictured before, but this time around it has a different name, one that I don't remember, in spite of the fact that I've been around Coeur d'Alene since the Eisenhower Presidency. Ol' Dwight. And without further adieu, here 'tis...

Ladies and Germs, may I present the KING COLE MOTEL. No, I don't know if the owner was a merry old soul. The pond you see in front is still there today, but the building is long gone, a figment of my ever-depleting mind; the road that used to access the overpriced Rezzort Golf Course runs behind the motel; that's how you used to get to the Potlatch Mill way back when. If you look closely at the front lawn, you can see the words "King Cole" actually mowed deeply into the grass. I think this foto was taken back in the '50s, but I am not absolutely sure. Anyway, I'm always on the lookout for more "history" but not a lot of it's come my way lately. I do what I can.

I wonder how much motel rooms cost back then. I remember Motel-6 used to charge $8.95 a room. Then $10.95. Now in most locations, you barely get into Motel 6 for anything under $40. At last check, the Haggadone suite in the overpriced Rezzort was something like $5,000 a night? For that price, I'd BETTER get a good night's sleep!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Nothing much to blog...and it shows...
Hey, at least I'm honest about it!

I get most of my photos from the "Huckleberries Online" website. At that site, they'll post weird photos and we're all supposed to comment on them. The winning comments are then posted on the main page for all to see. Thing is, I'm a slow thinker. I often think of my great ideas long after the contest is over. Better then, for me to do the 'photo-satire' thing. Not in THIS case, perhaps, but you know what I mean...anyway, I've had this photo for a while, and I was never sure what to do with it. So I got "painfully obvious" with it, and here 'tis...

You, too, can see similarly wacky fotos at, that wacky place on the internet. That's where us blog hoodlums hang out. So ya might wanna watch yer back.

Is it me, or do they look strange dept.: This last weekend was just ultra-hot around here. When I'm in the park, I get a charge out of seeing the seagulls play upon the wind. Say what you want about them, but they are very graceful. Except for this last hot weekend. They'd just stand there on the beach in the hot sun with their mouths open. I guess they "pant", probably like dogs. And, when they were flying, a lot of them had their legs hanging down in mid-flight, as if the heat robbed them of the energy to tuck their legs close to their body. They all just looked tattered, somehow. Which was how I felt in the 100+ degree heat. Hmmm...that would be a great name for a punk-rock band: "Tattered Seagulls".

Maybe it's an anti-loitering thing? dept.: The benches up near the Sea Wall in the City Park are becoming increasingly uncomfortable to sit on. Could this be a sinister plan to prevent deadbeats such as me from hanging around the park too long? Could it be I'm just paranoid? Either way, it's possible, but lemme 'splain: Each bench features two boards on the back, and two boards that you sit down on. Well, on most of the benches, while ONE "bottom board" is straight, the other "bottom board" sags, so what you're sitting on is basically two boards at two different levels, and that's enough to give you deluxe hemorrhoids. (To paraphrase Steve Martin, "blogging...ain't pretty"!) Might be something for our illustrious park crew to work on if they can't find anything else to do...

Now I know why they call 'em gut-bombs dept.: I got hungry for a cheeseburger the other night. Sometimes there's nothing as satisfying as a big hot n' sloppy greasy cheeseburger. So I went up to Jack In The Box and ordered their "ultimate cheeseburger" from the drive-thru and salivated all the way home waiting to bite into the thing. So I did get home and I did bite the burger, tasted like "something"; but it was just kinda dry, the cheese was dry, the catsup (ketchup?) seemed to be dryly baked into the meat, and if there was grease in there, it, too, solidified. That was three days ago, and I'm sure that burger is still banging away inside my digestive tract somewhere. Had the Gov't Way bridge not been out, I woulda gone to "Carl's Jr."...they make a pretty mean flame-broiled burger. Perhaps "Jack In The Box" should cut back on its advertising budget and focus their finances on cheeseburger-making instead.

I realize they have the right-of-way, but...dept.: I was driving slowly up Sherman Avenue around 9 or 9:30pm this evening. "Slowly" is just about the only way you can drive on Sherman. Whoever came up with the plan to change it from 4-lanes to 2-lanes downtown is an IDIOT, by the way. Anyway, as I was heading east, the light at 3rd and Sherman turned green, so I was about to proceed thru the intersection when a young couple, BOTH of them, darted out in front of me. They STOOD on the street corner, and crossed as soon as THEIR light turned RED. I may have been driving slowly, but I sure didn't BRAKE slowly. So, I saved TWO lives. Funny thing was, as they crossed the street heading north, they didn't even LOOK at my car. Well, maybe they're in love...which would prove that "love is blind"! Well, Cd'A, you wanted tourists and now you got 'em!

So there ya have it, another bunch of meaningless instances from my dull, dreary and insignificant life. But on the plus side, it looks like my short-term memory is working pretty well. What, me worry?

DRUMMERS: Unsung heroes of bands...
"What is a non-musician who hangs out with 3 musicians called?"
"A DRUMMER!" (old joke that I've heard waaaay too much)

Not that I've hit the big time, because that'll never happen, but I have played drums in bands. I've always had rhythm. It's just there, that's all. And I've played in country bands, rock bands, and yes, even at SQUARE DANCES. Doe-see-doe! And I'm here to tell you that drummers are pretty much just another piece of band equipment, especially to ego-heavy guitarists who think they're "oh, so cool". A drummer's input is hardly ever listened to, because after all, the guitarists think that all he does is pound on drums; he doesn't make music. And yet, it's the drummer who's working his cheeks off back there, holding down the fort while the guitar-playing ego freak he's drumming for tries to remember the words of the song.

If the guitarist screws up, the drummer's gotta be there to make him sound good. When the musicians get a charge out of playing heavy, fast numbers, it's the drummer who's gotta find the endurance to keep up with the guitars. I speak from personal experience when I say that at the end of the night, the drummer is just plain old TIRED OUT. I've played guitar for entire evenings and have never been as trashed and wasted as when I played drums for four hours. It's a workout! Also, I wonder how much secondhand smoke I inhaled playing drums in bars. I haven't done that for about 10 years now. So, hopefully, my lungs have had a chance to clean themselves out after all those years of drumming in bars. The leaders of two different bands I've played for died of cancer or circulatory-system problems.

Drummers also miss all of the good stuff that happens out front, namely because the drummer is almost always located at stage rear, and his view is usually obscured by cymbals (as well as the guitar-playing ego freaks out front). So when the dancers get wild and crazy, when an inebriated lady decides she wants to "flash" the band, the drummer misses it all. Although, I suppose a drummer is safer if unruly audience members start to throw empty beer bottles at the band (which has never happened in a band I was in, thankfully). In a couple of bands, I was also expected to SING while playing drums. That's sorta like rubbing your tummy and patting your head while trying to walk thru a minefield. Treacherous!

I've drummed in good bands and bad bands...and drumming for a bad band is one of the worst things I've ever experienced. In bands like that, perhaps the amps are turned up too loud, or the singer has no idea of "meter", and just "comes in" wherever he pleases...there have been times I've purposely had to drum WRONG, just so that the song would sound good, because the singers/guitarists had the song all wrong to begin with. I do NOT miss playing drums AT ALL. And with my back being in questionable shape, I suppose my poor old bones couldn't take it anyway, sitting on those little miniature drum stools that are about as comfortable as sitting on a camel's hump for four hours. Yee-owch! Many were the nights I had stiffness and soreness all through my back, because I was sitting in that fabled "drummer's crouch".

Yet, whenever the band sounds bad, it's always the drummer's fault. A drummer does not have a volume knob on his drum set he can just turn down; it becomes a question of "touch" and sometimes it is very difficult to play quietly; you need a certain amount of "momentum" just to drum, to "roll around" the kit, and when old folks in VFW clubs keep telling you over and over to quiet down, drumming almost becomes impossible. On nights like those, I didn't do any rolls, and I didn't try to be fancy. I'd just keep the beat, bored out of my skull, wishing the night was over. And, guitarists and bass players hardly ever treat the drummer as an "equal" member of the band. I used to hate going to band rehearsals, because for a couple of hours, the guitarists would be trying to learn the song, and I just sat there, bored as all get-out.

Onstage, the guitarists, bassists (and keyboard players) can see everything that's going on; the drummer can hardly see anything at all. And, if the band is having a good night, if the songs are being played pretty well, sometimes the drummer actually daydreams a bit. I spent a lot of time in the drummer's chair analyzing things...the music, the actions of my bandmates, how things were going overall, etc. On a good night, when everything's going pretty well, drumming is easy. On those nights, perhaps my mind would wander a bit. It's when the band is sounding BAD, that you've gotta be a little more "conscious" of how you're playing. Many times I found myself in the position of trying to make the band sound better than it was. Not easy!

So consider old Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones. He is regarded as one of the world's best drummers. I pay attention to the drums on a Stones' album, and I don't hear anything special, other than he keeps a very heavy and solid backbeat. But then again, that's probably why he's been able to keep drumming for so long. He doesn't try anything fancy; he doesn't bash out his brains like the drummers in, say, Megadeth or Queensryche; he just sits back there, thumping away in 4/4 time, thump-thump-thump-BONK, thump-thump-thump-BONK, etc. etc. But I wonder what he thinks about as he's playing. He doesn't say much, but he's always observing what's happening onstage... provided this foto which shows that Jack Flash is having a hard time Jumping!

I also watch the Stones' guitarists, Ron Wood and Keith Richards, and they're not doing anything intricate. Most of the time they play easy major chords as they amble around the stage trying to maintain their balance. Hmmm...I wonder if they'll have to change the song's title to "STAND Me Up"? On the other extreme, there's AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, who sprints across the stage while playing guitar; he just runs all over the place. I have a concert video where all of a sudden he vanishes, but the guitar keeps playing...a camera went backstage and video'd him actually taking oxygen from a TUBE while he was playing. Rock and roll, I guess!

At this stage, I "roll" more than I "rock". But not all is lost; I can still rock. And I do so whenever I sit in my faithful ol' "La-Z-Boy".

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

...Or, Idaho's "State Quarter" has a lotta people scratchin' their heads...

To me, there is one big thing wrong with the hobby of coin collecting. You see, I've tried that, but I've never been successful. Why? BECAUSE I END UP SPENDING THE COINS! So that's never worked for me. But even the most casual of coin-collectors takes great pleasure in collecting the U.S. Mint's "State Quarters". That's right, each state gets to put some sort of definitive image on a coin. For instance, Tennessee's had a guitar on it...well, okay, that's Nashville. See what I mean? So even if you can't read, the picture on the coin will tell ya what state it's come from. Theoretically, anyway...

Why, oh why, then, did our State of Idaho choose a PEREGRINE FALCON as the image to be pictured on the state coin, which'll be issued next year? The first thing I thought of when I saw the words, "Peregrine Falcon", was "Perrier", the fancy bottled water which rich people drink with pinkie fingers extended as they snootingly dismiss the rest of us po' folks. I have lived in Idaho for half a century, and I have NEVER SEEN A PEREGRINE FALCON!

Usually, when people think of Idaho, they think, "POTATOES". I have had to tell countless friends of mine that I meet online, that no, we don't grow potatoes in North Idaho, where I'm at. But Idaho is FAMOUS for it's POTATOES...hence the saying, "Famous Potatoes" on our license plates. They're grown in the southern part of the state, but at least when people equate "Idaho" with "Potatoes", they're thinking of the correct state. Face it...Idaho being represented by a Peregrine Falcon would be like putting a picture of Death Valley on the state quarter of MAINE.

What image do I have of the Peregrine Falcon? That would make me think more of snooty purebread New Englanders, breeding their fancy falcons that perch on their shoulders, to show off to other snooty New Englanders. If you're from New England, I apologize for the stereotype, but that same thing happens when people immediately equate potatoes with Idaho. (Aside: There are still folks running around who think that Idaho is somewhere near Illinois or Iowa. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF MAPS, PEOPLE???) But back to my subject: Peregrine Falcons are not a very-well-known bird out this way. Other than to Bird People, that is. A visage pictured on a coin which is representative of its state should be an image that people are familiar with.

In Idaho's case, common sense might dictate that "Potatoes" or "Trees", or even "Mountains" might be used on the state coin. The word "Idaho" comes from an old Indian word, "EE-DAH-HOW" which translates roughly into "sun coming up over the mountains", after all. But I suppose common sense is a rare commodity these days. But sorry, "Peregrine Falcon" just ain't it. If the State of Idaho must have a bird on its coin, we need a well-known bird. Such as...

"Esto Perpetua" translates roughly to "Full Of It Forever". I think.

...then again, maybe our state shouldn't use this design, what with the possibility of lawsuits stemming from all kinds of nasty copyright violations. As "Yosemite Sam" would yell out, "TARRRRRR-NATION!"

If our glorious state was going to put a BIRD on the coin, I do have a constructive idea. Every kid in Idaho is forced to learn Idaho history. Therefore, anyone who's been schooled in Idaho knows our state's bird is the mountain bluebird. Maybe our state's "coin planners" rejected that idea. If so...they "flipped" the "bird"!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

...can be a good thing, sometimes...

"Pride goes before a fall", the old adage says. A good example is a big tree that's been blown over by the wind. Because the tree wouldn't bend, the wind just snapped it in two. We all "try to do it all", and perhaps for a while, we can. Maybe we're all excited about the new job, so we toss in a little extra adrenalin in order to keep up that high pace of performance. But, 4,5,6 or more years into a job, the outlook can change. All of a sudden, it's hard to keep up that high pace of performance. Sometimes things just have a way of "sluffing off". What used to be so very easy just a short while ago, all of a sudden, is more than a person can bear. I've been in jobs where I was excited to have the new job, and I worked, worked, worked, produced, produced, produced. But as time went by, I just kinda got tired, shell-shocked and weary. Hopefully I'm not the only person who's ever been a victim of this syndrome...

...after all, admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Of course, no matter how badly one performs the Presidency, he's set with a pension and Secret Service protection the rest of his life. So, maybe "just holding office" is the important thing.

This foto was stolen from, which is probably more conservative in general concerning its view of the current Prezzidential administration than I am. Oh well...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat...
...and a whole lot of unremarkable stuff in-between...

What a thrilling thing it is, when whatever team you're partial to wins the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Championship or the Stanley Cup. Although, if you root for pro basketball or hockey teams, I think you should seek counseling. I think those sports have deteriorated over the years. I have turned into quite the baseball fan; it all began when the radio station I worked for carried Seattle Mariners' games, and I got to run the board (in other words, make sure the thing actually AIRED without too many glitches).

There would always be a TV around the studios, so I'd watch the video, listen to the station's audio, and just have a grand old time. Imagine that...getting paid to watch baseball! But, in between the high points of victory and the bottomless abyss of defeat, there's the everyday stuff in sports; unremarkable, but part of the game anyway. Such as the instance below... had no idea I'd deface this picture so severely...

Mark McGwire said he didn't think steroids made him any better. He said that a player still had to be able to hit the ball. In short, all the steroids in the world would never help me in anything, 'cos I'm such a klutz. I've had steroids shot into my lower back, but I'm not sitting any better, after all. Best, I guess, to just enjoy sports for the disguised soap opera it is.

My baseball career: 3 seasons in a kids' recreation league. I had 3 hits, TOTAL, in 3 seasons. But I wasn't a total screwup; at least I held the bat by the correct end, so at least I looked halfway good. I think.

"Thing" a "thimple thong"!
...or, when some people bare it, I don't GRIN!

For those who aren't familiar with the Coeur d'Alene area, we have a lake and a beach. Now, Coeur d'Alene's beach isn't as liberal as your average European topless beach. Not even as liberal as California, where I hear there are designated topless beaches. So, gripes that we have here might seem shallow or without merit in other areas, but I guess I have to take that chance. There is a guy around here who is disaffectionately referred to as "Thong Man". He is the ONLY guy I've seen who dares to wear a THONG at our city's beach. About 10 years ago, this caused a whole lotta controversy in town. I've seen the guy, and he's not fat like me, but he's no Charles Atlas or Jack LaLanne. He's just an average-looking dude who likes to turn the other CHEEK!

He once wrote a letter to the editor, saying something to the effect of, 'the human body is a beautiful thing and people should feel free to display it'. At the time, I was a runner, about 50 lbs. lighter than I am now. I even ran marathons. And I wrote a letter to the editor which said, "while I'm proud of what my body can do, there's some parts of it that should never be seen!" And now that I've GAINED weight, that's ESPECIALLY true. I've seen him on the beach. He'll stand up, look slowly around him, to see if anyone's watching. He's even been to the beach with a woman and her kids. What a great example he's setting, huh?

Once I was sitting behind the sea wall on a bench, and damned if he doesn't lay down his towel directly in front of me, near the water, about 30 feet away from me, right in my line of sight. I got so disgusted I had to move. I like to look at the waterfront, at all the different things happening, but I had to avert my eyes every time I was looking in front of me. Sorry, I didn't want to see THAT. So I moved down to the other end of the beach. I felt like my "visual rights" had been violated somehow. I guess it's important for some people to display their bare butts on the beach for all to see. Me, I hope he gets SUNBURNED there!

Now, I suppose I'm a hypocrite. Were it a FEMALE in front of me similarly attired, I'd probably wear out my eyes staring at her. But I have to ask, do women actually think guys in thongs are good-looking? As far as I can see, the view consists of two cheeks with a string in-between. In my book, not all that flattering. And, think of the discomfort! Ack! Of course, I might be unnecessarily uptight; I don't even take my SHIRT off in front of people. Yet, this guy preens and poses in front of everyone like he's God's gift. To me, he just looks sleazy. "So why do you look at him", you ask. Well, it's hard to look away from a train wreck. It's hard to ignore anything that's grotesque.

The following item, which is also "nightmare material" points to one of the more important differences between men and women. And, the character on the RIGHT would be ME, trying to imitate "thong man". Face it, if I tried that, anyone who saw me would immediately fall down and go into an irreversible coma...

Well, I've gone and done it. I guess I am a rotten son of the beach. Everyone seems so "frank and open" about "things" these days, but with my upbringing, there's no way I could be like that. Maybe I have my narrow little way of seeing the world. Friends of mine couldn't believe I'd written a letter condemning "thong man". They thought I'd be cool about it. But we are who we are, I guess. There's even a 5K footrace for all of those "frank and open" folks; it's held at a nudist colony in Eastern Washington. The race is called the "Bare Buns" fun run; participants can choose to wear clothes...or not...

Gosh...that's all I'd need...I'd keep my running outfit on, of course, but I just wouldn't want to see all of that bouncing and flouncing. Of course, that's a moot point now that I no longer run. But back when I was running, people were trying to get me to do that race...I couldn't even IMAGINE myself being in a situation like that. It's hard to be me...I'm so wide-open concerning music that I didn't need drugs to love all of the psychedelic stuff. But, I guess I should openly admit here, that I am a PRUDE. And I'm proud of my prudity! (I just made a new word!)

How about, a male spinster? There's just a TIME and a PLACE for certain things! Not "everything" is meant to be seen by everyone! So please don't flaunt your BUTT in my face!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The disappearing art of...

You've heard 'em, I'm sure..."A Bird In The Hand is worth Two In The Bush"..."Never Count Your Chickens until they're Hatched"..."Putting the Cart before the Horse"..."descending the slippery slope" (actually, that's a fairly new one used in political circles)..."If Something can go wrong, it probably will" (this blog is a good example of that!)..."Wait 'till the Cows Come home", and so on and so forth. Sayings like this, don't really make a lot of sense, and yet they do. And you know I'm "Right as Rain" about that! Well, in some cases, these cliches need to be modernized, in order to more accurately reflect our changing times. One of those old sayings (and I'm not sure what it means to this day) is, "tossing out the baby with the bath-water". Huh? Maybe that's a way of saying, "don't overlook details". But that's a phrase that needs to be modiified. And I've done just that:

Obviously, posted this photo on a REALLY SLOW NEWS DAY.

Actually, the Mom who's using this technique really has her act together. Do the dishes and clean the kid at the same time. But that presents a problem: Do you do the dishes with baby soap, or clean the kid with dish soap? I would think, after perusing this picture, that right now the baby is getting "rinsed".

Silly, yeah, I know. There's a newer, slightly more relevant post below.

The strange saga of vegetable juices...
Isn't this stuff 'sposed to be GOOD for ya?

I think the concept of vegetable juice is good...I'm no vegetable eater and I really don't like a lot of vegetables all that much. I think vegetables are just plain old DULL. And even though vegetables are high up there on the old 'food pyramid', I guess I'm a real slacker when it comes to veggies. The only time I get 'em is when order a BLT Sandwich, for instance. Oh yeah, they put lettuce in tacos, too. Okay, another source. As a kid, I used to eat celery with peanut butter spread on thick. Hey, I never said I was the "galloping gourmet"! Supposedly, by drinking veggie juices, you can get all of the benefits that vegetables give you. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and maybe a little fiber if it's not pulverized to death as the veggies are converted to juice. Okay, let me ask you this...if you peel off a leaf of lettuce and eat it, how much salt are you gonna get? If you snack on a carrot, how much salt is in there? Take a fresh tomato and cut yourself a slice. How much salt do you get there? The answer to all of those questions: NONE. Or if there's any at all, it's barely negligible.

When I was in ye olde grocerial store tonight, I saw a new item that caught my eye; it was in the same cold case where you find pop, orange juice and other cold drinks. "What", I wondered, "A Campbell's product in the cold case?" So I picked up a 12-ounce can and read the listing of ingredients on the label, and I was almost horrified! You drink enough of this stuff, and you could put yourself in the HOSPITAL!

Here 'tis, the 12-ounce size of Campbell's Tomato Juice, made from concentrate. I don't want to buy any of it to find out how slowly the thick tomato goo runs out of the can, and the main reason I won't put my lips anywhere near the stuff is, a 12-ounce can has over 1,000 MILLIGRAMS OF SODIUM! In short, a McDonald's BIG MAC is better for you than this stuff! I think the Big Mac only has about 700 MG of sodium. "Oh", you say, "but weren't you talking about Vegetable Juice?" That's a good point, since the Tomato is actually a bears seeds, after all. But yeah, I don't wanna leave you veggie-juice lovers out of the picture...

"WOW, I COULDA HAD A V-8!!!", the commercial screams. So, here's the 12-ounce size of V8 Vegetable juice. I've had some here and there in my life, and it does taste good. ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIKE SALT. This humble little can is another digestive-system hand-grenade; it also contains over 1,000 MILLIGRAMS OF SODIUM! Even if you're not salt-sensitive, it's well-documented that too much sodium causes increased blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. So these two products, which present themselves as a 'healthy alternative', can contribute to putting you in your coffin sooner than you wanna be put in one. I honestly don't know how the people who put out this stuff can sleep nights. A 12-OUNCE CAN of EITHER of these two products will dump HALF the maximum daily recommended amount of Sodium into your system. DO YOU WANT THAT?

Instead of buying these sodium-laden juices, if you have a death wish, you can save yourself some money by getting one of those cardboard cans of Morton's salt; open the spout and just pour SALT into your mouth. Because, that's what you're doing with these two drinks, as well as any tomato-laden product. It's amazing, the things you can buy in a grocery store, that are bad for you. Beanie-Weenie, Spaghetti-O's, Ravioli, Pork and Beans, and my favorite, Chili...ALL OF IT...digestive disasters waiting to happen. True, if Salt hadn't caused me so many problems in my life, I wouldn't be all up-in-arms over this. I have had attacks of pain, resulting directly from eating sodium-laced foods, that have sent me to the EMERGENCY ROOM. While that won't happen to everyone, the fact remains, too much sodium is BAD, BAD, BAD FOR YOU. Do the major food producers care? Prob'ly not, as long as the profits keep rollin' in.

My previous post described some good thirst-quenching beverages. It would be safe to say that "V-8" Juice and "Campbell's" Tomato Juice don't fit that category...AT ALL. I actually do like the concept of vegetable juices, and I may just go searching for some at the health food store. But you couldn't pay me enough to drink tomato-laden, salt-inundated beverages such as the ones described above.

This is a case of me seizing on a late-night blog idea, and this issue is actually something I really care about. It may be a good idea, when shopping for food, to take a look at sodium levels in what you buy. You'll find the corresponding percentage of maximum daily sodium intake on the label. I've cut sodium virtually OUT of my diet. Now if I could just stop eating things that make me fat...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"I saw a dog chasing a cat,
and they were both WALKING!"
...allegedly that's how H-O-T it's gonna get this weekend...

Well, I'm not happy about it. It's already warm enough to where I'm going thru 2 or 3 bottles of Gator-ade, Power-ade, or whatever-ade I can find. But the weathercasters up here are drooling and salivating all over themselves as they rub their hands together, knowing they're holding their broadcast audience in total suspense, telling us all how H-O-T it's gonna be this weekend. I guess the "big sizzle" begins on or about Friday, and lasts thru at least mid-week next week. NOT FUN, PEOPLE!

Oh yeah, sure, the good weather and the heat bring out the people, and their almighty dollars with them. But I think the question must be asked: "When it's that hot, how can you enjoy ANYTHING?" Come on, people, when it's up over 95 degrees, it's PURE HELL. I look at the heat as a foe that I have to endure and hopefully outwit. Because the heat is trying to get ME. I take this personally. I hide from it. We're in for the kind of weather where it's HOT for HOURS after the sun goes down. And that's what weirds me out, when it gets to the place where it ain't even cool in the SHADE.

Coughing up hairballs in the heat just ain't no fun for this cat!

Okay, I realize I've already bitched about the heat in previous posts. I'm aware of that. After all, the heat hasn't got me (yet). It is probably best to remain as hydrated as possible over the next few days. In other words, DRINK UP! (No, that's not an excuse to 'tie one on' although it might feel like its helping at the time.) Everywhere you go this weekend, you'll see bottles of all kinds of drinks designed to hydrate your system. A lot of bottled water is out there, too. On principle, I won't buy a liquid I can get from my own TAP. That would be sorta like going to Beverly's Restaurant and ordering a peanut-butter sandwich. Oh, you'd probably get one, with a $25.00 price tag attached.

I've told y'all in past columns that I used to be a runner. I am rather large, so it took a lot of calories to keep me going, and a whole lotta liquids to keep me from drying up. I remember one excruciating 18-mile training run I did in late May a few years back, and it got so hot, that when I was done running, I drank an entire gallon pitcher of GRAPE Gatorade. It tasted Tremendous! So what did Gatorade do? Because I liked Grape Gatorade so much, they pulled that flavor off the market. Oh, they sell a purple-colored drink, called "big berry blast" or some such thing. But that ice-cold Grape Gatorade on a hot day was pure HEAVEN! It had an AMAZING flavor.

I used to drink "All-Sport", back in the days when it was CARBONATED. It was very REFRESHING that way. Their carbonated fruit punch was simply WONDERFUL. So what did All-Sport do? Because I liked it so much, they STOPPED "Carbonating" their drink! Which means that "All-Sport" ended up tasting like everything else out there. I was disappointed. I'll betcha "carbonating" their sports drinks cost the "All-Sport" too much money. That's usually the case when a service or product is modified, especially when that modification results in less satisfying results. Follow the Money, I keep saying!

So, instead of griping and whining about the heat, (since I've already done that 'ad nauseum'), I'll share with you info on some drinks that have helped me make it thru the heat. Face it, it's hard to drink the standard "8 glasses of water" on a COOL day. So we all basically under-hydrate ourselves. I've seen people who were standing for a ceremony in the hot HEAT just keel over from it all. I can't afford to keel over; if I did, I'd throw something out, and probably wake up in traction somewhere. So anyway, here are some sports drinks that just might end up comin' in handy during the approaching heatstorm:

Gatorade: They make a stupendous flavor called "Citrus Cooler" (at least they used to). It is a grrreat-tasting beverage; it's got a great tart flavor without becoming disgustingly sour. A great thirst quencher. If you can't find any of that flavor, Gatorade's ORANGE is also very tasty. It hits the spot. Actually, most of Gatorade's citrus-type flavers are pretty good.

PowerAde: (Made by the mighty Coca-Cola Company) Right now, it's on sale at various places around town. I have a semi-permanent red stain on my top lip from drinking Powerade Fruit Punch as much as I do. It has a rich flavor, plenty of body (no, it's not wine), and tastes great ice-cold. In comparison with Gatorade's "Orange", I find PowerAde's "Orange" weak-tasting, though. It seems like each Sport Drink Brand has a different "best" flavor.

SAFEWAY has its own brand of sports drink (or they HAD, anyway) it is/was called "Winners". I wouldn't be surprised if it's Gatorade with a Safeway Label. (Some of the big manufacturers do that kind of thing). The Safeway ORANGE was absolutely delicious. It's like nectar for the heat. And occasionally Safeway runs great specials on the stuff.

LEMONADE is always an important part of summer; a really good thirst quencher is the bottled Minute Maid LEMONADE. It's probably all synthetic (I've never seen any pulp-like substances in it), but it tastes WILD. I almost hate to swallow it because it tastes so good. I just wanna keep my yap full o'that stuff forever. I used to have a bottle of that with me when I drove cab in the hot summers. It got me thru many a hot scorcher.

I was also intrigued when I found out "Country Time" Lemonade became available in bottled form, and it's every bit as good as Minute Maid. As a matter of fact, I think these bottled Lemonades are probably the best out-and-out thirst quenchers of all. Funny thing with "Country Time", though; I later bought a can of the powdered drink mix...and I could never make my self-made Country Time Lemonade taste as good as the bottled stuff. Of course, I can't boil water, either...

Also refreshing are the unusual flavor-combination drinks that are made by Sobe (SO-bee); my favorite is the Orange-Carrot Elixir. No, you can't taste the carrots. It has a smooth, mellow orange taste to it, and it's a delight to drink, and I ain't kidding. The only Sobe beverage that I didn't care for was some sort of creamy-white beverage; I couldn't finish even HALF the bottle. But the Orange-Carrot Elixir is terrific, and they also have a Cranberry-type drink that's also really good. Sobe beverages are unusual, in that they're reasonably priced, but they come in glass bottles...usually priced around $1.39. In all fairness, though, Sobe is something I'd drink at home in front of the TV, rather than out in the hot heat somewhere.

Whenever I wanted a can of pop or something when I lived at home, my Dad would always say, "drink water". Well, yeah, undeniably there are times when cold water tastes like nature's sweet nectar. Trouble is, it has no fortifying ingredients. Yes, it hydrates you but doesn't put any minerals or vitamins back into your body. In contrast, I believe a full bottle of the Powerade I drink has about 50 or 60% of the daily requirements for "B" vitamins, if not more.

I never drink Pop to quench my thirst. I usually drink it because I crave something carbonated. Face it, "carbonation" is one of the few legal "rushes" out there. Everyone asks, "Coke or Pepsi"? For me, Pepsi all the way. Although I do really like the taste of Coke out of a tap. But bottled, it's gotta be Pepsi, or you can't dance with me. Come to think of it, I can't dance. But for some reason, a 16-ounce bottle of Pepsi is always a great summertime companion. I've heard it said that one shouldn't depend on pop for their hydration purposes on a hot day, however; pop can conduct the fluids OUT of yer system. Which is why I like the idea of sport drinks so much. At least you're replacing something WITH "something", if you get my drift.

There is one brand of drink I STAY AWAY FROM. I have had just about every flavor they make, and NONE OF THEM TASTE GOOD. I'm talking about SNAPPLE. The flavors are always weak and relatively tasteless. It tastes like someone dipped a tea-bag-thing of whatever flavor into the liquid and retracted it after 5 seconds or so. I have never been able to understand how SNAPPLE manages to sell anything. But then again, that's me. Take care in the heat. Oh yeah, just because it may be hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, I wouldn't advise that you actually DO that. There's not a whole-lotta teflon-coated sidewalks out there.

For some strange reason, after having written this post, I'm thirsty all of a sudden. Powerade, here I come!

Listening to OLD RECORDS...
It's nice to know that some things never change...

I feel in a way that I am being besieged by Summer. It lands with a huge "WHUMP" and then the temperatures instantly zoom up, all kinds of events happen at the speed of light, and all kinds of strange people appear out of nowhere; I feel like I'm out of step. And, what with temperatures over 100 degrees in the forecast for this weekend, it just ain't gonna be much fun. Maybe I'm weird; I hope this happens to other people too...I find that HEAT really stresses me out. Over the last week or so, I feel like I've been shutting down. Not wanting to talk to anyone, or play guitar in front of people, and just DEPRESSED, like my stomach is in absolute KNOTS. And it ain't even HOT yet! There ain't a lot I can do but ride it out until I feel better. What a life.

I was feeling kinda miserable about all sorts of things today. The shade and breezes of the City Park didn't even do the trick. I tried taking out the guitar and playing it, and I had to force myself to make a few halfhearted passes at the strings. Honestly, I feel like I'm in some sort of summertime hibernation mode. I don't wanna do anything, don't wanna see anybody, don't wanna go anywhere. But the heat will chase me out of my house over the weekend. That's when summertime survival mode kicks in. And that's when things get REALLY stressful. What I usually end up doing, is staying in my house until the heat gets to be too much, and then I go somewhere that has air conditioning. Taco John's up on 4th always has the air-conditioner running. But ain't it kinda silly to go to a taco place, where they put HOT sauce on the food, when yer tryin' to stay cool? So, Denny's or anywhere else might be an alternative. Or, maybe a nice cool grocery store, especially in the dairy or frozen foods sections! I DESPISE the summer overheating almost as much as the bitter pipe-freezing cold of winter.

So anyway, when I got home today, I was in a real confused funk. I decided to try some music therapy. I needed to immerse myself in some sort of comfort zone, so I needed OLD music that came out in a simpler, more carefree time before I knew what depression was. Maybe I've felt it all along and I just didn't know it then. I don't know. For some reason, I wanted to hear the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album, and although I have 5 copies of the album, I had to play my original copy, that I bought for $1.00 from a friend when I was in high school, some 34 years ago. And, yep, it sounded real good (as good as a fairly-worn but playable 34-year old album can sound). But the re-visit to Beatles audio didn't end there...

I had to hear "Sgt. Pepper". I have 7 or 8 copies of that, but I had to play my original copy, that I got for my birthday in 1968. Yep, I've hung onto it all these years, and although it's been played on all kinds of crappy low-budget turntables over the years, other than some audible wear between the songs, it sounds pretty doggone good for its age. I don't dare get rid of it; my parents gave me that album way back when. There's a connection. I remember playing the album in the mornings before I went off to school when I was a kid. As the years have passed, I've collected various label variations of the album, and I even have two mono copies; mono got phased out in the late '60s, so mono copies of any late-60's album are fairly rare.

This is the label of a MONO "Sgt. Pepper" album. You can tell from the "MAS" prefix of the catalog number at the right side of the label. The Stereo versions have the word "STEREO" printed at left, where the blank space is on this label, and the "MAS" prefix is changed to "SMAS". So now you know. The copy I played tonite that I got for my birthday so long ago is stereo, but my mono copies look like the one pictured above.

The next little item I have here is a #1 single from 1968; namely, "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" by John Fred and his Playboy Band. He passed away last year. He and the band came from the New Orleans area. Now, note how this all ties in together...when Mr. Fred put that song together, he, being a Beatles fan, thought the Beatles were singing "Lucy In Disguise" rather than "Lucy In The Sky" (a song on the Sgt. Pepper album). I bought a new copy of the "Judy In Disguise" single in 1968, but it was pressed on cheap styrene plastic, and it literally wore out after a couple years of being played on cheap phonographs. I later found a replacement copy, which was pressed on more durable vinyl plastic, but the label looked different! Instead of a pink-beige label, as was on my original copy of "Judy In Disguise", my vinyl replacement disc had a totally white label. Me being a fan of colors, I was disappointed, although the white-label-vinyl record sounded great and still does.

So anyway, earlier this year, I was in St. Vinnies', buying whatever was striking my fancy, and I ran across another "Judy In Disguise" 45 (pictured above) and even though it is fairly worn, the label looks exactly like the one on my original copy that I'd bought new in 1968. When I saw it, I instantly remembered buying my first copy in Buttrey's Store (where "Hastings" is now) in 1968. Talk about time travel! So I keep this record more as an artifact of my past; I don't play it; I play the white-label vinyl copy. Other people have knick-knacks or souvenirs or photos or whatever. Me, I have records. Music was always around when I felt depressed back then. And so it was today as well.

Every now and then, when the records begin rivaling me for space here in my little house, I have to thin out the collection, and I'm in the process of doing that now; dubbing the stuff I don't really want onto CD. But albums and 45s do have a charm all their own. Kids today (heck, people who were kids 20 years ago) will never own a piece of black plastic with music on it (unless their Ipods are black), and I've always thot music on vinyl just seemed more personal, more intimate somehow. Sometimes I think that in the mid-60s, when I got my first phonograph, I had evolved as far as I was ever gonna age 12! Because now, like then, I was totally enraptured watching the colorful labels go 'round as music miraculously eminated from the speakers. And I was doing that again tonite. And it's still fascinating.

In closing, I guess I'd advise you to cherish those things which take you back to better times, whatever those things are. It's true that it's not good to live in the past, but sometimes remembering can be a good thing. I think the things we assemble and collect define who we are. Well, I'd better sign off and get to bed while it's still cool out there...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No matter gotta RESPECT the microphone!

I once read some broadcaster's biography (can't remember the title) and he referred to a newscaster he once worked with. Just before the live news program went out over the air, all of a sudden, the anchor would erupt into multitudinous SCREAMING profanities and he wouldn't stop until the second he was on the air...then, of course, he would announce, "Good Evening, Time for the News..." and so on and so forth. I guess he had to purge all of that nasty stuff out of his system. I worked in radio, and I would never swear in the control room, even when the microphone was OFF. Uh-uh, NOT ME!!! There's just something about a microphone; you don't want to let your "ugly" side show through (unless you're Howard Stern!).

There are various times in history when profanities have gone out over the air, and I might have actually done that myself. At the little radio station I worked at (my first job out of college), I was doing a rock and roll show, and kids kept calling up and wanting me to play 'this' or play 'that'. I was kinda getting exasperated at all the calls, and after one such call, I slammed down the phone and uttered a fairly juicy profanity. The "cancel" switch on the mike wasn't working right at the time. It later got fixed. Later on, a young girl at the local drive-in restaurant asked me in a roundabout way, "does any swearing actually go out over the air"; I said something like "not that I know of" and beat it outta there. I think I knew what she was asking about, but I didn't stick around to find out for sure.

I once heard a profanity come out over the air on CHRISTMAS DAY one year (no, NOT here in Coeur d'Alene)...I later heard that the radio station had utilized numerous taped programs that day, and that one of the tapes wasn't completely erased before the program was recorded on it. CHRISTMAS DAY! OOPS! I heard it in the afternoon, so perhaps everyone was enjoying holiday dinner with their loved ones, so perhaps not too many people heard it or made note of it. These kinds of things, though, can happen at every level, even in the positions of utmost power...President Bush let one fly when he was speaking informally with Tony Blair, England's Prime Minister at some conference...trouble was, the mike was left OPEN! OOPS! I'm sure we'll hear more about this in the days to come. Speaking from experience, I can imagine ol' Georgie boy felt a bit sheepish when Blair reached over to cut the mike!

So, in the spirit of "all of the above", I present the following photo-satire:

This totally disgusting desecration of all things decent was stolen from It's not their fault.

The Gentrification of Coeur d'Alene?
"If you're blue and you don't know where to go to,
Why don't you go where fashion sits...PUTTIN' ON THE GLITZ"!
--written (sorta) by Cole Porter while he sat at an outdoor restaurant, obviously...

I don't usually buy Sunday Newspapers; I don't think they're a very good value. You basically are paying over twice as much for twice as many ads...from what I've seen, the "news" portions of a Sunday paper aren't all that much bigger than you get Monday thru Saturday. But, the screaming headline on the front page of ye olde Sunday paper really caught my eye. "Puttin' On The Glitz", which referred to Coeur d'Alene's going-out scene becoming all upscale and yuppie. The article referred to the newest outdoor restaurant, the "Beacon", which charges $17.50 for a Pastrami Sandwich. WHAT???? I suppose you can wash it down with an overpriced Coke, or some expensive fruity pseudo-cocktail...

Yeah, the scene is changing downtown. On weekends, music booms out of an open-front nightclub a little further up Sherman Avenue, which must mean that if you have a business that brings outside dollars to the area, you can violate Coeur d'Alene's vaunted noise ordinance all you want. Allegedly, all of these spiffed-up folks who litter the sidewalks with their presence like to sit around, drink expensive drinks, and watch all the other folks who are also drinking expensive drinks. I don't know...I think I am at the place in life where society is leaving me behind. I don't feel the need to go out and display myself (not that there's much to see), and as I drive up Sherman Avenue and see the human masses seated outside, I think to myself, "gosh, I'm glad I'm going HOME." Harrumph!

Now, I suppose I'm a hypocrite. Yeah, I can't deny that I go downtown to spend money on unnecessary things. After all, I go to the Java Place and drink $2.00 cups of coffee. Ah, but there's a difference. While the masses flock to outdoor bars at night to indulge in varying degrees of social shallowness, my treks to Java are a matter of survival. I go there because if I don't get a cup of coffee somewhere after I get up, I feel like I'm gonna DIE! Either I go to Java downtown, or I risk life and limb going into the northern part of town, to go to Starbuck's where the 'quotes' printed on their coffee cups tell me how to live my life. Ack. And at Java, yeah, I do "people-watch" to a point. So maybe I'm shallow. But at least I'm SOBER. And I'm not eating any seventeen-buck-ham sandwiches either!

Speaking of being downtown, I hardly ever see a Police Car downtown at night when Sherman Avenue is inundated with people, all over the place, outside, in various states of intoxication. You would think downtown Sherman Avenue would be a feeding ground for the "Blue Meanies", after all. Many times I've driven up Sherman and have encountered folks ambling across the street to get to their cars, so they can amble all the way home as they try to drive. Yet I can get pulled over on a Sunday morning, when absolutely no one else is on the road, for not SIGNALING before I turn. In spite of the fact there was no one to signal for. Except for, perhaps, the cop. That actually happened to me a few years ago.

I am also sick and tired of getting my ears blasted to smithereens every time a motorcycle (or two or three or twelve) roar up Sherman Avenue; I guess Coeur d'Alene's outside bars are now catering to the Harley-Davidson crowd. I know that "Harley's" are one of the definitions of Americana (whatever that is), but I absolutely HATE the way Harley engines sound. I can hear 'em over half a mile away sometimes. And as they roar past me, I literally WINCE from the noise they make. Even when I'm INSIDE the java place, I can barely tolerate the damn NOISE when they ROARRRRR past. Hey, "powers that be", how about an ENGINE noise ordinance, too?

Rather than waste my time a bar attempting to be social, which never did me any good, I prefer to watch the sun set and experience the lake breezes. At night, in the park, the skateboarders are gone, there's no screaming kids and barking dogs, no obnoxious busybodies yakking away on cellphones, and the seagulls have gone to sleep wherever they go to sleep. (Where DO they go at night?) Anyway, you've seen those "Arby's" commercials where some hungry guy has Arby's little "Cowboy Hat emblem" hovering over his head...well, one night while playing guitar, all of a sudden I got awfully doggone hungry for a HAMBURGER...

This would be me, with my mind on food, playing a rousing rendition of "Scramblin' Man" by the Omelet Brothers. Yee-hawwwwww!

Hey, folks, if it's okay with you, I'm slowing down my blogging. The summer heat and corresponding mentality is kinda gettin' me a little bit. I think this is my first post since Friday. Has it been that long?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Two unique perspectives on the Presidency...
...or, a couple of egregious examples of the slippery slope of photo satire...

The President (whoever the President has been at various times throughout history) has always been a subject of mockery, and political cartoonists have always had a field day with the image of the Chief Executive. Now, I can draw a little bit, but I'm nowhere as good as the political cartoonists who are soooo talented. This is where the world of photo-satire comes in. I used to draw little "thought" and "speech" balloons on pictures in the paper, and have all kinds of people saying absolutely wacky things. So, I guess I had some practice at this before I ever even thought computers could do this kind of stuff.

There was a photo in "Huckleberries Online" of President Bush, who, with a really weird expression on his face, was handing a crying baby back to its mother, and it was hard to tell who was more ill-at-ease, Mr. Bush or the Kid. Whatever the case, it was literally a photo-satire field day for yours truly...

Now, I thought that one was really good, if I do say so myself. You would think that after such a masterpiece, I'd have the good sense to quit while I was ahead. But, no. Actually, I thought of the idea for the above photo, while putting together the photo BELOW. To all of those who view the photo below, No, I am not taking any kind of psychedelic chemicals. I don't think so, anyway. Maybe it's some sort of prescription interaction? Anyway, another masterpiece:

Father, forgive me, for knows not what I do...

My third idea (which remains mercifully unrealized) was to put Mr. Bush's head on the baby, and the baby's head on Mr. Bush, with the caption, "maybe 'child' IS Father to the man." A thoughtful quote, perhaps, but not ridiculous enough for use in this wacky blog. So there ya have it. I am hoping both of these photos fall short of the definition of treason.

Another newer post lurks below. Amazing, some days I have no ideas or resourcefulness AT ALL, and then all of a sudden, Wham, Bam, shang-a-lang! And bunches of stuff like this post appear. Am I having too much fun?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some people get all the good jobs...
...while most everyone else just takes whatever they can get!

There are great jobs out there. Trouble is, there are a lot more people looking for those great jobs, than there are great jobs. How about "limousine driver" for a rich client who tips you well in addition to paying a high-falootin' limousine drivers' salary? I always thought a good job would be "car delivery person", where you drive a car across the nation to deliver it to the person who bought it. See the country, and get paid for it! How about being a high-paid corporate go-fer? I always thought a great job would be "professional customer". I have lots of experience, you know. But there's already such a thing as a "secret shopper" and those who work behind checkstands are scared to death of 'em. You never know who's watching! So I wouldn't want a job that makes others paranoid. But there are great jobs out there. I'm sure you can think of a few more ideal occupations. Well, some job applicants have all the luck...

This piece of obvious CHEESECAKE was served up by

...I think this would be a GREAT JOB. But, alas, it's not for me. I'd probably have a HEART ATTACK if I traded places with that guy. You know, "too much of a good thing" and all that.

A Sign of the Times dept.: I was driving down on Lakeshore Drive the other day, and I approached the "12th Street Entrance", which the public can easily utilize in order to access the beach. Trouble is, once you head towards the lake, where do you go? It's best that you bring an altimeter with you. A sign at that 12th Street Entrance says, "Sanders' Beach Public Access BELOW 2,130 FEET." You'll need that little gadget in order to make sure you're legal. Just a thot: Maybe the Post Falls Dam oughta let water out a little faster. Then there'd be more of Sanders' Beach for the public to enjoy!

Is it any wonder I tune out dept.: There's so much crap in the news; the Korea Missile thing, the Iraq situation, the (potential) Iran situation, and now Israel attacking Lebanon. I'm so sick of war. So the unusual news stories catch my attention. For example: (I heard this item on the 11pm teevee news tonite:) A lady in a town near Portland, Oregon called 9-1-1, and a couple of officers showed up and took care of the matter. But, she evidently was really attracted to one of the cops. So she called 9-1-1 AGAIN and asked them to send the "cute cop" back to her house. He showed up and promptly arrested her for making an unnecessary 9-1-1 call. Hmmm...I bet she doesn't like him so much now.

It's a little more than the water dept.: Remember Olympia Beer? (Is it still brewed? I don't know!) Anyway, the longtime slogan of that beer was, "It's The Water". And remember the Hamms' Beer slogan..."from the land of sky blue waters"? I don't know if Hamms is brewed anymore, either. I'm so out of it. I remember when I worked as a boxboy (grocery clerk) in the '70s, when people would flock across the state line from Washington to buy Coors Beer, because it wasn't available in the Evergreen state. Something about the level of alcohol content, I think. I was reminded of all that when I heard the following story on radio news today: Pete Coors, the guy who appears in all of those Coors Beer commercials, who urges everyone to enjoy Coors responsibly, went to court on a drunk driving charge today. He'd had a little too much to drink at a wedding reception last spring. To put that in perspective, charging Mr. Coors for drunk driving would be like Richard Simmons overeating and gaining 100 pounds.

This blog was typed at my leisure. Since I've stopped SEARCHING for blog material, it just sorta comes to me. A case of true sadistic serendipity.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

...even if that horse is a former Kentucky Derby Winner...

Do you know that a horse walks on its middle toe? That made me think...horses can be crafty animals, after all...every time they walk by you in a parade, they are, in effect, flipping you off! Maybe they hate being ridden, no matter well-trained they are. So, this is their way of getting revenge. It could be, that Christopher Reeve's horse acted with premeditation. We'll never know. There's a song by the Talking Heads titled, "Animals" which lead singer David Byrne says that all of the animals are laughing at us, and maybe he's onto something.

Maybe the dog sleeping in the yard on a hot summer's day is glad he's not a human being. And maybe us humans unknowingly overload our systems every day. Maybe all man was supposed to do was to walk, run, eat, breathe, and procreate. Maybe all of the other stuff, like cars, computers, telephones, jobs and everything else we endure just put us all under pressures we were never meant to shoulder. Maybe the birds are the only ones who are truly free. They can soar as they air-hop from one place to another.

I look at animals, and I wonder if they think; if they have memories, if they have points of view, or do they just purely run on 'instinct', never holding grudges or having lasting fears of the 'known' or the 'unknown'. Maybe my life would be simpler if I was a bird. On the other hand, I have a fear of heights. I'd have to be "an apteryx, a wingless bird with hairy feathers", like the one in the "B.C." comic strip. But then again, I don't wanna be cold in the winter, and I require shelter from storms. So maybe I should just be content with my human status. So anyway, what's the point in all of this? I'm not sure. I'm hoping a point will present itself...

Take Barbaro, who came up lame in the race after the Kentucky Derby (I'm not a horse-racing fan, I don't know the name of the race). Barbaro's career is over. Most horses who break ankles are sent to that big pasture in the sky, but Barbaro had ankle surgery and he's trying to recover. I wonder if he thinks about his failed career, that is, if horses think such things. Is Barbaro just a dumb animal, standing in his corral, not sure what to make of the pain in his ankle (does he even remember the incident?), or is he trying to make the best of things by trying to find new avenues in his horse-career? Is he just "there" or is he planning and scheming? Can animals actually plan and scheme? Can an instance, such as depicted below, actually occur?

And, another thought...before we are all put out to our respective pastures, hopefully we can win our own versions of the Kentucky Derby along the way.

The thought comes to mind that if I had a car that exemplified my writing style (especially in this post), I'd be driving a RAMBLER.

Almost-rock legend Syd Barrett has departed...

As I type this, I'm playing Pink Floyd's first album, "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn", which features many of Syd Barrett's songs. By the second album, "A Saucerful of Secrets", he was a drug casualty; only one of his songs is on that second album. By that time, guitarist David Gilmour had been brought in to replace Barrett, who sometimes was so stoned he couldn't play his guitar onstage; Gilmour would stand behind him, playing Barrett's guitar parts. I am no Barrett expert; by the time a lot of people had even heard of Pink Floyd, he was long gone from the band. So many didn't get a chance to hear him, me included. Did Barrett's dismissal cause him mental problems, or did his mental/drug problems cause his dismissal? Was he a genius as some claim, or was his mind so chemically warped, that he came off as a genius because he was so unusually medically affected? Which, in a larger sense, makes one question, 'What Is Genius'? John Lennon once said, "Genius is Pain". Maybe so.

What caused Syd Barrett to hear music the way he did? His music isn't rock, it's not folk, it's not really much of anything, although it is interesting. His songs feature fragmented lyrical images, off-kilter time changes, and in the case of "Interstellar Overdrive", the long instrumental he wrote with the rest of the group, after a while it ceases to be music; it's "something" but I'm not sure what. There are traces of hard rock, vaudeville, folk and psychedelia in his lyrical offerings, and as you can imagine, it's a really warped picture indeed. Did Barrett hear "strange things" in his head? Did the drugs cause him to hear "strange things"? Was he "original", was he "something new", or did his fragmented state of mind cause him to appear that way?

According to Nicholas Schaffner, author of "A Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Story", Several years after Barrett was dismissed by Pink Floyd, a strange-looking, frumpled chubby guy all of a sudden appeared at the studios where the group was recording "Wish You Were Here". He nosed around the studio for a while, then left. No one recognized him, until, finally, Pink Floyd's bassist Roger Waters recognized him as Syd! All along, Syd had been receiving royalty checks for the songs he did with the band, and he lived in his mothers' house until he died of complications from diabetes at age 60. It seems some people come through the drug thing relatively intact; on others, the drugs have a devastating effect. And that most certainly happened in Syd's case. He became a virtual recluse, and hid from interviewers and other publicity seekers. A strange case indeed.

Also according to Mr. Schaffner's book, in later years, Barrett didn't want to be known as Syd anymore; he went by Roger, his given name. Did Syd/Roger think he had gone too far, and was he embarrassed and ashamed of that? Did he realize the enormity of his mysterious image and did all he could to hide from the human race? Or did the drugs do lasting damage to his brain? Or a combination of "all of the above"? It's easy to tell that he was a sensitive person from his wide-eyed, almost delicate songs; perhaps after the ups and downs of drug-induced experiences, and the pressures that go with fame, he just mentally collapsed. Who knows? All I know is, I'm glad I never took drugs; I hear strange musical things in my head SOBER! I never needed chemicals to enjoy "I Am The Walrus" or "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" (one of the first post-Barrett Pink Floyd songs).

Some people, it seems, are just more "delicate", more "vulnerable", more likely to succumb to the mental devastation that pressure, or drug usage, or addictions, or anything else may bring. In a way, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", the Pink Floyd song written for Syd, refers to him in a loving, caring way, at the same time acknowledging that Barrett was a living casualty. Whatever the case, it's amazing, the notoriety, and to a point, the influence Syd Barrett has had, considering that his time in the limelight was painfully short and his output relatively meager. Barrett's ghost was always with Pink Floyd, though. His situation was addressed, to a point, in "Dark Side of the Moon"; more specifically in "Wish You Were Here", and there are portions of "The Wall" that 'could be' Barrett-inspired. One of rock's more mysterious sagas, for sure.

Syd Barrett shining brightly in 1967, and later on in life when the star ceased to shine.

Personally speaking, sometimes I've felt like a 'crazy diamond'. I've definitely been "blahhhhh" lately. Yes, I'm slowing down this blog thing a bit. The world can live without me writing every day. Oh well, maybe I'll just wait 'till things inspire me, instead of 'forcing things', which I have an alarming tendency to do.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Abstract ramblings...
...or, what am I gonna type here? I'm not sure...

I must be a son of the beach dept.: I went to Sanders' Beach today, endeavoring not to step on someone else's sand in the process. Even though the Beach is (allegedly) public from 15th Street east to the Rezzort Golf Course, someone has a private boat dock with a watercraft esconsed safely within, BEFORE you get to the Golf Course Fence. Looks like someone's money is buying influence. Why should I be surprised? And, as I left Sanders' Beach, source of so much controversy, and walked up the sidewalk leading away from the beach, there's a pointed post, much like you find out on the Centennial Trail. Only this post said, "Thank you for visiting Sanders' Beach". After everything that's gone on lately, you'd think the sign would say, "Thank your lucky stars you didn't get shot by some rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth homeowner."

Caught off-Guardado dept.: The Seattle Mariners won their last game before the All-Star Break. There's a new hardthrowing guy in the bullpen (can't remember his name), and he looked pretty good the other night, heating the place up with 90mph+ fastballs. And, Eddie Guardado, king of the given-up home run, is gone, having been traded to "elsewhere". Some say that Guardado was never quite the same after his shoulder surgery. I really do wish him the best; he's a true competitor. Even if he doesn't have the throwing speed he used to have. So far, the M's are 3 games under .500. The season's halfway over, which means that if the M's live up (down) to projections, they'll be 6 games under .500. I think they're on pace right now to lose 92 games. Not a pleasant thought.

Generic Gripes and Groans dept.: (Or, some of the many things I don't understand...) Motorcycles have two wheels and are small. Cars have four wheels and are large. Why then, does an average motorcycle engine go "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!!!!!" in rudest loud-noise fashion, while most cars just kinda whoosh by? Stand on any Sherman Avenue sidewalk for 5 minutes and you'll see what I mean. Another thing I'm wondering: Why does the city spend money for flush handles on commodes? People don't USE 'em! Every time I step up to use one in the park, I have to FLUSH it first! Which means the Parks dept. coulda just saved money by installing porta-pots. Maybe the bigger question is, "why are humans, allegedly the smartest creatures on the planet, so pig-like at times?" And, something I've noticed on Channel 4: They run a commercial for a business named "Tuff Shed". Only, when the announcer says the name fast, it sounds like "something else". Anyone else notice that?

Take a big bite of the Apple dept.: As y'all know, I collect records. I especially revel in the opportunity to hear music that's never been commercially released. I have two bootlegged albums, one by Chicago, one by Badfinger, for example. It's interesting to hear those bands do stuff that would never see the light of day. And, I've come across another record which the public has never had any chance to hear...hmmm, wonder why...

Allegedly, those in the know say that the release of this album would set "music" back at least 300 years. I thought that had already happened, what with Apple Records' release of several Yoko Ono albums thru the years. How did she ever get a recording contract? Oh, yeah, I remember now; allegedly, she had connections...

I think I'll take this opportunity to quit while I'm ahead. Even though I'm tempted to ask, "ahead of WHAT?"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

...I'm glad it doesn't lead to MY door!

When I first added the following photo to my files, it looked really terrible, but I thot, what the hey, I'll get around to improving it one fine day. It was all washed out, like someone had poured Clorox on it. Not only that, but the photo was set on some kind of mounting board, and it was as crooked as your average Republican Presidential Administration. (In other words, REALLY crooked.)

So I worked on it, using all of the tools at my disposal. I had to rotate the photo just a bit so I could get it straight. Then I got into the fine-tuning adjustments, and "warmed up" the color, then I worked on all of the shades in the picture, and magically, the details began to fill themselves in, and it started to look pretty decent. The photo changed so much, in fact, that at first I'd thought it pictured one location, when instead, it turned out to be another location. Anyway, I'm kinda proud of this...

At first I thought this photo depicted Bennett Bay, but as the colors filled in, it began to look more and more like Beauty Bay, and I'll stick with that guess. Notice the old highway at right, hugging the hillside; it was replaced by a road that's a bit more level, closer to lake level. Still, the present-day road is still almost as narrow as your average alley, which means YOU'D BETTER NOT BE TALKING ON A CELL-PHONE WHEN DRIVING THERE! It's a pretty tricky road, and if you don't wanna find out first-hand how deep the lake is, you'd better concentrate fully!

I never have liked driving the long and winding road that ascends Beauty Bay; for me, it's a white-knuckle-ride every time on that little goat-trail of a road. I haven't been on that road for about 13 years now, and I don't plan to drive it anytime in the near future. It must be quite hellish in the winter. (Which, incidently, is probably where the expression, "Cold as Hell" comes from!) Thousands of photos have been taken from this spot over the years; a really large back-lit depiction of this view can be seen at the Eagles club downtown.

And, as long as I don't have to drive it, this bay view does really have some 'beauty'.

Is it just me, or does this expression really not make sense?

"Hoo-boy, he's probably gone totally off his rocker", you must be saying. Well, I'm way ahead of you. I've KNOWN I'm off my rocker for a long time. In fact, I'm actually sitting in my COMPUTER CHAIR right now. Ha ha! So as I type this, yes, I am OFF MY ROCKER. How about the rest of the time? The term "plain old crazy" will do just fine, thank you. I'd like to think I am an individual, with my own (crazy or not) way of seeing things. But I'll tell ya, just because I recently got new glasses doesn't mean the world's any more in focus than before!

But can you have your cake and eat it too? Well, let's pick this apart. If someone serves you cake, you "have it". It is in your possession, therefore you "have it". When you open your mouth and stuff the cake in ungraciously, slobbering all over the place, you STILL "have it". When it's in your mouth, it's in your possession. It goes down yer esophagus, into yer gut, thru yer intestines...all that while, the cake is in your possession. It's in the grasp of your BODY, after all. So you still "have it". Sooner or later you WON'T have the cake anymore, but we won't go into that. At least, not here.

Sometimes, if you're going against the grain, if you're standing up for principles you believe in, and everyone is ripping your ideas to shreds and ceaselessly mocking you for being an uncomprehending pseudo-idiot-savant hosehead, but you KNOW you are right, an expression that might come to mind is "let 'em eat cake". If they HAVE cake, that is. Or you might want them to eat (insert 'four letter word' here)...but we won't go into that either. But at least we've settled one point...they'll HAVE whatever it is they're eating. For a while, anyway.

This, then, can be expounded upon even further. There are the "have's". Then, there are the "have-nots". The "have's" possess enough money to buy all of the cake they could ever want. In this case, we could broaden "cake" to mean, "anything which contributes to the amount of luxury in one's life." "Cake" to, say, someone who owns a big money-grubbing Rezzort might mean, several cases of Chateau Lafitte '59, probably worth thousands of dollars a bottle. Oh, and don't forget the truckload of Caviar either. Who knows; with two or three layers of caviar, separated by layers of, say, truffles or whatever, they might even have "Caviar Cake"!

On the other hand, "Cake" to Joe Blue-collar might mean, an extra half-rack of Cascade Beer and a few extra Jo-Jo's with the fried chicken he's buying. It's all relative. So, ol' Joe might be a "have" to a degree. Even if he doesn't "have" a lot. Maybe, however, there's a month when ol' Joe can't afford any luxuries, what with increasing property taxes and city utility bills. So he can afford no luxuries whatsoever. It's all he can do to put a can of baked beans on the table. He can't afford cake, whether it's actually 'cake' or anything else that approaches luxury; thusly, he becomes a "have-not". Unless things have become so bad for him that the can of baked beans is actually a LUXURY. It's conditions like this that keep local food banks in business.

Perhaps there should be THREE terms..."Have's", "Have-LESS", and "Have-NOTS". After all, those who have less (who could probably actually be thrown in there with the have-nots,) do celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. So they do sacrifice whatever they have to in order to get CAKE. (Although the "have's" buy expensive pre-made cakes from the top bakeries, while the "have less" and "have-nots" buy a box of Jiffy Cake Mix for $1.29, and bake the thing at home, trying all the while not to burn it.) The "have's" who eat cake do so at pretentious parties with pinkies raised as they delicately insert neat little cake squares into their yaps. At real ritzy parties they use cake forks. The po' folks who eat cake have the kids blow out the candles first, and everyone present hopes they get the corner piece with MORE FROSTING!

Looking back over what I've typed here, I can see that I haven't accomplished very much, if anything at all. Maybe I'd better get to the point of all of this. Now where's that 'point'??? It was around here somewhere...oh, there it is...the point of all of this is that CAKE, in a way, is a societal equalizer. The rich folks eat cake, the po' folks eat cake, and while I never have any occasions to eat cake anymore, I do eat Twinkies from time to time, so I 'spose I fit in there somewhere. The average common person, then, eats cake, and so do the rich and mighty, as seen in this picture: served up this foto on a silver platter. With a cake fork.

This caption pretty much wrote itself. I LIVE for moments like these. That's probably why everyone tells me to GET a life. Even if efforts like this reveal me as a political ignoramus. Hey, I resemble that!

This has been one of the crummiest posts I've ever written. HEY! YOU GOT A BIGGER PIECE THAN I DID!!! NO FAIR!!!